Posts Tagged ‘neo-soul’

Musiq SoulchildDate of Interview: 04/22/2011

Album after album, Musiq Soulchild never fails to deliver. And with the release of his sixth album, musiqinthemagiq, the world has been reminded that there is quite a bit of “magic in the [music].” His latest release pays homage to the traditional elements of R&B, while incorporating contemporary elements of urban music.

As part of promotional campaign for musiqinthemagiq, Musiq Soulchild managed to squeeze some time out his schedule and settle down for his second interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on a decade of recording, stepping outside “the R&B box,” and embracing fatherhood. [Musiq’s 2008 interview can be found here.]

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KEMDate of Interview: 01/20/2011

In a world inundated with Auto-Tune singing and GarageBand beats, KEM has managed to create a space in the contemporary marketplace for his jazz-inspired music to thrive and survive. And since 2003, to the surprise of industry prognosticators, his first two solo projects – Kemistry and Album II – attained gold status. KEM’s third project, Intimacy: Album III, would become his best-performing album on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart.

Intimacy: Album III features “What Would You Say,” a heart-wrenching ballad that garnered two nominations at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards: “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance” and “Best R&B Song.” In preparation for “music’s biggest night,” which takes place a few days before the start of his headlining Intimacy tour, KEM managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on the decline of live instrumentation, the importance of authenticity, and his “ironic” signing with Motown Records.

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Date of Interview: 10/07/2010

As a graduate of Cleveland School of the Arts, it should come as no surprise that Conya Doss has found a way to utilize her craft in nontraditional ways. A full-time teacher by day, and a critically-acclaimed singer by night, she has managed to balance the worlds of academia and entertainment with relative ease. Even so, living life as an independent artist has had it fair share of ups-and-downs.

Since 2002, Conya Doss has slowly and steadily built a dedicated fan base, who patiently await every new release. And with the announcement of Blü Transition, her fifth studio album, the excitement reached record levels. In September 2010, “What We Gone Do” made waves in the online community for breaking Lalah Hathaway’s digital download record on Soultracks, which honored Doss as “Female Vocalist of the Year” in 2008.

In the midst of a promotional campaign for Blü Transition, Conya Doss managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on the integration of art in education, the journey to finding her “natural” voice, and the challenges of motherhood.

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Macy Gray

Date of Interview: 06/16/2010

Macy Gray may be many things, but she’s a far cry from being a “sell-out.” Since her 1999 debut, she has pushed the envelope on commercial expectations and limitations on artists within the music industry complex.  And unintentionally, whether Macy knew it or not, her brilliant distinctiveness challenged music lovers – at the very same time – to recognize that the “beauty in the world” around us comes in varying shapes, sizes, sounds, and colors.

The Sellout stands as the fifth studio album in Macy Gray’s decade-plus career.  In the midst of a promotional tour for the album, the singer managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on marketing struggles, her purpose as an artist, and age discrimination within the music industry.

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Eric Roberson

Date of Interview: 01/20/2010

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Raheem DeVaughn

Date of Interview: 12/04/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

The music of Raheem DeVaughn serves as the perfect antidote to the standard commercial fare on contemporary R&B radio.  And by channeling the spirit of Marvin Gaye, the self-proclaimed “R&B hippie neo-soul rock star” has managed to juggle a musical catalog that focuses on the beauty of love as much as the social issues underlying the hardships of daily life.

No stranger to “conscious” music-making, Raheem DeVaughn has never been coy about his intent on educating the masses, so long as a smooth groove stirred enough sugar in his musical medicine.  Such precautions seem unnecessary, however, since his breath-taking falsetto effortlessly draws listeners to his poignant messages of community uplift and self-empowerment.

To date, Raheem DeVaughn has garnered two GRAMMY nominations. “Woman” would bring his first for “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance,” while “Customer” would garner a nod in 2009 for “Best R&B Song.”  Both tracks are represented on DeVaughn’s sophomore effort, Love Behind the Melody.  His third studio album, The Love & War MasterPeace will be released on March 2, 2010, via Jive Records.

Shortly after the digital release of “Bulletproof,” the lead single for the MasterPeace, Raheem DeVaughn managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on “the new cool,” a career-defining conversation with Stevie Wonder, and his advice for independent artists.

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N'dambi

Date of Interview: 10/12/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Every month of every year, I am pleasantly surprised to discover an amazing talent that has existed for years in the “underground” scene, while being ignored by “mainstream” radio.  This month, I was introduced to the work of N’dambi, who has recorded as a solo artist for more than a decade and served as a background singer for several gospel and secular artists, including fellow “soul sister” Erykah Badu.

Inspired by the music of Nina Simone, N’dambi has harnessed the power of her contralto voice and let her creative spirits guide her from Dallas, Texas, to venues across the globe.  Upon the release of her Stax debut, Pink Elephant, N’dambi managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on the influence of Nina Simone, her Stax experience, and the creative chemistry behind “Imitator” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.”

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Meshell Ndegeocello

Date of Interview: 09/11/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

As the spark that lit the neo-soul movement, Meshell Ndegeocello is the true definition of the word “artist.”  Defying musical categorization and societal archetypes for women and femininity, Meshell has blazed her own trail in an industry known for its “cookie-cutter” sensibilities.

With 10 GRAMMY nominations under her belt, few artists can attest to have attained such widespread and long-term critical acclaim.  And even fewer have brazenly fused together the myriad of stylistic variations between the worlds of funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, R&B, rock, and jazz.

Upon the release of Devil’s Halo, Meshell Ndegeocello managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Prince, “Bright, Shiny Morning,” and a few concerns for President Obama to consider.

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Anthony Hamilton

Date of Interview: 02/02/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

For Anthony Hamilton, the road to success has been long and hard.  Without struggle, however, there is no progress.  Accordingly, the “bumps and bruises” Hamilton endured along his multi-label journey gave him insight into the “business”-side of the music business.  From the shelving of his debut album, in the midst of his move from Uptown Records to MCA, to his fateful transition from Soulife to So So Def, after twelve long years, Anthony Hamilton has finally realized “the point of it all.”

With seven GRAMMY nominations to his credit, Hamilton’s recent win for “Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance” solidifies his reputation as a dynamic—and significant—voice within the R&B genre.  Upon review of The Point of It All, Anthony Hamilton managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Al Green, fatherhood and his TASTE Foundation.

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Musiq Soulchild

Date of Interview: 12/11/2008

© 2008 Clayton Perry

Since 2000, Musiq Soulchild has amassed seven Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.  And unlike many of his contemporaries, Musiq’s chart dominance occurred quietly and with a humble air of confidence.

Upon close inspection, Musiq’s prodigious output places him in an elite crowd of R&B heavyweights.  In fact, he is on an incredibly short list of R&B male artists who have been able to release five best-selling (and award-winning) albums within an eight year time span in the past 30 years.  One of six, Musiq stands alongside Prince, Luther Vandross, Gerald Levert, R. Kelly and Brian McKnight in the annals of R&B history, and his string of hits—“Just Friends (Sunny),” “Love,” “Dontchange,” “Halfcrazy,” “Buddy,” “Teachme” and “Ifyouleave”—rival the popularity and notoriety of the industry’s leading soul men.

On December 9, 2008, Musiq Soulchild released Onmyradio, his fifth studio album.  Two days after its release, Musiq managed to find time in his busy schedule to settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on beatboxing, “Betterman,” and the need for responsible music.

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