We, at The NV, are huge fans of music & new artistry, and was honored to catch up & chat with up-and-coming R&B songstress, Lisa Banton. Hailing from Canada, we had the opportunity to talk about her love for her craft & creative process, her first realization of her gift & what her future plans hold. Click the headphones above, on the featured photo, to listen to the full mixtape, and check out the interview & hear her latest release, “Better Without You” below. http://thenv.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/02.-Lisa-Banton-Better-Without-You.mp3 1.) TheNV: When did you first know you could sing, and at what point did you want to pursue it as a career? LB: The first time I knew I could sing wasn’t when I actually started singing. At 10 years old, you kind of just do things, you don’t really think “I’m good at this”. Even though I was writing and singing at that age, I didn’t think I could sing until I started singing for people that I knew. Hearing them say “WOW!, you sound like this…” or “you’re good enough to do that…” really helped encourage me to take it more seriously, and that didn’t happen until I was maybe in high school. 2.) TheNV: Now I know I used to write a lot of poetry, and even have tried my hand at songwriting, which isn’t as easy as some may think. Me, personally, I find it easiest to write to music…which is probably why it was harder at times, for me, cause I have no producer to drop me a beat whenever. LOL so, in terms of your song writing style, do you write your own songs, or is it by collaboration or both? LB: In all the years that I’ve been writing, I’d say I’ve done about 95% of it by myself. In odd times I may ask people, who I hold close to me, for ideas for certain aspects of a song, but in terms of the actual written part, that’s all me. I have yet to collaborate with writers & people that do what I do, who I respect or that I even have the ability to reach out to. There are a lot of artists that I admire, respect and who are putting out great music, both locally and outside of Canada, but getting in touch with them and actually working together is a totally different thing. I definitely look forward to working with other people and getting outside of myself to see what else I am capable of. Sometimes working with others pushes you way out of your comfort zone to produce things you never thought you could. That possibility really excites me. 3.) TheNV: What’s your writing process? Do you have to write to music, like myself, or do you construct first, then add music later? LB: My writing style, as of late, has been more so writing to production as opposed to just sitting and writing away with nothing but a pen and paper. When I first started writing, all I had was that pen and paper, and I’d write about everything, everywhere with no production in sight. I’d record it on a tape, add harmonies and then they would just sit there. As I got further into music, and started putting music out, I just started writing on any production that spoke to me. For me, it was better that way because it meant that I didn’t have to have songs just sitting around. I didn’t have access to anyone that could help me build a song from the bottom up. I’ve come across a few musicians in the time that I’ve been doing this, but being an extremely independent artist, most of the time I don’t have the resources to even afford that type of work to be done. It just became easier to find production and write to it. As I think about it though, I think that my writing suffered because of that. When you get production already structured, it kind of boxes you in to what you can do lyrically and/or what you can do melodically. When you write without it, you kinda are able to do whatever feels right. If I want to have a short verse, long verse, extra verse etc., it can be done the way I want. I think my creativity sometimes gets stumped by writing to music. So to answer your question, I do both, but the focus has been writing to already made production. 4.) TheNV: I, myself, use laughter to channel my emotions, and we’ve spoken slightly before about wearing your heart on your sleeve too often, do you use song writing as a venting mechanism? And if so, do you view channeling your emotional turmoil into song as productive or counter-productive?…cause for some, it may be a way of release, and for others, it could be an avenue for demonstrating more vulnerability that you may not want that “special” and probably past person to know, yet you know they’re listening. So what’s your take on providing too much detail in using real life hardships in song? Does it make the song better or worse? LB: Love that question. I definitely use my writing as a form of therapy for me. I’m a very introverted person and speak very little about my personal life to people. So when I started writing more, in my late teens, and into being an adult, it really became the only way I got my feelings or thoughts out. I don’t think it’s counter productive, at least in my experience and how it helped me, and still does, through a lot of things I went and go through. When it comes to my exes or anyone hearing songs I’ve written about them, it’s all good to me. Reason being that I may be able to write and sing things I’m not able to say. So at the very least, how I feel or felt is translated through my music. That is one of the wonderful things that music can do and how it helps me. With all that being said, there are definitely things that I just won’t write about based on that whole vulnerability factor. Sometimes whatever I’m feeling is just too deep to share, period. However, I love being able to write from a place that’s real for me because it usually hits what’s real in whoever is listening. At the end of the day, that’s really important for me to do through my music and as an artist. 5.) TheNV: *smirks alittle* I can definitely relate…Do you feel displaying vulnerability gives any real sense of closure, or is it just another way to pull at a scab that’s almost healed? LB: To me, showing vulnerability can definitely be a form of closure, but the way I view it has a lot to do with the timing. If I happen to be going through something and choose to be open about it at that very moment, it may end up prolonging whatever emotion is attached to it. If I choose to be vulnerable at a time where whatever I’m feeling is leaving my heart, mind and soul, I may be more accepting of closure at that time; mainly because the pain may be less. You can see through different eyes and have a better grip on things, so sometimes it’s good to be vulnerable and other times it can be a bit much. 6.) TheNV: I agree. How often do you perform? and do you have any upcoming appearances on the schedule? LB: Not as much as I’d like to. I’ve been doing this now for a number of years, and regardless of that fact, I’m still unknown for the most part. So since my name isn’t big enough, I don’t get as much performance opportunities as I’d like or as some may think. There are times, where by word of mouth, I’ll get booked for shows consistently for a short burst of time, and then there are times I get nothing for a while. I’m always working on getting more performances under my belt but I take them as they come. Nothing’s on the schedule that is confirmed right now, but looking forward to that changing with the new music coming out. 7.) TheNV: Who’s your inspiration, and has your style ever been compared to another artist? LB: My first inspiration and window into being a singer was my dad. He’s a Gospel artist. As a kid, he brought me to the studio while he was recording for hours on end, and always heard his music in the car everywhere we went. At the time, I had no real desire to be a singer but I got to just see it and admire my dad for it. As I got older, I appreciated and understood more of what he was doing and I wanted to do it too. When I started getting into music and finding out what I gravitated to and what made me feel something, there were artists like Mary J Blige, Faith Evans and Lauryn Hill that grabbed me. They eventually ended up being the type of artists I’ve been compared to. 8.) TheNV: As you know, I love your version of Tierra Mari’s “Sponsor”, it definitely puts a different perspective on the original song; illustrating that not all women want only someone to spend on them. With that said, once your next EP is completed, will your sound & style continue to be from a feminist standpoint, like how Beyonce does? LB: No, not at all. The way that “Sponsor” came about was, I was working on “Mirror Mirror, Vol.2” and I heard the song and immediately fell in love with everything about it…except the lyrics. As I was listening I just couldn’t get with it. It didn’t represent anything about what I feel I am as a woman. So, I decided to flip it in a way that was more relatable to me. I don’t care all that much about the material things a man is gonna offer me, I just want to give and receive love. Once I put it out, it ended up being really felt by other like-minded women; Men too! I write songs from a woman’s perspective because I am one, but I have no plans on taking any sort of feminist role when it comes to my music. The vein of that song was definitely isolated and purely inspired by the original version. 9.) TheNV: Well, I definitely grasp your take on it, and feel that it’s not all about the material, but more about the love & treatment. Effort and someone willing to fight for the build, bond & the overall relationship, while putting you first, will get you far; so we’re on the same page. Those types of standards shouldn’t be hard to meet, right? *side-eye & smile* LOL! When can we expect to have new music from you? LB: I hate and love getting this question. I am diligently working on getting this new music out, but sometimes hate giving exact times. So many changes happen during the process of getting a project together BUT I am closer to getting this new material out then I have been. I’m looking to do a Spring release of some singles, and then Summer release of the EP! Music is coming VERY soon though, so just stay updated to make sure you don’t miss it. 10.) TheNV: Tell the people how they can find you and where to connect? Twitter: MzMusic Facebook: Lisa Banton Music (fan page) Youtube: Lisabstreetteam Find more of Lisa’s music at: Lisabanton.bandcamp.com (Both Mixtapes available here) TheNV: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat and I will definitely be keeping watch. Continued success! Song rights reserved by Lisa Banton Share this:ShareTumblrPinterestPrintEmail Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.