- Category: Interviews
50K MUSIC MAG: Who are you, where do you come from,...? Please tell us something about yourself.
Gussie: I was born and raised in Columbus, OH. I have family in both New York and New Jersey where I spent much of my formative years around entertainment people. My Uncle James "Blinky" Miller, was a music professor who first believed in my talent. My Aunt Juanita, who was also a music teacher, MADE me sing in her church choir, where she was the choir director. Years later, after I became an adult, I lived with my Uncle and got to know my second cousin, James Allen, who is one of the S1W in the legendary rap group, Public Enemy. I desired to sing at the Apollo Theatre, so James escorted me to the Apollo to sing at Amateur Night, because he believed so much in my talent. My background includes being a child actor, and being on cable and national television, including WBNS TV and QUBE TV, which later became the Nickelodeon Network. Taken under the wing early by owners of several major recording studios, I learned the art of production for commercials and TV & Film work. I learned the art of studio production under the direction of John Kiehl from the Soundtrack Group while I was singing for him doing jingles in Boston. While in Boston, million selling artist Paula Cole was a singer in a band I had in the 80's. (http://www.wolfram.com/products/mathematica/portraits/johnkiehl/) I have since been a performer at Universal Studios and Disneyland ("The Lion King Celebration"). Also, I have entertained on two major cruise lines. After moving to Los Angeles from Boston, I performed and/or recorded with Gino Vannelli, LaVerne Baker, Cher, Seal, Mindi Abair and Marcus Miller. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4RdVr8TJOM/) While working with Marcus Miller, Marcus used my voice for Chris Rock's CW Television Show, "Everybody Hates Chris". In addition, I have most recently been composing music for commercials and film, and my voice can be heard on Chris Rock's feature film, "I Think I Love My Wife". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everybody_Hates_Chris)
50K MM: How did you discover SellaBand?
Gussie: My cousin in Public Enemy keeps me informed of everything going on with PE. He had reached out to me about the power of Sellaband in funding their current project. I checked it out and "fan funding" sounded like a great idea! The vision for my first solo effort, "Forever Plan", began well over 10 years ago. Due to a tough divorce situation and spending much of my time and finances fighting for the custodial rights of my children, "Forever Plan" was put on hold. I also experienced a workplace accident that pushed back completing "Forever Plan". However many setbacks I encountered, I never lost sight of where I wanted to go with this project. The time has come now, to utilize the power of SAB to finally bring my vision to fruition!
50K MM: How are you going to convince people to believe (and invest) in you?
Gussie: Being a performer, product spokesperson, and having been involved in multiple music projects, I have networked with many people throughout the years. I am reaching out to all of these contacts via social networking sites, such as MySpace, facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Modern Vocalist, Digg, and my blog, called "ArtisMusicai", http://artismusicai.blogspot.com/) I am also forging co-marketing and branding agreements with companies I support, such as HeadBlade, http://www.headblade.com/ I am in contact with local and national media, including Time Warner Cable (Southern California), who has a program that is considering doing a feature piece on how I am raising capital to fund my record, using Sellaband.
50K MM: You have raised a small percentage of the budget yet. But have you thought about the time after reaching the goal of 50k yet? What are your plans then?
Gussie: I have had a lot of experience in working on major albums with major artists, as a technician, engineer, producer and vocalist. This has given me a unique perspective on how to put a project together. A wise man once told me, "Most of the time it is not knowing what to do, but who to call." So, I am calling in favors from songwriters, producers, engineers and artists I have worked with over my long career as a side-man. I chose my close friend, David Isaac, who is a 4-time Grammy winner from his work with David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Anita Baker, and Eric Clapton, just to name a few, to co-produce and engineer "Forever Plan", because he¹s got some of the best ears I have ever heard. (http://www.titanmusicand filmworks.com/Home.html) I also reached out to my admired friend, Tony Shepperd, who, along with me, is a Westlake Studios alumnus, to coproduce and engineer because of his work with my idols, Kenny Loggins, Sting and Take 6. Tony was one of the first people to believe in my voice and my vision, and has offered his services to be a part of my team. (http://www.tonysound.com/) My recent experience teaching at Columbia College of Hollywood has introduced me to some amazing production talent, particularly an up and coming young director, Jonathan Lewis. Jon is slated to direct my music videos and behind the scenes DVD for a future incentive on SAB. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFWIKrcmnMY) My band is led by my good friend and all star-musical director, Alex Alessandroni (Pink, Nelly Furtado, Christina Aguilera, Babyface, Natalie Cole). My band also includes my friends who are well known musicians on million selling CDs, including Herman Matthews (Tower of Power, Kenny Loggins, Amy Grant, Tom Jones) drumming in the project. (http://www.hermanmatthews.com/home.php) My SAB plan will be the catalyst in launching my touring of major US cities; showcasing first in Los Angeles at one of the well-known clubs. I will eventually tour throughout Europe, following the lead of Marcus Miller, and establishing a lucrative international presence. Due to Google, I have a very strong internet presence. SAB is integral in pulling all the pieces together by fan funding the "Forever Plan" project.
50K MM: And last question: How can we support you to speed up raising your budget?
Gussie: It would be great to be featured on the SAB front page, just like Hind, Public Enemy and The Jeffersons. That would really help! Being featured in 50K, I'm sure will also draw attention to my project. Any exposure to your part of the world would also be appreciated!