TheNeptunes.Org Interviews Sierra Swan
The wonderful miss Sierra Swan has taken time out to give TheNeptunes.Org an exclusive interview about herself, Chad Hugo and her upcoming album “Queen Of The Valley”, So without any further ado we introduce Sierra Swan.
Aaron: Hey Sierra, How are you?
Sierra: very good thank you
A: For those who may be unfamiliar with you, give yourself a brief introduction
S: Well my name is Sierra Swan and I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles and I started my musical journey when I was 18, when I was in a band called “Dollshead” with Graham Edwards. I went solo a few years later and that is when I got signed to Atlantic and met producers such as Chad Hugo, Linda Perry, Howard Benson, Scott Cutler and Anne Previn. I did a record for Atlantic called “Queen of the Valley” which will be released under my label Swan World Records due to the fact that I was dropped but asked for my masters. Thank God they gave them to me. I did do a record on Interscope which was called “Ladyland” I guess you can say “Queen of the Valley” is my prequel to “Ladyland”.
A: Your music has been described as “beautiful, erotic, mesmerizing and captivating”, yet you have been quoted as saying that when you were younger you wanted to play basketball instead of music. What changed your mind and really got you interested in pursuing it as a career?
S: I guess I just grew up and realized that woman can’t really do that particular occupation in the caliber that men do and so I was like “fuck that” pretty much, although it’s not that much different in music I came to realize
A: What music were you listening to when creating this album (Queen of the valley)?
S: I pretty much based the vibe of the record on a vibe, which is just a fun interesting record. I have always listened to a lot of Prince, Oingo Boingo, and Depeche Mode. Things that may be a little dark but with very colorful overtones and textures. Oingo Boingo is my current obsession.
A: You’re known for your natural ability to sculpt beautiful heartfelt songs. How does working with a producer differ from creating a song alone, by yourself?
S: A good producer never takes away your vibe they simply give it more edges where it needs more edges and smooths out things that may be unnecessarily sharp. You must trust your producer or you are in for a hell of an emotionally rough musical journey. If you are frustrated more than you think you should then move on and find someone you vibe with or do it on your own.
A: On “Queen Of The Valley” you have once again worked with some great musicians. Perhaps most intriguingly is your choice to work with Chad Hugo of “The Neptunes”, who is famously known for his work in hiphop. What made you want to take a risk and work with him?
S: Well Chad Hugo is not a risk there is something about that guy that just knows what a certain artist needs to do or where they should go musically. There were of course a couple moments where we did not agree but that is not a bad thing. At the end of the day we were both happy with the outcome. Chad I think in the future is going to do a lot of other things that steps outside of hip hop. I love him…
A: The general public doesn’t get to see a lot of Chad, perhaps you can clear some things up for us. what is he like as a person? and how was he to work with?
S: Chad has a family and loves being in the studio. He is just simply more comfortable with his machines. He is extremely child like and fun in the studio. He works on complete instinct and I felt like I could have hung out with him in high school and geeked out about music while eating lunch in the cafeteria. If I get that vibe from anyone we are going to be great friends.
A: The Neptunes are recognized for pushing boundaries and taking artists in new directions. Did Chad push you or challenge you in any way?
S: Chad totally pushed me. He would like insinuate ideas that I may have not thought of or given a chance but he forced me to try a lot harder lyrically and all of the above.
A: How did he help develop your particular style into this album? and vice versa, how did you pursuade one of The Neptunes come up with some crazy rock-based music?
We both agreed to do something with great beats and a great melody. We tried to do like what Blondie would sound like now. Not sure if that’s what we succeeded to do but sounds good to me.
A: It sounds good to me too. I think you guys made a great team and the music has a really distinct feel. It’s different from anything either of you have done before. Will there be any future collaborations between the two of you?
S: Honestly I hope so, I have not spoken with him in awhile BUT life is weird that way so I would not doubt it
A: Are there any other people you’ve worked with for this album who you’d like to mention?
S: Well I have to say Anne Previn, Scott Cutler and Jeff Turzo are people that deserve a lot of credit for this record because it started with them. They began the process of this record for me so their influence is immense and they should be credited for the inspiration.
A: You have some very interesting dark, yet beautiful and melancholic songs on your latest release, “Coward – EP” (available on iTunes).What can we expect from your new album?
S: Well I am not sure if you are referring to “Queen of the Valley” or the actual next one being “Girl Who Cried Wolf“. If you are referring to “Queen of the Valley” I would say a lot of surprises BUT if you are talking about “Girl Who Cried Wolf” a mixture between the two. A VERY SATISFYING MIXTURE.
A: In the past you have been fortunate enough to work with some true icons, you’ve collaborated with a wide range of musicians, from Ringo Starr to Linda Perry. How was it being around such legendary artists?
S: Well Linda Perry is like family to me although there are moments when I look at her and feel like “shit I am feeling way to comfortable around a fucking genius” I feel blessed every moment I spend with that woman. Ringo Starr was the biggest trip of my life! I would have moments touring with him where we would be just chatting and out of nowhere I would catch myself saying in my head “this is a fucking Beatle!” It was like talking to a cartoon BUT honestly that man is so unaffected by his past. He is a husband and a father first and foremost and he taught me so much about humility. This is a person that is a LEGEND and treats everyone around him with the utmost respect. I admire him so much.
A: Has working with them effected your approach to the new album, “Queen Of The Valley” ?
S: Yes and no because I have simply learned through all of my experiences with these wonderful artist that if you stick to your artistic intention and let nothing get in the way the people will come. I say no because I always thought this way but I doubted it cause I would get so insecure and through my experience with these great artists I felt real evidence of that so I guess what I am trying to say to anyone who reads this is DON’T DOUBT YOURSELF…EVER!
A: What are your plans after the release of this album?
S: Well I have plans to do a documentary with a very talented artist named Carina Round. We want to do a tour together as unsigned artist throughout the U.S. in random bars and clubs. We will be traveling in my truck with two other women who will be filming the trip and their names are Kristin Burns and Rani Demuth. We want to capture what it really looks like to be on the road without a label and doing it for the love of music and that’s it.
A:. Is there anything else you would like to say to the people out there?
I guess forgive and forget and love everyone around you to the fullest of your capability.
A: thankyou for talking with us…
S:Thank you for your wonderful questions…xo Swan
If you want to show Sierra some love then check out:
N¤E¤R¤D are set to release a feature film about their journey from the recording studio to live performances. The film, scheduled for a December 2008 release, has been directed by none other than famed Hip Hop video connoisseur Hype Williams. Pharrell revealed all on whilst being interviewed by Angie Martinez on New York radio station Hot 97 “The movie is going to be like The Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night… It’s a full length film. It’s for our fans.” Hype, aka Harold, has worked with almost everybody in hip-hop; from the Notorious B.I.G. to Kanye West, Jay-Z to LL Cool J and is also responsible for N¤E¤R¤D’s Rock Star video.
Check out this interview by Common where he is talking about his upcoming album “Invincible Summer” and his first single produced by The Neptunes “Universal Mind Control (U.M.C.)” (Due End Of May).
P: You’re shooting to release Invincible Summer in July, right? What have you been listening to as inspiration during this recording process?
C: Yeah, mid-July, but I’m striving for June. If I tried to talk about hip-hop, I’d be making up some names. I don’t know what’s happening in rap. But I have been listening to Radiohead’s Kid A, Voodoo by D’Angelo, I still listen to that album a lot. I’ve been listening to my music of course, and N¤E¤R¤D
P: I see you’ve only worked with Outkast producer Mr. DJ and The Neptunes on this LP, no Kanye?
C: Kanye was focusing on his “Glow In The Dark” show, so he wasn’t able to get into the studio. But Invincible worked out well, organically. Mr. DJ and The Neptunes gave me a fresh sound. Whatever producer I work with I’ll say “hey, I want to go there” and sometimes they’ll go left, sometimes they’ll go right and sometimes it’s some shit I never expected. With Pharrell and Chad, The Neptunes, they’ve been able to stretch out with me, like “Universal Mind Control (U.M.C.)” doesn’t sound like a Neptunes’ track.
“Universal Mind Control (U.M.C.)”
“choptstick drums, fast rhymes, “this is that new shit…some pop some lock, chics hypnotic…dance to melodic technotronic beats…take off they clothes to”…”you know you like it, its calling your name.” Layered, flute, rising electro keys. ehn.
“What A World” feat. Chester French
“stabbing drums, ting tings w/ can, fuzzy “EH!!!” Cheers-what a world repeated 2x on chorus, he’s rapping like Whodini ala “freaks come out at night”, bouncy guitar, electronic keys, futuristic “ehown-sounding” key on the off beat, “you ain’t make no hit song he tells himself you gotta do what you do.” Make the song stop please. Common tells us this song is “about my evolution but I wanted to do it in an uplifting way. I usually be able to break down the lyrics but this time, just “booties pop it, coochies drop it.” he laughs, we do too, but only out of politeness.
Common – Invincible Summer (June 24)
- Universal Mind Control (U.M.C.) (Neptunes)
– Make My Day feat. Cee-Lo
– Punch Love
– What A World feat. Chester French
– Party Shit
– Runaway feat. Santogold
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the iconic shoe brand, Converse has brought together Pharrell, Julian Casablancas, Santogold and N¤E¤R¤D to create an original full length track. The song will be made available to the world as a free online download. The collaboration came together when Pharrell and Julian sat down to discuss ideas in New York. After Julian was on board, Pharrell saw Santogold at SXSW for the first time and thought she would be a perfect fit. Santi recorded with Pharrell in Miami. Julian recorded with Pharrell in Miami after Santogold & then again in L.A.
“Everybody on it does their own separate thing and we didn’t do it together so it ends up being just this weird long song with sort of everybody with lots of their own personalities separate.”Pitchfork heard the track today, and we have to say that her description is quite spot-on. Over a bouncy rhythm indebted to old school soul, the three take turns singing verses that seem to have little to do with one another, and absolutely nothing to do with Converse or shoes in general. It sounds like a less shiny, more downtown version of the Timbaland/Justin Timberlake/Nelly Furtado Jam “Give It to Me”, complete with silly disses of unidentified targets (“I find your approach so adolescent / I may look young, but your game is pre-pubescent,” Santogold sings.)
Pharrell makes the unfortunate decision to try to sing (that has never worked out well in the past), crooning come-ons like “now thank you for coming to my drive-thru.” As usual, Julian sounds like he just woke up, making the line “if you wanna be like us you better work every night” kind of comical. There’s also a part near the end where everybody sings about how they “just wanna dance.” All in all, it should sound just fine in a TV Commercial.
Shoutout to mnkey & wmorefresher.com. Verbal and Wise talk about the birth of the Teriyaki Boyz and how their name was chosen with DJ Semtex. They also discuss working with Pharrell & Kanye, The Zock On! Track being made with buckets, meeting Nigo and basicly a bunch of stuff you probly haven’t really heard from them before, since they do limited interviews.
From Chesters Blog: The song we did with Talib Kweli and Res, “Fall Back,” has been getting play EVERYWHERE! First we were all over the hip hop blogosphere (with notable links on Nah Right, Hip Hop DX, XXL and On Smash) and then we hit the political blogs (with the crowning achievement: a link on the Daily Kos). Then D. A. got a call Sunday afternoon that the video was actually featured on CNN! What the… That’s tremendous. If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out:
“Those are common comparisons because there aren’t a lot of white dudes in this lane. I love Robin Thicke and Justin, they are amazing artists. These records are my perspectives on relationships and I think my style of singing is different. It’s easy to make those comparisons because sonically they sound similar, but what we share is a passion and love for this style of music.”
Once again, the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust members are picking, sorting and battling over their choices for the Top 10 Hottest MCs In The Game. They are considering everyone who has been active from the time of the highly controversial first “Hottest MCs In The Game” — which published in July of last year — up until now. The artists are being judged on lyrics, flow, swagger and overall impact. Here is the list. Clipse didn’t make it to the Top 10.
9. Andre 3000
8. Young Jeezy
7. Lupe Fiasco
6. 50 Cent
5. Snoop Dogg
4. Rick Ross.
3. Lil’ Wayne
1. Kanye West
N¤E¤R¤D – Seeing Sounds (2008) (June 9th) (UK)
01 – Intro / Time For Some Action
02 – Everyone Nose
03 – Windows
04 – Anti Matter
05 – Spaz
06 – Yeah You
07 – Sooner or Later
08 – Happy
09 – Kill Joy
10 – Love Bomb
11 – You Know What
12 – Laugh About It
13 – Lazer Gun
– I Can’t Get It Out My Head
– Gimme A Break feat. Linkin Park
– Untitled feat. The Hives
£8.95 Free Delivery
Pre-Order It NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Robin Thicke is feeling the “Magic” on his new single due May 20th, the first cut from his third studio album due this summer. The R&B singer introduced his soulful sound to the world on the platinum certified album “The Evolution Of Robin Thicke” in 2006. Since then the artist who earned praise for his soulful and classic sound on records like “Can U Believe” and “Wanna Love U Girl” has been working on the follow up album tentatively titled “Something Else,” which the singer reportedly wrote and produced from start to finish.
On “Magic,” the uptempo first single from “Something Else,” (due July 1st) Thicke expands on his sultry, classic R&B sound reminiscent of a “feel good” Marvin Gaye or Isaac Hayes record where Thicke explains “sometimes you feel no hope, I’ve been there across that lonely road.” Celebrating with horns, horns and more horns he croons about that perfect relationship on “Magic” saying – “I can make it alright, I can wake up in paradise. We got that magic girl.” Thicke’s “Magic” is slated for release on May 20th, (Check Out The Single at robin-thicke.net) with “Something Else” due July 1st via StarTrak/Interscope.
Robin Thicke – Something Else (2008) (July 1st)
– Magic (First Single)
– Sidestep (Second Single)
– Dream World
– Sweetest Love
– Mr. Loverman
The girls are working with Timbaland, Ne-Yo, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg, Rodney Jerkins, and Sean Garrett this time around for their sophomore (Untitled Yet) album due this September. Their first single “When I Grow Up” is due May 20th produced by Darkchild. You can check their first single here.
Santogold, the refreshing new artist who sounds like Gwen Stefani reacting to M.I.A., has joined Strokes leader Julian Casablancas and renaissance man Pharrell Williams to record a new song/video/ Converse ad campaign. Santogold says the final product is “such a Pharrell track,” which either means that it’s the R&B smash of the summer or an embarrassing trainwreck with noxious jazz keyboards.
I would think the presence of Mr. Casablancas would edge things towards the latter possibility, but maybe I just don’t have enough faith in Converse.”Julian and I, I mean everybody on it does there own separate thing and we didn’t do it together so it ends up being just this weird long song with sort of everybody with lots of their own personalities separate,” White explained. The singer, who has also shot a video for the song, said she felt that “everybody really represented themselves well on it.”
With it’s American debut April 29, “Hard Candy” sold 100,000 copies on it’s first day of release in the U.S. alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Madonna’s new single, “Give It 2 Me,” will be released in July, along with its music video which will feature Pharrell Williams. Pharrell hearing his excitement about going toe-to-toe on Madonna’s latest album, “Hard Candy,” with his old bandmate and fellow Virginian super-producer Timbaland, his intensity becomes crystal clear.
“I thought I worked hard before, and I did work hard. But I know how to work hard now,” Williams says with a chuckle. “I mean, after I heard Tim’s tracks, I realized a damn-near 50-year-old woman was gonna have the hottest album in the game. It’s insane.”
Check out a preview of Sandman’s Mixtape “Gianormous” at Fader with three Sandman songs.
Sandman – The Gianormous Mixtape (2008)
– I Really Main It
– What You Gonna Do feat. Lil’ Spazz & Housewife
– Footprints In The Sand
– 1-2 1-2 (Ride)
– Back Block Bandits (B.B.B.) feat. Tommy Kaine & Lil’ Spazz
After some musicians such as, Ne-Yo, G-Unit and The Game have their new albums’ release date being pushed back, Nelly is set to join the club. According to new reports, the St. Louis rapper’s upcoming LP “Brass Knuckles” which supposedly set for June 24 release has now been changed to August 19. Rap-Up.com claimed that the decision to push back the new record comes from Nelly’s recording company Universal Records. Unfortunately, there are no more details regarding the reason behind that decision.
Nelly – Brass Knuckles (2008) (August 19th)
- Let It Go feat. Pharrell
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