Native (Los) Angeleno, known simply by the mononym Gemaine is a drummer and self-taught pianist turned singer, songwriter and producer. His first foray into music came courtesy of the Compton, California, based aspiring upstart’s church rearing.
Long story short…after an ambitious video recorded at a local Guitar Center store went viral through the now defunct Vine – think TikTok today – social media platform… a star – still in the making – was born.
Most recently, Gemaine and super-producer DJ Charlie Heat released the third single “Conditional Love” from their collaborative forthcoming album New Jack City available April 15th.
We caught up with Gemaine to dive in a bit deeper into his story and find out exactly Who is Gemaine? Check out the full Gemaine interview below…
Parlé Mag: Tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Gemaine?
Gemaine: Music has been a part of my life my whole life thanks to growing up in church, and all my cousins doing (it). I got into it as an artist through Vine, and a clip going viral.
Parlé Mag: Growing up in ‘Hub City,’ who do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Gemaine: I wasn’t exposed to much music outside of church for most of my youth, but the only person that my mom couldn’t hide from us was Michael Jackson. However in high school, Kendrick Lamar and YG were always songs me and my friends were bumping.
Parlé Mag: That said, how do you classify your overall sound and style?
Gemaine: I’d consider it progressive soulful R&B with core elements of ‘90’s R&B with a fresh production twist to it.
Parlé Mag: Your recent single is entitled “LAY IT DOWN” — Tell me about this particular track? How did it come to fruition?
Gemaine: Panty dropper / love making songs always work for me. That’s how I got into this game, so why not keep making those kind of records? Won’t fix something that ain’t broke.
Parlé Mag: Your upcoming DJ Charlie Heat assisted New Jack City LP is due out April 15th — Conceptually, what does that title represent to you?
Gemaine: Inspired by the pace and swagger of gangster films, like the gritty 1991 thriller New Jack City. Me and the squad developed a spacious musical signature that lends cinematic flair to even the most effervescent jams, and cements an artistic brotherhood derived from what he describes as the collective’s “ruthless” work ethic.
Parlé Mag: From a songwriting standpoint, when you sit down to pen your lyrics where do you draw inspiration from?
Gemaine: Things that are typically on my heart. I’ve been making more intentional effort to write when I’m feeling some type of way. Whether it’s something I’m going through or my friends / family or the world. I try to be aware of what’s going on, and use it to my advantage.
Parlé Mag: What do you feel it is that will continue to sustain you in music?
Gemaine: Classic songs that hold longevity are both relatable and inspiring. I want my lyrics and sound to not just be “trendy,” but timeless R&B pulled into the modern day.
Parlé Mag: What do you want people to get from your music?
Gemaine: A music boner! Lmao! Kidding. A peek into my brain. I have a hard time communicating my thoughts and emotions outside of music, so music is my outlet of expressing myself in a way that people get it.
Parlé Mag: On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B?
Gemaine: No, right now it’s a blurred line of what’s R&B and Hip Hop or even Pop nowadays. It’d be nice to have a distinct line of what is R&B and what’s not. I feel R&B is losing some core elements of what made it R&B. I’m all for it being different branches of it, but I think my approach to R&B is more needed and grounded for the culture.
Parlé Mag: What are your goals and aspirations away from music?
Gemaine: I’d love to dip my toes into all aspects of the entertainment industry. Being on screen and using my influence to better my community is something I aspire to do.
Parlé Mag: One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
Gemaine: There are lots, but “What’s Going On” from my Lefty project is a defining track for me. That was the first time I took a serious stab at production, and first time I was able to expand my sound and unlocked something within myself on a writing tip.
Parlé Mag: Lastly, what’s next for Gemaine and any plugs for our readers?
Gemaine: There will be more music dropping this year. Maybe an EP. We’ll see…I do know you’ll hear more Gemaine produced records.
Stay Connected with Gemaine on social media
Main image Credit: Brandon Pavan
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