Shortly after Wynter Gordon’s hit “Dirty Talk” shot up to the top of the Billboard charts in 2011, the singer/songwriter dropped nearly everything that made her debut successful: her music label, her clubby dance sound, and her ultra-sexy look. “It wasn’t me,” Gordon said simply, following our shoot at the Bowery House on the Lower East Side. “I just can’t do things that I don’t believe in. And, I haven’t even begun to showcase my real talents.” So over the last few months, the Queens native – who has written tracks for artists like Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Ciara – has been redefining who she is and what she stands for on a four-part EP called The Human Condition. Each offering will coincide with a real human emotion – the first being Pain - and only a handful of tracks will be dance-driven. “This new project is the start of me showing who I really am.”
Check out our photoshoot with the star, her newest EP, and our powerful interview!
You had so much success with “Dirty Talk,” why move forward in your career without your label?
Well, I wasn’t really happy anymore doing dance videos. I like dance music like I love other genres but [at the label] I was being put in a box and stuck there. It was frustrating not being able to express myself, and only being able to show one small part of me. My label didn’t want to support me through other genres, they wanted me to dance. So I left my label.
Did you ever think “Maybe this isn’t the most rational decision, I’ve just made it”?
I had that feeling, sure, but the ship has sailed. I remember waking up on Christmas morning thinking “I can’t do this. I can’t continue to do things I don’t believe in… making music that I don’t really like.” When “Dirty Talk” came out, it was hard to deal with the reaction and the feedback. Lots of guys were saying “talk dirty to me,” people would talk to me as if I was an object, not a person. My career became about my sexuality, and that’s not what I wanted as an artist.”
Well, something’s working with this new EP. Your video “Stimela” is the best yet!
Yes! I’ve taken the reigns with my career, starting with this new EP. I’m very particular and I don’t think that the public ever really understood me and what I envision for myself. And so I put that video together with the perfect people. The Zulu hook references an anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. And I wanted a song that represented my freedom from a bunch of things holding me back in life. Stimela is a starting point of me being exactly who I am as a person, my real charcter, my ideas, my thoughts. It’s mature.
You’ve got a song called “Kids” that seems sad, personal, and reflective.
This project is really personal to me, it was like writing in my journal. I think everything in humans and people stems from our emotions, and so each EP is loosely based on a different emotion. When I started with Pain, I was feeling a lot of it. I was really angry and sad about a lot of things – who was going to support me, how would I pay my bills. I found my father and he died shortly after. But with the second EP, which I’ve named Lucky, you’ll hear the climb. I’m no longer moving down but up.
Biggest Frustration In The Industry?
I don’t have a problem with the industry, you go into business knowing what a business is about. But now, it’s changing. It seems like the business is following the art again.
What’s The Item That Every Woman Needs To Have In Her Closet This Fall?
Thigh-High Boots always make you sexy. Good old Pretty Woman thigh high boots can always make you feel sexy. Army colors, lots of greens and dark colors, camo. Love! I think everything looks better with accents, little personalized things, but little accents. Make your own basic things. DIY is in period…in life! Being yourself is just IN.
What Makes A Dapper Dude To Wynter?
Ha! A weirdo. An Edward Scissorhands, really artist Johnny Depp type, Basquiat-ish. I think creativity is hot, so if he has a ripped t-shirt and paint all over it, but it’s his style, I’m into it!
We’re big into throwbacks at Swagger. Any vintage songs you’re listening to?
Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down”!
And you’ve written for some top names. Work with anyone recently?
Well, I’m on the new Major Lazer album, on a single with Shaggy! Just wrote a track for Ciara, called “Livin’ It Up.” And shhh, I’m supposed to work with some big pop divas very soon, so stay tuned!
Swagger New York’s feature with Wynter Gordon was created in partnership with the Creative Council by UGG Australia!