Interview with G.No, creator of Latin and Blues
The title of the album came naturally to me since I recorded the songs between Paris, France where I was born and Louisville, Kentucky where I met Smoke E.Digglera, former singer of the R&B band Playa who also worked with the legendary Jodeci. This album is the story of a musical meeting: I'm bringing Mediterranean roots and US producers like Smoke bring true R&B music. This new mix is called "Latin & Blues". There are 15 tracks dealing with fiesta, love, sex and I've also got 2 songs speaking of my origins and life in Paris.
* Your fans really like your first album "Evazion", most people play it without skipping any song. What inspired the album and how was the writing and recording?
Thanks! I recorded this album 5 years ago using Pro Tools and my 2 guitarists. I recorded it in a room at my home. I had to release something because I was getting impatient waiting for a major contract that wasn't coming. This album is far from perfect but I did it all on my own. I was young but I truly sang every song with my heart.
One thing with acoustic music is that it never grows old. "Damelo" and "Mon ami mon frère" are my favorites. Back then, I never thought I would one day sing with my R&B idols. I didn't want to sing regular R&B anymore because I didn't want to appear as a European R&B copy. Although I didn't sell very many copies of the "Evazion" CD, the wonderful exposure I got on Myspace helped me meet Smoke. "Senorita Sensual" was the track that appealed to him so much that he decided to work with me.
* You've always been very creative, what new stuff should your fans expect in "From Paris 2 Louisville"?
Something really new from the producers of songs by Aaliyah, Ginuwine, and Missy Elliott just to name a few. They will also get music with an international flava and of course songs in international languages.
I'm the 1st European singer to have the true "Jodeci/Playa" sound yet I'm not trying to copy Black American R&B artists. I'm singing my way in Spanish, Italian and French. And for the fans and lovers of Playa, I've done a remake of "Cheers 2 U" with a rapper from Florida named Cutty Lue.
* You signed with Smoke from Playa, a legend in the R&B world. How does your French and American creativity help you both?
Our meeting in Louisville was crazy. It was a fun and magical experience. We were drinking, recording and singing all night. Judging from the over 500,000 visits we got on YouTube I can say that people felt it connected to the music. You can see the whole story on the DVD "FROM PARIS 2 LOUISVILLE" which can be bought on my Myspace at myspace.com/gnolatinbird.
I went to Louisville feeling very shy because I was afraid to sing in front of a highly talented vocalist like Smoke but he helped me improve my skills and I learned a lot just from watching him.
* What do you like most about singing and performing?
Self-expression. I need music in my life. I'm not singing just to be famous but to truly share from my heart.
* Who are some of your musical influences?
Dino Conner of the R&B group H-Town. He was 'the voice' to me. Devante Swing, Playa (R.I.P Static Major), George Michael and Yves Montand, a French singer.
* When did you record your very first song; how was the experience?
I remember it was in '94! I was like "damn my voice sounds good!" hehe!!, I had a New Jack Swing trio in France and we were into Boyz II Men, Shai and such like groups.
* What was your first ever major TV or radio appearance and how did you feel about it?
I remember my 1st big TV appearance because it was last year on a major French TV channel. I was interviewed, I sang live and I loved it. I'm looking forward to more exposure. I'm convinced that artists have to show real concern for social issues and I first need more exposure for that.
* What motivated you to create the new genre you call "Latin & Blues"?
It came naturally since it's a mix of my origins and the kind of music I like. My father is Italian, mother is Spanish, and me, I am French. Since I really like music...in fact, I love Rhythm & Blues so much I had to merge all these ingredients and create a new style called "Latin & Blues". It just felt right that with this mix of cultural roots and my love for this wonderful music, I be the creator of Latin & Blues.
* What things, people or ideas inspire your songs?
My everyday life and thoughts inspire me the most. I'm a quiet, mellow person but with this album there is a lot inspired by clubbing and being in love. You will see my many other inspirations and creative side in future albums.
* If you could perform live with any musician from any part of the world, who would that be?
I would love to share a live show with Babyface as a guitarist and Alicia Keys on the piano! I can't help smiling just thinking about that!! That girl gives so much emotion when she sings, it's incredible! Music should only be like this. I'm not attracted simply by style and glamor. That's why I prefer to sing with my acoustic band than with too many dancers and TV tracks.
* If you could collaborate on a record with any musician, dead or alive, who would that be?
To sing with Smoke and have production by the guys who did Aaliyah's "Rock The Boat" for example used to just be a dream yet it is happening. Right now I am connecting with a lot of R&B stars but I think that making duets is my favorite thing in this music business.
* You have a huge following on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and even on your website www.gardelino.com , how important is the Internet to you as an artiste?
Without the Internet this album would never havve happened. How could I have met Playa while living in Paris?? There wouldn't be exposure on TV, Radio, or shows for me. I'm not the son of a rich guy so the Internet is a blessing.
My new task as an artist is also that of an e-marketer: I gotta target my potential fans and meet people in the industry, all through my Mac! You know, TV and radio create "virtual stars", now the same happens through the Internet and hopefully there are bigger things coming for me and all the independent artists.
* Recently you filmed the video for your new song "Buenas Noches", which is a real favourite with your fans. Please describe the experience of having videos for your songs.
The only thing I was missing as an artist was actual music videos. I started the video making experience while in Venezuela last summer with my cameraman Kassius. We did 2 videos there and since I live in Paris I had to do another one in this beautiful city. I directed the videos and I love doing it and I appy my creativity because without a big budget you gotta think of original ideas to lead your project. The video for Buenas Noches is a good example.
* Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?
I've dedicated my time to focus on making my music. If people are touched by my music I will be able to live off of it, tour and work for other artists. I see myself as an entertainer and writer - things that I already do. I just need more exposure now and believe me, the Internet is so good because people can better understand your entire vision. For me it's Libertad or muerte, I don't see the point of living without sharing my art.
Interview by akiey.