Archive for May, 2009

Lisa “Lisa Lisa” Velez

Date of Interview: 05/18/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

After two decades in the music business, Lisa Velez continues to show the world why she is the “Queen of Latin Hip-Hop.”  Over the course of her career, she has sold more than 20 million records—serving as an inspiration to artists like Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Selena, and Jennifer Lopez.

On July 14, 2009, Lisa Velez will release her seventh album, Life ‘N Love, with Mass Appeal Entertainment.  22 years removed from Spanish Fly, “Lisa Lisa” still makes music that entices its listeners to move and groove from “Head to Toe.”

Upon the release of Life ‘N Love, Lisa Velez managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Breakdancing, Jellybean Benitez, and the origin of her stage name, “Lisa Lisa.”

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Chrisette Michele

Date of Interview: 05/18/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

For years, the national media has asserted that the music of Chrisette Michele respectfully invokes the spirit of Billie Holiday.  And like Billie, her distinct vocals have made her musical performances distinguishable from her industry peers.

Although Chrisette Michele’s talents were undeniable, her debut album stalled at #29 on the Billboard 200 chart, with 26,000 copies sold during the opening week.  The strength of I Am resonated with music lovers across the globe, however, and the album would eventually attain gold certification from the RIAA and receive back-to-back GRAMMY nominations in 2008 and 2009: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (for “If I Had My Way”) and Best Urban/Alternative Performance (for “Be OK”).

After her GRAMMY win in 2009, the stars aligned upon the release of Epiphany, her sophomore record.  The groundswell of public support and her massive “underground” following propelled Epiphany into the #1 spot—taking the industry (and Chrisette) by surprise!

As Chrisette Michele embarked on a promotional tour for Epiphany, she managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on “Porcelain Doll,” Billie Holiday, and her recording experience with Ne-Yo.

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Oleta Adams

Date of Interview: 05/15/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

The music of Oleta Adams defies categorization.  Even her four GRAMMY nominations cut across multiple genres—showcasing her artistic versatility and inherent individuality.

Although “Get Here” is her biggest popular hit in the United States, she has developed a substantial following in Europe, where eleven of her songs charted on the UK Singles Chart.  And over the past two decades, Oleta Adams has amassed an international following, whose dedication draws strength and fixation from her warm vocals and passionate spirit.

Whether singing jazz, Gospel or R&B, Oleta Adams has the power to connect with her fans through the raw emotion underlying her personal—yet universal—lyrics.  Her latest album, Let’s Stay Here stands as the eighth of her long, illustrious career.

Upon the release of Let’s Stay Here, Oleta Adams managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on her European success, marketing challenges, and “Picture You the Way that I Do.”

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Ciara

Date of Interview: 05/12/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Since 2004, Ciara has amassed 11 top ten singles on Billboard’s R&B charts: “Goodies,” “1, 2 Step,” “Oh,” “Like You,” “Lose Control,” “So What,” “Promise,” “Get Up,” “Like a Boy,” “Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone” and “Never Ever.”  Such plentiful successes tend to overshadow the fact that Ciara has accomplished a great deal in less than five years.  At the age of 23, one thing is for certain: her career is just beginning.

An all-around entertainer, Ciara’s talents are famously known for extending beyond the studio and spilling onto the dance floor.  Although the “First Lady of Crunk & B” is oft-compared to Janet Jackson, her musical icon, Ciara’s music videos are memorable for their high-energy performances, which tend to showcase elaborate displays of her strength and flexibility.  With Ciara’s creativity, music lovers will always be entertained.

In the midst of preparation for Fantasy Ride’s promotional tour, Ciara managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Missy Elliot, Japan’s embracement of “Go Girl,” and the origins of her “Super C” persona.

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Ziggy Marley

Date of Interview: 05/11/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

As the son of reggae’s best-known and best-selling artist, it should come as no surprise that Ziggy Marley’s life has been transformed and inspired by the power of music.

Between 1986 and 2000, Ziggy served as the leader of the Melody Makers, a genre-defying musical group that included three of his Marley siblings: Stephen, Sharon and Cedella.  Together, the collective would garner 3 GRAMMY Awards over the course of their celebrated career: back-to-back wins in 1988 and 1989 for “Best Reggae Recording”—following the international success attained from Conscious Party and One Bright Day—and a “Best Reggae Album” win in 1997 for Fallen Is Babylon.  Several years later, with the release of Dragonfly (2003), Ziggy would embark upon a solo career.

After the GRAMMY-winning success of Love Is My Religion (2006), Ziggy Marley’s sophomore solo set, the artist shifted his creative gears and used his celebrity to focus attention on “the future”—the children of Jamaica and beyond.  Upon review of Family Time, his third solo album, Ziggy Marley managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on the work of his father, Bob Marley, his professional relationship with Jamie Lee Curtis, and the experience of recording with his daughter, Judah.

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GLC

Date of Interview: 05/04/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

When GLC made his first mainstream appearance on Kanye West’s “Spaceship,” scores of casual hip hop fans found themselves frenetically asking: “Who exactly is this guy?”  And after re-appearing—two years later—on “Drive Slow,” Late Registration’s critically-acclaimed single, music lovers of all stripes found themselves clamoring to hear more of the Chicago native’s talents.

GLC’s immediate thrust into the public spotlight serves as a gentle reminder that there is no such thing as luck.  By all accounts, his life story and eventual success prove that “luck,” if anything, is simply the result of prior preparation that has been given the opportunity to present itself.  And once given the chance, GLC took off running and never looked back.

After the release of several dazzling mixtape offerings, XXL named GLC as the biggest Chicago artist in May 2008—increasing the rapper’s profile and national buzz for his long-awaited debut.  In anticipation of G.O.O.D. Music’s release of Love, Life & Loyalty, GLC managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on “Big Screen,” the origin of his stage name, and Chicago’s alarming homicide rate.

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Izza Kizza

Date of Interview: 05/01/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

It should come as no surprise that the eclectic versatility of Izza Kizza’s style has generated widespread comparisons to fellow rapper Missy Elliott.  And while his first two mixtapes deviate from the standard hip hop fare, both Kizzaland (2008) and The Wizard of Iz (2009) are welcome “breaths of fresh air,” as the music industry continues to churn out countless numbers of stale artists.  Thus, Izza Kizza’s charisma and witty lyrics are simply added bonuses, which conspire to make his work all the more memorable.

Upon review of The Wizard of Iz, Izza Kizza managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Timbaland, the digital mixtape movement, and the inspiration taken from L. Frank Baum’s classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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