The New Face of R&B

Ever since Zieme Capers began performing in elementary school talent shows in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York he knew his calling was to be a singer. Actually, you can say R&B music is in blood. As the nephew of members of the “New Jack Swing” singing group the Force MD’s, Zieme was  raised by the MD’s classic soul songs like the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced “Tender Love” and the number one R&B hit “Love is a House.” But the singer/songwriter isn’t just resting on his pedigree in order to make a name for himself in the entertainment business.

Zieme’s notable talent and persistent grind has led him to work with some of the biggest stars in urban music including Boyz II Men, Chris Brown, Common, Keith Sweat, Lil Wayne, Llyod, Ne-Yo, and Trey Songz. Zieme has co-written songs with Kat Deluna, Andy Hilfiger, and Sean “Diddy” Comb’s writing team, and he’s also been featured on 106 & Park, The Voice, and Good Morning America. 

2012 has been a profound year for this proud student of diverse musical genres. In May, Zieme was introduced to Ice-T, and the next month the hip hop legend signed Zieme to his production company. As great as this year has been for Zieme, he’s already set big goals for the future which include sharing his culinary gifts, tackling the big screen, and winning a gilded phonograph. Find out what else the “Prince of Sexy City Soul” has in store for the industry and beyond in DZI: The Voice‘s latest interview.

I’ve been singing since I was 7 years old.

Yohance Kyles: When did you first discover your voice as an artist?

Zieme: I first discoverd my voice as an artist around maybe 14 yrs old. I’ve been singing since I was 7 years old. Playing with the keyboard help bring out my unique tones and my ear was very sharp to teach myself what I needed to know from there.

YK:  Brooklyn has a long history of producing many talented performers. What do you think it is about the culture of Brooklyn that fosters such amazing talent?

Zieme: Brooklyn is a place were there are so many creative groups and different kinds of people working on something that stands out. We also have some of the best muscians to back us up like Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z, Big Daddy Kane, Mos Def, also Maxwell and Aaliyah. Brooklyn has like this old school spirit that gives us Brooklyn natives a story to tell.

I’m bringing lyrical foreplay to my music. I want you to clean your house, and make babies, or cook a great Sunday meal for the family to my music.

YK: How would you describe your sound and how does it stand out from other contemporary R&B artists?

Zieme: My sound kind of brings you to a early 90’s feel or maybe the 80’s when it comes to the love making music. I guess it’s from me listening to a lot of old music and hearing my uncles’ harmonizing melodies. With that being embedded into my head, I keep that feeling in my spirit. I’m bringing lyrical foreplay to my music. I want you to clean your house, and make babies, or cook a great Sunday meal for the family to my music. My music is the new juice that was added on top of the original ingredients.

YK: You were 17 when you released you first album Scream My Name which featured some mature material. Usually performers wait until at least the age of legal adulthood before they touch on sex in songs. Why did you decide to make songs like “Ooh Ah” and “Get in pop’n” at that point in your career?

Scream My Name Cover

Zieme: At 17 years old I made songs like “Ooh Aah” and “Get it pop’n” because I  was and still into romance and imagination. I love woman and I’m pretty sure by the lyrics you can tell lol. I was also thinking about not only my generation but all ages. Sex is not ever going to die out, though we must protect ourselves, we should also enjoy it the right way too. I was having sex at a early age and from the experiences I had…I felt I needed to express them into my music because it’s not only my hormones that are racing. Maybe I can help someone’s sex life by popping in that Scream My Name CD and I actually did lol. Young’ns and adults.

YK: You’ve also made very passionate love songs as well. Were these songs written from real experiences in your life?

Zieme: These songs were written from real experiences. Yes, I’ve been in love with junior high & high school sweethearts. I’m young, but that doesn’t separate or change my feelings. Emotionally, physically, or mentally.

YK: What was the inspiration for your latest single “Investa”?

Zieme: “Investa” was made for today’s independent woman who feels like  they can handle everything on there own and they don’t need a man to help out. Some men just wanna be able to take your vision and help make it come to life. “I can be your investa….I really wanna be your investa, ” I’m saying baby I know you can hold it down, but you still need some type of push and I wanna be the person you can count on to make it happen. It ain’t about pride right now. It’s about putting this money all into this movement and your dreams, because I love you and you’re worth it. I think everyone needs that lil’ extra financial support. I see some female investa’s out there putting it up. Some of us men need a strong woman that can have our backs if we fall.

YK: Has being the nephew of members of the Force MD’s added any sense of pressure to your career?

Zieme: I don’t think it’s much pressure, because I know where I come from musically, and I know what I need to keep alive. My uncle Tc.D,  God rest his soul, and Mercury were also a big part of my life when they were all together. Force MD’s is a family group so with them all being the brothers of my mother, I’ve watched and participated in many family group performances since I was young. We are like the Jacksons, but everyone in the family sings from grandma to the the newiest baby born, lol.

Ice-T with protégé Zieme

YK: How did you get connected with Ice-T’s production company?

Zieme: My managers, Khalil Lundy which is my uncle and Mickey Benson who is the former Big Pun and Fat Joe manager and currently Ice-T’s manager, are partners and Mickey told Ice about me. I was in a group at the time called 5L with my cousin. At that time Ice wasn’t into any groups. The group broke up and I had started back my solo project. I did a show at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx, New York and Ice-T and Coco was there and let’s just say after the show we had a meeting, lol.

YK: In today’s music world, artists have to release music on a regular basis in order to keep the attention of their fanbase. How do you balance keeping your fans satisfied without oversaturing your brand?

Zieme: I’m in the studio constantly working on something new for my fans. My major thing is shows. I love to be on stage where I can control the room with my voice. Besides the music I like to practice many of my other talents like acting, producing, cooking, and many more. I want my fans to see the fun side of my life while giving them the soundtrack to it. I think this will keep my fans entertained in all angles. But the main goal is to plant my sound and message to the people’s ear whether it’s a love thing or a conscious debate.

YK: Recently, Dream Hampton sparked a very public conversation about ghostwriting in the industry.  As a professional songwriter what is your opinion of artists using other people’s contributions without giving them credit?

Zieme: Some people just can’t pick up a pen and create melodies and lyrics that can relate to others so we have professional writers to bring out the vision. My opinion on using other people’s contributions without giving credit when it’s do is don’t get in this game for the money and the fame. Writers and musicians that really enjoy doing what they do, enjoy it because it’s something that takes their mind and creativity to the next level. If they’re not being recognized for their talents then it’s like stealing someones heart. If you want help from someone that’s trying to get to where you are already…it shouldn’t hurt to put their name on their masterpieces even if you had input. The word is collaboration.

Zieme making his magic

YK: You’ve opened up for established artists like Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, and Common. What did you learn from those experiences?

Zieme: From those experiences I’ve learned that nothing happens before its time, and you work hard and believe in yourself you can make dreams come true.

YK: Are there any artists that you haven’t worked with yet that you would you like to?

Zieme: I would love to work with Jay-Z, Usher, Justen Bieber, Chris Brown, Maxwell, Beyonce, Rihanna, Adele, Andre 3000, Tank, Tyrese, so many of them I can’t even fit on this page, lol.

YK: Besides your own work, what songs on your iPod are getting the most play right now?

Zieme: I listen to R. Kelly, The Moments, Tyrese’s Open Invitation album, Drake’s Take Care, Chris Brown, Jodeci, Guy, Panic! at the Disco, Adele, Miguel, Keith Sweat, Silk’s Lose Control, a lot of classical 90’s. I listen to alternative music and pop as well. I love all kinds of music sometimes I might be in a jazz vibe with no lyrics.

Everything I’ve done so far I look at it as school. When I graduate I can look at my freshman year to my senior year and start planning for college.

YK: What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

Zieme: Honestly, I can’t even say. I’m just having so much fun. Everything I’ve done so far I look at it as school. When I graduate I can look at my freshman year to my senior year and start planning for college. That’s Grammy’s lol.

YK: What’s next for Zieme?

Zieme: What’s next for Zieme is Grammy’s for best production, movies, cook books, tv shows. Also look out for me on the Ice Loves Coco show which will be airing around the end of this year maybe late November. Also overseas tours in the making.

All photos courtesy of Zieme

For more info about Zieme click it

To connect with Zieme follow him @ziememusic

Check out the video for “Investa”:

Previous Q&A’s: Style & Substance: Q&A with Fashion Stylist Fatiah Rebbekkah; Old Head On Young Shoulders: Q&A with Koolaiddbravo

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