Major thanks to RnB/Soul singer-songwriter Lee Clark Allen who connected with DCWS for an exclusive interview to talk about his newly released EP “Little Rock”, its lead single “Mud (Rise)”, the music scene in Denver, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Lee, be sure to stream the “Little Rock” EP, and connect with him on his website and social media. Also, stay tuned in to DCWS because we’ll be sharing our in-depth review of the EP very soon!
Congratulations on the release of your new EP "Little Rock". Tell us about what inspired you to write and produce this incredible collection of songs.
Thanks Carlton and the whole DOPECAUSEWESAID fam! Imagine a slingshot being in ready position to launch, but never released. That image captures me and the creation process of "Little Rock". With the first song on the album being "This Little Light," that song captures the resolve in me to release the sling and let my name, sound, and messages fly and land where they need to land. "This Little Light" is our story more than mine. As an educator, I have worked hard and taken risk (becoming a community college professor at 23; co-created successful college curriculum and program; and now being a founding member of a top-performing Denver middle school).
As an athlete, I have worked hard and taken risk (Defensive Player of the Year recipient in D3 College Football at a new position; denying two professional invitations for professional football to preserve strong relationships with my father; and tore my Achilles at 31 and regained the ability to run in four months). As a student, I have worked hard and taken risk (being young, gifted, and talented in academia caught on later in the hood I grew up in but that became my way which simultaneously isolated me and protected me, first in family to graduate from undergrad; first to graduate from grad school and graduated from my MFA Creative Writing program Summa Cum Laude (4.0 GPA); and became a published writer before graduating). With all of the accomplishments I have had in other areas of my life, I kept myself from fully letting go and just being the musical Pat. But now, Lee Clark Allen is here! Having great friends reminding me how hard I work was the needed catalyst to cocoon Lee Clark Allen. When one friend, Riley, was able to remind me of my past grind through her current grind as a dope film director, that woke me up! I just needed to sacrifice a little to get a lot or a lot to get a little in music. I started to give myself and my deep passion for music my best time and now it's showing. "Little Rock" is just the beginning of my unapologetic self and musical journey. I'm an artist and educator at heart; I just have to accept that rather than suppressing these truths like I have done before for others or out of fear of not being ready or fear of being too musically different. I'm different. I'm at peace now so YALL ARE ABOUT TO BE BLESSED NOW!
Describe for us what the EP's title, "Little Rock", represents to you?
"Little Rock" represents a lot of things. It represents my stomping grounds, in which, I've spent more than half of my life in Little Rock, AR. "Little Rock" represents the stability I have within myself - to be vulnerable, honest, flawed, excellent, lost, found, a believer, at times a struggler of what God is doing, etc.
The title also represents my belief that an album can glitter like 24k carat diamonds, despite it being a little rock or EP. Overall, I'm just one person with a contagious character, sound, story, and message that at this point is in a barrel of rocks, but oh am I trying to let this little light shine!!
When someone listens to the "Little Rock" EP for the first time, what do you want them to take away from the experience?
I want them to take away, "Aren't we cut from the same cloth?!" You experienced something for me to learn and grow from, and vice versa. You can convey the scars and glorious moments or you can't. When I can't convey thought, you can convey it for me. When you can't, I gotcha! Hope the piece of work captures more people's story than not!
Now, what I want people to say after listening to it is in this collage of thought: Damn, it is over?! Let me put that on repeat! Alright Lee Clark Allen! Hate you Lee Clark Allen in a good way, because now we have to wait until school is out so we can get some more! I should have slept with him (smh)! F*** F*** F***! Sigh, he has arrived! When did you find time to make this dope album?! Man, I know your students are proud of you! Man, that's MY teacher, Mr. Clark! I want to be in your class! Write my album! Here's your Grammy! Thank you! Track #? is my S***! Great start, but I expect better from you! Like your voice, but not the style! I hate you more because I'm embarrassed that I hated on you in a big way and now I can't stomach my pride. This collage of thoughts is what I'm open to hearing! Lol - just keeping it 100.
If you could pick any artist to be featured on your new single "Mud (Rise)", who would you select and why?
Britney Jane any day because she's the featured artist on the track! She's band fam. Now, if you had asked, "Which person after hearing "Mud (Rise)" would you want to immediately fall in love with you who isn't married, my answer Savannah L. - she can catch and hold a fish when I be struggling to hold a fish! But if she changes her mind, I'll respect that. There's someone out there for me." Back on topic though, on other projects, I would love to collaborate with John Legend and his team, PJ Morton and his crew, Aloe Blacc, and Bill Withers!!!
With "Little Rock" now available for streaming, what are some of your goals musically for the remainder of 2019?
Continuing cooking my LP album! Put two albums in the cooker, with “Little Rock” being the smaller pie. Continue to write new music for my projects and for other people's projects. Continue to ask for musical help. Continue to learn the music business. Continue to inspire!
Tell us about the music scene for RnB/Soul in Denver. Are there a lot of venues for live performances and opportunities to network in the city for artists such as yourself?
There is community here, but trust has to be earned and there's not a definite formula on how to earn that. Being nice works, then it changes up. Being responsible works, then it changes up. Being hard working builds relationships, then you need to do something else to keep up the connection. But you finally land well in the community, you get to meet, interact, and grow among some rich people.
I desire to do more work with Kid Astronaut, Zanib, Wes Watkins, in/Planes, Venus Cruz, Wellington Bulling, and Kayla Marque. I love venues like Tennyson's Tap, Syntax Opera House, The Walnut Room, Denver Art Society, The Mercury Cafe, Lion's Lair, Goosetown Tavern, and other spots.