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R&B Artists Willie Wood, Wiley Jay, Smoov the Artist, Phil(Producer X)Carroll Are DeBonnaire Music!

Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from, and how did you get started in music?

WW: I was born and raised in Washington, DC. I grew up in a house where my father would sing Stylistics, and my mother was a ballerina.

WJ: Raised as a military brat, I have lived in many places in and outside the US. My father was a huge music fan and groomed me to know what good music sounds like.

STA: I'm from MD.

PPXC: I was born and raised in Washington, DC. I started like most musicians in DC. I played the keyboard and guitar in Go-Go bands.

PPXC: I was born and raised in Washington, DC. I started like most musicians in DC. I played the keyboard and guitar in Go-Go bands.

When did your professional career begin, and how did it happen?

WW: I was in my 20's and had a chance to meet with Phil (Producer X) Carroll. Working with a production company, he asked if I was interested in starting a group. We both quit the production company and formed a four-man singing group.

WJ: In my mid-late 20's, I was told by a group friend that I was looking for another member. I auditioned and was accepted into the group. Had our first show together two weeks later.

STA: It started in 1996. I was signed to "QLT Records" label and had a single and video on BET.

PPXC: I began producing music in my 20's. I produced for a few local artists in the DC area. I met Willie Wood while performing in a showcase, and we teamed up to start the group.

What type of music do you enjoy singing the most, and what genre would you like to try that's different from the one you usually sing?

WW: I love love love R&B but would like to try classic rock.

WJ: R&B will forever be the love of my life.

STA: I enjoy singing R&B but would like to try some country.

PPXC: I enjoy singing and playing R&B music. I would love to try Afrobeats or Soca.

In your opinion, what does it take to "make it" in this business?

WW: Perseverance!!! If you are serious, don't quit!

WJ: It takes drive, determination, thick skin, focus, and commitment.

STA: It takes dedication and patience to strive in this industry.

PPXC: "Making it" depends on your goal. If you want to make a living, and that's what making it means to you, you have to take your craft seriously. Your audience will let you know if you're good or not. A dispassionate approach will result in half-dispassionate listenership.

Throughout your career, who have you worked with?

WW: Regina Belle, Glenn Jones.

WJ: Regina Belle

STA: I have worked with Daryl Pearson, Regina Bell, Doug Lazy, Fashion Designer Michael Lombard, and the Late Don Newkirk –RIP.

PPXC: Early in my career, I was fortunate to work with producers Chucky Thompson and Rich Harrison. We learned much from each other—from chord progressions, drum patterns, and technology. I worked with artists Regina Belle, Steve Brookstein (X Factor UK first season winner), Konshens the MC, and upcoming R&B singer MeekA (pronounced Mee-kay).

In your opinion, what's the best and worst part of being an independent artist?

WW: Having creative control over our art. The worst part is not having a machine behind you.

WJ: The best part is making the music you want to do without outside influences. The worst part is that labels have access to resources that independent artists need.

STA: The best would be having your own creativity. The worst is people taking the time to appreciate good music.

PPXC: The best part of being an independent artist is having creative control and control of my time. The worst part is having to wear so many hats. Artist, producer, engineer, promote.

Have you ever released a song that you thought would be a major success but didn't do as well as you expected? Tell me about an experience you had like that.

WW: Our 1st single, "Ms. Soul Lady," is an independent release, but we believed it would spread bigger and faster than it has. We have learned that each DJ is independent, including the ones that work for the same stations.

WJ: Not really. I try to go into this by managing my expectations.

STA: Tell me about an experience you had like that. No, just being able to release a song is a success. Everyone might not like it, but you know you put your heart and soul into it.

PPXC: No honestly. Lol! I have one that is the opposite. We released an album, and the song I loved got more love than some of the songs we all agreed would be our "singles."

Do you have a daytime job, or is music your full-time job?

WW: Yes, I have a daytime job. That helps finance the dream.

WJ: Yes, I do have a full-time job.

STA: Yes

PPXC: I have a day job.

How important is it that your friends and family support your music by purchasing and downloading your single? How crucial is their support for the success of your career?

WW: Unbelievably important. And it works as a grassroots effort to get the word out.

WJ: Again, I manage the expectations. I don't "expect" people to purchase just because they know me. Those who like and buy my music, I very much appreciate it. If you do not, no love loss.

STA: It is essential, but most want it free and need to understand the time and hard work it takes to be an artist. It's only for some.

PPXC: It's imperative. Music is who I am, and they should support my music if they support me.

In your opinion, are likes and dislikes on social media an accurate assessment of the artist's talent, worth, or ability?

WW: Absolutely not. It's a measure of popularity, not necessarily skill.

WJ: It's a peek-in, but I would not define it as an accurate assessment of one's talent, value, or ability.

STA: No, players will "hate" on social media, and some don't. On the contrary, people appreciate good music.

PPXC: No, most players “hate” on social media, and some don’t. I think people should appreciate good music.