Archive for September, 2009

Carmen Reece

Date of Interview: 09/29/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

History is always forged in an unpredictable fashion.  The expected always comes unexpectedly, unless we use hindsight of course.  And in the case of Carmen Reece, the stars are aligning to crown her as “Diva 2.0.”

With the rapid ascent of her debut single, “Right Here,” towards the top of Billboard’s Top 40 Dance Airplay Chart, Carmen Reece became the first artist in history to have an introductory single reach the #3 spot in only two weeks.  And with the backing of her manager Mark Feist, whose previous work includes Beyonce, Celine Dion, and Natalie Cole, Reece is laying the perfect foundation for what appears to be a long-standing career.

Upon the release of Love in Stereo, Carmen Reece and Mark Feist managed to squeeze some time out of their busy schedules and settle down for a conversation with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Carmen’s move to the U.S., the success of “Right Here,” and the musical bonds the two share.

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Marques Houston

Date of Interview: 09/29/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Over the past two decades, America has watched Marques Houston grow-up in the public spotlight.  And as he transitioned from childhood to adulthood, his passion for music never faded and his hunger for success only grew stronger.  With ten albums to his credit, as a solo and group artist, there should be no doubt that Marques Houston is an industry veteran, even if he is only 28 years old.

While preparing for a string of shows in Frankfurt, Germany, Marques Houston managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Michael Jackson, “Express Lane,” and his new company, MusicWorks Entertainment.

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B.o.B.

Date of Interview: 09/28/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Bobby Ray Simmons—better known as B.o.B—is an up-and-coming artist on T.I.’s Grand Hustle label.  Over the past three years, he has made guest appearances on nearly 30 album tracks and released five mixtapes of his own: Cloud 9 (2007), Hi! My Name Is B.o.B (2008), The Future (2008), Who The F#*k Is B.o.B? (2008) and B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray (2009). The Adventures of B.o.B, his highly-anticipated major label debut, will be released on Atlantic Records in 2010.

Although Bobby Ray’s music hasn’t hit the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores, his underground fame landed him on the covers of XXL—as a member of “Hip-Hop’s Class of ’09—and Vibe, which generated significant buzz about his alternative approach to hip-hop music.  On Friday, October 23, 2009, he kicked off his third tour, as a supporting act for the rock band Blue October.

While on the road with his previous tour mate, Shwayze, Bobby Ray managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on his eclectic tastes, the production lessons he learned from Jim Jonsin, and the reason why Atlanta was the perfect place to grow and develop as an artist.

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Jade Jenise Dixon

Date of Interview: 09/25/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Jade Jenise Dixon is the owner of Stepping Stone Productions, LLC, and Utopia Films, Inc.  She is also an actress, producer, director, writer, and casting director.

Dixon’s latest work, Truth Hall, has garnered eight film festival wins and nominations, including a “Best Director” win at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City, in addition to a “Best Director – First Feature” Award at the Pan-African Film Festival.  A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Jade Jenise Dixon’s work has been compared to that of Spike Lee, a fellow NYU alumnus.

Upon the commercial release of Truth Hall, Jade Jenise Dixon managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on the early influence of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 stageplay For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, the current climate for female African-American directors, and the need for film to address overlooked social issues.

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Ester Dean

Date of Interview: 09/18/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Ester Dean is the mastermind behind some of 2009’s memorable R&B songs: “The One” (Mary J. Blige), “Never Ever” (Ciara), “Make Me Over” (Keyshia Cole), and “Make Love” (Keri Hilson).  And as she transitioned into becoming a performer in her own right, her debut video, “Drop It Low,” generated over one million views on YouTube.  The energetic, care-free party track features an introduction from Lebron James, due to its inclusion on the More Than a Game soundtrack, as well as cameos from Chris Brown, Keri Hilson. SouljaBoy Tell ‘Em, Nelly and a host of other artists.

As the protégé of super-producer Polow da Don, expectations are running high for Ester Dean, whose debut album is set for release in 2010 under the Zone 4 imprint.  During a promotional radio tour for More Than a Game, Ester Dean managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Mary J. Blige, “Stronger,” and her humble beginnings in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

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Claude Kelly

Date of Interview: 09/14/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Although a talented singer, Claude Kelly has been nicknamed the “Studio Beast” for good reason.  His songwriting credits include: “My Life Would Suck Without You” (Kelly Clarkson), “Party in the USA” (Miley Cyrus), “Forgive Me” (Leona Lewis), “Blame It On Me” (Chrisette Michele), “Like I Never Left” (Whitney Houston), and “Circus” (Britney Spears).

The diverse roster of Claude Kelly’s discography shines as a testament to his ability to write across multiple genres.  More amazing, however, is the fact that in seven short years, Kelly has transitioned from being a college grad into the music industry’s hottest musical wunderkind.  Even so, Claude Kelly was gracious enough to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Whitney Houston, his quest for musical diversity, and his mother’s lasting influence.

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Meshell Ndegeocello

Date of Interview: 09/11/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

As the spark that lit the neo-soul movement, Meshell Ndegeocello is the true definition of the word “artist.”  Defying musical categorization and societal archetypes for women and femininity, Meshell has blazed her own trail in an industry known for its “cookie-cutter” sensibilities.

With 10 GRAMMY nominations under her belt, few artists can attest to have attained such widespread and long-term critical acclaim.  And even fewer have brazenly fused together the myriad of stylistic variations between the worlds of funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, R&B, rock, and jazz.

Upon the release of Devil’s Halo, Meshell Ndegeocello managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Prince, “Bright, Shiny Morning,” and a few concerns for President Obama to consider.

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