R&B music has been steadily been making a comeback on the mainstream music scene over the course of the last few years, and one artist who’s looking to be apart of the progress is R&B songstress Ginette Claudette.
An emerging, well-rounded talent who’s not exactly new to the industry, Ginette’s soothing but strong vocals and passion for staying true to her organic sound is solidifying her as one to watch on the R&B music scene. We recently caught up with the NYC native to get some insight on being a Tidal Discovery artist, her new music video “Time,” her history in the industry, why authenticity is key and much more. Check out our interview below.
Talk a little about your background and what sparked your interest in pursuing a career in music.
I was born and raised in New York City. I kind of got my start in music because my mom was a Latin pop star in the Dominican Republic so, I grew up watching her do her thing and naturally fell into it but I always knew the R&B thing was more my route. I sang a lot in school and in church and I started taking guitar lessons when I was young so, I just naturally fell into the R&B vibe. My older sister also used to play a lot of Aaliyah and TLC and Lauryn Hill at the house when we were growing up so, I guess I was kind of born into music, in a way.
You’re a Tidal Discovery artist & will also exclusively premiere your new video on Tidal. How did that connection come about and what’s been your experience with Tidal from an emerging artist perspective?
The whole Tidal thing came about because I did this show in New York called CMJ that showcases rising acts and Jason from Tidal was there. He loved my set and approached us after the show and has been a really great support system for me since then. It’s been so big for me. I get Tweets from people all the time about how they found me on the Tidal Discovery section and it’s just cool to be on such a big platform. It’s hard, as an up and coming artist, for people to just find your music, especially in the beginning as you’re growing. So, Tidal has just been an incredible large platform that places me in a position where I can be in front of a lot of people and it’s just been really great to have my music featured among so many other incredible, well-established artists.
With R&B making such a comeback in the last few years, what would you say makes you standout among the many other emerging R&B artists of today?
I think I’ve been really consistent with releasing a lot of content over the years and I’ve kind of gone the slow and steady route where I just want to build an organic following. It’s not easy but, I think that’s what sets me apart. I haven’t compromised my beliefs in what kind of music I want to make and I’ve really remained true to R&B, even at time a couple of years back when things seemed to be dying down for the genre. I feel like people can sniff that out and they can tell if you’re just doing something because it’s the wave right now or if you’re staying true to yourself. So, I feel like I’ve done well making the music that I love and I feel like people can connect to that.
If you could pick 3 of your songs that best illustrate your sound, who you are & what you’re looking to bring to music, which ones would you choose?
Hmmm, that’s a really good question! Well, I’ve released 3 projects in total over the years so just because there’s three and you’re giving me three options, I’ll do one song from each because I feel like that would be the best way for people to hear my growth as an artist.
From my early mixtape Everything’s Coming Up Roses in 2012, I would probably pick the record “When You Let Me Go.” It’s a slow R&B ballad and I just love that record so much. Then, my debut album was Tainted Emotions and I think the song “Better Love” on there featuring Rico Love is most definitely one that solidifies my sound. And then off of my new project All The Way Back, I’d probably choose……“Options?” (Laughs) I like all of my songs so, it’s hard! But, I think those 3 represent me well.
What has been the biggest moment in your career so far?
When I did my album Tainted Emotions, at the time I was on the road with this band called the Far East Movement. I was touring with them for like 2 or three years and we were overseas a lot and I was just kind of thrown into that market, which I thought was really cool. So, we did a deal in Japan and I was able to release my albums in stores all over Japan and I did my own little tour. I think that was the most incredible thing ever, just to get to step into a completely different market and get an opportunity to see what it had to offer.
Like many artists, you’ve had the experience of signing to a major label and then later deciding to go independent. What was that experience like for you?
It’s such a cool and interesting thing because when I signed to Universal Motown like 6 years ago, the music industry was still in a transitional phase. I walked in [to the record label] and I didn’t have any pre-recorded songs. Twitter had just come out so, I didn’t have many followers, so I really just went in there and sang. I think now it’s just kind of different. You have this huge access to everybody now through the internet and one song can just change your life over night. I’m kind of in between both of those eras which is interesting because I still feel that classic sense of like, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the music and the talent and artist development and all of that stuff. But, at the same time, I think it’s so cool that I have the internet at my disposal and I have everything in front of me to just go ahead and do it on my own and have full control.
What advice would you have for someone who’s in the space of deciding whether to aim for signing with a major label or going at it on their own?
Initially, I think it feels like getting signed is like the most incredible, hardest thing ever. But, after going through it, you come to realize that that’s the easy part and all the work that comes after that is what really molds you. I’ve learned so much from that experience and looking back at it now I feel like, I know what kind of artist I am now and what kind of artist I wanna be and what I want to say. Back then, I feel like I might’ve been a lot more vulnerable and naive to the music industry and timing is everything so, I think that wasn’t really the right time for me with a major.
I think the internet and this kind of new era of music really gives people a chance to do their own soft release and put themselves out there. My only advice to people would be to stay true to who you are because with the amount of music that people are uploading consistently to the internet (like I said before), people can sniff you out whether you’re just a hit-chaser or if you’re really somebody who’s saying something different or putting something new out there.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Well I really love Lauryn Hill just from a lyrical standpoint and everything else; the lyrics, the music, the message. I love TLC and Aaliyah. I was also an early fan of Alicia Keys when I was coming up and I always also say I love J.Lo as an icon and in terms of a career path and longevity. Oh, and my mom! (laughs).
March is Women’s History Month so, what is your legacy or something that you’d hope to achieve as an artist to leave your mark on music history?
There’s so many different routes women take to get to where they want to go (and I know I’ve said this like a million times) but, I just want to be somebody who stays true to themselves and who stands their ground. I don’t want to be swayed in every direction possible. It’s really hard as it is to be a woman in music just because people tend to not want to take you seriously in more ways than one so, I just want to prove that I’m here to stay and really just encourage women to go after their dreams and not let life’s circumstances deter them. I just want to do that in the way that I’m doing it now, which is just doing me and doing what I love to do and hopefully that can inspire somebody else to do the same thing.
You can keep up with Ginette via social media on Twitter @IAmGClaudette & Instagram @GinetteClaudette. Check out the video for her infectious new single “Time” below.