QWOTE – Soulful Hip-Hop Performer Makes Musical Sense
By Melissa Gonzalez
May 26, 2008 – Miami, FL – R&B and Hip-Hop have shared a bond since early on. The love between the two music forms stayed strong through East & West, Nas & Jay-Z. Even while Common and Cube called each other “bitches,” they stayed strong. Many out there may wonder what the secret is. Could it be that Hip-Hop can’t get enough of those melodic love tunes?
This is probably what the execs at Slip-N-Slide Records were thinking when they signed, Qwote, one of their newest soulful, Hip-Hop artists. The 25-year-old Miami resident Born Jimmy Leonard) is enjoying regular airplay, while sharing the spotlight with label-mate, “Still the Baddest” Trina, on his debut single, “Don’t Want to Fight.” It may seem like over-night success to those who do not keep up with the behind-the-scenes happenings of the music industry, but in all reality, Qwote has been working for many years to get to this point.
“I set my mind at age 12 that this is what I wanted. Thank God I made it to that point where I got the deal [with Slip-N-Slide} and, of course, I pray that I remain in the industry and keep it going,” he says with conviction.
Twelve was a pivotal age for the artist due to an unfortunate event that sprouted his creativity; the passing away of his at an early age. At the time, there was no way for the distressing emotions to be released other than through the written word.
“First and foremost, I am a writer,” he begins when asked how he came to be signed to the popular label.
Qwote had been writing for countless artists, including Dannity Kane, the P. Diddy and MTV all-star female singing group. However, it was when he started working with Trina on her album that Slip-N-Slide took notice. Since then, he has been working continually on his soon-to-be-released debut album. The album making process has taken over everything for the talented artist. A day in the life of Qwote consists of working out, recording, possibly a performance locally, and, if feasible, some rest. According to the artist, this is what he had been waiting for; the jam-packed schedule brings no complaints.
There is a confidence and swagger that flows through the phone lines throughout the interview with the self-proclaimed humble artist. It may be fueled by the ego rush of finally ‘making it,’ or maybe it’s just that Miami nature the Magic City’s residents are known for.
“Miami’s home,” he says with a laugh. “I love to wake up and see palm trees, instead of waking up and seeing snow and going back to bed.”
Qwote has claimed Miami as his home for more than a decade, but he was born in Haiti, and spent close to ten years in Long Island, NY. It was Miami, a very sought after location for artists to record in, that attributed to much of the success that has happened for this young singer/songwriter.
With his debut single still working its way up the charts, Qwote has been steadily doing his part — performing at numerous South Florida Among those artists is Reggae star, Shaggy, with whom he did the remix for “Don’t Want to Fight.” events and collaborating with several artists to make his album memorable.
“Shaggy has a lot of love for what he does and I respect that. Shaggy’s got a career, a history. I want that, and I want to keep that same state of mind.” This is said with a hunger that is prevalent in so many rising artists.
With promises of passion and soul, this young artist hopes to use his lyrics to evoke thought, and make sense, something he feels isn’t very prevalent in music these days. He makes it a point not to share who those performers are. Many would be quick to blame this lack of lyrical content on Pop music. Countless music industry people, both on the outside and on the inside, look down upon Pop music. To him, it is nothing to be ashamed of, although he is quick to add it is only a category, and he may fall into it at times.
“When it comes to music, I just write,” he assures me, “it’s as simple as that.”
Qwote has landed a major record deal with Jive/Zomba Records and plans to release his debut album, Qwote Un Qwote, in the summer of 2008. It will mark as a return to authentic pop music, this album is yet another testament to the musical sphere.
Qwote is coming onto the scene yearning for success. The debut album will have the love songs, the life songs, and everything in between. He has hopes of being thought-provoking and achieving longevity. Regardless of what category he falls into, his priority is to continue writing, and to put his music and words out there for the world to hear.