F.Stokes’s first international tour was in Australia in 2003, one as he describes as a ‘solo/lonely/educational run.’ Ever since then he can't get Australia out of his mind. Fast forward a few years, and he is now taking over the states with his national tour. Born and bred in Chicago, F.Stokes truly captivates hip hop with his lyrics, and makes love with your soul through his music. Residing in New York, his debut album “Love, Always” is set to drop in March. We chat with F.Stokes about the debut album, the experiences when recording domestically and abroad, and why he believes in order for us to live in rhythm, it has to start with loving you. Margaret Tra writes.
Your new album “Love, Always” is set to drop March, could you tell us a bit about that?
'Love, Always.' is somewhat of a musical journey through the last five years of my life. A hybrid of an album, that includes pieces recorded domestically and abroad with an array of producers; including a Parisian funk band, and a duo from Brooklyn known as the Club House - amongst many other great producers. That's just an example of this EP's musical range. The subject matter is just as colourful, as I discuss issues ranging from single mother parenting, to a past friendship with a neighbourhood crack-head.
What is your favourite track on the album?
“Aspire, to Inspire.” It’s an upbeat spoken word piece, produced by Matt Brandau. It’s a great day starter.
You've got a pretty busy tour schedule at the moment, how is it all going? Thinking of going abroad?
It’s going great. I've conditioned myself spiritually and physically for this transition, so to me, it’s the natural process. Now when I do things there's more of a plan behind it, which is good. My ideas have a larger platform now. I'm just excited, and grateful that they're people who dedicate their time to assuring my music reaches its largest listening potential.
Yes! I think about Australia at least once a week. My first international tour was there, and I have great friends in OZ. Hopefully I can make the journey later this year!
You’ve recorded in Paris, Los Angeles and Madison; do you think it makes a difference recording in various locations? How does it affect your music/ creativity?
For me, yes. I'm a very emotional person, so when I write, and record, I take in the scene as much as possible. I try to become part of the social fabric of whatever city or country I'm in. Like when I'm in Paris, I don't just go to the studio and record; I walk around the city for hours. Stop at the cafes, talk with the people, eat the pastries, and learn the culture. Embrace the smell of the city. This is all reflected in how the music is produced, as most will hear on 'Love, Always.' Same goes for LA and New York. Each place has a unique artistic effect on how I produce my sound while in those cities.
"I don't even know you, but I love you," words you live by. How did that come about?
In order for me to go into a situation stripped of any preconceived notion, or bias, I have to start by loving everyone involved. I have to go in with an open soul. So when I say ' I don't even know, but I love you', it’s because in order for us to live in rhythm, it has to start with me loving you, as I love myself initially and beyond.
What stimulates your soul?
You, and everybody else who's living their life to make a difference.
*Love, Always will be released on 6 March 2012.