Singer/songwriter Edwin "Lil' Eddie" Serrano – best known for crafting hits such as Kylie Minogue's "All I See", Paula Abdul's "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow", and Jojo's "Coming For You", "The Good Ol" - started his professional musical career as an artist signed to Mario Winans' Yellowman/Big 3 Records, and as the years flown by, he's become one of the most sought-after Latino musicians in the Urban music scene.
I caught up with the "Night Life" singer to talk about his shelved debut LP "Nobody's Fool", songwriting teams, forthcoming projects, working with top-notch producers like Soulshock & Karlin (Toni Braxton, Keyshia Cole), Cutfather & Jonas Jeberg (Jordin Sparks, Nina Sky), Deekay (Sugababes, Misteeq), and so much more … Enjoy reading, and don't forget to post your thoughts :)
When did you realize that singing and songwriting was the career you've wanted to pursue professionally for the rest of your life?
First lemme start by saying thanx for this opportunity to talk about my music. I started singing professionally at the age of 10 with the New York Boys Choir. We sang with and back up for many celebrities throughout the world like Japan for the Olympics. I remember this one performance in North Carolina when I was 13yrs old where the choir was on tour and I sang for a church service. It had to be a few hundred people and I recall everyone screaming and crying. The reaction was so incredible I must have had sang for an hour straight (lol). That was when god told me I was called to sing. My writing really was something I always did before I even go into professional songwriting. When I started gaining contacts in the music industry, I wanted a chance so bad that I lied and said I knew how to write songs and really shocked myself when producers we're impressed with my ideas. I learned more and more about how to become a better songwriter thru out the years. I loved the process and I just can't see my future without writing songs.
You were initially signed to Mario Winans' Yellowman/Big 3 Records, and your debut album – "Nobody's Fool" – was on the verge of being released, however, things didn't go as planned. Can you enlighten us about why you parted ways with the label? And are there any plans of releasing the album independently?
Well, the Yellow City/Big 3 experience was amazing! Mario and I had one idea of what we wanted my album and artistry to be as he's seen my vision eye to eye, but when we signed to Big 3, there we're different ideas which caused us to part ways. Later on, Mario and I just kinda grew away from my project, but we're still very cool. He will always have an influence on my music, and I learned a lot from him.
However, I never let my project go as I had a record in Germany called "Nightlife" that scored on the black charts' top 30 for 10 weeks without a deal. I've also kept touring Germany for the past 2 yrs and it's been amazing. I also just performed in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai. I'm hoping to release my music in the States one day soon!
How does it feel to be one of the few Latino singers/songwriters who have a secured a niche for themselves in the Urban music scene?
It's a true blessing to be one of the very few Latino songwriters in this urban music industry to have had success and a publishing deal with EMI. I'm just happy to be doing what I love the most.
What are the things that usually inspire you while crafting songs?
Well I am inspired by life experiences that I or other people I know are going through. Sometimes my writing is the voice of others. It's difficult when I do such a personal song, and then decide if I should keep this one or give it away.
Do you see yourself more as a singer or songwriter?
I will say they go hand and hand. I'm a singer and an artist with a story, a voice for my culture, and that's what allows me to write music.
What are your thoughts on songwriting teams? And if you could form one of your own, who would be your teammates?
I recently formed a team with EMI songwriter Eritza Laues, who previously penned hits for Michael Jackson, Whitney Huston, Jahiem, etc ... She's been a great help in my career since the age of 13- 14. She is from Panama, so we're both of Latin descent in the game. We formed a team called (E2) - Esquared. She co-wrote with me on the Paula Abdul's "Dance like there's No tomorrow", as well as the new Omarion album, and other upcoming artist projects.
You've worked with a variety of musicians including Soulshock & Karlin, Cutfather & Jonas Jeberg, Deekay, etc … Whom did you enjoy working with the most? And which other producers you'd love to hook up with if given the opportunity?
It's so hard to decide, but what they have in common is that they're from overseas, and I love their work ethic and passion which they all put behind the music. They are the real deal from production to the mixes, and seeing how they care so much about the music keeps me wanting to do this forever.
I would love to work with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Bryan Michael Cox, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins again. All in all, anyone who shares my passion.
I'll ask about some of the artists you've collaborated with, and all you have to do is describe that experience:
She was great and so talented! She also knows what she wants career-wise, and I'm sure she'll be here for many years to come.
Wow! She was such an honor to work with. Very humble and made me feel extremely appreciated. I heard an interview where she talked about the undeniable connection she shared with my writing and how much she enjoyed working with me … A speechless moment!
I wasn't there when she cut the vocals, but she spoke about the demo that she heard which I sang, and said she knew in the first 5 seconds that this song was the one to bring her career back … That obviously meant a lot to me cuz she's a veteran and sold more than 60 million records. I LOVE my job (lol).
If you weren't a musician, which career you'd choose as an alternative? And why?
Hmmmmm … Probably a Lawyer cuz when I believe in something, I fight till the end for it!
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Passionate, Outgoing, Loyal, Friendly, and Comical.
Tell us something that most readers will be surprised to learn about you?
I think I'm 6ft tall in my head (lol).
List 3 things that you are totally obsessed with?
I'm obsessed with my music, sneakers, hats, and chipotle food.
Care to share with us info about your forthcoming projects?
Omarion's new album, Casley, Indian born/UK based artist Jay Sean, British songstress Natalia, some stuff in Japan, and the Lil' Eddie Album.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
CEO of a record label, Grammy award winning songwriter, making movies, and changing the world for the better.
Any message you'd like to give to all aspiring songwriters out there?
As Long as you put god first whilst following your dreams, they will all come true. Timing is everything, so never give up!
[Visit] Edwin "Lil' Eddie" Serrano @ MySpace