Archive for June, 2009

Laura Izibor

Date of Interview: 06/15/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Far across the Atlantic, in the distant land of Ireland, the life and success of Laura Izibor have cast a bright light on the global interconnectedness and reach of the modern music industry.

As the daughter of an Irish mother and Nigerian father, it may surprise some Americans that Laura Izibor’s unique talents, while refreshing, are at the same time familiar.  Inspired by the music of Roberta Flack, Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye, Izibor’s songwriting talents embody the spirit and passions of her musical heroes and, for this reason, the international press has hailed her as “The Soul of Ireland.”  With a bit of luck, in the weeks and months to come, several tracks from Let the Truth Be Told will find a welcome home on American radio.

Upon the release of Let the Truth Be Told, Laura Izibor managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Marvin Gaye, her cultural roots, and “If Tonight Is My Last.”

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Amerie

Date of Interview: 06/09/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Amerie is the perfect example of a person whose physical size does not compare to the size of their heart.  Even in the midst of label changes and poor marketing, she has proven her “staying power” by rising, like the mythical phoenix, from the dust.

Amerie’s recent move to Def Jam is undoubtedly a calculated move to better her market share in America.  Her last project, Because I Love It, never saw the light of day in the States, unfortunately, despite the overwhelming praise the album received in Europe and beyond.  So if “Why R U?” is a small indication of what to expect from In Love and War, then buckle up for Amerie’s ride to the top of Billboard’s music charts.

Upon the release of In Love and War, Amerie managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Because I Love It, “All Roads,” and her new record label, Feenix Rising Entertainment.

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Willy Northpole

Date of Interview: 06/04/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Willy Northpole’s presence on the mainstream rap scene is a testament not only to his talents, but also the groundbreaking arrival of Southwestern hip hop.  In fact, the way in which Willy made his mark from Phoenix, Arizona, as a musical “connect,” may be a sign of things to come – especially in the digital music landscape.

As the newest member of Disturbing Tha Peace, Willy Northpole has obtained the support of Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, who was largely responsible for putting the South on the national hip hop map.  So with proper label support, a noteworthy debut from Willy may – for once and for all – put a permanent spotlight on the Southwest’s hidden talents.

Upon the release of Tha Connect, Willy Northpole managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on “Body Marked Up,” the death of his cousin Salt, and the current state of hip hop.

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Ray Chew

Date of Interview: 06/04/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

The life of Ray Chew parallels that of characters depicted in Horatio Alger’s famous “rags to riches” stories.  Although raised as a child in the Grant Houses of Harlem, Chew’s successful transition from Harlem to Hollywood has been the sheer product of luck and pluck in the competitive world of the music business.

Over the course of Ray Chew’s career, he has served as a member of the Saturday Night Live Band, music director of Showtime at the Apollo and bandleader of NBC’s The Singing Bee.  His impressive resume was given a significant boost, however, when he was tapped to serve as the bandleader of the 2008 Democratic National Convention and President Barack Obama’s Neighborhood Ball.  More recently, in June 2009, Chew coordinated the musical direction of the 9th Annual BET Awards, which paid tribute to the late Michael Jackson.

As the 75th Anniversary Gala for the Apollo Theater appeared on the horizon, Ray Chew managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Quincy Jones, Showtime at the Apollo, and the necessity of mentorship.

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Ruben Studdard

Date of Interview: 06/01/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

In an Auto-Tune world, they don’t make singers like Ruben Studdard anymore.  And that, dear reader, is a shame.  Thankfully, the “Velvet Teddy Bear” has endured to fill in the void left behind by the untimely death of Luther Vandross, his musical icon.

Although Ruben Studdard is best-known for winning the second season of American Idol, in many ways, he has also become the standard-bearer for classic R&B.  And as one would expect, Studdard’s post-Idol life has been filled with additional personal successes: a budding acting career, a GRAMMY nomination (for “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance”), and a fairytale marriage to the love of his life, Surata Zuri McCants.  Coincidentally, Surata would serve as inspiration for Ruben’s fourth studio album, Love Is.

Upon the release of Love Is, Ruben Studdard managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on American Idol, “Just Because,” and his recording experience with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

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