WHO: Rick James meets Michael Jackson with a bit of Stevie Wonder swagger.
WHAT: Irresistible blend of sould, funk, hip-hop, R&B and pop influences rolled together to create a new sound.
WHERE: Born in Chester, Pennsylvania to an Italian mother and African American father.
WHY: Because he’s the missing link in today’s music, creating tunes fit for “a trans-racial modern day anthem.”
WHEN: Refer to the interview below conducted by producer D-Dub.
Str8NYC: Your 1st single in collaboration with Lupe Fiasco is hot! How did you come up with the concept?
KM: When I go into the studio…in the lab and creating honestly my biggest secret I guess is- I don’t think about issh. I try to go in with a clear head and just let whoever it is up there and write my lyrics- let it just fall upon me. I just hear it and I write it. I don’t know what I might have been going through that day; honestly I did that song 3 years ago in Sweden. My 1st time out of the country and it was like same shit just a different country. So I just felt like I needed to say something to people that’s relate able to everybody. I always wanted a big song that was global so that everybody can fucks with. It was a challenge finding a topic that related to everybody. It was like well shit just say it. You don’t have to think about a catchy way to say “we all want the same things” but just to say “we all want the same thing.” We just did it, we wrote it on the spot. It’s one of them songs that’ll stick around. That song just stuck with me and we made it one of the singles. I had it but I wanted to put somebody on it…to find the appropriate person and bam.
Str8NYC: How did you start out?
KM: Man I came out of the womb singing. I was like a 3 year old who knew seriously every lyric to every song on the radio. I started doing kiddie plays in school. My father is a musician as well. I guess when I was 8 or 9 I started singing in his band…he had a cover band. So early on I was going to bars out like 8,9,10. Then I took a break, I went to high school and I got real serious about it again. Well I had to sober up. Am I really going to college, I really don’t want to? Am I going to go here and hate school for another 4 years? If I’m going to be serious about this music thing I have to buckle down. I was like mom I’m not going to college. And she was like you’re going to ruin your life blah blah blah. But I feel like you only get one shot at it. You only get one chance to be young and I don’t want to live my life saying I “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.” So I’ve just been doing it everyday, going to the studio, wiritng, going back and forth from Philadelphia to New Yorl. Hearing a whole lot of “NOs” before I heard any “YESs”. I just followed through and haven’t looked back since.
Str8NYC: Are there any artists you would like to work with?
KM: Oh there’s plenty. First and foremost yes I’m an artist but I’m a songwriter. So in the next year I’ll definitely be expanding my songwriting and working with some people. I just got T.I.’s album preview packaging. He’s off the chain. I like his whole mindset, his swagger is so on point. I’m into people that are mad hard workers. T.I. is definitely one of them. People were telling him “No” for years but he didn’t believe it…he just put in his mind that “He’s the King of the South” and now he’s really the King. So people like T.I., Andre 3000- someone who’s a risk taker. I’m into Kanye, who says whatever the hell he wants to say. Lupe who dares to be different, dare to be yourself. I’m into that.
Str8NYC: Anybody who influenced you while growing up you’d like to work with?
KM: I always definitely looked up to-I called them my trinity- Michael, Prince, and Stevie. Those dudes revolutionalized music for me. Those are the dudes I look up to. Prince- his career, his longevity, you know let’s not get into it because I could sit here and talk about Prince for days. Mike- he changed the world…not even the game, he changed the world. You could still say Michael, even with all the drama going on right now- you can still say Michael Jackson and somebody is gonna cry…whether it be female or male. Stevie Wonder- he’s the most talented creative…he’s not even real to me, he’s not a person. He’s some supernatural force. I look up to people like that. And then of course the music playing in my house when I was a young’n was always people like Rick James, P-Funk, Jimmy was always on…my father always listened to Journey, Led Zeplin- you know all that old stuff. Janis Joplin was my shit man; I’m influenced by a lot of different people. Let’s be honest ain’t nothing new under the sun. Everybody is inspired by somebody.
Str8NYC: Yeah that’s true. But it’s all about innovating.
KM: Exactly, making it into your own.
Str8NYC: What kind of production are you using for your album?
KM: We definitely have a lot of live instrumentation elements but most of it is incorporated with sample beats and sequence stuff. The producers on the album include Wyclef. I’ve actually known him for years but this was our first time getting into the lab with him. That was dope. Bloodshot & Divine, they produced two tracks on the album- one being “We all Want.” Those are the cats from Sweden. We got Brian Kidd who’s from Baltimore but he lives in ATL right now. He’s been behind the scenes for Timbaland for mad years, so when your hear some these records on the album people are going to say that the songs sounds like Timbaland….that’s all Brian. That ghost producing/ ghost writing shit is real relevant these days. We got this new kid called Paperboy, whose crazy- he’s a stone cold killer. We got my down south song- I call it my “A” song because I did it in Atlanta. It’s my take on what a snap record should be (laughs). I got The Clutch on the record…the got 3 songs. JR Rotem has a song on my album. He’s a badass white boy. And Eric Hudson, he did Omarion’s “Entourage”, he’s like the youngest producer in the game but the most talented. Dude plays every instrument, there’s not one instrument he cannot play. Homeboy is ill with it.
Str8NYC: What are some of your favorite songs to listen to right now? What’s in heavy rotation in your I pod?
KM: I’m listening to …umm what’s been heavy on rotation in my I pod is that Rihanna album.
Str8NYC: Oh word?!
KM: No lie, I fucks with Rihanna. And I’ll tell you why. She got sick of that Beyonce comparison and she’s doing her new shit right now. But the homeboy “Dream” who wrote most of the songs on the album…he wrote “Umbrella” he’s crazy. His pen game is crazy. So maybe I’m not listening to the album b/c it’s Rihanna and she looks good as hell and I want to marry her one day (laughs) but I’m listening to it because “Dream” write half the songs in the album. And I think his pen game is retarded. I respect anybody who’s good at what they do and he’s dope with it. And who else? Some people most people haven’t even heard of. Ohh…I listening heavily to “The Carnival” Wyclef’s joint…that’s a classic.
Str8NYC: What other projects are in the works for you other than the album?
KM: I’ll definitely be on the road right now. I did some shows for Lilly Allen and I’m going overseas soon. Right now, I’m on this promo tour. So I’ll be around. I have to get out to the people and let them hear what’s about to come because it’s coming.
Str8NYC: Aight…that’s what’s up! Thanks for your time Kevin. Peace.