E. Bland Interview by Tom Paul

E. Bland, known as a smooth soul singer, also blesses his humble sound as a songwriter, producer & multi-instrumentalist. It has been mentioned that he is known for playing every instrument on stage at some point during his performances. Born in Hackensack, NJ and influenced at an early age by his Parents on the sounds of traditional jazz and classic soul music. E. Bland has released two albums to date, "Just Me" in 2007 to rave reviews and his 2008 album titled "Soulcentric" which includes the hit single "Necessary".

Both albums have been well received on Internet Radio as well as his sales have reached outside the U.S. to Canada, Denmark, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and many other countries.

E. Bland, known as a smooth soul singer, also blesses his humble sound as a songwriter, producer & multi-instrumentalist. It has been mentioned that he is known for playing every instrument on stage at some point during his performances. Born in Hackensack, NJ and influenced at an early age by his Parents on the sounds of traditional jazz and classic soul music. E. Bland has released two albums to date, "Just Me" in 2007 to rave reviews and his 2008 album titled "Soulcentric" which includes the hit single "Necessary".

Both albums have been well received on Internet Radio as well as his sales have reached outside the U.S. to Canada, Denmark, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and many other countries. His blend of powerful lyrics, soulful grooves and silky smooth vocals has captivated audiences at his shows.  

TP: Your songs have a strong musical development along with your lyrics and smooth voice, what influences early helped educate this sound in your music?

EB: I grew up listening to my parents' music more than that of my own generation. I was most intrigued by the soul movement of the 60s and 70s, particularly artists like Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Donny Hathaway and Curtis Mayfield, and bands like Earth Wind & Fire.

TP: How many instruments do you play?

EB: Four. I've played keys, guitar, bass and drums on stage and on my recordings, but piano is my primary instrument. I also play a number of miscellaneous percussion instruments (congas, djembe, etc.)

TP: You produced your first album "Just Me" 2007, how daunting a task is that to take on all of that responsibility?

EB: Honestly, it's one of the greatest challenges I've ever faced. Most artists take the help of a "team" for granted when producing an album (i.e. artist, producer, engineer, management, advertisement, graphic design, etc.). Some people think I'm exaggerating when they hear that I am all of those things by myself, but it's the truth. Yes, it's a lot, but it's also rewarding to know that my project is a reflection of MY gifts and not a collection of others with my name on it.

TP: Did you record that album in your own home studio or did you take the project to a studio to work on it?

EB: I have my own studio and recorded the entire project there.

TP: Your current release "Soulcentric" 2008 mentions that you brought in some outside collaborators to work on the album? Who helped you on these collaborations? What studio did you record this "Soulcentric" at?

EB: This album is similar to the first in that there are only two tracks produced or co-produced by someone other than myself. The outside collaborations are mostly with feature artists: hip-hop lyricist Bomani Armah (DC), sultry poetess Sarah Ashley (RI), hip-hop artist SoulPro (VA), world-touring jazz trumpet soloist Vinnie Cutro (NJ), and indie soul sensation Wayna (DC). The majority of the album was recorded at my own Soulview Studios (NJ) with the exception of the featured vocals by Bomani, SoulPro, and Wayna (recorded in their respective locations).

TP: Which musicians play in your band when your perform live?

EB: My band typically consists of five members: I sing and play keys, accompanied by guitar, bass, drums, and background vocals.

TP: Which venues have you performed at in the past? Do you have any current shows coming up?

EB: Some notable venues are Artmosphere Café (MD), Busboys & Poets (DC), Mango's Restaurant (NJ), Organix Soul (MA), Sugar Bar and Village Underground (NYC). My next show is at Busboys & Poets in DC on August 6th.

TP: Do you prefer performing live and touring or working in the studio with various artists?

EB: Definitely performing live! Performing live adds the dimension of interaction with my audience that can never be captured in the studio. That makes each situation 100% unique.

TP: Which other artists have your produced or worked with in the studio?

EB: The artists I worked with on "Soulcentric" are among the best to date. I plan on doing more outside production at some point in the future, but right now I'm focusing on my band and my career as a solo artist.

TP: Do you have any new projects that you can talk about outside of your own?

EB: I'm currently producing Sarah Ashley's http://www.myspace.com/caramelyrics spoken word album, which we expect to release in 2009.

TP: Did you study music?

EB: I'm mostly a self-taught musician, but I minored in music in college. That helped me apply theory to things I had been doing for years but couldn't really explain

TP: If you were to break down your sound by the various sounds of Soul, how would you describe your sound? What do they borrow from and where will they lead the listeners on their musical journey of your sound?

EB: My company's slogan is "Rich Sounds - Raw Lyrics - Reel Music" and I think that accurately describes my sound as an artist. My music seems to have a unique ability to stir human emotions and touch people in ways that the mainstream industry no longer understands. The authenticity of live instruments, unedited vocals, and positive, heartfelt lyrics create a blend that I can only describe as a refreshing brand of soul music.

TP: Do you have Management, PR, your own Label? If so, who assists or do you run the whole show by yourself?

EB: Right now I'm a one-man show. My company is Reel Music Publishing and Sarah Ashley will the first artist other than myself to be released under my own label.

TP: What were the last 3 downloads or CDs that you purchased?

EB: Al Green, Dwele, and Lalah Hathaway

TP: Name 3 musicians that you would like to work with in the future?

 EB: Jill Scott, D'Angelo, and ?uestlove

 By Tom Paul

 

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