Shouts to 247HH.com
Shouts to 247HH.com
Had the pleasure of stopping by WPFW last night an participating in a “Soul Conversation” …and to be honest, it turned out to be one of my favorite interviews in a long time. I’m sure if there was no time limit, we would probably STILL be conversing now. You can listen to it in full HERE …or by pressing ‘play’ below.
“Soul Intro with Zo!”
Live on Heart & Soul, SiriusXM – Channel 48
Interview with Cayman Kelly + Live In-Studio Performance
May 14, 2015
Zo! – Piano
Deborah Bond – Vocals
Jon Laine – Drums
Zach Cutler – Guitar
Kush El-Amin – Bass
Last week, I sat down with my good friend and former WKU classmate, DJ Jon Doe last week and ended up going into an in-depth two hour interview that covers everything from our college days, to why baseball didn’t work out, to the time I randomly met Dilla…. to my history with +FE Music. Take some time to listen, download…. and most of all, enjoy!
Detroit-native Lorenzo “Zo!” Ferguson never stays away from the Motor City too long. In fact, the indie R&B/hip hop multi-instrumentalist/producer has two stops planned here within the next month.
First, Zo! plays a solo show April 13 at The Shelter. Then, in May, he’ll return as part of the collaboration The Foreign Exchange for a show at the Magic Stick. And, he was just here last year to promote his 13th LP, “Manmade.”
Grown in Detroit
As a multi-instrumentalist (he plays the keyboard/piano, bass guitar, drums, and guitar), Ferguson is a master at blending all types of sounds to find the right chemistry. His music crosses a multitude of genres from R&B to soul, funk, jazz and hip hop, all of which he was exposed to by his parents growing up on the Westside of Detroit.
“My mother gave me the R&B and Motown side, and my father gave me more of the funk, the jazz, the bluesy side, so I was able to hear a wide spectrum of music growing up,” says Ferguson from his home in Silver Springs, MD. “That’s how I developed my ear, and once I started listening to hip-hop, that became my muse, so taking all these genres of music and being able to fuse it into an influence.
“I don’t look at it as a genre, I look at it as me just making good music.”
Even though he took piano lessons as a kid, music was not something Ferguson was passionate about. Ferguson had intentions of becoming a pro-baseball player and even earned a full athletic scholarship to Western Kentucky University. When his baseball career didn’t pan out the way he wanted, Ferguson began transferring all of his time and energy into playing music, practicing the piano and keyboards every day.
He released his first LP “Zo! Presents…Ablyss” in 2001, and since then has released 13 solo projects.
I’m actually laughing while listening back to this interview as if I wasn’t a part of it. Shouts to mah man Merc80, Chris and Kim Lehman all of BlackIsOnline.com for allowing me to come into their house and clown out for a couple hours before my show in LA on March 2nd. What a fun time of COMPLETE “let-loosedness”…. Enjoy!!!
Zo! of Foreign Exchange Music coming to Minneapolis March 12 at The Pourhouse
From time to time, life will throw us a curveball or two.
Fans of soul, neosoul and organic hip-hop, are probably pretty thrilled that Zo! of Foreign Exchange Music wasn’t as good at hitting curveballs as he is at producing and creating timeless melodies and arrangements for the many artists who he’s featured on his three released projects. Now that’s not to say that Zo!, born Lorenzo Ferguson, was a slouch at hitting. The multi-talented producer was drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the MLB Amateur Draft to play center field for the Toronto Blue Jays. But Zo! passed on the offer, opting for college instead at Western Kentucky University, with dreams of securing a higher draft spot. While Zo!’s draft spot didn’t improve, his keyboard playing did.
“My first love was baseball,” said Zo!, who will be in the Twin Cities for a Wednesday, March 12 performance at The Pourhouse, 10 S. 5th St., downtown Minneapolis. “I’m a really passionate person and I was passionate about playing baseball. But I never let that get in the way of my music. I always kept playing music to keep my chops up.”
Detroit native Lorenzo Ferguson, known to the masses as Zo!, is a Multi-Instrumentalist/ Producer deemed genius. His recent release ManMade and his affiliation with Phonte (of Little Brother) and Foreign Exchange further enhances his artistry while fueling his creativity to stellar heights. Zo! sits down with Hector De La Rosa of Mellow Concepts: The Mellow Hang Suite and expands on the seven given concepts pertaining to his life, love for the art form, and the profound impact J. Dilla had on his artistic approach in music.
† Zo on the Concept of what makes his artistry unique:
Independent is one word that describes my artistry. I make music on my own terms, which is of huge importance to me in having creative freedom especially in a music industry that dictates how music as an art form should be marketed. It is necessary to have my hands on the distribution and marketing aspect of my music to have some kind of knowledge of where I am heading as an artist and entrepreneur. If I bring something creative to the table, I must make sure my product will not be shelved or flushed down the drain because it does not meet a certain music industry criteria or standard. I firmly believe music that comes directly from the head foremost heart is of purest form.
The North Carolina-based Foreign Exchange Music group – founded and fronted by the hip-hop/soul duo also known as the Foreign Exchange (rapper/singer Phonte and producer Nicolay) – has been dropping some of the indie soul scene’s most acclaimed music for years. One of the company’s most prolific artists is the producer/musician Zo! Coming straight out of the Detroit area, Zo! has dropped a bevy of retro-modern-flavored soul albums, including 2010’s Sunstorm and 2011’s … Just Visiting Three, among others. His latest project, ManMade (which features vocal support by local notables such as Anthony David, Carmen Rodgers, and newcomer Gwen Bunn), hit stores back in May, and he’s currently on tour supporting the album. Zo! makes is making his way to Atlanta for a live chat session on Fri., Aug. 9, and a live show on Sat., Aug. 10. Before passing through town, he hipped us to the making of ManMade and life as an indie artist…