Alison Crockett Interview

Posted in Artist Interview on October 18, 2007 by soulismsofficialblog

Alison Crockett Interview

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Alison Crockett is getting us ready for her new album Bare, she says, “I grew up listening to a lot of music and studied a lot of different music. Things just come out and I just try to see if things work,” regarding her music listening choices and musical creativity. Her previous work has been compared by music listeners and critics as the next Jill Scott or Erykah Badu, she replies, “If anybody likes me enough to compare me to artists they think a lot of, great. I am flattered and appreciative” humbly and respectfully.

Alison Crockett, may not have mainstream status as yet but her independent history is admirable in itself, her King Britt collaborations and solo projects are all outstanding musical efforts. “I creatively try to explore the sounds I hear and write lyrics that speak to me. I do music because I am. Kind of corny, but true” She is also known to have an alter ego, Diva Blue, when performing” Alison Crockett goes on to say, “My shows are an experience; you don’t know who’s going to show up, ‘Diva Blue’, or me I just like to sing. The diva goes a little crazy; you just have to come to find out”

Since On Becoming A Woman, Alison Crockett expresses her feelings towards any musical growth “I hope I have. I have continued to study and work on all aspects of myself as an artist. Hopefully the public thinks I’ve done a good job. I have seen and worked with King. We just did a Sylk 130 re-union in Philly this past summer”

“I am a big gardener when I have time”, admits Alison Crockett. “I also am a sci-fi reader. I use TV to kind of zone out; I’m a Law and Order kind of gal.” Alison Crockett UR shares with us her personal favorite song of hers that she has recorded “I think it’s my perfect song, or as perfect as I can get”

Music didn’t come naturally to Alison Crockett, she had to take vocal lessons, she explains herself, “I always had a big voice, but I had no range and ability to control it. I was a pianist first and basically couldn’t blend it with anyone” She continues her story of how she became an artist: “Pure insanity. Musical vision is not always the way to easy success. I just had to, for real. I have something to say, I’ve never been one to keep my mouth shut”

Today, with the music industry becoming an ever more crowded place, “perseverance is the only way to make it in this business. Go after what you want and keep at it. There is no specific advice to give, as much as I wish I could. Go after your dreams and enjoy your life”

Ruby Turner Interview

Posted in Artist Interview on October 18, 2007 by soulismsofficialblog

Ruby Turner Interview

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Ruby Turner has done a lot in her time as an independent artist. She has worked and recorded with many musician. Though, for Ruby Turner it all started in Jamaica, at age nine things would soon change as she moved with her family to Birmingham, “(laughs) It was such a long time ago my love”, she says on the matter. “Yes, it was a bit of a culture shock but in time, how can I say? It was an adventure, it really was just that. I was just as excited as I was afraid, you know. As time went by you sort of started to reminice about home, you know. So you have more of an understanding” She finishes by saying “But it was really quite an adventure for me”. Ruby Turner explains her early success, “When I got my recording contract to be honest. Other than that I was just out having a good time, getting some drinks and literally just enjoying the gift and the experience”, says Ruby Turner. “It was only until I had the contract that it became more serious, and more compitative. You realize your in a race of some sort you know what I mean?” This British soul artist has collaborated with legends means a lot, she says, ? “Creativity is what really drives me, I have no motions about fame or fortune, I was just absolutely enjoying the art really. I actually started out in acting, which inspires me and then from that my voice developed or came through. And on fame? “Not at all my dear, I have no intension’s about nothing, I was like a kid in a sweet shop and I was having the best time with it, you know”

After Ruby Turners experience with the pop band Culture Club, she finally released a record on a Zomba Group label called Jiva Records, Ruby Turner says, “Up until this point I worked five years on the road, I had my own band, doing session work and session work with Culture Club, which was fantastic. They were the biggest pop band going and I was apart of it, so it was quite an exciting time for someone starting out and I was having a hard time myself but then I wasn’t having a hard time it was just a question of getting a deal and that was kind of hard to come by. So the distraction was to work with somebody else, which is a great distraction”. She continues, “I got looked after well, which was fantastic. I got to play at Madison Square Gardens, and Wembley, so it was just fantastic. Then I came back home and the record deal happened and I was really happy about that because I was years on the road looking for a recording contract and it came about” says Ruby Turner. “Then my life changed again because I became an artist in my own right and then it all took off from there really”. Ruby Turner released a Motown Songbook album.

Ruby Turner explains, “The recording contract instigated the idea really, Jiva was the insight and foresight and had the concept of the album. Where by you team up with other people and focus on one style of music. The initial idea was my idea to work with the other Motown artists. I was a big fan of Motown and I didn’t want to touch these songs because you can’t better them”, she proceeds, “If you cover a song and can’t do it as well then you shouldn’t touch it. My thing was if they get some of the Motown artists to appear then I was able to pull it off, and they did, so it was great”

Ruby Turner would soon find herself a developing USA fan base, as she scored an R&B chart hit in the American R&B charts with It Will Be Alright. I wondered what her ingredients of breaking through the tough to please American market was? “Because it was a great song and it sounded relevant to the American market and the American people. I went over there and promoted the single for about three weeks. While I was there the song was getting heavy air play and doing well in the charts” she expresses. “What I wasn’t expecting was how positive the song was and how they could relate to it and it was just one of those things. It was a great song to that market” Did you have success in the UK charts? “Yes, When You Can Hold Me was a hit. I had a couple of hits, more recently Stay With Me Baby, was a top 40 hit, so yeah, I’ve had quite a few in this country” What makes a good song for you? “Sweet heart if I knew I’d be a million air! I’m a lyricist so that’s where I go. I can get off on a groove but its the lyrics that reach my ears first” A lot of the modern songs have no concentration on the lyrics, I pointed out, “It has no lyrics”, says Ruby, I think its also very visual, “It is visual and its a beat so there you have it, I must be one of my own then!” Your the rare professional, “Oh thank-you very much sir!”

With that said did this experienced soul voice have music industry views, “I have my views but they are quite irrelevent. Who wants to hear my views? And further more as a musician myself there is no weight, you know what I mean? So its kind of wrong for another artist to criticize another artist for what they do. I’m no pioneer, I came in this industry and there were people before me and there were people behind me. As long as you make your contribution to life, who’s to say your right or wrong?”, very true! She continues “Right now the industry is going through a stage because where now in this time but when we rap back to the 60s it was the industry of there time just like it was the music of there time” Removing her away from music for a minute, I wanted to know what was most important in her life “Oh good friends, good health, genuwin friendships, you know, they are hard to find” I couldn’t have agreed more! Lastly with the departure of Ruth Brown I wondered if she knew of it and what she felt about it? “Aah deeply saddened because I spent a lot of time listening to her records and she has been a great inspiration over the years”

Koop Interview

Posted in Artist Interview on October 18, 2007 by soulismsofficialblog

Koop Interview

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Koop consist of Stockholm based musicians, Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson. They came to our attention with Waltz For Koop, however, in two thousand and six they return with a new album called Koop Islands, released through; !K7 Records. Koop Islands features vocalists Ane Brun, Yukimi Nagando, Earl Zinger and Mikael Sundin. Koop says, “We’re from Uppsala, North of Stockholm. We also made an album back in ninety-seven called Sons For Koop. We met at a students place. Magnus was DJ ing jazz and I w as playing jazz in a quintet. We decided to make a tune together, where we mixed Debussy with jazz” Koops sound is very unique and experimental, they explain. “Sweet jazz-tunes produced on a computer” Koop speaks of first musical influences, “Sometimes everything, sometimes nothing, but mostly jazz from 1917 to 1961 or the freshest beat on the dance floor”

Koop Islands to Waltz For Koop, both have front covers where Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson are dressed up, “It started out with a photo we did together with a photographer that later became the album cover for Waltz For Koop, and now we can’t stop doing it” They continue, “It’s irritating when artists try to be manly and good-looking on album covers. We’ve passed all that but it also reflects the music. It’s all a bit illusion”

Koop have been making music for a while, they say, “We’ve gone from creating experimental sampler-soundscapes to discovering a way to produce classic songs via samplers and are now focusing on song writing. We are grateful to all the singers and musicians that have blessed our albums with their talent, and life outside of Koop is nothing I want to talk about”

They haven’t always had positive experiences with the press, often pigeon-holing them as retro. Koop says, “Hyper modern. Music is always developing with the technical inventions. Our music couldn’t be made fifteen years ago” Koop had recently performed at London’s jazz café, “Yeah, previous dates have been great. Crowd’s use to be up for it and lots of friend’s in the back room!” However, they are not completely a live band, “The illusion worked! It’s maybe forty percent live, and the rest are samples! Our vision is to create the best environment for the vocals. Make them shine”

The interview with Koop was coming to an end, but they still had a few things to say. “It’s music from Koop Island’s. We try not to think too much and just grab what’s around us. Of course much of the eclecticism comes from the use of samples and on this album it was from the 40’s and 50’s. The use of Marimba is significant for the album as well” And on traveling, “After a while you become a very boring person that can only talk about Airports or Hotel standards. After a year on the road you’re hopefully just numb” Thank-you Koop for the time! “Cheers! Thanks for having us”

Brian Jackson Interview

Posted in Artist Interview on October 18, 2007 by soulismsofficialblog

Brian Jackson Interview

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“I’m well, celebrated my 54th birthday yesterday, the 11th, and I even survived THAT!” says Brian Jackson. “I’ve done a collaboration with some of my heroes, Ron Carter, Airto, Mike Clark and Linda Tillery. All put together by a young producer named Kentyah Fraser. There are some songs from the Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson catalog, a tune or two from Mike Clark (remember, he and fellow head-hunter, bassist Paul Jackson wrote ‘God Make Me Funky’), a tune by Pharoah Saunders and some improvisational pieces. The project also features some solo pieces by Airto. Vocalist Linda Tillery is the icing on the cake. I manned the keyboards (mostly Rhodes) and added a little flute work. There will be guest appearances by Digal Planets’ Ladybug Mecca, and possibly a verse or two by someone from the Hiero Crew. I’m also putting together a concept that will include many of my favorite artists of all generations to redo some of their favorite pieces from the Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson catalog, from their perspective. I’ll basically step out of the way for that to happen, except to A&R the thing, oversee production and of course maybe play a little”

“I was always trying to put together a band. All the way through High School I was jamming with who ever was interested. When I got to Lincoln University (mainly because it was the school that Langston Hughes and Kwame Nkrumah both went to), I met a young writer named Gil Scott-Heron (who had also decided on Lincoln because of Langston). We teamed up to write some songs after a failed attempt to win the Annual Talent show at Lincoln, by writing two hot songs for vocalist Victor Brown (who appeared on our first three Arist albums). We only came in second, but we decided to form a band called ‘Black & Blues’, which later became the nucleus for the Midnight Band. After having released a book of poetry, ‘Small Talk At 125th and Lenox’ and a novel, ‘The Vulture’, Gil attracted the interest of producer Bob Thiele, (John Coltrane/Archie Shepp) and signed him as a spoken word artist. Bob was doing spoken word albums in 1970! By then, though, Gil’s interests had turned mainly to songwriting, and he and I were busy penning tracks almost dailey. For his second album of the three album deal, Gil asked if he could record these songs he’d been working on with ‘Stickman’. That was me. Named because we were inseparable back then. We were best friends and business partners. Musically, we completed each other, Gil with his deep relationship with the English language, and me with my fierce loyality to the principles of good music. Anyway, Bob Thiele agreed to having us record music for the second album, which became ‘Pieces Of A Man’. The third and last album for Flying Dutchman was ‘Free Will’. I made my singing debut, singing harmony with Gil on the title track. The musicians we had to support us in these efforts was like a who’s who of music: Ron Carter, Bernard Purdie, Hubert Laws, David Spinozza, Jerry Jemmont, Bert Jones. I was Nineteen years old. Somehow, I was able, with the help of conductors Johnny Pate and later Horace Ott, and with the encouragement of Theile, to make these very kind and very patient men understand our musical vision. The rest was magic. If you ever get a chance to listen to the title cut from ‘Pieces Of A Man’, where it’s just Gil, Ron and me. You’ll understand what I mean. After the Flying Dutchman deal was over, and down in Washington, DC now, we figured we could do this producing stuff ourselves. So we got four grand together and recorded ‘Winter In America’, on which the song ‘The Bottle’ appeared. From 1976-1979 we recorded several albums for Arista Records. Over all I think it was something like Eleven albums. Gil used some unused tracks from those sessions on some of his subsequent albums as well” expresses this under-rated American legend, Brian Jackson. Musically he has a vast career and has most worldly been known for his Gil Scott Heron days.

“Well in my house we’ve been listening to Damian Maraley, Donald Fagen, Moses Taiwa Molelekwa, Wayne Shorter, you know, good shit!”, admits Brian Jackson. And on his keyboard set ups? — “You’re a keyboardist? We have to talk about your set up. I’m always curious about keybaord set ups. But to answer your question, it was a lot of work! I had a four-keyboard set up, a Rhodes, Clav, an Elka String synth and a Mini Moog. The majority of these keyboards didn’t take to being banged around well, even being in cases, so I was always worried about tuning. I spent hella time trying to make sure everything was tuned. But it was a lot of fun. Later, I had to come up with ways to re-create some of the sounds that we created in the studio with T.o.n.t.o, Malcolm Cecils monster snyth matrix (used by Stevie, The Isley Brothers, Weather Report and Billy Preston to name a few, it can be seen in the background on the cover of our album ‘1980′.). Siggie Dillard, and later Robbie Gordon, b ass players, hated me for having to copy some of the bass lines I layed down on tunes like ‘Angel Dust’ or ‘Racetrack in France’. Really, we didn’t think about how amazing it was, we loved to play, it’s what we did, it was a high to get together and make music and to feel the connection with the audiences. We just knew we didn’t want to do anything else”

“Patience. My Family. Friends. Humility”, being the important things for Brian Jackson during his career. “I’ve learned that my life, after all, is not part of my music. Music is part of my life. When I realized that I saw how much of my life I had been neglecting. Friendships and relationships are way more important ultimately than music. Perhaps at the end of the day, it won’t be about what we’ve done but how we’ve lived and loved. Remembering that helps me get through the ups and downs of the music business. I now refuse to allow myself to be defined by what I have out right or if its selling. I went through that phase. The question I dreaded the most was, ‘what are you doing now?’ hell, I’m breathing! That’s a good fucking start! And a hell of an accomplishment in itself!”

“I’d love to see other sides of London, I don’t mean to exclude the rest of London, it’s just the only part of town that I’ve been able to get to! In April I was scheduled to play at the Mau Mau Bar on Portobello Road and to do a gig up in York, but was detained by immigration for twelve hours and sent packing!” Says Brian Jackson. “Shit man, come get me! We’ll hang! There’s a bunch of folks I’ve been waiting to meet, too, like Robert Mitchell, Kaidi Tatham, and The Mondesir Brothers, Deborah Jordan of Silhouette Brown, Nanar of Break Reform, and a bunch of other folks whose work I love and respect!”

“Well, I grew up hearing that stuff being played for the first time, unleashed the teens of my generation. It was part of my life. It’s what I danced to, laid a rap to a girl to, slow-danced to, drank wine and smoked weed to. I was excited to hear the new Eddie Floyd song or the next Sam and Dave. James Brown got a new jam? Whaaaat? Already!??? Motown in its hey day, Watts/Stax, I used to go to sleep with a little transistor radio under my pillow, just so I wouldn’t miss anything! Soul music was the soundtrack to my adolescense, the background to the changes that were taking place all around us”

“Well, I grew up hearing that stuff being played for the first time, unleashed the teens of my generation. It was part of my life. It’s what I danced to, laid a rap to a girl to, slow-danced to, drank wine and smoked weed to. I was excited to hear the new Eddie Floyd song or the next Sam and Dave. James Brown got a new jam? Whaaaat? Already!??? Motown in its hey day, Watts/Stax, I used to go to sleep with a little transistor radio under my pillow, just so I wouldn’t miss anything! Soul music was the soundtrack to my adolescene, the background to the changes that were taking place all around us” opens up Brian Jackson.

“Well, my car radio is fucked, so thats out, parties, yeah. I like to hear music then because I get to see how a bunch of people are re-acting to different kinds of stuff. Live is great because well, its live! There’s nothing like live music but I sometimes get too technical analyzing shows and don’t really get to enjoy it. For example, if the sound is really band and it often is, I get really pissed off! So I often don’t go. At ome, I listen to music sometimes, but a lot of times I like the quiet. It’s then that I hear music in my head” — And on were he likes to play hist music the most? “Well, my car radio is fucked, so thats out, parties, yeah. I like to hear music then because I get to see how a bunch of people are re-acting to different kinds of stuff. Live is great because well, its live! There’s nothing like live music but I sometimes get too technical analyzing shows and don’t really get to enjoy it. For example, if the sound is really band and it often is, I get really pissed off! So I often don’t go. At ome, I listen to music sometimes, but a lot of times I like the quiet. It’s then that I hear music in my head”

“There are many, just visit my myspace page, myspace.com/itsyourworld. They are in the influence part. Whoever you don’t know on this list, do yourself a favor and check them out!”

“Gil is currently doing a two year bid in Prison”, express Brian Jackson about his long time musical partner. “We haven’t spoken for a few years now. I’m not exactly sure why he stopped speaking to me. I think I was making too much sense. I dunno, I’d never rule doing another album out but unfortunately it just doesn’t seem likely. I had been trying to get him interested in that, and seemed to have been succeeding, prior to his second arrest, but a lot of things would have had to be straightened out for that to have happened even then” Thank-you for your time to do this interview and it has been very insightful and interesting!

“It’s a pleasure, Matthew”, says Brian Jackson.

Calvin Richardson

Posted in Artist Interview on October 18, 2007 by soulismsofficialblog

Calvin Richardson Interview

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Calvin Richardson was a major part of R&B history, when he performed and recorded major albums with R&B boy band Jodeci. Calvin Richardson says. “The K-Ci session was like a re-union we were in a group together at one point before the Jodeci years. Chico is very talented so I really enjoyed working with him. Monifah took a little more effort to make that happen that than the rest but it turned out great, I’m glad we did it”

“It was a long road to my debut. The album changed hands a few times. When I first started working on it I was signed up to Uptown Records by the time it came out I was signed to Universal Records. It took three years to get the record out”, says Calvin Richardson about his Country Boy debut album. He admits, “The most memorable was on September 9th 1999 was actually the date Country Boy was released”

‘2:35’ pm was the time my son Souljah was born and I was with my girlfriend in the delivery room” says a sincere Calvin Richardson. “I didn’t have a title for my album but his deliver became the most important thing in the world to me since there has been nothing or no one to compare to that”, — And on what satisfies him the most, “It satisfies me to reach my goals”

“The creative process of both Country Boy and 2:35pm were very important to me as I was involved in both but more on ‘2:35pm’ since Hollywood Record’s didn’t have a clue”, says Calvin Richardson. His music is definitely R&B, though his vocals at times evokes soul. He recorded a duet with Angie Stone on her Mahogany Soul album, he says about the situation — “The Angie Stone situation came about because she was bitter because she wanted something (me) that she couldn’t have. So she re-recorded the song with Joe out of spite ultimately to have it back fire in her face” a rather bitter reaction.

“Most of my lyrics are about either present or past experiences of mine”, on song writing. Calvin Richardson currently says what he enjoys doing most outside his music ” Motorcycles is my escape now my four year old is riding and I love it. “I try not to listen to other artists during my recording process it has a way of influencing your work”At the time of the interview, which was earlier in 2007, Calvin Richardson was performing in Central London, with Sunshine Anderson and friends. “I’ll be in Central London, March 24th for a show at The Coronet Theatre”

Calvin Richardson says what he was doing during his second album, “I started recording my second album for Hollywood Records, in April 2004. Babyface was executive producer and we wrote some great songs for that album before I decided leaving the label was best for me” And about how he would like to be remember by? “I would like to be remembered as the number one artist of my time who brought back the movement of real music” A confident response, he expresses what his fans can expect from him in 2007 and beyond. “Expect me to keep doing what I’ve always done but more just making real music for the world and most important my fans and potential fans that appreciate it. Like it or not ‘C. Rich is BACK!’”

Wunmi Interview

Posted in Artist Interview on October 18, 2007 by soulismsofficialblog

Wunmi Interview

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“It all started back in 1985 to 1986 when I went to see Roy Ayers perform at Hammersmith in London part of an event called NYC Jazz Explosion (Lonny Linston Smith, Jean Carr etc)”, says Wunmi. “I had become a regular in the underground dance scene in London, the music then was called rare groove! And Roy Ayers music was the king! I like most hungry club dancers, I followed through word of mouth DJs and sound systems (i.e. Shaking Finger Pop, Trevor Man Hatter as he was known then and Soul2Soul to name a few) to warehouse parties. Music and dance was the soul purpose of the gathering and boy did we dance! Back to my Roy Ayers story, I got to meet with him before the show started back stage, he found out I was a dancer and to my surprise, a few songs into his set he announced me as his special guest!”

“Soon, after this Jazzie B of Soul II Soul asked me to join his collective as their dancer. I was not surprised, I had this strong feeling I would be on stage dancing again though I thought and hoped it would be for Prince; I was a huge fan of his. By 1995/86 Soul II Soul had become my nick name, so to speak. As the group blew up my face was everywhere as I had also been chosen as the image for the cover of both album and single. In the mist of this I then was picked up to become the face of the new legal Kiss FM; soon after they won their license after many years of being a pirate radio! This was the funniest thing ever; all where I looked my face was plastered”, explains Wunmi. Her love for the arts, and her many talents, would soon come to bloom.

“During all of this I was still going to College at London College of Fashion studying Fashion and Design, whilst at night I went to clubs to dance, dance, dance. As my profile grew record labels, and TV to dance on music videos, approached me. I also started touring around the world as a soloist performing at festivals with one DJ and one percussionist. I started incorporating vocals into my set as the program length grew and I needed to make costume changes. This was the first time I actually vocalized in front of an audience. Various record labels that were interested in me signing once again approached me. My first reaction was that no I don’t sing! To be honest I did not see me when I looked at them I saw dollar signs, which only made me feel uncomfortable because they did not really know who I was. In 1990 I accepted an offer to come to NYC to choreograph and style ‘PM Dawn’ a Gee Street recording duo. During this period I finally allowed myself to go into studio. I recorded a demo for Island records, but nothing came of it”, during this interview, I realized its better off if I let Wunmi speak for herself, as she says quite a lot about her career.

“I was crushed but just like a fairy Godfather, Roy Ayers called me to come work with him on his up coming album on BMG. This was 1995 album Naste. I got to write and sing two songs with him and then tour the whole of USA promoting the album. This experience finally gave me the confidence to follow my heart””, she admits. “I initially had struggled with the realization that I did not have a sound that was mainstream and to be honest labels were not looking to sign an act that did not fit formats. There was no denying my heavily Afro twine. My time with Roy helped me to accept that there was more to music than getting a record deal! During my time with Roy I started hanging out at a spot in the East village; where musicians would come and jam. It was a wicked brew of funk and Afro. One day I finally had the courage to get up and sing lead. They were playing king of Afro beat Felas ‘Lady’. I chose to sing ‘Upside Down’ as I knew the lyrics inside out, upside down :O) and you can say the rest is history! Soon, I was getting gigs to play at small venues around town. I asked the same musicians if they would back me and they were all willing. Some of these cats are now some of the most sorted after musicians in NYC such as Didi Gutman of Brazilian Girls, Etienne Stadwijk aka ATN of Brooklyn Funk Essentials and Cameronian Richard Bona; I found myself playing out almost every week”

And it wasn’t slowing down , as Wunmi confesses, “I became a regular at Neil’s, a popular club and live venue on West 14th Street. It was at one of these gigs that DJ Joe Claussell of Body and Soul saw me performing. It turned out when Masters At Work (Latin production duo i.e. Nuyorican Soul) Louie Vega and Kenny Dope decided they needed a vocalist for their tribute to Fela Kuti, Joe told them about me. I went in and recorded what would become one of the major underground Afro House tune, it was a combo of Fela’s ‘Expensive Shit’ and ‘Upside Down’. They call it ‘MAW Expensive’, till date it is still on DJs playing lists. We followed this with two more singles all underground smash hits that I co-wrote (’Ekabo’ and ‘Time is Now’). I got to perform at MAW huge Winter Music party in the following year and this put a seal on my career as Afro House Dance music singer. In directly I found a market that I could be me with no apologies, the success of my singles with MAW, lead to more production with other major producers in the Dance music world. Such as Osunlade with whom I co-wrote ‘Rader Du’ on his first album on Soul Jazz Records. This too became a smash hit underground especially in Jo Burg, SA. I then recorded with a Sona Kolletive artist RAS and toured extensively around Europe as lead vocalist with his band. Then came a request from West London’s crew ‘Bugz In the Attic’. They asked me to feature on their re-work version of ‘Zombie’ for ‘Red Hot and Riot’ tribute to Fela Anikulapo Kuti”

“I continued to meet and collaborate with the creame of dance music producers yet always there was the question when would I release an album? As a true believer that nothing happens before its time. I have been patient and now I am happy to announce that my long awaited solo album is due for an UK/Europe release Jan/Feb 07. It’s called ‘A.L.A’; by the way whilst I was nurturing my musical career I continued designing. I have be blessed with collaborations with one of Americas most sort after choreographer Ronald K Brown and his company ‘Evidence’. Through my collaboration with him I have gotten to design costumes for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Moving Spirit Dance Theater to name a few. I received a BESSIE Award for my costume design in 2001. This is the Performance Dance World award equivalent to the Grammy! I guess you can say it runs in the family. Back in Lagos, Nigeria in the late 50s/60s my fathers Uncle Victor Olaiya were one of the most popular ‘High Life’ musicians in Nigeria/West Africa. He is famous! Back then he opened his own venue ‘Stadium Hotel’ where he can still be seen playing every weekend. With the revival of ‘High Life’ music he is building new fans. I found out that Fela actually played in my Uncles second band” And on advice about people trying to make it in the music industry, “Let the dying dog die. As an artist fully working from the left field so to speak. I have the fortune to meet that it saddens me the irrelevance of the music that the industry continues to push”

“I have trusted the Universe to guide me thus far I continue to be open to all possibilities. I do have a wicked project for 2007 with BBC World Radio Producer James Finlayson to travel to Brazil, Mumbai and Jo-Burg with a new demo song of mind to meet and collaborate with a local DJ/Producer in each City. The series on how I go about working with this producer will be edited and presented on Radio. Now I am really excited first because I have never been to either Brazil or India. And it is also a great opportunity for me to work with new producers and to check the music scene and see how it works. Can’t wait” Wunmi has a unique way of writing lyrics, “I have a knack for coming up with catchy hooks. Caron Wheeler formerly of Soul II Soul said I have a gift for one-liners! I love to tell a good story that makes you think, laugh, dance and maybe shed a tear whilst also thinking ‘whoa lovely story’. As I always have so much to say putting thing in a way that folks can see it, and feel it has become a challenge for me. Fela and Roy Ayers was king of this” says Wunmi.

“Whether you like or you no like folks will label you” regarding the music industry. “I do wish I could just be Wunmi, and her funny ass self, HA! OK really, no matter how much I say it folks still label me as Afro Beat Queen or Diva. Maybe I should be glad folks see me as an icon of Afro Beat. Yet, at the same time I see this as limitation musically. Folks expect you to make them dance if you’re recognized as a Dance artist and as an Afro Fusion artist; your music is not limited to the intellectual baggage of World music! Sometimes the labelling thing is more of a hindrance than a blessing! Enough said I think!”

Glenn Lewis Interview

Posted in Artist Interview on October 18, 2007 by soulismsofficialblog

Glenn Lewis Interview

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A few years back, Glenn Lewis released his debut album World Outside My Window, he reflects, “We were just really having fun. Working with Andre and Vidal, they were real easy. It was just a lot of jokes and we played a lot of pranks in the studio. Trying to create a really light atmosphere and basically referred back to personal experiences, different thing’s, and making it into a song. Often that’s what creates the most honest work, talking about life. Stuff that you go through from joy and pain in life”

“I love playing basketball” admits Glenn Lewis. “Since the hiatus of the album, which is like three or four years ago. I have been taking things in because it was a long road to get to the point of doing my first album. So, it was nice to just fall back a little bit. Enjoying ball, watching ball, hanging out with friends. And in the meantime and between times, staying creative. I guess, accumulating new experiences so that I can pour it into this new project. The most important thing in my life is family. My spirituality and family, they pretty much run parallel to each other. That’s pretty much why I do what I do, for the love of my family. Yeah, I’d probably have to say that those are the two most important elements in my life”

“Oh Marsha? That’s my homie!” says Glenn Lewis. About his friendship and musical song writer Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry, who helped write a few songs on the debut album. She’s like super talented, super easy to work with. Glenn Lewis continues, “She gives her everything in what she does. She’s the kind of artist that. When you meet her, you just know. That this is what she’s meant to do. She has a lot of love to give, and she puts all of that into her work. She’s a true in every sense of the word artist”

“I eat a lot of bullshit man”, when asked about how he keeps healthy. “I eat dumb stuff, like junk or fast food, stuff like that, you always on the go right? So for me, I’m always running around. I cherish the moments when I could have a good home cooked meal. Usually, I’m eating a lot of fast food. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to be on my kind of diet, if your expecting abs or whatever else”

What is his positive thoughts on London? Glenn Lewis expresses, “For starters the women, as much as it is to you, it’s not an accent, but I just love how people from London and from the UK, how they speak. It’s very eloquent and very proper. I like that. The only bad thing that I can think of is sometimes I go out and we’ll go eat. And there’s like fried bread or something? That’s always weird to me; I’m like fried bread? What the hell? But that’s the only thing I don’t like”

“Yes and no” on the subject of his parents supporting his music ambitions. “My Mom and my Dad, they both did music before me. So, I guess needless to say the influence was around but they could see the talent in me, so they were supportive from that standpoint. They encourage that. Like my Mom would teach me songs. My Dad would take me to the studio with him to see what the process was like. Funnily enough, I didn’t really want to do music until a little later on. Maybe fourteen/fifteen. Then it became discouraging because the music industry was hard. It can be a shitty business. So, they didn’t want me to go through some of the thing’s they went through”

“Well, life for all of us is a process; it’s all about growth and experiencing different thing’s. I’ve had a lot of great experiences but also some tough ones. They’ve all contributed to me, and just being the artist that I am. I’m always looking for new challenges. The expectation is, in a very short space of time. I’m in the process of working on this new classic. Working really hard to put together another classic, you know? It’s been a while from the spot light. Right now, the focus is putting together another heater; that people will be able to appreciate” says an open and honest Glenn Lewis. Reminding you/the readers, that this is a EMI Recording artist, who’s knownfor collaborating with the likes of Amel Larrieux, and while we spoke on the phone, he was in Canada doing an Adidas commercial for TV. He speaks up about his current unreleased project.

“It’s going to be a little different but the soulful aspect is me. That’s just apart of me regardless but as far as the sound and the musical approach, it’s changed a little bit. I’ve been stretching out and trying different things. It’s like variety is the spice of life, I just want to try some different musical approaches. For the most part the essence of what the first album was, you’ll still hear on the second one but it’s going to have a lot more growth” He continues, “Vocally I’ve become a lot stronger in my delivery. I’ve become a lot better as a vocalist. Even the kinds of things I’d be directly talking about, it’s still real life but at the same time it’s a lighthearted approach. A lot of the song’s that were on the first album, lots of people gave me feedback. That it was very introspective, in the way that it was approached. It was extremely personal and I guess it was like an autobiographical album. This one is still going to have a personal touch but it’s more about connecting. The first album was about bringing people into my world. This new album is about connecting and reaching out. Sharing things that I feel that people would be able to relate to. The music will have moments where it will be a bit more aggressive, almost a bit of an R&B touch to it but its still soul”

“The best part of my career is to have the opportunity to be around other phenomenally talented people. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people that are tremendous talents. They inspire me in there own way. Now, for them to be appreciating me and I’m there peer? And were able to interact with them on a human level? When I can see the human side of them, and they are able to see me, and were on that level. Some of the things that they might share with me, and that I’m in ways and inspiration to them, it’s pretty amazing. I think that’s the best part, being able to meet different walks of life. Some that I have deep admiration for and respect what they do, like some of the younger cats that a coming out, that’s just probably the best part, just being able to interact with other creative people” admits Glenn Lewis. Make sure that you check out Glenn Lewis new projects and performances when in London.