Tuesday, December 9, 2008
MY INTERVIEW WITH ALTERNATIVE AND INOVATIVE PERFORMER
Since Baron dropped his album “Celebrity’ this past summer, he’s been the toast of the alternative and independent music industry. Combining Rock, Tribal, Soul, New Wave, and Hip-Hop, the New Jersey native has been showing people that it’s ok to be creative and his work has paid off, when he won the Velocity Magazine Award for Best Alternative Artists as well as rocking the ceremony with his performance and unique style of fashion.
I’ve met and hung out with Baron on several occasions and I discovered that we had many things in common; we both love all types of music (especially artists from overseas) and the interview I conducted with him at the Soda Shop in Chelsea the day after Thanksgiving was a great learning experience.
Q: CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING AT THE VELLOCITY AWARDS. WHAT WAS IT LIKE WINNING?
A: It was great. It was a honor to be there and a honor to perform there, so it was great. I did so much work on the album, so it was good to get some recognition.
Q: WAS IT YOUR FIRST TIME PERFORMING AT AN AWARDS SHOW?
A: Yes, it was my first time being at a awards show like that and also performing and seeing so many other great performers there as well. It was an honor to be a part of it.
Q: HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH MUSIC?
A: I had my first album which is “Trouble Man” and it was spoken word, and after that I was like ‘let me try something new so I started to learn how to make beats, and I contacted my friend Belief who’s a Hip-Hop producer and we started making music and we started the direction of the album.
Q: I HAVE YOUR CD AND I NOTICE THAT IT HAS DIFFERENT GENRES OF MUSIC INCLUDING TRIBAL, ROCK, R&B, NEW WAVE AND HIP-HOP. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO COMBINE ALL THOSE TYPES OF MUSIC TOGETHER?
A: I can say my I-Pod play list (laughs). During that time I was listening to a lot of Old-School Hip-Hop and a lot of 80’s and 90’s music and that’s where the Hip-Hop and Rock and New Wave feel comes from (and) I was listening to artist like God Frat and Missy.
Q: YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU DID SPOKEN WORD. HAVE YOU ALWAYS WRITTEN POETRY?
A: I’ve been writing poetry since high school, and I contributed to literary magazine for school, I didn’t start performing until well after high school and I started that in a spot called the Uforia, and then I moved here and did things at the Nyorican Café.
Q: YOU KNOW MY FAVORITE SONG ON THE CD IS THROW IT ON ME WITH BLACKBIRD (Both laughs). WHAT WAS THE INSPRIATION FOR THAT SONG, HOW DID YOU LINK UP WITH BLACK BIRD AND WILL THAT SONG BE RELEASED AS A SINGLE?
A: UM. ‘Throw it on me’ I wrote in one day. I got the track on Monday and I wrote the song the next day. The beat was just so great, and (that beat was) produced by Belief. How I linked up with Blackbird? Blackbird is my cousin; he’s family. I let him hear the track and I wanted to do a collabo with him anyway and he has an amazing voice. It was something different for him because he’s a Soul Acoustic artist, so I was like you wanna try it, and he was like ‘yeah’ so we went in and did the song. I’m glad people like it. Some other people gave me feedback about that song too. Would it be released as a single? I hope so (laughs). I hope so. I hope the whole album is released as a single.
Q: YOU’VE ALSO PERFORMED AT THE LATEX BALL. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
A: The ball was nerve wracking. Everyone has always said the gay crowds is the most critical crowd to win over. We rehearsed and everything. We rehearsed in a dance studio so the space is longer, so we practiced moving from here to there all across the stage, but when we got to the stage, all they had was a runway and we’re tripping out because we don’t have the space we practiced for and its my first time performing the song live. That and I find out we’re going on first, which even more tripped me out, but being out there, I loved it and we got some footage of them being into it.
Q: THERE’S A LOT OF TALK ABOUT HAVING TO PLEASE THE GAY CROWD FIRST. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
A: To me, that’s what people say; you gotta win them over and then you win everything else over. Me as a performer, I perform everywhere so it’s not more like performing for that crowd is better, so it’s about me giving my best performance for every crowd. I never go into a performance with that mindset.
Q: THERE ARE MANY OPEN GAY AND BISEXUAL PERFORMERS WHO ARE MAKING NAMES FOR THEMSELVES. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
A: To each it’s own. T think for me going into the ‘Celebrity’ album I say it in the liner notes. I’m writing for the world. I didn’t write for the gay community or the straight community, or the Black community or the white community; I wrote for those who would see the stories.
Q: YOU ALSO DID SOME MODELING AM I CORRECT?
A: Yes (laughs)
Q: AND YOU’VE ALSO DONE MANY CHARITABLE AND COMMUNITY EVENTS
A: I’ve done quite a bit of stuff for GMHC going as far back when they this weekly poetry workshop called Giovanni’s Room. I’ve done stuff for Women with Equality. I’ve done a fundraiser for this organization called Higher Ground, which does a rehabilitation workshop for women in prison. Recently, I was a judge for this organization called New Jersey Slam which is an organization for young poets in the New York/New Jersey area.
Q: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
A: This is the short list (both laugh). There’s Prince. Stevie Wonder. Missy Elliot. There’s Goldfrat. Everything But The Girl. Santa Fay. There’s Janet. Madonna; the icons. Hall & Oates. Such great songwriters. Very innovative. There’s Kayne. That’s the short list (both laugh). I can go on and on.
Q: IF YOU CAN WORK WITH ANY ARITIST, WHO WOULD IT BE?
A: Kayne. Royslin Murphy. I just recently discovered her and she blows me away. Brandy would be fun to work with. Jay-Z would be fun. Santa Fay.
Q: I NOTICED THAT YOU HAVE EXCELLENT TASTE IN MUSIC; NOT JUST THE TYPICAL R&B AND HIP-HOP GENRE. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR PEOPLE TO BE EXPOSED TO OTHER GENRES OF MUSIC BESIDES WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSE TO LISTEN TO?
A: You know, I was thinking about that at the Tina concert. You look at Tina because she’s Black, some people have put her in the R&B category, but she said ‘I don’t want to do R&B. I wanna do Rock’ and she does Rock fabulously! You know what I’m saying? So I think in American culture, we should look outside of what the ideas of what music people should listen to. I like R&B like everyone else, but I like Trip-Top, Pop music. So I think (the) more we broaden our taste, the more we can appreciate it more.
Q: YOU GOT A CHANCE TO SEE TINA PERFORM LIVE. WHAT WAS IT LIKE SEEING HER PERFORM AT 69 YEARS OLD?
A: It’s funny cause like I told you, I took my grandmother, and my grandmother is not much older than her, so I was thinking Tina Tuner at 69 years old performing for two hours, high energy, power housing it. I have no excuse (laughs). I have no excuse not to do what I want to dream. People have no excuse for not living their dreams and not to be inspired by it; to go out and do what you love. That’s what I took home; I have no excuse not to.
Q: WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO ANY ACTING?
A: I’m not opposed to it. I would love to do it. I haven’t at this point pursued it, but yeah, I would love to do it. Right now, I’m focused on the music and performing and becoming a better performer.
Q: YOU MENTIONED AN EXCELLENT POINT ABOUT BECOMING A BETTER PEEFORMER. A LOT OF INSPRING PERFORMANCERS THINKS THAT THEY CAN JUST GET ON STAGE, SING AND LOOK CUTE.
A: When I was doing spoken word, it was me and the microphone, right, and I’ve grown accustomed and kind of mastered the microphone. With the songs I got on the album and the songs I perform it doesn’t work with just me and the microphone so it’s dancing, chorography, some visionary things and it’s like for it to be good, you have to rehearse and practice, practice, practice, which is something I wasn’t prepared for. I’m glad I’m doing it now, but it wasn’t something I was prepared for being a spoken word artist.
Q: YOUR FASHION STYLE IS ALSO INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE. WHAT INSPIRED YOUR STYLE OF DRESS?
A: I also liked to dress up. Even as a young boy. I liked to dress up and I like to dress up differently. I got comfortable being the different child and so I would dress different, and it’s always in style and it’s not always the most fashionable thing, but hey.
Q: WITH YOUR MUSIC CAREER TAKING OFF, HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO BALANCE YOUR CAREER, SOCIAL LIFE AND PERSONAL TIME?
A: I don’t know. I think it’s a possibility to create a balance for yourself. I’m trying to learn that myself, so give me a couple of years to answer that question correctly.
Q: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
A: Five years from now, I see me touring full time and let me be direct, have completed my third album and living the life I always wanted.
Q: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE THIRD ALBUM?
A: I would love to say that I have an idea, but I don’t. I’ve been collecting a lot of songs and sounds that I like, but I haven’t themed it yet. Right now I wanna enjoy the album and have everyone else enjoy the album, and then I’ll be able to write the next project.
Q: HOW YOU THINK YOU’RE MAKING AN IMPACT ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
A: I think right now, what’s happing is people are shaken up by it because they don’t know how to classify it, and for me, I think it’s a good thing because it challenging to make people look at music differently and I come from a slew of artists who are doing the same thing. We’re in the information age where you can get music from all types of places and you can mix electronically music from India, Asia, Got your African drums, you know what I’m saying? I think where I am at in the music industry is a art of the new culture of artists
Q” WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE AN INSPRING ARTIST WHO WANTS TO BE INNOVATIVE BUT HAVE FEARS OF NOT BEING ACCEPTED?
A: Do you. Do you cause what you do put your heart and soul into what you do and people will find you, but let it be good. Also let it be good. Do you, but let it be good because there’s a lot of artists who did their thing and their thing became the hot thang. Do what you love.
Baron's CD "Celebrity" is available at CD Baby and I-Tunes