Soul music has found his representative on Jamendo with Will Hammond Jr. Born in 1969 in San Francisco (Bay Area), he grew up performing in bands and singing in church choirs and theater groups. While studying music in school, he co-wrote in 1991 the hit song "Hold You Tight" for Warner Bros. artist Tara Kemp which went Top 3 on the Billboard Pop & R&B charts and went to become a certified gold record with 800,000 units sold. In 2003, he released his debut project, "Brothafromanuthaplanet" under his pseudonym "Soul Folk", for which he was nominated for a 2004 California Music Award. His new project “Soul Folk Continued” is available on jamendo with 27 tracks of pure groove.
- You made this hit song “Hold you Tight” with Tara Kemp in 1991. Could you explain us how this could have been possible?
I met and worked with Tara through her boyfriend-producer Tuhin Roy, who I went to high school with. We were working on another band called "Bass House Funk" and initially we used Tara as a singer for the project. When the local radio station KMEL heard the B-side single "Hold You Tight" they instantly thought it was a smash! We got a few offers to release the single until finally Craig Kallman of Big Beat Records signed us on to produce the single and then an album deal with Giant/Warner Bros. Records via music mogul Irving Azoff.
- What happened after this success? Did you work with other artists? Have you signed with a label?
When we first started working in Los Angeles, we met a few labels and managers. One of my highlights was meeting Stephanie Mills and playing her a song I wrote entitled "Everytime You Call". The other highlight was writing material for Color Me Badd's first album (which were never picked up). I ended up signing a pretty bad songwriting agreement with the previous producers which left a bad taste in my mouth.
- As you are in the music business for nearly 20 years now, can you tell me how you think it has changed?
Now that the music industry is going "digital" things have to change in how we market ourselves and what access is given to the average artist/songwriter. It has made things easier for people to promote themselves via YouTube, Jamendo, CDBaby and allow people to download or stream their music globally.
- What did you do between 1991 and 2003, the year you dropped your first album “Brothafrumanothaplanet”?
In 1998, I was working in the Bay Area for a bio-tech sales company and got laid off so I decided to move back to LA and start working on my first solo album. A lot of ideas came out of that experience because it was the first time when I didn't have a set plan in my life and I could just live and grow and build as a songwriter without the pressure of writing a hit song. The first track that came from that experience was "Days and Nites in the City" which was dedicated to my hometown San Francisco.
- Can you describe your album “Soul Folk Continued”?
The cd is a culmination of different images from my life....translated into a musical mix of soul grooves and progressive/electronica layers. I wanted this album to be a representation of me; a variety of feelings and perspectives and musically diverse but still staying true to my soul background. From the groovy funk of "When It Rains" to the drum & bass layered "Beautiful" this cd will give you an emotional tapestry of life itself.
- What decides you to put it on Jamendo?
My fiancée told me about this site when she was looking for music for a class she was teaching. I thought it looked interesting and I built my own page...et voila!
- Who made the sounds of this album? Have you made it yourself or you have producers who are in charge of it?
The majority of this project was made in my studio apartment back in 2007. I started with studio beats and sampling and then added some live music. I worked on a Mac laptop, a studio mic and software synths.
- Who are the artists who influences you the most?
I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. Big time Prince fan and of course his disciples which include D'Angelo, Bilal and Cody Chesnutt. I would love to work with those producers and writers who made that magic happen. My old drummer used to play me tapes of The Young Disciples with Carleen Anderson, Omar and Mica Paris. I loved the energy they gave to the music and it was free of the boy band sound we get now. It gave me hope to keep writing the songs I want to write and maybe someone would understand my story too.
- Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics? How do you work on it?
I am inspired by different experiences in my life. A lot of the lyrics were written from love, life, strife and struggles of living in the city.
- You are now the CEO of Dreamtree Entertainment. Can you say it’s the finalisation of your artist process?
I have always tried to stay as an artist first but with the knowledge of writing, music production and sound design for various projects in digital audio. My prior experience has helped me work with theater playwrights and filmmakers in helping them build music scores and soundtrack.
- In which way you wish to develop it?
My next big plan for the company is to create a publishing catalog for film and commercials and work with other musicians and singers to write tracks for licensing.
- What will be your next your project?
I am working on a few projects...two which may be "digital-only" releases; an acoustic-electric select of progressive soul songs, a children's project called "Baby Ballyhoo" and a soundtrack cd for indie film "The Invisible City".
- A word to finish? Do you have something special to say?
My sound is eclectic but contemporary, groove-orientated but not static..it's the soundtrack to the "beat of the city..."