Steal the Spotlight

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Interview with Maurice of Winslow

Steal the Spotlight: Hi there, to whom am I speaking with and what do you do in the band?

Winslow: Hey! This is Maurice Martin. I am the lead singer of the band. I am also the manager, one of the two songwriters, and a co-producer on the band's new album!


STS: You guys are about to release your second album (Left of the Right Direction). Can we get a preview of things we can expect from the release?

Maurice: Expect a musical flavor explosion in your ears! Haha Ok really what you can expect is an album of 10 songs that fuse soul music with rock, pop, and a hint of jazz. Each song really tells its own story and has its own musical flavor. There are some albums you listen to where you hear track 1 and kind of get the whole album already. "Left of the Right Direction" is quite a bit different than that because every song brings something different to the table.

STS: What kind of things did you draw on?

Maurice:  Life. What better is there to write about? There is something being in your mid to late 20's that makes it an incredibly interesting time. I really did a lot of soul searching as the lyricist on this album. I looked around at my life and the situations of those around me. It was important for me not to force things on this album. I wanted to connect with the people who heard this album. In my opinion, the best way to do that is through sincerity and truly being genuine.


STS: Your debut album was released back 2008, how does this one differ from the debut?

Maurice:  I think most people who heard "Crazy Kind of Love" enjoyed it but felt like it was missing something. I mean, I felt that way if no one else did haha. We were really still learning how to write songs, how to come up with hooks, how to add harmonies. We had a lot of growing up to do. With this album, you hear us all grown up. There is a mature sound and a level of arrangement that we didn't have before.

STS: I know the band went through some line-up changes from the first album until now. How has those effected the band as a unit as well as the writing style?

Maurice:  At first the changes ripped us apart. There was a point a year ago when I was pretty sure the dream was coming to an end. It was a tough dark time for all of us. Since then, it is hard for me to explain what has happened with this line up. We went from bandmates to family. From coworkers to 6 teammates who are rallying together to make our dreams come true. It sounds so corny to say that but it's true! When I think of Matt, Curtis, Jesse, Charlie, and Danny... I think of the 5 greatest musical motivations and inspirations that I have today. Those guys are so crazy good at what they do and I just work hard to make sure the vocals are as good as their instruments.

The is the musical version of what I just described. We just jell right now in a major way. Doesn't matter if the tune is smooth Rhythm and Blues or hard rock, we find a way to listen to each other and fuse our sound in a way that I think is truly special. That really is what makes the writing on this album special.

STS:  You have a nice blend of styles in your music and I have seen were the band stated “Call it soul; call it pop; call it rock. We don't care how people classify it we just want people to truly listen." What style would you say leaks out more than the others?

Maurice: I'm about to give you a cop out answer. At least I admit to it though! I call what we do soul rock. To me, that is the classification of our music in a nutshell. With my vocals, the sax, and the keys, there is this consistent soulful passionate vibe. Charlie and Danny are incredibly versatile, but there is a rock edge they give us on some of our new material that we never had before. Jesse is that missing piece of the formula. Every drum beat makes you groove and bob your head. And that, is me not answering your question at all!

STS:  The new album will be released in correlation with your March 1st show at Musica in Akron, Oh (my neck of the woods). Now tickets for the show at $9.99 which not only includes the show (plus two more bands), but a copy of the new album. How did this offer come to light?

Maurice:  We all sat down and thought about this album. We were like, "Who cares how great this album is if no one hears it." That really brought about this idea. If we can get 300 people or more out, give them a great night of music, and send them away with an album, we are giving ourselves a chance to grow. If a husband and wife come, they get two CDs. Great! Take one to work, give the extra to a co-worker. We want our music to spread in a major way. We aren't the first band ever to do it but we hope taking a different approach to things will be a catalyst to this album doing big things!

STS:  You have shared the stage with many bands including: Earth Wind & Fire, OAR, OK GO, and Incubus. Do would you compare those shows to the upcoming headlining gig for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s SXSW showcase in March?

Maurice: Those were such incredible moments that will forever be etched in my mind. I'm not sure any show I could play could compare to playing with Earth Wind & Fire honestly. Bands like that is the reason I am a musician today. Playing with Stevie Wonder would probably be the only group I could play with that could be as life changing. That being said, we are stoked for the SXSW showcase. It is such an honor to be in Austin for the first time during one of music's most amazing events. The fact that we are playing such a fantastic showcase and closing the event really blew us away. We're going to go to Austin, take it all in, meet as many people as possible, and then have a hell of a good time with some great musicians.

STS:  How honored are you to have been named that headliner?

Maurice: When we looked at the schedule and saw the last time slot it was just like, wow. Some moments take your breath away and that was one of them. I've been at this for a long time and people who know me well know that I'm a workaholic. I work 50+ hours a week at my day job then go home and manage Winslow. It is a brutal grind. Moments like that really do make it all worth it.

STS: You were named Cleveland’s Best Local Band by Fox 8 and Best Original Band in Cleveland’s Scene Magazine. How do those accomplishments compare to some of the other things that the band has done in their short career?

Maurice: I'd say these were incredible moments in my career. They definitely rank up there among the top for me. I'd say my absolute career high so far actually came with the recording of this album. Sitting in a studio with an incredible producer like Tony Nicholas was a humbling, nerve racking, incredible experience. I think Charlie and I learned a crazy amount about being producers ourselves after we spent time with Tony. His name isn't listed all over this record, but he left a mark for sure. The best of awards were incredible, but I guess at this point my sights are set on the future. Would love to be reaping Akron at The Grammy's someday like The Black Keys. A boy can dream haha.

STS:  Is there anything else that you would love to tell the fans and the masses?

Maurice: I guess I would just ask people to listen to this album with an open mind. The phrase I always here is "Music isn't like it used to be. Why isn't anyone truly unique anymore?" I would say Winslow is a band on that short list of acts who are truly unique. We have influences and inspiration, but as a whole, we sound like Winslow. Band's like us have to work twice as hard to gain acceptance. That is really only because it is hard to point a finger on what genre we really are. I guess I would just say that if you dig our sound and our steal, please please please spread it to everyone you can. Band's like us grow because the word about us spreads and grows as well. We kept going because we felt like there was a fanbase out there looking for a band like us. Hopefully our fans and the fans to come prove us right!

STS:  The last question, if you were able share the stage with anyone (passed on or still kicking) who would it be and why?

Maurice: Great question! If I could only pick one, it would have to be Michael Jackson man. He's my hero in so many ways. As a performer, as a producer, as a songwriter, and a singer he encompassed true creativity and individuality in music. I'm one of the bajillion artists out there who owe a huge part of their career to MJ. I have several other influences, but he is definitely the biggest. To share the stage with him would have been the day all my dreams really came true.


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