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Musiq Soulchild: OnAnotherLevel

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It’s alright to admit that at least one of Musiq

Soulchild’s songs has moved you in one way or another. If he isn’t talking

about going “Halfcrazy” in one song, he’s serenading a lovely woman in another

called “Don’t Change.” Who could forget the most infamous ballad of them all,

“Love” where he showcases his feelings on that high octave note. It’s part of

the secret formula that makes Musiq one of the effective R&B/Neo Soul

artists out today.

Musiq is a man who bid his high school diploma

adieu to focus on his dream. With no money, no steady place to sleep, and a

burning hunger for success, Musiq spent many days singing A capella anywhere he

could to scatting at Jazz clubs. Since his discovery, Musiq’s voice and love of

the art has blessed the music industry since his platinum selling debut album Aijuswanaseing (2000). By going

platinum again with Juslisen (2002), Musiq solidified his place in the

industry. Even after hitting a few bumps in the road with SoulStar (2003) being his least

successful album and forgetting the words to the National Anthem in 2006, the

Philadelphia native returned with a banger. “B.U.D.D.Y.” pleasantly saturated

the airwaves along with “Teachme” on his fourth project named Loveanmusiq (2007). To date, Musiq

has earned accolades from MTV to Billboard and has received countless

nominations for his soulful albums, with nine Grammy nods.

Even without a Grammy win, Musiq continues to

deliver great music. Musiq fans will now embark on another pleasurable

experience called ONMYRADIO. Already hitting the airwaves are his new

singles “Ifuleave” featuring Mary J. Blige and “Radio” which show another side

of Musiq. For an artist who has remained consistent with his signature sound, ONMYRADIO is an album where he

takes creative risks proving to his fans that he’s more than an R&B/Neo

Soul artist.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: What was the concept

behind this release as opposed to your other projects?

Musiq Soulchild: I guess the concept was

to try to incorporate all the things that I don’t think people would naturally

expect from me. I mean not stop what people expect from me, but do something

else as well. Like, I did a song called “Radio” that was basically a Crunk/Snap

song and I know people wouldn’t naturally expect that from Musiq Soulchild. I

try to incorporate other elements other than R&B and Neo Soul on this

project.

AHHA: I did notice “Radio” was a club record and

that’s not something your fans may be accustomed to hearing on your projects.

Musiq Soulchild: Yeah, but it’s not

anything new. It’s what you hear that’s pretty much on the radio all the time

anyway. I didn’t think it would be such a big deal because I chose to do it. It

actually shocked me that people were like, “What are you doing?” I’m like,

“What do you mean what am I doing? I’m making music according to what people

are listening to.” So you should be asking everyone else what they are doing.

AHHA: Because you’ve remained so consistent in your

career with your sound, have you found yourself confronted by people to alter your

sound to appeal to a wider audience?

Musiq Soulchild: I don’t think of it as

pressure. If the people want something then, in this business, you should give

them what they want. With me doing this song “Radio”, it’s not me trying to

conform or trying to change my sound, it’s actually me making additions. If you

notice after I put out “Radio” I put out the song with Mary [J. Blige called

“Ifuleave”], which is pretty consistent with what I’ve been giving. So, it’s

not that I wanted to completely change what it is that I do, I just want to add

to what I do. You already know to expect one thing now you can start expecting

something else as well.

AHHA: Do you have more songs on your album like

“Radio” or is this the only song like that?

Musiq Soulchild: That’s the only song

like that. There are other songs on the record that might be creatively bold

just like it, but sound wise I don’t have another Crunk record on there. That’s

a onetime thing, at least for this album. RADIO – MUSIQ SOULCHILD

AHHA: Who were some of the people you worked with to

make it?

Musiq Soulchild: I worked with my boy

Warren Campbell, J.R. Hudson who’s out in L.A., Dru Castro (“Radio”) and some

of the cats from the previous projects.

AHHA: Your new single with Mary J. Blige called

“Ifuleave” is an amazing collaborative effort. Again, a different move from

what we are used to because you haven’t done many collaborations throughout

your catalog. Have you done any more collaborations on this album?

Musiq Soulchild: I did a song with Damian

Marley called “Iwannabe” and it has a Caribbean feel to it. It’s not really a

reggae song, but it has that vibe to it though. I wanted to get somebody on

there and who better than Damian Marley.

AHHA: Juslisen is your most successful project to date,

something I know you are very proud of. Outside of what the music industry

tells us, was this project personally your most successful album?

Musiq Soulchild: That’s kind of hard to

say, because they all have things about them that I really dig. I will say this

though – my third album, SoulStar, I felt didn’t get a lot of attention.

So I would like to bring attention to that record and tell people to go get

that one because that’s the one that got away from everybody. Not everybody,

but a lot of people don’t know about that record. In the list of all my albums,

I would definitely rank SoulStar up top. Not as number one, but in the first

three.Musiq – HalfCrazy

AHHA: Do you feel pressure at times to match the

success of Juslisen or to do better?

Musiq Soulchild: No, I don’t get into

all of that. I just try to make the work good and I let the people let me know

how they feel about it.

AHHA: You’ve been able to touch a plethora of topics

throughout your projects. How important are concepts in your songs to your

music?

Musiq Soulchild: They are important

because I like for them to be as realistic as possible, that way when people

listen to them, it’s something that they could apply to their lives in real

time.

AHHA: Are there topics that you wish you could sing

about that you haven’t yet?

Musiq Soulchild: None that I could

think of off the top of my head, but I’m sure whatever it is out there I’ll try

to find it because there’s just too many things to talk about in life than just

the same stuff over and over again.

AHHA: Your songs have a way of wording emotions that

some people wish they could fathom, but we really don’t know much about you in

your personal life. Are some of these songs windows to your personal

experiences?

Musiq Soulchild: In a way. It’s more so

a window to my process of thinking when it comes to relationships, but they’re

not my personal life experiences, at least not as they went in my life. To me,

I just take the situation that I might have been through and I build a story

off of that, but it does start from something that I’ve experienced myself in

one way or another.Buddy – Musiq Soulchild

AHHA: This year has been an amazingly historic year

for all of us to witness. How do you feel about that?

Musiq Soulchild: I’m very excited about

that. I’m very proud to be a Black man in these days and times. In America, the

fact that Barack Obama has accomplished what he has is an inspiration to us

all. I don’t mean that as a blanket cliché term, I just mean that sincerely

because the fact that he’s achieved what he has – first of all there was

a time where that was unheard of. That was unimaginable. He basically

confirmed a miracle and I don’t think that should be taken lightly in any way.

I also think that aside from how people say that there’s a lot of

responsibility that’s going to be put on him by the Black community, there’s

always going to be responsibility put on by the Black community.

Now they say we don’t have any more excuses but

we never really had an excuse. It’s just that people never chose the

responsibility and they always chose to use things as an excuse. If you need a

Black President to confirm it even more that the responsibility is there and

the excuse never existed, then fine, so be it. I think that his accomplishment

is very inspiring and not only to the Black community, but to the whole world.

AHHA: I know in your career you had a bump in the

road with singing the National Anthem. Do you feel more pride in the National

Anthem now that the United States elected a man like Barack Obama into office?

Musiq Soulchild: [laughs] I don’t think

the National Anthem has anything to do with Barack Obama, not immediately at

least, but it does have something to do with the country. I get what you’re

asking me and I don’t know to either say “yes” or “no” because I don’t feel

either way about it. The National Anthem was designated to sing about pride for

the country and for me to say, “Yeah” it would have to be something that was in

the Anthem about Barack Obama. So I really don’t know how to answer that

question.

AHHA: Some people acquire more pride now that they

see progress within the country, so they might take more interest within the

country. Not to say that you never did, but they might look at it from a

different light. They might recognize possibilities that they never seen

before.

Musiq Soulchild: Hey, you might be onto

something there. I just might.

IfULeave (Feat. Mary J. Blige) – Musiq

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