Alt-soul singer Fousheé is a star on the rise.
Fans of the singer are already familiar with her soulful voice and genre-blending sound and with her new break-up anthem "By One," the singer is proving that she definitely has the range and the ability to take the music industry by storm.
ESSENCE was fortunate enough to catch-up with Fousheé and be the first to share the video for "By One," a hazy, beautifully styled video that puts the singer's talent front and center. Check out the video and Fousheé's interview below.
ESSENCE: I've seen you labeled as alternative soul/r&b, but how would you classify your sound?
Fousheé: We're approaching a time in music where people are drawing inspiration from everywhere and I think it's amazing, but it's making music harder to label as a specific genre. I grew up on Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, and Reggae. Then as I got older I gained an appreciation for Rock, Blues, Jazz and even classical music. One thing I love about a song, regardless of its genre, is how it makes you feel. I try to incorporate that emotion into the music I make and create the perfect mixture of genres to cater to the soul. I think the best title for this mixture would be Alternative Soul.
ESSENCE: Who or what are your musical influences? Growing up what kind of music were you exposed to?
Fousheé: I have a wide span of musical influence from Chaka Khan to Frank Ocean. Growing up, Bob Marley was constantly on repeat around the house. He taught me a lot about storytelling through writing and performing and did so effortlessly. Brandy, Toni Braxton, and Celine Dion also stood out as musical influences when I was a child. My teen years were influenced by Hip-Hop and R&B and it wasn't until my adult years that I came to discover classic gems like Chaka Khan. It was also then that I discovered other artists with mixed influences like me. I love the storytelling vibes that Frank Ocean gives, the artistic nature of Solange, and all the genres influences that make up SZA. The list goes on and on, but I try to apply what I love about both classic and current artists to my art in an original way.
ESSENCE: I read that your mother was a drummer for Jamaican band PEP, what lessons did your mom teach you about music and being an artist?
Fousheé: The lessons I learned from my mom were in the experiences we had. I remember times when we would be in our car driving and she would pull over into a parking lot, open all the doors, turn the radio all the way up and dance like nobody was watching. In that moment, I was embarrassed but once that wore off I was laughing. I was happy. In that moment, we forgot about all our money problems, pain, and struggling. Those experiences showed me how therapeutic music can be and how it's supposed to make you feel.
She also taught me about persistence which is the reason I continue to make music today. She said if someone says "No" you say "Next." In an industry where the no's usually outweigh the yes', it's very easy to give up without a foundation built on persistence.
ESSENCE: Having a mom who performed in an all-female band, having a mom who is herself an artist, what did that teach you about art, ownership, and how women own their art?
Fousheé: My mom's band parted ways right before she came to America and before I was born. I didn't really get to experience her art first hand, but she lived life like an artist and I learned to do the same as a result. She thought outside the box and rewarded creativity. She used to tell us "Tun yu han an mek fashion" which translates to "Turn your hand and make fashion." It basically means to make something out of nothing and that your attitude is an expression of art. It's in the way you walk, talk, and even your hand gestures and women have a natural way of doing that.
ESSENCE: So with Speak Up, what track, other than "By One," are you excited for fans to hear?
Fousheé: I'm excited for fans to hear "On My Own." It's a song about the current race issues in our country and fighting to find the balance between keeping peace and demanding change. I'm also excited for them to hear "Loved By You." It's a feel-good anthem that everyone can dance to.
ESSENCE: What story does this EP tell? Where were you emotionally/mentally?
Fousheé: "Speak Up" represents a milestone in my life of coming into my own and finding my voice. I was always told to "Speak Up" growing up because I was such a shy, soft-spoken girl but now I'm taking that power back and I have a lot to say. I touched on subjects from fake friends to rejection and of course love! My goal was to put a new twist on classic topics.
ESSENCE: After the EP's release do you plan to tour? Are there places you're excited to visit?
Fousheé: If the right tour opportunity came up I would. I'd love to visit the UK and Canada since the music scene there has been influencing the North American music scene so heavily lately. Of course, I'd like to travel the world if I could. It would be a dream for my music to connect with as many people from different walks of life as possible.
ESSENCE: What's next after the EP drops? Are there things on your bucket list for 2018?
Fousheé: After the EP drops I plan on continuing to create music and art. There are a few collaborations I have in mind and a few surprises up my sleeve that I don't want to give away yet, but stay tuned!
Fousheé's Speak Up drops May 25.