Say Pell Yeah to the musician here to brighten your day with his spirit and music as we enter the age of Pell!
From La La Land to NOLA rap, Pell is the rising hip-hop artist who is breaking down barriers in the music industry. Named the rising neo-soul sound – Pell’s music combines old funk and jazz melodies with contemporary jazz beats to bring sounds from his New Orleans upbringing into his LA music career. Moving to the city as a hip-hop focused musician, Pell has expanded to work with artists in all walks of music and even venture into cinema, cementing his reputation as a multitalented musician and producer.
Forced to relocate after Hurricane Katrina, Pell never let go of his roots to his home town, shaping his desire to bring together old and new hip hop sounds to create a musical style entirely his own. His new debut album, “Gravity”, sees Pell hone his style in an exciting culmination of years of work. The third in a trilogy of albums which began in 2015 with “LIMBO” EP, “Gravity”’s tracks exude a fresh, upbeat sound that Pell describes as an ode to his past and a reminder to stay grounded.
Pell’s new music radiates empowering, upbeat energy that forces you into the present moment. This was an intentional choice, Pell said, to remedy the big changes in his life and remind himself, and listeners, to step away from the digital world and face reality instead of faking it. With Pell’s new album to backtrack our reality this summer, that shouldn’t be hard at all.
How does it feel to have your debut album “Gravity” out in the world?
There are so many different feelings. It’s been such a long process, it exciting to see how listeners respond. There is always some anxiety before I release new music, especially when it’s been so long but the feedback from fans has been amazing. It’s given me a new energy.
Talk us through some of the central themes within your album?
Spirituality, redemption, relationships and positivity are big themes in the album. I wanted to be a relatable voice to help people get themselves out of dark places when they are down. Sometimes you need to take a step out of yourself and know that dynamics can change and music can help you do that.
You speak of how “Skyfall” represents not forgetting your roots, how else has New Orleans inspired your sound?
New Orleans creatives and musicians are some of the best in the world, they push forward with their art and they don’t do it just for commercial gain. There is an energy in New Orleans that creates artists. The city showed me you can overcome anything thrown at you. After Hurricane Katrina people came together and persevered. They didn’t lose their passion or their hope.
What was it like to work with Doja Cat on her latest tour?
It was dope. Touring with Doja and our homies was so cool, there was a really exciting energy. I learnt a lot from her, especially watching her performances.
Talk us through your path of self-discovery?
I’m a Gemini, so it’s been a journey learning how to talk about my feelings. At different points in my life I’ve gone through phases of how I feel about myself, good and bad.
I grew up in a middle-class background in New Orleans and I had a good school and community but when I was displaced all of that was lost and I had to rebuild. I’ve worked to find my way to be somebody, not just a voice.
What is your biggest style inspiration?
Nature and colour, earth tones, marigold. People don’t realise how much of our feelings are based in colour. When I started to wear the colour marigold and brighter colours I realised how it affected the mood of everyone around me, it brightened people’s mood. Visuals and especially colours have a powerful impact on our feelings, I like to bring that into my style.
How does it feel to work with New Orleans musician PJ Morton?
It was a long time coming, seven years actually. I’ve been his fan since I was a kid and my dad knew him, so he’s always been a familiar figure in my life and there’s a degree of sentimentality. When I sent him my track, he sent me back vocals two days later even though he was still travelling, so it showed he really cared. It’s a dream come true, he’s the best in New Orleans.
What inspires your visuals?
Movies and films – there are certain scenes or words that stay in your memory and never fade. I was really inspired by the way they shot different perspectives in old movies, so when it came to shooting ‘Bitch Ass’ I liked that idea of creating movement while standing still. In 2019 there is so much stimulation, constant scrolling so I wanted the video to juxtapose that with a visual that you can’t turn away from. Miles and AJ, the directors, put together this intricate set so that there are changing perspectives with lights and aesthetics while I am just standing there, creating a new perspective.
What’s next for Pell?
More shows! I’m hitting the road – before this, I was in an introspective, hermit phase of life. It was necessary but now I’m excited to be creative again, start producing more and get out there and perform. Being a musician or creative person is like sports seasons, you have an on and an offseason to do other things, well I’m on now.