Back in May we interviewed local neo-soul band Black Coffee. At the time, they were given the exciting opportunity of opening for Lee Fields and the Expressions, and now, former Black Coffee front woman Cait Cuneo finds herself embarking on a solo project. She has decided to fund her first EP via Indiegogo and needs the help of her fans and supporters to reach her 10K goal. She’s just over half way there with two weeks to go. We wanted to chat with her about what it’s like to go solo, the recording process and plans for her release, but why not get acquainted with Cait first?
Kymbo Slice: How does going solo compare to being in Black Coffee?
Cait Cuneo: The Black Coffee journey has shaped me as a person, musician, and performer. Touring for two years with the band has taught me a great deal and has been the threshold to my solo ambitions. My new original songs are a reflection of the music I have recently fallen in love with and encompass different styles of music including Hip-Hop, R&B, and Jazz. My first EP titled Violet will be a showcase of these influences. Black Coffee was a group, but we shared one voice and soul. Now that I am pursing my own solo project I am that one voice. Violet will be my first studio work that has allowed me to be that voice. This is extremely exciting but is an immense amount of pressure because I am letting go and showing who I am.
KS: How did you assemble the team of musicians you used to record your new EP?
CC: I was fortunate enough to have a team of people made up of friends and family on my first EP. I conceptualized a certain style for my first EP and selected musicians that I thought would best capture my vision. I had the pleasure of working at the Gallery Recording Studio in New York City.
The team of musicians included; Aaron Steele on drums, Akie Bermiss on synth, Ari Folman-Cohen on bass, Chelsea Baratz on saxophone, and Gianni Bianchini on piano. Brian Forbes, co-owner of the studio, engineered, mixed, mastered, and helped produce the album. My brother, Vince, also worked on production and threw down some guitar tracks. Since most of these musicians tour extensively, scheduling wasn’t easy. Because I knew everyone that took part in the record, it created such a candid and sensational vibe. I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time I was in the studio. We spent countless hours in the studio, but everyone’s positive attitude allowed us to enjoy every moment. I will be headed back to the studio in a week to put the finishing touches on the record. Make sure to check out my Facebook and Twitter because I will be documenting my travels and the completion of the record.
KS: How has your Berklee education shaped you as a musician?
CC: Berklee has made me more knowledgeable about the industry, music theory, and performance, but the greatest gift was being surrounded by so much talent and being exposed to such diversity. Almost all of us shared the same dream, and there was no shame or reluctance to broadcast it. We were and still are like a family that supports and hopes for each others’ growing successes. Now that years have passed since I attended, we are starting to see our success grow every day. It is a gift to play music on a daily basis and share our passion with all who want to listen.
KS: What are some of your influences? What current musicians inspire you?
CC: Some of my inspirations include Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Jill Scott, and Janis Joplin. If you look at this list closely you will notice that these are all powerful influential women. Their strength is what captivates me. Recently, I have been embracing more pop and hip-hop. My playlist right now would include: The Roots, Alicia Keys, Black Star, Erykah Badu, Beyonce, Emily King, and Esperanza Spalding.
Anything at any moment can inspire me including; a new genre I am experiencing for the first time or an old song I haven’t heard for a couple years. I can just feel my mind and heart attach to the music. If anyone has a favorite song or artist, I guarantee they feel this same attachment with that music. I hope my music has this same influence on the people who come to a show or listen to my recordings.
KS: What can we expect from you in the coming months in terms of a release party – where, when, etc?
The details for the release party will be announced soon on my website. In the meantime, my team and I have been working on making the first performance a night to remember. We have been gathering a talented group of musicians to perform the record along with several other new originals. This performance will not be your standard sit-down concert. We are discussing everything from lighting to choreography, but in terms of music, there will be horns, keys, bass, guitar, drums, and back-up singers. I am excited for everyone to be a part of this special moment in my career.
Check out Cait’s latest promo video for her Indiegogo campaign and be sure to donate!