It’s the raw and grungy passion in Summarae’s voice that first captivates you when you hear her. Her unique sound is new, stimulating and unquestionably distinct. For over ten years audiences have been fantastically stunned with Summarae’s sultry, vocal techniques and sheer sexy presence
Summarae has that natural, uncanny ability of being able to reach deep within herself, as she continually draws from her own very personal feelings and experiences, which in turn allows her to write thought-provoking, heartfelt lyrics about those specific stories in her life that we all, as listeners, fortunately come to know through these meaningful words. These touching lyrics and unmatched melodies then become part of a creative collaboration.
Her smooth and sensual delivery can be heard courtesy of her premiere single, the ideally titled “Love Hurts,” with its powerful simplicity and sincerity, aptly telling of the intense pain and emotion that “love” can actually bring. It is truly a musical treat, a gift if you will, that any and every one can and should be able to relate to, move to and, of course, sing along to.
“Love Hurts” was co-written by Summarae, her Grammy-nominated cousin, R&B/Pop veteran, Shanice Wilson (“I Love Your Smile”), along with multi-platinum producer, Stephen “Bud’da” Anderson (Aaliyah, Tank, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre), with both ladies handling the lion’s share of the lush vocal arrangement.
In this exclusive DubCNN “A Woman’s Touch” interview, Summarae sits down with us to discuss her latest Bud’da-produced single “Love Hurts”, how she connected with pioneering Bud’da and what it’s been like working with the famed Westside Connection/Ice Cube/Dr. Dre/Aaliyah producer on her project, working with her cousin and Grammy-nominated singer Shanice (“I Love Your Smile”), and much more!
Interview conducted in April 2014.
Questions Asked By: Chad Kiser
DubCNN: You worked with multi-platinum producer Bud’da for the “Love Hurts” single, how did that collaboration come together?
The collaboration between Bud’da and I was definitely unplanned but destined. The union was actually facilitated by Shanice – my Grammy nominated cousin and reality television co-star of OWN’s Flex and Shanice. Two months prior to meeting Bud’da, my aunt arranged for me to work with a different producer in the Los Angeles area. I had multiple conversations with him and I tried, without success to move forward with my song. This producer had a different excuse as to why the track wasn’t completed or at least started. Even after his excuses, he assured me he would have the song completed upon my arrival.
I arrived in Los Angeles on a Thursday, we called the producer on the phone and the track still wasn’t done. Friday morning, we called him back and guess what – no track!
At this point, Shanice said, “I’m going to call my friend and ask him to produce your song.” Her friend, just so happened to be multi-platinum producer extraordinaire – Bud’da! She said, “my cousin is here from Pittsburgh and needs to record a song.” He asked, “How soon do y’all need it?” She replied, “by tomorrow.” All I remember is Bud’da saying “y’all are gangsta!” When we arrived at the studio the following day, the musical framework for Love Hurts was complete. The song was so hot, I began recording immediately. Bud’da is so dope! I honestly believe that God orchestrated the musical union between Shanice, Bud’da and I. I love them both so much! It has been such an amazing ride and I am excited about the future.
DubCNN: Share with us the experience of recording your debut single, “Love Hurts”.
Recording “Love Hurts” was an amazing experience! This song is very special to me. In addition to working with super-producer Bud’da, I was blessed with the extraordinary opportunity to record with three of my favorite vocalists, my phenomenal cousin Shanice Wilson and my equally phenomenal aunts – Crystal Wilson Blackmon and Penni Wilson on background vocals as well as a host of accomplished musicians.
DubCNN: Was “Love Hurts” written for anyone specifically?
It sure was! I wrote “Love Hurts” after an intense argument I had with my man. During our argument I was thinking, damn he’s sexy hell when he’s mad [laughing], but because I was angry, I refused to tell him what I was thinking. After a few days of not speaking, we made up and let me say this; he made me forget why we were arguing in the first place. Thus, the words in the chorus, “Love Hurts so bad but feels so good.” were created.
DubCNN: Working with a well-known and accomplished producer like Bud’da, what does that do for your confidence?
Honestly, I was initially a little overwhelmed and nervous by his prestige, creative pedigree and musical genius. It’s funny because Bud’da knew I was a little nervous and he never let on that he knew. He is such a humble person and a standup guy that it didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable. In addition to both of us being from Pittsburgh, PA, we have a lot of common life experiences. I think those experiences connect us spiritually and creatively. What I appreciate about Bud’da is that he didn’t know me and still treated me with respect; he was receptive to my ideas and took a chance on me when he didn’t have to. He wanted to know my life story and understand who I was as a person and artist. These type of insights helped Bud’da and I form creative synergies to enable our music to breathe. Needless to say, I am very grateful to work with him. He is my spiritual brother!
DubCNN: In light of this “Love Hurts” single, what is the plan for an upcoming album?
I am currently in the studio working on new material, constantly meeting with my management team and planning to release new music early 2015.
DubCNN: Who else are you working with currently on your upcoming project?
For this particular project, I’ve been working exclusive with Bud’da and Shanice, although there other elements of this project that may have some surprise. You gotta stay tuned!
Going back to your beginnings, how did you get started in the music business? I always had an affinity with singing. I started singing in church and in all through middle and high school. Right after high school, I joined my first R & B Band – Top Flight with whom I remained with for 5 years. After my 5 year run with Top Flight, I joined Pittsburgh’s number 1 R&B Funk Band- House of Soul. During that period of time, I was also writing and recording demos with other local artists. In retrospect, I realize that God has been preparing me for this very moment.
DubCNN: Who were some of your early influences growing up?
My greatest musical influencer growing up would have to be my mom, Belva Odom Salik. My mom is an excellent poet and singer. Back in the day, my mom and my aunts, Crystal Wilson Blackmon and Penni Wilson, had a group called Universal Freedom. Their group was a 9 piece R&B band that toured regionally and packed venues in Pittsburgh, PA. When I was a little girl I would watch them in amazement and say, “that is going to be me one day.” They just had so much fun performing and entertaining while giving the audiences great soulful music. They were considered celebrities, to me.
DubCNN: Who is your favorite singer, and why?
One of my favorite singers is the late great high priestess of soul- Nina Simone. I love her music immensely! She delivers so much passion and emotional intensity during her performances, that you can feel every part of her soul in each song. Her stories are absolutely spellbinding and thought provoking. She sang with such purpose, passion consciousness and conviction. I get chills each time I listen to her.
DubCNN: Bud’da was recently collaborating with Dr. Dre again, were you a part of any of those studio sessions? And are there any artists or producers you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Yes! I would love the opportunity to collaborate with both Bud’da and Dr. Dre simultaneously. The musical creativity would be so hot! Straight fire! Unfortunately, I was not part of those studio sessions Dre and Bud’da; however you never know what the future may hold. Maybe they’ll include me next time!
DubCNN: How would you describe your music, sounds and/or sonic personality?
I describe my music as sexy, soulful and edgy. When you listen to my music, you are going to get that R&B flair infused with a hip-hop vibe. My sound can also be described as a musical vehicle that touches the soul through authentic lyrics and dope sound without conformity.
DubCNN: Besides your own, what other projects are you currently working on?
I have been so consumed with releasing my new single – Love Hurts and promoting it, in addition to basically living in the studio to solidify my other songs that I haven’t had any time to work on other projects.
DubCNN: Several artists today have a variety of means to establish their brand. Which branding opportunity would you most like to see yourself doing in the future?
The possibilities are endless and I am open to explore any and all wholesome and organic business opportunities that are in alignment with my personal goals. I am multi-dimensional and I don’t want to focus on just one opportunity. I definitely see myself acting in major films and television shows, writing a few television scripts and books, motivating our youth, all while challenging myself to do something I never did before. That being said, music creation is where I am right now and I want to maximize that opportunity extremely well. Everything else will follow in due time.
DubCNN: The music industry is so competitive, what separates you from all the other female artists out there?
God created everyone with unique talents, strengths and gifts. What separates me from all other female artists is – me. There is only one me and my creative uniqueness and individuality is what sets me apart.
DubCNN: Where can our readers catch up with you?
Everyone can catch up with me at summarae.com or they can follow me @summarae via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, download my hot new single: Love Hurts – available now on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and most online distributors. Please continue to follow me as more music is on the way.
DubCNN: Are there any lasting words you’d like to leave with our readers?
You’re special, unique, and deserving of greatness! Never compromise your morals and values for the sake of someone else’s happiness. Stay true to yourself! I would like to thank my family, friends and fans! Your support means so much to me. Also, thank you to my team and all of the amazing musicians that helped to bring Love Hurts to fruition. Lastly, thank you DUBCNN for your time, support and media platform. I appreciate all that you do!