We were lucky enough to catch up with M-Dot, following the superb release ‘One Day at a Time’. Read the full review below!
Hi M-Dot, what is your earliest music memory?
First off, thank you for having me on FVMusicBlog! I am thrilled to be here.
My earliest musical memory dates back to fourth grade when I was in a public school in 1991. The school had required all of us to take musical aptitude tests. I distinctly remember that they had us all sitting in a large auditorium and listening to various musical notes on these large headphones that they had at each seat.
The headphones were designed to ‘test our ears for music’ by having us hear various sounds, tones and melodies while matching them up to each other and ruling out any subtle differences in them.
I remember just taking the test and not thinking much of it. But fast-forward to several days later, and I am loudly approached by one of the teachers in the hallway.
I was a bit of a troublemaker then, haha, so naturally, I just assumed I was in trouble. Much to my relief, however, I was not. In fact, it turns out the teacher was the head of the entire music department at the school (!), and he excitedly informed me that I earned “one of the highest scores on the musical aptitude test!” It was crazy. He basically told me that they needed to get me to make music ASAP.
This memory has always stuck with me, as it was very encouraging. It planted the seed in my head for later in life as I would enter the music scene and, ultimately, the industry.
How did you get into the music industry?
I guess it honestly depends on what you consider to be the ‘music industry’, haha. I wouldn’t consider myself to have officially entered the industry until 2021 when I released my latest single, ‘One Day at a Time’.
Although I have a solid back catalogue of music that I’ve previously released on SoundCloud, etc., and have been having fun performing live in the music scene for over 20 years, this is the first song that I officially recorded in a professional studio and distributed via CD Baby to all major streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music, etc.
I saw some hit potential in this song that I hadn’t seen in any of my prior pieces, so I really wanted to take the opportunity to kick things up a notch and take my music to the next level! And I have had a lot of success breaking into the industry with this single ever since!
Who influenced your brilliant latest release, ‘One Day At A Time’?
‘One Day at a Time’ was honestly really personal to me. It hit close to home for me – and I think it hits close to home for many people. The last three years or so with the struggles of the pandemic have been hard for many people – me included – even with the passage of all this time. And I think we will feel the emotional trauma of what we have been through for quite some time.
So I just wanted to feel, honestly, like I am not alone in what I’m going through and to help others feel like they’re not alone. So that is kind of what the song was intended to do. It was a vulnerable, therapeutic passion project for me to get through the pandemic’s emotional effects and connect with others.
And then it just turned into something greater than myself, especially as I realized that I could connect with prominent DMV-area R&B and soul/funk singer-songwriter, Mary-eL to collaborate with her on the track. The next thing I knew, it had morphed into something even more significant, and it’s been super exciting ever since!!
The single was released on November 12, 2021. It was originally recorded as a freestyle, totally off the top (with the exception of the hook that I wrote in about 30 seconds or so). It was inspired by a lot of personal struggles that I was going through during the pandemic, so I had no difficulty in letting it all out!
The song is basically a heartfelt hip-hop/R&B tune that shares a chill, positive, reflective, storytelling vibe with a melodic piano and saxophone track in the background (produced by independent beatmaker, Omito Beats, shout out to Timothy Izzard at Omito Beats). Its goal is to express a meaningful message and exude a catchy flow with lyrics spat me, with a powerful vocal hook sung by Mary-eL.
The vocals were professionally recorded and mixed by expert sound engineer and creative pop musician Tyler Schafer at Cue Recording Studios. Both the lyrics and the melody for the hook and verses were written and composed by me. Influenced by OutKast, Common, Macklemore, and the Black Eyed Peas, the song is intended to have a magnetic, relatable, personal feel for the struggles and resiliency of people in 2020-2021, 2022 and beyond as we enter into 2023!
Ever since the single’s release and even over one year later, Mary-eL and I have been excited about the positive reception, it’s been getting! “One Day at a Time” has been aired on radio stations, including Takoma Radio on WOWD-LP 94.3 FM, the E-Jazz Radio station, and the WOA-FM-99 Radio Show and Podcast – a nationally-syndicated show hosted by Multiple Billboard Top 10 Artist/Producer and MTV EMA Nominee, Oliver Sean!
The single has also been featured and reviewed positively by various independent music blogs across the globe, such as HypeFresh Magazine, Music Reload, The Word is Bond, and the Roadie Music blog, just to name a few. It has also been included in various independently curated Spotify playlists. Also, I have been interviewed and featured in-depth for the single on the radio and the www.GatherDC.org website in Washington, DC!
In addition, in 2021, the single was signed for a deal from Head A&R, Stuart Cheese, on the roster for media promotion by UK-based label, One Night Stand Music & Management! In September 2022, the single also featured on track no. 4 in Volume 12 of W.O.A. Entertainment Group’s major, multi-genre, heavily distributed, worldwide Independent No. 1’s Compilation Album, intended for indie breakthrough artists!
The compilation album has gone on to chart at #1 on Amazon U.K.’s “Hot New Releases” and has had over 40,000 Spotify streams. Like the single, the album is available on all major streaming platforms.
So it’s been a fun, wild ride!
You are based in Washington; what is the music scene like post covid?
The music scene in Washington, DC, is surprisingly vibrant! A lot of people wouldn’t think of Washington, DC, as a cool or creative type of city. But there is a whole side to DC that a lot of people don’t know about, which is a very vibrant music scene and supportive community of local independent musicians spanning various genres. There is so much local talent and so many amazing venues that promote many awesome musicians and artists.
Like in many other parts of the world, Covid hit the music scene very hard here. Indoor live performances were basically unable to happen, and it was devastating for a lot of people. Some bands were able to perform outdoors during the warmer weather months, which was very nice. But overall, it was very hard.
More recently, however, post-Covid, live shows have resumed in full force, and people have been coming out to support and enjoy the music just like old times!! It’s been great. And one silver lining is that during the tough times with the pandemic and people being isolated, a lot of good music was written.
So now we are reaping the benefits of getting to enjoy these songs being performed in person in front of live audiences, which is a beautiful thing! We are bouncing back!!
You have performed at venues such as The Wonderland Ballroom, The Pocket at 7DrumCity, Busboys and Poets, and Hellbender Brewery; what’s been your favourite gig?
My favourite gig to perform was definitely at Busboys and Poets on 14th Street in Washington, DC. The vibe of the crowd was even more engaged and enthusiastic than usual. It was packed, and the crowd went wild.
The entire room of people got super hyped and basically sang along, danced, had their hands in the air, snapped their fingers and clapped the entire time, and I got a standing ovation at the end! I feed off the energy from the stage, so it was awesome. I’ve enjoyed a lot of gigs, but this was definitely my favourite.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Wale, for sure!! Gotta show love and represent for DC.
Other than music, what are you passionate about?
Aside from music, I’m most passionate about fighting for, advocating for, and supporting women in crises – such as domestic violence and abuse, harassment and catcalling, sexual assault situations, etc. I was raised to treat and respect women as the Queens and Goddesses that they are. And what happens to women in our society on a regular basis that women have to go through is obviously not remotely OK – and I’ve been through stuff, too and have seen way too much as well.
So I just try my best to do my part by fighting for victims and survivors. I do this both in my personal and professional life – I have volunteered to represent women pro bono at domestic violence legal clinics, and I spend a lot of time in the local community in DC advocating for and assisting women in general. It’s very important to me.
What changes would you like to see in the music business?
The biggest change I would like to see in the music business would be finding a way to force record deals to be more fair and equitable to artists who don’t have the knowledge, access to resources, money or legal representation. It’s a huge issue. I know of way too many artists who have been taken for a ride by shady record labels who don’t have the artist’s best interests in mind.
How do you feel about how the internet plays a role in today’s music business?
I do feel like the Internet has become a great equalizer and has definitely helped to play a role in paving the way to provide access for new and emerging musicians. It’s a beautiful thing! Even having sites like YouTube has definitely helped artists take a less traditional route to become successful.
At the same time, though, I do think the Internet has also contributed to some music oversaturation. So I think the trick will be to find a way to help filter through all the music that is out there and find the artists who have the most hit potential, etc., to offer. The Internet has definitely come a long way, though, to help with the problem.
What would it be if you could choose one thing for fans to take away from your music?
My biggest message that I want my fans to take away from is that you are not alone in what you are going through, even if it feels that way. Like Tupac always said, “Keep your head up!”
What is your favourite song to play live?
My favourite song to play live is currently “One Day at a Time.” It’s just the most accurate reflection of where I am at with my headspace these days, and my music has always been a genuine way for me to express myself and connect with other people.
Have you started working on your next release?
So I do have a couple of potential projects that I’m working on coming down the pipe, but right now, with where I’m at, I’m really all about trying to save money and get a budget together. That way, I’m not really doing things half-heartedly or anything like that.
I want to make sure to be able to continue to respect the people who are supporting me by being able to continue to give it my all on the stage and in the studio. But I will say once I have things ready to announce for release, you will be the first to know! I really appreciate the support and your having me on this blog. So stay tuned!
FVMusicBlog January 2023