Archive for July, 2008

Estelle

Date of Interview: 07/25/2008

© 2008 Clayton Perry

Although Estelle’s emergence comes several years after her British debut, her appearance on the west end of “the Pond” has brought about numerous comparisons in American circles, with various media outlets dubbing her “the British version of Lauryn Hill.”  Such a comparison is easy to make at first glance, since soulful lyrics and brutal honesty lie at the core of Estelle’s work.  Upon closer inspection, however, Estelle breaks the definitive mold.

Unfortunately, in a cultural era best-known for disposable music, Estelle’s “second coming”—and formal American introduction—took four years to generate, despite her triumphant crowning as 2004’s “Best Newcomer” at the MOBO Awards, which was preceded by three consecutive wins as “Best Female Artist” at the UK Hip Hop Awards. As fate would have it, heavy-weight production assistance was needed to bring the West Londoner to the masses.

With the fervent support of John Legend and Kanye West, “American Boy” soared up Billboard’s Hot 100 chart during the summer of 2008, and in the midst of its successful run, the song received gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Several months later, Shine was placed on the short list for the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize and Estelle garnered two additional MOBO Awards: “Best UK Female” and “Best Song” (for “American Boy”).

Upon review of Shine, Estelle managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Dinah Washington, The 18th Day and the long road to American success.

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Lady GaGa

Date of Interview: 07/22/2008

© 2008 Clayton Perry

If Freddie Mercury were alive today, he would lovingly embrace Lady GaGa, who bears the name of one of Queen’s greatest hits, “Radio GaGa.”  Like Queen, Lady GaGa has a knack for theatrical performance, and at the age of 17, her talents gained her early admission to the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.  Five years later, after gaining notoriety on New York’s club circuit, Lady GaGa has burst onto the international scene, with her provocative debut: The Fame.

The Fame’s innovative blend of rock, electronica, disco and pop is a refreshing alternative in the current musical landscape, and Lady GaGa’s presence assuredly guarantees that pop performance art will never be the same.

Upon review of The Fame, Lady GaGa managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Andy Warhol, the paparazzi and her “trash-sophisticated” style.

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Katy Perry

Date of Interview: 07/18/2008

© 2008 Clayton Perry

Every summer, artists of all stripes engage in an intense battle for radio domination.  The summer of 2008 was no different, but it was decisively ruled by Katy Perry.

On June 26, 2008, “I Kissed a Girl” became the 1,000th chart-topper of the rock era, after only six weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100.  The rapid ascent of “I Kissed a Girl”—from the 76th rung—was fueled largely by digital sales, but its stay in the top spot was the product of online buzz and extensive promotion.  Interestingly enough, “I Kissed a Girl” climbed to the number-one spot just as she was embarking on her first major tour.  As a performer on the Warped Tour, Katy Perry traveled to 46 cities during the months of June, July and August 2008.

Although such success is often hard to replicate, Katy Perry’s debut album, One of the Boys, is jam-packed with potential hits.  A decade removed from Jagged Little Pill, female angst has rarely tasted (or looked) so good.

Upon review of One of the Boys, Katy Perry managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on life, Lolita and the long road to success.

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Craig David

Date of Interview: 07/08/2008

© 2008 Clayton Perry

When an artist achieves multi-platinum sales one would assume that a record label would learn to trust his or her artistic judgment – especially when the number is 13 million albums worldwide. Unfortunately, in this fickle world of music, where attention is fixed on first-week sales and Billboard formulas supersede reason, Craig David has consistently found himself battling to uphold his artistic integrity and secure an audience in the American market.

Although the U.S. has historically turned a “cold shoulder” to British R&B acts, over the past decade, Craig David’s music has consistently traveled across “the Pond” and landed him critical acclaim and commercial success.  Since his 2000 debut, David has garnered four MOBOs, three Ivor Novello Awards, and two MTV Europe Awards.

In spite of Craig David’s numerous accolades, his musical exploits are often understated and go unacknowledged, even though his accomplishments surpass his British contemporaries and a host of American superstars. Thus, when all things are considered, there’s no denying that David was “born to do it.”

On November 24, 2008, Warner Music Group and Shire Records will release a compilation of Craig David’s greatest hits.  For most artists, a collection of this sort would mark the end of a career and the completion of musical journey.  For David, however, the set serves as a grand celebration of career that has weathered several trans-Atlantic storms and a musical passion that transcends continental boundaries.

Upon review of Trust Me, Craig David managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on David Bowie, Cuban influences and 2008’s “British Invasion.”

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