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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Tim Dillinger
Monday, September 25, 2006

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Time Dillinger grew up singing in the church. His early influences were gospel artists like Andrae Crouch, The Hawkins Family and Reba Rambo. Dillinger’s incredible voice would soon have him working with numerous gospel greats, but as he grew older he discovered soul music and fell in love with the music of Stevie Wonder, Teena Marie, Rick James and Aretha Franklin After moving Nashville, Tennessee in 2001 Dillinger decided to shift gears and started doing soul music and with producer Dale Babb (Juvenille, Grandaddy Souf, Haystack) he created his debut album, Love Is On My Mind, in 2004. The album scored a #1 single on London's Jazz FM and garnered Dillinger two Southern Entertainment Award nominations (R&B Artist of the Year and R&B Album of the Year) in 2005. This month Dillinger is releasing the follow up to Love Is On My Mind, The Muse. It's a decidedly different album which features collaborations with Frank McComb and gospel legend Daryl Coley. Recently I sat down with Dillinger to discuss his latest work, what’s missing from the current R&B scene, and the dreaded “Blue Eyed Soul” tag.

Adam Bernard: You've been given the "Blue Eyed Soul" tag. What does that mean to you and what are you feelings on being labeled as such?
Tim Dillinger: Well, my eyes aren't blue, so I always laugh when I hear that phrase. People, for whatever reason, need the classifications, but I don't really relate to the term. Isn't soul just what it is, period? The music comes from my life experience and my perspective, so the intensity that people feel when they hear me that makes the word "soul" even pop up in the first place comes from that. I had a review of one of my shows last year from a critic at The Meter (at Tennessee State University) and they said that it was "soul so intense, I dare not call it blue eyed" and that made me smile. It made me think that maybe people perceive "blue eyed soul" as somehow more tame or mannerly than just plain ole "soul". For me, writing, recording and performing the music is a guttural experience, it's my opportunity to lay it all out on the line, so maybe that's why I don't relate to the term.

Adam Bernard: What are your feelings on the current climate of the R&B scene? What would you like to see more of / less of?
Tim Dillinger: I was actually grieving the state of R&B and Hip-Hop when I was writing this album. I was watching BET in January of 2005 and shut it off and determined I would never watch video programming again. I haven't watched a music video since that day. I do not listen to the radio, but when I'm with someone who's playing the radio, or when I watch an awards show, I am sickened by what I see and hear. I think we are far too influenced by the radio and television, everything begins to look and sound alike because our well of influence is so shallow. I would love to actually hear songs with real lyricism, songs that pay attention to what's happening in the world, songs that show me a person's inner depth and not their ego. Do we really need another song about champagne and diamonds? I would love to hear live instrumentation make a comeback and see people actually develop a craft beyond operating a drum machine.

Adam Bernard: Talk to me about the new album, The Muse, how does it differ from Love Is On My Mind?
Tim Dillinger: The Muse is probably what I am proudest of from my entire life. It is my vision on disc. I didn't make one compromise on the album and it says everything that I've ever wanted to say. It's differs from Love Is On My Mind in terms of content and production. Love Is On My Mind was a concept album that explored love and it's facets; spiritual, sexual, platonic, familial, while The Muse explores life, specifically my life, and the journey that I've had as an individual that's always marched to his own drummer. Production-wise The Muse is much bigger than Love Is On My Mind. I had very specific ideas that I wanted to record; live strings, live horns, live drums, less programming and sequencing this time around. I was listening to a lot of classic artists: Laura Nyro, Marvin Gaye, Minnie Ripperton, Earth Wind & Fire, Teena Marie and I wanted to feel what I felt when I heard those albums. I wanted to hear nuances that only live instruments can bring. I also wanted to employ my poems as spoken word pieces that would connect the songs, so I drew a lot of inspiration from Tupac Shakur as well as the way both Rick James and Teena Marie employed that element into their work.

Adam Bernard: I've noticed you talk about more than just love in your music. What are some of the other topics you look to touch on with your work?
Time Dillinger: On the new album I talk about racism, artistic integrity, coming of age, maturity, dreams, consciousness. These are serious times and I think there's a lot that we should be talking about that we're not. I just want to write about my own observations and life lessons and hopefully they can spark a train of thought in someone else's life. A continual theme for me is the connection between sensuality and spirituality, how the two should blend and not conflict. I want to see the two co-exist without the fragmentation that we see now, that's why "love songs" now are really about sex.

Adam Bernard: Why do you feel R&B music is the right medium to get these points across?
Tim Dillinger: Well, it's the medium that I was given by the Universe to express myself through. Soul music has always had a very conscience-like voice. Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, etc. all had very prophetic voices that provoked thought, gave inspiration and helped keep a sense of priority, they shared the importance of the human condition and invoked a pride in taking a stand. That voice is missing from what we are shown by the mainstream in R&B and Hip-Hop so it's up to the independent artists to come from a place of authenticity and originality, to be reminders of what's really important.

Tim Dillinger's The Muse will be in stores September 26th.

Website: http://timdillinger.com

MySpace: http://myspace.com/timdillinger


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:56 AM  
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