The Man Behind 'Freaky': Who Is Gemaine Edwards?

Gemaine Edwards

https://soundcloud.com/gemaine-edwards/freaky

The name Germaine Edwards might not ring a bell just yet, but that’s perfectly fine with him because a memorable name in this industry is hardly ever rushed. His vine account has accumulated over 100k followers and in eight months, his one and only hit single, “Freaky (available on iTunes),” has received nearly 800k plays. But other than that, the Compton, California native remains an enigma.

I first heard him while visiting a friend in the Chelsea Market area of New York. There was some time to kill in between dinner and a show, and because my friends and I love arguing about who listens to the best music we put our sonic tastes to the test. Needless to say, after listening to “Freaky” I tapped out. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good R&B song. My only problem: I couldn’t find more music.

I caught up with Edwards to find out a little more about him and his next move. At 19-years-old he shows not only a remarkable talent, but an exceptional passion and drive with a set of unlimited skills. He was recently in New York recording his untitled debut project, slated to drop in early 2015. But while music is his main focus, Edwards also takes pride in his acting career. You might not have been familiar with this singer/songwriter and aspiring actor before, but after today I guarantee that’s going to change.

Interview by Kymmi Cee (@kymmicee)

GFM: So you’ve got one song out right now, “Freaky.” Is there a particular reason why you’ve just released this one song.

GE: Well, I’m still trying to develop. I take my work very seriously and I won’t just release music because I know people are waiting—because it’s not a race. I mean it is a race, but I’m pacing it out. I’m taking my time with it and making sure that when a song is ready to go, it’s ready to go. I know, sometimes the pressure gets to me like “Man, it’s only been one song,” and people want more, but I got to remember that if I release nothing but great music I will be respected more. I’ll take the criticism now off this one song, but I’m pretty sure once I release more music and they hear the greatness of it they’ll forget why it took so long; they’ll understand why it took so long I’ll say.

You released an extended version a couple of months ago. Was that a part of the original recording?

It wasn’t always there. I did intentionally record two minutes of a song purposely so people would want more. The extended version was recorded about three weeks later.

Did you think it was going to get the reception it did from fans?

No, not at all. I thought it would be received well, but not like this. Good to me would have been 10-15,000 hits. I would have been satisfied, but I never expected it to jump the way it did and get 10,000 plays in two days. I was like “Oh wow, I already exceeded my goals. Where do I go from here ya know.”

Well the song is on Spotify and iTunes now, so congratulations. Your voice is a standout. Am I correct in saying you’re a soprano?

I consider myself an alto more than a soprano. I can use falsetto and sing in an alto range, but I think my lane is more alto than it is soprano. A high pitched alto or something like that.

There’s not many people to compare you to, which typically comes along with being a new artist. Is there anybody you particularly draw your inspiration from?

Yes. My biggest inspiration is Michael Jackson. R. Kelly is one guy I appreciate as far as tone and knowing how to make things sound good. I appreciate Jamie Foxx more than just his voice, but his whole career. That’s my goal for how I want my career to be as far as just being on top of the game in the entertainment industry in general; acing, singing, doing comedy—just having a big presence in the industry. That’s someone I see myself resembling as far as showcasing talent in all aspects.

Speaking of showcasing talent, you were recently on an episode of Black-Ish. Tell me a little bit about that.

Aww, yea man. In L.A. there are always opportunities everywhere. I’ve always had a passion for acting. I had a passion for it before I did music and even though music has been my main focus I still never let go of acting, so I still try to get gigs and do things in the acting realm whenever I can. I was doing some work with L.A. casting and they booked me to do a small featured role on Black-Ish. It was well. Ernest is a cool guy. I really enjoyed it. It was really cool connecting with people and seeing how—just understanding how serious and how patient you have to be for a TV role.

You were recently in New York recording. What was that like for you?

New York was an experience. It was my first time ever. The population in such a small area was something I’ve never seen before. It was an eye opener.
I worked with a couple of producers and writers. It’s been pretty cool. I’ve connected with a few people, but we’re still arranging the focus of this upcoming project. We’re definitely going to be ready for the top of 2015. I’ll say the beginning quarter.

Is there a title for the project you have in mind?

I haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact title yet, but I’ve gathered a theme based on the songs—I’ll say based off an experience with a female. I’m still figuring it out. It’ll definitely be based on experiences with a female, just going through my experiences and what I’ve dealt with in the past—what I’m going through now with females and my perspective. I think you guys will enjoy it.

So that being said, are you the heartbreaker or the one getting his heart broken?

It’s a little bit of both. I’ll just say wait on it—2015, wait on it.

Are there any features on the album?

I have recorded with some features. I’ve recorded multiple songs. I’m going to cut it down to 5-8 songs, but I’m not sure which are going to make the cut onto the project yet, so you guys will have to wait on that too.

Is there anyone you look forward to working with in the future? Who’s your ideal collab?

I would definitely love to work with someone like, once again, R. Kelly. I think being able to pick his brains and just see how he does things is something I would like to do. I would love to work with Usher and Chris Brown—guys who have been in my shoes and are at a level I’m trying to be at. Maybe even Robin Thicke. I appreciate his sound and how smooth he is on records. Maybe Justin Bieber, ya know?

You shouted our your “brother” on your Instagram for releasing a project. Is that your real brother?

Oh yea, 100% blood. I have seven brothers and sisters—two brothers and five sisters. We’re a big happy family.

Does the talent run in the family?

My brothers can sing. A couple of my sisters can hold a note—one sister in particular can sing. My whole family has always been engaged in the art or some aspect of entertainment whether music, or modeling or rapping. I guess I’ll say that to entertain is in my blood. Both of my brothers produce. I’m still working on that aspect and writing because I’m new to it. Once again, I was more into acting before the music.

Did/do your parents do anything in entertainment?

Well, we all started in church. My brother and I are really the only ones who have challenged ourselves to take it outside of church, but it’s really been focused in church. My mom, my aunt and even my grandma—they’d always be in charge of the arts in church so they’d be putting plays together and creating songs. They were responsible for that and I guess it ran down to me and my brother. We decided to expand on that.

Did you ever act in the church plays?

I actually did do a couple. I’ll definitely say that’s where I feel that soul is born. There’s an emotion you got to have—I’ll say in more of a Baptist church. Little Richie, all of the people that started off doing soul in the very beginning—I’ve noticed that they’ve all started in church. In my opinion, that’s where soul was created. I feel like R&B Soul…that’s where it starts, the electricity and what you feel. It has the same kind of feeling and presence—it’s very  similar to the way it is in church as far as the emotion and presence you feel in a song when singing it. I definitely feel church is a big inspiration for soul.

What role does your spirituality play in your career?

I think it plays a huge part. I feel like you can get lost in this fast pace, fast living type of industry. And sometimes you need something. Everybody needs some type of spirituality to keep them level-headed and not too caught up. There are so many influences around. I’ve heard and seen how easily and quickly you can get caught up and messed up and be a complete different person than what you were when you came in, so I feel like having that spirituality, that connection, that spiritual ritual or something, something to hold onto and keep you down to earth is very important.

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