HHD: After you graduated from high school you moved to L.A. and signed with Babyface Entertainment and wrote music for Edmonds Publishing. How did you land that deal?
DS: All my background and being able to take piano at a young age and singing in the choir — just really working on my craft and getting better. While I was out there it was just timing. I was walking out of the Edmonds building and a producer asked me to sing. Right there in the lobby I sang for him. If I hadn’t taken that training, my vocals might not had been at the level they needed to be for that opportunity. It was definitely a stepping stone. I learned working for some of the best coming up under Babyface.
HHD: Since a young child you have worked in both acting and music. Do you have a preference for one or the other? If so, why?
DS: I don’t have a preference. Both of them are definitely a passion of mine. I’ve been blessed to get acting projects where I get a chance to showcase my singing ability. It’s always been my dream to manage both. Looking up to Jennifer Lopez, Aaliyah, and Beyonce and how they have been able to manage both. I would never want to choose. Right now I would say I am definitely focusing on my music. I just really love to entertain. I look forward to doing both and doing more in the future.
HHD: When it’s all said and done, when you look back at your career what do you hope to see?
DS: I hope to see myself being able to accomplish things people thought I wouldn’t be able to do. To look back and see other people coming behind me. I wanna be able to leave some type of legacy…for me to be able to inspire somebody and open up that door.
HHD: Tell us about your involvement in Liz Claiborne’s Love Is Not Abuse Campaign. We’ve seen the photos, but what do they symbolize and what is the campaign about?
DS: Liz Claiborne, they formed a curriculum with all the necessary tools to understand what violence is, where it comes from, how to seek help…If you’re in a relationship how to see the signs. The curriculum is also for teachers to learn how to open up the lines of cummunication. On top of all that, Liz Claiborne has a hotline that we’re getting ready to launch at the top of next year that teens can call and speak to people like myself and other trained individuals that are knowledgeable on the curriculum and let us be an ear to listen or give some advice. The majority of domestic violence relationships go unreported. So, it’s definitely an outreach for those people that are experiencing that or going through those types of situations…also for those who are violent to be able to search for help.
HHD: Why is it important for you to give back to your community both locally in Chicago and on a national scale with what you are doing with the Liz Claiborne campaign?
DS: It’s important when you find people that look up to you…and I can say something positive. I need to use my voice to make a difference, even if it is a samll difference. It’s just important when you’re raised to a level where people look up to you…You have them look up to something besides what’s entertaining to something positive.
HHD: How did a pop vocalist make her way into Slip-N-Slide Records?
DS: For me, I’ve never been by the book. Slip-N-Slide, they’ve been a very successful rap label for over 15 years and people are telling them, “You think you’re going to be able to do R&B music now, pop music?” We share a common goal. They’re wlling to take a risk. The first artist they take a risk with, that means they believe in me and they’re gonna push me. They were very excited and that’s the thing for new artists. You can get a deal but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna come out. Haing a deal is one thing but you wanna know that your label is behind you. That’s what was most important to me. It’s a great marriage. They really care about me as a person and they care about making this album perfect. I’m excited.
HHD: Your album is dropping Spring 2010. What can we expect to hear from it?
DS: This is going to be who I am as a person. Heartbreak, being in love, all those things. So, it’s gonna be very, very real. I think everybody’ll be able to relate to it. It’s gonna be my story, my life.
HHD: You’re part of a label that has produced some very successful rap artists. I’m just gonna assume that you gotta love hip hop. Who would you consider to be the three most influential rap artists and why?
DS: I would definitely have to go back to Digable Planets. I would have to say Salt ‘N Pepa, Queen Latifah…and those are people I feel are still relevant today. But, I gotta say Sweet Tee because I love Sweet Tee.
HHD: While we’re waiting on your album to drop, in the meatime we’re jammin to “Juke It” which is your new single, what else can we expect from you?
DS: The album is definitely rooted in where I’m from which is Chicago. If you love Kanye, if you love R Kelly, all of the real music coming out of Chicago, stepper’s music, juking music…there’s definitely gonna be an influence from that. It’s gonna be a stew of universal music and that’s what I’m most excited about. It’s really just gonna be a well rounded, diverse album you’re gonna feel from beginning to end. My mother loves mymusic. My grandmother loves my music. My two year old niece knows the words to “Juke It”. It touches different ages and different demographics. So that means its timeless.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
DS: Hip hop diva, that’s definitely being independent, going after it with integrity and with passion.
Check out Drew Sidora at www.myspace.com/drewsidora