Musiq Soulchild: OnAnotherLevel
Its alright to admit that at least one of Musiq
Soulchilds songs has moved you in one way or another. If he isnt talking
about going Halfcrazy in one song, hes serenading a lovely woman in another
called Dont Change. Who could forget the most infamous ballad of them all,
Love where he showcases his feelings on that high octave note. Its 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, Musiqs 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 hes more than an R&B/Neo
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 dont 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 wouldnt naturally expect that from Musiq Soulchild. I
try to incorporate other elements other than R&B and Neo Soul on this
AHHA: I did notice Radio was a club record and
thats not something your fans may be accustomed to hearing on your projects.
Musiq Soulchild: Yeah, but its not
anything new. Its what you hear thats pretty much on the radio all the time
anyway. I didnt 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? Im like,
What do you mean what am I doing? Im making music according to what people
are listening to. So you should be asking everyone else what they are doing.
AHHA: Because youve 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 dont 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, its not me trying to
conform or trying to change my sound, its 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 Ive been giving. So, its
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: Thats the only song
like that. There are other songs on the record that might be creatively bold
just like it, but sound wise I dont have another Crunk record on there. Thats
a onetime thing, at least for this album. RADIO - MUSIQ SOULCHILD
AHHA: Who were some of the people you worked with to
Musiq Soulchild: I worked with my boy
Warren Campbell, J.R. Hudson whos 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 havent 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. Its 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: Thats 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 didnt get a lot of attention.
So I would like to bring attention to that record and tell people to go get
that one because thats the one that got away from everybody. Not everybody,
but a lot of people dont 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 dont 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: Youve been able to touch a plethora of topics
throughout your projects. How important are concepts in your songs to your
Musiq Soulchild: They are important
because I like for them to be as realistic as possible, that way when people
listen to them, its something that they could apply to their lives in real
AHHA: Are there topics that you wish you could sing
about that you havent yet?
Musiq Soulchild: None that I could
think of off the top of my head, but Im sure whatever it is out there Ill try
to find it because theres 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 dont know much about you in
your personal life. Are some of these songs windows to your personal
Musiq Soulchild: In a way. Its more so
a window to my process of thinking when it comes to relationships, but theyre
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 Ive 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: Im very excited about
that. Im 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 dont mean that as a blanket cliché term, I just mean that sincerely
because the fact that hes 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 dont think that should be taken lightly in any way.
I also think that aside from how people say that theres a lot of
responsibility thats going to be put on him by the Black community, theres
always going to be responsibility put on by the Black community.
Now they say we dont have any more excuses but
we never really had an excuse. Its 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 dont 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 youre
asking me and I dont know to either say yes or no because I dont 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 dont know how to answer that
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
Musiq Soulchild: Hey, you might be onto
something there. I just might.