After presenting her incredible EP Uncertainty last week, I thought it would be a good idea to do an interview with Elle Winston, so that she can express her thoughts on her music, the album, the topics she chooses to touch upon and more. She kindly agreed to answer my questions and I am really happy to share them with you now. As I told you last time, she is one of the artists I really appreciate and her music never fails to move me. It’s therefore a great pleasure to have a chance to exchange with her and get to know her a little better. In case you haven’t listened to the album and purchased it, I highly recommend you do so now. It is definitely worth your time and money! Now, without further delay, let me introduce you to Elle Winston…
First of all, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I am Elle Winston. I’m a singer-songwriter living in Brooklyn, NY. I was born in Indiana, but spent most of my life growing up in Arizona (I miss the sunshine! Haha!). Above all things, I am a sister, a daughter, a friend and a partner.
Something that I find very interesting with you is how versatile you are and how eclectic your music is, drawing influences from a wide variety of genres but never sounding forced or unnatural. Does the music reflect different sides of you and different messages you want to spread?
I find the idea of “genres” really interesting – primarily because I feel like I find such tangible similarities in all of the music that influences me across genre boundaries. I think there is a soulfulness that I really respond to in certain vocalists or certain songwriters that can’t really be put into a ridge genre category. My parents gave me such a rich musical foundation. I grew up listening to Muddy Waters, Aretha Franklin, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Sting, Bob Marley, Rolling Stones, etc. I studied classical music in college and I also spent time singing Afro-Cuban/Afro-Brazilian music for a few years, so I have been so privileged to be exposed to things that I continually draw from in my own music making.
In addition to being a very talented artist, you are also quite vocal about social issues, more specifically those pertaining to women and the way they are treated all around the world. Do you consider it your mission to raise awareness about those issues as a human being and as an artist?
I’m SO glad you asked this question! I’ve always been very passionate about issues that women and girls face both here in the US and globally. I see so much beauty and power in the women and girls in my life and I’ve seen so many of them struggle with the violence and injustice that they have experienced. Because of this, I take violence and injustice against women/girls everywhere very personally. I have always felt that being a musician gives you a unique platform to really talk about things in a medium that human beings really respond to, which is SONG! I know that I will continue to speak about these issues whether that’s in song or in interviews like this, because I feel so strongly about it, so thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so!
Since the release of Who Said It Was Simple? you seem to have evolved a lot, both as an individual and as an artist. Do you feel this project was a sort of landmark in your career, a moment when it took a new turn?
Thank you! I did an interview last year and I was asked what I wanted my new project to be and all I could say is that I wanted it to reflect growth. I think I can say, with confidence, that it does that. I know I still have a lot to learn and I’ll be spending my life learning how to be a better musician, but this project means a lot to me. I took my writing very seriously. Two songs from this new project were produced by Kevan Aaron, who I’ve worked with for a long time and 2 songs were produced by d.C. Soulplusmind, who I worked with for the first time last year. They both brought out some really good things in me and inspired me a lot. Ultimately, I wanted to be sincere and truthful in telling my own stories and that has been a scary process, however, seeing people’s responses to the music has calmed those fears a lot.
Your new EP entitled Uncertainty was released on January 22nd and it is a wonderful musical project where you don’t hesitate to share your innermost thoughts and feelings. There is a level of vulnerability that is very touching and makes the music all the more powerful. Is it important for you to express yourself without holding back, at the risk of exposing yourself through the music?
I definitely felt that this time around I wanted to say all the things I was afraid to say. I wanted to admit that I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I wanted to admit that I struggle with my identity and I wanted to talk about my frustration with the injustice in my country, etc. I felt like this project needed to be enjoyable music, but it also needed to be serious, because that’s where I am in my life. I was also really hopeful that people would find something familiar in the words and music and maybe not feel so alone. But no lie, the day before I released, I was freaking out! Lol I was asking my girlfriend, “Should I do this? Will people understand me?”
Speaking of Uncertainty still, it may seem that the project allowed you to move on from certain situations and either get rid of your doubts or accept them for what they are. Do you feel the project was a sort of therapy for you, a way to heal certain wounds?
It’s so funny you ask that because at the time I wrote these songs, I remember feeling fear, sadness, power – all of these really heavy emotions. I remember even being afraid to record My Black at the studio because I was recording with a new engineer and I wondered if he would judge me. (So silly!) But now that I’ve put it out and let people hear it, so much of that has subsided. I feel so much freer. I feel like I accept me and my journey in a way that I haven’t before. So, it’s really only been in hindsight, that I’ve felt that bit of healing, but it’s definitely there.
In the past months, you have played on quite a few stages in New York and around the States, and your performances seem to be very intimate and emotional. You are clearly passionate about what you sing, which makes the renditions all the more compelling. Do you feel sharing your music on stage is the best way to reach your audience and exchange with them?
Absolutely! Nothing can replace live music. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I just go to a show here in NY for some energy and inspiration – it lifts me. I think live music does that for a lot of people. There is also something so magical about performance. It is a one-time experience that you share with every person in that room. It can never be re-created or re-experienced in the exact same way. The magic is in what you feel in the moment of a live performance. Even on stage, things happen that are electric – from how you bond with your players or finding a new way to sing something and thinking “Where did that run come from?” Ya know?! All of those really intimate things can only happen live and I get such a high from singing for people and meeting people at shows. I love it! People are so generous. They give so much love and support. It always humbles me.
Anything else you would like to add?
To all of your readers – if anyone happens to be in New York next month, I am opening up for Bridget Kelly and RaVaughn at SOB’s in Manhattan on February 21st as a part of Hot 97’s Who’s Next Showcase. If you’re in the Big Apple, come say hello!
Now that you know more about Elle Winston and her new project, discover a beautiful and powerful rendition of Waitin On, during a performance for the Acoustic Soul Lounge at Billie Black’s Restaurant last December.
And just in case you missed it, check out the amazing Uncertainty, which is available on and Bandcamp, among others. Press play and enjoy!
Alexis Davis is the combination of the wonderful talents of DJs Spinnerty and Simon S, producer Mecca:83 and MC Replife. Having known each other for several years and collaborated on various projects, the four of them decided to create a group and give birth to a common project. Living on both sites of the Atlantic ocean, they prove that music is truly universal and can cross boundaries, physical or metaphorical. While I have not followed those guys since the beginning of their career, I greatly appreciate every single project I have heard from them and it was therefore a great pleasure for me to discover their group and brand-new EP, 3, released via the newly created Expansions Collective. The project is clearly among my favourites for 2012 and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to connect with them and do this audio interview. Thanks to technology, we were able to have a conference call where they told me more about the origins of the group, the creative process behind the 3 EP, the importance of having fun while tackling serious social issues, and much more. This lengthy, in-depth interview is among the best I have ever done and I am really grateful for all of them to have taken some time to sit down and have a chat with me. In case you haven’t picked up the 3 EP yet, I highly recommend you do so. This interview should be enough to convince you anyway.
Now that you know more about Alexis Davis, discover this EPK where they introduce you to their universe and explain what the whole project is all about.
Finally, in case you haven’t listened to it yet, it is high time you discover Alexis Davis debut EP, the incredible 3. You can buy the digital version on and Bandcamp, where CDs are also available. Enjoy and spread the word!
I already told you about my recent trip to Berlin with the Nomad•ness Travel Tribe and I am very happy to say I met amazing people there, most of which share interests with me, whether it is writing, music or blogging. Keisha aka TastyKeish is among those like-minded people and it was great to see her again in London. Radio host, event organiser, music and fun lover based in NYC, she is also an avid traveller eager to discover the world. While she was in the English capital for a few days, I took the opportunity to chill with her and have a quick chat on camera. She is a very interesting and inspiring individual and it is therefore a pleasure for me to introduce you to her and her positive energy. In this short interview, she talks about her European tour, art and culture in Berlin, some of her future projects and more. Without further delay, let me present to you TastyKeish, in her own words…
Now that you know more about TastyKeish, you can discover the hit of the summer (not to be taken seriously!), Shades In The Dark. Enjoy!
If you have been following the blog for quite a while, you should know that Jesse Boykins III is an artist that I particularly appreciate. After discovering him around 2008 (catch up with my introduction in case you missed it), I have been following his releases and collaborations with great pleasure. I first saw his live back in 2010, for Writer’s Block 2nd anniversary at Cargo and I was blown away by his performance. As he is in London once again and about to perform here for the fourth time, headlining the Jazz Café tomorrow for Aesthetic Sounds (with Ntjam Rosie opening for him), I got a chance to catch up with him and finally do a video interview. I was very happy about that, as he is a very interesting artist and human being, and I was looking forward to having a chat with him. I have to say my expectations have been reached and even surpassed, as this interview is one of the best I’ve ever done. Jesse Boykins III shares beautiful thoughts here and encourages everyone to live more spiritually and seek love and happiness. In this video, you will learn more about what he thinks and feels about London, headlining the Jazz Café, growth and maturity, The Romantic Movement, as well as many other interesting things. I need to give a big shout out to Sarah Fonteyne, for setting up the interview and inviting Jesse to perform at Aesthetic Sounds for the second time, as well as Jesse himself, for taking the time to sit and talk with me despite jetlag. All I have to say now is enjoy the video and I’ll be sure to enjoy the show tomorrow!
Pumpkin is a French female MC I discovered quite recently thanks to producers Supafuh and Teru, who put me on her music and more specifically her previous album, the excellent Ainsi de suite (that I am very happy to own in its vinyl version). As the talented lady was in London for a few days, I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet her and do an interview with her. We ended up in a very nice old-school pub in Baker Street, which was the perfect setting for our conversation. In this interview, Pumpkin tells us about how she discovered hip-hop, London, meeting/working with DJ Vadim and Pugs Atomz, as well as previous and upcoming projects, among other interesting things.
Without further delay, let me present to you Pumpkin, in her own words…
Now that you know more about Pumpkin, (re)discover the official video for Ainsi de suite, taken from the album of the same name. The track is featuring producer/MC Supafuh and is produced by Teru. You can buy the album on Pumpkin’s Bandcamp page.
After introducing you to Maurice Clark back in August last year, I thought it would be interesting to ask him a few questions and offer him the opportunity to express himself on different subjects while allowing you to discover his musical universe. Based in Grand Rapids, MI, the MC is a very interesting artist and individual who infuses his music with jazz and soul, while touching upon social and political issues, both in his music and on his blog or social networks. After discovering him with several tracks over the past few months, I’m always eager to listen to more and really look forward to his upcoming projects. In this interview, Maurice Clark tells us about his musical influences, the importance of being informed, being a full-time artist and much more. Without further delay, I will leave you to discover the artist, in his own words…
First of all, for people who are not familiar with you and your music, could you introduce yourself?
Most Definitely, My name is Maurice Clark, I am an independent artist out of Grand Rapids, MI.
Something that I find quite interesting with your music is the emphasis on soul and jazz samples, as an homage to those genres that undoubtedly influenced you. Is it necessary for you to incorporate those elements in what you create?
I first told you about Chicago jazz pianist Greg Spero with a “spotlight” after I came back from my trip to the Windy City and I am very happy to have met him again, this time in London. It was a great pleasure for me to finally see him on stage and to attend the wonderful event that was the Buddy Rich 25th Anniversary Memorial Concert at the Palladium. The quality of the music was incredible and both the band and the special guests blew me away. After such an amazing event, it was also very nice to get to spend some time with Greg and to record this interview, where he tells us more about the actual concert (including some interesting insider revelations), as well as his upcoming shows in England and Germany, among other things. He is not only a very talented musician, but also a very enthusiastic individual, whose energy and positivity are contagious. Without further delay, let me introduce you to Greg Spero…
Now that you know more about Greg Spero and what he’s up to, discover the video he mentions in the interview, where you can get a glimpse of the new direction he is taking with his music. The footage was taken during one of his performances with drummer Makaya McCraven.
Nakia Henry is a wonderful artist and human being I discovered at the end of 2010, with her amazing album Remember Me (in case you missed it, catch up with my article about the album). Since then, I have been enchanted by her new releases, remixes and videos. Because I love sharing music but also featuring artists I appreciate, I thought it would be a good idea to invite Nakia Henry to answer a few questions, so that we can get to know her better. In this interview, she tells us about the “Detroit Expansion Tour” with Dulcinea Detwah, the evolution of Transition, with remixes and videos, as well as other projects she took part in. Without further delay, let me introduce you to Nakia Henry…
To continue with this busy and productive start of 2012, I now present my first interview of the year, with Binghamton/Pittsburgh MC and producer Idasa Tariq. I can’t remember exactly when and where I discovered the talented young man, but I have been following his releases for a little while and really appreciate his work. Idasa is among the most driven, focused and hard-working artists I know and he is definitely an inspiration when it comes to taking the right steps to achieve your dreams and goals, as well as staying as independent as possible. With a new record label, websites and other endeavours, he is clearly going places and it is a great pleasure for me to see him do his thing. In this interesting video interview, he tells us about his musical path, Pittsburgh and Binghamton, future projects and collaborations among many other things. Without further delay, let me present to you Idasa Tariq, in his own words…
Now that you are more familiar with Idasa Tariq, and in case you missed it, discover Pissed Off Soul Man. You can head directly to his Bandcamp page or simply click on the link below. Enjoy and spread the word.
When it comes to interviews, it’s always a pleasure to get to exchange with people you really appreciate, both as artists and as human beings. Erik Rico is not only one of my favourite artists but also a man I admire for his beautiful soul. I am therefore always really happy when I get a chance to catch up with him during his visits to London and to learn more about what he’s been up to and what he’s working on, as well as his views on music and life. In case you missed them, you can go catch up with our first interview and with our previous video interview. As his European tour came to an end over the weekend, Erik got busy one last time last Monday with a recording session with Matt Hughes from soulfulbeats, a frequent collaborator and now good friend. I was blessed enough to do this interview and then witness the recording session at the famous Uprock Studio in North West London, which really made my evening. We had a really nice chat about the tour, future projects or collaborations and more. It is once again a great pleasure for me to share those moments with you and I want to thank Erik and Matt for their time. Now, without further delay, discover more about Erik Rico and soulfulbeats…