Friday, November 04, 2005
OUTSIDE 17 (REVISED)
Hello outsiders, well let me start off by saying that I didn't win the Emmy last Saturday (but I did get a chance to touch one--the huge statuette you see in the pic) . I think the whole experience was an out of body one to say the least, but before I get into the evening and all of its grandeur, let me backtrack and tell you what I did prior to the big event.
Last Friday, I put on my theatre cap (actually my theatre Afro cause I took my cornrolls down and sported a Lenny Kravitzesque fro) and went to the Broadway Center of Art in Belleville to check out "Luv", a play about three neurotic NewYorkans, one guy name Berlin and a couple named the Manvilles who are pissed off about their lives and decide to con each other in order to find love. It was a pretty brainey off beat comedy. It kind of reminds you of Groundhog Day and a Woody Allen film, everyone living the same kind of existence day and day out (you can peep my review of this play at kdhx.org). At the same time, the downwton area was having an outside Halloween party where kids and their parents were going door to door at various shops to get candy. My mind was definitely not on candy, but on celebrating my nod for Best Segment at the Emmies the following night. I called my buddies Kameron and Christiaan to meet me at the Drunken Fish in the CWE to celebrate my nod around 11 ish. So I get there and Kam is already there. So we go upstairs to get some drinks. We chatted a bit about the usual: our day, women, the future, what have you, then Christiaan shows up (what was up with the bifocals, man,. LOL) and the party wa son. Christiaan sat down in a sofa while Kam and I started to get our drink on. I ordered a Absolut and Seven and I think Kam got a Jack and Coke. While we were talking, this white guy who was sitting next to me started to bring up a conversation about women and why they are so difficult to live with. Now, mind you, while he was talking, his wife, his sitting next to him. I thought this was quite strange for him to talk about women in such a way and his woman is sitting right next to him. (I should preface they were both hammered) Anyway, as time progressed, he asked me, why can women wear thongs on the outside of their pants and he couldnt expose his dick out of his pants. At this time, I was quite juiced myself and I said, "Well, maybe becasue you're exposing your dick is why you can't do it." The guy thought my response was hilarious. Then he said, "Well I'm not gay or nothing but...I'm just trying to get laid tonight" I was like, okay, his wife is sitting next to him and he's trying to get laid. Then I thought, here we go, he has to overmasculinize his actions because of his hidden attractions (Or, the usual, "The alcohol made me do it") . My thing is this, if a guy is attracted to another guy, I don't see why a guy has to over explain his actions. It's the other guy who makes the choice of whether to accept or decline thd other guy's actions. It's the same scenario with a guy being attracted to a woman. It's the woman's decision to accept or decline a guy's actions. I just took it as he must have liked what he saw and used heterosexual chatter to make it point known. I just took it as more free drinks. LOL. Anyway, he continued talking and then here's the killer, he showed me and Kam a picture of this sista on hsi cell phone, real pretty girl, with dreads, and I said to him, "Oh, who is that?" and he said. "My girlfriend." I said, "Your girlfriend!" Now he was off the chain. He's going to show us his chick on the side while his wife is sitting there! I then told him, "Man you need to be on Jerry Springer, for real." I then asked him if his wife knew he had a girlfriend and he said yeah, but he said he wouldnt let his wife have a boyfriend. Off the chain. She then quipped, "I'm going to get me a boyfriend." I wa slike, this is too much playing. Meanwhile, he bought me another drink and then said, "It look like your buddy is looking atme like he is jealous cause I'm buying you drinks." Kam was like, "Naw, man, not at all." What tha fuck??? This guy was really putting it on strong, and it was getting weird. It was hard to analyze thinsg at the time cause of the spirits I was taking in, but now that I think about it, I think the white guy wa strying to take me home with him and his girlfriend and do a chocolate swirl...
Later that night me, Kam and Christiaan, checked out former 100.3 the Beat personality J-Nicks' birthday party at Toxic (I believe he turned 21 this year). Nicks was in town also to celebrate his new gig as host of Rap City with a party that was to take place the following night at Plush. We got to Toxic about midnite and it was a decent crowd. It wasn't ghetto as all get out and the cover I beleve was 20 bones and becasue of that and no headlining rap star performing the crowd was half odf what it usually is. We got upstairs and saw the usual usual suspects like Kevin Johnson, Capo, Chantal with the snaps, Terri who hooked me up on the VIp list, D.St. Lou (Deandre Perryman) who came up to me and had some concerns about my blog report on him on stage at the Webbie concert but it was all good. His manager, Tony Ford, who is also from E Boogie (I'm hail from ther as well--too bad you went to Lincoln. LOL)) told me he saw the blog spot as well. So I guess I must be doing my job if people are reading my blog. Perryman asked me what he should do as far as PR for himself and I told him that he should do a concert with the other St. Louis American Idol contestants and keep that going. He shook his head in consideration and stepped (I saw that bling on your wrist--what's going on balla). Also in the house was KSDK's Jeff Small who was chillin in VIP. I also saw comedian Arvin Mitchell who was talking and shaking hands (he gave me a compliment on my tan cordurouy jacket I wore--he has good taste) J Nicks came in Toxic with his mini entourage about 1 ish and that; swhen Aloha got on stage to perform Happy Birthday for J-Nicks and sang " Destiny' sChild "Cater To You." The girl sounds good (and she's not half steppin in the eye candy department either) My only beef with the VIP area at the party was there was no food. No chicken, No mostocolli. NOTTA. But they did have strawberries and a chocolate dipping machine for people to swirl their berries on. I guess if you wanted to get your eat on, you had to go outside and pay for a hot dog and BBQ with the brother vendors outside of the club. But the saving grace was the free MOET they wer giving out. I got two cups. The sista that was pouring said we had to start tipping if we wanted another cup. So I did. I wasn't going to sweat that. But the MOET came right on time cause it was good toasting liquid for my Emmy nod...
Saturday was the day. I got prepared for the Emmys later that afternoon. I decided to go against the norm with suits and tuxes and decided to break out with my black opera coat (that I wore in the pic you just saw) and a red shirt with an ascot tie. I said to myself, if I am going to make a memorable impression, I was going to do it at the Emmys. I got there about 6 p.m. and I parked on the opposite side of the parking lot in front of Plush. I walked through the parking lot to get to the Hyatt Regency. When I was passing the parking lot attendant booth, thsi sista said, "Wassup Morpheus." I laughed. I knew right then and there that my outfit was going to be a conversation piece. So, I got there and went to the table where there were several people checking off people's names who were on the list. I went up to a guy who asked for my name and I wanted to say,"You know who I am," as a joke, but decided not to. I gave him my name and he said that I was going to seated at Table 21. In the meantime, I walked around and did the fake smile and greetings to people I didnt know. Good thing I had on my pink sunglasses cause if they would have seen my real expression on my face, they would have asked if I was okay. Anyway, I walked around the lobby of the Hyatt Regency for a minute, then I decided to walk around in Union Station. I havent been there in a while and decided to check out how people would react to my outfit. I mean, it was the Halloween weekend, so my suit blended right in. I decided to stop at the Fudgery where the Negroes sing while making fudge. This place always irked me because it reminds me of slavery times when black folks would entertain white folks after the cotton was picked and the bucks left sap in their wenches for suckers. Anyway, as the fudge makers sang in front of a mostly white crowd I was checking my text messages and whiel I was doing this, one of the fudgery workers had the crowd to ask him why they were there, and he was like, everybody say why. And they said why. Again, he said everybody say, why. And everyone said why--except me. Now mind you, I was way in the back of the crowd while thsi was going on. The fudgery guy must have had 40-40 vision because he was looking at me and so was everyone else. So when he said everyone say, why, I through both of my hands up like I was making a Y sign as everyone else said why. Everyone started to laugh. He was going to call me out? Okay, well I'm going to give it right back to you. And I did. I got the last laugh. Anyway, I was texting Pete Foggy to see when he was coming through. He said he was coming around 7:30, so in the meantime, I walked around, in a whisk of strangers until it was time for the ceremony. They had a cash bar which I was surpised. At 125 bones a pop, I would think the drinks would be free, but I can't complain cause I was a refugee up in there cause if Pete didnt remind Charter that I was nominated for the Emmy, I wouldnt have been there. I did see some recognizable faces like up in there like Fox 2's Dick Ford, who was one of the co-hosts and Jack Buck who spoke to me. A couple of other people spoke to me, one even asked if I was nominated for anything. I also saw Randall Beans, a brotha who I met this past summer when he was hanging out at Runway Fashions with Stuart Allen. He was one of the Emmy Award handlers. He said that he liked my outfit and I told him to make sure he puts my Emmy Award in my right hand when I win. LOL. Other than that, the crowd was definitely an exclusive clique. There were people with professional cameras there who were taking pics of people in the lobby. When it came to me, a lot of them acted as though I was about to steal their wallet. Maybe it was the outfit. I did look kind of Blade meets the Matrix for real. The ceremony started at 7:30 p.m. and I sat with some former Charter Communication employees. It was a bit awkward because I didnt really work with them. I only worked with Pete, so you can imagine trying to hold conversation with people who you barely know. One guy I did remember, one of the camera guys that came through the studio while Pete and I were taping Renee Marie's piece and the never aired comedy piece I did at the Laugh Factory in St. Peters. Another guy who is an editor said that he felt like he knew me cause he used to to edit my stories. I guess that's how many celebs feel when people come up to them and say they feel like they know them and the celeb is in the dark cause they don't know who is watching them. But I kept cordial and thumbed through the program booklet to see when our cateogeory of Best Program Feature--Art/Perfroming Arts. Of the 67 categories, mine was 52nd in the order of the program, which means Pete and I were going to be on pins and needles for the majority of the program. Before the program started a photographer came around and took our table shot--finally. I didnt wear my costume for nothing. LOL. They served dinner which was OK. They started off with spinach salad with poppy seed dressing that was good. Then the entree was beef tenderloin and chicken with the sides: asparagus, carrots, little baked potatoes, bell pepper and a portbello. It was very chi-chi. For dessert they had German chocolate cake with red flavored sauce on the side. While we were eating dessert, Dick Ford came out to speak to the crowd about the Emmy Awards and that everyone had 30 seconds to say their congrats. Thirty seconds! That cause dsome rumbling in the audience. It takes 30 seconds to even get adjusted with the Emmy in your hand and looking out into the crowd wondering what you are going to say. Anyway, the award show was entertaining. A couple of celebs came through to present an award, Corbin Bernsen, the L.A. Law star who can be seen on Cuts these days, and soap star Anthony Geary of Luke and Laura fame on General Hospital (he was also in the Fat Boys' God awful flick, "The Disorderlies). A coupel of soap actresses also was with them and they were in town to promote a film they worked on that was playing at St. Louis Mills. KSDK racked up winning almost a third of the awards. Fox 2's Mandy Murphy also won quite a bit, too. She was very generous and humble with her winning whereas many of them who got up there to say there speeches seemed as though they were meant to win. Now the thing that got me was when they had one nominee in various categories and they automatically won (e.g. Joe Buck winning for instance) or they would have two nominees in a cateogory and it is a tie. That was crazy to me which brought things in perspective that award shows are so subjective and politics are definitely at play when you have money to get a nomination. The shocks of the night was when students from WSIU (five of whom wore lime green 70s tuxes to the event) won some major awards over local affiliates and when KSHB-TV won over KTVI Channel 2, KMOV, Channel 4, WB11-Channel 11 and big winner KSDK-Channel 5. Oh, I almost forgot my cateogory, Well, Pete and I were nominated against two KETC-Channel Living St. Louis program segments, one on the late pianist Johnnie Johnson and Gospel artist Sybil Smoot. From the day I found out I wa snominated to a minute before KMBC's Lara Moritz read off the names in our cateogory, I thought for sure Johnny Johnson would win for sentimental reasons, ala Ray Charles--he is a music legend and he recently died. Well, I was wrong, when it was time for our category to be read, I got a text message from Kam saying Good luck and I hope I won. That's when it hit me that I really wanted to win. So when Moritz read off the names and said "And the winner is," my heart stopped, then I breathed, and started drinking some fo the wine that was in my glass. She read the name Living St Louis, Sybil Smoot. I was produced by Margie Newman. DAMN! I said to myself and tallied score in my program of who were winning. Pete then blurted out: "Well I guess it's time to go." And it really was. I lost, but from the many text and voice messages I got, I was still a winner, but it's easy for folks to say that when they have a chance of winning an Emmy. Afterward, I got my pic taken by Pete (the one you saw earlier) and in the green room. One thing I can say from this experience, that Charter producer Jacci Poor even mentioned to me before the ceremony started, that my nomination will be forever--and I say to that is, yes, and many more with a win!
After the Emmys, it was time to party. I walked down the street to Plush to see what was happening and ran into Brian Stemmons who along with a couple of other guys were the security guys in froint of the club checking IDs. We talked a little bit about life and all (Plush owner John Daniels also came outside and I said whattup to him) and he started talking about his secuity experience with Club Seven owners Fred Finley and Harry Michel and said that they did him wrong and that they made it seem as though he would never get another security gig in St. Louis. Well, you know its always two sides to every story, but for Brian to say that about the Seven owners is very telling. After that, I drove off and decidded to check out Pepper lounge on 19th and Olive. I saw that something was going on there and decided to park my car and see what was up. While I was walking up, I saw my gym buddy Bally trainer Robin Kason who was hanging out with a buddy of his. I was shocked to see him out cause he told me that doing jazz events was his thing, hmm, anyway, when I walked up to Nectar Lounge which is next to Pepper lounge, they were having a "private" party. So, I flashed my West End Word press pass to one fo the guys who was holding a VIP list and told him I wanted to check it out. Well, by the time I was trying to get clearnce, another guy who I see ocassionally at Ballys (who dressed up like Urkel, high flooded pants up his butt and everything!) said because I wasnt on the list, I couldnt get in and I can go to Pepper Lounge and party. I was like ,here we go. Now, the white guy was about to let me in, but the brother, who I knew from Ballys was going to throw shade. I was about to roll until the white guy told me to wait a minute so he could get someone else to let me in. So, I stayed there to see what will happen. With my 10 plus years of journalism training, my acumen always tell me to wait and see what will happen. Well, the guy who I knew from Ballys was going off saying that he can't understand why people try to get in to stuff and not on the list. I was hearing this, and I was like, what a bitch. Why is he tripping off of a list that really wasnt VIP because for those who wanted to attend only had to go on Nectar's website and VIP to get on the list. Anyway, this other white guy, who was very nice (who had on a orange correctional facility jumpsuit on) told me that if the traffic slows down I could come in but in the meantime, he can let me in at Pepper Lounge. So, I was cool with that. So I chilled up in Pepper for a minute. It was far less people in there and the music was alright (they had a Michael Jackson marathon up in there starting with the song, "Thriller" of course) Before you know it, I saw people coming from nectar to Pepper to party and back and forth, so my media antennae came up and about an hour later (it was after midnite at this time) it was time to see about going over to Nectar. I saw the guy in the orange jump suit and asked could I get in Nectar and he was going to ask the guys up front again, then he changed his mind and let me in at the side door. Whallah. And the morale of this story is, if you hold on long enough you will get in--from the side door! Once in, I saw the guy from Bally who brushed me off and he acted as though nothing happened. Whatever. STL is not a real VIp city and I dont understand why people try and act as though it is especially if there aren't really any major celebrities (beside sports figures) who actually live here to make STL a VIP city. But I digress. Once in, it was like a Rocky Horror Movie up in there with all the adult oriented costumes worn by the ladies (a candy striper, Little Po Peep, hoochies, 80s Madonna look,) I saw Robin Kason wearing hospital scrubs, Stuart Allen in a Sho Nuff costume, sword and all (from the Last Dragon movie) , I saw Fox 2's Rob Desir who wasnt wearing a costume just a shirt and jeans (I thought you were supposed to be at the Emmys with your KTVI crew????) I saw cowboy costumes, Ancient Greek costumes, Green day costumes,a guys in a kilt, and one guy had small cereal boxes takced on himself with plastc knives in them and I asked him what was he and he said, "a serial killer." I thought that was creative. They should have had a costume contest, but I guess they werent upping up no cash for a free private event. One white lady asked me if I was dressed as R. Kelly. That was a good one. It must have been the cornrolls. I told her no, because I like women over 18. She started laughing. But the drama of the night was when a fight broke out, before you know it before hauled ass to other side of the club. Something told me not go over there and I'm glad I didnt cause if I did, I would have gotten trampled on. Stuart got caught up in it causing his Sho-nuff wig to come off. Now you know that is too much playing. Byteh time 2 oclock came around, people were leaving, but before I left, there were these two white guys dressed as Crockett and Tubbs of Miami Vice (yes, the other guy had on grease paint and an black Afro like Phillip Michael Thomas!) The guy who was Crockett was drunk and kept putting his arm around me asking what did I want to drink (THIS WAS DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN LIKE THE WHITE GUY AT DRUNKEN FISH). He asked me did I want to take a shot of something. I was like, okay. I'm not going to say no to a free drink. The only alcohol I had that night were the three glasses of red wine from the Emmys. So, he bought himself and me a yagermeister shot and I gulped it down, and talk about heartburn. Ive never had Y-meister, and from the taste of it, I dont think I ever will. After that, I bounced out. I was about to go home, driving toward Broadway going back East then it dawned on me that the time went back an hour and it was really 1:30 as opposed to 2:30 in the morning. So, I turned back onto Washington heading West to go to Club Dreams where St. Lunatic Slo Down was having his Masquerade party there. I called my buddy Maurice G who co-owns the club earler that day to tell him I coming through, but I was sidetracked with the Nectar party. So, when I got there, there was some people hanging near the front entrance area and I told the sista I was a guest of Maurice's. then before you know I hear someone say, "Dont even go there, you can come in, but dont be acting like you're my guest." It was Maurice trying to clown me(Slo Down was there with the crew). With him being a comedian I was expecting a joke from him and his laugh corner to laugh. Then I was like, "if you answered your phone, maybe you would have known I was coming." then I came him a stunt punch to the stomach and gave him a frat hug. When I got in, it was a nice crowd. I didnt see too many costumes, but peopla were getting their party on as Staci Static hosted form the DJ-booth with the one-legged dee-jay spinning on the 1s and 2s. In the house were Melvin Moore and my Jessie Taylor, who was joking with me about my now costume wondring if Morphues wore a tie? . I stayed for about an hour and decided to roll out.
On Sunday, I had terrace box seats to the Rams v Jacquars game at the Edward Jones Dome. I caleld Kam to see if he wanted to roll and told him I would meet him around 1 ish (the game staretd at noon). I decided to take the Metrolink on down to the Dome cause I wasnt feeling trying to drive and find a parking space with the Rams crowd and all. I took the SWIC College Metrolink all the way down to the Dome to wait on Kam. So when he got there, it was people outside listening to the game, begging for whatever, smoking, cursing for whatever reason. It wa sa sunny day and people were enjoing the weather. So we found our seats and saw thet it was some people in our seats. Okay, I was just about to clown, but they were cool and got out of our seats. Anyway, the game was cool (Rams won 24 to 21), but the enteratainment wa sa white guy who a guizzling beer and screaming at the Rams to rip the other teams head off and the scoreboard showing other gamnes that were going on. That was too much funny. When the game was almost over, Kam and I vamped to beat the traffic. And my question was, what happened to the sun? It got cloudy all of a sudden. kam had parked on the north side of the Dome and I was heading south to the Convention Center Metro link on 6th street, and I told him I would meet him at the History Musuem at Forest Park for the 5 Spot where neo-soul singer Eric Roberson would be performing. So, I was walking up to the Metrolink near St. Louis Center (which looks like a ghostown these days--no stores, nothing but tennis shoes, jewelry, and artwork) and the line of people was as as long as the St. Louis Center. There was no fuccin way I was waiting in line for that long to get on the Link (and it was trying to rain too.) So, I took that mile hike up 6th street to Busch Staidum Station(good thing I am in shape--I thought of the hike like I was doing cardio at the gym) . It took about 10 minutes but it was well worth it cause there was barely no people there waiting. So. I got on and throught about the concert at Forest Park...Later that evening, I drove to Forest park for the 5 Spot show. I had the Scion: Independent Label Cd playing the cut Eric Roberson did with Jazzy Jeff called "Rock Wit U" to get me in the vibe of ER. and ran up to James Glasco and a beautiful sista that was with him. He had the hood up messing around with whatever inside. Around this time, it was light raining. I stopped my car and asked Glasco if everything was Ok and said that he needed a jump. I didnt know if he needed one or not, but he dropped his hood down. It s hard to tell with Glasco sometimes cause he is so serious (COOL CANCER) and I barely see him lose his cool. It was around 7:30 and I text messaged Kam and Christiaan about the 5 Spot. I called Kam and he said he would get there after 8 p.m. I paused. That sounded like late to me. Thats one of my pet peeves, espcecially if I am hooking up someone with a comp, but that's just the journalism training in me when it comes to deadlines and being on time for stuff. Christiaan texted me back and said he was at the show checking out Saw 2 and that he would call me when he got there.So when I got there, Isis, the host of 5 Spot, hooked me up and I told her my guest was running late, and I walked around seeing who was who. I ran into Vanita Applebum who was guarding one of ER's booths (she gave me a card to buy a house from her--I thought that was funny, she didnt; though), and I ran into Monica Tyson who also was guarding one of ER's booths as well. I talked to them for a minute then I headed off to the front area to get a seat. I ran into 5 Spot co-creator Harry Colbert and he told me that the front row of tables for there sponsors. Okay, here we go again. As long as I have been knowing Harry now all of a sudden, the seats are for media (but Kevin Johnson was able to sit there, though). Okay, I didnt sweat it and saw a bench next to teh reserved tables. I sat there and thats where I sat until the show was over. And talk about a show. I knew ER was goingto throw down cause he is such a spirtual and real person and it shows in his singing and his theatrical abilities (he is a music theater major at Howard). Before he graced the stage, there was poetry done by E Boogian MS. Interpretation. Her flow reminds me Lauryn Hill (with a dose of Lil Kim's flow) , very deep and is talking about stuff beside sex and getting or losing a man. Her poem called Fat Girl was good. It was about how she used to be fat and now she loves her body to the point of not putting poisonous foods in her body. She ended the poem saying:"I'm going to a funeral cause the fat girl is dead." Then Isis Jones(who was looking very sexy in a tight flowery gray dress) got on stage and talked about how important it is for us to be checked for diabetes. She said both her grnadmothers died of teh disease and she gets check up regularly. She also plugged the soul food Lifestyles on Delmar that serves healthy soul food (isnt that an oxymoron of sorts?) Soon after that, Er got on stage with the group Level Ground and jammed for about 90 minutes. The highlights of his show were his singing the song, "Previous Cats" (he wrote for Musiq) that had accompanying cue cards he held up with symbols and words from the lyrics of the song. Another was the Gospel moment in his set wheer he stopped the show and began testyfying how great the Lord while Level Ground did an impromptu Sunday morning worship response music with him, then he started Holy dancing. Another was when he asked for three people in the crowd to give him three subjects and he will try and make a song out of it. The subjects were: collard greens (Isis gave out that one), Jesus, and mathematics. He thought about it for awhile and the lyric he came up with was: "Count (mathematics) on Jesus to bless you, clean it out like collard greens." Now he said that the set up was not fake, and I believe him. That is sure genius, free styling like a rapper to come up with a lyric like that and then before you know it, he performed an entire song with that lyric along with other lyrics as though he had written it before. Overall his performance was the truth. It was gratifying inasmuch as there are true soul artists out there who care about music and sharing it with people. When his set was over, host Isis Jones did a minute interview on stage with Eric Roberson aka. ER.
Here is what she asked him:
Isis Jones: I got a quick question for you. How long have you been doing this for 13 or 20?
ER: I was signed to Warner Bros at 19 years old, sophomore at Howard and we actually have a picture of that in the back. I'm 32 years old and I'm not ashamed to say that (crowd applause).
Isis Jones: What is that that you're drinking during the whole show?
ER: This is my girlfriend. She goes by the name of Honey Loquat?
Isis Jones: Call her what?
ER: And I bring her everywhere I go (crowd laughs) and everynight my lips are all over her (the crowd laughs). It helps me with touring, or in the studio when I'm constantly singing. It kind of like a kneepad for your pad. It stays right there-- singers, rappers, I strongly suggest it. I should be sponsored by them.
Isis Jones: You really should.
And here is my interview I did with Roberson:
Ma'at: First off, great as always.
ER: Thanks man.
Ma'at: Glasco always says great stuff about you. I saw you perform last year at the Expo and the first time I talked with you I was at the American, you sent me a CD and everything like that. So, I'm kind of like a closeted fan.
ER: (starts laughing) I feel ya. I appreciate it.
Ma'at: Let's talk about your new CD, 'The Appetizer' and I want to piggyback what you said on stage about being your own boss and how that tie in with the CD.
ER: We are working into a new reocrd and its coming out next year. We are pretty much done with it but its been awhile since we put out a new record and we just had all of these songs and why not put another album out. Thats the beautiful thing about owning your own label (BLUE ERRO SOUL) and bulding up a fan base from a grass roots situation. We decided to put out a record called The Appetizer cause people are hungry for more records, so we are like, you know what, let's give them something. That's a beautiful aspect, you know, I don't have to answer to anybody and to my surprise, the response has been overwheleming, way more than what I thought it would be. I'm just gonna contuinue touring, contuinue to buzz and give back to the fans and prepare what we got coming next year.
Ma'at: With this being 'the Appetizer,' is it kind of like what's going to be on the new album next year, explain the concept?
ER: It's a whole new record. No songs on this record will be on the next album, which I dont have a name for yet, The Entree, or whatever, but not saying that this record is a step down. Its songs that span throughout the years, like there is a song when I was on Warner Bros Records called,"The Moon," that is real hard to find, and there's new songs as well. And you know appetizers can taste just as great like spinach artichokes and chicken fingers. We just wanted to give something to the fans and let them know that , yo, we're doing it. And the next album will be a little different. It won't be a carbon copy of this record. We released this record becasue we feel so strongly about the next record coming out. I feel it will be my best record. I feel that confident about it.
Ma'at: Talk a little about, songwriting, You started off doing that and then you started working with Will Smith and the whole commerciality of that and compromises that is involved with it.
ER:I started out in the biz as an artist first signed with Warner Bros and when that deal didn't work out, it pretty much, when I learned at Howard majoring in musical thater, you learn everything about your craft, everything that surrounds it, so that if you don't work in the actual field you were focusing on, you can at least stay in the biz until you get back to the field that you are focusing on. I got into songwriting becasue I wanted to stay in the biz. I love music. I rather do music whether its on the corporate side or whatever than be somewhere away from music. So when I got into songwriting, I focused on trying to make myself the best songwriter out there, and the constant grind, on both coasts and meeting different people, and it's a blessing and I started really laying work on a lot of people. It got to the point where a lot of times the biz was so messed up that songs weren't getting their just do, or songs werent recorded properly ...
Ma'at: For instance? ER: Man, like, I cant relaly say exactly names, but you know what when it comes down to it, I am a perfectionist and I am quick to tell somebody that the song in my opinion is not up to par. But like a perfect example would be (the song) "Previous Cats," I mean the song was meaningful in my life. It really meant something to me and it wasn't a problem giving it to Musiq (Soulchild) because he is my brother. He can have the song, but it was just the idea of seeing the song and the reaction everybody had about that song and it not really even have a chance to even be a single cause politically it wasnt going to be a single and it wasnt a thing that it was going to make me a lot of money, but it was the aspect that it was a conversation piece that really helped a lot of people.
ER:Anytime I played it for someone, it was either like, "Yeah I do that', or, "My girl needs to hear that" or "I just went through that situation," it wasn't like, "Yo, thats a dope song, wooo.," you know . It was meaningful and if it was a single it would have gave it an outlet to really reach out to a far larger audience and it's amazing we can perform that song and people still celebrate it everywhere we go. You know those kind of frustrations and the more I started writing, the more honest the songs became in my own life, the harder it was to give those songs away. I started more holding on to them. It became like I was opening my journal to the world, my fears, my thoughts, how I was healing, how I fell in love, all in one song. I felt those are the more meaningful songs, and those became the easier ones to write and I started getting spoiled by it, trying to lean more towards it.
Ma'at: What's next up for you?
ER: Next up is to finish mixing the next record that's coming out and really see what the 'Appetizer' can do, cause it's really a word of mouth, we havent really, to be quite honest my whole career over the past five years as being an artist has always been a reactionary thing. We've been on like the defense. We got to St. Louis cause St. Louis asked us to. We go to Russia or London cause we were asked to come. We haven't really taken control and say we wanna go here and set the tone, so I plan to do that now. I've learned alot, made a lot of mistakes, but, I wanna continue and build and put out my own records and then leave outlet for others to put their records. At the end of the day, I am only a guinea pig, in this biz to try and see what works because I didn't want to be like a lot of artsits I've seen over the years that never came out and their talent was never heard cause they waited for someone to put their talent out there. And I was going down that route and I was like, I rather throw all this music out the window for free before no one ever hears it. And luckily, people have embraced it and paid for it and that's how we got to where we are today.
Ma'at:What do think of artists like Ashanti and Ciara who dont really have the vocal talent, but are hyped in the music industry, what is your take on that?
ER: That's a great quetsion, and I'm so happy you answered that question cause the funny thing was when I lived in Atlanta, one of the artists I developed was Ashanti and one of the things I always say is it should be balanced. It should be music for every demograohic in life. There's some records that should only sell 50,000 copies, some records should sell 10 million copies. We should not try and make every single record sell 5 million copies and cut out so much incredible things and the one thing I would tell everyone about Ashanti which is a viable, viable lesson we all can learn from, Ashanti was young and ya-da-ya-da and her deal fell through when we were all in Atlanta , she came back to New York and she didn't go to college, very smart girl, honor roll student, passed up college to pursue her career, and I would still work with her and knew she had a lot to learn, wasn't vocally the best, but the shortest way to tell this story is, I was a Super Bowl party packed in New York and her and her mom wanted a song I wrote and I said come to the Super party and I will give it to you, and when they came and when people saw she was talking to me they said to her, "You sing?" I'm like, naw, naw, naw, leave her alone. She was like, "Yeah, I sing." They were like, "Sing for us." That girl, did a half time show, literally put a CD in the stereo, and performed for the party. I do not know one person who would have put in a CD and have performed for that group of people at that place. And at that moment, I said, "That girl is going to make it," and the difference is, her work ethic. She works harder than any person I know. May not have the talent as much as whatever, but she deserves to have everything she had. If the people that were talented did what she did, we wouldn't have anything to comaplin about in music. But what we do is we sit in our basement and wait for someone to come find us becuase we have the talent and we deserve the success. I can't tell you the number of people I know that got incredible stuff and dont carry it on them and don't use it. While really the Ashantis out there who are hustling and taking the meetings you know, the girl got more money than me and she worked hard. I may not listen to evry single record but I think she's overacheiveing for what her talent really owes. Instead of complaining about that being on, it's viable that all of us need to learn.
(At this moment there is a group of hangerson, waiting to take a picture with Eric, including the American's Bill Beene, and I have my very first makeshift talk show with an audience)
Ma'at: Anything that you want to plug or say before I let you go?
ER: Ericrobersonmusic.com. Check out the forum section. Check out the the albums and the shows out. If you feel something, or see a certain child with a certain interest...the only reason why I'm doing music is because my parents put my sister in music classes and me being the younger brother, I just followed her around. You never know what it might lead to, so it's very interesting. I just say support art any form or fashion.Ma'at: We have an audience now, thank you for coming to my show.(a few giggles come from the small crowd and Eric )
Ma'at: Thanks Eric.
ER: No problem.
In the 5 Spot house were songwriter Osunlade, Track Boyz, James Glasco, Kevin Johnson, Coco Soul (can't wait for your set next Sunday!) , Charles Brown, Melvin Moore (seeing ya everywhere!), Vanita Applebum (It's my house and I live here. LOL), Monica Tyson, Bill Beene (It's gettin laaaaaaaaaaaaate! LOL), Lester, my boy Kam and Christiaan Coffield.
Just a few more short quips before I end this. I hear Busta Rhymes did his thing at the Pageant this past Monday. I heard someone threw a cigarette lighter on stage and hitting Busta with it on the right side of his temple when he and his sidekick Spliff were getting ready to toke on a smoke. I also hear my boy Kam got his party on by himself in the mosh while the show was going on (Must have been high over that message he gave rapper Ebony Eyes earlier, hmmm) . I had to miss this show cause I was bone tired from partying. The only thing I did was record my theatre review of "Luv" at KDHX studios and went to the crib. If anyone went to the show post up and tell me what you thought of it. I caught BET's 25th Silver Anniversary Special last Tuesday. It was pretty good. I enjoyed all the performances (especially LL Cool J , Snoop Dogg with Parliament Funkadelic and the New Edition reunion withBobby Brown). In my next blog I will givemore of an in depth discussion about the special. I'm sure it would have been repeated goo gobs of more times when my next blog comes about.
Oh, yeah, my trip to Cali has been postponed til January.
Well that will be it. Until next time, I hope to have a report on the Best of the StL party at Moolah Lounge, the play I-2195, and anything else that will come up.
Until next time, see ya outside!!!