If you are not familiar with the name Wynter Gordon, then listen up. With her powerful lyrics of personal struggle and social consciousness, Wynter is ready to take the industry by storm with her as yet untitled album. The talented singer/songwriter, hailing from Southside, Jamaica Queens, is set to release her debut album this Fall under Atlantic Records. Discovered by Don Pooh, who was also responsible for managing Foxy Brown and the late Notorious B.I.G., Wynter is currently in the studio recording her debut album. Representing stayondeck.com, I caught up with Wynter to see what all of the buzz was about. The interview was a timely process since she is recording her album. However, I really appreciate her taking the time out of her busy schedule to conduct this interview. With a solid spiritual background, Wynter is as humble as they come. Get ready for Wynter because it's getting cold in here....
Rowrytah: Okay. First of all I would like to thank you for participating in only my second interview at stayondeck.com!
Wynter Gordon: Thank you for being interested enough in my music to interview me. I'm honored.
Rowrytah: You took the words right out of my mouth. I am very much honored for you to take the time out of your busy schedule to interview! So Wynter, you are a new artist breaking into the industry. Tell us a little about yourself for the fans out there who may not be familiar with your music?
Wynter Gordon: Well, I'm a 21 year-old singer/songwriter. I come from Southside Jamaica Queens, but currently reside in Brooklyn, New York. I started singing in the church like so many before me. I grew up in extreme poverty with 5 brothers and sisters but was bussed to alternative and music schools as a child. That's where I developed a love and appreciation for music of different genres.
Rowrytah: Wow! How did it feel growing up in such a large family?
Wynter Gordon: It was tough at first....I have never met my biological father so my mother did what she could. I grew close with my sisters because we shared in the struggle for male acceptance, self-esteem, sharing clothes [Laughs] etc.....but its not something I regret because it has helped me appreciate every blessing I am receiving now. It also fuels an agenda in me to help others through my music.
Rowrytah: I know where you are coming from Wynter being from a large family myself. And it is great that you want to help others through your music. That is something that is missing from a lot of artists in the industry right now.
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, I think that its just not a priority for many because its so tough out in the industry right now. Most people are so caught up with trying to better their own situation that its tough to see the next person's struggle.
Rowrytah: What artists inspired you growing up?
Wynter Gordon: Goo Goo Dolls, Janet Jackson, Usher, Celine Dion, Madonna, and Whitney Houston. In High School, it was Beyonce and Avril Lavigne.
Rowrytah: That is definitely an eclectic mix of artists and good ones at that. Do you see their influence in your music?
Wynter Gordon: I don't think that there's really ever a new sound...I feel like music kind of goes in cycles so I definitely feel like my music is somewhat of an offspring of my influences... But not totally because I try to experiment alot.
Rowrytah: I truly think it is important to experiment nowadays. Sometimes, listeners get tired of hearing the same thing and want something new and unique.
Wynter Gordon: Thanks alot! Now let's hope my experimenting works and that I'm not the only one that likes it. [Laughs]
Rowrytah: Well, you are already getting a good buzz with your song "Surveillance." Speaking of which, who produced the track and when will it officially be released? I heard the talented Dream wrote the song?
Wynter Gordon: The song was produced by D'Mile (Feedback by Janet Jackson) and I actually wrote that with a young lady named Delisha Thomas. It will be out in the next month and you should start hearing it on your local radio stations by June.
Rowrytah: Thanks for clearing things up. I can't wait until the song is released and to hear the album. I heard your debut album Wynter Time is due out this year. When will be the album be released and how does it feel to be recording your first album?
Wynter Gordon: The album will be out in the Fall and it's still untitled. I can't make up my mind. [Laughs] It feels amazing to record my album because this really is a dream for me. I always had the thought and desire in my mind, but to be living this is amazing. I am amazingly blessed to be in a position for people to care about what I have to say and I just want to be responsible with that gift and have fun with the music.
Rowrytah: That is wonderful Wynter. I really can't wait to hear what you have in store for us. Can you tell us a little about the album and what producers or artists features you have lined up for the release?
Wynter Gordon: Oh my God! I get excited anytime I talk about the album and its not because I'm stuck on myself...I'm just so proud of the body of work. Okay so...I have an amazing song with Ryan Tedder, the lead singer from One Republic. I have a song with Kevin Michael (he's an amazing vocalist from Philly....please google him).
Rowrytah: That single "Apologize" blew up on the charts. He seems really talented.
Wynter Gordon: The producers are Bryan Michael Cox, Dianne Warren, Tricky Stewart, D'Mile, Mysto n Pizzi, Fernando Garibay, Oak, and The Corner Boys. I also wrote and produced a song called "Daddy's Song."
Rowrytah: I hear what you are saying about Kevin Michael. His CD is amazing! You have some great producers and writers teamed up for your project!
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, the people I worked with are really so talented.
Rowrytah: While we are at it, I am aware that you are a talented songwriter yourself. When did you start writing songs?
Wynter Gordon: I've been writing since I was a little girl. Anytime I had something to say it became a song because that was the best way for me to express myself.
Rowrytah: In fact, you penned the title track to Mary J. Blige's album Breakthrough. How did it feel to be in the studio with her?
Wynter Gordon: I actually didn't cut that with her...I had just graduated from high School and dropped out of my first semester of college when I decided I was gonna pursue music full-time. The first month out of college, my manager signed me to a production deal with Don Pooh (Shyne, Foxxy Brown, Mary J. Blige, etc.) They sent me a track to write to and Mary heard it and put it on her album. 9 months later, I was signed to Atlantic Records and working on my own album so I hadn't really had time to write for too many other people. I was super excited. Then, I met Mary after the placement and she was such a blessing.
Rowrytah: She is pretty much a legend in the industry. I really congratulate you girl. You seem to be getting more songwriting placements. Did you write "2 of You" for Danity Kane's album?
Wynter Gordon: Yep. I wrote that while working in Atlanta, GA last year. It was slated for my album, but the direction of my album went a little different from that sound so it ended up on the Danity Kane album. I did that record with Adonis and Bryan Michael Cox. Adonis actually wrote a great record for me called "Simple Girl" that will be on my album.
At this time, Wynter had to go to perform at a show. The interview reconvened a few days later in between a recording session....
Rowrytah: So you were talking about the Adonis and Bryan Michael Cox record "Simple Girl." They are both hot producers!
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, they're great guys. I spent a week with them along with Donnie Scantz and Kendrick Dean.
Rowrytah: What artists would you like to work with in the future?
Wynter Gordon: I'd like to work with Alicia Keys, Paramore, Andre 3000, Natasha Bedingfield, and Timbaland. It's so many. I'm just the biggest fan of music.
Rowrytah: They are all great artists. Timbaland is blowing up the charts right now. I'd love to hear that collaboration.
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, me too. [Laughs] Oh, and I love Kanye.
Rowrytah: Need we talk about Kanye. I respect him so much as an artist and producer!
Wynter Gordon: Exactly.
Rowrytah: What kind of feel would you say that your album has?
Wynter Gordon: It has like a power pop sound...strong soulful vocals with pop and alternative melodies and accents.
Rowrytah: I really can't wait to hear it girl. I saw you in the Consequence video "Feel This Way" featuring John Legend. Was that your first video appearance and how did it feel to be around them?
Wynter Gordon: Oh yeah. I forgot about that. That was Consequence's song. It was actually my second video and a cool experience. Consequence is so slept on....but he's amazing.
Rowrytah: Yeah, I am familiar with Consequence. That was a hot track that you did with him. There are so many talented artists in the industry like Consequence that definitely should get more shine.
Here she had to get back to recording. The last part of this interview took place about one week later, while she took another break from a recording session....
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, Consequence is so dope. He's not just a rapper, but he creates the visuals behind his movement as well. He definitely needs to be recognized.
Rowrytah: What kind of movement do you think he is on? Musical movement?
Wynter Gordon: Just providing soundtracks for everyday people to live. Sometimes, we chase the superficial lights cameras and action so much that we miss out on the extraordinarily beautiful, but normal things. I mean that's what I got from his "Don't Quit Your Day Job" album. It inspired me to love and appreciate the regular stuff because a lot of the other stuff is sooooo fake. For example, I spent some time in Atlanta recording. And coming from New York it was culture shock. Everywhere I went people spoke and were polite. They said "hi" and i got used to it. Then, I came back home (NY) and people were back to being cold. I went to an event and a bunch of people were saying "hi" gratuitously, but it was soooo fake. So I appreciated the simple "hi" in Atlanta and saw through the "Hi girl! How are you? I was just thinking about you!"
Rowrytah: Wow. That is cool that you noticed those differences. What is your opinion on the industry today? Do you get the same vibe from people in the industry?
Wynter Gordon: It's really hard to assess the industry because I love the music so much, but there are so many competing interests. I don't really get a lot of fakeness....My music isn't really marginal so people usually love my stuff or hate it....There's really no middle ground, at least to me. Now with regards to the record company; I have no idea what they think. Everyone seems nice. I generally don't have any problems, but you never know.
Rowrytah: True. The music industry is full of so many unknowns, but all you can is make the best of the situation and do what you love.
Wynter Gordon: Amen!
Rowrytah: [Smiles] By the way, I really like your song "Unify" for the "Meet The Browns" Soundtrack, which is currently available on iTunes. What is the concept behind the song and will it appear on the album?
Wynter Gordon: Thank you! That song is actually from 2005. [Laughs]
Rowrytah: You are certainly most welcome!
Wynter Gordon: It actually evolved from a conversation I had with Don Pooh. Were talking about some of the things that hold our people back from achieving real success. It was crazy because we had like a 3 hour conversation and then the next day, I went to the studio with my boy DeMille and he played the track. It took like 10 mins.....It was like the record just poured out of me. Its not like an ear candy record, but I really love the substance of it.
Rowrytah: Amazing! You really wrote the track in 10 minutes?
Wynter Gordon: I'm telling you it was quick. I didn't record it that quick though. [Laughs]
Wynter Gordon: When something is in you it just pours out though.
Rowrytah: True. You were definitely destined to be on the record and write it. I wish that everyone could hear the song. It is pleasure to hear music with substance these days. So were you excited to hear the song was placed? What was your initial reaction?
Wynter Gordon: I was super excited because at first they wanted me to sing a different song for the soundtrack, but they said my voice didn't fit ("This Gift" Deborah Cox) so I was down a bit. Then, one of my A&R's LaDonna Williams submitted "Unify" and they thought it was perfect for the movie. So I went from being taken off the soundtrack to being a contributing writer....God is Good.
Rowrytah: Yes he is. I can testify to that! He does things in his own timing. Sometimes we cannot understand when things don't go our way, but he has a bigger plan. Let me stop before I start preaching now...
Wynter Gordon: Absolutely. [Laughs] Ain't nothing wrong with preaching. [Laughs] Gotta defeat the negativity. [Smiles]
Rowrytah: I am glad you can understand. [Smiles] So did you see the movie?
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, the movie was pretty good. I liked the message. I know people come down on Tyler Perry, but I think that at the very least we need responsible black filmmakers to tell our story and not exploit our story. He tells it from a real place.
Rowrytah: Yes. I agree. I feel so horrible! I have seen all of his movies except that one yet.
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, I didn't love all of them, but I thought "Why Did I Get Married" was good and this one had a nice message.
Rowrytah: OMG! Must we talk about that one! I cried. I confess! Ssshh....
Wynter Gordon: [Laughs] Jill Scott is amazing and Michael Jai White's body is flawless.
Rowrytah: [Laughs) True! Jill Scott is definitely a talented artist, poet, and now actor. Do you see yourself acting in the future?
Wynter Gordon: Definitely. I hope to do Theatre as well as screen acting. My high school (Laguardia) trained me for it.
Rowrytah: That is a performing arts school right?
Wynter Gordon: Yeah. They based "Fame" on it.
Rowrytah: I remember that show! [Laughs] Oh, I meant to ask, would you ever collaborate with Jill Scott?
Wynter Gordon: Jill Scott? Of course.....There really aren't too many female artists that I wouldn't collaborate with.
Rowrytah: We at stayondeck.com believe that the music industry is moving in a digital direction. I am aware that you have utilized popular social networking sites, such as Youtube to your advantage. How do you plan to integrate this when it comes to releasing your album?
Wynter Gordon: Hmmmm. I really haven't thought about that. I know that I will be putting out a lot more Youtubes just as a way to continue to connect with my music, but any specific plans....I really haven't thought about it yet...I'll probably be in meetings with Eric Wong (Product Manager) and Keith White (Manager) to figure out specific marketing strategies.
Rowrytah: Youtube is definitely a popular market to tap into at the moment. The internet is widely used nowadays, especially in the area of music. Do you have any more projects in the works besides your album?
Wynter Gordon: No. I'm really focused on trying to put this album out and then writing for other artists.
Rowrytah: I can't blame you on that. Any new developments as far the single is concerned?
Wynter Gordon: Well, I have to showcase the single and several songs for my label on May 7, 2008 and then after that the song should be going to mix show and then radio by June.
Rowrytah: Okay sounds good. When will the album be released again?
Wynter Gordon: I'm going to keep it real with you and say Fall '08.
Rowrytah: Okay that is fair enough and I appreciate you being real. I definitely want your fans to know when they expect the album.
Wynter Gordon: Wow! That sounds so crazy. You said "my fans." Growing up, you dream to be able to do something like this and just to have come to this point is like a dream come true.....But when you say fans, it just feels crazy to know that there are people that appreciate what I do. It's a blessing.
Rowrytah: You seem so humble. This is definitely reality. You have many fans out there that are anticipating your album.
Wynter Gordon: Wow! Thanks.
Rowrytah: You are welcome. Do you think the industry will change you?
Wynter Gordon: [Laughs]. No. I would've changed by now. Trust me, just getting to this point has put me through so much stress, changes, etc. This is a crazy business. If anything, I'll just retreat a little more and cling more closely to my family and dinner circle because there really are monsters out there.
Rowrytah: Well, we have reached the conclusion. Is there one thing that you would like your fans to know?
Wynter Gordon: Just that I appreciate them for appreciating me and I love them. I am continually growing and developing so that I can give them the best that I have to offer and that I hope I can inspire them to chase their dreams because none of us are finished products.
Rowrytah: Thanks so much for your time and conducting a great interview! This is only my second interview.
Wynter Gordon: Thank you sweety. Stay in touch.
Rowrytah: I will. It has been an honor.
Wynter Gordon: Thank you. Have a blessed week and I'll definitely reach out.
Check out Wynter's song "Surveillance" and stop by her myspace page. Let her know that you heard about her at stayondeck.com!
Wynter Gordon's Myspace page
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