Musical Discoveries: Please tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to the Conjure One project.
Chemda: Iíve been a songwriter for years. I gave a rough demo of my songs to my manager and she passed it along to Howie Abrams at Zomba Music Publishing. Coincidentally, Rhys contacted Howie shortly after that, asking if he knew of any female vocalists with a Middle Eastern background. Howie told Rhys about me and Rhys sent me some of his music. Thatís how our relationship began.
And what about your musical and vocal training?
Iíve had no formal musical training. Iíve learned by listening to other vocalists.
How would you characterise the songs that you have done on the Conjure One album?
East-meets-West alternative. I think that Rhys managed to fuse incredibly interesting sounds, instruments and samples into something that turned into foreign fuckable elevation.
Did you share any of the writing duties?
Yes. Rhys wrote the music and I wrote the melody and lyrics to "Redemption." "Damascus" was vocally composed in the studio--they cranked up the music and let me flow; what you hear was improvisational.
Please compare the material to any that you have done on your own or with others.
This music is like nothing like anything I have done before, which at first made me really nervous. I listened to the instrumentals that Rhys had forwarded to me and could not imagine what I could add to everything that was already happening. But in the studio, I think the music opened me up. It allowed my vocals to roam, which led to melodies that came out freely. Thatís why I enjoyed the process so much.
And how was the project put together?
I received a CD of about 12-14 songs. I chose a few and started writing. I recorded a few demos and sent them to Rhys for approval or modification. Eventually, I was flown to Canada to record the finishing piece with Rhys. We also recorded a few songs that never made it to the album.
What kind of music do you find yourself listening to all the time?
I listen to all sorts of music. I love older R & B like Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker and Nina Simone. But equally as sexy--but, obviously with a different tone--is System of a Down and some of the Middle Eastern music that my family exposed me to.
Please tell us about your work outside of Conjure One.
Iíve sung in a range of musical genres. One of the earliest projects was with the Mighty Dub Katz tour where I got to run around club stages all over the U.S. and do a couple of dates on Canadaís "Much Music." I got to shake my ass and sing stuff like "I think that we should get back together." The most recent project is "Voodoolulu," a performance art piece led by an incredible female lyricist. I sing the melodies while Lulu raps in songs like "Witness," which talks about hate crimes and neglected children, and "Fresh & Delicious," which explains the vitamin and mineral content of her "pussy milkshake."
What are your future plans as a soloist or with Conjure One?
Iím already thinking about Conjure Two! I would love to work with Rhys again. I love how his music makes me feel. Max Graham did a remix of "Redemption" that can be found on a few compilation CDs, including Nettwerkís Plastic compilation.
Please compare the music of Conjure One to Delierium.
I think the music on Conjure One is more diverse, forceful and open. Thereís more to feel and more beauty about this record.
Do you think that the internet will bring you many new listeners, expand your audience and improve your connection to the fans?
I think the internet is a great source of communication. The internet will allow people to hear about the CD even though itís not mainstream, radio friendly music.