We were fortunate enough to talk ish with Singer…Semaj Lee!!! Semaj Lee is a very unique singer that is unlike most singers. He’s a singer that Chopped & Screwed most of his music which takes Rhythm & Blues into a whole new era, something like, “Trap & Blues. Not only does Semaj Lee has an ear for all music, he also has an eye for fashion that he expresses in his clothing & accessories line, Verified Rebel. Lets get to know Semaj Lee…
3 Voices: Introduce yourself to the world. Let the people know who Semaj Lee is and what Semaj Lee does.
Semaj Lee: Hello world! My name is Semaj Lee, I’m a singer and songwriter from the H. I would also say that I’m a singer, songwriter, artist and I also have my own clothing line, Verified Rebel…so I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a entrepreneur kid, but my first love is music…my passion is music. And I like to just create. So I’m here to stay and I want to keep putting out these hits, as I would think of them.
3 Voices: What inspired you to be an artist?
Semaj Lee: I think honestly my inspiration was realizing that music just kind of kept my head in the game. I didn’t have a great childhood, so I was homeless and just crazy stuff just happened to me when I was younger. The only thing that kept me at ease was music and I just naturally gain a love for music and I developed…well I discovered my voice and developed the art of singing for me. Basically through that, I just wanted it…I wanted to be on that stage. I did my first talent show at 14, with this boy band group out of Houston and ever since that I just naturally [knew] this is where I’m suppose to be.
3 Voices: Who are some artists that have influenced your music career?
Semaj Lee: Definitely, I would say like Tank, Ginuwine, Aaliyah, Timbaland, Missy…like that whole basement crew, Playa, Static…all of them I’m like obsessed with that whole movement and just what they did with music. Like they basically isolated themselves and all they had was music and all they could do was be creative. They just created sounds and stuff like that…that’s what I inspire to do. For my project Lone Starr, I stopped talking to people…I just removed myself from the world because I wanted to create my own sound and I wanted to say something so I needed to know what I was going to say. A lot of times in life, people distract you…I would say I’m a little popular lol, so people would distract me a lot and I found myself distracted. I like that whole movement, they inspired me so much.
You [also] have greats like Tank who inspire me vocally and writing wise…Tank can write. I love to write. I think of songs as projects, and I think of each individual track as everybody putting into it to make it great. When I hear a song, I’m not just hearing a voice…I’m hearing production, I’m thinking about who’s doing the production or who wrote the song or who produce the song or who mixed the song. It’s so many things that go into music that I just understand naturally…my grapes would be spread out. As far as where I’m going with music and what inspires me to do it and what I listen to on a regular will be them. But I would say that my idol in this game is Pharell. Pharell is somebody that I would hope to emulate in the future and I would hope to meet one day.
3 Voices: If given the opportunity to work with any artists in the music industry, who would those specific artists be beside yourself?
Semaj Lee: Definitely Drake…LOL everybody gone say Drake. But I would say Drake for a different reason. My exposure to Drake was way before everybody else found out about Drake. Drake went hard on his mixtape. My cousin met Drake in, I think Vegas…Drake gave him a mixtape and told him about it [then] my cousin told me about Drake. This was years ago. Then all of a sudden, he just blows up with this Houston sound. I’m from Houston so the kickback that he used and the way that he would flow like growing up in Houston it’s familiar because he emulated greats like UGK, Bun B and [others] like that,…and Hawk and Big Pokey…like he just emulated that and he nailed it. I heard that and was like ‘man I would love to work with him,’ because he put it on the map so I’m always gone respect that.
Tank…I would love to work with Tank. I think that Tank is an amazing vocal, writer and everything. I think I would create something amazing and memorable. So Drake, Tank and I would say Tinashe…I love Tinashe, I been following Tinashe for all three of her mixtapes. I love the way that she started with no budget and she still keeps a level of, I guess underground indie feel with her budget now…with her deal. So I like Tinashe, I would love to work with Tinashe…we would create a hit. I’m [going to] go back and say Future Moses, he’s a artist from Louisiana, R&B soul artist underground…he ran with The Roots and stuff like that. Very neo soul. A little about me, I didn’t start off with this sound like I was very into neo soul. A favorite of mine is Musiq Soulchild. I know every song by Musiq Soulchild. He is a amazing talent. So a lot of neo soul things I was inspired by, so that’s why I would say Future Moses. My last would be…Pharell….like forreal. I would want work with Pharell. If I had my choice it would be Missy, Timbaland and everybody but they all under the same bracket, they from Virgina so maybe I’m just drawn to the Virgina sound. I have roots in Virgina that’s where my family descendant from…I’m Trindy and Spanish and we kind of migrated from there. Pharell would be my last one, that would be a hit. lol
3 Voices: You are an artist with a unique sound. Describe your music. What are some things you make music about?
Semaj Lee: I created my own genre. I don’t say that to sound cocky, I just say that to say what it is. I did not want to sound the same, nor did I want to sound like trash. So I said I really need to structure this into something that fits me, but is modern and marketable to be honest because if you’re an artist you need to be marketable if you’re serious about your craft and you want to make income from it. So my thing was going into it I said what is going to make me authentic? I’m not a ballad singer. I can do ballads, I can do neo soul, I can do all of that, but that’s not what I want to do. It’s just too much going on, I like to have swag on stage. I like to be interactive. I want to put on a show and that’s not necessarily vocally, I like visuals too. Expect that from me.
I just like to be authentic and as genuine as I can because that’s one thing about me that I want my fans and whoever I work with say. Good, bad or indifferent, however they feel about me they’re always going to say about me that I’m genuine and that I led by my heart. I can’t do anything else. I’ve learned to be good that way and I live a good life, just being good to people and just not lying.
3 Voices: You spoke about your clothing brand. Can you tell us about that and how that came about?
Semaj Lee: Well, it’s actually accessories and clothing. It started out as just accessories. February 2010 is when I launched fallen hearts. That’s basically a collection of hearts that you would attach to your jeans, vest, jackets or whatever. I was inspired by Kanye West’s 808s and heartbreaks and I wanted one of those hearts. You can’t buy one so I decided to make one. People caught on and they were like wow I’d like one so I started a business. To be honest, I started a business, but I created a movement behind it. I gave money towards heart disease around Christmas that year just to tie it all together. From that it became, Verified Rebel. I would make things for myself. I grew up poor so I would have to make things for myself. I would have to cut up shorts and all of this hippy, trendy stuff going on now, I been doing that. I had to. I had to shop at thrift stores with my mom because she couldn’t afford regular clothes. So I had to be creative and I had to look the part because I’ve always been a part of the cool gang and you have to stay with the Joneses, especially in high school. So I think for me that’s how I learned those skill sets.
3 Voices: Tell us about Round and Round The Remix. Can we possibly expect a visual?
Semaj Lee: Well I’m dyslexic and it’s kind of backwards. I didn’t even actually release the actual song yet, but I love the remix so much and it’s perfect for right now so I had to. I think with music you always have to take what you’re doing serious and you have to put a price value on your product…your brand. But I feel like when you have people who actually support you, you should always do for those people. If they want music, give them music. They wanted music, so that’s what it was. So I have that out right now.
I’m working on doing the video for the song 6 feet. That is on my project and it’s more of a deep, chopped and screwed, kind of dark song for me and I’m kind of excited to play with those visuals. I have some dope videographers out of Houston that I’m about to work with. Shout out to Arts and Visuals. I was at an event with him last Saturday and I’m about to work with him on a video. I just want to continue to put out great music and be consistent. I don’t have any official videos out. The timing has to be right and I feel like my first official video leading into my EP, I want it to be crispy. So that’s going to come out in the beginning of February. I’m just staying busy, doing shows.
3 Voices: What’s next for you? Are there any exclusives you can share with us?
Semaj Lee: What’s next, let me think…I have stuff but I can’t really say because of contracts and stuff, but South by Southwest is a definite…that’s what I can say. I got stuff; you know lol…stuff coming up, put it like that, stuff coming up. Yeah like, don’t sleep on me. I’m the type of person that I always been random and I always just been like, ‘I’m here’ type of person…It’s just like 0 to 100 real quick, forreal so I like to pop up and pull up on it and just always let people get shocked by you. That’s always one thing you can expect for me is something that kind of corky, cool but like ‘wow he did that and it’s the right timing.’ With timing, you can’t really mess it up, so it’s nothing that I can really say right now that’s going to fly if I say it. So just…hold off, but it’s some cool stuff in the works. I would not lie, I’m in the studio recording and just gearing up. I just want to make sure my fans have greatness you know and I got to stay motivated myself…artists aren’t prefect. Artists have lives and go through things too so just being a artist it’s difficult and being a professional artist is more difficult because it’s structure without structure and you just got to stay consistent. I’m just staying consistent and I want to bring my fans along that journey.
3 Voices: How can the people reach out to you on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and etc.?
Semaj Lee: Well…so my Twitter is @bysemaj. My Instagram is at @mustb_lee. Just hit me up. My website semajlee.com is coming soon, it’s down right now because I’m still working on a couple of things and I have some things that I want to launch through it. Also, another thing that I can say is, Verified Rebel re-launch. I’m having my re-launch campaign for Verified Rebel for the Spring 2015 Collection…I’m working on that now. So I’m having a re-launch of that and the website in January.
And there you have it! You heard it all from Semaj Lee himself! Be sure to follow him on all social media sites and be on the lookout for everything he has in store. Much love to you Semaj Lee and keep in touch!
Here’s Semaj Lee “Loving On You”: