R&B has a new voice ready to reenergize the genre. New Jersey’s Ian Grey (born Ian Merritt) is taking the musical stylings of legendary soul singers and infusing it with dynamic storytelling and dramatic production to create what he calls “Cinematic R&B”.
Grey’s latest project, The Reevolution, is a 50-minute journey through the psyche of an artist who is trapped in a place he is ready to escape from with or without that one person that inspires his musical growth. DZI: The Voice wanted to learn more about Ian’s pilgrimage to a greater state, so we tapped the singer-songwriter for an exclusive Q&A.
Yohance Kyles: When did you first discover your voice as an artist?
Ian Grey: Recently, probably about three years ago. I have actually always wanted to be an artist, but I never quite knew what kind of artist I wanted to be or what kind of sound I wanted to create until I went through certain life experiences.
YK: Can you remember the first song you wrote? What was it about?
IG: I used to rap when I was younger, and I wrote a lot of songs then, but they were all bang-bang shoot em up, lol. The first complete song I wrote (as a singer) was called “All I Need”. It was just about that special someone being all that I needed.
YK: Who are some of your musical influences?
IG: There are so many, but my main ones right now would have to be Radiohead, Coldplay, Brandy, Frank Ocean, and Kanye West.
YK: You’ve described your sound as “Cinematic R&B”. Can you explain what you mean by that description?
IG: I’m an avid movie watcher. I have always admired how great movie scores can take a scene that would be bland without it to the next level. Life in general is a series of scenes, and I want to create music for every scene in life. I also want to paint pictures vividly enough for you to see them and feel them when you hear them.
YK: You originally performed under the moniker “Imagine”. Why did you decide to release your latest project under the name Ian Grey?
IG: Visibility, the name Imagine was impossible to Google for one, lol. I wanted to keep my first name but choose a last name that had a ring and also represented who I am as an artist. I love the neutrality of the color grey.
YK: Did you have a muse for The Reevolution album?
IG: Yes. Living check to check while working at a job that I hated, and also HER.
YK: How did you come up with the treatment for your “Talks In The Dark” video?
IG: I can’t take the credit for that, lol. My boy Omari Oneal who is an amazing director came up with it. He’s a very creative dude.
YK: Are you planning to release any new projects in the near future?
IG: Yes I am. Hopefully, by the end of the year.
YK: For several years EDM-influenced R&B dominated mainstream music. Why do you think the public is starting to focus back on more traditional R&B/Soul?
IG: Well, I have nothing against EDM. I just think that every trend eventually gets worn out, and at the end of the day, good soul music is undeniable.
YK: What are your top 5 albums of all-time?
IG: This is the hardest question in the world, simply because there are so many great albums and great artists I listen to. So, I will answer with what albums I listen to the most as of recently. Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood To The Head, Radiohead’s Kid A, Kanye West’s Graduation, Jay Z’s The Blueprint, and Phantogram’s Eyelid Movies.
YK: Do you express yourself through any other artistic mediums?
IG: Yes, I very seldom write poetry, and I draw as well.
YK: You seem to be a big film fan? What have been your favorite movie’s you’ve seen this summer?
IG: Great question. Star Trek, Oz: The Great and Powerful, and Man Of Steel were probably my favorites so far. Although, I have a good feeling that Fruitvale Station will probably be the best movie I see this year.
YK: What’s next for Ian Grey?
IG: More music, more shows, more growth.
For more info about Ian Grey click it
To stream/download The Reevolution click it
To connect with Ian follow him on Twitter @Iangreyone
Check out the video for Ian Grey’s “Talks In The Dark”: