Exclusive: Algebra Blessett Talks New Album ‘Recovery’, Respect for R&B, Staying True to Yourself & More!



For any artist, getting signed to a major label is a dream come true. Having the financial backing and continuous promo from someone other than yourself is a pretty sweet deal. Although this is true, there are artists that tend to take an alternate route of doing things slightly different and going after it themselves. Soul singer, Algebra Blessett, serves as a perfect example.

Making her debut with the 2008 album Purpose, the Atlanta native has done an impressive job of delivering authentic R&B to fans. While she’s decided to take the less sought after approach as being an independent artist, Algebra continues to thrive in her expertise and give hope to those considering following suit. Releasing her very catchy, soul-filled track, “Nobody But You” last year, the gorgeous songstress has fans on the edge of their seats as they anticipate the release of her upcoming album. Working with her close team of producers and staying strong in the direction that she chose to go in, it’s truly a relief to see an artist excel by their own means.

Absolutely one of the most humble talents that we’ve encountered, Algebra is here to rep for the Soul singers around the world. Continuously pushing herself to unforeseen limits, this is one soul sista you want to be sure to keep on your radar. Taking some time away while revving up for the release of her sophomore album, Recovery, the signer took some time out to speak with us on a few details surrounding the album, the reasoning behind the wait for album #2, her thoughts on R&B and much, much more.

Jump into the exclusive interview below:

I know that right now you have a project that you’re preparing to release on January 28th. Tell me a little bit about the album, Recovery.

It’s the sophomore album and this record was a strategic album for music and lyrics. It kind of strategizes the topics that I wanted to really focus on. It is very live-music driven. It was produced by myself, Kwamé Holland, Shannon Sanders and LT Moe. We had a very vulnerable approach to the content and the music. We have 14 tracks on there and the single, “Nobody But You”, was done by Shannon Sanders and it was just that testimony of love to reiterate that love to your significant other if you will – just in case insecurities ever set in.

I know you just mentioned the single “Nobody But You” and it’s been out for a few months now. What made you choose that as the leading single from the album? 

If you’re familiar with the music, some records aren’t as sing-with-able, so this is a record that we wanted the audience to sing along with, feel good about, be happy about and definitely relate to. The piano part of the song was so crisp that every time we would listen to it and walk away to go to another song, we would always still remember, “I don’t want nobody but you”. You’d always hear that no matter what, so we just kind of decided to go with that for the radio.

What collaborations can we look forward to?

There’s one duet and that’s with Q. Parker and like I said, the songwriting and producing was done by those producers I mentioned earlier. With Q, it’s the only feature for this particular album.

What made you use just one feature on this album?

Well that song came about because it was going to be for another album and when the song was listened to by some of the listeners that we picked out, it was like, “Oh, we really love this song.” I’ve done duets in the past of course, but this was one record that we just all decided would be a good idea vocally because he’s such an amazing singer. He’s an amazing songwriter as well. This is my sophomore album and it was a good idea to have my brother be apart of this project with me.

It’s been 6 years since you released your debut album, Purpose. Why such a long hiatus and what do you think you’ve learned in between album 1 and album 2?

Um, I wouldn’t call it a hiatus. I was working. I was doing the work. I’m sure for a lot of artists, they choose to take a long period of time – it really wasn’t my choice. I look back and it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, five years has gone by.’ During that time, I was still writing songs for other artists and writing for myself as well. Doing features on other albums and still traveling, touring, and doing shows. I want to say about a year ago or a year and a half ago, I really kind of buckled down on which direction I wanted to take the album, but it was always work. There was never really a hiatus form music or from doing an album. It was a lot of things involved – from growing as a businesswoman to growing as a writer and a singer and just really perfecting the craft that I was given. So, it’s always been work – no vacation time, no sitting back wondering if this is what I’m going to do [laughs]. I’ve also been doing a little acting, a little bit of dancing – a little bit of everything. Things happen. As you live, music goes on and vice versa.

What do you think the difference is between this album and your first album?

With Purpose, it was with every song, every instrument and every lyric I had developed or started up until the point of release in ’08. So, for example, the very first song at that album is “At This Time” – that’s the very first song that I ever wrote on the guitar without even knowing what the chords were. It was just me being vulnerable in a different place. It was like, ‘Oh, I can do this! I’m gonna put it on an album!’ With this particular record, it’s more so I took a strategic approach to it. I knew exactly who I wanted to work with. I didn’t have an open forum for producers to submit records. I knew who I wanted to work with, what I wanted to talk about, and the information that I wanted to give. So, it was just growth in that manner. Just developing a different love for music. I developed something new in Recovery. I went through a lot of great things as well. A lot of sad things, a lot of great things and I went through a process of accepting on this record. With the first album, it was just you know a kid in the candy store. This time, I know what candy I want. I don’t have to taste everything.

That’s an awesome way of putting that together. I know that you’re an independent artist and I’m noticing that a lot of artists are starting to take this route due to them having more creativity on their own projects. Do you ever regret taking the independent route opposed to having a label behind you? How do you really deal with the stresses that come with being an independent artist? 

The stresses are…sometimes, it really just boils down to the grass being greener on the other side. It’s all about what you want and what you desire. I think a lot of times when you are an independent artist or you do a certain type of music, a lot of the consumers or maybe the label heads may feel like, “Oh well she doesn’t want to be a household name,” or “She doesn’t want this. She just wants to be able to do it whenever she wants to.” It’s not stress, but it’s just so much business behind it. It’s a lot of creative control sometimes, but then even on the independent side, it may be a bad thing to have that much control. On a major label side, it could be a beautiful thing that the artist does not have that much creative control because sometimes it’s better for that person to just be on the forefront and be the robot. That’s not to say that if you’re on a major label you’re a robot. I know a lot of amazing artists that are major labels and they have a lot of control. It amazes me that they are able to sustain and be amazing artists. So, it just really depends on what you want. Me, myself, as an independent artist, I felt like even if I were to sign a major deal, I’d still be an independent artist because that’s my thought process. It’s all about your approach to your music and what you want to give. It’s the equivalent to a mother saying, “Are you a good mother or are you a bad mother?” At the end of the day, I’m a mother and it’s not very relevant on if you think I’m a good mother or not, but I know that I take care of mine. So, it’s all about your approach to it I think.

I definitely agree. I was reading up on your background and I know that you come from very humble beginnings as far as your parents, what your mom did and how your family is very musical. How do you feel that your past – and even the things about you fighting singing – has played into your passion, where you’re going now, and how hard you work to make this work out for you? 

It has everything to do with it. It is definitely the blueprint of my life, it is the structure in my life. Me definitely figuring out what I wanted to do, say and feel, and what I wanted to convey. I’m still learning that – don’t get me wrong, I’m still a student in music and in life. But, as a child, there was a phase that my parents, my mom, my sisters, cousins – everybody – we loved music. However, so many different types of music. Like, I wake up sometimes now to just whatever station is on in the car or just turn Pandora on and you just put in a name and whatever playlist comes up under that artist, you just have to stay open minded. But, it definitely created a structure in being honest. Had it not been for my mom, my great-grandmother and just growing up in their realm, then I would not understand what honest music is. I would just be doing music. I mean, there are plenty people who can sing, there are plenty people who can write a song, but it’s all about what your passion is, what that meaning is and what you’re trying to convey in that message that you’re writing.

Speaking of artists, you know 2013 was a very strong year for R&B. It brought out amazing artists, amazing music and amazing albums as a whole. What artists did you pay attention to the most, or what artists are you looking forward to seeing grow this year? 

That’s a hard question ma’am [laughs]. No, but I appreciate everyone that does this. It’s a whole ‘nother respect that you have when you dive into it yourself. As an artist, singer, songwriter and musician, I look forward to every R&B/Soul singer because we have a different route that we take than a Pop act. We have a different route than a Gospel act. We have a different route than a Jazz musician. So, because I feel like our genre is unalloyed to put us in a box, we’ve had to struggle to maintain our genre the most. We always struggle for R&B. You know, everybody always likes to take the label of R&B, they like to claim this as Neo-Soul or they like to call it Jazz. In some record stores, they’ve taken that title out. So, a lot of times, I would just love to see Rhythm & Blues and Soul music really flourish in the months to come because we fought for that. We fought for that name. The thing is with Rhythm & Blues and Soul music, it’s always been a derivative of that honest Gospel music or that moving emotional Jazz music. It’s always been a melting pot of all these other things. So, sometimes it’s hard to call it Rhythm & Blues. Rhythm & Blues is just what it is. It’s the rhythm and blues of our heart. So, any artist that has been labeled with that, I would love to hear what they have next.

Are there any artists that you’re looking forward to collaborating with in the future? 

Absolutely! I’m a big hip-hop fan so I love Kendrick Lamar, I love Drake. I like André [3000], Big Boi – I love my southern fellas. I love their delivery, I love their subject matter because it’s so relatable in my life. Singers, I love Erykah [Badu]. I love my sisters of course. I love Lauren, but I’m a big Paramore fan as well. So, any rock groups. Girl, I’m all over the place. It just depends on what mood I’m in [laughs].

What type of advice would you give to someone trying to get in the position where you are now who is trying to take the independent route?

I should write a book [laughs]. I would definitely first and foremost say, ‘know who you are.’ Be very, very honest with yourself. The reason I say that is because when you know who you are, no matter who may imitate you, who you may inspire, how resourceful you are, or what you may give, you’ll always be plentiful when you know who you are. As an artist, as a writer and as a musician, you’ll grow. When you don’t know who you are, you keep yourself stagnant and you’re never able to grow. So the moment that you decide to jump into this career of music, you have to know who you are or set out to know who you are.

Algebra’s new album Recovery, will hit stores on January 28. You can Pre-Order it on iTunes now!

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