Interview with Stoop Lee: Keeping Motown’s Underground Soulful
Stoop Lee is both an old soul and neo-soul. The Detroit-born artist has made himself a staple in the city’s underground music scene with his unique fusion of soul and rap with lyrics, packed full of nerdy and nostalgic references. We sat down with Lee to discuss his upcoming show at El Club on March 24th, and talk about his music, both old and new.
A lot of people will try to go to New York, LA, or even Atlanta to pursue their music career. What about Detroit has kept you here?
I really believe in what’s happening in the city. I think there’s a cool scene that’s really brewing and I just wanna be a part of helping that grow.
Could you describe the indie music scene in Detroit right now?
I think it’s pretty exciting. I think there’s a really interesting mix of artists and sounds.
I always say to people, I feel like we’re gonna have our Chicago moment very soon, in terms of like, the alternative scene is gonna get its shine, you know? Of course the street side [of Detroit music] is pretty popular. People know about that. But I think as far as what’s happening in terms of more soulful music, I think Detroit’s gonna have a sound very soon and people are gonna take notice.
Your music is kind of like this dreamy neo-soul that’s hard to describe. What made you go in that direction creatively? Is it a conscious decision or just something you started doing naturally?
I just make the music that I love. My attempt at it, you know… my music is just like a combination of people that inspired me and I just made stuff that kind of reminds me of them really. And it just kind of turned into what it is.
I love people to feel nostalgic when hearing my stuff. Whether it’s something that I’m mentioning, or the sounds that they’re hearing. I definitely want my stuff to be an emotional experience for any new listener.
Are you influenced by 90’s and early 2000’s?
Yeah, I would say probably late 90’s or 2000’s. That’s where most of my references come from. And people who grew up during that time period are probably the ones feeling the most nostalgic by some of the things that I mention or the sound that they’re hearing in my music.
You mention in another interview that you don’t like chasing that Spotify algorithm and you prefer radio. When you make your songs and come out with singles, are you trying to chase radio hits, or do you still kind of begrudgingly want to get on that Spotify playlist?
In that interview, I did say I didn’t like playlists, but the main thing I was really speaking on is that I didn’t like the kind of power that they have. I feel like at this point now, a few years removed from that interview, it’s kind of unavoidable. It seems like the best way to reach new fans.
When I’m making stuff, I just make something that’s true to me. Of course, I want any playlist to pick up what I’m doing. That way, I could reach a wider audience. But for now, I just make things that I love and then see what playlist would want to feature me.
As an artist, where do you see yourself headed? Are you trying to be a superstar like Kendrick Lamar or J Cole, or do you see yourself being like an underground legend, like MF DOOM or RA the Rugged Man?
I mean, I’d say somewhere in between. More towards Kendrick and Cole’s status, is what I’m aiming for. I do love the size of someone like a Tyler the Creator, where he’s huge but still he seems to be in his own world. I feel like he can still go out to places in public without being mobbed, depending on what city he’s in.
You dropped the “Yellow Version” EP around this time last year in March. Many of your fans are wondering if there’s a new project on horizon..
Yeah, I’m working on the “Blue Version.” My goal is to release it in the Spring, so I’m looking at dropping that around the time I have my show. around late March, or early April 2023.
Is there anything you want people to know about your upcoming music or your upcoming show at El Club on March 24th?
If you’re really interested in the new sound coming outta the alternative scene in Detroit, if you wanna know what’s going on, if you feel like the scene’s been lacking, or just been quiet recently, then come to the show to see what’s been bubbling.
a stoop lee show: THA SEQUEL
Fri, Mar 24, 7:00 PM
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