Throwback: My Interview With Sparkle

Many people know R&B Singer Sparkle from the Surviving R. Kelly documentary. Old heads like me, however, knew her from her “Be Careful” duet with him in the 90s.

I had the pleasure of speaking with her 7 years before the doc aired in 2012 on my Bold & Sugar blog while in college. She was as sweet as you’d expect, which was a huge relief for me.

I wanted to keep the conversation steered away from R. Kelly in this particular exchange. One: I was NOT ready to dive into that subject. Two: this was my first celebrity interview. I wanted to start slow.

Curious to know what we talked about? Read below.


You scored the big “Be Careful” hit as well as the Sparkle album. What did it all feel like at first?


It felt great, and I knew “Be Careful” was going to be something, but I didn’t know it was going to do as great as it did. Just in the studio with recording, you know, was just supposed to be a song just for me, and then you know, Robert [R. Kelly], being the genius that he is, said “This needs to be a duet. I need to put something on there.” So it came out as a great, great song.


Tell me about what’s happened since then you came out with your second album Told You So in 2000.


“It’s a Fact” was the first single off that, which I co-wrote, and I felt great about the album. I don’t know that the labels put enough umph behind it to let people know that there was a Sparkle second album. You know, some people don’t even know that I did a second album. But, you know, Motown Universal was my second home. The first one was Rockland Interscope.


So you worked with other artists like Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, and Aaliyah. Is that correct?


Yeah, Aaliyah, it was her first CD. I did all her background. With Mary, I did one song with Robert. I did background on a song called “It’s On.” I did both of those albums under my birth name which is Stephanie. I enjoyed it. I love working with Aaliyah. She’s a sweetheart. And Mary is I love Mary. Love, love, love Mary.


Oh, that’s wonderful. So you have a new song out “So Bad.”


I hate tooting my own horn. I swear I do, but I mean God is all through this here project. I’m so thankful and grateful for my comeback, my new beginning as I would call it, and the song was called “So Bad.” And I mean vocally I’m in a different place, and I’m just giving it my all.


so I listened to it and I was like, wow, this is exactly what we need. Yeah, I do. I really do.


My voice was getting a little stronger. Yeah. Thank God. Yeah.

<Listen to the full interview below>

Throwback: My Interview With Rasheeda

In 2012 I spoke with rapper Rasheeda, best known for her appearances in Love & Hip Hop: ATL. Back then, I had the Bold & Sugar blog and big dreams, and honey did I ever shoot high!

Rasheeda was a delight to talk to, and this interview in particular helped propel me out of my small town and onto my journey to bigger things.

Curious how the conversation went? Read below:


First question, how did you get started in the industry and what the point that you said “I want to be a rapper.”


I think it was when I was little. I love music. I used to sing and dance and rap and jump around like I was going on when I was a little girl. But, you know, when I was barely a teenager, I will probably say I met some other girls who had the desire to scan the map and stuff.

So we just decided to become a little group and start bouncing around and you know, I just fell in love with music. I was in a big girl rap group called Da Kaperz and put an album out in like ’98. And after that, people started growing up a little. We wanted to go in different directions.

And at that point, I realized, okay, I’m not going up here because I want to do a little art. And then I’m feeling like you don’t want to move forward. Alright. Music as a solo artist.


Your latest project is Boss Chick Music, right? What was it like getting that done?


I make the recording process less stressful for myself. I just can go in and try to have fun with it. You can’t just pound yourself over the head and be crazy. I let him speak to me. I do what comes from the heart. I do music based on experiences, things I’ve seen. That’s how I get down now, you know, my swag, my thing. And that’s exactly what Boss Chick Music is. It’s just empowering.


And so I do have to go ahead and tell you that everybody down here is bumping “Marry Me.” What inspired you to write that? What did you want people to get out of it?


You know, the years of doing anything for free is over really. You know, it was was just fun, a fun record.


What direction do you want this whole project to take you in?


Ultimately, I want people to get into Rasheeda. I have a great fan base, you know, and, and my fans do ride hard for me. And with being a part of something else, with an extremely big album, I’m open to captivating more people and bringing them into Rasheeda’s world.


Tell us how you feel about the show [Love & Hip Hop: ATL]. In general, what what is your stance on it at the moment?


There’s a lot going on right now. It’s definitely a platform you don’t really know what to expect until the show airs and things start happening. It goes from zero to 60 in like 1.1 seconds.

But also going into it, you know, I don’t think any of us anticipated it being the biggest show on television. And that’s something that a lot of people look forward to, doing television and stuff, but when you just, BAM, come into it and the first show you’re on is the biggest reality show, and you’re like “Wow!”


How does that even feel, just being in front of the cameras constantly?


You kinda understand when you sign the dotted line that you’re signing up for something you ain’t used to [Laughs]. After a while the cameras are just there you know, as far as like, the personal life and how things affect you.


A lot of people are expressing that shows like Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, Real Housewives, are portraying black people in a certain way. Do you think this is the case?


I think that what people gotta understand is when you when you doing shows like this, the things that go on in people’s lives, reality shows, the reality sometimes is things are fucked up. You know?

I don’t know a person who wakes up every single day and is just pure bliss and happiness. People go through things like this with their families or with their friends or with their career going on. And the thing about it is, when it comes to our show, it’s a lot of drama, a lot of things going on, but you have to entertain people. Nobody’s gonna sit and watch a show that’s all happiness all the time.

And at the end of the day what kinda pisses me off though is you get these people who they want to say “They’re showing people in the wrong light.” Well on our so you have a black, a married woman and man with a family.


So right at this moment, who is someone that you would like to collaborate with?


I gotta say Jay-Z, Kanye. That that drains me. Oh, geez, who else? Beyonce, you know, I like Rihanna. Artists like that.


So would you suggest rappers doing their own thing being independent?


Nowadays, I don’t think you really have a choice on it, because it’s just not the same business that it was years ago. Nowadays if you are able to secure a deal, they want a piece of damn near everything you got, and what messes us up is when we’re done rapping and doing what we’re doing in the next few years you ain’t got nothing.

Because the record company is taking a piece of everything you’re doing from your shows, to get endorsements, to record sales. I mean, you already don’t see no money as it is being tied to a label and selling units unless you sell gargantuan numbers. And that’s not what’s up right now in the industry. So you know, in being independent, it takes work. It’s hard.


The last question I have for you is, what is your bold statement?


I’m a driven, motivated, very family oriented woman who’s just trying to live the best possible life I can live, stand for what I believe in, stay focused, stay strong, empower women. And just leave this place knowing that I made people feel empowered and made them feel good.

<You can listen to the aduio below>

David Tribble Interview: Talks Faith, Voice Auditions, and More!

Unapologetic. That’s a word that comes to mind when it comes to David Tribble’s unrelenting devotion to his faith. The common denominator behind his many talents, it’s no surprise that it’s shaped nearly every stage of his life, figuratively and literally.

From auditioning to be on The Voice to becoming a worship leader in Euless, TX, Tribble has plenty of interesting chunks of life to sing about. In case you missed it, you can read my recent review of his album, Thrownhere.

Curious to know more? Get into my conversation with him below!

Let’s talk about faith. How does your faith shape your music (How you write songs, your themes, the stories in your music, etc)?

Well first of all I’m not ashamed of my faith and I’m actually gonna quote some verses this time for reference because what I learn from the bible is very important to my music and for me as a person to continue my relationship with my creator, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as he “works out what he is working in”  Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
And to be real honest I don’t want my music to be labeled as Christian music and haven’t ever sat down trying to write a Christian song.  I do however have trust in my actions as long as they are paired with my faith and that is the theme and story behind my music.  You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:22

When did you fall in love with making music?

I was in high school, a senior I think.  My step father had an old Toyota Acoustic guitar laying around the house and so I picked it up one day and found an old booklet “How to play guitar”, I taught myself a few chords that day and soon after wrote my first song, something about a heart smiling or something cheesy like that.  I wrote it on a piece of ruled notebook paper with a blue pen, with plenty of scratch marks all through it.  I think that was they time when I fell in love with rhyming and phrasing and the guitar bridged the gap between my voice and the pen.

When was the definitive moment you knew you wanted to sing? Did your faith play a role in this?

I know when I was a kid in church choir, that was not it!   I did get to go to New York and sing so that was cool, but I didn’t really get it back then.  However when I was in college and first getting into writing and playing, sometimes even between classes on my bottom bunk, it happened when I entered a talent contest at a local coffee shop there and played one song that I remember called the “The Senorita Song”  I wrote it in college and yes it was also cheesy, literally comparing women to tacos, needless to say I was a real charmer.   And even though I was very nervous I still sang and played the song, and cherished the moment and, though I didn’t know it at the time, I’m a moment guy (Mr. Moment as I call it) and that is what is so inviting about singing and melodies and finding harmonies that are all driven by the emotion and the moment which is ever changing within your time on stage.

Was there ever a moment when you doubted yourself? Have you ever felt lost while pursuing your dreams?

We all doubt and that is what makes us human.  You just have to get used to overcoming that doubt because it will creep in unannounced.  I never stopped pursuing my dreams and playing music and writing songs.

Was there ever a point in your life, creatively, where you were challenged to push past your limits? What was that moment?

I auditioned for The Voice tv show, you know the one.  It was back in 2013 season 6.  I made audition in Austin and was chosen to go to LA for the next one.  Yes is was totally different, unlike Austin it was me and the guitar and that was comfortable but in LA they chose the song for you and luckily I got to sing “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers.  No guitar just vocals and remembering the lyrics, which is not my thing, my wife, who doesn’t sing is great at it, but I did remember and sing the song well and made it to the blind auditions.

How do you stay rooted and calm?

Breathe, I haven’t done much of it, but as a slow learner I’m finding that allows good things to your body as a whole.  Praying also is something I need to do more of and would like to say I do it well and often but I struggle separating from “the moment” for a simple and calm prayer here and there.  When I do remember these two things before I perform songs for people it always helps calm me down and give my best.

Do you meditate?

I take naps.

Do you perform for a church? If so, where?

I am the worship leader at Life Connection Church in Euless Tx.  often called Useless so I’ve recently found out.

What was your most exciting performance? Most challenging?

I still haven’t opened for Citizen Cope or David Ramirez yet but when I do…but seriously I don’t recall exciting performances but ones that I will remember the most:  Playing for my wife for our wedding was one of them, but most challenging and exciting would have to be the Voice Audition in LA in front of the producers.

What were some of your “creative roadblocks” if any? How did you overcome them?

I’ve never ran into many songwriting road blocks but mine would have to be more design and marketing aspects like cover art and logos for instance.  I overcome them buy making choices that I don’t love in the end but its temporary and it’s a process of brand and development in the independent artist world.

Favorite song you’ve ever written?

I would have to say it’s a toss up between “Bittersweet” and “Wife and Daughter.”  They both were recorded and produced so differently.

How do you inspire people?

Through my music and the way I treat people.  It is a huge honor to have chance to inspire.  As a former school teacher, I was around middle school kids to inspire and that was a bit challenging for sure.  Music inspires all of us so I want to make good music that hits the mark to inspire and encourage.  The world is a tough place and we all take it head on.  Good or bad we need to do our part.

What’s something people don’t know about you that’s hiding in plain sight?

I taught and coached middle school for 14 years.

How big a role has having a family played in your creative process?

Very big and significant role yes, even more now than at the start.

Explain the concept of “Thrown.” It’s the title of one of the songs from the album of the same name. As a whole, what does this album represent to you? What should it represent to others?

Ok, I’m about to get churchy on you…The word Thrown is paired with the idea of a true Throne, considering the picture of an old beat up chair on the cover.  There are 3 pillars to it:  Being thrown is a sense of disarray, sin and chaos, which in faith is made right and overcome by Gods mercy, love and peace.  God has chosen us to join him to sit on the throne of Righteousness with him and If not for His grace and Jesus on the cross, our lives and throne to sit upon would be old and tattered like the one on the cover, really it would be worse than that.

You’re forced to give up a cartoon from your childhood. Which one do you pick and why?

I would have to say GI Joe!!  I had the action figures and cool vehicles and me and my friends would make up our own GI Joe battles in the living room or outside.  Even watched the show with my boy scout troop!

You’re forced to give up one of your senses? Which one do you pick and why? How would losing that sense influence the way you experience music?

Smell: I do love to smell but I don’t figure it would affect music for me.  Not really food either, but would be a lot of gross taste testing.   Plus I have horrible eye sight so If I want to be blind I can just take out my contacts.

What’s your next move? Performing anywhere soon? Another project on the way?

I’m performing at some new places around the area, getting to know more booking agents and work through the circle of artists which has grown a lot even in the last couple of months.  I am playing in Austin Tx. in November for the first time at Lonesome Dove so that will be a fun Tues night!

Also, I have a song called “Fine Wine” written about being saved and the process it takes and the journey of getting to a place of beauty and value.  This song has represented me and wife’s recent struggle with growing our family and decision to adopt a baby, and a few of the lyrics ‘soul been saved” have been used for our fundraising shirts and events as we continue through the process in the coming months.  So I’m happy to say it will be my next single, co produced by Matt Mcgaugh (my brother in law) and Tanner Landry from Fort Worth Sound in Fort Worth Tx. and it will be available soon.