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Grown Folks Music spoke with jazz artist Lindsey Webster We talked about her new album– Back To Your Heart–released today and success as an artist in contemporary jazz.

GFM: For many of the Grown Folks, this is an introduction to you. Tell us a bit about your background, your influences and how you chose jazz or if it chose you.

LW: I grew up in Woodstock NY, which is a small town about two hours north of New York City. My parents were lovers of music. They used to listen to a lot of Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello and a lot of the classic rock stuff. I always naturally gravitated towards R&B, so I always loved the big singers like Whitney and Mariah and later on Christina Aguilera. Then, I met my partner Keith Slattery, and he exposed to me to a lot more jazz and music that I hadn’t really gotten into. We started writing music together and it just kind of leaned more toward jazz, r&b and soul. So, I guess you could say yeah, jazz kind of chose me. I didn’t really go out and say I’m going to specifically write jazz music. And you know, I wouldn’t really necessarily call us jazz, because it’s such a broad category anyway. But, I love writing music and music that we create somehow fits into that category. I’m happy.

GFM: Jazz… contemporary jazz… is a genre that people still enjoy but the music isn’t as widely heard on the radio anymore. Yet, your song reached number one on the Billboard smooth jazz chart. Talk about that please.

LW: We were just amazed when “Fool Me Once” made it on the chart at all. I think it debuted at number 27 and we were just jumping for joy. Then, it started going further up the charts and it made into to the top ten. We were like, ‘Aww man! Okay, alright!’ Then [it made it] the top five and then we got the email that it was at number one. We were celebrating. We got the champagne. We did the whole thing. When it stayed there for four weeks I was just so grateful. I am so grateful that happened. It really means a lot because like you said, contemporary jazz is not so widely played for some reason. It’s exciting because we are able to maybe keep it going. A lot of people have mentioned that I’m a younger artist, because a lot of the artists in contemporary jazz are older men… not all of them obviously… but a lot. I think it’s really, really cool that we just made it on there so quickly and people have accepted our music and it’s kind of bridging the gap. I think that’s really priceless for us and for the people who love contemporary jazz.

GFM: Let’s talk about the forthcoming album. Tell us about the tone and the story that you are trying to tell with the new album.

LW: When we released our first album, it was like, ‘Alright, that’s a good album.’ The second album was definitely better than the first one. This third one I am absolutely in love with the songwriting that we accomplished. It came out better than expected in a lot of ways. We didn’t sit down and write the whole album. The songs just came individually. The way that Keith and I work is he writes the music on piano or Rhodes or whatever he’s using. Then, I sit down with that and I write the words and the melody and we work together to fine tune it. All the songs just ended up fitting together so well without us having to write it as an album. The flow, in my opinion, is so nice that the songs compliment each other. We have the funky song. Then, we have the heartbreaking-ballad song. We have one of each to really make this album well rounded. Some of the songs about heartbreak. Some of the songs are about love. Some of the songs are about the injustices that we’re seeing today. One song is dedicated to my mother who passed in 2014. I had written a song for her on my album You Change that was kind of a sad song because she and I had a struggling relationship. Before she passed I wrote that song and at live shows I would always say, ‘This is about my mom.’ I just really felt that I had to write not such a sad song and a song about my relationship with her and how I’ve learned and I’ve grown from it. So, that’s what the song “Somehow” [on the new release] is about. As an artist writing I’m always evolving. This album is just the next level for me. I’ve definitely done some of my best vocal performances on this album. I just really felt a lot more comfortable than I’ve ever felt before.

GFM: What’s the biggest thing that you can imagine happening for you in your career?

LW: I want to tour. I want to play music all around the world. I want this to happen and be able to live a lifestyle that I want and be successful. [I want] to just be able to do what I love… which, [with] the path that we’re headed on… it seems that’s going to be a possibility for me and for Keith. That’s really what I want… is to just be able to have success in this music field.

GFM: You said it’s important to hold the torch for artists before us who found it important to write real music. That being said, what’s your definition of Grown Folks Music?

LW: For me it’s writing interesting melodies and having interesting music playing behind the melody. I personally like to use a real band. Sometimes we mix in some drum loops and electronic stuff, but for the most part I think that the artists that I mentioned holding a torch for… like Earth, Wind & Fire… [it] was a band playing music. In the ’80s and ’90s a lot more of this electronic music started happening. Nowadays, the pop stars that we hear– except Adele– they’re all using these beats and it kind of dehumanizes the music for me. The fact that we have a drummer, a bass player, a percussionist, a saxophone player, a guitar… we’re all in the same room creating this energy together… I think that’s really important for me [and] for grown folks music.

Check out a preview of Back To Your Heart

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Kimberly Kennedy Charles

I have questions. Artists have answers.