withLove is a dynamic ensemble spreading the word of the Lord through their music. The contemporary Christian project started in 2013 in response to the frustration that rose in Baltimore due to the systemic injustices scourging the country in attempts to unify people through the gift of song. Their music is rooted in Gospel, contemporary, and Christian genres flaunting the same racial and musical diversity that make up the ensemble. With elements of alternative rock, people will love withLove on their upcoming self-titled release.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music?
Yes. Believe it or not, my pastor randomly told me that I would be a good songwriter one day when at the time, I was purely a young 8 year old classical pianist who was just getting the hang of playing in a Pentecostal church. I was bewildered at the time when he said it and didn't really pay it much mind. But as a I got older, I started to sing more and more - whether it was while directing a choir, teaching a vocal part, or leading a youth weekend retreat in worship. Next thing I knew, I started writing songs out of my practice/jam sessions with my piano late at night. That turned out to be our very first single "Pour Your Love". From there, you start writing more and more, and listening to more artists like Gungor, Israel Houghton, United, Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and next thing you know, I'm writing on our first album.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
The craziest thing we've ever done in my music career is playing a concert in Transylvania in a small park full of old and young Gypsies dancing and singing to our music. It was quite a beautiful sight actually.
What has been the high point of your music path?
The high point in our musical path so far was our most recent tour in London when we got to play at the Purley Music Summer Festival in front of about 1500 people and completely crushed our show. We definitely made some fans that day.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Songwriting hits me in 3 ways: (1) Spontaneously in my sleep in the middle of the night and I have to get up and play and record the idea (before I lose it in the morning). (2) After a very highly emotional moment - like a bad break-up. (3) I'm vibing to the music for a while and I start seeing my thoughts being stirred by the music and start writing about it.
We bring our ideas to the table and we add our creative inputs until it sounds like the withLove sound we're looking for. My approach to the creative process is 2 words: With Integrity. - What I mean is that I respect God and taking the time to hear what the Creator has to create. My heart is to always write from a deep place of love and truth and authenticity that are stirred on by our experiences with love and faith. I never want it to be from a false narrative that I pretend to live. But more so, what I'm honestly feeling despite my struggle and mission to love my friends and foes around me. And loving others to a point where I can hear what people's souls are saying at a consensus in the times that we live in. It may be said not in words, but in sentiments feared to be expressed. And so, whether it's a random philosophical thought, or a bass line, or a couple words, a cool melodic riff, we play with it and see what we can create with it. It's a process of tender love and care.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Music has become cheap. It used to be a remarkable event to pay $14 on the release date of a record of your favorite artist and the artist being able to make a livable wage doing music. Now that music is always at our fingertips at fractions of pennies on the dollar, artists now survive by becoming both entrepreneurs and artists while working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. Working twice as hard for a fraction of the pay. Don't get me wrong, streaming is great for making everyone's music accessible, but at the same time, labeled artists are paying streaming services to put their artists on top of the streaming stack being promoted - which most independent artists struggle to compete with. If I could ask the music industry to change anything, it's to fight for more music education in schools to increase the awareness, appreciation and value of music in our world.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Coldplay. Just to be in that arena in front of thousands and spread the message of love together. And Stevie Wonder, just to feel his creative energy in the same room and play music alongside him.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
We start off our rehearsals with pizza, catch up with each other for a sec, and then practice the songs. We try to focus on our flaws in rehearsal. And then rely on another to practice on our own to have it right for the stage. But overall, our rehearsals are like friendly get-togethers and we look forward to spending time with one another!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
We had the hardest time writing "Maker" because it's such a simple tune that we really had to play around with rhythm and timing and different sequences to make it sound the way we wanted
What's coming up in the future?
There's so much about to happen in the next year! We're going to release song covers on Youtube this year as well as a single this year. We'll be playing at some festivals this summer and conferences. Just stay tuned with our shows on our website. Oh, and we're working on our next international tour coming in 2019. And we're currently writing our next record to be out 2019? We'll see!
Tell us where fans can access your music.