Interview: Summer Williams
The 21 year old has been making some buzz in the industry lately when her project "Boom Bap Soul, Vol. 1" was featured on several major e-zines with positive reviews. We had a chance to catch up with Summer as she gets ready to fully embark on her career as she finishes the last bit of her semester in school.
You're about to graduate from school. How have you managed to juggle both of these aspects in your busy schedule? (school vs. music)
I can’t really say that I separated the two! It requires a lot of time management and prioritization. If I have an exam due the next day at 5pm, that meant that I’d have the rest of the night to finish up the song for the session at 6, and that I’d have to wake up very early to finish the paper! A lot of my best materials have been written either in class, or in the car on the way to the session!
Take us back to the time when you first heard your music on radio. (how did you feel?)
Words can’t even describe! It’s definitely something similar to an out-of-body experience. My first reaction was to think “who is this girl? I like her voice!” And then once the realization hit, I can definitely say that I can’t wait to feel this for the rest of my life!
Your music has also been featured on several well-known websites. To be among the headlines on these websites is a major step for some artist. How did you career blossom into what it is now?
I definitely am appreciative of every website that has hosted my music. Websites such as thisisrnb.com and singersroom were a complete shock! To see my music featured right alongside of some of my favorite artists and musical inspirations are a blessing, and I am completely convinced that they all know my names and might have even downloaded! Blogs such as these are crucial for my career as they help to spread my music to listeners and music lovers that I might have never been able to reach out to, and to have their support is amazing!
My career and music are definitely progressing, and the responses I’ve received so far have been amazing! From the first project, “Late Night Session”, my music and artistry has grown immensely. I considered LNS an experiment. I put all of my musical interests, neosoul, jazz, r&b and spoken word on one project and waited to see the reactions. My remake of D’Angelo’s “Untitled” and my Shook Ones remix received, as anticipated, the highest praise from blogs and listeners alike. From there, I re-developed this a hiphop soul sound mixed with a lot of neosoul and a touch of jazz. My last project “Boom Bap Soul, Vol. 1” was a play on words of KRS-ONE’s “Return of the Boom Bap” because there’s no such thing as boom bap soul…boom bap usually refers to hip hop drum patterns. If you’ve listened to BBS, I have some very soulful, jazzy records that flow to a hard classic hiphop beat. That’s the direction of the project. It starts off with a dj mix of some of my favorite 90’s hiphop and neosoul classics and then runs right into my remake of LL Cool J’s “Doin It” which I called “Hide and Go Freak!” No further comment on the title! BBS features production from S1 (Kanye West’s “Power”) , Skyz Muzik, D. Focis, Mark Henry and more, and has a classic mixtape feel, when mixtapes used to be sold out of car trunks, and a classic first album feel at the same time with remakes, and complete originals all written and arranged by yours truly!
Did your family push you to pursue your dreams?
I grew up in a gospel household where my mother is a gospel singer and my father is my church’s organist, so needless to say, they were both, to put it lightly, adverse to my interest in neosoul and hiphop. I think any parent would feel a certain kind of way if their child’s first single was entitled “Hide and Go Freak!” They want me to have a stable, regular career. But I think I’ve developed a sort of life A.D.D. If it doesn’t involve music, I honestly can’t focus on it. I’m graduating in less than a week with a B.A in Music Management…which made both my parents and myself very happy! As they start seeing the good reviews and hearing my news updates, they’re slowly warming up to the idea of my being a hiphop soul artist, and surprisingly enough, my mother who was classically trained, is starting to scat and do some jazz riffs in her church solos!
What is music to you?
As corny as it sounds, music is just about everything to me. People tell me that I even laugh in melody! I’ve been writing music since middle school, if not before. The whole image of a songwriter looking up at the sky and daydreaming in the clouds to come up with profound lyrics definitely does not fit me. I write in the moment. Mid conversation, if something strikes me as being memorable or relatable, I’m jotting it down on my phone. I write my music to relate to the listener, just as much as I write it to induce a mood. Everyone has a classic couple of songs where once it is played, they can remember exactly how they felt or what they were going through at that particular time. My job and passion is to create those songs.
You released "Boom Bap Soul, Vol. 1" a few months ago. What can we expect to hear on Volume 2?
I can’t give a lot of information about the next project, whatever it is called, just know that it is a development of BBS Vol. 1! There will be features, brand new production and basically just build off of what has already been done. BBS should have set an image of Summer Williams and a definition of my “soultry” spin of a classic sound. The next one will only expand on that! Count it as an appetizer because I’m also in the process of recording my first album! Stay tuned!
Picking only from the songs on your EP's (Late Night Session, Boom Bap Soul, Vol. 1), which one sticks out the most when you think of creativity?
From LNS, one of my favorites was “I’m Single” which was a remix to Lil Wayne’s “I’m Single”. As soon as I heard Wayne’s song, I was convinced that a girl edition was needed. His song basically glorified the fact that because his relation was going through a rough patch, he was entitled to consider himself single and do as he pleased. I’ve heard this same story again and again from some of my male friends. I had to defend my ladies. Anytime I write a song, I try to tell some kind of story no matter how elaborate it may be. I won’t give the story from my version away, but I will say this: the last verse has a significant twist, so listen closely to the lyrics!
From BBS, my version of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments” which I called “Ten Keep A Man Commandments” was another one directed at my ladies, just giving them advice on literally how to keep that man around. The advice was centered around self-respect, and also the occasional ego-stroke, whether its completely true or not! I kept Biggie’s flow but changed the words to fit as I wanted them so it’s definitely another one to listen closely to!