Tuesday, April 23, 2019

An Interview with Pamela Long of Total

PAMELA LONG, rose to prominence in the 90’s as ⅓ of the Platinum-selling R&B Group Total (“Trippin”, “Kissin’ You”, “What About Us?”, “Can’t You See” featuring The Notorious B.I.G., “No One Else”). Offering her first single of the year “Why” which features Philly rap sensation Bre-Z, I caught up with Pamela to discuss what led up to her new single, forthcoming musical ventures, the current status of Total and much more in our exclusive interview...


TERRANCE: In three words describe your personality.

PAMELA LONG: God-fearing, Loving, True.

TERRANCE: Talk about your new single “Why” and how it came together.

PAMELA LONG: My new single “Why” is a track that was done by a producer I know by the name of Kenny Black. I was actually going through some things. I was going through a break-up with my ex-husband and I heard the track and I told him one day that it was just on me to get out how I was feeling and I was actually singing and crying on the microphone and my heart was crying, “Why”? and that’s how that record came about.

TERRANCE: Rising female rap sensation Bre-Z is featured. Where did you find her?

PAMELA LONG: Oh man, Bre is such a wonderful person. I would say my little sister and I’m so thankful for her. When we first met, she was like, ‘Pam I’ve always had a love for you and always thought you were dope and I love Total, but you rocked hard or whatever.’ I had found out she was doing music and I told her that I was doing a record and I was like, would you get on it? She was like, Yes! And she kept her word from day one. I sent her the record and she dropped the lyrics and I loved the record and it came full circle and that’s how that happened. She is a sweetheart and a woman of her word.

TERRANCE: What was it like filming the visual for this single?

PAMELA LONG: It had moments where I was emotional. If you just take a moment to watch the video when I was sitting on the floor and I was ripping up the pictures, I was actually reminded of some of the things that I went through in the relationship with my ex-husband and those were real tears that I was crying. It took me back and it got very emotional at one point or another. And the two dancers that you see dancing in the video, they are actually playing out the relationship that we had. When it was good, it was good and when it was bad, it was bad.

TERRANCE: Is there an album or EP in the works or singles the focus right now?

PAMELA LONG: Right now the single is actually doing really well which I thank God for, so that is my focus, but the album is done. I have an album that is done already and so right now, I’m pretty much saying, do I put out the EP first, album second? So it’s like I’m in that place, but definitely I am ready to drop. I’m just getting everything together and making sure from my standpoint of what it is that I want to do. We’re actually following up because at the end of the “Why” video, it’s to be continued with the next single. That’s definitely coming and looking forward for the video for that to be amazing as well too, because this album really is my story. It’s really my life and the things I went through, so it’s not separate. You know how sometimes an artist get songs from someone and pretty much put an album together like that? This is like that Mary J. Blige “My Life” album. This is where my heart is. It reminds me so much of “My Life”. This is Pamela Long’s life.

TERRANCE: Are we expecting strictly R&B or different genres?

PAMELA LONG: Absolutely, Terrance. I put myself in that place where it’s almost like a Chance the Rapper/Bruno Mars type feel and that’s what this album is. I got Pop records. I got joints that are straight up and down R&B. I got Hip Hop and R&B. I have a Dance record on there. I have a ballad on the album and I did a Gospel record as well. There’s so many different genres and because of it, I’m so thankful and I thank God because there are so many different colors to Pamela Long. Total was strictly R&B but Pamela Long has so many different elements to her and so I’m so thankful to be able to express myself.

TERRANCE: How have you adapted in the way you promote your music and interact with fans on social media?

PAMELA LONG: I think social media is such a great avenue, because you really, truly and honestly get to be hands-on with the fans. Remember the fan clubs and all of that stuff? I really didn’t have time to sit down and write letters, but if someone DM or inbox you, you can hit them right back up, so I think it’s a great turnaround. I think it’s really great and also to put yourself back in the face of everybody.

TERRANCE: What can you tell us about the current status of Total?

PAMELA LONG: We’re all just venturing off to do the things that were in our hearts. When I first came to the group I was a solo artist. It was like I always I had this burden on the inside when I was a little girl, like I was part of the Jackson family and with that being said, this was something that was destined. This is something that I believe was truly God given’, so it’s like I’m taking that moment to do what’s in my heart because I don’t want to live with that, “what if?”.

TERRANCE: So Total isn’t broken up?

PAMELA LONG: Not at all. Just to clear it up. We’re not broken up.

TERRANCE: Can you share a special memory about recording the first Total album?

PAMELA LONG: There are so many. A special memory was when we were in the studio recording “Can’t You See”. Being there and doing our thing. It was the first time that we ever recorded in a huge studio, I would say. Before that and just being so young, that was the first time Kima and Keisha had heard a song in the studio and my first time hearing my voice in a studio. But to be in a big, huge studio like Hit Factory, it was like a dream come true for a kid who always wanted to just do music and being there with Biggie just sitting there vibin’. That was a special moment to just be sitting there and not knowing this record was about to hit so hard and be all over the charts. It’s like I can almost see it now with everybody in the studio just sitting and rocking the chairs back and forth and Biggie comes in ‘Give me all the chicken heads from Pasadena to Medina’. That’s the moment (laughs).

TERRANCE: Where were you when you first heard “Can’t You See” on the radio and what was your reaction?

 PAMELA LONG: You know what? I actually believe I was home with my family and my sister was like, “Total is on the radio.” But because of the fact that I had heard the song so much, it didn’t hit me at first but then when you realize you’re on the radio and getting phone calls saying, you’re on the radio.

TERRANCE: Is there a personal favorite Total song or one you thought should’ve been pushed as a single?

PAMELA LONG: I would have to go with “Can’t You See” as forever being that joint. When that one first dropped I always knew that was the one for me, I believe. And one song I believe should’ve been a single is “I Don’t Wanna Smile” written by the great Diane Warren for our second album, Kima, Keisha & Pam. That was an amazing record.

TERRANCE: Do you think there will ever be a third Total album in the near future?

PAMELA LONG: One thing I can say is there’s a possibility that anything is possible. We can come back around. I’m not going to say no, but I am going to say, I believe there are a lot of things Kima, Keisha and myself have accomplished together and we have a brand that is truly God given and I don’t think will ever die out and I believe there is a possibility. Just right now, at this moment, we all are reaching for the very thing that are within’ our hearts. There is no animosity. You know how people walk away and say I’ll never, ever speak to you again? There is nothing like that.

TERRANCE: People have always wondered why there wasn’t a follow-up album after the Platinum-selling second album Kima, Keisha & Pam.

PAMELA LONG: Right. There were some things going on just eternally to where there wasn’t a third Total album at the height of our careers. I can just speak for myself that I had to find Pamela. I’ll never forget November 1999. That was when Jesus had called me, you know what I mean? That’s when the Lord called my name. From that moment, my life had changed ever since. It was the best thing that had ever happened to me, and so I look at it and thank God now. At the time I couldn’t understand why he called like that, but it was only because God called my life to save my life.

TERRANCE: What are your thoughts on reality TV? Is that something you would get into to further promote your brand?

PAMELA LONG: When it comes to reality TV I’m very careful with that. I would go with something that wouldn’t make me look buffoonery. I’m definitely not making myself look crazy. I would only go for something that shows me in a positive light and allow people to see that you don’t have to go left. That would be the only way for me. You don’t have to go left for it to be entertaining. I would also have to have Executive Producer on it, because you know how they edit a scene that wasn’t there. I’m not full of drama and not about the negativity. That’s not who I am.

TERRANCE: Talk a little about the webinar you announced about the secrets to success in the music industry.

PAMELA LONG: Yes. You know what? I’ve learned so much being under Puff. I think that a lot of times a lot of people are looking to get on, but there are some insights that they don’t have. My thing is that if you have knowledge you’re supposed to share it. It’s about sharing and to give them some insights as to how to get there. Also I think a lot of times in this industry a lot of artists give up their authenticity, you know what I mean? They give it up because sometimes you sign to a label and they want you to sound like this one and they want you to look like that one. But look at the 90’s, LL Cool J, Biggie, Craig Mack, Busta Rhymes, Total, SWV, TLC, 702. Everybody was different but we all were making it and doing it and so my thing is to let people know like at the end of the day, hold on to you and those are some of the secrets that I’ve learned. I’ve learned so many things from Puff and a lot of people don’t know how to make a hit record. These are some things that I’ve learned that I definitely want to share.

TERRANCE: You mentioned learning from Puff and so with that being said, from your experiences what have you learned that you apply to how you function in your own business?

PAMELA LONG: You said it. I learned business from that man. He was a genius. The way that he did things to where it was noticeable to everybody and the things he did behind the scenes. I also learned how to be able to hear music so differently because I can hear instruments. I would sit back in the studio and watch this man come in and as the whole track is playing, he would be like, ‘okay bring the horns down, bring the bass up’ and you’re saying to yourself, how can he hear all of that and all he did was walk into the room? So with that and being under that privilege, I thank God for it because it’s really, truly and honestly helped me. When I go into the studio now, I sit down and I thank God because God has given me the insights or I should say to be able to observe what’s going on in a track because when I hear it, I can say, you gotta turn the vocals down a little bit, they are a little too sharp or they are a little too pointy. The very thing that people wouldn’t hear God has provided me the privilege I would say to hear the things that I used to see and I never thought I would’ve been able to do such and so I’m so grateful.

TERRANCE: Any final words you would like to share with your fans, followers and the readers?

PAMELA LONG: I would just say to everybody, stay tuned to Pamela Long. There’s a lot that I have coming. Stay in the pipeline. Also for those who are looking to get into the industry please, please, please, please, please, don’t come into this industry thinking that it’s all peaches and cream because it’s not, you know what I mean? Don’t come into the industry thinking that it’s gonna happen right away. Be prepared for the dirty. If you’re looking for a moment, this ain’t what you want to do, but if you’re looking to take the dirty, then by all means jump in. I also want to say Terrance, that your foundation coming into this industry is very important. I’ve seen a lot of people come into this industry and really to be honest become something that they didn’t think they could become, including myself. There were some things that happened to me that you know, you’ll say, oh I’ll never do that, but then the very thing you say never to, is the very thing that you can become, so you got to make sure that your foundation is so solid and the only solid foundation that I’ve come to realize and to know without a shadow of a doubt is the one that I depend on and that is Jesus Christ, the son of God. I will tell anyone at the end of the day that if you don’t have him, please I employ you to get to know him and if you don’t believe that he really and truly is the way then just ask him to show you and that’s how I would love to end it that way, because that’s what I do know now. I know it and I’m so thankful I know it now.


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