Interview by Dom Ellis (@wwwdomdotcom)
Listen to the radio for five minutes and you’ll more likely than not hear ScHoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar spazzing out on Collard Greens. It’s pretty hard to imagine such a huge sound that’s been stretched from coast to coast and peaked on Billboard’s Hot R&B and Hip Hop charts at number 28, all stemmed from the easy-going ,southern bell, Gwen Bunn’s melody dungeon. Despite her soft voice and Decatur, Georgian accent, there is a brash and wild side to the 21-year-old singer-producer that she is effectively displaying through her eclectic music and production. From recording a weightless and airy chorus on Overdoz’ Inside to silently producing smash hits like Collard Greens, Bunn is letting her music do the talking and allowing her influences and creative spirit to grab the reins and guide her along. Bunn is set to release her second self-produced project, Melody Dungeon, later this year and plans on shocking the world with her multifaceted steez. There are no limits on what she can do musically, and when people aren’t easily predicted or contained, they become problems for the rest of us. Her soft voice and poofy hair are merely disguises, she is actually a free-spirited rebel child. Don’t get it twisted, Gwen Bunn is a problem. Meet your maker.
You had a track with Overdoz on their project Boom. You were on Inside, How did that come about?
Well .I took a trip out to Cali at the top of this year and I was kickin’ it with THC. Those are the homies and we were all in the studio and I played them the joint idea the night before and they were all ‘WHAT IS THIS?’ and I was like whatever. It came together real quick. We had a little session and that’s what they chose.
You sound really comfortable with your music. Did your schooling affect that all? Or is it how you naturally feel about your music?
I think its super natural because before I went to school I already had a project out. It wasn’t “professional,” but it was semi pro and I already had an idea of what I wanted to do. I will say that school and the location and the people it brought helped. I think that helped a lot, just having the type of people in the environment I was in it was just music all day. Being around other people like me definitely helped me grow as a musician.
I like listening to The Verdict because it’s a complete composition. You started it off With Meet Your Maker which is a powerful song right off the bat- was that on purpose? How did you layout that opus?
Meet Your Maker was the first really good song I’d written in my opinion. I actually made it in January of 2009. So that’s why I chose it to be the first song. I kind of just picked the order of the songs in the order that I made them. My next project is not going to be like that, but I will say that I just picked the songs in the order in which I made them. I called it the Verdict because it was just like my question to myself-“Who are you as an artist?” and the Verdict is the verdict. I wanted it to be as natural as possible.
So, who are you as an artist then?
I’d say someone super well-rounded musically. I’m very open. Extremely open to new things, I’m not held down. I come from hip-hop, gospel and R&B and then went into soul later in my listening years. [laughs] I’m a melting pot-type of artist. I can do a hip-hop track one day then turn around and make something that sounds experimental. Something that sounds like something from Bollywood!
How do you feel about your success with Collard Greens and how does that play into your music now?
It shows another side of me musically that people don’t know yet. I haven’t put a lot of my material out. I’ve been holding out because it’s all about how you put it out there. I want to do it strategically, but they don’t know that hard side of me yet. It’ll basically show that I do come from hip-hop. I do have a hip-hop background. So I’m not just limited to singing all day or just making soft tracks all the time. So it’s coming from another side.
When you’re on a track it takes on your sound. Have you noticed that?
Somewhat. [laughs] I’m glad that you notice it too. It might have something to do with my voice. Whatever I’m singing on I make sure it fits my tone. I make sure I match my voice to the track. I try to create a special connection between my tone and the track.
Do you like performing and being in front of the music or do you like producing?
I like both aspects. I wouldn’t say I like one more than the other cause I gotta have that balance. I don’t want to be on stage all day, everyday. But I would want to mix being on stage and producing. Anything that’ll help me find balance. That’s what I’m trying to do.
You smashed it in 2013, so what are your plans for 2014 and how do you plan on getting there?
The plan is to drop Melody Dungeon. My next self-produced project, and really just take over the world with that. You know I don’t have any official videos, so the first video is going to be a video off of that. I just pretty much plan to plant my feet, just put the album out and see where we go from there.
When and how did things take off for you? How are you handling it all?
It’s mostly a timing thing. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Last Call by Kanye, but he shouts out Jessica Rivera. Basically she was the first industry person I had a meeting with. Jessica gave me some of the best advice. She told me around this time is when it’ll start happening for me. She told me to just keep growing and developing, but that was when I was 17. She basically said when you turn 20-21 is when it’s going to happen for you. She pretty much prophesied it for me. I’ve just been doing my thing staying grounded and thankful for my opportunities and everything falling into place.