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Pell tells his story through trial, some error — and lots of ‘experimental soul’

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Finally, another installment in our Brief But Spectacular series, where we ask interesting people to describe their passions.

    Tonight, we hear from hip-hop artist Jared Pellerin, who’s better known by his stage name, Pell, on how beauty can be born of hardship and what he discovers making music he calls experimental soul.

  • PELL, Recording Artist/Producer:

    Sometimes, I feel like a true masterpiece is made from making a mistake beautiful.

    I first started making music when I was around 16 in Jackson, Mississippi, because I was forced to move there after Hurricane Katrina with my brother and mother.

    I remember making friends by making music because, being in a new social situation, it’s always a good thing to be able to identify yourself with something, and I identified myself as an artist.

    I have a lot of musical influences, Kanye West, Pharrell William, Frank Ocean, Stevie Wonder. I listen to Stevie when I feel like I’m in love or I feel like I want to do better in the world, because there’s a lot of positivity in his music.

    I would describe my music as experimental soul. And some of the best music to me is that that comes out of accident. Maybe that one drum hit that didn’t sound right, if left in there and mixed the perfect way, can provide the ear candy for a classic.

    “Runaway” is one of my favorite tracks, because it deals with having to leave something that you know and chasing your own path and dream. That’s how you get the message.

    “That’s how you get the message, when I no longer can text you. Hear our past on every record because it’s way too hard forgetting. All the teachings in the world can’t force another lesson, that it’s better you’re a ghost within my presence. But I still remember you just as a blessing, I’m confessing.”

    Being in the music industry, you are confronted with a bunch of challenges creatively, because you will have people telling you what you should be talking about, when the goal of an artist is to tell their story.

    I should try to challenge myself to bring something new to the culture, because that’s how it keeps pushing forward. The way music streaming is now and the trends that it’s starting to show in our listeners’ attention, I feel that people are more receptive to singles and not listening to albums as much.

    When you drop an album, you’re not dropping a bunch of loose singles. You’re dropping a cohesive story or a cohesive body of work sonically that you want somebody to be able to digest, sit with, maybe play a few times. It takes a lot to make an album. You’re putting your whole soul into a body of work that is something that needs to be enjoyed in its completeness.

    And when you take away that aspect and you want to, you know, pitch this single or this single, and not really have anybody focus on the album, you take away from what the point of the music is, you know?

    What’s up? My name is Jared Pellerin, AKA Pell. And this is my Brief But Spectacular take on experimental soul.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

     Jared’s is just one in our Brief But Spectacular series.  You can find that on our Web site at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.

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