Musiq Soulchild Interview
|Next Project:||On My Radio (Out 12/9)|
|Twitter:||Musiq Soulchild on Twitter|
|Website:||Musiq Soulchild's Website|
Setting one’s sights higher and higher with each release is a must for any artist who wants to build a long career and leave an enduring legacy. Take Musiq Soulchild, for example: in under a decade, the Philadelphia native has gone from just wanting to sing to requesting that his audience Juslisen, before establishing himself as a bona fide Soulstar.
Not content to rest on his laurels, Musiq is now preparing for the December 9th drop date of his fifth full-length, the follow-up to last year’s Luvanmusiq. The forthcoming On My Radio, the singer’s second Atlantic Records release, finds Musiq ready to break new musical ground and present long-time listeners with a cornucopia of diverse sounds, an approach exemplified by the two radically different album cuts we’ve featured thus far: first official single “Radio,” whose club-ready swagger surprised many of the singer’s devotees, and the laid-back, soulful Mary J. Blige collaboration, “Ifyouleave.”
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Musiq steps inside the booth to talk about the need for musical evolution in the often-stale scene of today, why the compilers of the tentative On My Radio tracklist drifting around the Internet need to get their facts straight, and his newfound determination to collaborate with any and all artists in the game.
Listen to the Interview
Musiq Soulchild Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an Illadelph singer who is planning to tune us into his Radio on December the 9th. Please welcome a man who doesn’t believe in using a spacebar, Musiq Soulchild – how are you?
Musiq: Hey, what’s happenin’, man? I’m good.
DJ Booth: Thank you for joining me inside the DJ Booth.
Musiq: No problem, man. Thanks for having me. What’s going on?
DJ Booth: What’s going on is you have a new project coming out, but before we get into that, let’s backtrack for a second. You titled your debut album Aijuswanaseing (I Just Want to Sing), so, nearly, eight full years later, Musiq, is it safe to say that you’ve accomplished so much more than just that?
Musiq: Yeah, definitely. I’ve released three other projects, I’ve had some very, very successful singles, I can do shows, even when I don’t have an album out, that will consist of my core audience, which is a lot of people – that I’m really grateful for. I’m just honored that I have a career that always does me good, and I’m doing something that people love and care about musically. Yeah, I like to think that I’ve done a lot.
DJ Booth: “On My Radio” is going to be your fifth studio album this decade. Does that statement amaze you, or did you expect to be five albums deep only eight years into your professional career?
Musiq: No, I didn’t necessarily expect that, however I did make an attempt, or I did intend to put out as much music as I possibly could at any given time. It wouldn’t have surprised me if I put out more than that in 10 years, ‘cause I just have a whole lot of music that I’d like to put out. I’m always inspired, however I had to learn that the music industry has their own schedule of doin’ things, you know? So I had to live by that.
DJ Booth: The current single off the album, Musiq, is “Ifyouleave,” featuring Mary J. Blige. Members of our site describe the song using words like, “real,” “smooth,” “flawless,” and, “classic,” so what words would you use to describe the record?
Musiq: Those sound good to me! I’m gonna roll with those there.
DJ Booth: They are pretty good. Overall, let’s take it up a notch – what words would you use to describe the entire new project, and how it differs from the four projects that everyone knows you for.
Musiq: I would describe [it] as creative, innovative, forward-thinking. My intention with this project is to push things forward, get out of doin’ the same thing over and over and over again. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to discredit anything that’s out there, but there’s so much more to do that I think is not being done. I don’t mean to imply that I have all the answers or anything like that, because I don’t. All I can do is recognize what’s not being done or recognize the gaps that are out there, and do my best to fill them up the way I know how, so I can contribute to an alternative to consumer music rather than just expecting the same stuff all the time.
DJ Booth: You’re absolutely right, and your answer actually is going to inspire me to jump forward and move into our “Ask Musiq a Question” segment. We let readers submit questions, the first of which comes courtesy of Pennsylvania native, like yourself, Josh. Josh wrote, “Will On My Radio have a more laid-back, R&B vibe – i.e. the new single – or a more club feel, in the vein of your initial buzz record, ‘Radio?’”
Musiq: It’s gonna have a bunch of different things. I don’t think that it’s safe to say that it’s gonna have an overly romantic vibe or an overly club vibe. There’s just a lot of elements going on on this project, because I figured, people listen to so many different types of music, and I wanted to contribute to that idea that, especially in the wake of the Internet’s effects on the music industry, that people are exposed to so many different styles of music, so why would someone want to spend their money on an album that had 12 to 15 songs, or whatever the case may be, same vibe, when they can put together their own playlist of songs from different genres. If you [left] it up to me, that’s what I would do: I would have different songs from different genres: some that contribute to hip hop, R&B, jazz, I guess, one to blues, one to gospel, one to rock – whatever. You run the risk of confusing people, as far as what you come to do, and what you come to give musically.
DJ Booth: Our next question comes from Justin of St. Louis, Missouri. Justin wants to know, “How have you gone about prioritizing the evolution of your music?”
Musiq: Like I mentioned earlier, I think true artistry promotes progress. Redundancy doesn’t infuse new life into your artwork. I’m not the type of person who thrives off of redundancy; I thrive off of progress. I’ve maintained a certain pace through my career so far because I know that there’s people out there who might be shocked by the leaps that I could have taken in the name of being progressive, so I’ve honored that, but I’ve gotten to the point, also, that I feel as though I’ve accumulated enough of a core audience that they’ll be willing to go further with me. The reason why I chose, that sound, on “Radio,” the Atlanta crunk rap bass music, is because that’s the kind of music that I hear on the radio a lot – a lot of people were listening to that.
DJ Booth: Is there ever a worry that, in the process of trying to appeal to a broader fanbase, you might abandon you loyalists, who have followed you throughout your career?
Musiq: The thing about that is, if you say that you’re loyal, then you’ll be willing to follow me, whatever I do.
DJ Booth: That’s very true.
Musiq: But I don’t have a worry, I don’t have a fear. Not to be overconfident, not to sound cocky, but this is what I do every day. I take what I do pretty seriously, and so when I do it, I put a lot of thought and work into it, and consideration, not just my own feelings about music and making music for myself; I can make music for myself somewhere else, but what I do, I do it for the people – whoever’s willing to listen, whoever’s willing to invest in it. I want my core audience to be the world – anybody who’s willing to listen, you know?
DJ Booth: Well, you’ve certainly walked that fine line, but I must say, you’re doing a great job at it.
Musiq: Appreciate that.
DJ Booth: My pleasure. Musiq, in a decade full of collaboration between artists, less than a handful have actually been able to etch their name into your liner notes. Is there a particular reason why you’ve chosen to stray away from featuring guest artists?
Musiq: Well, it started out as, I didn’t think I was a big enough name to be paired up with certain people, and then it became a factor of politics and timing. Now, I’m making it my personal business to make things happen, so definitely look forward to more collaborations in the future.
DJ Booth: I read an unconfirmed tracklisting, which you are going to confirm in a second, that includes a record entitled “Outtamymind,” featuring Kanye West and Shawty Lo. Does this track indeed exist?
Musiq: No, it doesn’t.
DJ Booth: Okay, good. What are some collaborations, though, that we can look forward to on the new project?
Musiq: You already know about the Mary J. Blige collaboration. I also did a collaboration with Damien “Junior Gong” Marley, on a song entitled “I Wanna Be.” I’m really excited about that one, and it’s on the new album.
DJ Booth: Is there anybody that you wanted to collaborate with, maybe not just now but in the past, who you have yet to get into a studio with?
Musiq: Man, that list is way too long!
DJ Booth: Who would be at the top of that list? Give me a top three.
Musiq: I really can’t do that. I haven’t really categorized it or prioritized it in any particular way, it’s really anybody…
DJ Booth: Most of the industry is waiting on pins and needles for you to reveal one name, just one name?
Musiq: I mean, you name somebody and I’m sure I’ll agree.
DJ Booth: Anybody… okay, let’s go with…
Musiq: [laughs] It’s not so easy!
DJ Booth: No, it’s not so easy, but you know what? It’s your job to make it easier on me, so you’re making things difficult.
Musiq: Really? [laughs]
DJ Booth: No, I’m just playin’ with you. [laughs] Musiq, I was checking out your MySpace page, and you filled out one of those nifty little tell-all surveys. And under the “Goal you would like to achieve this year,” category, you wrote, “to start my own record label.” So, we have a couple months left of 2008 – what is the status on that goal achievement?
Musiq: I already have ideas, and I’ve implemented them to the label. It’s just a matter of sitting down and really talking about it to make it official, goin’ over some papers with my attorney and things like than. But it’s definitely in the works, especially because I have a whole lot of people I would love to represent, and help them achieve their goals and dreams in music, and bring them to the world.
DJ Booth: Does the starting of a record label for you indicate that in the near future, you might go about your business independently?
Musiq: I’m really just doin’ this to help other artists get on, and, plus, I have other parts of my career, abilities that I would love to exercise. But as of now it’s unconfirmed, to be determined by whatever transpires in the future.
DJ Booth: Is there a name that you’ve already selected for the label?
Musiq: Yeah. As of now, I’m goin’ with Soulstar Records.
DJ Booth: Soulstar Records, I like that.
Musiq: Thank you.
DJ Booth: Musiq, I’m so happy that you have another album on the horizon, and I know all your fans are as well. Give everybody a website or a MySpace page, so everyone can check out more about you.
Musiq: You can check out myspace.com/musiqsoulchild.
DJ Booth: Thank you so much for takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth. The best of luck.
Musiq: Thanks, I appreciate it, man.