Colin Munroe: Why the Unsung Hero Sings

In a time when genres are getting stale and the music industry is running low on inspiration and album sales alike, singer, songwriter and producer Colin Munroe is blurring the lines of how music is defined, bringing his own refreshing blend of rock, pop, Hip-Hop and soul to the masses. Munroe has been keeping busy lately, as he’s fresh off of a short tour alongside Kid Cudi, Wale and Mark Ronson. He’s currently running off the steam from his recently released mixtape, Colin Munroe is the Unsung Hero. AllHipHop got the chance to speak to Munroe about his new mixtape and his influences, producing, and the fears of being a new artist.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: So for everyone who may not have heard of you yet, how would you

describe your sound?

 

Colin Munroe: It’s a

bit of a mish-mash of Rock, Pop, Soul and Hip-Hop. It doesn’t fit in one

particular box, but it can get along with most people.

 

AHHA: You just

dropped a mixtape, Colin Munroe is the Unsung Hero, which has a very diverse

sound. What are your main influences, both musical and non-musical?

 

Colin Munroe: Well I

think musically, my main influences are made of two different halves. I grew up

listening to The Beatles and Classic Rock like U2 and Chicago. Then later in

life, I fell in with the urban crowd. A little Pop, and a lot of the Detroit Hip-Hop

thing, and all the music in between. Personally, what influences me is films. I

love movies and storytelling and the idea of diving into a story that figures

into day to day lives. A lot of us lead pretty boring lives from what humans

used to lead. They used to have more adventures and do more creative things and

it seems like you find that more in movies.

 

AHHA: Being that

this is a very eclectic release, it may be hard to reel in a specific fanbase. What would you say you have to offer those who are wary of the

diversity and who aren’t used to hearing all of those genres?

 

Colin Munroe: I

think those people are still around, but I think we are the first generation

and we’re the first to experience everything in our playlists. I don’t know

straight Hip-Hop kids anymore, or straight Punk or straight Rock kids. If it’s

one thing that the digital revolution introduced, it’s that there is more music

getting to more people. I think what you’re seeing now is people

understanding that music fits in between two lines, and people understanding

artists who blur genres. So yeah, genres will always be around and there will always

be differences, but I think people are more open to sounds that don’t fit inside

the box.

 

AHHA: You produce

most of your own music, so what’s your favorite thing about being a producer?

What are the biggest differences in being a performer and being behind the scenes

as a producer?

 

Colin Munroe: Well I

mean being a producer with other people’s music, you’re able to be a little

more objective and say “Oh that sucks,” or “Try that again.” When you’re

doing that for yourself, it’s tricky to be objective. I find that time and

space really helps. If I can get some time and space from what I’m doing for

myself, I can eventually figure out what needs to stay and what needs to

change.

 

AHHA: Who are your

personal favorite producers, and who would you like to work with most?

 

Colin Munroe: Like

I’ve said, Dilla is a huge influence on me, and I’m a big admirer of Black

Milk. I think he’s a really talented guy and he’s really carrying on the legacy

of that Dilla sound, and he’s carrying that into the new generation. Other

producers – I think 9th wonder is really talented, and 88 keys

is a really good producer. It really depends on what kind of sound you’re

looking for. I mean hell, Dre is still a fantastic producer. You’re going to

get slightly different flavors and there’s a little bit of different magic with

every person. I don’t think there’s a super producer where you’re like, “Yeah,

that’s the guy.”

 

AHHA: You did your

own interpretations of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights.” Ever thought about

collaborating on a song together? I think the results would be exceptional.

 

Colin Munroe: Yeah,

when the time is right. We’re aware of each other. Through mutual friends,

we’ve sort of exchanged respect and the intent to collaborate at some point in

time. I’ll take his lead on that. He’s a big guy in the game right now, and

I’ve got plenty to keep busy with at the time, so I’m sure our paths will cross

at sometime.

 

AHHA: You also

worked with Wale and Mickey Factz on this mixtape, both of whom are some of my

personal favorites. Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

 

Colin Munroe: Well,

on the full length, I don’t think there will be any features. I’m pretty

much into collaborating with anyone where the chemistry works and who I feel; anyone who I feel is honestly interested. I’d really like to work with Sean

Price again, because I never really dug deep into what we could do together. I

think I could musically get along with Lupe Fiasco as well.

 

AHHA: As far as

recording goes, what do you want to achieve with the full length?

 

Colin Munroe: I feel

like the mixtape is really a preview to the full length.

 

AHHA: A lot of mixtapes have DJ drops and all of that stuff, but your

mixtape plays more like an album than anything.

 

Colin Munroe: Yeah I

mean I’m not really into the mixtape culture. Especially in Canada, it’s not as

big of a thing. So I wasn’t very exposed to it. But when the time came around

to do something pre-album, the word “mixtape” was tossed around. I wasn’t

comfortable with it, but I was just like, “Whatever, this is my take on the

mixtape,” and it came out more like an album.

 

AHHA: Do you have

plans to tour in 2009?

 

Colin Munroe: That’s

in the works now. We’re considering some alternatives, and most likely be around

in the early part of the year.

 

AHHA: Who are you

currently spinning, and who do you recommend?

 

Colin Munroe: I’ve

actually been listening to the 88 Keys record [The Death of Adam]. And not just

because I met him the other day, and he gave me his record, but I think it’s a

great record. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan. I’ve also been listening

to this old band from the ’70s called The Sound. I’m usually like a music

scavenger, and I listen to whatever crosses my path.

 

AHHA: As an up and

coming musician, what are your biggest fears? And what is the best advice you

can give to other artists who are on the rise?

 

Colin Munroe: The

biggest fears are the ones every artist has- that no one wants to hear what you’re

doing, no one wants to give you a chance and what you’re doing isn’t relevant. There’s

a part of every artist that asks for validation when they bring their music to

the masses. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s very scary. You just

kinda put it all on the line with your music.

 

And as for advice, I’d say get to know the internet. Your

best friends right now are bloggers and web sites, so take care of them.

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