She Is Focused

June 4, 2009

Music For The Soul

Filed under: Get To Know,Interviews — Felicia @ 10:47 pm

Having worked on hits for everyone from Diddy, Cheri Dennis, Missy Elliott and others, Jersey’s own Soul Diggaz, show no signs of slowing down. Soul DiggazThe guys sat down to discuss signing a production deal with Missy rather than Diddy, how technology doesn’t always help when working with an artist and why Donnie Klang’s first album lacked potential.

Tell me about the early beginnings of your career.

Bless: I guess it’s the same as everybody else going door-to-door trying to get people to hear our music. Actually when we first started off, we had a few different friends who were already in the music business that introduced us to certain things. Then we were going from meeting-to-meeting then the name started spreading. So everybody was starting to talk about Soul Diggaz in the right way, then it went from us knocking on doors to people knocking on our door.

K-Mack: It was a learning experience really trying to understand what goes with what and who goes with who. Trying to figure out how to get in the doors and what mistakes not to make which we made a lot.

Tell me about your deal with Missy Elliott.

K-Mack: Corte Ellis, an artist we brought in to write songs, is actually Missy’s first cousin, she heard one of our demos and wanted us to come meet with her. We did the meeting on the “Work It” video set and we got signed a couple weeks later. Then the Mosley Music deal a little later when Izza Kizza from Valdosta, GA had a song that Timbaland caught wind of. And he thought the guy was so incredible that he wanted to sign him so we did an imprint deal with Mosley Music. 

Wasn’t there some type of rift between Puffy and Missy wanting to sign you?

K-Mack: I wouldn’t exactly call it a rift, I just pretty much call it a decision where Puff wanted to sign us at the time and so did Missy. But at the time we thought that Diddy was going through so much stuff with JLo and the shooting, and all this stuff so we pretty much decided to go with Missy cause she was a songwriter and Puff was a producer, so it was better that we hooked up with a songwriter since we were producers as well.

You guys produced a long list of records, I’m just gonna mention a few of them and I want you to tell me the concept behind that record starting with your first placement:

Pras – “Ghetto Superstar”

Bless: Well with Pras it was a great experience because that was one of the biggest checks we got at that time. It was a dope experience because we knew the Fugees from Jersey and it was really fun being in the studio. That was like one of the main beginnings for us.

K-Mack: it was like a motivation to look at a check and be like “oh wow our first big check. Like damn we can get checks like these? All we have to do is a beat?” So that was a motivational check.

Cheri Dennis – “Portrait Of Love”

K-Mack: What was so crazy about “Portrait Of Love”, a lot of people thought we sampled that track. And its funny because the night before I started on it and my brother jumped in on the record. I was watching Purple Rain, and you know how the DVD just repeats, and I think it was “Darling Nikki”, and that kinda inspired that whole sound. Cheri we knew her when she first got her deal in 2001, and we kept in touch with her since back then.

Keyshia Cole – “Let It Go”

K-Mack: The record was actually for Fantasia at first. Keyshia wanted to change the writing and write her own version. It was cool. Keyshia you know, hood, lights out, slippers, loud. Her and Missy girl-talking; it was a good experience being in the studio with those two. And then Missy said she wanted to put Lil Kim on it because Biggie used the same sample on “Juicy”.

Where there any records you’ve created, that you really felt like ‘ok, this is gonna take off’ and it was a complete miss?

K-Mack: I got one. Donnie from “Making The Band”. We thought the record was a big club record. The record called “Take You There” featuring Puff. The reaction in the clubs was ridiculous. But I think they put the record out too late. When Day 26 and Danity Kane first came out in the spring, they came out back-to-back. Donnie came out in the fall when the “Making The Band” hype was starting to fizzle down. And I think they put the record out at the wrong time. They should have put it out during the hype. It was a big club record but it didn’t catch on radio.

Bless: Certain places like in Ohio where my man was Deejaying, they said when that record would come on everybody would go crazy in the clubs, but it was just like she needed more of a broader promotion for that. That’s why sometimes if the artists don’t get the right branding or promotion the record suffers.

Where there any records or artists you passed on working with, and they turned out to be pretty big projects?

Bless: Nelly. We didn’t necessarily pass on it like no I’m not making it, but it was more or less a situation where somebody played us his stuff and we were working on another project at the time and we were gonna get to it. “Country Grammar” song came out so fast and it was just like damn we could have been on it.

K-Mack: We worked on Jazmin Sullivan’s first album. She was signed to Jive at the time. It was a great album but I guess they didn’t know how to promote or market her so she switched labels. We didn’t get on this album because they did it really quick, but we were on the last album.

What would you say was the most difficult or challenging album you’ve worked on?

K-Mack: Missy. Her album could be in one direction and then in the morning it could be in a whole new direction. We could do like 20 songs with her and then she scrap them all and wake up the next day and say she wants all new beats.

Bless: You could work with her for a whole month then she’ll says she wants all new beats. But she’s so great at what she does we just go with the flow.

What are you guys working on right now?

Bless: Right now we got an imprint label situation with Atlantic Records.

K-Mack: Called Soul Diggaz Rocks, we got an imprint on SRC; a partnership with Steve Ripken. Working on Puff’s album called The Last Train To Paris, we got two records there. 3 records on Missy’s new album, 2 on Cassie’s album, also working on a couple new artists.

What kind of impression do you hope to leave behind when you guys decide to call it quits?

Bless: I think that the legacy to leave behind is that we’re still going. Like how Berry Gordy left Motown but Motown is still going and still had a lot of success after him. We want to have Soul Diggaz the same way. Not like we’re gonna leave Soul Diggaz, but have it where the success level will have every generation will get new and exciting music that will change their lives.


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