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 hes fresh off of a short tour alongside Kid Cudi, Wale and Mark Ronson. Hes 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: Its a
bit of a mish-mash of Rock, Pop, Soul and Hip-Hop. It doesnt 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 arent 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 were the first to experience everything in our playlists. I dont know
straight Hip-Hop kids anymore, or straight Punk or straight Rock kids. If its
one thing that the digital revolution introduced, its that there is more music
getting to more people. I think what youre 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 dont fit inside
AHHA: You produce
most of your own music, so whats 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 peoples music, youre able to be a little
more objective and say Oh that sucks, or Try that again. When youre
doing that for yourself, its tricky to be objective. I find that time and
space really helps. If I can get some time and space from what Im doing for
myself, I can eventually figure out what needs to stay and what needs to
AHHA: Who are your
personal favorite producers, and who would you like to work with most?
Colin Munroe: Like
Ive said, Dilla is a huge influence on me, and Im a big admirer of Black
Milk. I think hes a really talented guy and hes really carrying on the legacy
of that Dilla sound, and hes 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 youre
looking for. I mean hell, Dre is still a fantastic producer. Youre going to
get slightly different flavors and theres a little bit of different magic with
every person. I dont think theres a super producer where youre like, Yeah,
thats the guy.
AHHA: You did your
own interpretations of Kanye Wests 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. Were aware of each other. Through mutual friends,
weve sort of exchanged respect and the intent to collaborate at some point in
time. Ill take his lead on that. Hes a big guy in the game right now, and
Ive got plenty to keep busy with at the time, so Im sure our paths will cross
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 dont think there will be any features. Im pretty
much into collaborating with anyone where the chemistry works and who I feel; anyone who I feel is honestly interested. Id 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 Im not really into the mixtape culture. Especially in Canada, its not as
big of a thing. So I wasnt very exposed to it. But when the time came around
to do something pre-album, the word mixtape was tossed around. I wasnt
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: Thats
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: Ive
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 its a
great record. Ive been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan. Ive also been listening
to this old band from the '70s called The Sound. Im 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 youre
doing, no one wants to give you a chance and what youre doing isnt relevant. Theres
a part of every artist that asks for validation when they bring their music to
the masses. Thats not necessarily a bad thing, but its very scary. You just
kinda put it all on the line with your music.
And as for advice, Id say get to know the internet. Your
best friends right now are bloggers and web sites, so take care of them.