I have to say my mother, who was a prominent Jazz Singer in the city of Pittsburgh. The first record that made me want to be a singer though was Boyz II Men’s “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.” That’s still one of my all time favorite records.
You have had a good bit of success on various competitions and auditions. What opportunity yielded to be the most rewarding (doesn’t need to be financially)?
This is a tough question to answer, because I’ve been blessed to have so many opportunities from the competitions I’ve entered and won. One of the most prominent opportunities came from the first talent show I ever won, which was when I was in high school. On the surface one may not think that winning a talent show at Wilkinsburg High would lead to a national opportunity but one of the judges was a man name Robert Burnett, the principal there at the time. He was close friends with Boyz II Men, and he ended up facilitating a meeting with me and them! I’ve won several awards from WAMO, and that led to me playing summer jam in front of a crowd of thousands. The biggest live crowd I’ve played to date was 5000 people. Most recently I won Claddagh’s Got Talent, back in the summer and this one was the most financially rewarding. I won 2000 dollars there 🙂
Pittsburgh is seems to be a city thats loaded with artists. What artists have your attention currently that you would like to work with at some point?
There are quite a few of them.I gotta get Mike Tomlin on a track no question. That kid is amazing, both as a producer and an artist. I’d also love to work with Devan Rue, a really talented female singer in the city. Others would include Simone Davis ( who I had the chance to sing with at Hard Rock last year) Lhagic, Simmie Green, and Hutch, one of my vocal mentors in Pittsburgh.
The hiphop / rap seen is often commented as having a flood of artists of all levels which sometime dilutes the scene. Does R&B have this issue?
Excellent question! I don’t see it myself. in Pittsburgh particularly there doesn’t seem to be as many active R&B artists on the scene. The line between R&B and Hip Hop is becoming somewhat blurred though so you may see that issue in the future.
Other than music what oner hobbies do you enjoy?
I Love to read politics ( my wife makes fun of me for it sometimes though 🙂 Ridiculously I find it kind of relaxing!
This project is an expression of my soul, an anthem for my heart, and my response to the love everybody has shown me over the years as a musician. I consider it to be a very unique project in the way that I approached the writing and the way my producers worked on it as well. It was produced by Akil Esoon ( Formula 412) and Van Taylor ( who produced Ambition’s spaceship) It’s had some tremendous reviews so far and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Your new project is titled “soular eclipse”, whats in the name for you?
It’s an expression of my own unique approach to the album. Soular Eclipse is a phrase that I interpret as the soul of a person, pouring their heart into whatever positive thing they are doing, music or otherwise, being an expression big enough to crowd out the darkness and light the world. In other words it’s not an eclipse of the soul, but an eclipse by the soul, crowding out negativity with positivity. It’s not something I’ve mastered, but it’s what I aspire to.
Manny DeAnda (formerly of Crave and Pretty Ricky) collaborated with me on “Want Some You” Watching this guy work was one of the most amazing studio experiences I’ve ever seen ( he’s singing the hook on the song and co-wrote it.) We’ve been friends for a long time (since grade school,) and his contribution took the album to a whole new level.
Every artist should set their own bar and try to improve with every release. Do you feel you reached the bar or your goal for this project?
Another great question. You know I finish a project I always think back to something I could have done better or more of. No project is ever really complete, but I can say that this is the best project I’ve done to date, and I look forward to reaching new heights!
Will you be releasing any visuals / videos along with the release of this project?
Absolutely. The first video will be to I’ll Listen, coming in the spring. The second will be to “I Get A Rush, also in the spring.
I’ll be performing with the great J’Aira Pryor for the Valentine’s Day Show Sweet Love, coming February 13th.
POPGH stands for People of Pittsburgh Going Hard. How do you go hard for your city?
I wrap myself in this city when I do my music. I’ve even named my style of music for the city of Pittsburgh; I call it Steel City Soul. I love my city and this album I’ve done is more yours than it is mine. It’s the soundtrack of my heart and I hope you all feel the love! I just wanna say thanks so much for interviewing me Jason, and for everything you do to rep Pittsburgh as well. On a personal note I also want to encourage all the readers and everyone in the burgh to continue to keep the homie Young Midas in your prayers as he continues to recover. We can’t wait for him to return to the Pittsburgh scene in good health and great spirits.