How did your new album ďPhilosoulphyĒ and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
My new CD ďPhilosoulphyĒ is the follow up to my debut CD ďRiseĒ. The concept is one that was and will forever be engrained in me. Itís Jazz + Funk + RnB = SOUL. Even though Iím considered & embraced as a Smooth Jazz artist, I really believe that my music has a certain SOUL of itís own. From the songs that have meaningful lyrics with depth, to the feel of the production, down to the talented vocalists and musicians that Iím blessed to work with. This CD and every future Funkee Boy CD will have the overall concept of SOUL.
As far as my ultimate goals with it.. Of course every recording artist wants the world to embrace their music and wants to have a chart topping CD, recognition, awards, etc.
Iím no different. So even if it doesnít sell another copy I can honestly look back and say that I love this CD and itís exactly what I feel inside. Iím just blessed, honored, and humbled that fans all over the world are supporting it and have made it the #1 selling Jazz CD worldwide on CDBaby.
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
Hmm, thatís a tough one. Iíve been extremely blessed to have my songs on every major network like CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC, SHOWTIME, etc. Itís always a high when I look back and know that my music has been featured in some great films and classic television shows from Beverly Hills 90210 to General Hospital. Iím proud that Iíve had International chart credits along with chart credits on Smooth Jazz, Billboard, American Music Charts, and a #1 selling CD worldwide.
Iím also extremely proud to be to able to write & produce for other talented artists signed and unsigned all over the globe in all genres of music. Then when their music hits the charts or has success in making them an income it really touches me.
But with all that, I guess Iím most proud of the live concert experience that I put together with my wife LEILA. Itís a really large scale production and a lot of work but its unlike anything else!
Iím really proud to have performed it for Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch, Mohegan Sun Arena, Foxwoods Resort, Radio Stations and Festivals. Every time we do that large scale show the audience, as well as the band feels so uplifted and unified.
We usually perform the concert utilizing 10-12 dancers of various styles from African to capoeira, Salsa, to Hip Hop. Add to that, 9 band members, a video segment, eye-catching costumes & choreography all with the theme of promoting unity and celebrating the diversity of our cultures. Itís really breath-taking!
Who are some of your current favorite artists, Smooth Jazz or otherwise?
Well oddly enough unlike many of my fellow smooth jazz artists, I didnít actually grow up listening to smooth jazz. I mean I knew George Bensonís ďThis MasqueradeĒ, Groverís ďMister MagicĒ, and Herb Albertís ďRiseĒ. However, I grew up listening to Tower Of Power, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Cameo, Luther, etc. So now when I hear current artists, like India Arie, Brian McKnight, Neyo, Alicia Keys that embrace some old school flair, writing and singing songs that have meaning and depth Iím ďAll Up In ItďÖ no pun intendedÖ.
Outside of your musical career, what else in your life gets you excited and fulfilled?
guess Iím passionate about living and grateful to be healthy.
I mean, of course Iím passionate about the music I make but that goes without saying. If music ended today then I would hope to still be passionate about life itself and being in good health with a sound mind. I try to remember that if I have a bad day or get emotional about something. Iím excited and fulfilled to have a great balance between work and play. Iím not the kind of person that wants to be on the road touring non stop in a whirlwind schedule. So for me, I get excited and fulfilled by being able to exercise, relax, take a bike ride, a spur of the moment day trip, escape a cold winter for a few months, enjoying the beach, site-seeing, picnics, eating out and not having to worry about a boss or punching a clock.
Of course, like everything else it comes with Proís and Conís but itís the freedom and lifestyle that excites and fulfills me.
What would you define as the most life-changing event so far in your musical career?
Well, the most life-changing event for me actually had nothing to do with music. It was a devastating accident that I suffered in 1999. One day while just hiking, I fell about 30 feet onto rocks below and broke just about every rib in my body. I couldnít move, I suffered severe nerve damage, disc problems in my back and neck, and I wasnít able to sit, stand, sleep, or walk comfortably for many months.
Before the accident I was working full time in Data Processing as a Financial Systems Manager for a large company. I was doing both. Working full time and still recording & playing music at nights and on weekends. I even took some night classes as well. Needless to say, the pace, stress-level, and everything else from that point on changed. While I was lying in the hospital and recovering it made me realize what is really important to my soul. So once I healed I left corporate America and dedicated myself to really growing my music and my company Funkee Boy Music & Productions.
Ok, enough with the music questions.. So who is your Celebrity Crush?
Oh you want to go there? Ha Ha, Wow.. lets see - Shakira, Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, Rachel McAdams, Katherine McPhee, Halle Berry - Do you really want me to go on? (laughs)