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Soulful Goon Music: A Q&A With Harlem Singer Tim Vocals

I was gifted with a voice, but I have a rapper mentality.
–Tim Vocals

There has always been a fair share of R&B “bad boys,” for lack of a better term. By that, I mean singers who, well, have more of an edge to them than other singers. I’m not talking about Chris Brown-esque antics either, I’m talking singers like Aaron Hall for example, or (probably a better example) The late Nate Dogg, who crooned about the ghetto lifestyle, and had an unmistakable aura of authenticity that made him a star (even if he did lack actual battle scars). I recently came across a new singer by the name of Tim Vocals when perusing WorldStar, and was an instant fan. Over the infamous White Iverson instrumental, Tim initially came off – content wise – like Uncle Murda, mixed with a more soulful/hungry Usher. Dope right?

I explored his catalogue of music, including his Live From Harlem mixtape, and found more than a handful of gems, like the bassy drug dealer anthem, Harlem NYC, and numerous “goon remixes,” like his recent take on Weeknd’s The Hills, titled The Pills. Tim came up on the mean streets of Harlem, and went through his share of real-life experiences, spending some years in and out of jail before putting the streets into the rear view, and hitting the ground running in the industry. You can hear this authenticity in his music, which adds to his brand and makes his voice so relatable throughout neighbourhoods nationwide. To fully understand what I mean, just watch some of his early vids where he’s singing in building lobby’s back on the block; he lived that life.

His team is solid, and he’s working with the likes of Harry Fraud, Nino Man, Smoke DZA and more, so evidently Tim is on a serious come-up – and someone you should keep an eye/ear on. Tim was kind enough to hop on a call with me to chat about his new album, R.N.B, which is available now, and more. Check the Q&A below. Be sure to grab Tim’s R.N.B album on I-Tunes ASAP – or stream it on Spotify.

How did you get into music?

Oh man, that’s a good question. I got into music listening to my older sisters and brothers play music in the house all the time – and certain things stuck more than others. I was always into rap but when I heard R&B, it became something I had to get into. So I got my first tape player and headphones, and then I just started emulating what I heard. Bam, here I am today.

How big of an influence is hip-hop on your R&B? Because you’re R&B but its more street…

Yeah, I was gifted with a voice, but I have a rapper mentality. I think what’s influenced me as far as R&B, are singers like Jodeci, Chris Brown, Usher, Donell Jones , but the rap — I grew up listening to LL. Going back to the old school, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane; I listened to a whole lot of rap music to hear what’s going on. That’s how I fell in love with rap and music period. But, I don’t think I have a genre. I don’t think that anything that I’m doing right now has a set stage. I just love music right now. I’m making music that makes me feel good. As far as my R.N.B album, I was going through things in my life at the time – and I just wrote about it. That’s basically what it is right now. I’m loving music again.

Tell me a little bit about your current project, who you are working with and the process of putting it together.

I’m working with a label called Next; it’s an independent label. The Orchard is pushing it out – I’m pretty sure everybody knows what Orchard is. My feature artists, well, there’s a couple of people, like Smoke DZA, my son Dash… I’ve worked with a lot of people to get here. It was a smooth process. I’ve got another project in mind that is going to be real heavy; I just wanted to get this out there and get my feet wet.

Soulful Goon Music: A Q&A With Harlem Singer Tim VocalsAlright, so who are some people that you’d like to work with in the industry?

Number one would be like Drake, Miguel — I’d like to work with Bryson Tiller right now, too. I’d like to work with a lot of people.

How important is authenticity in your music?

I think that the more I see, the more I feel, and the more I write while things are fresh – at the time – the better the music (depending on what mode I’m in). If I’m in a deep mode at the time, I can write about anything. But, those feelings at the time, that energy, that’s what I’m going to give off. If I’m around good vibes, the music is going to show it. If I’m around bad things, it’s going to reflect too.

What are you currently working on right now?

I’ve got something in the works with Harry Fraud; we’re doing a little EP you know what I’m saying? That wasn’t supposed to be told, but I said it anyway — you know me. I also have another album I’m working on – but that one is something I’m going to do with other people. I’ve got a couple of things you know what I’m saying?

So, you write for other people as well?

Yes, I do. But the other people I write for are underground artists.

Do you find that to be a therapeutic process? Are they all similar artists to you?

You know, I go into it unbiased to everything. I just write. I think of it as a therapeutic process at the same time, but I just love music from the beat, to the writing, to the actual singing – and references or whatever it is. I love it.

Do you have any new visuals coming up?

Yes, I have a video coming out; the third single off my album called Things You Do For Love. That’s going to be pretty dope.

That Black Washington joint was the catchiest shit ever. You need to know that!

I appreciate that. I don’t even pay attention to stuff like that when I’m around friends. I’ll just be listening to everybody else. I don’t even listen to myself much. I listen to everybody else.

Yeah, it’s weird; some people are the complete opposite. I talk to some artists that say, “I only listen to my music,” like Wayne. I think it was in an interview someone asked him what he thought of the new Nicki album (when Nicki and Drake first dropped their albums), and he admitted that he didn’t listen to the album all the way through. He’d ever heard them because he only listens to his own shit 24/7.

That’s dope for him. It’s crazy for a Libra because I’m a Libra too, we usually show the love. But I don’t know. I’m always listening to somebody else. I like to hear new sounds and new people with their ideas and how they want to express it through music. I’m always for that.

Do you have any other artists in your crew that you’re working with? Is it just you as Tim Vocals or is there a team we should be looking out for?

I got a team in mind, but I don’t think I’m going to present them just yet because everything is in the works. But, I’ve got a person I’ve been working with. We’re about to go back and do what we’ve got to do. We’re about to make that shit happen again.

Tim, do you have any last words or anything else you’d like to leave our blog with?

Yo, just be on the look out for some fire, man. I appreciate anybody and any blogger or anybody that wants to interview me. I think that what I’ve got to say is very important. Yeah, as he said, honestly, I appreciate everybody that wants to know my story and what’s going on with me.

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns