October 19, 2012 by mepstein31
Written by: Mike Epstein (@MikeENJ)
After leaving the major record label world and taking his career into his own hands, R&B sensation Avery Storm presents his new EP On the Line. Debuting on iTunes this past Tuesday at midnight, On the Line is a six song collection from one of R&B’s most gifted voices.
Avery Storm has been featured on records with some of hip hop’s biggest names including Rick Ross and Nelly (“Here I Am”) and Notorious B.I.G., Diddy, and Jagged Edge (“Nasty Girl”). After going independent, Avery took some time to focus on his career and has put his heart and soul into his best project yet.
This project, which has a self proclaimed “blue collared soul” sound, is one of the most riveting pieces of R&B to hit my hears in some time. The EP does the have standard R&B love ballad in “Who’s Gonna Catch You”, but it also has a major jazz influence. With the newly released visuals, “Problems” has the type of melody that sounds like it floated out of a 1920’s jazz club. Avery finds a way to perfectly maintain the up-tempo harmony while telling tales of his sometimes self destructive habits, “Sometimes I drink too much, just to start a fight…Sometimes I don’t eat for days, until I just don’t look right.”
The production of the project is also unique in that almost every song sounds as its being performed, instead of recorded. The drums in the background sound as if Avery is singing in a jam session and not recording an album. Track #2, the title song, hits with an addictive drum pattern that seems to seep flawlessly around Avery’s vocals, especially in the chorus.
Despite being awake for two days straight and promoting the release of his project, Avery Storm was generous enough to lend me some of his time for a phone interview. While the singer’s voice did have a hint of tiredness, his excitement about his new project was infectious and almost impossible to miss.
You had a brand new project drop at midnight last night. Tell me about your new EP, On the Line. What are you trying to prove with this project?
“Well, basically it’s a compilation of songs that I have created from moments in my life and through my journey. So this project is just a culmination of these events I’ve gone through and experienced throughout my journey in life. I’ve sort of poured it out into this project. To be honest, that’s why I’m so genuinely excited about the music that I’m creating right now, and the space I’m in. Creatively, you know… the music, I just feel great about it. So for you to tell me it’s an awesome project, that’s why I say it means a lot because this is me top to bottom. This is really me pouring myself out.”
What makes this project different than your other mixtapes?
“Well first off, I produced the songs. The songs are coming from me. You know with mixtape joints I’ve worked with other producers and rewritten other people’s songs and made it my own. I never really felt the attachment and ownership. Furthermore, I was signed to a major label and now I’m independent, 100% driving my own ship. That in and of itself is an awesome time for me, man. It’s really exciting right now.”
This project has kind of a jazzy “feel” that I haven’t heard in much of your other songs. Is something you were going for?
“I’ve sort of took this little time that’s been the past year, maybe two years and have sort of been developing this sound. Sort of working on these songs that have been most true to me. I could say that I was crafting a sound, and whether or not that was intentional, I can’t say that to be 100% sure but I know that when I got in the groove of like, okay this is what I’m doing and this is where I am, I knew I was where I’m supposed to be. This is sort of me turning myself inside out.”
One of the biggest things for you is the change from the major record label system to doing it yourself. Why did you decide to go this route and are there any pros to sticking with a major label nowadays?
“Today you don’t necessarily need that, you know what I mean? There’s so many resources, there are so many things you can do on your own and if you’re creating music that’s going to stand out or you as an individual are going to stand out, then you can pretty much take it away. It’s a lot of trial and error, don’t get me wrong. I think that’s sort of why it’s so acceptable to people today. It’s that much more of a reason to at least give it a shot right? The major labels are in a position where they’re not going to necessarily take too many gambles.
For my situation, I decided it was the next move for me. I’ve learned so much in this journey and I still have a long way to go, and I feel like in order for me to get to where I’m trying to go on my mission, I gotta do it on my own. That’s not to say there was anything bad or any of that, it was just time.”
Many people feel like rap is dying and R&B is falling off as well. What’s your take on R&B right now and has it changed over the past couple years?
“I feel like it’s always changing. People that are used to a certain pace of life and of music are not grasping this fast paced sort of rocket of a media frenzy that is this thing today. I think everything is happening so fast that the genres are more loosely defined today because everything is happening so fast. New people coming and going and you know, it’s just a different world. It has changed… it’s going to continue to change. I think the lines that are defining the genres will sort of possibly even get a little bit looser and less visible before it starts to come back around again. I believe that everything is cyclic. It will come back around to where in this particular genre, here comes an artist that’s doing a true sort of R&B based sound and there’s no really straying from that.”
“I feel like that’s part of the reason why I’m so excited about my stuff. I don’t follow the path. I have a message and I stand on my message. I don’t compromise my craft. That again lends to why I’m so attached to this.”
What’s your writing process like?
“It varies, man. I could be getting into bed at 3 o’ clock in the morning and an idea comes and I run out to my little set up, fire up Pro Tools, and I go. Other times it could be we have some musicians in the studio and we’re kind of just messing around and jamming and sort of just starting singing. The guys will start playing something that feels great and I’ll just start singing. The last time I actually sat down to put a pen to paper I can’t really say. I’m sure there were some of these songs on On the Line where I actually sat down and wrote, but generally it’s what I’m doing at that moment. It just sort of comes out. It’s sort of like a purging process for me, it just sort of happens.”
I think it’s awesome that you perform with a live band. Why did you decide to go with a live band and why don’t you think more artists use them?
“I like using a live band because that’s what I’m envisioning for myself and for my sound and that’s really the only way to pull it off. It’s important that when you come see me at an Avery Storm show that you’re seeing a show. It’s an experience. It’s a feeling and I feel like there’s a lot more room to play around. I can just freestyle or break off into a little jam session, you can do all things with a band whereas you got a DJ and a two track, you’re sort of stuck in that place.
Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of people choose to do the other route because it’s probably a lot less stressful and a lot easier to move around. When you do that with a band, there’s just a lot more to do. The end result, like you said, it is night and day. I think that me and my music deserve that. I wouldn’t really do it any other way.”
You’ve worked with some big artists like Nelly and Rick Ross. Who do you plan to work with in the future?
“I could see myself working with Wale again and Rick Ross and them. I could see myself working with my peers, that’s not an issue. When it comes to my sound, my approach is a little bit different but when I work with another artist I usually try and come from their standpoint. I’m trying to step in their shoes for a moment. That’s how I’ve been able to have success with other peers of mine.”
What do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
“I like to lay low to really just be honest with you. I spend most of my time in the studio so when I’m not there I’ll go to the gym, I take care of what I gotta do, and I chill out and I see my family back in Jersey and all that. It’s a lot of personal time. I’ve also had a lot of time away from home so when I am home and I’m not working, I like to kind of just be home. Back in the schedule of regular life, getting to the gym in the morning, running to the post office, all that stuff.”
What do you have planned for next year?
“Man, we’re lining up shows and things like that. I will be doing shows, that’s what my immediate focus is. There will be features along the way. But the main focus right now is On the Line. Really, I’m planned to be on the road my brother.”
As if putting out one of the better R&B projects of the year for only $4.99 wasn’t enough, Avery Storm is going one step further. The singer will be having a release party and performance for his fans in NYC next Wednesday (10/24) at Drom, located at 85 Avenue A. Doors open at 7 PM, ages 21+.
More information can be found at http://averystorm.com/tagged/shows.
This is definitely a show to catch as Avery will be performing joints off his new EP. Stay tuned next week for coverage of the release party.
Follow Avery Storm on Twitter here.
“Like” his Facebook page here.