Yuh Dun Kno!: Up Close and Personal with Tosh Alexander

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October 4, 2013

Tosh-Alexander-smile

LU: How did “Twerk It” happen?

Tosh: I was recording, and Busta Rhymes called me at 11 in the night. I heard it and said, “what do you want me to do,” because the song was pretty much completed. And he’s like, just add a Jamaican mad ooman sound. He wanted me to mimic back-in-the-day clashes, when dancehall was dancehall. So I just envisioned myself being Tony Matterhorn. I unleashed my inner Tony.

LU: How do you get in that zone, being so soft spoken?

Tosh: I’m not soft spoken all of the time. This is only for the interview. People think my voice was probably EQ’ed, or they put something on it to make it that high pitched. No, that’s how I get if you get me angry, or if I get the least bit excited. That’s me. For a long time, my parents thought my voice was so annoying. And I realized, after hearing that song, that it was. But that’s what [Pharrell and Busta] liked. They liked that it was squeaky and annoying.

LU: But your voice doesn’t sound squeaky.

Tosh: I’m telling you, that’s just for the interview. I have a “cool” voice. I can’t go around screaming like that.

LU: Show us what it sounds like…

Tosh: No! [Laughs] You want to hear me scream like a mad ooman? I remember leaving the studio [after “Twerk It”] like ahhh…I’m not proud of that one. I didn’t want to curse, but I knew I had to. And I thought lawwd God, suppose if mommy hear it, or daddy hear it. I called my mommy, and said let me tell you something: I did a song, and I had to get into character. She’s like “who cares? You’re in a video with Nicki Minaj!” They went to Halfway Tree and got themselves the edited and non-edited version of the song, and they play it in the car. Sometimes you think about what your parents would think or people who you look up to, but you’re just hindering yourself when you do that. It kind of liberated me, doing that song.

LU: You would do something more raw now with your own music?

Tosh: Yeah. A lot of people want that side from me, and I’ve always been, “No!” And they’re like [closes eyes] “yess, we want that.” And not Jamaican people, but the pop crowd, they want that crazy girl on the track. So we’re finding a way to incorporate that into my music.

LU: What are some opportunities that have come from “Twerk It”

Tosh: The world being able to see me, and get acquainted with Tosh. My name was on the screen as well as my face. I have a single called “Tell Me Why” that I’m really excited about. “Killamanjaro” is on a reggae beat with a one-drop old roots vibe and I’m singing out my heart. “Tell Me Why” is real trap, club record but done very sexy. And it’s softer. On “Killamanjaro,” I’m belting, it’s more aggressive.

LU: What is Killamanjaro about?

Tosh: Killamanjaro used to be a sound.

LU: It’s still a sound..

Tosh: The whole feel of the beat is very reminiscent of back in the day so we just said “Killamanjaro” and got the idea from that. We wanted to do something that was rugged and would blow out the speaker, like big bass. That whole back-in-the-day era feeling, we captured that for that song.

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