How long have you been writing songs?
I have been writing since high school so I’ve been living my dream for years.
What first got you interested in becoming a songwriter?
Songwriting and just writing comes natural to me. Songwriting allows me to express my thoughts with a melody. Words on paper are powerful, but when you add music to the words it adds a different form of expression.
What/who inspires your lyrics?
My songwriting lyrics are inspired by real life situations. Past and present relationships and life events. Things that I’ve gone through in life. Heartache, pain and finding new love. Typically it’s based on my life. I often use my friends experiences as well. They love it!
What is your musical background? Do you have a musical family or did you fall into songwriting on your own?
My musical background only involves songwriting. I’ve been a fan of music since I can remember. Just listening to my mother play LP’S and 8 tracks from Luther Vandross, Prince Teddy Pendergrass. You know the classics. I have two brothers who are heavily involved in music out of Atlanta. My youngest brother Kamal Gillespie represents his artist development company Radioactive Kids with the help of my oldest brother Naji Gillespie. We have a musical family with close family ties to the late Jazz great Dizzy Gillespie.
What type things have you done to improve your songwriting over the past years? Any favorite books or previous mentors?
I occasionally attend writing workshops across the globe just to stay up to speed with what’s going on in the industry. I am affiliated with ASCAP and BMI so I frequently attend whatever events they have going on. Whenever you are serious about your craft, it’s very important to stay involved and it’s great for networking. One of my favorite mentors would have to be Kandi Burruss. Her skills are on point and just being able to watch and be guided by her advice is the greatest.
You’re currently doing some producing, isn’t that right? How easy was the transition from songwriter to producer?
The transition from songwriting to producing wasn’t that difficult at all. As a songwriter, you already know how you want the flow of your songs to go. Producing just allows me to add to that and just bring the entire project together. I’m the type of person who like to do as much as I can alone before asking someone to step in for assistance.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a couple songs for some artists as well as starting a live streaming radio show called “The Juice Crew”. I have four women who will be discussing everyday topics in the media and doing live interviews with artists. I’m very excited about that. Also I will be doing a couple more book releases this year. 2016 will keep me very busy.
What does your writing mean to you?
My writing means everything. It’s my passion. It’s my way of expression. My writing speaks for me. It says things to the world that I sometimes can’t say myself. For those who know me, they know me as being quiet. But once you put a pen in my hand, it’s a wrap!
Do you write for yourself or others?
I’ve written one song for myself over the past 10 years but my time is spent towards writing for others.
Once you have recorded a piece of music, how do you go about distribution?
Being that a large majority of my clientele are signed artists, I don’t really concern myself with distribution. Their label handles their projects. I assist indie artists with getting distribution deals by request.
Where do you see yourself in 510 years time?
At the top! lol. I see myself running my own entertainment label. Entertainment including music, books and film. I’m very driven and ambitious and I admire women like Queen Latifah. The Queen is behind a lot of projects that people are unaware of… I want that to be me in 10 years.
Thank you Ailawishes for taking the time to interview with us.