Our next featured guest is a person of many talents. He’s an award-winning television producer, multiplatinum selling record producer, writer, multi-instrumentalist, and a hit-making smooth jazz recording artist. His current hit single “Wave” features saxophone legend Everette Harp, renowned keyboardist Ricky Peterson, The Voice guitarist Dave Barry, and R&B icon Stokley. Please welcome to LiquidAE.com…Shaun LaBelle!
LiquidAE.com: Shaun, your resume of accolades and accomplishments is incredible. We could write a book! When in your career did you realize you were beginning to make waves?
Shaun LaBelle: That’s a really great question! When you’re someone that’s built the way I am, I’m never satisfied. And you’re always trying to get to whatever that next level is of achievement. Even after 33 years of doing this I’m still always trying to strive for something better. Something more. I don’t know if I’ve ever got to the point where I’m incredibly satisfied or felt like I…made it. Even when I’ve achieved #1 records I’m still hungry. I still feel like I can go farther.
LiqidAE.com: With a single called “Wave”, and having a history of Billboard chart success including #1s, what does it feel like to ride that wave?
Shaun LaBelle: That’s thing that I think I love the most about all of this. I love the ride. The ride is fun. Create the music, conceptually come up with a concept. You know me, Joe. I don’t just bang out material. I really am not that guy. I like to craft a hit. If I don’t have that yet, then I move on. “Wave” was a special tune that just sort of came together. I love the Caribbean. The water was my inspiration. Some of my happiest times is just going to the Caribbean and chilling. That water gets me every time. This song just felt like the right song to make that statement. That’s how I came up with the title.
LiquidAE.com: So, Shaun, how is all the music you’ve created thus far like water?
Shaun LaBelle: It gives you a great feeling. Gives you that great feeling of looking at water. I think the music kind of makes you feel like you’re sailing.
LiquidAE.com: People like to use the word “refreshing” when they hear music that stands out from the pack and is a change of pace from what they’re accustomed to listening to. Would you say your music is refreshing?
Shaun LaBelle: I would say that … I think my music’s just funky! I don’t try to cater to any format even though I’m obviously in the jazz format. I try to do music I think is true to who I am. “Wave” to me is a just a funky piece of music. It makes you feel good. I try to do stuff that makes me feel good; that’s who I am and what I am, not necessarily catering to any format or genre. “Wave” fits into the smooth jazz format, but it’s something I think is a feel-good, funky track.
LiquidAE.com: We agree your music is funky. You’re from Minneapolis. You were born into and raised on that sound. And this is the first time we’ve spoken on the record since Prince passed. On your next album will you have anything directly or indirectly dedicated to him?
Shaun LaBelle: No. I won’t. I’ve always felt there’s way too many people hanging on. I’ve always tried to separate myself from all of that. Was I inspired by Prince? Absolutely! Did I do some session work for him? Yes I did. Was I directly in any of his bands? No. And I think his music is sacred. I think what he did was timeless, it’s legendary, and I just think people should leave it alone. It’s okay to have a little dedication, but I think there’s been a little too much of people using his stuff now. And I don’t think he’d be real happy about that. They only one I’m truly cool with is The Revolution – which is Matt Fink, Bobby Z, Wendy and Lisa. They were a part of what created his sound. There were an intricate part of it and they deserve a lot of credit for that. I’m okay with what they’re doing.
LiquidAE.com: Who were a part of your sound and helped you to become who you are today?
Shaun LaBelle: Wow! Boy-oh-boy…
LiquidAE.com: Too extensive of a list?
Shaun LaBelle: Well, I grew up in a very musical family. My father and my older brother were so inspirational. They were my first inspiration. Then I was introduced to George Benson, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, and one of my best friends and big brother Jeff Lorber. They were all a big part of where I am musically. And Stokley Williams of Mint Condition and Tom Saviano, or course. They’ve had so much influence on me. All those guys are a part of me, and who I am and what I am. If you have the right team they just make you better!
LiquidAE.com: We’re sure many would attest your work gets better and better. So what’s your expectation for your next album?
Shaun LaBelle: At this point now … It’s really funny; I’m cranking out songs but I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet! I’m not sure if I’m absolutely going to do an album, if I’m going to do an EP, or if I’m going to continue to crank out singles. That’s part of the dilemma I’m having. The industry has changed so much where people are not buying records the way they were. I think it’s become more of a singles business. I don’t think it’s as necessary to create albums as it is to create great songs.
LiquidAE.com: Shaun, what’s the one thing you want to remain consistent with your music regardless of how you release it?
Shaun LaBelle: It’s all about keeping it very musical. Having great melodies, having great chord changes and great grooves. My music is always about having stuff that has value to it. I’m not into putting out stuff to be cute and commercial. I want to put out stuff people can play ten years from now and say that’s timeless. |
CREDITS Written by Mr. Joe Walker | Photos – Search Engine Exploration | Shaun LaBelle – as Himself | Producer – Liquid Arts & Entertainment | Creative Director – The Liquidation Committee | Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Copy Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Site Editor – Doug Sims | Webmaster – Doug Sims | Twitter – @LiquidAEMag | Instagram – @liquidmagazine
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