Indy star PJ Morton is back on the scene with something new for our ears. Independently Major is a collections of songs that were meant for others and some left on the cutting room floor.
Zo! recently took time out of his busy schedule, to talk with us and share his thoughts on his music and SunStorm. Which was recently released to the world, to great praise. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do so ASAP.
How has the transition to being under the Foreign Exchange Music umbrella been?
Around 2005, I met Phonte. Phonte knew of my work and was a fan. On my Re: Define album, I had remix a Little Brother song. From that, our relationship grew and we decided to work together. Our first song together was “Stepping Out” on the Just Visiting album.
With your new album SunStorm, what was the motivation for this album, and what was the inspiration for the name itself, it has Roy Ayers feel to the title?
This is an auto-biographical piece. From the album cover to every song on the album, it is all me. It is about the ups and downs of my career and life.
How do you balance being a music teacher and very active artist?
It is tough. You see some artist that work 9 to 5 jobs, it’s tough for them to take a break and tour. My job as a music teacher, you would think they would embrace it. My job puts some pressures on me. My touring is a positive to the kids I teach. It shows them that you can make it and be successful doing music.
How did you hook up with Foreign Exchange?
Phonte asked me to add something to there live show. And things kept growing after that.
I Love the 80’s is a great album, what was the idea behind it?
The album came about on a dare. Me and Tay were talking about how bad some of the 80’s music was. This conversation turned into me creating a beat that sounded like “Africa” by Toto. Tay sang over it. And the project bloomed in “I Love the 80’s”. When we did “Take on me”, it was a challenge and dare. We wanted to see if we could create the song and sound good. But we also wanted to see if people would like it.
“Overdue Process” with Asylum 7 is a favorite of mine, how did that come about?
Asylum has been my boy since 2004. In Detroit, I would go to open mikes. Asylum would be there. And he would be killing them in a freestyle cipher. One day I hit him, we worked on some stuff. In those sessions, we jellied and gained respect for one another. “Overdue Process” was 4-5 years in the making. Asylum love for music is the same as mine. I think that is why we work so well together.
When I tell people about u, I say you are an R&B version of Primo.
Thanks. To be compared to him is an honor. I’m a huge Primo fan.
How did u pick the artist for this project?
Everyone, I’m real cool with and fans of. Me and Phonte are so close, I go to him to get a second opinion on beats artist. We went back and forth coming up with who would sound good on this song and that song. It was a shock to me that everyone wanted to be on the album.
Jesse Boykins, Eric Roberson, Lady Alma, Sy Smith and Foreign Exchange, I’m happy to see u showcase show indy artists that I’m huge fans of. Explain the studio sessions.
These are all my friends on the “Sunstorm” album. Yahzarah voice is so beautiful. She is one of the dopest singers in the music game today. Sy, her voice is so powerful.
How was it working with PPP?
Dope. The first time me and Wajeed did something, was on the humble. I was at his spot chilling and relaxing. I get to messing around on the Fender Rhodes. Wajeed jumped in and we ended up producing some stuff together. Wajeed is a good friend of mine. He is like a brother to me. I go him to get advance and listen to some of my work.
You mentioned this is an album about you. What is the most personal song?
All of them. I can’t pick one. They are all about me and things in my life.
What would be a dream project for you?
Working with Faith Evans would be dope. She puts it down and is very soulful. If I had the resources, I would bring back Zhane. I think they were some what unrated. I would like to see them back.
What’s in the future?
The Foreign Exchange album in October is up first. And I’m already working on my next album. Hopefully I can put it out next year.
The thing about great artist, they seem to be weird or go crazy in there lifetime. You can say what you want, but it has to be something. With there problems or issues, they seem to forget to create new music. So anytime Whitney, D’Angelo or Lauryn Hill drop’s something new, that song seems to create hype for what the future can and should hold.
Lauryn has been on a up and down ride since her classic cd, The Miseducation. Most of her ride has been down, in the publics eyes. Her MTV unplugged project was panned by many. It was hard for people to except her going this sort of folk route. We were use to her giving us so much soul. To be honest, her unplugged disc was not bad.
Recently a few videos have surfaced with Lauryn sounding like the Fugees/Miseducation days. And the hype of her returning to top form is among us again. I can’t lie, I’m all in. Throw in the fact she is on tour doing the whole Miseducation album, Lauryn is on the comeback.
Today I found a new song of Lauryn’s. At the time, the only details we have is that the song is unreleased. I’m not sure if it is new or something that was a album throwaway. Whatever it is, I’m happy. It is good to hear Lauryn in all her glory, the way we remember her. Take a listen to this new song and comment. While you are at it, if you have not seen it yet, take a look at her performing Lost Ones a couple months ago.[audio: Lauryn_Hill-Repercussions.mp3]
Getting two top notch talents to collabs on a project is not easy. But when it happens, we are all in for a great project. Sitting here still listening to Nas and Damien Marley’s project together, Distant Relatives, it makes me want more artist to join as one to give the fans something special.
One of my favorite rap groups The Roots, has joined up with a multi-talented singer in John Legend to present to the world, Wake Up!
There are so many endless possibles to this project. I’m happy to see these two super talents push aside their ego’s and produced a cd together. From the early reviews, this has the makings of a classic disc.
September 21st is the date to remember. The Roots and John Legend are giving the world an early Christmas present.
Wake Up! tracking
1. Compared To What
2. Hard Times
3. Little Ghetto Boy
4. Wake Up Everybody w/ Common and Melanie Fiona [audio: Wake-Up-Everybody-feat.-Common.mp3]
5. Our Generation [audio: Levis_JohnLegend_Our_Generation.mp3]
6. Love The Way It Should Be
7. Hang On In There
8. I Can’t Write Left Handed
9. Wholy Holy
10. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
Here is an added bonus. This is the trailer for the video The Fire
I recently took time to watch a video from one of my all time favorite artists, Eric Roberson. He just premiered the video for his song “Still” from newest last album Music Fan First. The video can best described in one word, powerful. It is more than a love song, it is about a lesson in life. I’m speechless even writing this. If you have not seen this, the link is below.
Bilal has been one not to follow behind others. And based on his new album cover, Airtights Revenge, we might get some of the old Bilal. Granted the Malcolm X pose has been done before. But Bilal throws his own twist with a microphone instead of a weapon. So far “Free” has leaked from the album.
It has been some time since he last released a project. In 2001 he released his debut “Love for Sale”. But his second project “Love for Sale” was supposed to be released in 2006 and has found it’s way in the bootleg world.
September 14th is the release date. Let’s pray that this date is not pushed back.
Listen to Free (full Version) below.
Listen to snippets of “Airtights Revenge”, thanks to Blindi.
If you are like me, then you know that July is a hot month in the music scene. Coming up on the horizon is a project from a producer who has been putting it down on the soul scene for years. On July 27th the new project from Zo! “Sunstorm” will hit the shelves.
If you are lost to whom Zo! is you must have been hiding under a rock. From Zo! and Tigallo Love the 80’s to the Grammy nominated “Leave it All Behind” from Foreign Exchange. Zo! has been part of some of the best soul music released over the last few years.
“Sunstorm” will feature an amazing line up from Yahzarah, Phonte from Foreign Exchange, Eric Roberson, Jesse Boykins III, and Sy Smith. Sy is featured on the first single “Greatest Weapon of All Time”. It is a nice laid back up-tempo jam to get the party started.
Just based off of the 2 singles released, “This Could Be the Night” being the other, “Sunstorm” is shaping up to be an instant classic. If you can’t wait for something from Zo!, download two of his FREE projects if you have not already, [download id=”46″] and [download id=”1″].
Pre-order the album and look for Zo! and Foreign Exchange to hit a city near you.
1. Greater Than the Sun f. Phonte
2. Greatest Weapon of All Time f. Sy Smith
[audio: Zo!%20-%20Greatest%20Weapon%20Of%20All%20Time%20feat.%20Sy%20Smith.mp3]Download Track [download id=”47″]
3. Say How You Feel f. Carlitta Durand & Phonte
4. For Leslie
5. Be Your Man f. Darien Brockington
6. Free Your Mind f. Lady Alma
7. SunStorm f. YahZarah
8. If I Could Tell You No f. Jesse Boykins III
9. This Could Be The Night f. Eric Roberson, Darien Brockington & Rapper Big Pooh
[audio: 01%20This%20Could%20Be%20The%20Night%20feat.%20Eric%20Roberson%2C%20Darien%20Brockington%20%26%20Rapper%20Big%20Pooh.mp3]Download Track [download id=”62″]
10. Flight of The Blackbyrd f. Phonte
11. All Is Well With Love f. Chantae Cann
12. Make Luv 2 Me f. Monica Blaire