In between quoting Honey Boo Boo Child (Go-go juice, anyone?), speaking in a British accent and watching YouTube virals (namely “Sweet Brown”), Wynter Gordon makes some pretty killer music. We got a first-hand glimpse into her process at a studio session in SoHo, where she debuted tracks from her second “Human Condition” EP, entitled Sanguine, debuting in full soon. She also premiered her soon-to-be-released Major Lazer collaboration, “Keep Cool,” featuring Shaggy. (Yes, “It Wasn’t Me”-Shaggy.)
Having penned tracks for Ciara (most recently her single, “Livin’ It Up,” with producer D’Mile), Jennifer Lopez, and collaborating with dancefloor mongers David Guetta, Diplo and Flo Rida, Gordon doesn’t always favor everything she makes, for herself at least. “I’m always writing. Sometimes two or three songs a day. I don’t always like everything necessarily for me, so, they’ll find their way to others. It’s as simple as that,” she explains. Her biggest solo hit, “Dirty Talk,” enticed fans with its uptempo Euro sound, but as she puts it, she’s much less one-note. “Record labels try and put you in a box. Especially as a young black woman, you either do dance or you do hooks. That’s why this four-part EP is so important to me. It showcases all that I love, all the melodies I grew up listening to in the ’90s. Stuff that doesn’t always fall into any certain category too easily.” She toyed fearlessly with adult contemporary on “Human Condition’s” first part, Doleo (translating to “pain” in Latin), referencing everything from Phil Collins’ drums to Wilson Phillips’ harmonies. Sanguine (meaning optimism), produced by DJ Camper, continues in this tradition, this time incorporating wider wavelengths of rock, hip-hop and ceremonious soul.
“Reach Out,” the first track on Sanguine, is “so many different stories to so many different people. It’s about moving forward, getting better,” describes Gordon. “It has this big sound. Like screaming from a mountain top.” Camper’s orb-like backdrop coasts over a street knock, enlivening the track’s inspiring context.
“Tomorrow,” to which Gordon’s already shot a video for, is “in a way like a short story about myself.” Featuring a verse by an emcee named Salomon Faye a.k.a. “The Illusion”, whom she met perusing Chelsea Market one day; the song brings together a hip-hop knock with dub-reggae buzz, most commonly associated with Ace of Base.
Opening with a harpsichord synth, “Levitate,” is in Gordon’s words, a track that’s “poppy without being too poppy.” We might fly away, she sings, over a climbing bass. “It’s one of my favorites.”
“Swimming” is her ‘show you how to do it’ Sunday afternoon sex jam a la Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat.” The songstress plays with ambiguous sexual metaphors (her treasure in the sand, for one) similar to those of Janet Jackson and R. Kelly before her.
“TKO,” which stands for ‘technical knock out,’ is exactly that: a bomb of brain-smashing dub sounds so raucous; it’s impossible not to move. “This one’s for the fans,” she prompts. “It’s got that ‘bang’ and so does the video. We shot it in Chinatown. It’s totally bonkers.”