An'Jela Perry
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An'Jela Perry


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The best kept secret in music


"Who is An'jela Perry?"

Who is An'jela Perry?
By Nekeya Dancy

If you've been paying attention to the the local live music scene, then there is no doubt you have seen or heard of An'jela Perry and her band, Blaq. And if you've heard her sing, then you already know that this songtress is truly gifted.

"I used to say NeoSoul, but I add a lot of other stuff to it", says An'jela Perry when asked about her music, "It is a Blues/NeoSoul/Gospel soliloquy….It's Jambalaya." The former Navy brat and Dorchester, MA native has been busy in the kitchen.

The Berkelee School of Music graduate has definitely filled a void by bringing refreshing live music to the Boston scene. In her music, you can feel her joys, pains, blessings and frustrations. Some might know her soulful, captivating voice from her live performances, where she mixes rich flavors of music together to create a style that is all her own.

Aside from the constant gigging in the New England area, the singer/songwriter/performer along with her band, Blaq, and manager, Derek Fowler, remain on the grind. An'jela took time from the preparation of her new album to talk with Downtime about her recipe for success.

Downtime: When did you start singing?

An'jela Perry: "I started singing at my uncle's church when I was about 6 or 7 years old. They put me in the adult choir, and people would say, 'Did you bring the little girl this time.' It's always been church or school. At Madison Park High School it was the Rollin Hayes Division of Music and then I sang at Berkelee. My nana and my mother sang so it just kind of stuck."

Downtime: Who are some of your motivations?

An'jela Perry: "Obviously, I follow other artists. I remember when I was about 15 years old, I used to practice with a woman named Afrika Hayes, Rollin Hayes' daughter and she would always say to me, 'Angie, when you've really lived a little, that's when you will really sing.' My experiences and my children are my motivation…I am single mom."

Downtime: Who are some of the other artists that you are inspired by?

An'jela Perry: "Whitney used to be my favorite (laughs)…definitely Chaka Khan and Aretha [Franklin]."

Downtime: Are there any current artists that you are into?

An'jela Perry: "Oh yeah…Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Heather Headley, Musiq, Stevie Wonder, Me shell N'degeocello, India Arie. I like their music because if you listen to the words, they're talking about something. They are not talking about, 'Hey go shake your thang, shake your thang.'…they sing about issues that others can attest to.

Downtime: Do you take anything from their musical performances?

An'jela Perry: From Jill Scott, she's light with the audience…and talks to them like, 'Girlfriend', and I like that in her spirit, and with India Arie she's quick…she'll go to the next song, she'll get into the groove, and come back [to the audience]. If you want me to sing I can do it all day long, but if you want me to talk sometimes my little attitude will come thru (laughs)…I'm working on it."

Downtime: What is it about your live performances that captivates the crowd and separates you from other artists?

Derek Fowler (manager, producer): "Speaking from being part of the audience, it's more or less the vibe. You can feel and hear it. You're not just looking at a singer or a performer but someone who has real talent. When you can see someone on stage that has talent and can use a mic [microphone] without any effects to clean up the voice, you [the audience] can really appreciate it. You begin to pay attention, and then hear what she saying…then everyone's in the same head bob. That's what it is. I think its just a combination of her being herself, her style, the music, the band, which is incredible, that all plays in. And, once that comes together and gels; it's there. It's all about the vibe!"

An'jela Perry: "I just go out there and we have fun. It just so happens that there are people looking at us. Sometimes I forget and look back at the band because we share a lot of jokes about different songs. For instance, at the last performance we did at Mirage, I was singing one of the riffs off of American Idol over and over, and they [the band] were cracking up because it was a horrible rhythm. We put it in a song, and they said, 'Angie it's cute but stop doing it'…I was just having fun. The audience didn't even notice it.

Derek Fowler: "See that's a good thing when no one notices what's going on, and everyone is still vibing."

Downtime: What role does the band play in your performances?

An'jela Perry: …If we're not having fun first then it wasn't going to work, because it can't be hard. It has to be fun. I love those guys. At the drop of a hat, I can say, 'Guys we have to play', and they are like, 'what time do we have to be there?'

Downtime: Who are some of the people that you have performed with?

An'jela Perry: "I sang background for Oleta Adams at Berkelee, Stevie Wonder; Try City and Darel Lawrence when they came to Boston. We're trying to bring Smoky Norful to Boston so that I can sing background for him. I'm on my pastor's album, Robert C. Perry who is the pastor of Kingdom Builder's Worship Center. I did the National Anthem at a Red Sox's game when I was eighteen."

Downtime: What is your favorite performance?

An'jela Perry: "My favorite performance was with Carly Simon…we did Let the River Run. She was the commencement speaker at my graduation. It was my favorite because she came to me and said, 'Angie I don't know what you do, but do what you do and we're just going to have fun.' We went out there and I didn't sing the song the way she wrote it…[but] she loved it."

Downtime: How has Boston affected your musical career?

An'jela Perry: "I love Boston and I would never move. But, I don't think that live music gets as much respect as it would somewhere else. But I can't leave Boston, because this is home. It has turned around a lot since I was in college. We need to be more enlightened…everything is not Hip-Hop. I love Hip-Hop and I put it in every set, but everything doesn't have to be a live DJ [disc jockey]."

Downtime: How do you think your music helps to change things?

An'jela Perry: "I change a lot of the youth. They all want to hear 50 cent but I let them listen to Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones. I'll ask them, 'do you know where he got that groove?' and then let them listen to the original.' We can't all bling bling."

Downtime: When are you expecting the release of the album and how has it been working on it?

An'jela Perry: "It hasn't been difficult, but I keep changing stuff. Some people used to say that my writing was a little morbid because I went thru a dark time. But I flipped it a little. You can still feel the struggle and then, at the end of the album, you can feel the release. You can say, 'Whatever she was going thru she came out of it.' That's what I want people to see. It's not about being religious, but at some point in our lives we all have to be spiritual. Everyone needs to have a purpose. When I started the album, I didn't know what I wanted to do…and now everything is lining up and doors are opening. Fans are emailing with appreciation from words to my songs. I think it's going to be nice and everyone will feel something."

- By Nekeya Dancy for


Coming Soon

Tenatively titled " Blackbird"
Expected release: Spring 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


An'Jela Perry, a talented Boston-bred neo-soul vocalist and singer/songwriter, has vocal style that resembles those of Roberta Flack and Minnie Ripperton. Her powerful yet amazingly smooth voice has brought many a performance audience to its feet in applause.

The musical style of An'Jela and BLAQ can be defined as:
An'Jela Perry and her band, BLAQ, deliver smooth versions of'"New Soul" with a funky attitude. Vocal and Musical Stylings compared to that of N'dea DavenPort and Brand New Heavies , FatBack Taffy (JIL SCOTT's Band)
and the infamous "Roots ".

Ms. Perry is a '98 Berklee College of Music alumni, majoring in Music Production Engineering, and Music Business. While attending Berklee on a full vocal scholarship, An'Jela's great vocal ability afforded her the opportunity to perform with such musical greats as Yolanda Adams, Oleta Adams, Carly Simon, James Taylor, and Donald Lawrence. In 1996, Perry became the Music Director for the Spirit of Boston cruise line, until the company's demise in 2000.
Currently, An'Jela Perry is very active in the regional Gospel scene, recently performing for Tri-City, and Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. She is presently working on her debut CD on BlackStorm Entertainment Group's indie label. Perry performs regularly in the Boston area, and plans to do a regional tour the summer and fall of 2003.

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