Interviews

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Last month two-time Grammy award winner, Melanie Fiona touched down in London to headline a show at the O2 Academy Islington. This concert marked her first on British soil in over 5 years. So before she delivered a highly engaging, interactive and marvellous show we caught up with Melanie to discuss why it’s been so long since she’s been in the UK, the new album ‘Awake’ and much more.

Read all about it below:

Sope: It’s been 5 years since you last headlined a London show, so why the hold up? And what do you love in particular about London crowds and the city in general?

Melanie: Well yeah it’s been awhile since I’ve been back after touring and exploring other territories. I think one of the big reasons I never came back is because my second project was never worked in the UK. I was going through a lot of label changes at the time so I think that caused the 5 year void. But what I love is that from The Bridge to this 3rd album Awake which is almost finished is that I have the same fans, I’ve grown more fans and I’m able to come back here with such a strong presence after all this time. And it’s one of the reasons why I love London because it makes me feel like I’m at home. People here are true, they’re loyal, they’re music lovers and they understand where I come from.

Sope: What can we expect from the new album, what influenced it sonically and lyrically and are there any songs in particular you can’t wait for the fans to hear?

Melanie: Awake was inspired by personal events. Even before I started making the album – the word ‘Awake’ was something that I started to live by. I felt like I was going through an awakening, I was changing, transitioning and evolving. And that only came from pretty much my whole world being rocked from personal to professional – everything changing at once. It was a real test – and that’s where the term ‘Awake’ came from. I’ve been doing this project mainly with one producer Andre Harris and we decided we wanted to do this project together because we were both in a space of awakening and wanted to do something identifiable to both of us. The songs on this album range; some of them are very typically big ballads that people know me for, some are very relaxed chill vibe records. I didn’t want to limit myself on this album. I wanted a collection of feel good songs – and that can feel good on lows and highs.

Some of the songs I can’t wait for fans to hear is ‘I Tried’ which is the next single and it was also the first song I recorded for the album. I feel like that song was the catalyst because the song was about being in a dark place to being where you go from here so that was the awakening, I always feel like it’s darkest before dawn. There’s another song I love called ‘I Need That’ and another one called ‘Killing Time’. Also there’s a song called ‘I Want It All’ which is really special to me because I feel like it personifies the entire album.

Sope: You recently revealed that you worked with Stevie Wonder for the project, what was that like? And will that song be on the album?

Melanie: It’s a dream come true, I still relive that moment thinking did that really happen? And it happened with so much magic because it was just so random but so genuine. I don’t know if that song is going on the album but if it never sees the light of the day I’ll always have it for myself *laughs*. I would love to build a whole world album campaign around that song – it needs an official release for respect purposes. He’s amazing and that experience was truly incredible.

Sope: Do you have a release date for the album?

Melanie: I don’t have a confirmed release date yet. We’re looking at late fall in time for Christmas and the holidays. But up until then I’m going to be releasing music anyway, some may go to radio, some may not. I’m really okay because this album in this independent space is about the fans so I wanna get the music to them in any way possible.

Sope: How do you feel about being independent as opposed to being on a major label? And are you open to signing another major deal in future?

Melanie: I’m open to wherever the wind takes me, this current venture with a company like Primary Wave and being able to have major distribution from BMG as an independent artist is a good lesson and good test for me. It’s also a reward and a blessing knowing I’m responsible for my choices and knowing that I have a great team around me is a blessing. But sure if the right situation presented itself with a major label I would be open to that but it has to be right. For now I’m cool.

Sope: Since you are now an independent artist who no longer has pressure from a record label, what will define success to you in regards to this new album? Especially since you’ve had Grammy nominations, hit songs in the past etc?

Melanie: I think releasing Awake will be a successful thing, just to know I released an independent project. Also some marker of success would be visiting other countries and seeing fans I’ve never performed for before. But ultimately happiness, when this is all said and done if I feel I’m happier than I’ve been before then that’s the ultimate success.

Sope: When you were on a major were there any songs from your previous albums which you felt deserved more shine and attention? Me personally I would say ‘Priceless’ from the first album and ‘Bones’ from the 2nd album.

Melanie Fiona: I feel like on The MF Life, ‘Change the Record’ with B.o.B. should’ve been a massive record. That song is one of my favourites, I love performing it. I feel like it’s a fan favourite and everytime I perform it, I can see it’s a fan favourite so I know if more people heard it, it would’ve gone a little bit further. That’s the difficulty being in a big building, you have to play by the rules a little bit and whatever song they want to put the money behind you kinda just have to go with. But I don’t knock the songs that they chose because ‘4AM’ was a great success for me. I think on the first album ‘Ay Yo’ also had the potential to be great had there been a bigger push behind it.

Sope: Before your first album arrived, you put out a brilliant remix and covers EP with The Illadelphonics, which housed an amazing stripped down version of Monday Morning. Would you be open to doing a sequel to that EP and working with The Illadelphonics again in general?

Melanie: Yeah I would love to do that again, it was a lot of fun working with Questlove and the Illadelphonics. I always feel like performing stripped down is best for me. I actually did an acoustic version of The MF Life songs too. I just love the raw instrumentation of live music and the voice so I would definitely love to do it again. Infact what I probably will do with this album Awake is more intimate venues with just a guitar because I feel this is an album that garners conversation.

Sope: I’ve noticed in a lot of your interviews people bring up the Drake connection pnly in relation to the group you had back in the day The Renaissance. But they seem to forget he wrote ‘I Been That Girl’ which was one of my favourites from the last album, so my question is when are we getting Melanie and Drake duet?

Melanie: I would love to do that, the good thing is that we’re still so young and early in our careers. It’s all love, we talk about it everytime we see each other but we both never find the time to get around to doing it. He’s so talented and so sweet so I would love to see what we could do.

Sope: What’s your take on the state of R&B today and what R&B artists are you listening to at the moment?

Melanie: My take on R&B today is that R&B is changing a lot, not to say that there isn’t classic R&B but there’s a division between what R&B is and what R&B isn’t. At the end of the day, R&B is the foundation of a lot of music, it’s very important. So this whole debate about whether R&B is dead, do people still love R&B – I feel like people are changing what their perception of what R&B is but there is still a lot of great R&B out there but you just have to find it. I’ve been listening to Emily King who’s a friend of mine. I just love her project from start to finish – it’s a true real body of work. It’s definitely soulful but some people would call it Pop yet she has a smoky jazz voice. I love her, she’s such a sweet person and her project ‘The Switch’ is truly excellent.

Sope: Anything you want to say to your fans?

Melanie: I love you, I cannot thank you enough for your support here in the UK and worldwide for my life and my living, supporting and growing with me. I make this music for you and that’s what this project is about it’s from me to you directly and I hope you enjoy it

Check out the video for Melanie’s latest single ‘Bite the Bullet’ below:

Interview by Sope Soetan (@SopeSoetan)

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Last week Sinster 2 opened up in theaters, before the movie hit the big screen we caught up with the films lead actress Shannyn Sossamon to talk about her role in the movie and her experience with working on FOX summer hit Wayward Pines.

YMMW:Your new movie Sinsiter 2 is hitting theaters this Friday; tell us a little more about this movie and the character you play Courtney Collins.

Shannyn Sossamon: The Sinster 2 picks up where the first Sinster left off, with the deputy is obsessed to figure out the mystery of the ghoul and who his next victim will be. I’m playing Courtney who is a mother with two twin boys and I’m on the run from their very abusive father, and we end up in a little house in a creepy remote location which also includes a little church, and this is a great place for the ghoul to plant himself next. We also get to meet some of the past ghost children who the ghoul has taken and we also get a little more into the lane of the ghoul and a little more back story of him.

YMMW: For those who may have seen the first Sinister, what would you say is more different from the first one in the sequel?

 Shannyn Sossamon: Well, to be honest, I haven’t seen the entire first movie because I am not a huge fan of horror and I don’t like to be scared (Laughs). So I saw enough of the first Sinster to get the gist, and when it started to get really dark, I couldn’t handle it. So I’m just a bad horror film audience member, but there are differences for sure, what I’ve been hearing is there is differences in that it’s not the exact same formula as the first one it kind of does its own thing, and it goes a little further with the ghoul rather than just re-creating the same beat as the first one with the same family.

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YMMW: What was it about the script of sinister 2 that made you want to sign on to do the sequel?

Shannyn Sossamon: I met with Ciaran Foy the director of this film and I really wanted to work with him weI met with Ciaran Foy the director of this film and I really wanted to work with him we talked for a long time about the story and I realized very quickly, how important it was for him to make the characters real and the story very grounded and that the horror was happening on top of that. I remember him, saying that the true villain of the story was the father, and I thought that was really smart. I was excited to work with him and I wanted to help him make the movie great. talked for a long time about the story and I realized very quickly, how important it was to him to make the characters real and the story very grounded and that the horror was happening on top of that. I remember him saying that the true villain of the story was the father, and I thought that was really smart. I was excited to work with him and I wanted to help him make the movie great.

YMMW: Along with working on this new movie sinister 2, you also played Theresa Burke on Fox’s mini series Wayward Pines, when you first signed on to do that show did you think it would have been an instant hit as it did with the viewers?

Shannyn Sossamon: We didn’t know that was a very nutty show and we all were pleasantly surprised at how much people liked it, not because we didn’t like it you just never know with a show like that. It was an odd show, but I thought all the actors did an incredible job and I’m really proud have been in it.  Did you like the way it ended?

YMMW: I did, but I’m hoping for a season 2 a lot of left unresolved and I would love to see how it got to that point.

Shannyn Sossamon: Yea, they could go for a second season because they definitely left it very open ended.  wayward-pines-hyden

YMMW: Besides working on Sinster 2 and now that Wayward Pines has wrapped what else are you working on that people should look out for?

Shannyn Sossamon: Well, I’m in Atlanta, GA right now doing a part for season 3 of Sleepy Hollow so we will see how that goes the first episode airs October 1st on FOX. It’s going to be fun the character I’m playing is a little different then what I’ve been doing lately so I’m excited about that.

Make sure you all check out Shannyn Sossamon in Sinster 2 which is in theaters now.

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Natasha-Mosley

Last week we spoke to rising singer Natasha Mosley who’s most known for singing on Jeremih smash hit “All The Time” along with Lil Wayne. Now with her own LP RoseHall which is now available on Itunes, Natasha spoke to us about the dual meaning of her LP,  working on new music with producer Zaytoven, and more. Check out the interview below.

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A couple of weeks back we chatted with  actor/ singer Tahj Mowry, Tahj who recently dropped his debut single Flirt,  spoke about  wanting to be different in the music industry when it comes to his music.  Tahj also talked about some of his musical inspirations growing up, the new diversity that Television is now showing on our screens again and his desire to one day dance with Janet Jackson.

YMMW: Before we start the interview I want to say congratulations on your new single dropping

Tahj Mowry: Oh, thank you so much it’s still crazy, I don’t think it hit me yet (Laughs)

YMMW: So tell us a little more about this record and the producer you worked with on it.

Tahj Mowry: This is my first single “Flirt” and we also dropped the video for it on Vevo and people really like it so I’m really excited about that and my producer’s name is Excel Beats and he’s like sort of the other half of my brain musically, we just get each other in the studio and he’s also like one of my close friends in life as well, so it’s a great musical partnership that we have and were all about being different and I wanted to have this future funk-ish sound and I wanted to make something new, fresh, unique and colorless and genre less and this is the sound I came up with. Flirt is just a flirty spring/summer record, I thought it was a perfect first single for me, it explains me to a T. People just love the vibe of it because it’s so different and it’s funky and it leaves you in a pretty good mood.

YMMW: Most people know you from hit TV shows such as Smart Guy and ABC Family Baby Daddy, when did you start singing and when did you want to take it seriously as a career?

Tahj Mowry: Well, first I’m a firm believer, it’s all about timing and God’s plan In my life I just leave everything up to God when stuff happens it happens. For a while I was working on Baby Daddy and I didn’t get the time to focus on my music and about a year ago during hiatus from the show I was like you know what I’m going to go to the studio put in the work I’m going to write these records and I wrote primarily wrote all the song on my project so that’s something I really proud about because I’m not just another actor trying to become a singer, this is something I’m really passionate about because I am a songwriter, singer, dancer and I am a musician and I want to showcase that and I think now is the time for me musically, I have a good chunk of time off from filming Baby Daddy so I’m just all about music right now.

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YMMW: In your music we hear some prince influences, who were you inspired by musically growing up?

Tahj Mowry: Definitely Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Usher Brandy, I grew up listing to those guys and I wanted to take from all the genres and the artists I love and create something that was a definition of me musically, and I think that’s what my sound is and I think I have a very distinct sound, some people may not like the sound or the song but at least they can appreciate that it’s something new. I feel like a lot of the stuff on the radio tends to start to sound the same or they the same song over and over again. I’m trying to bring some real music back that’s why I like people like Bruno Mars, Jhene Aiko, Miguel and Lorde, people who aren’t afraid to do something new and go outside the box and that’s what I’m trying to do.

YMMW: You have a new EP arriving as well; tell us about this new EP and what fans can expect to hear when this new project drops.

Tahj Mowry: The EP is going to come out in the summer, and the album is primarily done as well, but I’m going to do the single first, then drop the EP in the summer and have a second single off of that EP. I’m really excited about that for people to really get a story of my songs, I’m riding this single wave right now it’s something really fun for me It’s new. So I can’t wait for people to hear more of my content because, like I said I am writing most of my stuff and it’s a new venture for me artistically and I can’t wait to share it with everybody.

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YMMW: Do you find it difficult some people look at you as a singer after being known as a successful actor?

Tahj Mowry: Yeah, I feel like it’s starting to happen right now and I realize it might take time because people are used to one thing and now I’m jumping into something else, but overall I’m an entertainer and I am an artist and singing dancing and acting are all of the ways that complete me artistically. So I’m just doing another side of my artistic love and I think that’s what art is all about. People are realizing this is something I’m passionate about and they see that I’m making good music.

YMMW: Being a child actor who grew up when black sitcoms were on the air, and now we are beginning to see more black actors and shows on prime time TV do you think it’s more of a  trend for now or a change that’s here to stay?

Tahj Mowry: I would hope it’s a change that’s going to carry out for a long period of time. I hope it’s not just a trend, I think people realize what people do what to see and shows like Empire are things people what to see and that’s why shows like that are doing well and I think they should do more shows like that. So I think it’s a great time we are seeing a lot more African Americans on network television and it’s about time!

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V.Bozeman Shout-outs YMMW

A few weeks back we chatted with rising singer V.Bozeman. The singer who was first introduced to the world on Timothy Bloom’s Till The End Of Time song has been making a name for her self. After being seen on the first season of FOX groundbreaking show Empire V.Bozeman talks to us about the brand new music she has been working on with super-producer Timbaland as well as working on the hit show Empire and what else we can expect from the LA born singer this year. Check out our new interview with the singer below.

YMMW: Last time we had an interview with you, you were working with Cee-Lo Green. Tell us how you started working with Timbaland and what is it like working with him?

V. Bozeman: It was great I met with Timbaland around the time I did Till the End of Time with Timothy Bloom and we’ve always been friends ever since then. He was working on a new project called opera Nior and he wanted somebody to be the other half as far as a singer on that project  and he said my named just popped up and he called me, and said I’m ready for you lets go, because initially he told me I’m going to come back for you I don’t know when I don’t know how but I’m going to come back for you and he did. And that’s how it all happened.

YMMW: we saw you on the hit TV show Empire, How did the opportunity come about?

V. Bozeman: Through Timbaland of course, he is executive producing the music and I did a piece with Cee-Lo called “Race Jones” that I have been sitting on for about a year, and I decided to show Timbaland that piece and he just loved it and he just shot it over to Lee Daniels, and said I think long called my manager I read for the part and here we are now (Laughs). It all happened authentically.

YMMW: What is love was a fan favorite on Empire, did you think the song or the show would receive such a huge response as it did?

V. Bozeman:  You know what I thought that Empire would be huge of course I did, one of my first interviews about Empire I said the show is going to be cultural phenomenon just wait, It was in my gut I just knew it. With everything that Lee Daniels and Danny strong had brought to the table with this series I knew it was going to be big. But I did not think What is Love would be this big I just really didn’t, you know I felt like it was another song about love, but I did forget that love is a universal language so I think that resonated with people. I just approached the song in an authentic way because the lyrics are real so I knew it was a good song, but did I think it would do all of this.. No (Laughs) absolutely not.

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YMMW: With now having both what is love and Black & Blue out right now, are you working on a new EP that we can expect to hear soon?

V. Bozeman: Yeah, absolutely, Timbaland and I are working on this new project called opera Noir, it’s him and me, we did a collaborative effort and the first single will be released in May called Smile. This project is amazing, I’m so proud of it and to be alongside Timabland and to share with the world, it’s going to hit the industry really hard, it’s just an amazing body of work I’m really proud of it. Then, following Opera Noir will be my debut album called Music is My Boyfriend so it’s going to be a lot of music coming from me and a Mosley music group this year.

YMMW: With this project Opera Noir, what kind of music can we expect to hear will the vibe be the same as What is Love and Black & Blue or is it a different type of sound?

V. Bozeman: Its timeless sound,  the sound is a lot of old mixed with new because Timbaland brings those ism that he brings to music sonically and it’s just bringing feeling back into music and it’s just going to be one of those timeless records that will always be relevant. I don’t think you guys have ever heard sonically Timbaland like this and that’s why I’m so proud of it, and he’s actually singing a lot on this album that’s people aren’t used to hearing him this way, I’m just proud it, the content, the production is A1 Timbaland is never going to bring you anything that isn’t the best so it’s an amazing body of work.

YMMW: You were first introduced to the world on Timothy Blooms until the End of time and now being on such a huge show such as Empire how does it feel to finally have to world how great a vocalist V. Bozeman is?

V. Bozeman: I just think that empire and what is love, just the platform that it’s on in the first place is huge and thank god I executed that song and people get to see me in the best light on such a big platform. I just think the stars aligned when it came to the situation of Empire and What is love and my brand. My whole mission statement is to touch the heart and the soul of people that’s always what I want to do, when I’m on stage I don’t want people infatuated with how I look or what I’m doing I really want people to connect with the song, the words and the voice because that’s the gift. So I think that it all aligned with the perfect alignment with the Empire situation, for people to really take me seriously as an artist, I came in with Timothy Bloom and that had its run and then I went with Cee-Lo and I was just cultivating over time and to be brought back in such a big way, that’s an artist’s dream.

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YMMW: How would you say your sound has changed from when you released Poison to the music you are working on now?

V. Bozeman: I feel like I’m forever evolving into a better singer and creative person every day, I’ve always been a little left-of-center, like you can think about poison and what my album is now it’s still left-of-center but it’s still cool, and that’s what is so special about me and Tim, because he’s a little left-of-center but he knows how to make it cool, and  think I have evolved as a songwriter, a performer, vocally I have become stronger. So with that, I think I’m the same I just evolved to become better.

YMMW: What is your current label situation right now are you signed with Timbaland’s label or do you have another label you are signed to?

V. Bozeman: I’m signed to Mosley Music/Epic records, that’s the current situation; I’ve been signed to Tim for about a year now and Epic records for about 6 months or so. With Epic I’m fairly new, and to have two albums which is amazing.

YMMW: Earlier in the interview you said your debut album will be titled Music is My Boyfriend, do you have a potential release date for that album?

V. Bozeman: That should be out at the top of 2016, because we have to push out Opera Noir first. So you have Empire, then you have Opera Noir, then you have my album. And that’s the perfect set up for an up-and-coming artist, to finally be put out there. It’s just done in the right way; I love the fact that I’m not just being thrown out there prematurely or anything like that. Everyone’s going to be able to see the rose coming to bloom your going to see that happen.

YMMW: With Empire now being picked up for season two will you be a part of the new season?

V. Bozeman: Yes, I will be, I’ll have a much bigger role and we will start to film in august, I’m so excited I can’t wait to see what these writers are going to write about in the second season (Laughs), it’s going to be I’m sure full of drama.

YMMW: With your new albums and filming the second season of Empire, what else can we expect to see from V. Bozeman in 2016?

V. Bozeman: I’m doing a lot of modeling, I’m getting a lot of scripts coming in through CAA, so a lot of modeling and acting, I’m doing a lot of shows everywhere. I’m going to Canada, I’ll be going to Indonesia to do a couple of shows, so I’m doing a lot of shows in between time, just getting ready for this Opera Noir run with Timbaland.

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As he prepares to drop his debut album TTLO on May 19th, we caught up with producer/songwriter/artist Rico Love to talk about his upcoming project. In the new interview Rico Love talks about making quality music, how he knew his songs would be received well and what he think is missing from R&B music today. Check out the new interview below.

YMMW: Your album TTLO is due out on May 19th, with being a producer and songwriter for other artists how does it feel to have finally your own album coming out in stores?

Rico Love: I think it’s the most empowering feeling I ever had, when you write for other people you kind of leave your record in their hands, the record companies they decide when it goes and how hard they work at it, which single is the right single. But when you make your own record, your empowered enough to say this is when I want my album to come out, this is when I want this song to come out, this is the roll out that I have, and being in the game as long as I have  been in it I’ve been able to see how things work firsthand. How things go wrong, how things go right, how some things are left up to chance. So being in this place is the most comfortable I have been in a long time as an executive, an artist, songwriter and producer.

YMMW: Tell us about your thought process when going into recording your debut album

Rico Love:  Initially I was just picking songs, my thing was just writing a great song, but I think towards the end of September  was when I was getting around to a stride of thinking up a concept and consistent theme.  I think artists should be given that time to create a body of work that is consistent I don’t believe in rushing anything. So I’ve been working this record for the past two and a half years, it’s just that In September I started figuring out what songs made sense. A lot people make records and they just make songs and they’re just figuring out what song to put on the radio, I made an consistent body of work of great records that tell a story so it’s been a very strenuous process but I enjoyed it more than anything I have done creatively.

YMMW: With this new album can we expect to hear any guest features?

Rico Love: Not many guest features I got Raekon on the album and I got a new artist by the name of Armani Caesar she’s just a dope artist who I found on instagram I thought she was dope I asked her to put a verse on the record and she killed it, I got Waka Flocka on the album doing ad libs. It’s a great body of work I didn’t want to fill it up with features. I had an incredible record with Monica but I couldn’t get the sample to get cleared in time and that killed me because, I thought the song was an incredible part of the story but sometimes politics of the game happen, I couldn’t get the sample cleared, hopefully if we get it cleared we can get a repackage of the album.

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YMMW: I saw an interview with Case where he was asked about the state of R&B today and he had stated that R&B has lost its Identity. Being a successful producer and songwriter for many R&B acts do you agree with that statement?

Rico Love: Absolutely you have R&B singers who are rapping on records, when I say rapping I don’t  mean rapping as rappers I mean sing rapping on everything talking about slap it up, bend it over, pop it all this twerk stuff all this turn up stuff, and I feel like they forgot that the essence of crooning, was to woo woman and to talk to them and was to show a different side of men to show a different type of aggression. Because people may say it’s sensitive but I think it’s a different type of aggression. We aggressively admit to who you are and how you feel about a woman. A lot of these guys are forgetting that and that’s why I was happy to do that with my single Somebody Else, I was man enough to say “Oh man I messed up” and a lot of guys want to be pimps and players and they forget that the strongest thing we can be is men. The strongest way we can relate is to approach in honesty and realness. So I agree with what he is saying wholeheartedly, I definitely don’t consider myself an R&B artist this is not an R&B album,  I’m singing on most of the songs when you listen to the records you will understand they’re not R&B songs they’re just songs I feel like they don’t have a genre, I borrowed from so many differnt things. There are a few records that have that R&B essence, but they are just good songs and I feel like the world and all cultures can relate it.

YMMW: When you first stepped out from behind the scenes and into the forefront as an artist, did you expect your songs such as They Don’t Know and Bitches Be Like did you expect the listeners to receive so well and become the success that they have?

Rico Love: Yeah I really did, I’ve been writing song so such a long time I really did believe in quality records and quality music. I’m shocked when certain records aren’t received, I’m more shocked when they don’t work, I really believe and still have faith in a really great song and a lot of people have given up and abandoned that, they’re so caught up in the fluff and the turn up With me I’m one of the few who still believe in a good and important song.

YMMW: We know that you were working with  Tiara Thomas and  was on your label, but now seems like that partnership has dissolved, what happened with that partnership and are you going to sign any up and coming acts that we should be on the lookout for?

Rico Love: Right now I’ve been so caught up in developing my brand, but this artist, Armani Caesar she’s not signed to me, but I think she’s incredible and I would love to be a part of her project going forward and she’s actually on the album like I said earlier. There are a few people I think that are really talented and really dope. There’s this one rap artist I was checking out earlier, that’s from Miami named Hoody and I just thought he was dope. So there are some people I look at that I think are really talented but now, I have tunnel vision I’m just focused on the album. I definitely love producing and writing records and being a leader and example to up-and-coming acts, but now I feel like you can’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none. I want to focus on this and win at this so everything else I do can fall in line.

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YMMW: Do you find it hard running your own label while working on your album as well?

Rico Love: Yea worth doing is difficult though that never bothered me, I was always wearing multiple hats, when I did a Nelly’s album I did 7 songs on that album 5 songs on Beyonce’s 7 songs on Kelly Rowland’s 6 songs on Usher’s I never was the guy who ran from the hard work I did the work. Doing the work is the easiest part to me because I was comfortable doing multiple things so that was never the problem.

YMMW: What song do you feel is most personable to you on your debut album TTLO?

Rico love: Run from me and Day’s Go by, I just think those records embody how I was feeling at the time.

YMMW: With Somebody Else currently out do you have a follow-up single planned?

Rico Love: I have a choice between a few; I want to wait for the album to come out to see what people think. I have this song called Day’s Go By that’s a very incredible record and I also have a record called Happy Birthday that I think is going to be huge but, I want to see what happens.

YMMW: We saw on Monica’s instgram that you two were working together again and I know you said before  you two were working on a song for your album, will you be working on her Code Red album that is coming out soon?

Rico Love: I didn’t get a chance to work on it yet, but who knows what will happen.

 

“I just believe people don’t care to know until they know that you care. I sincerely wholeheartedly care about this project and about what I’m doing; this is not something that I take lightly this is not something that’s a game to me, these records I’m creating they really mean something to me and I know this album is a classic and I’ve been a part of classic albums and projects and I know this album has that. I can’t wait for people to hear it I just hope people really take the time out to really listen – Rico Love”.

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We recently caught up with R&B diva Syleena Johnson as she was promoting her new musical-drama movie “Couples Therapy.” The film was co-produced by Syleena, directed by Tangie B. Moore, and stars herself along with other R&B artists including Leela James, Dave Hollister and Willie Taylor. In our new interview with Syleena Johnson we talked about her new film which aired on BET and how the idea to make a musical-drama came about, we also talked to Syleena about the recent cancellation of R&B divas ATL and more.

YMMW: How did the Idea to turn your current album Couples Therapy into a musical drama movie?

Syleena: It actually wasn’t my idea, it started off as a one hour special we wanted to do a series of videos, but then Tangie wanted to turn into a actual full length movie. I always write stories and she saw that and she turned that into The Couples Therapy movie.

YMMW: A lot of fans were shocked to hear that R&B Divas Atlanta was cancelled, are you done with reality TV or do you have your own show in the works planned?

Syleena:  Well I can’t tell (laughs) just like I kept this movie under wraps for so long I don’t like to talk on stuff like that because then if it doesn’t happen then you have to go and retract what you said. I’ll just say this; there is a lot that is to come. I would like to move more towards scripted material I think reality TV is awesome and it opened up a lot of doors for me to be able to do things like this, but my main focus is always to merge into scripted material. It’s a lot less dramatic and a lot less stressful, and acting has been a passion of mines since high school and it was actually my minor in college a lot of people do not know that about me but I’ve always had a love for acting so I’m really excited about the premiere of Couples Therapy.

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YMMW: We know that you were recently on WE Tv’s Marriage Boot Camp, did going through that experience help bring out the best emotions when filming this musical?

Syleena:  Absolutely, the weird thing is when I was filming this movie we filmed it in the summer and my husband and I were actually going through things and I got the call from Marriage boot camp to do it, so the filming of marriage boot camp happened after filming the movie. But the album is based on me being in couples therapy before this concept even happened, my husband and I were in therapy two years prior before the album was even constructed that’s where I got the Idea from, that’s why I named the album Couples Therapy. I just took Ideas and pigged back off Ideas producers helped me write we collectively put together what you hear sonically then Tangie took what she heard and turned into this visual that you will see.

So the concept of Couples Therapy happened years ago because my husband and I literally went through some things and was still going through them during the filming and there are a lot of cool things that go on in the story that touch on real issues and relationships.

YMMW: Earlier you mentioned you wanted to get into more scripted acting, what would be the perfect role for Sylenna Johnson?
Sylenna: Couples Therapy the series (Laughs) Okay! Couples Therapy the series basically my own series and what else they want to give me. But I would to do a series, I think series are so cool I really miss the sitcoms that we used to have as children such as A Different World and Cosby’s and Martin and The Steve Harvey Show. We had so many cool black sitcoms and I am very funny, I don’t know if people know this but I am a very good comic. I feel like my field is in comedy I have to have a role somewhere but, It doesn’t matter I’ve studied all kinds of acting so I would love to do whatever I’m not picky, whatever god sends to me that’s what I will do.
YMMW: What other projects can we expect to see from you coming out this year?
Syleena: Hopefully again couples Therapy the series, more work with Tier 2 films also I have a book that is coming that is called the Weight is coming it talks about body image with women in the music industry, Mommies got soul that DVD is coming I’ve been pushing it and pushing it because I wanted to get the right the right music to it. But Who knows, I know of those things it will be coming and Chapter six we may re-release it with more material and hopefully a harmony tour with Dave Hollister and I and a Couples therapy tour so sky’s the limit there’s a lot of things in the works, there’s another tour called the takeover tour that’s being put together right now that I will be apart of if all goes right. Who knows what’s to come I’m excited for what’s to come I have a good time working in my field whatever they want to give me I will take.
You can check out Syleena’s Musical Drama Couples Therapy On BET. Check out the extended trailer below.

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br4NYqCM Dawn Richard has been making abundant waves and moves on her independent hustle for the better part of 4 years. And June 2nd 2015 is the day where Dawn will finally bring her electrifying show and artistry to the UK at London’s prestigious Jazz Café.  Two months ahead of what is sure to be a great London debut, we caught up with Dawn to discuss her latest album ‘Blackheart’ and much more. Check out the conversation below:

Sope: What can your British fans expect from your London show in June?

Dawn: A party and a full on experience. I’m really excited as it’s the first time I’m gonna pop my solo cherry over there. It’ll be one of those big experiences which we’ll share together.  I’m really excited to bring this era over there – It’s been a long time coming.

Sope:  Can fans expect you to perform songs from all your solo projects or is this just a ‘Blackheart’ affair?

Dawn: It’s the Black era, so it will just be ‘Blackheart’. Then in the next tour, it will be everything – that will be about a 3 hour show. That will be for the summer, it’ll be a huge thing. We’ll be in London again for a while.

Sope: In celebration of the London announcement, you recently dropped ‘New Or Lean’  tell us about how that song came together?

Dawn: I’m born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana so I wanted to do an anthem. Do something straight for home and something big. It’s been a while since I did something for the city, so that was the one. It was an introduction into the next era and I got to represent for the place where it all started.

Sope: So was the song a teaser of what ‘Redemption Heart’ will sound like?

Dawn:  Hmm maybe we will see. I wanted to see how people would receive the sound and see if they would like it. That was kinda the test to see if that’s something I would want to play with.  I always do that, I kinda put something out and see people’s reactions then decide it is something I can move with it. And obviously people liked it!

Sope: How does it feel to finally have ‘Blackheart’ out and what are the plans for the Blackheart era long term? Are there going to be more music videos than ‘Goldenheart’?

Dawn: More visuals, there will be more visuals. We’re gonna stretch out this one out a bit. I really love what this album embodies and what I’ve gone through with it, so we’re definitely gonna play with this one a little bit more. A lot more touring, we’re gonna stay overseas and really get reacquainted with you guys, hug you guys and touch you guys.  I’ve been giving so much attention to my American movement, so I want to get an affinity for what you guys like and what you want. So Blackheart is going to stretch for a while.

Sope: What are your personal favourite songs on the album and why?

Dawn: ‘The Deep’ is my favourite.  It has sentimental value and I wrote that with my father, the meaning behind it is so beautiful and so real.

Sope: Can you outline the inspiration and creative process behind ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Adderal Sold’ because the transition and production between those two songs and production especially on ‘Adderal Sold’ is outstanding?

Dawn:  Billie Jean was inspired by Michael Jackson’s idea of Billie Jean but I didn’t want to take on that big monster. I wasn’t trying to make another ‘Billie Jean’; I just respected the idea of Billie Jean and who she was. I wanted to do a modern day feminist take on who she was. So it’s this cool idea of meeting a Billie Jean and what it embodies. It’s like me having this conversation with her in the 3rd person and the idea of how she got around. Then by the end of it, there was an appreciation for her.  Leading into ‘Adderal Sold’, I wanted that story to continue, so you almost feel the respect of her and I and this blend between us and its melancholy. So the drums slow down, then you see this shift of my idea of Billie Jean turn into this ethereal and whimsical situation, so it’s this ride I watch this girl through.  I wanted to do that production wise as well as lyrically so you see this transformation of me observing this girl and almost going into her world, seeing what this music industry creates with women and what we become. So that’s why those two records are so special because it’s me outside of myself, watching someone else then me becoming that person because I’m along for the ride. It’s a gnarly experience, almost 3D like.

Sope: You’ve had a proven successful track record with Druski musically, so what was it like departing from him and going steam ahead with Noisecastle?

Dawn: Noisecastle is amazing; I think you can appreciate people for their talents you know. Just like how Druski was dope with what he did, Noisecastle is incredibly insane with what he does. I’m lucky enough to be able co-produce with these people and still find this friendship and this balance with all different types of producers. That was the point of trying to show the diversity between being able to work with multiple producers and still create something great. Noisecastle is no different, he’s the same alien as me, we dream the same, he’s on a different planet and there are no boundaries or restrictions with him. That’s what I can appreciate the most about him. I love the way his mind works, together we form this kind of Voltron which is fucking awesome.

Sope: So will you be doing ‘Redemption Heart’ with him or go with a different producer again?

Dawn:  If it works organically, absolutely. I’m not disappointed thus far and you don’t mess with magic so if it feels good, you keep going. I love him; he’s stuck with me so I don’t think we’ll stop collaborating, so yeah probably. Sope: Are you currently in discussions with any major labels? Dawn: Yeah I would love to be in works with them, we’ll look at our offers and see which ones work because that’s definitely something I want.  I love being independent, however I’m open to all things especially if it’s a good business move and it gets the brand out there.

Sope: What were your thoughts on how the media and the other girls portrayed and represented you in the wake of the 2nd Danity Kane break-up drama?

Dawn: That’s how they felt so I don’t dwell, it is what is. People are always going to have their idea of who you are. I can sit here all day and tell people who I really am, and they will still believe what they want to believe so I’m gonna let them have that. Those who fuck with me, fuck with me and those who don’t, don’t. I’m not going to consistently revert back to having to try and tell people or comment on how people feel about me. I did what I did for the fans, it didn’t work out and now I’m on to the next thing which makes me feel great and that’s give the fans some great music. That’s it – whatever everybody else feels or thinks, they’re gonna assume that shit anyway so they can have it.

Sope: What are your overall feelings towards the final album and can you tell us the two songs you wrote ‘Tell Me’ and ‘Two Sides’?

Dawn: I wasn’t really gonna be on the album, I told them they could take me off the album. I didn’t want to be a part of something they didn’t want me to be a part of but the label didn’t want to take me off. Legally the label wouldn’t have moved forward if I wasn’t on it they stated that. I was happy to at least give the fans what they wanted, I think the album is cool; it needed to be there, people needed something to get closure. As far as the two records I wrote, I think they’re great records, I love the way they go into eachother. To have ‘Tell Me’ go into ‘Two Sides’ was such a brilliant idea, I think people could immediately peg that’s one of my signatures. I think those records especially ‘Two Sides’ reign true to the situation at hand, it wasn’t supposed to but it’s ironic how it fits so perfectly now.

Sope: You have a very distinctive tone so I wanted to know who your vocal influences are and what is your thought process when laying down your vocals in terms of runs and harmonies?

Dawn:  I grew up loving Imogen Heap and Bjork. And one of my favourite female voices to this day is Alanis Morissette. Those voices really did something for me, growing up to me they sounded like cognac and cigar smoke, they had these cool tones that worked well with rock and alternative music.  As far as what I do organically, I just go in and whatever feels good, feels good I don’t force it. Leads and adlibs are cool but my favourite thing to do when I’m in the studio is backgrounds. I can go on and on for days, there’s this sense of peace and chanting. Like an army of bad motherfuckers always behind me, like a 1000 people in believing me and 1000 people behind me every time doing these counter chants which are so African, so Creole and so New Orleans.

Sope: Are you a Brandy fan? I hear some Brandy-isms in your voice?

Dawn: People want so badly for there to be Brandy-isms. I didn’t know about Brandy until college, I didn’t grow up on Brandy, I grew up on Bjork and Imogen Heap.  So there was no influence but I respect her. I think she’s one of the dopest singers we’ve ever had in our time. When I found out about her through my brother, I was like this girls voice is on a whole other level so the respect of Brandy is definitely there. She to me is the vocal bible, but I don’t necessarily take her style or influence into my music. I don’t think of Brandy when I think of the formatting of my music and I think it’s funny that only black people think that.

Sope: Any dream collaborations?

Dawn: I would love to work with Sango and Sohn and women such as Azealia Banks, Solange and Janelle Monae.

Sope: Anything to say to your fans?

Dawn: Let’s change the world one heart at a time.

Check out the video for Dawn’s latest single ‘Projection’ below:

Purchase tickets for Dawn’s London show in June here.

Interview by Sope Soetan (@SopeSoetan)

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A few weeks back we got the chance to chat with singer Deborah Cox, in our new interview with we spoke to Deborah about her upcoming album which will be titled “Work Of Art” and her new single Kinda Miss You. Along with her new music Deborah also talked about being inspired by Whitney Houston when recording for her new project. Deborah also gave us some new about her new original Broadway show playing Iconic singer Josephine Baker.

YMMW:  What was it like getting the opportunity to re-create Whitney Houston for the Lifetime Biopic film?

Deborah Cox : It was an honor, when Angela approached me about doing it I just wanted to make sure she was represented well and that I recaptured the essence of her when she performed live on stage. We didn’t have a lot of time to do it but it gave me a tremendous amount of respect for her because a lot of those songs were in a very high range and high key and a lot of vocals and we had to do everything in literally in two days. They were pretty powerful songs so I had to approach it delicacy and make sure I did it right I just hope she’d be proud.

YMMW: You’ve managed to keep a successful career in the music business, did you find it easier establishing a career when you first hit the scene or maintaining or staying relevant in today’s music?

Deborah Cox: The industry has changed and my love and passion for music hasn’t so that’s why I’m still in it and why I still do what I do. What I do love just sort of the way things have change as far as social media is concerned, is that I love the way I am able to stay in contact and engaged with my fans and the people who have supported me. You know I think  when I first came out there wasn’t much of a presence online, it was more about showing up to the radio’s and doing shows it was a different thing. But now we have so many different social media portals to keep everyone updated with what’s going on and further more and we can expose more music and show all the fans all the behind the scenes things I enjoy that part of it. Of course I think we would have to find a better model of getting songwriters and producers paid from music heard over the internet, I think their starting to realize we all have to find a way to work together.

YMMW: You recently put out your new single Kinda Miss You, tell us a little more about this song and what we can expect.

Deborah Cox: Yes! We will be premiering the behind the scenes footage in a couple days from my album shoot I think this song is really reflective of where I am, I really missed the audience and the recording world and it’s great to be back on the scene and stuff, this is giving people a little taste of my personality outside of singing the big ballads. This song is the appetizer to the big meal to work of art that will be out in the summer.

Screen-Shot-2013-06-17-at-8.58.55-AM-1YMMW: An announcement was recently made that you will play Josephine Baker in a new original Broadway Musical, what can you tell us about this musical and what was it like being able to play such an amazing icon on an original musical?

Deborah Cox: Well this musical will be out in the spring of 2016, but we wanted to announce it to give people sort of an inside look to remind people of a great American Icon she was. she was trendsetting, the first black woman to take her career over to France she was doing a lot of revolutionary things in her time which set the bar very high. For me being able to portray this woman is really rich and her story is very fascinating there are things in her story that I don’t think people will be able to believe, but she defied so much so I’m really excited to portray this role on stage

YMMW: Along with scoring a new Broadway musical you are also planning to release a new album, what producers and songwriters have you been meeting with to work with?

Deborah Cox: While this new project has some familiar producers that I have worked with before and some new ones and Kinda Miss You was produced by the Rascals who just won a Grammy for their work with Toni Braxton & BabyFace it was really great working with them. I don’t want to reveal all of the details (Laughs) so I can leave a little something, the pros and cons of social media I can’t reveal it all (Laughs). Just know the album will be called “Work Of Art” and people will be pleased it’s going to be a lot of great songs that people to hear me Sang and I want people to know that they won’t be disappointed.

YMMW: When you went to record for the Whitney Biopic film did it give you any inspiration when recording for your own album?

Deborah Cox: Good Question, it actually did, when I heard the song Work of Art it reminded me of when Whitney did great songs like All The Man I need and Saving All My Love For You, the big power ballads and that’s why I got into this business and why I am a singer today it was hearing those divas sing songs like that, which made me want to be a singer and made me want to sing songs like that. Like I said previously this album will have a few songs like that as well, where people will enjoy the vintage Deborah with me standing up and just sanging.
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YMMW: We’ve seen some of the R&B we grew up with in the 90’s such as Faith Evans, Angie Stone, Syleena Johnson and more re-introduce themselves and music on reality television. Was Reality Tv ever something you considered doing?

Deborah Cox: Well I think on depends on how it’s done, for me it’s always been about I want to respect something that’s positive. I think a lot of the times people have good intentions but things kind of take a turn for the worst, and I don’t want to be involved in something that shows off negativity and women fighting. If I did a reality T.V. show it would be more behind the scenes or day in the life of time of thing, I don’t want people to see me going at it with another artist or my peers or that kind of thing, that’s not what I’m into. I’m more into empowering I’m inclusive I’m about the movement and equality of women and I rather more focus on those things.

YMMW: Who are you listing to right now that you would love to do collaboration with?

Deborah Cox:  Ooh that’s a great question, everyone knows I love Jazmine Sullivan, Maxwell, there’s a lot of up and coming artist as well. For me it’s really about the opportunities with people that I might meet up with at an award show or something. Because I am a fan of different type of music and artists so I can’t just pick a particular one but a lot of the times you find yourself as an artist put in different situations, like most recently when I did the Grammy foundation performance in LA and I met up with Aloe Black, and that brother is so cool and relaxed with just a vibe and tone in his voice and we got a chance to talk and stuff backstage. So those types of encounters I like because it changes your view when you meet an artist for the first time.

YMMW: Your first single Kind of Miss you has a very upbeat feel, what direction are you heading towards with this new album, will this new album be strictly for the fans or will this album be re-introduce who Deborah Cox is to those unfamiliar but know you did the music for the Whitney Huston Biopic film.

Deborah Cox: You said it very well, you couldn’t have explained it better, and that’s exactly what I want to do with this new album “Work Of Art” I want to re-introduce myself to the new people who may not know me and I also want to please the supporters and fans who have been there over the past 20 years. I’ve been in this business for a long time and I just want this album to reflect all the influence I have had over the past 10-15 years which is a little bit of dance music and a little bit of soulful penned songs.

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ne-yo-hatLast week we had the opportunity to speak to singer/songwriter Ne-Yo as he is set to release his sixth studio album Non-Fiction which he calls a rebirth to story telling. In the exclusive interview we talked to Ne-Yo about juggling his career as an artist and his new position as an A&R for Motown records. Check out the new interview below as we get Ne-Yo’s opinion on the recent backlash Iggy Azalea has been receiving in the industry. Check out the interview below.