Angela Johnson Interview

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    by Tom Paul 

    by Tom Paul 

    Angela JohnsonAngela Johnson is one of the most sought after Producers on the Indie Soul scene right now with her new CD "A Woman's Touch Vol. 1" as well as writing and producing songs for other artists like Conya Doss, Larnea, Seek and The Reel People. Her 3rd CD "A Woman's Touch Vol. 1" is a project Angela has wanted to do for some time, showing her in the Producer/Songwriter spotlight and having her favorite artists in the Indie Soul Community as the featured artists. The artists appearing on the record are Rahsaan Patterson, Maysa, Gordon Chambers, Eric Roberson, Marlon Saunders and Lisala Beatty and Tricia Angus (who both sing with Angela on her live shows).

    Angela Johnson will be performing on some shows in the NYC area this week. Saturday October 18th at Franks' Lounge in Brooklyn as part of the once a month NU-Soul Saturday's showcase of Indie Soul artist. On the bill with Angela is the sensational Yahzarah aka Purple St. James and a CD Listening Party for Revelations featuring Tre Williams

    The second show Angela is performing at this weekend will be in Harlem at Harlem Stage on Sunday October 19th with Abby Dobson, Manchildblack and the Ladies of Ubiquita spinning for a special event titled Natural Progression Act II: Let There Be Soul/Soul Deconstruction which is co-presented by Harlem Stage and UBIQUITA NYC.
    For more information on this great show, please click on the link below

    TP: How did the idea of creating a producers album with featured artists come about?

    AJ:  Well, my management team brought to me an idea they felt would take my career to the next level. I've always wanted to collaborate with other artists in the independent soul scene. This was a great way for me to begin a relationship with many of the artists I admire and have a lot respect for. In addition, there have been many discussions about the lack of female representation in the music industry. In the music production field, there's hardly any female representation. So, that's really where the idea for the title of the album.

    TP: Did you know which artists you wanted on board before you started the project?

    AJ: Pretty much. I needed to make a statement with this album. So, I sought after many of the prominent independent soul/R&B artist of today. I did have a long wish list.

    TP: You co-wrote with these artists on the CD, how does today's technology assist you in these long distance co-writes?

    AJ: Believe it or not, less than a handful of the production was produced with the assistance of the internet. I've exchanged a lot of mp3's! Perfect example: "Play" feat. Frank McComb, was originally recorded in my studio in New Jersey. Frank recorded his vocals and keyboard parts in his studio on the West Coast. One of the easiest recording sessions I've ever had! 

    TP: I'm guessing that for some artists on this your new project, you wrote the tracks and had some lyrical and melodic ideas and then sent the tracks to the individual artists to complete? How did each co-write differ from a songwriting process?

    AJ: I didn't want to confine any of the artists with melodic and lyrical ideas I had. It wouldn't have been a true collaboration. Yes, there are a few artists on this project where I had written the entire song for only because I had a strong desire to do write to the specific track.

    TP: Tell us what kind of equipment and software you prefer to work with in your Studio? Mixture of classic keys/synths? What music software(s) or plug-ins do you prefer working with? Mic's for vocals?

    AJ: In my studio, I have a Rhodes (Stage Piano II), Wurlitzer, Clavinet, a Korg CX 3, , Nord Electro 2, a Triton, a Roland Juno 6 and 106.  I prefer to sequence my music on my Akai MPC 2000XL and record all of my music into a Roland VS- 2480. I record vocals, (sometimes strings) on my Neumann TLM 103. Usually, I transfer my tracks to be mixed in a Pro Tools system.

    TP: I love that on your live shows you incorporate both Lisala Beatty and Tricia Angus as featured artists and lead vocal lines in sections of your songs. How integrated are these two ladies into your sound? They are amazing singers and add so much personality and musicianship on stage.

    AJ: It's been many years that Lisala, Tricia, and myself have been singing together. I believe that we've created a unique sound and it has become an integral part of our stage performance. I have so much respect for their talent and gifts. They are very special artists and it was an honor for me to have them on my latest project.

    TP: Are both Lisala and Tricia working on new projects and are you involved in the writing and production?

    AJ: Yes! Both are currently working on new projects. At some point, I may be involved with some of the production. I will be submitting tracks!

    TP: Can you tell us what kind of line-up we can expect from your live shows this weekend at Frank's Lounge and Harlem Stage Gatehouse venues?

    AJ: This Friday, I will be doing an acoustic show at Frank's Lounge with keyboard and vocals, featuring Lisala and Tricia Angus. On Sunday, I will be accompanied by a full band. It's going to be a heck of a weekend!

    TP: You've played some special shows over the last year, can you talk about some of the highlights performance wise over the last year?

    AJ: There are too many to name, but I have been doing quite a bit of acoustic shows with Lisala and Tricia. The reactions we get from the audience are on another level. I've also had the chance to share the stage with Eric Roberson, Anthony David. That's been a treat for me.

    TP: Can you talk to me about your record label and management? How hands on with the label and management are you? Do they enable you to keep creative, so you don't have to deal with a lot of the leg work?

    AJ: I have a wonderful team of people behind me. My management team, Russell Johnson and George Littlejohn, have been with me from the very beginning of my career. They are brilliant and are a strong force in this indie industry. Out of frustration from dealing with major label politics, they formed the independent label, Purpose Records, from which I enjoy the freedom as an artist.

    TP: Can you talk about other artists that you've worked with as producer/writer on their projects? Are there any new projects in the works that you can talk about?

    AJ:  Yes, I'm working on my 3rd solo project which I hope to release at the beginning of next year. I'm constantly creating tracks and songs for other artists.  Currently, I have a song on Maysa's latest release, "Metamorphisis" The song is called "Happy Feelings". I've also collaborated with Barry Eastmond, Conya Doss, Maya Azucena.

    TP: You've had success getting your music on some tv shows? Can you tell us about what shows and how does one go about getting their songs into tv shows?

    AJ: Yes, my music has been aired on TV shows such as FOX's "The Shield", and  "Kevin Hill" . I've also had music played on HBO's hit series, "The Wire".
    TP: How many instruments do you play? Are there other instruments that you'd like to learn that you feel would make you more rounded as a musician?

    AJ: The piano is my first love. I've been playing since I was 4 yrs old. I started taking classical lessons at age 7. I picked up the violin at the age of 11 and began playing in an elementary school orchestra. I never really took private lessons until I graduated from high school. I entered college and studied classical violin for the first 2 years. I'd really like to learn to play other instruments like the guitar and bass, I also would love to play a percussive instrument. 

    TP: I recently saw you perform with Tortured Soul and I saw a dance music side of you that I haven't heard in your solo music. Do you feel you will go back to those roots in future recordings?

    AJ: I love music that I can dance to. Dancing is a passion of mine as well. I do believe that my next solo project will have more up tempos and danceable tracks.

    TP: How did your role in Cooly's Hot Box help you progress into being the solo artist you've become?

    AJ: As one of the lead singers in CHB, it gave me more confidence being in front, and communicating with the audience. I also learned a lot about musicianship and sharing the stage. I am very thankful for the experience! 

    TP: Name some artists that you'd like to work with in the future?

    AJ: Now, if I were to say, that would spoil my surprise for "A Woman's Touch Vol. II"! Stay tuned...

    TP: What were the last 3 artists that you purchased their music?

    AJ: Jazmin Sullivan, Jennifer Hudson, and Angela Johnson present's "A Woman's Touch" Vol. I .....purchased for a relative. Lol...