My father once brought me to this piece of land in downtown Houston…. He said he was building a compound there for his record label along with a studio for me to write and record my music. When I looked at this city block all I could see was this empty lot with an old plantation home in a homeless and drug infested area, but he had a vision and a dream that he held onto and made into reality. This location is now the headquarters for a project he started in the spare bedroom of my childhood home. The name of the street is Hadley St. and this is indeed where I started the making of my album. It was an eye opener and an evolution for me as an artist. I felt the bravery in making music that inspired me and started to pull out my old records of Shuggie Otis, Marvin Gaye, and Otis Redding – artists that had messages and melodies that spoke to me. I experimented with the Soul of that type of music by adding subtle electronic influences I picked up along the way from traveling and spending so much time in London and France. I decided lyrically that I would tell my story, with hopes to inspire and most importantly spare no punches in holding back.
If I had to describe the sound of my record, I would like to think that it is as if The Supremes, The Marvelettes, Dusty Springfield and Minnie Riperton were to make the music they did in the 60’s and 70’s now with a modern touch.I reached out to producers I felt like could capture this sound right on, but it definitely didn’t come without a lot of persistency. Because of my past associations and ties people tend to cast me away easily. It was so important to actually play the music for these producers and not go the traditional way. I reached out numerous times through managers and agents but it wasn’t until the producers actually heard my new music that they wanted to be apart of it, and I understood that. I ran into Cee-Lo in a club and begged him to come and listen to the album in the car after the club, and from there he was on board. We wrote and recorded “T.O.N.Y” and “Sandcastle Disco” that next week. Producer Jack Slash who produced three 3 songs on the album (“T.O.N.Y.,” “Would’ve Been The One,” and an “Ode To Marvin“), captured the sound I envisioned right on.
By the end of the project, all of the producers and artist I had ever dreamed of working with such as Q-Tip, Pharrell, Raphael Saddiq, Boards Of Canada and Mark Ronson contributed to the album. When I got a call saying the legendary Lamont Dozier would take the time out to write with little old me I was ecstatic beyond words. He is probably the single most influential person that worked on this album! When hearing this album, I hope the listener is taken back to a time when music was melodic, sweet, and soulful. When music was less provocative and came from a place of inspiration and storytelling. I hope to have followers with an intelligent ear and that are willing to take risk.