It’s been pretty cool to watch the maturation of Maryland singer Von Taé over the past few years. His career has coincided has paralleled the growth of this very site, debuting in 2009 and quickly grabbing the ears of new listeners as time goes on.
Major outlets have picked up on the buzz too — he’s been featured in outlets like JET Magazine, BET’s Apollo Live, ThatGrapeJuice and MTV. The homie has come a long way from our initial meeting years ago.
Von Taé and I spent a few minutes catching up on his latest work, specifically his debut EP, and the ups and downs of the current pop scene.
For Von Taé, success is certain. He won’t have it any other way.
Edd: Last time we checked in with you, you were about to release your album My Own Religion. Fill us in on the response and what you’ve been up to since then.
Von Taé: Aw man, since the last time we spoke I’ve been doing a lot. I started my own indie label 6820 Entertainment, started working on my debut EP 20 Minutes Past Late and just trying to get my name out there more with a couple remixes and song covers which have been doing very well virally. I also auditioned for (FOX’s TV hit) Empire, so I’m waiting to hear back from them on the 16th of this month to see if I’m a top 20 finalist. I’ve been doing a lot, and still have so much more to do.
That’s what’s up. Empire really is a mash of urban music genres, which fits your hybrid style. R&B, pop and rap are all represented in your work. Who are your influences?
I love being diverse and showcasing my many facets musically. My biggest influences would definitely have to be Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Usher and I’ve been getting into a lot more hip-hop and rap lately so T.I, Tyga, Jay Z and a few other rappers are constantly on my playlists that also influence my style in music.
Ugh, Tyga. I won’t hold that against you, tho. Now, you know me, and you know my opinions about much of pop music today – it’s been REALLY hit or miss. What do you think? And who, if anyone, is really bringing heat?
Yes I know how you feel about it! I’m on the fence with a lot of pop music these days as well because it seems as though nobody makes great pop music anymore as Michael Jackson used to when he was in his prime. A lot of what you hear from today’s pop music sounds very generic and just for the moment. I do think that artists like Sam Smith, Justin Bieber, Adele, Maroon 5, Sia, of course Justin Timberlake and now Taylor Swift have all been representing pop culture very well musically.
Gotta say I’m shocked you didn’t add Beyonce to that list. Besides the wifey, you’re one of the biggest Beyonce stans I know. What do you think sets her apart from her peers?
Of course I’m Beyoncé’s biggest fan! What honestly sets her apart from the pack is, one, her undeniable talent plus work ethic; two, her team. PR, band, dancers, and everyone else in her inner circle – they have an amazing bond; three, the knowledge she’s gained throughout her 10-plus years in the industry learning from her father and Destiny Child days; and last but not least, she’s a beautiful soul that’s been destined for success. As she said, she’s ***flawless.
OK, OK playa, we know you love Bey, but let’s talk about something even closer to your heart. Your new EP, 20 Minutes Past Late, is due to drop in the coming weeks. Tell about your creative process and the story you’re trying to tell.
20 Minutes Past Late is like the appetizer before the full-course meal comes. It’s hip-hop and R&B fused into one and I absolutely love it from top to bottom. Writing and recording this project took about a year with writing over 50 songs and narrowing them down to my favorite six. I decided to titled the album 20 Minutes Past Late simply because it’s taken me so long to put out this project. I’ve been going through so much in my personal life all the while trying to stay focus on my dreams: music, acting, owning businesses, etc. and it’s definitely been tough. Even though I’m not the most confident person in the world this EP makes me sound like the most cockiest person ever, which kinda helped me build my self-esteem. You know how they say if you constantly tell yourself that your something, you’ll start to believe it? That’s what happened because of this EP. It’s raw, unapologetic and hopefully will help build the confidence of others.
That’s great motivation. So when people say the name “Von Tae,” in your heart of hearts, what’s the most important thing you want to come to your fans’ minds?
I want people to think “he’s a talented ass artist who works hard and has the biggest heart in the world.”
And finally,this is Soul In Stereo so you KNOW I gotta ask — Keith Sweat or R. Kelly? Who you pickin’?
C’mon now, you had to do this to me?
Well since you asked, I gotta go with Mr. Robert Kelly. He has music for everybody and still pushes out a backyard hit every now and then. I grew up listening to his music more than Keith. “Step In The Name of Love” has to be the most famous song in the world man!
For more on Von Taé, visit his SoundCloud page, follow him on Twitter and check out his YouTube channel.
Looking to share your music with the masses? Send a track with a short description about yourself to email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter @etbowser. If we like what we hear we’ll feature you in an upcoming post.