Photo Credit - Kaelan Barowsky
We had the opportunity to interview alt all-star G. Love about his influences, writing process and fantastic new album 'The Juice', which drops today! Before you check out 'The Juice', see what he had to say in our Artist Spotlight interview!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"My mother started me in folk guitar lessons when I was 8. I was terrible and didn't like it very much. I had no natural rhythm so my teacher would literally put my foot on top of his foot so I could feel the beat as he tapped his foot. By the time I was 13 I could tune it and had a basic knowledge of chords. When I wrote my first song at 15 I would say that was the day I found my voice and a real expression, which led to a true musical life journey."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"Mostly I keep my ears, eyes, heart and mind open to everything and everybody around me. I'm always listening for a sticky melody or phrase or word that can make a song, so I have hundreds and hundreds of voice notes or written notes in my phone with possible song ideas, melodies and lyrics. Then finally I will get a day or an afternoon to do some writing and I start going through those notes and fleshing out ideas. Because I have so many records now, I truly try to write songs that are very inspired and come from a genuine expression. Once I get the initial burst of inspiration and flow out there, I go back over and over again and self edit, practice performance, and really hone the idea in. Another important aspect is time. I try to give the song time. The cream rises to the top so by giving yourself time to perform and demo the song many times will also let you know if you have something great or it was just a short lived burst of inspiration."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Beatles White Album and Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 were huge influences, and I believe listening to those records led me to want to write songs. Later I discovered John Hammond and his "Country Blues" record, which changed my life. From the first notes of Hammond’s version of Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues”, I was on a mission to learn the Delta Blues."
"Hip-hop was also a part of the story. Listening to Power 99FM, Street Beat with Lady B, we would hear the first tastes of everyone from Schoolly D and Steady B to Eric B and Rakim, KRS-One and Public Enemy. I was an inner city Philly kid growing up hip-hop while practicing blues and folk in my room. One day the sounds collided while I was busking and I started rapping Rakim's “Paid in Full” over my homegrown blues. I knew I had it then."
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"My father gifted me a 1939 Dobro when I turned 18, which is probably my most important material possession. Looking back it was my pop’s way of giving me and my music his blessing. My mother and my father have truly been my biggest supporters and I owe them everything. I also have a ton of vintage guitars that I've collected over the years. I collect old parlor guitars - Silvertones, Stellas, Kays, etc. They're all over the house. They're for playing not hanging on the wall, so when you come by you don't gotta ask permission just go ahead and jam whatever you like."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"I've always looked at the show as something between the kind of feeling you might get at a church revival and the best house party of your life. It's our job to inspire people, give people joy and make people happy with our music. What a gig, right?! So that's what I set out everyday - to play my best show of my life and give everything to the people. Leave it all on stage and let it loose. Express yourself!"
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"My music and I are here to spread love and positivity. This music style is the Hip-Hop Blues, it’s roots music. It's for the campfire singalong and the Grammy award show. My music is here to make a connection with people and to bring people together."
7. Can you tell us about the writing and recording process of your new album The Juice?
"The story of The Juice starts with the story of Keb' Mo' and I. We were signed together in 1993 and together relaunched the old Okeh/Epic Records imprint. 25 years later Keb' offered to produce my record and we started writing songs. Keb' is a very thoughtful and knowledgeable man and he truly gave me a master class not only in the blues, but songwriting, singing, rhythm, recording, guitar playing and music itself. He challenged me constantly and helped me to elevate every part of my music. Every lyric and every note of every instrument was produced with such care and purpose. Kebs' process truly led us to greatness on this record and I can’t wait for y'all to hear what I'm calling the best record and the best songs of my career."