By Brenda Hillegas
Photo by Zack Gross
RES hasn’t had the chance to sit down in ten years.
The Philadelphia born singer is a blend of rock, soul and indie pop. In 2001, she released a debut album with a video in heavy rotation on VH1. A year later, her third single reached the number one spot on the Billboard Dance chart. She’s had songs on movie soundtracks and became a poster child for the Ecko Red clothing line. Res backed up vocals for Gnarles Barkley on tour and then traveled to places like France and Germany with her own hip hop electric trio Idle Warship.
After being dropped by her label for various reasons, Res has returned to Philadelphia to do things her way.
With a resume like hers, why is Res so stressed out about handling all the aspects involved in being a successful musician?
O: Scheduling, booking, marketing, promoting, etc…you’re doing it all on your own now. How does that feel, taking control? Stressful, obviously, but at least things are getting done your way and on your own terms.
R: Scheduling, booking, marketing, promoting and making the product is very stressful. I haven’t figured out a way to make it all fun, but everyday I try. I am not very proud that I have to do this all on my own but I’m grateful to learn so much in such little time. My career depends on it. I’m looking forward to when I have a great team to help me get where I want to be so I can relax a little and concentrate on the part I like about the industry-the music!
O: You’ve done so much in the past few years and you could go anywhere you want. What made you decide to return home to Philadelphia and develop your upcoming album?
R: It was just time to come back home. I had been in NYC for two years, then went to Los Angeles for what seems like forever. I realized I wanted to be closer to home and my family. I’m not sure how long I will stay in Philly only because I’m already getting the moving bug.
O: What have been some of your favorite memories outside of Philadelphia – during tours? Recording? Traveling?
R: I love meeting new strange people and I love working on music in places I have never been. Searching for a meal becomes an entire event when you’re in a foreign place. Touring recording and traveling are the best parts of the job.
O: There are so many independent artists who take control, do their thing, release their music the way they want to…but how do they stand out over one another? What do you do to keep ahead and let the fans know you’re here?
R: Today is the best and the worst time to be indie. It’s almost too much access to too many people with the same idea. I think the only way to stand out is to have money for marketing. It’s business 101. The more people see or hear you, the more likely someone is going to want to hear and see you again. I’m in a place where I use social media to get to my fans and I try to keep fans involved in what I’m doing daily. I also started an event called RESET at Silk City. It’s a weekly showcase of all female indie talent in Philly.
O: I was looking at some of your videos on YouTube and someone posted a comment that Rhianna ripped off your style. Obviously, whether it’s true or not, these things happen. Artists are inspired by other artists. Are there any current performers that inspire you or you’d like to collaborate with?
R: I can’t think of any artist I’d like to collaborate with in this moment. I am working on a new album right now and I tend to listen to what’s out at the time. But I love Sade and would love to have a career like her’s. Her music is very inspiring. Her tone of voice is amazing.
O: Most artists get asked the cliché question: How do you stay grounded? After having done so much – a Billboard chart topper, tours, movie soundtracks, you were dropped from your label (Geffen). Because of that, you couldn’t release your second album. What makes you not freak out, give up, and get angry?
R: I think my family, friends and the fact that I am not a billionaire is what keeps me grounded. I have had issues with Geffen but time goes on and I have moved past them. For the record I have freaked out, gotten angry and wanted to quit many times. But, this is the only thing I actually love to do.
O: Reset is the name of your new album, and your Silk City event. What type of sounds we expect to hear? What did you enjoy most about creating the album?
R: Expect to hear a bunch of great songs, great voice, and great production. I worked with Doc on this new album, and we have a dope chemistry that’s hard to explain but easy to hear. I enjoyed how easy it was to make. No pulling teeth or anything.
O: What have you been doing each week at Reset? And now that you’ll be doing it monthly starting in December, what will you be adding/getting rid of? Will it be longer? Special guests?
R: For Reset at Silk City, we have been on in October and November weekly but for December through April it will be a monthly series. It’s an all female indie rock/singer songwriter event. I perform/host, and DJ Tone Capone and DJ MP spin all my favorite songs. We have one or two opening sets. I decided to go monthly in December, only because of the crazy winters we get. Who likes coming out in the cold winter? The special guest we had for November was a band called LADY! In October, we had great bands like Suspect9 and The All Girl Boys Choir and singer songwriters Sonni Shine, Sadiah Baba Talibha from Toronto and M’Balia.
O: With all of your family in Philadelphia, what do you like to do in your rare downtime?
R: I don’t have downtime. There is always something for work I could be doing!