Pee Wee rocks the crowd (photo courtesy of artist)
From Gospel Star to Hip-Hop Producer
By Todd A. Smith
Growing up, music was just a hobby for Pee Wee. Producing tracks as a teenager was just a way to make beats to rap over in his free time.
His real goal was to attend medical school and after graduating from high school in 1998, he enrolled at Xavier University in New Orleans. However, after hearing him sing, his girlfriend encouraged him to pursue a career in music, and his undeniable talent caught the attention of some big stars in the music business.
“In 1999 I ran across some singers at Xavier from Lamont Jackson and A New Beginning, signed to the Tyscot label, and eventually started singing with them. I did that for about five years,” said Pee Wee.
That experience as a gospel artist led him to work with some of the heavyweights of the industry such as Kirk Franklin, Bobby Jones and Deitrick Haddon. After one album on Tyscot Records, the group dissolved, but Pee Wee decided to remain in the music business, focusing more on the production aspect of the industry.
Influenced by producer Timbaland and singers like Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Carl Thomas, Pee Wee has produced tracks for Houston rapper Boss of the group ABN, and is in talks to work with new Houston artist J.P. and Trae from Rap-a-Lot Records.
As a former gospel singer now producing hip-hop records, Pee Wee has reflected on the negativity in some rap lyrics, but he feels as if he is just a businessperson trying to sell a product to a customer. What the customer does with the product is out of his control.
“I thought about that a lot because my first experience as a singer was gospel. Now I am a producer, rapper and R&B artist myself, so I don’t want to be boxed into one particular genre. I can say that all of my personal music is clean. You won’t hear me disrespecting women or using vulgar lyrics. I’m not promoting violence. I am about promoting the positive aspects of the music and the culture and I wish more artists would focus on the positive,” he said.
So what can fans expect to hear when they hear a track produced by Pee Wee?
“My style is a collective of a lot of the styles that influenced me. I’m big on providing something that will make somebody move, but at the same time I don’t want music to lose the music.”
“I’m big on musical elements. Whether it is an R&B or a hip-hop track you’ll hear melodies and chord changes, not just a drum beat,” he replied.
According to Pee Wee, the biggest obstacle that he faces in the music industry is that everyone wants to produce music now simply for the financial benefits, which makes it harder for serious musicians to be noticed.
However, for those seriously considering a career in music, Pee Wee encourages them to have discipline, stay dedicated and take the proper steps to go about it the right way, and do not get discouraged by the trials and tribulations of life’s journey.
To hear music from Pee Wee visit www.myspace.com/weemixproductions