Lucy Pearl – Interview

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Lucy Pearl

Who or what is Lucy Pearl, you might ask. Well, here is a quick rundown, followed by an interview with Ali.

Lucy Pearl is Raphael Saadiq, the lead vocalist and songwriting core of Tony Toni Tone; Dawn Robinson, one of the four signature vocalists from En Vogue; Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the turntable master, producer, and mixer from A Tribe Called Quest.

Was the music for the Lucy Pearl album something you had worked on before or was it all new for the album?

We just went into the studio and recorded everything all at one time. There wasn’t anything that was already done.

How was it creating for such great singers as Raphael Saadiq and Dawn Robinson?

It was cool. (laughs)

Did your approach change from the days when you were doing A Tribe Called Quest tracks?

Yeah. Everything is live as opposed to sampling, so it was different, but I have been working with R&B singers like D’Angelo. It isn’t a world that is that brand new to me.

When did you start deejaying and sampling?

I started deejaying when I was about eight years old. I started sampling when I was like fifteen.

Who or what is Lucy Pearl, you might ask. Well, here is a quick rundown, followed by an interview with Ali.

Lucy Pearl is Raphael Saadiq, the lead vocalist and songwriting core of Tony Toni Tone; Dawn Robinson, one of the four signature vocalists from En Vogue; Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the turntable master, producer, and mixer from A Tribe Called Quest.

Was the music for the Lucy Pearl album something you had worked on before or was it all new for the album?

We just went into the studio and recorded everything all at one time. There wasn’t anything that was already done.

How was it creating for such great singers as Raphael Saadiq and Dawn Robinson?

It was cool. (laughs)

Did your approach change from the days when you were doing A Tribe Called Quest tracks?

Yeah. Everything is live as opposed to sampling, so it was different, but I have been working with R&B singers like D’Angelo. It isn’t a world that is that brand new to me.

When did you start deejaying and sampling?

I started deejaying when I was about eight years old. I started sampling when I was like fifteen.

I know from being an A Tribe Called Quest fan that you sample a lot of diverse artists. Were you raised listening to lots of different music styles?

Some stuff I grew up with and some of the other stuff I got from Q-Tip. His father played him a lot of jazz and stuff, so my style was really a combination of both of our flavors.

How did the group come together?

Raphael and I were trying to do something for like three years now. I was actually doing some outside production. We done some work together, a remix of a Tony Toni Tone track and he had played on a Tribe record, and it was just something that we figured, instead of doing stuff with other people, we figured we should just do something together. Three years ago, when we wanted to do it, it never worked out. We reintroduced the issue and said we needed a third person, and he kept running into Dawn at this restaurant in Los Angeles and he approached her about it, and that is how it came to be.

Was the chemistry there right away?

It was right there.

You can hear it.

Yeah.

When your career kicked off with Tribe, were you just making music for fun and no expectations?

We were just eighteen and were having fun, but we knew what we were doing when we made the record. It didn’t really take off until the second record.

What were the expectations going in, recording this album?

I didn’t have any real expectations. I just wanted to get together with my homeboy and make music. That was it.

Did you get to experiment with different instruments?

Yeah. I was fooling around with the guitar.

I know it was live, but did you three do all the music or was there collaboration?

No, the only collaboration was on the song called “You”, with Snoop Dogg and Q-Tip. Everything was done with me and Raphael and two cats named Jake and the Fatman. It was something we thought about, but as we got together, we thought it was coming together nicely and we played off each other nicely, so we didn’t need an album full of other people.

Was it cool to have the freedom to experiment with a new style?

Yeah. And that is what music should be about.

And having fun, right?

Yeah. That is what this whole experience was.

What is the live show going to be like?

The same kind of free spirit that we had on the album. We don’t want it to be too choreographed, and just go out, have fun, and be free.

Will you have a band?

We have a band. We’ll have a total of ten people on stage.

How does it feel having all those people backing you?

It’s different. I’m used to playing all of the music and now I don’t have to. It’s really different, but good.

Will you be deejaying?

No, I’m going to be right at the front of the stage.

What are the plans from here on out?

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t try to predict it. (laughs)

+ charlie craine

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