Wynter Gordon has been the talk of the pop music blogosphere for over three years and now, she has finally broken through with her first single ‘Dirty Talk’.
Most folks first heard Wynter last year when she was featured on Flo Rida‘s ‘Sugar’ but little did they know, the American singer/songwriter has been steady crafting her sound for years, penning tracks for Mary J Blige, Danity Kane and even J.Lo‘s forthcoming album along the way.
I caught up with the bubbly singer for JOY 94.9 on her first ever Aussie tour to discuss the forthcoming album, her transition from R&B to dance, and flying monkeys!
Dave: You’re currently touring Australia doing some Stereosonic Festival shows and a handful of club gigs – what’s it like performing for us?
Wynter: It’s been a great audience, giving great energy. The people here seem to be super live. Australians are carefree people!
Dave: ‘Dirty Talk’ has gone down a treat here (making #4 on the ARIA club charts). At what point was it decided that this should be your launching single?
Wynter: I recorded it out of pure boredom and it was like a joke between me and my girl friend, but out of all the songs that I’ve had – and you’d know – my label president was like, ‘this is the song!’.
Dave: And you’ve just re-shot the video for it.
Wynter: Well, the first one we had a really low budget and we didn’t know the song would be as big as it has gotten. I had big dreams for that video! See, I wanted it to be like A Midsummer Night’s Dream with, like, flying monkeys and creatures… we all have big dreams for our first video! But it didn’t quite come out that way.
Dave: But even when you re-shot it there were no flying monkeys!
Wynter: No, I was told to tame my dreams! GURRL. Keep it together. Put it back in the box. Lock it up. Put some tape. And leave it there. [laughs]
Dave: You first broke into the industry as a songwriter, how challenging was it to transition into a recording artist?
Wynter: I signed as an artist when I actually started professionally as a songwriter. I mean, this business is cut throat, period. You can sign a record deal and never come out, people don’t know that! You can have a million songs and no one could ever hear them, so it’s just really important to get exposure. That is the most challenging thing. There’s a million people wanting to be writers, wanting to do what you do, and it’s just making sure that your music is of quality and forcing the right people to listen to it.
Dave: You’ve only just dropped your first single but up here in the pop music blogosphere, we’ve been writing about you for over three years now! How does it feel to have all this blog lovin’?
Wynter: I’ve had that blog lovin’ for a long time! I just feel so blessed. I’m just blessed to wake up every morning and have music as my job, and people still being interested. I try to personally find all the blogs and say ‘thank you’ via Twitter.
Dave: As wonderful as it is to have this hype building online, a lot of your tracks have actually leaked over the years. How do you feel about that?
Wynter: I’m very happy that none of them were songs that are on the album. I’ve literally demoed a thousand songs and a lot of them are for other people. Songs that leaked like ‘Rebel Song’, I had wanted that for Miley Cyrus, and another one called ‘I Like Your Noise’, I wrote with Taylor Swift in mind. It just sucks because I have ideas for people and I can’t use them because they’re already out there with my voice on it.
Dave: The first time I heard your music was on Myspace three years ago when you posted ‘Surveillance’. Tell us about your transition from that R&B style to making dance music.
Wynter: I was introduced to the dance world when my label president sent me to Europe. He said, ‘go find yourself, become a woman!’ So I was just travelling, meeting producers and I started to love the genre. I grew up in South Jamaica Queens, so when I first started and what were available to me were the more urban tracks – and I would do what I can. What people heard then was who I could work with.
Dave: What can we expect from your forthcoming debut album With The Music I Die?
Wynter: Ugh! It’s a masterpiece. It’s my McLovin’! It’s dance at its very best and each track shows the personality of the producer working on it. With Nick Littlemore (Pnau, Empire of The Sun), it’s a little more of a retro sound, and with the Nervo girls, they’re like balls of energy so the songs we did are very cheeky and pop. I also have my big, big ballads where I want people to pick up a brush and sing it with me like an old school Whitney Houston track.
Dave: Will we hear a new version of ‘Surveillance’ or anything from your mix tape with Static Revenger?
Wynter: No, they’ll all be new songs on the album and all originals. ‘Renegade’ (with Static Revenger) is on a compilation EP we just put out. It was so funny because when I was writing the mix tape, I was taking songs that were already out and just writing on top of them – and ‘Renegade’ became such a big song! I was like, wow, it was just a little free mix tape that I did.
Dave: Have you picked the next single?
Wynter: There’s a song on the album called ‘Surrender’ – that has a very tribal vibe – and it was gonna be the next single but then, I wrote two new songs and now I’m not sure which I wanna put out.
Dave: The album’s definitely coming out in March?
Wynter: Well, they say March but I personally I want it to come out later. I’d rather build my fan base first before putting an album out.
Dave: You wrote a dance track for the “It Gets Better” campaign called ‘Pride’. Tell us about it and why it was important to you.
Wynter: I actually wrote ‘Pride’ a while ago but we didn’t have a way to put it out. When I wrote it, I just thought, ‘this is a really strong message. When would be the perfect time to let people hear this?’ Over the years, my circle has gotten a lot smaller. My whole team – the men – are like really gay. They’re my good friends and so we joke about things but then we also talk about all the serious issues like, how it’s even hard to get their parents to accept them and how they have to lie about it. Now that things are happening all at once [in the media], I just thought: this song is perfect for now. Right now!
QUICK THREE with WYNTER GORDON:
1) Airplane snack or beverage of choice.
Water on the plane ’cause I’m always dry! Pause. [laughs] I might be the only one but I like airplane meals! An airplane chicken meal is pretty good.
2) Your album of the year.
Walking On A Dream by Empire of The Sun.
3) Ever been on a blind date?
Wynter: That’s when someone sets it up for you, right? No. I won’t do it.
Dave: Or chatted with someone online then met up?
Wynter: No, I’m not into that. I’m too scared!
Dave: No? Well, how do you meet men then?
Wynter: I meet them on airplanes, on the road… sometimes they follow me when I’m walking home! I meet the scary ones and the really old men. Really old men like me! 85 and above.
Dave: Oh goodness. I don’t think they’re walking, honey. I think they’re coming at you with strollers.
Wynter: Yeah! They’re coming at me with strollers!
WYNTER’s AUSTRALIAN GIGS:
9 December (tonight) – The Pool Room, Melbourne
11 December – HQ, Adelaide
Check out our radio show: Diff’rent Strokes on JOY 94.9