Heed recently spoke with R&B up and comer/music industry vet Alonzo.  He gave us a warm and genuine greeting and made it feel we’d known him for years.  We chat about everything from his impressive career thus far to his inspirations and what he plans to do next.

Vince Wilson: I’ve read your bio, but how would you describe your journey? What’s your story in your own words?

Alonzo: Wow…that’s the first time somebody’s asked me that one. If I could describe it in one word, I would just say adventurous.  There are a lot of ups and downs to (my journey). I’ve been a student of the game, you know, on every level, from artist I’ve performed next to on tour, to radio stations, to meet and greets, to photo shoots, etc. When I was a background singer, I wasn’t the type to sleep all day and just show up to the show. I would be up as early as 6 in the morning with the artist  to see everything that it takes. I was a songwriting during that time as well and I have seen a lot of people come and go…through that I learned what to do, what not to do and how to do it. It’s been fun and it’s been drama, you know, it’s all an adventure.

VW: I noted that one of your earliest musical exploits was playing drums with John P. Kee. What was that like?

Alonzo: I actually sang with John P. Kee. I’ve played drums for Donnie McClurkin and Kim Burrell, quite a few gospel artist when I was young because I was born into that. John P. Kee was actually the first tour I ever did. I was 18 years old. I sang with him for 3 years off and on because I was traveling between Charlotte and Los Angeles. That was quite the experience.

VW: How does you early experience in the gospel industry lend itself to you as a singer and as an artist? What have you carried over into your career today?

Alonzo: Being around gospel greats like Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin and John P. Kee really taught me the dynamics of singing. I learned that I had dimensions to my voice. I was taught that the more I sang, the more experience I got, then the more dimensions that I would find. They also taught my how to last as a vocalist and be relevant. I learned how to be a student and a servant and how to coexist (with others). These are lessons that preserve me as an artist to this day.

VW: What’s going on with Alonzo now?

Alonzo: Been getting in the gym, getting ready for my own tour. Been putting the finishing touches on my album, getting the features on, putting the icing on the cake. We have so many songs…there’s been a lot of argument about which songs should go on the album. Pretty soon, our team will be putting together some exclusive listening parties to help us choose the songs for this project. I’m building up anticipation for the release of the album. I piecing together the next two singles and getting ready to do this AMJ Global All-Stars Tour. I’m doing a run with Jamie Foxx as well…this summer there should be a Jamie Foxx and Alonzo tour. 


VW: Great news, man. We’re looking forward to hearing more from you.

Alonzo: I got some real treats for you, I promise.

VW: Okay! I gotta ask you this…what are your musical inspirations?

Alonzo: My inspiration really comes from life. I could be walking down the street, you know, looking at a woman pushing her baby because she doesn’t have a car, and then write about it…it could be an argument I had in a relationship, or something my sister is going through. It’s really just about how those different situations inspire me at the time.

VW: Are there any artist you grew up listening to that you feel like influence you sound at all?

Alonzo: Most definitely. Jodeci, R. Kelly, Tank, Joe, Usher…I’m a student, I studied Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder…when I go into the studio I think of them, but I create a new sound and that new sound is called Alonzo. I’m still a songwriter and a producer and I have to balance all of that, but Alonzo is the new sound and artist that I have become, but all of those artist are my inspiration.

VW: Favorite movie character of all time?

Alonzo: Hahaha…wow…that’s tough because Coming To America is one of my favorite movies! You got Randy Watson and all the other characters who we still quote to this day. Then you got Martin Lawrence on Blue Streak with the teeth, haha. We came from a great era of comedians and characters.

VW: Is there a quote, work of art, song, etc. that really resonates with you?

Alonzo: I’m inspired by iconic atheletes. Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, people who have overcome adversity. I have paintings of Kobe and Jordan in my house. One thing Michael Jordan said was, “I’m not afraid to fail, I’m afraid to not try.” I succeed because I fail so much. That’s always been a quote that’s stuck with me.

VW: Our readers are creative rebels, young professionals, cultural critics and consumers of culture. What should our readers take Heed to?

Alonzo: Always be a student, always be humble. One person that helped teach me that was Jamie Foxx. Even after he won his Oscar and when I was working with him on his album, we’d be sitting in the room and he’d check in with me, look at me and say, “Is what I’m doing cool? Is that it?” When I was vocal producing Beyoncé, I’d give her a line to sing and she would smash it, but then turn to me and ask me if I liked it or if she should do it again. What I learned about the top people in the game is that they are the hardest workers and they are humble enough to listen to the people around them. What I would say to the readers is that work ethic and humility keep you grounded and keep you evolving. Sometimes, I go out to the club not just to socialize but to study, to see what’s happening, what the new cadences are, etc. I’d also say be likable and don’t force yourself on people. People do business with who they like, not necessarily the most talented people. These are things that I’ve learned on my journey.

Check out ALONZO‘s new single #InstagramThat

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