There’s an insurgence of old school funk happening in music and at the forefront of this movement is North Carolinian Singer/Songwriter Jamil Rashad or as the world knows him, Boulevards. With his latest record, GROOVE!, set to release this Friday April 1st and his spring tour kicking off in a couple weeks, AMMO took a moment to chat with the soul man to find out just how funky he is.
What’s your AMMO?
My AMMO is FUNK
You cited Kool and The Gang, Prince, Rick James, and other old school icons as influences for your sound and style. What drew you to that era of music?
What drew me to that era is the purity and honesty of the music. Back then they were just bands, creating fun pop music. I enjoyed the party funk anthems that were out and the style they were written. Their style was pure too, from the way they carried themselves, the way they dressed. It was just cool and pure and I was attracted to that.
Your father is a radio DJ, was this your initial exposure to music and how did this shape your musical taste?
Yes, my father used to always bring me cd’s from the radio station. He would push me to open my musical palate. Listen to jazz records and funk records. The music he use to listen to when I was growing up helped make me want to create that type of music in my own modern way.
R&B/Funk is taking a back seat to the trap genre these days. Where would you say your music lands?
I would say R&B is still doing well and making an impact. There are some great artists doing cool R&B music in their own way. But I make FUNK music. It’s my own FUNK. But I also make pop music. I want to create popular music. Popular music that makes you feel good. Popular music that I like and love.
What do you think of the current state of music?
My opinion on the state of music is that it’s going forward. You have some artist that are pushing the envelope, challenging listeners. Creating great pop music. There is a lot of great music out here. But then you have some artist who are following the trends of other music because it’s “hot” and it’s not pure to me. I don’t buy into it. A lot of artist are focused on making hits and singles and not focusing on making a body of work. Making good solid albums that are timeless is important as an artist to me.
Are you hoping to revive funk, rhythm & blues?
I’m just hoping to share my FUNK with everyone. FUNK influences me. My parents had their generation of FUNK music. Now I want to give that FUNK to our generation in a modern way they can relate too.
Let’s talk about your upcoming album, Groove!. What are some of your faves from the album?
My favorites are “The Spot”, “Weekend Love”, and “Running Back”. But I love the whole record. This is the type of pop music I want to create and share with the world. This is my FUNK, my GROOVE.
How does this album differentiate from your previous work?
This is record is more organic. It’s more personal. It’s more dynamic than my previous work. But I’m hoping to learn from this record and evolve on the second LP. Growth is important to me.
You’re hitting the road starting this month, which city are you most looking forward to performing for?
I’m looking forward to visiting Chicago actually. I don’t know why, it’s just another city I dig.
If I could work with anyone, it would be Rick James, R.I.P.
Pre-Order Groove!, here and look out for Boulevards on tour in the following cities:
April 16 – Phuzz Fest – Winston-Salem, NC
April 26 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
April 30 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
May 04 – Adelaide Hall – Toronto, ON
May 05 – Lager House – Detroit, MI
May 06 – Hideout – Chicago, IL
May 07 – MOTR Pub – Cincinnati, OH
May 10 – Acme Feed & Seed – Nashville, TN
May 11 – 529 – Atlanta, GA
May 12 – Snug Harbor – Charlotte, NC
August 04 – 07 – Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon