(Music video by Gemaine performing Let Me In. 2015 Gemstone Label)
We had the pleasure of interviewing 20 Year-Old Compton artist Gemaine this week and we’re happy to push R&B artists who are taking the lead as the new generation. As a student at View Park Prep High School, Gemaine fostered his talents through diverse musical productions, all the while foreseeing himself to one day become a Hollywood actor.
In December 2013, with the help of his brother, Gemaine recorded a six second freestyle at Guitar Center that went viral on Vine. Gemaine decided to turn that snippet into his first single, “Freaky”. The euphonic record perfectly demonstrated Gemaine’s vocal range.
With the help of a known Viner and two lovely leads he showcases his charm and witty side in his new visual “Let Me In” from his Curious EP which is available on iTunes. Gemaine exemplifies the perfect match of artistry and great energy for R&B music. Check the interview below!
SouthernNewYorker.com: Congratulations on releasing your first body of work ‘Curious‘. I understand that you are currently in New York right now. How are you handling the changes regarding culture, weather and work there?
Gemaine: It’s honestly cool! I like it a lot, I never knew how different so many places could be in one city. It’s really diverse, something that I haven’t seen before or seen as much. I love it honestly, you get a taste of everything. The hustle mentality out here is pretty dope, it makes me better. I’m a New Yorker I guess, well I’m certainly stepping in to it.
SNY: Yes, New York brings out the best. Well let’s get into your “Curious” EP. I listened to the entire project thoroughly and enjoyed it because every song catered to any occasion that may arise. Tell us a little bit about the creative process, why you chose the title for the album and what record is your favorite?
Gemaine: Well it was from my past experience with my ex. That was the inspiration behind the records. You know it was really the first time I truly had feelings for a girl. I have always liked girls and maybe had a girlfriend before that, but this was the first time I had a legit real relationship. I really cared for this person, you know that was the first. That relationship brought out the curiosity in me to actually please her and try to make something work. It brought out excitement, you know like in “Gotta Have You.” Just really wanting to have her, to the insecurities and even maybe feeling used at sometimes as you’ll hear in “No More.” Even curiosity as far as sexually and wanting to sleep with her in “Freaky” and “2:33.” It just brought out a lot of things I didn’t know or felt before. I was really curious to explore and dive head in first. They all have a place in my heart, I love them all.
SNY: Talking with you now and listening to your records, it sounds like you are heavily influenced by Michael Jackson. Are there any other singers I may have overlooked?
Gemaine: Definitely by far Michael Jackson is my biggest influence for sure. R. Kelly is also another; Bruno Mars is a big influence as well. So those three have definitely influenced me.
SNY: Coming from Compton, there aren’t a lot of R&B artists coming from that area except for Miche’le and TQ. You are the fresh face coming out and singing sweet melodies. How important is for you to stay true to your sound and staying true to your roots?
Gemaine: It’s very important honestly; I want to make a movement. In order to make a movement you have to stand ground on what it is you are doing. What I’m doing has been working so far and I’m not going to stop it. If I do decide to change it, it will be only a more evolving thing because I’m not going to scrap it in terms of what everybody else is doing. I want to create a sound or be that guy with that sound. If it’s good music everybody will catch on.
SNY: I’m not sure if you are familiar with the DJ Khaled snaps going around where he tries to get philosophical about the keys to success. However, what are some things that define your keys to success?
Gemaine: My keys to success is the most obvious is God. Two is being level headed and thinking that you did it all. No one has ever done it all. If you’re never satisfied then you’ll keep going. You’ll always want to keep pushing and always want to top yourself. I don’t even consider myself successful right now to be honest with you because I feel like there’s a whole lot more that I can do. It’s cool, I’m definitely grateful, but I’m not happy because I want to do more. I feel like if I keep that attitude regardless of where I’m at, I’ll always do better.
SNY: You know I have a name that most people cannot pronounce and it’s OK, I get it. So after realizing how you spelled your name, I kind of laughed because I could only imagine how people remixed and mispronounce your name. So do you have any stories you’d like to share behind your name?
Gemaine: To be honest with you half of my cousins, aunties and uncles still don’t even know how to pronounce my name right. It’s ridiculous; I guess the story with that is there really isn’t anything too crazy. Half of the people that know me still don’t know how to pronounce my name. I’m just glad I don’t care about it because if I totally cared about I’m pretty sure it would suck. I might just make a song where people will never forget my name.
SNY: Well if you do make a song, make sure to remember us. I went to your Facebook page and saw a funny vine with you singing “What are those?” Is this a part of your brand? A comical yet witty singer because Jamie Foxx has done the same.
Gemaine: I’m a goof ball at the end of the day. I love to laugh and I love comedy, it’s an outlet in my opinion. I love to laugh, I love to make people laugh because I’m an entertainer at heart. I’ll always think of funny things and have funny conversations with people. Certain conversations inspire me to do certain things. So that’s why I did the “What are those?”
SNY: Lastly, what is in store for Gemaine at the top of 2016?
Gemaine: I just want to really re-brand myself and expand my sound. Just really expand everything especially my audience and really try to set an identity. You know the beginning of the beginning sort of say. I really want to start a movement and be consistent with everything I do and develop a serious movement for 2016.