Conya Doss is the stirring vocalist with the type of voice able to bless any genre because the words are connected to a place of personal emotion.
A plethora of nominations and awards have blessed the Cleveland native over her near fifteen year career, putting out 6 albums up until 2012 with A Pocketful Of Purpose.
2015 and the nubian beauty Conya Doss brings her latest emotionally charged album VII. It’s an album she professes is a ‘complete’ body of work a massive statement when you consider previous projects like the dazzling debut album A Poem About Ms Doss (2002). The lead single You Got Me taken from this latest album, is the perfect teaser bringing all the quintessential aspects of Conya Doss and more bursting to the surface.
Despite a career as a teacher and tragedy through her life, talking to Conya Doss she remains infectiously positive and musically inspired.
Check out the interview where she candidly talks about; tragedy, music and catharsis.
How have things changed in your life since we last featured you in Flavour?
There has been a lot of change in the music industry since we last spoke. It’s become more innovative and creative but one thing that has not changed is my consistency with the music I create. From a work perspective I think the last time we spoke, I was teaching middle school so the age range was from 12-13. Now I am teaching 15-20 year olds so that is a different challenge altogether but I am blessed. It’s interesting because I am able to tie in my music career with teaching and it’s a powerful thing.
So let’s dive into your brilliant album VII-is there some numerology connection?
To a certain degree there is but I try not to get too deep into it but seven is quite a powerful number. I was in Washington DC where a lady gave me a reading, told me that my path number was seven and gave me the run down about people with that number being creative and truth seekers. So coming from a music background ironically there are always seven major notes in music so it just seemed to be a fitting title for the album.
And what about this album how is it different to your past 6 albums?
Well this album represents a complete body of work, bringing me almost back to my first project A Poem About Miss Doss (2002)-this album I think has that newness about it. With VII, I ventured into certain styles that I did not explore in previous projects.
When you say ‘complete’ explain that a bit more.
When I say complete I mean stages of music I feel. All my past projects have gone through stages and this album is a completion of the areas I explored in past projects. It’s complete and now I want to branch out and do more. I sometimes feel that I am put into a box and I want to be able to venture out and move into another phase and do music like a Tracy Chapman and create an album that is stripped down.
Do you think you have been ‘boxed’ in previously?
The industry definitely puts artists in boxes. When I first came out they called me neo soul and to me it was such a limiting thing-in a way it can affect the possibilities of an artist having longevity. Once you get that label people almost don’t want to see you in a different genre-they have this idea of what you ‘should be’ when in fact this new genre was a component of what you were before they even knew you as an artist.
So back to the album what were the challenges you faced with this album?
My son’s dad had been diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer and so that was probably the most challenging thing to happen on this current album. I had to deal with that while taking on the role of being almost a single parent because certain things could not be done while of course being there for my son’s emotions, going to work and mentoring students as well.
Was the album quite cathartic then?
Oh absolutely because I do seek a refuge from all that is happening and it helps. It’s strange, I was talking to a friend recently and life always seems to push adversity at me when I am creating an album. On my third project Love Rain Down (2006) my dad was really unwell. On Blu Transition (2010) my dad passed but that was kind of balanced out because I had my son and that was a blessing of course but my albums have always imposed some form of adversity on me.
Was there a track that provided you with the best release or catharsis?
Well there was a track called Frontline which did not make the album but that track was a really powerful experience for me. I will probably still release it in truth but that is another story in terms of the territory it will be released in-I think it might be released in Europe.
From the album what track is the stand out cut?
Reach Out really stands out for me because we live in the social network age where everything is so impersonal; we are texting, emailing and we don’t even talk or take the time to pick up the phone. Suddenly something tragic happens and we are like ‘damn’ I wish I had that time to say I loved them or whatever. We have lost the art of conversation I think and Reach Out is all about connecting with loved ones while they are here.
And my last generic question-what’s on the cards for further projects?
Well there were a few collaborations I wanted to happen did not happen because of busy schedules. For future projects I hope to collaborate with names like the amazing Avery Sunshine, Raheem Devaughn and Dwele so I really hope I can get those amazing artists on my project.