Destination: London

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 12:30 PM

“And then I started singin’, and ever since then it’s been history in the making…” - London

Click Here to visit London's Official MySpace Page

Let’s talk music, shall we? Specifically speaking, let’s talk Motown. If I were to say Marvin, Luther, Michael, or Diana, you’d know exactly who I’m talkin’ about, right? Well Motown’s newest R&B artist is certain that very soon, you’ll know him on a first-name basis as well - and that name is London. With his unique style and immense talent, London plans to add his music to the history of the infamous label, and etch his name into the hearts of R&B lovers everywhere. I caught up with him to talk about his debut album, and his upcoming performance at R&B Live in Charlotte, NC

Mack: So tell me about you, how’d you get your start in music?

London: Well I’m originally from Oakland, California. I grew up in a church family you know, mom wanted to take all the kids to church and wanted us all in the church choir, Sunday school, all that type of stuff, so I was around the gospel music scene. And my Pops used to always play the old school greats from the great bands and solo artists back in his time. So I was surrounded by music. I really didn’t start gettin’ into it til I was about 14, around junior high school and around that time I used to rap. I didn’t even really like singing like that… when I was in the church choirs and stuff like that I used to lip sync cause I was only doin’ it for my mom… (chuckles) But when I finally sat down and said “Oh I can make a career out of this”, that’s when I started to hone my skills, but yeah I started off rappin’ first. Then, my younger sister sang a lot so I was always entertained by her and I always looked up to her with the music, so I figured “If she can do it, why can’t I? I’mma try to do it too”. And then I started singing and ever since then, it’s been history in the making.

Mack: Wow, that’s what’s up, an interesting start. Now do the fans get to hear you rapping on the album? Any chance of that?

London: Actually, they’re not gonna hear it on the album, but I am gonna do a CD Sampler that I’ll give out, probably about 6 songs. I may do something on that to take it back so everybody will know how it started. And that’ll be some classic stuff, like an album before the album so people can say they had it before the album comes out

Mack: Right, right, so that’s what the true fans will get.

London: Yep.

Mack: So you’re signed up with Motown Records. How did that deal come about for you?

London: I was on my grind writin’ and recordin’ songs, just doin my normal routine with my music. I ended up in Patchwerk Studios in Atlanta and that’s where I met my A&R Shaun Harris. They were playing records and they were like “Man, who is this kid?” after listening to my voice and they decided “We need to do something with him”. I ended up meetin’ Kinky B while I was out there and then it was like “I think we’ve got something”. So they went to playin my records for people; next thing you know Universal came calling and that led to one of the first meetings, and we just stuck with it. I feel like Motown – that’s where the greats came from, so why not be on the better label, where all the greats came from?

Mack: EXACTLY! Motown is legendary and they have some of the biggest names in the history of music. So how does that feel for you, carrying on that legacy of some of the greatest in music?

London: It feels great, I feel blessed and it’s kinda overwhelming but at the same time I feel like I’m ready for it. I think that everything happens for a reason and I think I was chosen for Motown because I am on the verge of being the next great. You know, a lot of people come in the game and say they’re the next “this person” or “that person”. I just want to come in the game and be a stamp, just be LONDON. See, when Marvin Gaye came in, he didn’t do what Smokey Robinson did. Michael Jackson didn’t do what Luther did. Luther didn’t do what Prince did, so everybody had their own individual style, their own niche. So I wanted to come in and just be London.

Mack: Right, cool. So if you could pick any two artists from Motown’s past to record a song with, one male and one female, who would you choose?

London: Hmmm… I’mma say Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross.

Mack: Really, I can get with that, two of the greatest. Now let’s get into some of your music. You’ve got a track out called “Sometimes”, a really nice slow jam. So tell me about that song, how did it come about?

London: The song is dealing with situations that I was actually going through as a young man. It talks about relationships, living and learning. None of us are perfect, but then it’s saying “How do I deal? I have a girl but at the same time I’m not totally satisfied, so I’m talkin’ to another female, and now it’s 2 at the same time.” And I’m like “I’m sorry that I’ve messed up and I’ve done this to you but sometimes a man is gonna be a man. Please forgive me; if you don’t, I can understand. But I’m a man of my word and I’m comin’ to tell you that sometimes, a man is gonna be a man. I messed up, please forgive me.”

Mack: Nice perspective for the fellas. ‘Man of My Word’ that’s the title of the album right?

London: Yep.

Mack: Okay, now tell me about that. Who did you work with on the album?

London: I worked with a whole list of people; I could go on and on. But there were some key people that I felt really blessed and honored to get a chance to work with. I worked with everyone from the less-known producers that aren’t on the radar all the way up to super producer Rodney Jerkins. I also worked with songwriters off the radar including myself, all the way up to Ne-yo and some other great writers. So it was really a blessing to work with people of their caliber because to me, it was a challenge. It’s like the big dogs comin’ now so you have to play with them and show them that you can be competition too. If Rodney Jerkins comes and beat up the track, that means I gotta beat the song up. If Ne-yo comes and beats the song up, I gotta come and perform it and it get it across to the people so they understand. So it was really a great experience.

Mack: Wow… I’d love to just see them in their element. So what’s the concept behind Man of My Word?

London: The concept behind the album really deals with the big L’s: Living Learning and Love. It’s a young man going through relationships, real-life situations, fun times, ups and downs, and everyone can get something from the album. There’s some love, the breakups to makeup, the tracks that let you party and have fun and then there’s some life lessons.

Mack: Aight cool, sounds very relatable. Now did you do some of your own songwriting as well?

London: Yeah actually Sometimes, I wrote that and co-wrote with some others. That was me on Sometimes, a lot of people ask “Did Ne-yo write that?” and I tell them “Nah, I did that.” But not anybody can write a good record. I wrote a lot on the album, because ya know, no one knows me better than me, so why not?

Mack: Exactly, and I think that’s what makes a real artist, when you can write your own content and express your own feelings. Out of all the songs on the album, do you have a favorite track on the album?

London: Actually, my favorite track on the album is all of ‘em because it’s such a classic album that you can’t just listen to one and say “This is my favorite”. It has so many different aspects. Every song sounds like it could be a single, like it could be played on the radio. So when I listen to it, it’s like I’m listening to the radio and all these songs are my favorites.

Mack: Oh man, you got me excited now. I’m ready to hear the whole album now!

London: Yeah man!

Mack: So when can we expect to see the album in stores?

London: You can look for Man of My Word at the top of the year. February ’09 London will be droppin’ in.

Mack: Cool, February ’09: we’ll definitely keep an eye and ear out for this joint. So now, I know you did some stuff for the ladies on there. Any particular tracks that your female listeners might consider their favorite?

London: Whew, that’s a good one… man... that’s a real good one… There’s a lot of stuff for the ladies too, so they’ll probably love all of it. Maybe their number one song would probably be Love You Down.

Mack: Tru, tru, I’ll keep the ladies on the lookout for that. You’ll be in Charlotte for R&B Live, and you know it’s one of the hottest nightlife venues because it’s just all about real music. Have you ever been to Charlotte?

London: I’ve never been to Charlotte before.

Mack: Oh man, it’ll be a nice experience for you. So what can we expect in a live show from London?

London: Ya’ll can expect to see my personality, wonderful vocals and just a good, intimate show, where people can just see me, hear my voice, instead of a whole lot of flippin’ and acrobatics and extra stuff. Just like an old school show, back in the day when they would get up and just sing to you.

Mack: Well we’re definitely looking forward to seeing your show. It’s good to see you out here living your dream and doin’ your thing. R&B Live is all about amateur talent, and we’ve definitely got some of the best singers here, so you’ll get to hear some of them while you’re in town. Do you have any advice for those cats that are still out here on the grind?

London: Man, the most advice I can give is to stay on the grind and stay focused cause you’re in control of your own destiny. If you want it you can go get it, so stay focused and you’ll reach it.

Mack: Definitely! Well man we’re lookin forward to seein you on the 24th down here in Charlotte.

Yeah hat should be a frequent spot. I could come back and forth to R&B Live, maybe as a feature act or something.

Mack: Well we’d love to have you man

London: I really appreciate it man.

Mack: No problem, and we’ll be looking for that debut album, Man of My Word in stores February ’09, right?

London: Yes sir.

Mack: Oh yeah, any plans to shoot a video for Sometimes?

London: We’re getting treatments right now for Sometimes. We’re seeing who has the best ideas, then we’ll go ahead and get that done.

Mack: Okay… who knows, you may want to shoot that in Charlotte? Hahaha…

London: Hahahaha…

Mack: Aight man, well it was great talking with you and we’re looking forward to having you at R&B Live in a few weeks.

London: Preciate it man…

To all my Sound-Savvy fam in Charlotte and surrounding areas, you can come out and catch London performing live at R&B Live on Wednesday, September 24 at Allure.

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