Atlanta-based twosome Slick & Rose has a sound all their own. Mixing hip-hop, R&B, rock and soul, they’ve attracted the ears of music’s biggest names and earned spots on the Okayplayer tour, Black Lilly showcase, and venues alike. Clutch spoke with the ladies to find out hoe life has been since meeting in 2000, recording albums, rocking the mic with some of the hottest acts in the business, and what’s to come for the dynamic duo.
Q: How did you two come together as a group?
Slick: We met at a jam session in 1997 and have been singing together ever since.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
Rose: We started out doing more hip-hop soul but recently expanded our sound to include our new wave, rock and dance influences but at heart we are hip-hop heads, so there is always going to be this in the pocket, edgy rawness to our music.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
Slick: We are greatly inspired vocally by a lot of jazz ala Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn but musically it runs the gauntlet from Grace Jones to Tina Turner, Heart, Gwen Stefani, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Prince, RUN DMC, Salt N Pepa, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, WuTang, Black Moon, Portishead, Sting, the list goes on..
Q: Is Atlanta home base for your both?
Rose: Yes, but I am originally from the Bronx and Slick is from Mobile, Alabama
Q: You’ve toured with Black Lilly/Okayplayer. How was that experience?
Slick: Touring with the Jazzys and Rahzel was a great experience. It is not often you find another duo, willing to extend an opportunity to another group who also happens to be a duo. Working with them was fun and we love Japan. The culture is so rich, the landscape is very beautiful, everyone is so fashionable and they really embrace African-American culture, hip-hop and soul in particular.
Q: Are you still signed to your label Soul Hippie Music Group (SMHG)? If so, what has been your experience with working on an indie label versus a major label?
Rose: Yes, SHMG was basically started out of necessity, when we returned from Japan business begin to move rapidly. Its basically set up to handle our business as Slick & Rose, the group and the brand. Being an independent artist is definitely a labor of love. It requires you to wear numerous hats: artist, label, manager (sometimes), booking agent etc. but you learn a lot about the business first hand so when you do get to the point where you are dealing with labels or just other companies you are lot wiser in how you make your decisions. We are still learning but have a better understanding of the business then we did when we first started. Despite what people may think, our only experience with major labels to this point has been meetings and more meetings so we really cant speak on be signed to a major versus not yet but from what we hear besides that some of the work may be taken off your plate, there can be advantages and disadvantages to both, I suppose it all boils down to how much creative control you have and percentages..(smile)
Q: Your debut album, Objects in the Mirror, received high praise from numerous music critics. Do you ever feel the pressure to “top” yourselves or stay fresh and relevant, and stay true to who you are as artists?
Slick: No pressure to top ourselves but more of a creative need to dig deeper and express ourselves as vocalists and songwriters to the fullest. The opportunity to record our first album,Objects, came very suddenly; we had recorded a four song demo, performed at Black Lily, The Jazzys asked us to go to Japan and then we were given to the opportunity to release an album, through P-Vine Records in Japan immediately after, everything was happening so fast-when we returned from Japan we had a month to record the album, almost every song we wrote at the time is on there. It feels really good to know that people appreciate our music. We are in the studio now, working on our new album, Ambitious Intellectuals. This time we get to spend more time in the process, writing, coming up with ideas, we cant wait to start performing the new stuff. We hope to have it released by Fall of this year.
Q: Are you currently working on any new projects?
Rose: Ambitious Intellectuals is our new project. AI is basically this sassy, baddass, chick album. It’s a blend of hip-hop, pop and new wave and we love it! We wanted to do an album that showed women as both powerful and smart. In music today you don’t always see black women represented with balance. Black women are both smart and sexy, both vixen and intellectual. These songs our a true summation of different aspects of our personalities and women in general.
Q: Who are some artists that you’re listening to right now?
Slick: Amy Winehouse, Chrisette Michele, Michael Franks, lots of Feist (various albums),
Rose: Jay-Z, Bilal, Little Brother, Radiohead and Radiodread which is a reggae CD of covers of different Radiohead songs. Citizen Cope has a hot version of Karma Police.
Q: When you’re not touring or in the studio, what are some other things you both enjoy doing?
Rose: We love shopping, reading books, I love autobiographies, and what else? (to slick)
Slick: Documentries, independent films, museums, cooking, cooking shows.
To learn more about Slick & Rose please visit myspace.com/slickandrose