http://thenv.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/06-Everything-I-Need.mp3 DC Native IhsAn Bilal has garnered note worthy acclaim, being featured in national publications such as “The Source” magazine, while generating a buzz which has quickly segued her talent into becoming a recognizable and viable up-and-coming songbird that you can bet your wages on; as you’re sure to gain a great return…in song, voice, stage presence & charismatic appeal. We had an chance to catch up with the rising star to discuss the release of her sophomore CD, “Time, Evolution and Love“, appropriately entitled TEAL. Check out our tête-à-tête below. TheNV: I have to say the intro to your latest CD is the perfect depiction to the theme of TEAL. The intro of “COURAGE” is so BOLD but has a sensual, sensitive undertone, and it takes “Courage” to undertake so much in life, which your songs reflect throughout this CD. You basically took an interlude, which most artists normally place mid album, and provided us with such a strong, fearless opener that illustrates this CD throughout, so with that said… 1.) TheNV: How would you describe your style of music? And is your feminist style ongoing and to be present in future projects? IB: Thank you so much. That’s a great evaluation of the intro to my sophomore project TEAL. My style of music is versatile, creative, and always evokes real emotions. I call it eclectic soul/pop. Being a feminist was never my goal. I aim to inspire and empower people of all generations & sexes not just women. TEAL has a lot of lyrical content that the modern day woman can relate to, and I was conscious of that in the process of creating this project. 2.) TheNV: Yeah I think when you’re already a strong independent woman, the “feminist” standpoint or more so delivery just automatically comes across, at times, even when it may not be the goal. LOL — Now you’re a DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) artist, how would you describe trying to get “on” in the nation’s capital? Do you think DC has a great market for up-and-comers in music to really showcase their talent? IB: Yes, I am an artist that lives in DC, and was raised here, but I was born in Orange County California. My parents are from Gary, Indiana, and I lived in Europe as a young girl…with that being said, I’ve seen how other parts of the country, as well as, the world embrace their local talent and other artists. I feel like DC is getting better about it, but still has a reputation of not supporting local artists until they leave and come back. It’s great for “showcasing”, but as professional artists, it’s best to travel, as DC is more political. But, I do see DC emerging as a better place for artists, and becoming a go to spot for artists in the next few years or so. 3.) TheNV: Your latest release, entitled “TEAL” is an acronym for “Time, Evolution and Love,” what made you decide on such a title?…Love the title by the way. IB: Thank you. TEAL was the first album title I came up with months prior to the release. At the time my hair was teal. I loved that color and “Time, Evolution and Love” flowed right on to the paper. I’ve never heard that title before, and I aim to stay organic. Also, after creating my first album, “BIG red BOX” (BrB), I wanted the sound and concept to be slightly opposite. Red and blue/green are opposites but they are beautiful tones of color. 4.) TheNV: That’s a great conceptual idea. Makes me think of the color wheel, they are opposites but also very complimentary to each other as well, which brings me to my next question, since you wanted your two CDs to be opposite, how would you differentiate TEAL, your sophomore effort, from your 1st offering, BIG red BOX (BrB)? IB: The sound is really different on BrB to TEAL. The 1st album, my brother, AB the Pro, and I produced the entire project. I also wrote, engineered and arranged 90% of the album. I wanted my first project to be that way. Also, my vocals stand out mostly on TEAL, and on BrB, the production stood out more. 5.) TheNV: Speaking of production, I really enjoy the production style on this CD, it’s very fluid. Do you mainly work with the same producer/producers? IB: Thank you. I won the first “House Studio DC Artist Grant,” and with that I had to record my album in a week. I worked with the producers and writers there, as well as, brought in a few of my talented counterparts. I like working with talented, passionate people. I’m only two albums in so I’m still growing and working towards my “go-to-formula”. 6.) TheNV: Congrats on such an accomplished achievement! One of the main reasons I took notice of your music, on this project, is not only your fabulous voice & style, but I also noticed you haven’t done many collaborations, to my knowledge. Many new artists seem to almost rely on collaborations to make their mark…even as a first single (which I think can be a double edge sword); was there a strategic reason you decided to exclude other’s presence on your releases (past and present)? IB: I have done almost 100 features over the span of the past few years with mostly DC artists. I did alot of the features prior to releasing my first album. I knew that would get a buzz out on me as an artist. I’m always open to dope collabs. The last track on my BrB album features three (3) dope DC “Femcees”, “Lifestyle Ish“. 7.) TheNV: Well well, I had no idea LOL, looks like I have to download that first CD. LOL Well, the fact that you wish to build your audience first, on your solo efforts, allowing us to get to know your voice & creativity before collaborating too much on YOUR projects, to me, demonstrates your confidence in your own ability to capture listeners and generate your own fan base solely on your own merit…BUT when you do get to that place of wanting to finally team up, are there any artists you wish to mix styles with & collab? IB: The time will come. I have a few that I would like to work with. I have always been a huge NERD/Pharrell/Neptunes fan/supporter. I would LOVE to work with them! Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Janelle Monae, the list is too long lol. 8.) TheNV: I absolutely adore and relate to the “empowered” dynamic that embodies your lyrics. You speak a lot on relationships, and offer a specific theme of “I know who I am, and what I have to offer, you should recognize it too, or be gone” kinda vibe and sort of being that voice for every independent woman. Was that an intentional direction for the CD, or did it just happen that way because that was just the space you were in? IB: You’re absolutely right. I have always had that type of demeanor and confidence. It’s just gotten stronger over the years. As women we have to fight harder. We all go through things, and it’s important to have self determination or people wont respect that. 9.) TheNV: Before we wrap up, I want to say congratulations on the signing of your 1st major deal with Dream2Destiny NuMusic. What was that meeting/call like getting the deal? Did you have to audition at a showcase; what was the process like? And, what did you end up doing to celebrate? IB: I signed my first deal, but it’s not a record deal. They are an agency that focus on film and TV, and just launched their NuMusic division. I was the 1st artist to sign with them. They approached me after my performance at a show over the summer, and we’ve built a business relationship from there. We had a signing party and performance in DC, on December 6, 2013, among family, friends, our teams and my fans. 10.) TheNV: That’s exciting! I’m sure it was a great time. What would be some words of inspiration you could share to others trying to pursue his/her dream? IB: Never give up on your dreams. Surround yourself with positive people that you can learn from. Know who you are and what you want & don’t want for your life and career. And, don’t feel ashamed to be YOU. Also, there is no one way to be successful. Do what works best for you. 11.) TheNV: Great pointers & advice. Are there any upcoming appearances/performances we should know about? IB: March 29th, I will be headlining the “SheRocks” 2014 show. The show honors women power players in the DMV community. I will be releasing a few music videos & music from recent projects/collabs within the next two months. Stay tuned. 12.) TheNV: Awesome! Let the people know where to go to stay connected. IB: Check out my website: IhsAnBilalMuzik.com for all of the details and more upcoming events. Also, everyone can follow me at: Twitter: @ihsAnBilal Instagram: @ihsAnBilal Facebook: 1IhsAnBilal Youtube: IhsAnTV My album is on iTunes, amazonmp3, googleplay, and more. TheNV: Thank you so much for your time; It was a pleasure. Wishing you continued success. Take a look at IhsAn’s montage video showcasing her live performances and her current single, Everything I Need, by clicking the “Play” button above on her featured photo. To Purchase TEAL on iTunes click here Video & Song rights reserved by IhsAn Bilal. 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