Interviews

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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.

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marsha-new-652x367-e1419285709822R&B songstress Marsha Ambrosius once again returned to London this past week for what is slowly becoming a Christmas traditon – a homecoming concert for the holiday season. Marsha captivated the audience with a consistently stunning and awe inspiring vocal performance. Audience members were treated to the debut showings of material from her latest critically-acclaimed album ‘Friends and Lovers’, in addition to past offerings from her catalogue. But the major surprise was when her former Floetry bandmate Natalie Stewart shockingly appeared on stage and proceeded to join Marsha in a rendition of their debut single ‘Floetic’.

Naturally when we went backstage to conduct our interview we had to ask about the prospects of a full-scale reunion, and you can now read what she had to say on the matter amongst other topics below:

Sope: Last time we met, the album wasn’t out so how has it been touring and promoting this new album?

Marsha: It’s amazing to see the smiles on people’s faces when the intro of each song from the album comes on. The setlist tonight was constructed fanwise and it was really just a seamless journey of all the music I’ve created, starting with ‘Friends and Lovers’, then going to ‘Late Nights and Early Mornings’ and then back to Floetry where it all started. It’s just crazy, it’s new music all over again and I get to hear people sing it back to me now that they know the new songs.

Sope: A lot of great R&B albums came out this year and Friends and Lovers could arguably be seen as one of the best if not the best to drop this year so what did it take to create such a complete and cohesive body of work and how was the overall creative process?

Marsha: It’s what I take pride in saying I do for real. I can concentrate on making a body of work and songs that makes sense to each other. They don’t have to necessarily have to be the same key, same tempo; it’s the emotion that I will emote because of what I’m going through in my life. That’s what makes it make sense to the listener; from beginning to end you can hear where that relationship went to. So I just tell you from the ‘Friends and Lovers Intro’ then by the time you get to the end its ‘OMG I Miss You’. So it’s a whole journey full of music that I went through at the time so it just makes sense as an album.

Sope: One of the standouts on the album was the amazing duet with Charlie Wilson ‘Spend All My Time’ so how did that collaboration come about?

Marsha: ‘Spend All My Time’ with Charlie Wilson was a dream duet, it was on the wish list, and it was something where I guess you had to play all your cards. Like I worked with Michael Jackson, Prince loves me, get Charlie Wilson on the phone and see if he does this song with me *laughs*. And all he could do was say no and fortunately he said yes so I didn’t have to use all my “I did this and I did that”. I’ve always loved Charlie and he’s always been supportive of me and my career so it made sense that we did this song together.

Sope: Any other dream duets you have in mind? I would personally love to hear an Anita Baker duet.

Marsha: No not at the moment but we’ll see what’s good; I want to go into movie scores and stuff. Funny story about Anita Baker – I don’t know if she might not tell people but she definitely shut me down though. We were at the BET Awards and I was like “Oh my God I would love to do a duet with you” and she was like “Girl I ain’t singing with you and all that *imitates Marsha’s singing voice*”. And I was like she just shit on me! *laughs*. No but it was said in jest and she is the songstress but when Nat – The Floacist actually named me The Songstress, my uncle to this day curses me out because Anita Baker is the songstress and that’s it for him, he doesn’t care what I’ve ever done in my career. He kind of liked me after he saw me live *laughs* this is my uncle we’re talking about! I don’t know we’ll see but the Songstress and the Songstress should collide at some point.

Sope: Have you started thinking about the next album? Or are you still planning to release more singles from this one?

Marsha: Hmm I’ll possibly shoot a bunch of videos for a bunch of things. I hate the fact that you have to service what would be singles for radio to pick it up, and then they possibly spin it a couple times. Then you wait for the next week where they’ve spun it 20 more times and then there’s this slow build of what is R&B music if we’re not doing the Shurmda dance or Drake isn’t on it. It’s not getting played in that rotation where I’m supposed to give listeners what they want and you have to wait for that. Like John Legend ‘All of Me’ didn’t happen overnight, it took a year for that record to be where it was at. But it was a piano ballad so it can live, it’s just when and that’s just one artist, one of our urban division got to live with a piano ballad. And a couple years prior to that, I got to do it with ‘Far Away’ so it’s about waiting your turn in this hamster wheel where people want to do the same thing. For me I’m about putting out more and more content, so you’re forced to pick one of a million rather than just waiting on that one for a whole solid year, so I just keep on creating the music.

Sope: You’ve been releasing music over a decade with much success in a variety of facets for one being with Floetry, your solo success and accomplishments as a writer and producer for other artists. Do you find it challenging to stay relevant in this industry especially in a climate where it’s especially difficult for R&B artists to prosper? Unless you’re Sam Smith or Adele…

Marsha: I absolutely understand what you’re saying, fortunately for me I’ve become one of these unicorns that paved the way for said Sam Smith’s and Adele’s to create a UK import of Soul. Let Jessie J tell it or all these other artists that were admirers of what Floetry did from the UK to overseas. Natasha Bedingfield and these other people will still make reference to what was done, that can’t be taken away, so with me making myself relevant – I don’t need to. People reference my songwriting and my style, if you ever hear a certain song and someone says “that sounds like some Marsha shit” that means I’ve done my job, someone is trying to imitate and mimic what I did 10, 15 years ago. I’m going to continue to do different things and become the Quincy Jones I set out to be a long time ago.

Sope: Now this was an unplanned question but I have to ask about this Floetry reunion tonight! What happened, how did this happen and what does this mean for the future?

Marsha: Being on that stage tonight again with Natalie, reintroducing Floetry possibly to people who only knew as me as Marsha Ambrosius the solo artist just made sense. It’s just time, Nat and myself today was the first time we had seen each other in 8 years. 9 years since a Floetry show but as you see on stage, we don’t miss a beat and you don’t forget. Even rehearsing it today, we were laughing at eachother because we were kids when we did this shit the first time. So why wouldn’t we do this shit again, why wouldn’t we give this back to our fans – it’s cheating them.

Sope: So this is you basically indicating a potential reunion tour or reunion album?

Marsha: There’s a basic potential for a bunch of things. I’m all about sustaining legends and we have Floetry at our disposal, we just have to continue to prove points on being the underdog, being the people that pioneered and paved the way for the UK. I think its perfect time for us to do it now, we’re both grown, we’ve done things outside of eachother and it’s just that much easier to come back and give back. But I will need a teleprompter for all these lyrics that I don’t know anymore *laughs*. So who knows we’ll see.

Sope: Anything you want to tell your fans?

Marsha: As always, I do this for you. Sometimes selfishly I’ll sing ‘OMG I Miss You’ in shows to myself but that’s because it’s my favourite song and I do let you know when I’m having a moment. But I do this for you and you’re voices never go unheard, I know what it is you want and I’m at your service.

Watch to see the exciting Floetry reunion below…

Interview by Sope Soetan (@SopeSoetan)

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Bridget-Kelly-Interview-HypehairEarlier this month, Bridget Kelly returned to London to perform for her adoring fans at yet another sold out concert in the capital’s prestigious venue The Jazz Café. Following the blazing set we caught up with her to talk about everything from being a newly independent artist to issues with R&B in 2014 amongst other topics. Check out our conversation below…

Sope: You recently dropped the singles ‘I Won’t Cry’ and ‘Almost More’ so are those songs the official lead singles to your album or were those just to hold fans over until you’re ready to proper begin the album cycle?

Bridget: I’m just going to keep putting music out to keep people happy, to remind people I’m still here and that I’m still creative which to me is the most important thing. I’m going to be putting an EP out here in the next couple of months. I’m doing a maxi single for ‘Almost More’ – I’m just going to keep making music.

Sope: It’s been almost a year since you were last in London and in that time it’s been revealed that you are no longer with Roc Nation so are you completely independent or are you in talks with other labels?

Bridget: I’m completely independent – I’m just so happy to be doing my own thing. It’s such a different vibe; people are more interested to hear what you have to say. I’m not apart of something else that’s bigger than me and there’s a pride and confidence that’s come with that. I’ve been able to work with other people that I maybe may have not been able to work with if it wasn’t for me being independent of a label. It’s a really beautiful thing and I’m finding more people like it and are excited about what’s to come.

Sope: So this album! Is there anything you can tell us about the producers, feature artists, anything about the sound?

Bridget: Initially when I started I really wanted to make a project that was really going to be fluid from beginning to end. So like one track starts and it goes into another – like ‘I Won’t Cry’ goes into ‘Almost More’. I really wanted to have every single track on the album sound that way. However because we’re making an abundance of music we’re going to do that for the EP then if the album follows that format then it’s cool. Honestly I’m taking everything one day at a time, I think this is the first time in my life where I’m completely confident in everything I’m putting out, in everything I say and everything I think. I feel this is the most receptive that my fans have been to my performances and overall energy. I’m much more connected to everybody than I ever was.

Sope: On your first mixtape ‘Every Girl’, songs like ‘White Lies’, ‘Seek and Destory’ and ‘Love You After All’ had a strong rock influence and we haven’t really heard you on songs like that since, so will some of that sound resurface on the new album?

Bridget: Oh yes its coming back, it’s definitely coming back. This album is going to absolutely be more alternative than was it before. Definitely still soulful, I’m still a soulful singer at heart and still inspired by R&B voices but it’s definitely going to edgier than it was before. But I don’t think it’s going to be as dark, some topics may be dark but overall it’s not going to be totally focused on love and relationships. It’s really going to be about my coming of age so to speak – I’ve gone through a lot being apart of Roc Nation then not being apart of Roc Nation and all the personal things gone through just trying to find my place in this world outside of the label.

Sope: Do you think it’s difficult to break new R&B artists in this current musical climate since R&B is no longer seen as trendy or crossover now and also because of the artificial ways Billboard has recently been tracking chart positions which don’t really seem to reflect consumer interests and radio anymore?

Bridget: I think R&B is actually at the forefront of mainstream music but what I will say is that it doesn’t have as much colour as it did before. I think R&B has always been mainstream but nowadays it’s the Justin Timberlake’s, the Robin Thicke’s, the Sam Smith’s and the Adele’s that are really making soul music the tier to reach. So I will say that R&B has always been at the front but nowadays there’s no new Mary J. Blige or new Luther – Tank is the only one making classic soulful R&B that is really incredible. And Chris Brown but even then he always walks the line of R&B and Pop. I think there are very few women who are at the forefront and I think that’s because there’s no real middle ground for us to live. It’s either you’re independent trying to make on it on Instagram or YouTube or you’re Beyoncé – there’s not a lot of room to live and breathe in between.

Sope: Since your video for Street Dreaming, we haven’t really seen any visuals from you aside from a preview of Cocaine Heartbreak, so when can we expect to see more videos from you?

Bridget: The ‘Cocaine Heartbreak’ video is going to blow your mind. You might see a cameo from someone you know and it’s going to be great. There’s also a video coming for ‘Almost More’.

Sope: So is there anything you want to say to your fans?

Bridget: Just thank you guys so much for thugging it out with me. I know it’s been a really long journey and thank you for being so patient, understanding, responsive and receptive to everything I’ve put out thus far. At the end of the day I pride myself on the idea that I don’t see myself as this untouchable and unfazed artist. I’m still a regular person and still a fan. I started out as a fan before I was an artist so I still want to be able to relate to my fans.

If you haven’t already check out Bridget’s latest single below:

Interview by Sope Soetan (@SopeSoetan)

Footage filmed and edited by Ryzard Akita (@Ryz_A)

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Day-26-that-grape-juice-2014-101jpgA few weeks ago we talked to R&B group Day26 in the new interview Day26 talked about their new EP the return which is currently available right now Day26 also spoke about what the fans can expect on their upcoming tour & music. We also asked the group about their sister from Making The Band Danity Kane who also announced their return last year at the MTV music awards.

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mason-noise-e1404891111586We recently caught up with UK based R&B/Pop singer Mason Noise who is currently rising up the charts with his new song “Take a Seat.” In our new interview with the rising singer Mason talked about  his start in music from songwriting, being discovered by French producer Da Seth and more.

Mason is a definite artist to watch for in 2014, Mason Noise’s fans eagerly await his forthcoming material and those yet to be converted would be wise to keep their eyes and ears on this superstar in the making.

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092313-fashion-beauty-danity-kane-10-e1396649749106The girls of Danity Kane are back and we were very excited to finally interview the girls since the announcement of their no filter tour which kicks off May 16th at the The Fillmore in San Fransisco, In this new interview we ask the girls about their new music which fans have been dying to hear, we also asked them about the  reality show rumors that have been out since their reunion. The girls also gave us a little more insight about what fans can expect from their upcoming tour and more.

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6a00d8341cabbe53ef017d3f6ddeff970c-piLast Wednesday, February 19, I interviewed Slip-N-Slide recording artist Sebastian Mikael on his music, recent performing engagements, and upcoming projects. The Sweden-native was candid about his writing process and the making of his new studio album. Influenced by artists such as Marvin Gaye,Wyclef Jean, and Usher, the “Forever” singer elucidated his sound as a combination of both smooth R&B and pop. During the interview, the R&B artist spoke intently on his plans for his career, brand, and music. Mikael’s career appears bright; his upcoming EP is expected to release later this year before his studio album.

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candice_glover.jpg.size_.xxlarge.letterboxLast Friday we spoke to Season 12 American Idol winner Candice Glover about her debut solo album Music Speak which hits stores February 18th. During our interview we chatted with Candice about her influence when making this album, having Jazmine Sullivan write her first single ‘Cried’ and the pressures of having the winning title of American Idol.

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0563552c459b11e3b91e22000ab5c0f2_8-e1386556557384While we attended the Girls Like Nice Things in Philadelphia, we also caught up with Bridget Kelly before the release of her brand new EP Cut 2 Bridget Kelly. In this new interview we talked to Bridget about the journey to her career, her debut album ‘Something Different’ and her brand new EP Cut to Bridget Kelly her and more.