Mervin's 13 Questions with seminal house and soul siren, Joi Cardwell!
My family wasn't particularly musically talented, but they were greatly appreciative of music and exposed me to everything from classical to jazz to Ray Charles to Carly Simon and of course Soul, Funk and Disco.
2. Did you know from a young age that the arts specifically music were your professional calling?
I had a clue that I wanted to create and was encouraged to explore my creative side. By the time I was 6, I had my own tape recorder, stereo and organ (that was the thing in the '70s).
3. Who were some of your favorite singers/musicians as a child?
My favorite singers were: Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Marvin Gaye, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday...
You've shown for lack of a better word a stratospheric vocal range; on songs like "Found Love" and "Run To You", you demonstrate a very effortless upper register
My vocal range at one time was like five octaves, but as you get older it kind of shrinks so now I'm not really sure.
I am trained not classical or opera more like Broadway actually.
My inspiration for my songs comes from life itself my life the life of my friends situations I see
Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield spoke to me as social writers with great sensitivity I also was influenced by Irving Berlin and the Gershwin Brothers. A great song is always something that is timeless and I strive for that songs that people can listen to no matter what beat is behind it.
Well I am proud of them all for different reasons. First and foremost, I'm happy to have been able to record albums at all; it was a determining factor of my signing with Eight ball. Second, I'm proud of the World Is Full Of trouble because it was my first effort and was recorded totally live in 24 hours. Joi Cardwell kind of established me in the club scene, and Deliverance was the first real look into my other soulful side so they are all very important to me.
Your early-to-mid '90s' collaborations the housy "Club Lonely", the deep-house track "I Won't Waste Your Time" and the acid-jazzy "Luv Connection" (done with Lil' Louis, Frederick Jorio and Towa Tei respectively) fully cemented your status as one of dance music's most adaptable performers.
I am always willing to work with anyone whose music moves me on my new record The Plain Jane Project, I work with Soul C. Quentin Harris Brian McDermott Philip Woo (keyboardist from Frankie Beverly) Mike Cruz...
I would love to work with David Morales we have been trying for years to get it together, and ideally Lenny kravitz for a different twist. I just wrote a song for Gerideau with Lem Springsteen of Mood II Swing as well so I keep it moving
I am and always will be a soul singer some people forget that because the music is more progressive at times. But at that time in my life, my Mom was ill and dying I needed to write a record that reflected my moods and needs the dance thing wasn't doing it for me. I included some of those elements again in The Plain Jane Project with the songs "Change Your Mind" and "I Got U". Oh, and the ballad "What Kind of Fool" is a straight-up nod to classic Aretha Franklin; it's co-writer Phillip Woo and I wrote it on the road with Toshi Kubota, my Japanese homeboy.
I would love to record a neo-soul album and may do so in the near future, but for now I gotta please my dance heads and make that music as well so next project will have a little bit of both, or maybe not. I can tell you that what I feel I do and I have to thank God for the opportunity to be able to create that way.
Finally I am off to law school in the fall so I will be able to help my fellow artists in their dreams of a musical career with the knowledge that the choices made in business are knowledgeable ones that they can live with. "I may not be able to change the world, but I know I can change my life, it's time for a revolution and its gonna start tonight".
You can visit Ms. Cardwell at joicardwell.com.