She Is Focused

March 11, 2010

PJ Morton Talks Secular vs. Sacred

Filed under: Get To Know,Interviews — Felicia @ 12:22 pm

I recently did an interview with producer, singer, songwriter PJ Morton which was featured on RollingOut.com. Our interview was a lot more extensive as I also got background information on his career and some of the artists he’s worked with.

Read my detailed interview with him here:

The long-standing debate over secular versus sacred music and what’s considered acceptable in the church still continues.  Morton is no stranger to this topic because he once faced rejection from the church community over his decision to make the music he enjoyed. The child of gospel music royalty, the Grammy-winning producer, singer-songwriter talks about not limiting his music to one genre, his new album and why he wants his legacy to be about freedom.

For people who aren’t familiar with P.J. Morton, can you give a brief background on your songwriting and production credits?

Well I started in Gospel music when I was 15 and I started to write more and more Gospel music. When I went to College is when I got my mainstream break working with India.Arie on her second record Voyage To India in which I won a Grammy for the album. Then I transitioned and started to work with Jermaine Dupri with Monica, Jagged Edge, LL Cool J. after I worked with J.D. I worked with Musiq Soulchild, Ruben Studdard, Mary Mary. So I had my hands in a few different things over the years.

Which song brought you your first Grammy?

The Voyage To India album and I wrote and produced a song on there called “Interested”.

You also come from a Gospel Music family. Would you say you were thrust into this genre or did you genuinely have a desire to follow in your father’s footsteps and start there? (more…)

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February 10, 2010

Q&A w/ Olivia: G-Unit, New Movies and New Label Home

Filed under: Chat 'bout,Interviews — Felicia @ 12:21 pm
15 Minutes With Olivia: Life After G-Unit
Published 02/09/2010
By Felicia J. Barclay

(Original posting on BallerStatus.com)

Olivia wants everyone to know that she’s more than just a pretty girl. Signed to J Records in 2001, her self-titled debut, which birthed the hit “Bizounce”, was one of the hottest records of the year. Professional differences led to her split with J Records and move to Interscope, which brought along with it a new, yet brief, chapter in her career with G-Unit. Not only was she 50’s leading lady, she was also the only R&B artist in a group full of rappers, making it tough for her to be marketed fittingly.Leaving the group was the best move for her career, although rumors have been flaring that there was more behind the sudden departure. In a 15-minute conversation, BallerStatus fired off some questions to find out why her time with the guys wasn’t working out, her new label home and upcoming album and why she doesn’t follow the trends. 

BallerStatus.com: When your relationship dissolved with J Records, you found your way over to Interscope and G-Unit. At the time did you think a fair shot would be given to an R&B artist?

Olivia: I got to Interscope at 2003, so it was right after J Records. Then I signed with G-Unit 2003/04. It definitely was a political move, but it was something just to get me to the next plateau. So, I figured why not do it? 50 Cent was one of the hottest rappers at the time, so this might be a good thing. After sitting back and watching, we had no R&B presence at the label, so he was basically doing everything himself. He really didn’t know how to market an R&B artist because every artist there was all rappers. It was very new to him. He tried his best, but it just wasn’t working out. So I asked to leave and that’s what happened, amongst all the rumors that you heard.

BallerStatus.com: Did you consider your affiliation with Interscope/G-Unit a stepping stone to move on to other things?

Olivia: I don’t regret any of the things I did and I feel like I needed to do those moves to get where I’m at now … to be back and have the focus be back on myself. Doing what I want to do and being able to sing the music that I wanna sing, so I think every step was necessary to be where I’m at.

BallerStatus.com: What have you been up to since your absence from the public eye? I read that you started dabbling in acting.

Olivia: I’ve been overseas touring for the last two years and I did two movies last year also. One is called Peephole and the other one is Conspiracy X, so I have been working a lot. You just haven’t seen me in New York (laughs). Now I’m trying to be more visible in New York and let everybody know that I’m back doing what I do.

BallerStatus: What roles do you play in each movie?

Olivia: The first movie, Peephole, I actually play an aunt. It’s about a child who sees his mom get murdered in front of his house. It’s called Peephole because he lives his life not wanting to come out the house anymore. Towards the end of the movie, he has to make a choice whether to come outside or not when he sees something happen. The scene that I’m in I have to be really sensitive, caring and dramatic, so it was a different type of emotion for me to play on camera. Then [Conspiracy X], Shawn Baker directed that one and Kellita Smith was in that one. She played the wife on “The Bernie Mac Show.” She plays the judge in the movie and I play the girlfriend of the lead character. He gets let out of jail and somebody tries to pin something on him, that’s why its called Conspiracy X . It’s a really really good movie.

BallerStatus.com: They sound pretty good congratulations on that.

Olivia: Thank you very much.

BallerStatus: Was it an easy transition going from singing to acting? (more…)

October 15, 2009

From Delusions to Fruition: Jaguar Wright

Filed under: Interviews — Felicia @ 4:27 pm

Originally posted on Rolling Out

Soul Singer Jaguar Wright Talks About her Evolution

Monday, 12 October 2009 16:19 Felicia J. Barclay

Jaguar Wright, Soul and R&B’s fearless songstress readies for the debut of her upcoming EP Beautiful, set for a November release. After a recent performance at New York’s S.O.B.’s Ms. Wright sat down to discuss her new jawn, the message she thrives to deliver through her songs and her musical legacy. –felicia j. barclay 

JaguarWright4You have two albums under your belt (Denials, Delusions and Decisions and Divorcing Neo 2 Marry Soul) what have you been working on anything musically during the gap?

Growing, writing, taking care of my family, starting and finishing my novel, Denials, Delusions and Decisions: How Didn’t You Know, living and being an artist. 

Is Beautiful a preview for any future full album releases coming from you?

No, the album won’t be the same name but the EP is which comes out November 24th

How is the music on this album different from your previous albums?

It’s an evolution of me. What I’ve learned…I’m so in love with these songs that I’m writing, so in love. 

Which producers do you have on this EP?

Just one, Karma Productions. 

What type of message do you generally like to get across with your music?  (more…)

October 9, 2009

Juvenile is Cocky & Confident

Filed under: Interviews,New Music — Felicia @ 9:14 am

Here is my recent interview I did with Juvenile for Baller Status.

Juvenile Takes It Back To The ‘New Orleans Sound’ — Takes Credit For Lil Wayne’s Success

Juvenile has always been one of hip-hop’s southern jewels from the very beginning of his career with 1996’s underground album, Solja Rags. Once he became affiliated with Cash Money and a member of the label’s group, The Hot Boys, he was a certified as one of the region’s most lyrical rappers. He has since released many albums that have continued to put him at the forefront of the group, although a young Lil Wayne was right on his tail. In 2002, there was widespread speculation that a rift developed between Juve and Cash Money, which caused his departure from the Hot Boys and later, the label.

JuveJuve sat down with BallerStatus to clear the air about his relationship with Cash Money, why he takes credit for Wayne’s success, and how Atlantic Records won the bid to release his latest album, Cocky & Confident scheduled for a November release.

BallerStatus.com: Have you worked on any projects since your last studio album, Reality Check?

Juvenile: I got a company called Beats And Hooks, we make a lot of beats and hooks for other artists like Boosie, Jeezy. We’re doing a lot of stuff outside of me just rapping. I own a studio and a club out in New Orleans, so I’m still getting the money.

BallerStatus.com: Was it difficult working on that album considering it was done right around the time of Hurricane Katrina?

Juvenile: It was. It didn’t take long at all. The album was pretty much done when the hurricane hit. I just had to do a lot of voiceovers and mixing and stuff. A few things I had to do in a hotel, but not vocal recording or anything like that.

BallerStatus.com: Tell me about your Hurricane Katrina experience.

Juvenile: It wasn’t heard. A lot of people think it was more complicated than what it actually was. Got my insurance money and re-built my house. I didn’t go through nothing — I wasn’t stressed out or going crazy. It didn’t do me what it did a lot of people. It didn’t do us what people think it done us. People in New Orleans, we on a “I don’t want you to feel sorry for me” kick. That’s why I’m like “I don’t want to talk about it.” I didn’t go through nothing.

BallerStatus.com: You know I’m gonna ask you about Cash Money right? (more…)

September 15, 2009

Whitney’s Interview w/ Oprah: Part 1 Summary

Filed under: Chat 'bout,Interviews — Felicia @ 11:47 am

Whitney and Oprah2For Oprah Winfrey’s 24th season premiere, she had the honor of being the first to interview “The First Black Princess”, as she described her, Whitney Houston. As you can recall a while back Wendy Williams spoke with Whitney by phone and dared to ask her the questions that everyone wished they’d had the opportunity to ask. Whitney clapped back at Wendy which was probably her most famous head-butting with any celebrity to date.

The interview which was held in the Town Hall Theater was very thorough yet empathetic. Whitney did not hold back with her answers and seemed to be very honest and willing to finally speak. Oprah mentioned labeling Whitney as “The Voice” earlier in her career, saying no other artist living at the moment packed a punch quite like Whitney’s talent. She gradually focused her questions on her relationship with Bobby and their whirlwind romance.

Whit and Bobby1Whitney didn’t deny that she and Bobby were very much in love, and he made her feel alive. Being in the entertainment industry for so long and traveling the world, she was made to be doll-like in the sense that she was always expected to steal the show on and off stage. She said Bobby approached her and simply asked, “If I asked you out on a date, would you say yes”? Whitney replied “yes”, and their relationship took off from there. (more…)

September 11, 2009

Devyne Stephens, The Shot-Caller You’ve Never Heard Of

Filed under: Interviews — Felicia @ 10:00 am

Also on Planet Ill

By Felicia J. Barclay

Atlanta’s Devyne Stephens isn’t the first successful music mogul, but what separates him from the pack is his focus, which goes beyond the music industry. As the CEO of Upfront Megatainment, Devyne oversees a full-fledged entertainment empire which houses several companies such as The Complex, a facility which focuses on artist development, Upfront/Konvict Music which he create with Akon, and most recently his foundation Devyne Intervention just to name a few.

D.StephensHis list of accomplishments continues and while his schedule is pretty tight, he currently sits on the board of an under-construction children’s hospital in Atlanta. Stephens, who had a helping hand in many high profile artists’ careers, talks about how he doesn’t mind virtual anonymity, why a shelved album was probably one of the best things that happened to his career and why he’s inspired by the struggle.  

Planet Ill: How did you manage to become a household name in the industry yet keep a very low-key image?

Devyne Stephens: The focus has always been the talent and making sure the talent that I’m working with gets the proper shine. So it’s never really about me, just me providing the service and making sure they get the service they need to make their career successful.

Planet Ill: How did you get hooked up with LaFace Records?

Devyne Stephens: I’ve been in the music industry starting in 1990 with L.A. (Reid) and Babyface, but prior to that I was in a group and we used to do a lot of talent shows in the city. I got hooked up with LaFace through a friend who auditioned for Pebbles, and then Pebbles took me to meet L.A. and Babyface

Planet Ill: During that time was your focus on being an artist, or was your main interest to work behind the scenes with other artists?

Devyne Stephens: My main interest was always being in the entertainment business; being in the music business in some capacity. I did have a desire to become an artist but then that got molded into being able to produce, choreograph, style and being able to develop other artists. That kinda jumped off before the artistry.

Planet Ill: So here you are in this group which never released an album. What was your next move after that? (more…)

August 13, 2009

Mr. Finley – The Voice of Vegas

Filed under: Interviews,New Music — Felicia @ 4:55 pm

mrfinnley

Also on Rolling Out

Mr. Finley: Las Vegas Rapper Goes Beyond the Flashing Lights

We all know the popular saying — what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. However Island Def Jam/Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment signee, Mr. Finley, is stepping forward as the voice of the city to tell what goes on beyond the strip. His anticipated debut album, The Talented Mr. Finley features production from some of music’s most elite, including KP and Malay, Don Cannon and DJ Toomp.

“I like to compare Mr. Finley to the Tupac of Las Vegas,” says Kawan “KP” Prather, who signed the rapper to Def Jam. “He’s telling stories about the city that people don’t normally get to hear.” Recently, Mr. LV sat down to talk with rolling out about life beyond the casinos. –felicia j. barclay

Was there a heavy hip-hop influence in Vegas when you were growing up versus today?
Me and my homeboys started [doing music] in ’97 and from that point we really put the groundwork down in Vegas as far as the hip-hop scene. We were the ones that tried to give Vegas its own sound.  

What type of exposure did doing mixtapes produce for you?
When I started doing my mixtapes everybody in the city was all on it because there wasn’t anybody out here doing that. One of my homeboy’s sisters took it to Mario Davis. We went to California and met with Keith “WOK” Watts. From there we met with [Gavin] Marchand, Foxy’s brother, who connected me with [Kawan Prather, senior vice president of A&R for Def Jam]. After he heard my music he was ready to do something.  (more…)

June 29, 2009

Joe Jackson Interview

Filed under: Chat 'bout,Interviews — Felicia @ 3:49 pm

This interview was done by CNN correspondent Don Lemmon. Mr. Jackson is an older man, however this interview is extremely questionable and gets the side-eye from me:

What’s your opinion? Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SheIsFocused

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