K Sloan Fuses Retro Vibe Into New Soul Album
K Sloan is a singer-songwriter born and raised in Metro Detroit. By age 12, she was singing at the Mosaic Youth Theatre and since has made music an integral part of her life. Always carrying the spirit of Motown and artistry in her heart, she studied theatre in the acting conservatory at DePaul University in Chicago. After moving to New York City, K braved and honed her songwriting skills which naturally grew into performing live shows.
K Sloan’s music is a fusion of Funk, Motown and lots of Soul. Her recently released EP, Blank Pages, is a homage to her hometown, an embrace of its grit, its glory and hidden glamour, its resilience and most of all its never-ending soul.
MiLLENNiAL caught up with K Sloan to hear her story.
What do you say is your signature sound/style?
My style is Retro, quirky, colorful, black girl, jazz, big woman, big voice, smooth, funk, live instruments, audience participation, soul soul and lots of soul. And honestly that could evolve at any moment lol. The whole point of my EP was to establish a rhythm as an artist. It’s my first ever EP and I think we found a good rhythm. This whole process was filled with a lot of exploration, literally I wrote half of the songs during the process lol. I didn’t really find it until I wrote the song Blank Pages. Because of that I feel its the most vulnerable song on the EP. The place I wrote it from was raw with heart ache, it was a challenge for me to find it expressively in my voice and it hits close to home in the sense that it was the first time I wrote something that sounded like music from home. Instead of looking outside I just dug down with in and pulled out a sound that was hiding there lol. Once I found that everything came pouring out.
What’s your mantra as you proceed in your career?
I feel like I have always had this mantra as an artist but I couldn’t properly put it to words until I read an article by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter- Open Letter To The Next Generation of Artists. In it they state that it is important to “First Awaken To Your Humanity…What this world needs is a humanistic awakening of the desire to raise one’s life condition to a place where our actions are rooted in altruism and compassion.
You cannot hide behind a profession or instrument; you have to be human. Focus your energy on becoming the best human you can be.” I found these words to be so profound.There are so many of elements that make up the music industry. Sometimes I feel like whether or not an artist “makes it” is this recipe of brand, look, likes, views, talent or whatever else. It was SO hard in this process not to be bogged down by that. Still is. Overall I want to be a good human and align my music with that mission. If I can make people feel happier with my music then I wake up and go to bed feeling like I’ve taken one step further in my journey as an artist. I think some of the best reactions I’ve gotten from the EP are those in which people say they play my songs on repeat and they felt the urge to dance or they compare me to the legends that came before me. People that had to fight against so much to make that music happen, musicians who made it for a purpose. I want to capture humanity in my music and speak to people’s hearts.
Which do you prefer, recording or live shows?
I prefer live shows! Even though I love building a song from scratch and watching all of the different elements come together in the studio, I prefer the human interaction. I used to really hate all of the patter and speaking in between songs. I would go up there and think “I don’t know what I’ll say to folks” but I’ve come to realize the whole show is like a conversation with a friend. Or its like meeting a new friend. I try to view it that way or I get nervous. The second I start thinking about something else, like whether or not folks like what I’m doing or how I sound, it becomes about me, not them. My music is performed in service of the audience. To take people on a journey.
Recorded songs can do that too but there’s nothing like being in the room with the magic. Its an art form as old as time itself. I also LOVE being in the room with my band The Melodics 🙂 They are some of my favorite people to make music with. Every rehearsal is such a workshop and I think all music should be playful like that. Studio time becomes more about product than process. Its a different and enjoyable in other ways. but I enjoy how messy the process can get.
Who is the K Sloan audience and who do you think they should be?
I have no idea…. I was going to leave it at that haha but I will say my audience is literally ANYONE. Anyone who loves soul and live instrumentation. Anyone who just wants to be present and groove. People who have told me they like my music have been of all ages. Last show was an outdoor music festival we had 2-5 year old kids dancing their faces off. That gave me so much joy! I workwith children when I’m not doing music so I feel like if you get the kids hooked you can get anyone hooked lol.
What is the point in which you throw down the gauntlet or give up and just do music for fun?
When I stop worrying about whether people like it and I let myself enjoy the process so others can enjoy it too. Nothing disappoints me more after a show than coming off stage and thinking “damn I was SO in my head during that” it happened a couple gigs ago. I couldn’t identify why I didn’t feel right after the show and it was because I wasn’t allowing myself to be free. I want to be in the room. I feel like at my album release show I was really free. I was able to look back on a years work and say “wow, I did that NOW LETS HAVE SOME FUN!” I had worked the whole day, I was running late, things went wrong before the show but I stepped up on the stage and was ready to take the audience for a ride.
Music should be like that. My favorite artists both old school and present day had/have that same freedom. Freedom is where the music lives. When I surrender to that feeling I can have all the fun I want.
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