Interviews

Lumidee: Spanish Harlem’s Shooting Star

Unlike faded dreams and one hit wonders, 2003’s chart topping artist Lumidee, who made her break with “Uh Oh,” is back on the national scene nearly four years later and claiming her position on first base. After recording overseas on an international record label, Lumidee has resurfaced with another hit single that’s climbing the charts rapidly. With a sophomore album titled “Unexpected” to be released on TVT Records, we can’t exactly say what this diva has in store for fans who’ve been patiently waiting for her return. For Lumidee, the calm after the storm is approaching as success carries on for this young, motivated, focused and charming Puerto Rican princess from the streets of Harlem.

SR: When artist leave the scene, people tend to think “since you’ve been gone then you flopped, or you’re no longer able to produce satisfying music.” On the flip side, you’ve actually been doing things internationally, tell me a little about that.

Lumidee: Basically, after the album dropped, I had a second single overseas and I kept going back, kept touring. I left the label I was with in 2004 and I started shopping for a new deal. I landed a European deal. So I had other releases in Europe which were really successful, and [I] was basically doing my thing over there which brought me back here. I never stopped doing music. I didn’t have a U.S. deal for me to put the music out here.

SR: How did your deal with TVT Records come about?

Lumidee: Well, basically it was like I been with the European label for three years and then I started shopping a deal over here. They had some interest. After they heard the music, people were like, “wow, she has some good music.” It changed a few peoples mind but TVT was ready to move on it quicker than anybody else so I met with Steve Gottlieb. It just went well and I think it was just the better place for me to be, being that it was independent and I already [have] been with a major and I needed more attention.

SR: Being on an indie label for some if not many artist is much more of a flexible situation, what are the benefits with TVT as oppose to when you were with Universal Records.

Lumidee: Well the benefit is that you’re not over saddled with huge huge artist although TVT does have really good artist like Lil Jon, Pitbull, Ying Yang [Twins]… The thing is that they have time for everybody. With someone like Universal Records they have thousands of artist and people usually never come out and you can be taking the back burner. As far as TVT they don’t have thousands of artist. They have a selection of artist and they work them at the right time.

SR: Did you ever watch the movie “Dirty Dancing”?

Lumidee: (laughter) Of course. I loved Dirty Dancing growing up. This actual idea was presented to me by the European label I was with. They sent it over to me, demo version with a guy singing the Patrick Swayze song and when I heard it I was like, “wait a minute this is from dirty dancing.” So I’m like, what do they want me to do with this. This is like a guy singing. They were like nah, do your thing with it and then we would you find a credible artist to sing it like the male vocalist so automatically I thought about Tony Sunshine cause we were already planning to do a record.

SR: He’s a fly performer.

Lumidee: Yeah and he’s just crazy with it, so I was like if he would actually even consider doing it I think it might be hot. I sent it over to him and everything and he knocked it out, sent it back and it was crazy. I got excited and was like, “now this is crazy.” I jumped on it, did my thing and sent it back to the label. They were like blown away by it. Basically that’s what happened with that and it was suppose to be a European release. After we landed the deal over here, we leaked that song out just kind of like a buzz record and it just took off.

Lumidee

SR: How does it feel to be back home?

Lumidee: Oh my God, It feels great! I don’t gotta jump on a plane for everything. It’s a good feeling. I love the overseas thing and traveling, I love it but at the same time its nothing like being home.

SR: Just like “Uh Oh”, your original single is reaching up the charts at an extremely fast rate and the internet and radio is buzzing crazy, what is currently running through your mind?

Lumidee: Well the first time around it was just too much too soon for me. I was just so new to the game, I didn’t get a chance to feel it and just experience it. It was happening to me but I wasn’t really realizing it. This time around, I’m a lot more aware and I’ve learned so much for my mistakes and I just learned from other people’s mistakes. I’m just happy right now cause I know exactly what to do with it. I know exactly which way to go with it and basically I’m excited, it’s crazy, it’s just a blessing. Not everybody gets to come back.

SR: Just like many artist, you go away sometimes, you face a lot of criticism because people don’t tend to think you’re overseas doing things, how do you deal with the criticism?

Lumidee: Well, basically its just listening to the music cause I know a lot of people with me is like please. There’s been so many things said about me that’s so untrue and people are gonna keep saying things. People are gonna be stuck in there ways and some people just don’t want to except it; you know that you do music and you do good music. Some people just want to not like you and I’m cool with that and that’s all good. I believe that this time around people are gonna respect me a little bit more and realize this is something that I do and this is not a gimmick. You know that’s basically what it is, everything is show and improve.

SR: You’re going on the road and you have five minutes to pack a hand bag, what is going into that hand bag? What is a must have?

Lumidee: Alright, I need to pack of course the outfit, I need to pack the lip gloss, I have to have honey, tea; I have to have that and my laptop. The funny thing is I just got a laptop like six months ago and I can’t live without it. Everything is just needed, and of course my phone.

SR: What kind of phone do you have?

Lumidee: A Razor.

SR: Your new project, “UNEXPECTED” incorporates many forms of music like dancehall, Caribbean, r&b and hip hop. Would you or do you define yourself with any particular genre. Such as if I were to say, “Oh Lumidee, what do you do”? Would your response be something like, “I’m a rapper, or I’m a singer?”

Lumidee: I’d say I’m more of an artist. I do the singing thing and I do the rapping thing. I don’t think that I’m more of one than the other. If anything at the end of the day, I’m a writer more than anything. That’s something that I love to do and that’s where my talent lies the most cause if I didn’t write I wouldn’t be doing music.

SR: Any particular things you speak about on this album?

Lumidee: Not really, I just want to make sure I give people a different feel. The first time around they heard my demo [referring to Almost Famous]. I loved that album but when you hear it, its just like one sound. It’s like you getting a whole bunch of ballads and it was just one feel. I wanted to put out a different album with different tracks to make you feel different things. So that is why my main focus was to have the up tempo joints, have the ballads, basically the joints for your car and a little bit of everything. I definitely mixed everything up and made sure I did something that could reach all around the world.

SR: What kind of role does N.O.R.E. play in your life as far as friendship and music?

Lumidee: N.O.R.E was somebody I was actually a fanatic about. I’m a CNN fanatic. Like growing up I just loved him, I loved the N.O.R.E. thing so I had met him really early before I had a deal through this DJ in the club. Since then I just connected with him. I did a song before I ever had a deal or anything and he was just listening to my music in the clubs before anybody knew me. So he knew before, he saw me come up. So I think that’s why he shows me the love he does. He was checking for me when nobody else was. He bumped into some of my people in the streets and was like, “yo wassup with her, tell her come through to my video, I wanna do a joint with her.” He has always shown me that love. I definitely got a lot of love for N.O.R.E.

SR: So this time around are you dancing more while your performing?

Lumidee: I’m not dancing this time. I’ll never be a dancer (laughter). You gotta know your lane and that’s not mine. I definitely get my one-two step on. I got a lot more movement on stage.

SR: Many artist tend to have stories(whether good or bad) to look back on from when they were younger and say to themselves, “I’m glad I made it to this point and I’ve achieved so much”. As a child, what were some hardships that have influenced your current strive for progression?

Lumidee: Well basically, when I was fourteen, I got rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a joint disease that I had in all my bones. Its what influenced me to write. I was always freestyling in junior high school, doing the rapping thing and when I really got sick I had home instruction for three years. I couldn’t go to school…it was crazy for me. I was used to hanging out with my friends and being a regular girl. Really I was a tom boy. I had to just be in my room, I couldn’t go to school, I couldn’t do nothing, It just had me real depressed. I started writing my poetry, writing down my feelings and from that I went into writing my music. That’s what basically got me here today, the songs.

Lumidee

SR: Being from Spanish Harlem, and New York in general…ya’ll are known for setting crazy trends. What do you think about this summers chicken noodle soup dance and the most recent Tone Wop?

Lumidee: Its crazy. It’s definitely a dope track when it comes on in the club. It’s a club banger. Something that you wouldn’t hear and expect to dance to but everybody has their niche. Its crazy like I didn’t expect to like it but the more I heard it was like, “oh this is hot” and you can’t help but to sing it. So I definitely felt the whole movement in the summertime. It was dope!

SR: You were fairly young back in 2003 when you dropped your first hit, name one artist from the younger generation that you would love to work with and why.

Lumidee: Wow I really never thought of that. Chris Brown’s nice, everybody is growing up though. I like Lloyd also. I like all the newer R&B guys, for the ladies I like Keisha Cole.

SR: From what I know you’re gonna be Ballin’ on one of your new tracks that features Jim Jones, how was it working with Jimmy?

Lumidee: I was in the studio when he layed his verse down and everything. He’s cool, he did it real fast you know he came in, he was listening to the track and was like, what, “what exactly are you talking about on the tracks,” and I told him real quick and then he went in the booth and just knocked it out. He’s a pro already. He made sure that whatever I wanted I got it that way. He’s real professional with his. He’s on point with the way he does his stuff.

SR: Who is a foreign or international artist that you feel everybody should learn about or listen to their music?

Lumidee: Wow! There’s this one artist but it’ll be hard because he sings in German (laughs). His name Exavier but his voice is so crazy. I like the sound…(but) I don’t know what he’s saying but I got all his albums and listen along. The melodies are so crazy. People will learn a lot. He actually does sing some songs in English. If he was to come out here and sing in English, forget about it, he’ll kill it out here.

SR: There’s this one song that I was really feeling, and you had a quote that said, “Music Controls Me, It’s So Addicting”. Where would you be without music?

Lumidee: If I didn’t have it in my life? I don’t know. It helped me do a lot of things. It helped me through a lot of situations. It got me through them. It changed my life. I think I’ll be lost without music. I mean there are backups. I’m good at other things. Like growing up I loved cooking so I thought about being a chef before. Interior design, decorating peoples houses and things like that but music is my number one at heart.

SR: I got one more question cause ya’ll New Yorkers got a crazy kicks game. I’m a fan of colorful kicks and I know for a fact your shoe game is up to par. What’s your favorite pair of kicks?

Lumidee: I got these Gwen Stefani Shoes

SR: You got them L.A.M.B. kicks?

Lumidee: Yup, i got them in green. Its got like a green strap around them. It’s got lime green and they just crazy! —— By: Interview By Wande Davis – Rhode Island

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