Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dirty Talk With Wynter Gordon

A couple of weeks ago I turned up to a random hotel in Sydney to interview Wynter Gordon. I was an emotional wreck, running late and left the questions I had been putting together for the past few days on the train. So there I am, madly scribbling questions onto a serviette in the lobby with a pen I stole from reception, when I was ushered up to Wynter's suite. It wasn't the most auspicious of beginnings but from the moment I sat down next to the woman behind such stunning unreleased classics as "Surveillance" and "Had Enough", I knew it would be fine. Wynter was lovely, articulate and even hotter in person! We talked about her current Australian smash "Dirty Talk", dissected her multitude of leaked tracks and discussed her other career as a songwriter for hire. It was particularly interesting to hear about her involvement in J. Lo's scrapped album and her evolution from urban diva to club queen. I'm so disappointed she didn't perform in Sydney. If "Dirty Talk" keeps exploding it shouldn't be too long until she's back. If the clips from her other Australian gigs are any indication, it will be well and truly worth the wait.

Congratulations on the success of Dirty Talk! It’s been huge in the clubs over here and is now shooting up iTunes. Is it strange to be an Australian sensation almost a year after the song was released in the US?
Things take a long time to happen, I didn’t even realise it. Songs take a long time to go from the club to the mixshow to the actual radio, so I mean... I’m actually not surprised. I’m just grateful.

Do you have any plans to re-release it in the States now that it’s taking off?
Well, it’s just going to radio in the States. In America it was just released in the clubs.

I thought it had been out for a while over there.
No, it was just pretty much an internet sensation and then every club played it like it was a radio song.

Can I ask why you changed the video? I kinda liked the naughty school girl look in the original!
The first video was kinda my idea but we had such a small budget that my idea was a little bit too big! You know what happened? The label didn’t realise that it was going to be such a big song so we just did it as, you know, an internet video. It wasn’t supposed to be the huge MTV video. You know, to win awards or anything, so it was like a small budget but I had big dreams. I was like we’re gonna have smoke, there’s gonna be animals flying from the rooftops but my vision was a little bit too big for the budget, so at the end it just looked like a perfume video.

I kinda loved it to be honest with you.
The hair, the costumes! Yeah, the second video is a little bit more tame...

It’s a more artistic but I still prefer the first one.
You know what? I do too. I liked it. I think we should have mashed them up and then do two videos.

Or at least keep the first one online because I realised it’s been taken off YouTube. I’m devastated!
Maybe I should just put it back up. It’s on my page. I can put it back up. I’ll do it for you!

Thank you. How sweet! So the song has these awesome lyrics about S&M, hot wax, the back seat of your car...

Are guys scared of you now or are they flocking to you?
No, I mean, when I go out... the Guidos, you know the Jersey Shore club, they’re just like "do it, take your clothes off!" but most people don’t. They know it’s fun. I don’t really come across as the pole hopping slut. I wrote the song in good fun. You know, I have my naughty side when I have a boyfriend but since I’m single...

I’ll put out a call to all the hot guys I know.
I’m single and ready to mingle! No one really does anything. It’s really much more perverted old men.

That’s kinda cool... I guess!
It’s like dads times two. Like grandpas.

So you got the geriatric crowd on board?

That’s awesome.
If you’re in a wheelchair, you’re into me!

You mentioned on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that you heard your neighbours blasting "Dirty Talk"...
Yeah I was in my bed sick.

And I was just wondering, have you got your head around hearing your song on the radio?
You know what – it’s happened so many times now. People are just listening to it on their iPod. It doesn’t weird me out anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever been weirded out by it. It’s just surprising and happy and I always get a little excited.

It must be encouraging...
You know, I’ve never gotten into this business for the fame of it. I really genuinely just wanted to do music and not do office work. I was like anything to spare my life from, you know, an office. I just wanted to do music. That’s what I love to do and I’m just glad I got the opportunity and every time I hear it and I hear someone playing it, I know I still have a job. So it’s like – praise the lord!

You started writing songs for other people. A lot of people seem to be doing that now. Like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha started writing songs for other people before striking out on their own – is it just a foot in the door or a good way to hone your craft?
I wouldn’t say hone your craft but I mean for a lot of people it’s a foot in the door. I know that Lady gaga, she always wanted to be an entertainer. Like Ke$ha always wanted to be an entertainer and it’s pretty much, you do whatever you gotta do to get in. So I mean for me writing started it off. Honing the craft is really just doing it consistently. Writing, performing, whatever you can. Just not stopping. You kinda get better.

Speaking of songwriting, I love all of the songs you wrote for J Lo’s album, particularly “Everybody’s Girl”, which I think is a total smash.

Yeah. That seems to have been shelved. Please tell me you’re going to use those songs yourself.
Um, I’m not!

They’re so good!
I’m really upset what happened with her. I think “What Is Love” is actually my favourite she did. I feel like if she did that one song that would have been like her next big smash but unfortunately things with her label got a little dodgy.

It’s just a shame though because I remember when “Everybody’s Girl” hit the net, I thought it was her best song in ten years.
What about "What Is Love"?

That’s hot too.
I think she vocally killed that one. Cause nobody ever really hears J Lo go and I think she went with that song. She sang it.

When you write something and it doesn’t come off do you get very frustrated?
Sad. I mean artists go through the worst... I mean this whole industry is based on opinion and your life is definitely in someone else’s hands. It’s not like you get a cheque every day. It’s not a 9 to 5. There’s no security or insurance. You really do music and hope people like it and support it and your label has to support it. You know, it’s risky.

It’s funny, I was listening to a lot of your songs on my iPod on the way in here and it’s like your sound has evolved over the years. It was quite urban in the beginning and now you’ve become a club queen...
The thing is when you first come out, there’s limited people to work with. You just work with whoever’s available and I grew up in New York City, in Queens, so I worked with a lot of urban producers so writing to their music and their tracks, I got a lot of urban music. I grew up listening to a lot of alternative and pop music, all types of music, so I was never really in one genre. It was really what was available to me. The quality and things like that. And as I started to do more and more, I got to experience more and more. Meet different people, use better things.

Speaking of different people, you’ve worked with everyone – David Guetta, Freemasons. The biggest names in dance. How do you keep scoring all these A List collaborations?
I say everything happens for a reason. There was one point in time where I was – where the hell is my life going? I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I was just recording and I didn’t know what was going on with my life and then I did the Flo (Rida) song and that got me through a period of time. You know, doing that I got to go on Jimmy Kimmel, American Idol, travel the world, do huge festivals. And then I did a mixtape and David Guetta called. It’s like – I love what you did on your mixtape. I want you on my album. And I’m not even an artist out yet. I have no album, no single and it’s just like there’s another opportunity. I think everything for me is happening in its time and reason. I have to believe that or otherwise I’ll just get a noose. End it now!

I really love your angry songs. I was getting down to Woman Scorned and Had Enough, do you find it cathartic to put all that into music? Get it all out?
Yeah. Sometimes I want to rip someone’s head off. I’m a pretty emotional person.You have to be to be an artist. I’m very passionate, so when I’m angry, I’m really angry. There’s no bringing me down.

But the you’ve also got a softer side cause a song like “I Like Your Noise”, which I think is so romantic.
I wrote that for Taylor Swift!

Really, that’s interesting.
I write songs for other people. Like I wrote “Rebel Song” for Miley Cyrus because she put that album out “Can’t Be Tamed” and when I heard the name of the album, I was like I wanna write a song for Miley and then I wrote “I Like Your Noise”... hey, how did you hear that song?

It’s online.
It is?

My version? Are you kidding? Wow. Alright. Can you hear Taylor Swift doing that?

Now that you say it, I totally can. You sound like her on it.
When I was writing it, I was like, I wanna write for Taylor Swift. A lot of times I think about people.

I might just mention another one of my faves – "Wonderland". Those lyrics are so smart and sexy. Is that one you might re-work for the album?
We were thinkin’ about it but there’s so many great songs. I’m proud of my music. All the songs that have leaked, I can proudly say that there’s no songs from me that suck.

How did they all get out there?
I think the same thing. Cause you just said “I Like Your Noise” is on the internet and I’m thinking... how did it happen?

Are there spies in the studio?
I don’t know. I don’t understand it. It used to make me really mad.

Is "Surrender" still going to be your second single?
It’s tentatively the second single. It’s supposed to be. The thing is there’s so many good songs, great songs that it’s kind hard to narrow it down and I really wanna show different sides of me. I don’t wannna put out another song where it doesn’t really showcase my vocals.

So it’s not gonna be another dance anthem like "Dirty Talk"?

Cause you’ve done so many different genres...
I really wanna let people see the different sides of me. So I have to be careful of what I do.

I can’t wait to hear it.
I should just go upstairs and get my laptop.

Oh fuck yeah... everything that has leaked has been amazing.
Nothing that has leaked is on the album.

I reckon you’ve got two good albums of material from the songs that have already leaked.
I have so many songs, I’ve been waiting for one song from the album to leak, it’s just been songs for other people.

So your EP is really cool and has a great cover...
I styled that!

Is it just a stop gap until your album?
My manager wanted to do that. It’s really just a compilation of all I’ve been doing. You’ve got "Believer" on there, "Toyfriend", so it was just kinda... it has one new song "Right Here" and it was pretty much this is what I’ve been up to if you haven’t heard all of them together.

It’s a nice little introduction to people who don’t know you so well.

One last question, why did you change your name from Diana to Wynter?
I do love my Diana. But I guess it’s just like for every artist... it’s just like my Hannah Montana.

Your alter ego?
Not an alter ego. It’s giving me a chance to just have a separate part. My music and all that on the side. People don’t recognise me on the street, so I just say I’m Diana. If you don’t know me, I wont even tell you what I do.

Thanks for your time.
Thank you!



Congrats, love! Looks like you had fun!

J-Lo's album will come out - not scrapped. New label, new direction. There is an actual cover for it that was shown on the Barbara Walters special last week...

Mariah said...

I absolutely adore "Everybody's Girl", but I have to agree with Wynter that "What is Love" is superior.

I love every track that has leaked from her. Her talent is incomprehensible!!

I am really looking forward to her debut. It better get released soon!

Scott said...

The interview reads really well. It's probably for the best that you forgot your notes because this conversation flows much more naturally. Good stuff!

D'luv said...

Aw, cute interview. You are such a Wynter stan! I love how you were listening to her LEAKED songs on your iPod on the way to the interview, and she was all, hold up...!

Anonymous said...

Serviette? It's napkin, you poof!

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