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Take Five With Fede4real

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Fedee4real:

It's difficult to write my bio down to 200 words. I'm a singer/songwriter/keyboardist.I write, compose, arrange and produce all my material. I'm half Spanish and Equatoguinean (Africa). I have lived in both countries and I love both. My music has many different influences, jazz being the biggest. I started playing music at six years old, jazz and blues with my father, and classical with a private teacher as a hobbie. I didn't decide make music my priority until I was 25 years old. I've performed internationally and my albums have received great radio and magazine reviews. I'm also an accomplished commercial and fashion model. I don't label myself as a jazz musician, 'cause I'm not an instrument virtuoso to jazz standards, and I'm not limited to jazz music. I like my music to speak for myself, so I wish you enjoy it and that it brings something positive to your life.

Instrument(s):

Keyboards drums.

Teachers and/or influences? My father, Francisco Javier Ngomo (jazz guitarist), Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Nat "King" Cole, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, El Debarge, Billie Holiday, Prince, Wes Montgomery, Mizell Brothers, among others.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... When I realized I had music inside of me and God wanted me to share it with the world. I started playing keys at six years old, but didn't realized I wanted to be a musician 'til I was 25 years old.

Your sound and approach to music: I started in music, playing jazz and blues with my father. I grew up listening to everything from '80s pop to '90s R&B, smooth jazz, hip-hop and, of course African music from my country.

My first songwriting was pop R&B with a slight touch of jazz. I was developing my sound and with every album I've come closer to jazz and soul. But I don't label myself; everybody wants to put you in a category for market reasons. I'm just a musician. I don't want to be classified as a neosoul artist, 'cause many of my songs are not. Neither a pure jazz artist.

I can't choose the song I'm going to compose tomorrow; they just come. So it can be a jazz ballad, like "Paradise" or a funky tune like "Maybe." I'm open to many different genres; I've produced house, funky, jazz, pop, R&B, neosoul, hip-hop. Like Charlie Parker said, there are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music. I like to think I belong to the first category. Music writes itself, I just let it flow, and it becomes what was meant to be. I'm currently in transition, discovering myself as a jazz musician, and learning.p>

Your teaching approach: I can't teach anybody. I'm not a musicologist. I'm just an artist, but I'm going to add my two cents. I think a common mistake is to forget that music is a sound, before you can even write it. I can read and write music, but that is not the way I approach composing and songwriting. Always, remember that you can call it minor 9th or whatever, but it's just a name or number to design a sound. Before we could even write, we humans sang together and played ancient instruments. Music came first.

Your dream band:

I definitely would like to work with Patrice Rushen, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, the Marsalis family, El Debarge, Prince and Stevie Wonder. My ideal band would be three guitars: a funky electric one; a big box jazz guitar; and an acoustic Spanish guitar. Drums and a percussionist. Bass. Alto and tenor sax. A Yamaha Motif XS keyboard and an original Fender Rhodes. Flute. Brass section.3 females and a male tenor as back singers.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: My worst moment was when I was up on stage about to do a Michael Jackson tribute show and the mike wasn't working. For 15 minutes. My best is every time I perform in front of a new audience. They always start with doubts about my show and end up cheering and applauding. I like the feeling of control over an audience, and taking them where I want.

Favorite venue:

Sugar Bar, NYC ; it's small, intimate, with a high class house band and a nice crowd. Sonically it's great too.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Ok, this is the most difficult question you could ask me. I'm going to pick two. First, "Paradise," a ballad that came to me one morning. And it's the song that encouraged me to record my album Jazzylicious. I always had, in the back of my mind, the idea of recording a jazz album. But it's something I always thought would be in my later years, when I had grown more musically. But the song came, and it sounded like one of my favorite jazz standards. It was really above my expectations; I didn't know I was able to compose and arrange a song like that. I consider it my pinnacle, and it's very special, from beginning to end.

"Dreams" is a hybrid between pop and gospel, from my last album, Funk Temple.I woke up one morning and the song just came—music and lyrics in one morning—truly sent from heaven. I decided to arrange a gospel choir for the song to add extra push. The message in the song, for young people like me, is to follow your dreams and have faith in God. Nobody believed in me as a musician when I started—it was a me against the world. And if anything in my career, I'm happy for this song; even if I retire one day, it's my testimony, and I hope it can inspire other young kids to try and follow their dreams. I have fans worldwide and it's something I could never dream. Also the experience in the studio, with the guys that didn't know each other, recording the backing vocals, and the spirituality of it, was one of a kind.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Lets say the first I explored, "Chameleon," by Herbie Hancock.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I think my music is real, original and its not always about the lyrics. I think my music brings peace and helps people relax and forget about ordinary daily troubles. I see myself as only a channel. I bring it to life and then music flows freely and reaches different purposes.

I think I'm part of a generation of artists who are forced to be a do it all. You're own manager, investor, booking agent and publicist. But thanks to that, you can keep your artistic vision clear. So what you listen to, when you listen to my songs, it's not a song played by six different musicians, mixed in a city, mastered in another. You listen to unique, real, heartfelt and honest music as a whole. The unique vision of its creator, and that's something that is missing in major projects. I don't sound crystal clear; life is not crystal clear with reverb—life is real, I'm real, and I keep my music real too.

Did you know...

My mother language is Spanish. I'm not even bilingual, when it comes to English but I can only write lyrics in English. I know; shocking.

CDs you are listening to now: lately I'm listening a lot of Terence Trent D'Arby. I think his music is so unique and powerful. Billie Holiday's "All of Me"; El Debarge's "All This Love." After taking a two-week break after finishing mastering, I'm listening to my album from a listener perspective, and dissecting everything. Realizing things that I could have done better and, of course, enjoying the hard work.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? I think that after the initial reactions to the blending of genres, everybody has finally accepted that there's space for everything. You only need to know where to find what you like. I sometimes feel like listening to Nat "King" Cole; other times a nice smooth jazz jam makes it, or just instrumental jazz. Or a jazzy funk sax solo. To me, my journey in jazz has just started. I'm very excited to cover jazz standards and explore my vocals in the key of jazz, and if God wants me to keep writing jazz I'll keep bringing my music to the world. I can't tell you 'cause it's not in my hands.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? I don't believe we should push or keep jazz. I think there will be ups and downs like everything, but it's a wonderful genre of music, and just like classical music, it will never die. To keep jazz alive, you only need to love jazz; your friend, your son, or your girlfriend will fall in love with it too.

What is in the near future? Im going to be honest here. I'm exhausted, after composing, writing and producing this album between London and Madrid, and getting the promo ready. I've had a Michael Jackson tribute show running at the same time, his whole repertoire, live. So I will promote this album and rehearse November and December, 2010 at home, relaxing a bit.

I will shoot an unplugged video, featuring my old songs and the new ones on Jazzylicious live. And I look forward to connecting with venues and managers for a European tour in early 2011, and hopefully visit, again, the United States in the spring and summer, 2011.Im very excited about touring California.

By Day:

I'm a working fashion model. When I'm not writing, rehearsing, or shooting my music videos, I'm going from casting to casting.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: I'm not the kind of man that makes plans, but it should be something creative, where I can put my soul and my vision. Maybe a photographer or film director. I've directed my music videos, and its very exciting, and I love photography.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Fede4real

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