Ironically there are no textbooks or classroom instructions that could help one balance the equations of Kedar Massenburg’s newest protégé, ALGEBRA. The Atlanta native insists that one can only discover her sonically. As an R&B solo artist with such a simple solution, when mainstream success seems to be more about the right hair, nails and make-up, Algebra is the perfect curriculum for breathing life back in to a genre overwrought by factory made clones.
As the first artist to be released on the revamped Kedar Entertainment Group, Algebra enters the contemporary soul music landscape following legacies created by artists like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and India.Arie all of whom developed under the watchful eye of Massenburg. However her sound is unique. Algebra at first is unassuming, but it takes mere moments for you to recognize that she is not just a tempest in a teapot but more like the catalyst of a paradigm shift.
Clutch Magazine recently caught up with the rising soul star to talk about her music, her message, and hopes for the future.
Clutch: Your name is very interesting, is there a correlation between mathematics and music?
Algebra: Yes, there is a connection between the two. Sound waves, time signatures, and music theory in general are based around numbers. Music is a mathematical and scientific art that can completely control our emotions and thoughts. Being able to manipulate numbers by adding and subtracting is equivalent to being able to do the same with notes on a scale.
Clutch: What is your fondest musical memory?
Algebra: I remember being in the sixth grade at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and auditioning to be in the gospel choir because I wanted to stay after school longer with my friends . . . not really expecting to make it but ended up making it and being a prominent member. I believe that sparked a different passion for song.
Clutch: Has music always been your focus?
Honestly I can say no with my chest stuck out . . . I wanted so badly to be anything other than what my family was doing and known for around town. I loved to dance and play sports when I could. My focus with music got really strong when I was told that I couldn’t do it and I knew that I couldn’t do anything but that.
Clutch: How would you describe your sound:
Algebra: Descriptions of my sound are sometimes difficult because I sing what is in me, how I feel and feelings are sometimes hard. I believe it to be soulful and true. I pray that it is timeless and not just current. I was told that I sound like autumn—the perfect season. I think that was a pick up line, though!
Clutch: When did you first pick up the guitar?
Algebra: I started playing the guitar a few years ago . . . I need to take some lessons. (Tell John Mayer and Eric Clapton to call me, please.) I started laying out of boredom and curiosity . . . I haven’t put it down since.
Clutch: Who are some of the people/artists you look up to (musical influences)? Where do you find inspiration?
Algebra: This is always a question that I never have time to answer—it’s like a new roll of toilet paper filled with names of great and mediocre artists numbered down the center from the first piece to the last. Stevie Nicks, Nina Simone, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Guy, Celine Dion, The Gap Band, The O’Jays . . . (this isn’t a fair question) :) My inspirations come from life and experiences, and of course, the artists that I love to hear and the motivation to be a better me.
Clutch: How do you feel about the current state of R&B and Neo-Soul?
Algebra: I believe the two genres have some how merged and that shows that good music is inevitable. Since artists are categorized as Neo-Soul and R&B I think now it’s great because these particular artists are doing both and it feels good to me.
Clutch: We find it so weird that so many people are just learning about you and your massive talent! Why do you think it’s so hard for artist like yourself who refuse to in a sense lose their real voice and musical purpose to gain the proper recognition and praise?
Algebra: I have come to grips that this is the MUSIC BUSINESS and that is a hard pill to swallow when your talent, passion, and creativity didn’t go to school and get at least an Associates degree in a business major. The compromise becomes the issue sometimes and neither is great nor horrible—I believe it is preference. Artists have always had this battle whether it’s a great painter or great architect. Even Martin Scorsese had to do Star Wars before Schindler’s List . . . which got the Oscar? In other words sometimes it takes time for people to even fathom what your purpose is, let alone enjoy it!
Clutch: We’ve heard a few of your tracks and can’t wait to hear more—so, when’s the album dropping?
Algebra: Soon!!! :)
Clutch: What is a typical day like for you?
Algebra: When my mother or siblings don’t feel like all my time is their time, I’m usually being creative or sleeping. I’m really boring, however I’m a sucker for a roller coaster, though . . . and I like to cook.
Clutch: You’re currently signed with Kedar Massenburg’s group, Kedar Entertainment. He’s been behind some of the greatest soul singers of our generation (Erykah Badu, D’Angelo). How did this relationship come to be?
Algebra: I signed to Motown after having a meeting with him and after a few months he moved on to start a new record label and asked me to be a part of it. I felt it was a great idea and the rest is history in the making.
Clutch: You’ve been performing overseas for awhile now. Do you have any upcoming dates in the U.S.?
Algebra: I may do a few colleges before the year is up, but I plan on being out of the country soon, as well. I look forward to touring more here and abroad.
Clutch: Tell us one thing you want people to know about Algebra Blessett?
Algebra: The best is yet to come and the work in progress is at an all time high!