Interviews

Lee Mo: Spreading Soul From The East Coast

Lee Mo is an up and coming jazz/soul/R&B vocalist hailing from Baltimore, Maryland and currently performing out of Philadelphia, PA, two of the nation’s hotbeds for musical talent of all sorts. She’s been given a public vote of confidence from the legendary Anita Baker. Velvety, chocolatey tones and well-practiced vocal technique combine for something truly fresh but also reminiscent of iconic black soul singers of yesteryear. I got a chance to chat with this sweet soul of a singer to discuss her roots, how she’s grown since and where she’s going. Check it out:

The Vince Anthony Show: So, tell me a bit about yourself

Lee Mo: I’m a black girl from Baltimore, born and raised. I love music. I was adopted into a family headed by a religious single mother, which meant lots and lots of church, and that’s where I first started singing.

TVAS: What made you want to pursue artistry professionally?

Lee Mo: As a kid, I picked up on some natural ability to imitate singers and play melodies on the piano by ear. I kept working on it throughout the years. Pursuing artistry for me isn’t something I feel like I have a choice in doing. I would be cutting off a part of who I am if I didn’t. My artistry is my life, it is more than just singing to me.

TVAS: Could you say a bit more about how innate music is to you?

Lee Mo: It’s something I’ve always had an ear for. I remember playing on a toy keyboard as a kid. My sister taught me Mary Had A Little Lamb (I still remember the colors!). After that, I started to just pluck out the melody of any song that came to mind. It was the same with singing. I could make my voice sound like anyone. I mimicked a lot of singers as a kid, picking out their inflections and runs. It was fun for me!

TVAS: That’s really dope! Can you tell me about the music you’re performing now?

Lee Mo: Right now, I’m really into performing Sade, Anita Baker and others in that vein. Their individual sounds are very organic and that is something that I want to portray with my original music, too.

TVAS: I’ve seen Anita Baker interact with you quite a bit on Twitter. What’s that been like for you?

Lee Mo: It’s unbelievable. I appreciate her being down to earth and sharing life gems as well as regular conversation with me. My friend calls her my fairy god-mother, haha. I’ll take that!

TVAS: I’d say that’s fitting based on what I’ve heard from you. Let’s talk about your music!

Lee Mo: Okay! Whatchu wanna know?

TVAS: Any singles out?

Lee Mo: I have two singles out currently. Don’t Have A Reason and One Last Chance.

TVAS: Both of these seemed to be received really well! What was the inspiration for these two?

Lee Mo: It’s humbling to see and hear people express such great feelings about the two songs. They are basically about different points in a relationship. One is about being unsure about the faithfulness of your partner, and the other is about forgiveness with a stern warning that they better not mess up again.

TVAS: Those are some deep yet relatable topics. Your beautiful voice helps carry the message just fine.

Lee Mo: I try, haha. I can relate as well. I want my music to express things that we’ve all been thinking and feeling And I want to do it in a simple, palatable, relatable way.

TVAS: Mmhm. Let’s talk about your recent trip to Europe. What were you doing over there?

Lee Mo: I ended up in Europe through a Facebook post, really. My friend shared that she was looking for a couple more singers for a European tour, and I was the first to respond. She had me contact the company with my bio, some videos, and they replied almost immediately saying that they would like to have me. We worked out all the necessary business and that’s basically how I ended up in Europe. It was an extremely eye-opening experience for me. For one, I hadn’t realized how real it was for black people to live in Europe. I met so many black singers making careers in Germany and in France. I hadn’t really thought of that as a possibility for myself. I needed that.

TVAS: Can you see yourself making music out of Europe?

Lee Mo: Absolutely. I mean, they do things kind of differently there, but it’s definitely possible to make a living there.

TVAS: Dope. Are there any artists or producers you’d like to collaborate with?

Lee Mo: Hmm…I hope to get up with Cory Henry and do something. I think that’d be dope. If I could get with Stevie Wonder, Pharrell or Frank Ocean that’d be dope too!

TVAS: Nice wish list! What advice would you give to aspiring artists, specifically singers?

Lee Mo: I would say…make sure you really like what you’re doing. Keep striving to like what you’re creating. Don’t be afraid to start over. And don’t be afraid to wait.

TVAS: Lee Mo, it was great talking with you!

Lee Mo: Well thank you! This was really fun

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Check out Lee Mo’s music @ www.leemomusic.com and Soundcloud

Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @Musica_LeeMo

Interviews

Interview: Janelle Monáe’s Hair, The Monáe

We been checkin’ for Janelle Monáe for ages, now. She’s one of the greatest living performers out there. She’s got a remarkable body of work and a record label under her belt. She’s expanded to the silver screen and even made an appearance at the Golden Globes this year for two separate films (Hidden Figures and Moonlight). Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention her hair, though.

It’s too lit.

So lit, in fact, that it has it’s own social media presence. You read that correctly.

Janelle Monáe’s hair (who goes by the moniker The Monáe) is a social media force to be reckoned with. She can be found getting non-inclusive folk/occurrences together, taking pics at award shows and was even recording special moments at Beyoncé’s 35th birthday party.

I reached out to Jane’s hair (with explicit permission, of course) and we got to talking about her experience as one of the most revered coiffs in history. Here’s the convo:

The Vince Anthony Show: What’s it like being the most important crown in Metropolis?

The Monáe: It’s pretty cool. I can’t really go into detail because of Droid Control but let’s just say I’m not just any ol’ ordinary crown.

TVAS: What’s your regimen? LOC? LCO? What products do you use?

TM: The LOC Method is amazing. Also, the products Cindi uses taste delish. You ever tried Coconut Shea Moisture Lotion? Best food ever.

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TVAS: Let’s talk about Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair?” What do you think of it? How does it make you feel?

TM: Yes, I actually listen to it everyday. The song really uplifts me. Makes my roots tingle. It’s a really important song/topic. We (hair) take time to grow and when someone touches us…it’s a big Flag On The Play. That song was needed and I’m happy that someone finally made it.

TVAS: Give me your thoughts on wigs.

TM: Wigs are fun. You ever wanna have a great time? Invite wigs. They’re the life of the party. My great Auntie is actually a Wet ‘n’ Wavy wig. Also, Cindi owns a lot of wigs. I play dress up in them. Love em! I think everyone should own at least one wig! They’re important.

TVAS: Dope.

TM: Don’t tell her I told you that.

TVAS: I won’t.

You recently strayed from the pompadour that made you famous. What can we expect from you in the future?

TM: I didn’t stray away from it completely, ya know! Hmmm, the future? I shall never ever tell!

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TVAS: Word. Whats the view like on stage?

TM: It’s incredible when Janelle’s not covering me up with a hat like Quirinus Quirrell does Lord Voldemort.

TVAS: BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHA

TM: Sometimes it gets annoying. I just want to see you guys. That’s why I kick the hat off and the hair pin.

TVAS: Ayyee turn up! Speaking of movies, could you speak on your experience in Moonlight and Hidden Figures?

TM: Sure, I had a blast on both sets! In Moonlight I play Justine. Seen some things, been through some things but I’ve yet to let those things gray me ya know? It was super duper hot so they had to keep me hydrated with lots and lots of oils and Fiji Water.

The weather was perfect during the filming of Hidden Figures. The only problem I had was with the wind tunnel. It’s no joke. I made lots of new friends and learned a lot. People were really weirded out about the whole talking hair thing but after a while they fell in love with me.

TVAS: Do you an Jidenna’s hair kick it? If so, what’s that like?

TM: Not a lot, We’re always busy but when we do we have a great time. He’s very laid back, pun intended.

TVAS: You should consider stand up. Do yall call that “hi top” or….?

 
TM: How’d you know? Haha
 
TVAS: Tell me about your Golden Globes experience. Must’ve been exciting!
 
TM: The Golden Globes were amazing. A lot of people I’ve watched on television…. I tried to jump off of Jane’s head to get to Viola. I absolutely love her but that would’ve been a bit much.
 
TVASListen. I get it.
 
TM: I was decked out in the finest pearls and extra glossy, too. She’s been putting a lot of weird things on me lately, have you peeped that?
 
TVAS: I peeped. It’s a good look though. Looks for days.
 
 
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TM: But, anyways it was so amazing to see Jane & the cast of Moonlight take home a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama. I worked hard in that movie. They told me to stay curly so I did and I think I did a pretty amazing job. I didn’t let the heat of the moment get to me. Hopefully we’ll be at the Oscars next. I really want to do a pre-show interview.
 
TVAS: That would be litty! How would you like to be remembered?
 
TM: As the most kick ass crown, ever.
 
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Follow Janelle Monáe’s hair on Twitter and Instagram @The_Monae
Artists I Like Spotlight

Artists I Like Spotlight – Robyn Hood

Robyn Hood has an energy that I haven’t felt in rap since the heyday of artists like Eve and Lauryn Hill. Born and bred in the streets of West Philadelphia, she carries with her the lineage of raw talent (even as a relative newcomer to the rap game) that that section of the city is known for in the world of arts. Her two new singles Heroine and Reach give you a good sense of both her musical prowess and artistic intention, with themes of uplift and empowerment. I got a chance to sit down with Robyn Hood and talk about her background, where she’s been and where she intends to go.

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Music I Like: What attracted you to rapping as an art form?

Robyn Hood: I’ve always loved poetry and as a classically trained actress, I’ve studied the Bard and am very attracted to verse and prose. I love Beats and telling stories and how the two can work seamlessly together to inspire, motivate, educate and most importantly uplift.

MIL: What motivates you to create?

RH: Life. Current events. My youngins. Future generations. My motto is to take your negative energy and make it positive. I grew up in the hood, the rough streets of West Philadelphia, and not having has made me be proactive. It’s taught me how to be a talker and a walker.

MIL: What projects are you currently working on?

RH: I’m currently working on finishing my upcoming EP for summer release and I’m also in a play at my alma mater Yale University doing a play by William Shakespeare called Cymbeline. The show is at Yale Rep and I play the lead male Posthumous. For more info: Cymbeline

MIL: What is your vision for yourself in regard to your art?

RH: My vision and mission coincide. It’s to educate through entertainment. I’m an activist in support of healthy change and growth. My goal is to offer another lane to success by promoting and demonstrating how to independently building your own unique brand and how to make your education work for you. I do this through my acting and my music. I create my own material, so I have say in the end result. I’m in control of what I produce. I believe in being your own boss so that no one can fire you.

MIL: Who are some of your artistic influences?

RH: I’m influenced by artists, playwrights and musicians who make or have made bold choices in their work, i.e. Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson, Prince, Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange just to name few.

MIL: Who/What is your dream collaboration?

RH: Right now, I’d love to do a track with Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar or Lauryn Hill.

Check out Robyn Hood at Soundcloud and Reverb Nation!
For Robyn Hood/Music: robynhoodfanz.com
For Miriam Hyman/Acting: miriamhyman.com