Shaun J. Wright Talks& EarsExclusive Mix
A banjee child who loves to twirl and dip. Sometimes, while twirling and dipping… Hercules and Love Affair vocalist Shaun J. Wright strides out on his own with a release on the increasingly revived and excellent Classic Music Company. Ahead of said release Mr J. Wright dropped us an exclusive mix and had a little chat through things including beer, wasabi pea trail mix and Minnie Ripperton. Read, Learn, Listen.
Hi Shaun. The upcoming release on Classic Recordings is great – classic vocal house done right. How did the hook up with the label come about?
Hey! Thanks for the love and support. Alinka and I are both huge admirers of Classic Recordings. We also previously knew Derrick Carter so when the music was complete we suspected that it would be a good fit for the label. We were hopeful that Derrick and Luke would agree. Fortunately for us, they did!
The first I heard of you was the H&LA collaborations – prior to that were you making music/singing in any other groups?
Ive been songwriting for many years with dreams to one day share my music but I wouldnt sing in public. Its odd because Im not shy in any way. I was a dancer for many years and performing on stage came quite naturally but I refused to sing. The thought of singing in front of people made me very anxious. After meeting Andy all of my reticence vanished instantly. Its quite funny in retrospect but I guess its all about the timing.
Youve been kind enough to record an exclusive mix for us, thank you! Theres a nice range of stuff – how did you decide what went in and how was it recorded?
Thank you. I think the mix is pretty reflective of my dj style. Im not fond of pre-selecting tracks. Id rather just be in the moment and move with the flow. Im not a genre-specific, dance music purist in any sense. I like tunes with attitude so if a track makes me twirl Im going to play it.
I recorded at Alinkas studio using Pioneer CDJs, a beer and wasabi pea trail mix.
The Classic Recordings release is you and Alinka, have you been working together for a while or is the pairing a new one?
This is our debut release but weve been working on music together for close to a year and a half. Its been delightful. Weve been fortunate enough to provide remixes for Hi Fashion, Ssion, and Baby Alpaca, with more on the way. Were literally sitting on album worth of material and there is no stop in sight. We just get in the studio and have fun.
Have you got many live/dj dates coming up in the pipeline?
Not as many as I would like but there are some fun ones on the horizon. Im still attempting to raise awareness about myself as a dj and not just a singer.
I have a few fun gigs in the upcoming weeks in Chicago. Twirl, the monthly that Alinka and I have at Berlin Nightclub is always a blast. Im also playing the Mens Room party at Wangs here in the Chi with Harry + Jpeg. Its hosted by aCe from The Banjee Report and its like no other party in the city. Mens Room is definitely not for the faint of heart!
Alinka and I are playing Critical Mascara in Portland Sept. 14th. Im also excited to be opening for Jimmy Edgar at Primary in Chicago Sept. 28th alongside Studio Casual.
Who are the vocalists/musicians who most inspire you?
Im eternally in love with the voices of Minnie Riperton, Donny Hathaway, Rachelle Ferrell, Bilal. They possess so much color and range and many nuances in their voices.
My sisters Kim Ann Foxman and Aerea Negrot are constant sources of inspiration. I love Azari & III, Newbody, The Banjee Report. M.I.A. is truly in a league of her own. Solange and Laura Mvula are everything, too.
DJs who blow me away include Derrick Carter, The Carry Nation, Hannah Holland, Mike Q. Too many to say
Looking forward, what have you got lined up in the future, release wise?
I have more collaborations with Alinka and my dear friends Stereogamous. I also have a tune being released soon with Garret David who has a residency at Queen with Michael Serafini (Gramaphone) and Derrick Carter.
Ive been working on a lot of solo material, too. Im just waiting for the right time and support structure to align.
Whats your earliest musical memory?
Attending my moms band rehearsal. She was the lead singer of a soul/r&b band when I was very young. Her voice is impeccable and she was always so glamorous. That time had a very strong impact on me.
We always like to ask a couple of pseudo psychometric questions to get the measure of our interviewees. First up, are you a Kick Drum, a Hi Hat or a Snare?
Ill be audacious and say that Im none of them. If I may, Ill say that Im a djembe. Its still in the percussion family.
Finally, big question – Zapp or Zappa?
Of course, Moon Unit Zappa. Valley Girl is my jam!
?Shaun J. Wright & Alinka’s ‘Love Inspired’ is released on Classic Music Comany this week.