Want to know which recording artists are going to be dominating the music charts and headlines as we slide into the second-half of 2020? Well music lovers, look no further than R&B wordsmith BaShir Hogue. This talented award winning singer-songwriter is the only school any self-discerning music aficionado need attend if they want to learn what singing is genuinely about and what it means for an artist to emotionally connect with his audience through sheer passion, empathy and love.
I recently had the great privilege of interviewing this insanely talented gentleman and we talked about a wide range of his activities; from all of the latest on his newest single Love U Back, to exactly why he considers Sarah Vaughn and Prince essential and prototypical musicians for all generations. The sky is genuinely the limit for this maestro and we at Vents Magazine look forward to a musical landscape partially fashioned by this game-changing artist.
Vents: Hi BaShir and welcome to Vents Magazine! Before we get the proverbial ball rolling, how have you been during these uncertain and historical times?
BaShir Hogue: I’ve been well given the circumstances that we are currently facing. I am at peace with all of it. God is in control. IM ALIVE! To say that you’re alive in this day is a blessing in itself. But I am doing well, thanks for asking.
Vents: Congratulations on your recent signing with Empire! This is a major and exclusive mainstream distribution deal. Have you entirely wrapped your head around sharing a label with such recording stalwarts as Kendrick Lamar, JCole and Jacob Latimore?
BH: No, I haven’t. It’s like a dream! I’ve been walking around like, WOW, it actually happened. Thanks to Kando and Michelle Meckel. I know there will be some music collaborations with these famed artists you just mentioned very soon. I am so overjoyed that this has happened for me. I dreamt about this for years. Now, it’s happening. I use to dance and act around the house to the point it would at times drive my siblings crazy. But they knew what I was getting ready for. This is my season to WIN.
Vents: Major kudos are also in order for your new single, Love U Back. Listening to the track it feels almost revelatory, a major artistic step for you and your music. Sam Cooke had a similar moment(s) with such musical masterpieces as Bring It On Home To Me and A Change Is Gonna Come. Can you talk a little bit about this new single and what it means to you as an artist?
BH: Yes, this step into R&B was definitely a turn, but a good one. But to say, Sam Cooke, I’m honored to even be mentioned with someone like Sam Cooke. Thank you. But I wanted to step outside the box on this one. No one knew I was coming this way. But surprisingly, given my church and gospel roots, many people are supporting my new single. I am so grateful. The full album is called, “Love Factor (Song of Solomon Modern Days)”. The album is expected to drop on September 8, 2020. There will be some big twists and turns on this album that many never heard from me. So get ready!
Vents: Streaming has become such a huge face of the entertainment industry, both in music and in film and television. What are your thoughts on this relatively new phenomenon and does it allow for a wider audience to hear your music?
BH: Social media is a huge money making business. For artists, streaming music gives people an opportunity to see who the artists are, rather than just their music. Streaming film and music has significant benefits. Back in the day, records were bound to be destroyed over time, but with streaming, that’s not a big factor. All you have to do is, download a song like, “Love U Back” and it will never break lol. So streaming is big!
Vents: Who/what inspires and influences your music?
BH: Prince, Daryl Coley, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Sarah Vaughn, Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye.
Vents: Due to the global pandemic, touring – the lifeblood of many artists – has either full on stopped or, at the very least, become highly problematic. How are you dealing with this obstacle as you look to roll out Love U Back and other music?
BH: This pandemic has definitely put a dent in the music industry. However, I believe artists, like myself, are becoming more virtual savvy. For example, we now have the virtual artist battles. This also allows artists to sell more albums and singles throughout the media world. I believe, we are about to go into the, “Total Recall” movie era. It seems like we will be in pandemic mode for a while. But artists are making the best of it. My single, “Love U Back” is doing extremely well given the situation.
Vents: Setting the Time Machine back to 2013, I just want to say that this interviewer listened to your 2013 album Patience for the first time just recently and I was thoroughly blown away. What are your thoughts on Patience almost seven years later and how as an artist have you evolved since then?
BH: My Patience album was good, but not good enough for me. I wanted to do more on the album. Though I received a lot of positive feedback on the album, I felt the album could have been better. That is why I stepped out the box with this new single and upcoming project. I have changed in a big way. For example, things that matter should matter like, family, words, health, wealth and life. All of which are reflected in my new album.
Vents: Similar question: How has your music evolved and how has it stayed constant since the 2002 release of your first album, Everyday?
BH: With the Everyday album, I was mentally a kid just trying to sing and be seen. But now, I want be heard and educate listeners on love over lust. So, I’ve evolved and so has my music.
Vents: You belong to a rare and wonderful school: The singer-songwriter. Do you have a certain methodology for how you write? Does the music come first for you, or is it the words then the music?
BH: My methodology for writing is simple but not simple. I hear and write words while I’m walking down the street or doing the dishes. I wrote Love U Back doing dishes. Lol.
When I’m in the studio, I need the lights to be dimmed and no talking. I work better in those conditions.
Vents: You contributed some tracks along with Christina Diaz to last year’s Songs of Christmas. What was that experience like for you? They say you’ve never fully made it as a recording artist until you have at least one Christmas album under your belt!
BH: Well, that experience was weird but okay. I’ve done a Christmas album before with my label, LGR records which was a nice experience. I just wished my ideas would have been used. I am a very creative person. I am a Leo and Leos are usually creative. When that creativity is not used to its full capacity, they will draw back. But overall, the experience was nice. Christina Diaz is a wonderful singer.
Vents: You began your ministry in music at the tender age of ten when you sang for the open door Baptist church choir in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The obvious question: Did you always know that music was going to be your calling?
BH: Music was always in my blood. As a child, I would bang my head on the bed to create a beat. It sounds weird and crazy, but it was how I heard music. Lol. My mom thought something was mentally wrong with me. But the songs I heard is what you will here in my new music. I remember the beats to this day.
Vents: Gospel music is such a big part of your DNA it seems. What is it about such evergreens as the Angelic Gospel Singers’ I’ll Be Alright and Mahalia Jackson’s How I Got Over that so many people respond to?
BH: The struggle in their songs. The Angelic Gospel Singers and Mahalia Jackson all shared the same thing…struggle and triumph. Their song had lyrics that people can relate too. Today’s songs, people hear the songs and try to understand the lyrics. Lyrics should be meaningful, understandable, and relatable.
Vents: You’re a true Renaissance-Man: Not only are you a phenomenal singer-songwriter, but you’ve also written and directed a smash play, The Return. Do you anticipate wearing many different hats creatively going forward?
BH: Yes, I plan to write movies, books, and more plays in the future. But now, it’s time to share new music with the people.
Vents: Final (Silly) Question: You’re attending a dinner with any five people – alive or dead – of your choice. Who do you break bread with and why?
BH: Prince, because he was deep but simple. Michael Jackson, because he was a genius. Sarah Vaughn, because she was beautiful and vocally controlled. H.E.R. because her vibe is chilled. Queen Latifah, because I loved her on Living Single.