Re-writing The Verse

Verse Simmonds is a new solo artist, that’s been getting a lot of airplay lately due to his current single out now featuring Yung Joc called, Buy You A Round (Up and Down). While he may be a new face to us, he’s not a newbie to the industry as one would think. He’s actually been writing and producing music for a while, before he made the decision to go full fledge with his solo career campaign. It also helps that this Puerto Rican born, Virgin Island raised musically talented young man is very close friends with none other than native Virgin Island duo, Rock City. While Verse is proud of his close friendship with Rock City (whom Theron of Rock City and Verse were in a teenage group together back in the day), Verse is making it loud and clear that he is indeed his own entity and has his own style in the music he makes.

Verse was recently signed to Interscope Records and is gearing up to release his debut album, Stories of a Bachelor which he describes as a storybook more than a record. But until the high anticipated album releases in the fall of this year, Verse is releasing a conglomerate of songs on his mixtape called, The Sex Tape Chronicles. He recently had a listening party for this mix tape in Atlanta, and from what I’ve heard it received very good reviews. I had the chance to catch up with him and discuss and learn exactly how he got his break and what he plans to bring to the music game that the masses haven’t seen before. He has an interesting story of his rise towards chasing his dream. He’s not afraid to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

THE PRINCE OF ALL MEDIA: Can you tell me about your debut album Stories of a Bachelor? What can we expect off this project?

VERSE SIMMONDS: Well you know, what I’m trying to do with Stories of a Bachelor album is bring the sexy back! Its music out there today that I feel is not necessarily catering to the women and that’s what I’m doing in my music. That’s my core audience that I’m focusing on. That’s what Stories of a Bachelor is for me. It’s a lot of story telling in every song that I do, I try not to just focus on just putting words together. I actually have a story in almost every song that I have on the album. It’s a storyline to it from the top to the end of it. Stories of a Bachelor is basically more than what people think of it. People like to think Stories of a Bachelor is ‘oh just a bunch of sex songs.’ It’s not that, its music that relates to relationships, its music that relates to being in a negative situation with a female where you’ve just broken up, it’s a lot of different elements to Stories of a Bachelor.

TPOAM: Who are some of the producers you’ve worked with on Stories of a Bachelor?

VERSE SIMMONDS: I have a lot of up-and-coming producers that I’m working with on the album. It’s not loaded with a bunch of ‘named’ producers; I worked with The Hypnotic who are two upcoming producers, K-Span, The Jugganauts – which is also my production company. I also worked with Coolyard Brothers, there are also some other people I worked with but I can’t think of them off the top of my head.

TPOAM: You also collaborated with Rock City for their first single, Can I Get On which will be featured on their debut album, Wake the Neighbors, correct?

VERSE SIMMONDS: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we did that one day in the studio. Me and Rock City been best friends since we were in the seventh grade, so we pretty much one crew. And it was something that Theron of Rock City initially came up with and everybody put their voice in and its something that everybody seemed to love us for so we really excited about that.

TPOAM: How did Verse Simmonds get his start in the music industry?

VERSE SIMMONDS: I moved from the Virgin Islands, I left the Virgin Islands in 2000 and I went to Florida and after staying in Florida for about three years before I moved out to L.A. for an independent record label that needed a songwriter and producer to work with their group. So they brought me out to California to work with their group and I ended up basically working on their project, but not only their project, I ended up writing and producing for other major label acts. And from there in 2007 I decided to move to Atlanta. Rock City had been telling me “Yo’, you need to come down here. Everything is poppin’ down here; this is the place to be!’ So I ended up moving down to Atlanta, still steady working on up and coming artists that were signed and eventually decided you know what it’s time for me to get back into focusing on me as an artist. Because for a while I had stopped focusing on that and my main focus was just writing and producing. So at some point… the summer of last year, I decided, you know what the music industry is so dead to me at the time, I decided its time for me to actually start moving forward with my project, which was always a plan of mine but it was something I was always putting on the backburner until I was really getting the right production and stuff off the ground. So the minute I decided to do that I started working on my album, in the summer of last year. By January, I had my situation with Interscope. And in February, is when we really started going hard pushing my single now which is Buy You A Round. We started pushing that. We got a good response here in Atlanta, everybody was really working to get this song out and it’s been going really well thus far.

TPOAM: Yeah, yeah, I actually have been hearing Buy You A Round up here in the clubs in New York. How did you come up with the song’s concept?

VERSE SIMMONDS: You know what – I just kind of let the music take me where I need to be. When I heard it that was what I heard. So it wasn’t like I put a lot of thought into it to be honest with you when the beat came on – and the producer who produced that record his name is Nicko, when the beat came on he was just playing it and I was like ‘yo, aiight, let me just hop in the booth,’ so I got in the booth and I just went in on the full first verse like {sings}”Girl I like your face but I love your body, I just want to get to know you so what’s your number.” And from there I just went into the single ladies part. It’s something that’s just really, really is starting to pick up and take off here in Atlanta. I’m really excited because I just did a video shoot about two months ago, so I’m really excited to see it debut… I’m looking forward to that.

TPOAM: Who have been some of your musical influences?

VERSE SIMMONDS: My musical influence is everybody from Bob Marley to Eric Hammond. I have calypso artists that I also enjoy that are – cause you know growing up in the Virgin Islands there are so many types of varieties of music to listen to that it all is a influence. Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye – everybody, everybody at some point have influenced my music.

TPOAM: What have been some obstacles you’ve faces in the industry being a break out artist?

VERSE SIMMONDS: Well one of them, a big obstacle for me was initially coming into a scene when I came down here to Atlanta. One of the big things was I was coming into a setting where Rock City had already made such a stamp in the game that it kind of made a Catch 22 for me, because it made it easy at some points, but then it made it hard at some points because you know I’m best friends with Rock City. People were looking at me like ‘
Ooh okay, that’s just Rock City’s best friend.’ Not really realizing that I was also an artist and we’ve been doing our artistry together for a long time. So that’s something that eventually people got over and got to see me in my own light, acknowledging what I do is different from what they do and yet, you know we still all connect together. But that was one of the obstacles for me to get over. And just being in the music industry and just getting a deal is an obstacle in itself. It ain’t really an easy task. So I just stayed focused on what I needed to do, and got it done, so I’m just ready for the next step now.

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