Southside Jamaica, Queens’ new singing sensation, Wynter Gordon — the product of preacher parents — is a trained musician that writes her own lyrics. Her sound had already been dubbed “hood pop,” even before Wynter scored her first recording contract with Don Pooh Music Group, through Atlantic Records, following an impromptu performance at a birthday party for the music mogul.
Her tentatively titled solo debut, Wynter’s Wonderland, is scheduled for summer 2008, but in the meantime, the young ingénue is releasing an EP to help wet the appetites of her throngs of newfound fans, and to just give everyone a small taste of what’s yet to come from this fiery songbird in the future days and months…
BallerStatus.com: Tell me your whole inception into music. When did you first become interested? And, how did it all begin for Wynter Gordon?
Wynter Gordon: You’ve probably heard this before, but I’ve been singing since I could talk. It’s the only thing I’ve ever known, so I’ve always been interested. I got a break when I went to LaGuardia School of the Performing Arts, and was given an opportunity to develop as a performer.
BallerStatus.com: You are native New Yorker, correct? So, growing up, who were some of your strongest musical influences?
Wynter Gordon: I am a native New Yorker. I’m originally from the Southside of Jamaica Queens. My strongest musical influences were Beyonce, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Foo Fighters’ Videos, Michael Jackson, Natasha Bedingfield… hmm. It’s really a whole lot. See as a child I lived in Southside Queens, so I had a lot of urban influences in my life. But, I was bussed to middle school in Howard Beach where I was exposed to pop and rock music.
BallerStatus.com: At what point did you decide that you wanted to pursue music professionally?
Wynter Gordon: I always wanted to pursue music on a professional basis. I prepared for it when I was elementary school. Then, when I went to junior high, I prepped for LaGuardia. Then, when I went to LaGuardia, I interned for MCA Records and gathered as much information as I could.
BallerStatus.com: What particular string of events led to you initially hooking up with Don Pooh (former manager of Foxy Brown and Mary J. Blige’s A&R), and eventually inking with Atlantic Records?
Wynter Gordon: Well, I was trying to figure out how to follow my dream when I auditioned for a gospel project that my church (C.C.C.) was putting together. The A&R of the project was a guy named Keith White. Keith is also a lawyer, and he represented Don Pooh. After a while of working on the project, I told Keith that I wanted to pursue a non-gospel music career and he introduced me to Don Pooh. Keith became my manager. I signed a production deal with Don Pooh, and eight months later we were negotiating with Atlantic Records and Geffen Records.
BallerStatus.com: Describe and/or define the style of music that you create and perform?
Wynter Gordon: I like to think that my music is global. I don’t create the music with any one definitive purpose. Sometimes I want to be inspired, and it comes out that way. Sometimes I want to vent, and it comes out that way. Sometimes I want to love or be loved, and it comes out that way. My music comes from a very real place, and so because the world is becoming a lot smaller I think a lot more people can relate to it. Because a lot more people can relate to each other. So, in sum, I think it’s global.
BallerStatus.com: Have you titled your forthcoming debut yet?
Wynter Gordon: I haven’t really come up with a definitive title yet. We have some working titles though. If it gets too complicated, I’ll just have a self-titled debut.
BallerStatus.com: Now I understand that there are plans to put out an EP prior to the album’s release. What prompted this decision?
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, the EP will really just serve as the single, like a maxi-single. In this economic and musical climate, it’s really hard to break a new artist and prove to fans that they should invest in the artist and not just the song. So with that said, I told the record company that I wanted to prove to the fans that I’m not just trying to give them one or two good records, and then an album of fluff, but that I want to consistently deliver great records to the fans. The EP will have three or four records that fans can listen to, and download from iTunes, in anticipation of what’s to come on the album. The EP will only be a digital release though.
BallerStatus.com: As a songwriter when you sit down to pen your lyrics, where do you draw your inspiration(s) from?
Wynter Gordon: My experiences or the experiences of those around me, whether they be family, friends, or enemies. I’m inspired by those.
BallerStatus.com: In terms of production, who all did you work with? How involved are you actually in that whole creative musical process?
Wynter Gordon: I’ve worked with Tricky Stewart, The Dream, Bryan [Michael] Cox, Cool & Dre, Eric Hudson, Shae Taylor, DeMille, Mysto & Pizzi, Fernando Garibay, Mike City, Ne-Yo, Ryan Leslie, Scyience, Jazze Pha, and a lot of other great musicians and producers. I’m very involved in the creative musical process, maybe too involved for some producers. For example, I worked with a very well-known producer in Atlanta and he had some writers come in and write a song for me. I didn’t like the song, so I re-wrote it. Well, a few months later I was hearing all over Atlanta that I’m hard to work with. I didn’t care much, because at the end of the day, I care about what I do too much to just do what I’m told without having an opinion about it, and without having a direction for what I want to sound like.
BallerStatus.com: Any highlights, special guest appearances, favorite tracks, etcetera, that you’d like to point out at this particular time?
Wynter Gordon: I have a lot of favorites. I’ve got a record called “Sanctuary,” that I love and I can’t wait for people to hear it. I really love a record called “Drive.” Oh, and I can’t stop listening to this record “Right Here” that I wrote with Makeba. I can’t speak about guest appearances yet, but there will be some very pleasant surprises.
BallerStatus.com: Let’s discuss longevity in this business of music. What do you feel has been, and will continue to be, the key to your success?
Wynter Gordon: Hmm… well, I wouldn’t consider myself successful yet, but I hope and pray to be one day. I think the things that work for people that I look up to are having a great team of responsible people, managing your expectations, remaining consistent and working harder and smarter than everyone else. But, above all these things, recognizing the blessing that God has given me and walking in that purpose.
BallerStatus.com: Do you have any other aspirations, maybe even outside of music altogether?
Wynter Gordon: Yeah, of course the obligatory acting, etcetera. But, everything is driven by the music. I want my music to change and inspire the world before the world changes and inspires me.
BallerStatus.com: On a more serious note, would it be fair to say that you are happy with the current state of R&B music?
Wynter Gordon: I actually am not mad at the state of R&B. I know it would be cool to say, “R&B sucks right now, and I’m gonna change that!” But, I don’t feel that way and I really do hear a lot of stuff that I love. I love Dream, I love Mary, I love Keyshia Cole, I love Jill Scott, and I love Ne-Yo. I mean, as much as there is not to like, there is a lot that I like. I think the current state of music is different, but even if you don’t like who I like, the platform for exposure is wide open. In as much as I like the famous people, I also like the people that are bubbling on the come up like Jaiden, Lydia Caesar, Boxie, and others. I mean, there is just a lot of good music out and if you don’t like what you hear, you can find what you like. I’m really into pop also, so I’m pumping Jordin Sparks all day also.
BallerStatus.com: Since everyone either knows you already, or will become familiar with you, for and through your music, what would you want these same people to know about Wynter Gordon that they won’t get from listening to your records?
Wynter Gordon: I want them to know that I’m blessed! That God has truly delivered me from a dark place, and that I want my music to inspire you, make you laugh, make you cry, make you dance. But, above anything, I want my music to make you free!
BallerStatus.com: What would these same people find you doing in your off/spare time completely away from the music?
Wynter Gordon: In the gym, playing with my niece, catching a movie, or flying around MySpace.
BallerStatus.com: To date, what has been the biggest highlight of your career?
Wynter Gordon: Working with Diane Warren, and having her call me a “hot bitch!” You don’t understand, Diane Warren was my songwriting idol all of my life and then when I get to work with her she’s going crazy and telling me how much of a fan of mine she is! She’s one of my favorite industry people.
BallerStatus.com: Looking ahead, say five, or even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
Wynter Gordon: Running mission trips to Africa and delivering resources to Third World Countries — probably a part of some Green Peace initiative. And, hopefully married.
BallerStatus.com: As for the immediate future what’s next for you?
Wynter Gordon: The first single is called “Surveillance,” and it’s being mixed as we speak. The EP should come out in March or April, and the full length LP should be out in the summer, God-willing.
BallerStatus.com: Any message you want to leave the readers with?
Wynter Gordon: I just want to say thank you for being interested enough in my music to interview me. I want to thank anyone who’s ever loved my music. I can feel the love and it encourages me. Thank You. Anyone who’s ever had constructive criticism for me, thank you and I will continue to strive towards greatness!