Interview with SoulTracks' Tom Paul
TP: What inspired the new songs on your recently released EP "My Mind's I"?
M: I am constantly inspired by everything I've learned, seen, heard and experienced since I've been on this planet. The forthcoming album will be a reflection of where I am right now in my life and the EP gives just a sample of that.
TP: Did you produce this EP yourself? Or did you have outside producers work with you on the production tasks?
M: I was fortunate enough to work with the amazing Shelton Garner www.myspace.com/sheltongarner and his production partner, Len Johnson www.myspace.com/redeyestudiosbrooklyn , on the majority of the songs. Shelton and I have been collaborating for several years and I rarely perform a show without him on guitar. I also worked with my manager, Adam Cruz, on the track "Outtasight", which was a lot of fun.
TP: Your lyrics are socially conscious; can you talk about your lyric writing process?
M: Music can be a great tool for communicating where we are as a society and as individuals in this society. I try to use my lyrics to document where we are as a people. The song "Ascension" is my testimony about how black people are viewed in today's society and how we view ourselves. The lyric "Ain't never been a nigga, ain't gonna be a nigga" is my opposition to the blatant use of that word and I think it's important to hear that point of view as well as the other side who thinks it's okay to use it.
TP: You've defined your sound as "Raw Soul". Is that due to the raw, gut-wrenching performances live? Or is that just a description of the many styles you blend together that makes up your sound?
M: Raw Soul defines both my music and live shows. I like for my music to sound more organic than polished. I'm not interested in it being overproduced and slick. This also applies to my live performances. When people leave a show I want them to feel as though they've gotten to know me through the music.
TP: You've been performing shows in support of the new EP, what venues have you been playing at and do you have any shows coming up soon?
M: We had the release party at Joe's Pub here in NYC. I've also done SOB's and am about to do Frank's Lounge (June 21st) in the BK and Shrine in Harlem (June 30th). I'm really looking forward to traveling outside of the country. I want for people everywhere to hear the music.
TP: You've received some great press as well for the EP. Can you talk about what magazines have featured you in their articles?
M: http://www.bouncefm.com/ and http://www.2mybeat.com/ have been really supportive, as well as Fiona Bloom http://www.thebloomeffect.com/ and the ubiquitous Tom Paul. I am grateful to all of you for spreading the word.
TP: When you aren't writing and performing music you have many other artistic endeavors in acting and promoting that keep you busy. Can you tell us about them?
M: I don't act as much as I did before I decided to focus on music, but I am co-producer of an amazing dance party called Libation which happens two Thursday's a month at Sullivan Room in NYC. Libation takes up a lot of my time so I'm still learning how to juggle both.
TP: You have done several dance singles as well with very prominent DJ's. Can you talk these songs and which DJ's were responsible with the production of these singles?
M: I've done a few tracks with DJ Ian Friday who is the resident dj of Libation. Those songs should be out shortly. I've also, done some work with Frankie Feliciano of the Ricanstruction Label, Lou Gorbea of Omi Tutu, Antonio Ocasio of Tribal Winds and will begin working with Josh from the legendary production duo, Blaze.
TP: Do you have any new projects in the works that you can tell us about?
M: Mo' music, mo' music and mo' music! Finishing up the full length album, working on getting remixes done and we're about to shoot videos for two of the tracks on the EP.
TP: Where did the name Manchildblack derive from?
M: Manchild was a nickname given to me by a friend of mine. I later added "black" to make it complete. It represents the three constants in my life...I will always be a man, a child of God and black.
TP: Did you study music and acting at a School for the Arts?
M: I did attend Howard University for awhile with a major in musical theatre, even though I did not finish. Most of my training came from the process of doing live theatre.
TP: How do you keep your busy schedule together as both artist and business man?
M: That's a good question. I'm still learning how to juggle it all. This week, for example, I am co-producing two parties and have two performances, all of them back to back. I am a very driven person, so I think I can handle it all, but I'm beginning to realize that I have to pace myself a little better so that I don't burnout.
TP: Name some artists that you'd like to work with in the future?
M: I'm the biggest Stevie Wonder fan, so that would be a dream come true. Although, I might be too awestruck to even sing in front of him. Just saw him in person at the Wonder-Full party and he is other-worldly.
TP: What were the last 3 downloads or CD's that you purchased?
M: Lalah Hathaway's latest album is her best yet. Estelle's album is refreshing. My absolute favorite is that Manchildblack EP. Ya'll should buy it on itunes right now!!! lol:)