Its been said that “Real Recognize Real”, and this situation proves the prose. I first became aware of Singer and Songwriter , CULLEN EMADREY (aka Cullen Williams), thru another talented artist while attending R&B Live Detroit, a long running Detroit staple performance showcase for R&B vocalists that I happen to produce and curate (shameless plug intended!!LOL). It was at the mention of fellow vocalist and very good friend of his, Terri Schuh, that I check out her good friend CULLEN who was in attendance as well. I get petitioned all the time from performers and such, so I took it all n stride and “put a pin in it” for later. After introductions and pleasantries I began organizing the next show and took a look at the young artist. To my surprise , he was well organized and already functioning as a full fledged indie artist with not just social network likes and follows to state his case. And after listening to his music and checking out his visuals and taking note of his past performances and such. I was blown away at his already steady diet of consistency. So, I elected to schedule him for the show, which also required him do a series of interviews and other promotions in conjunction with the performance. I pride the show on keeping it professional and growing the artists thru the experience. To which CULLEN responded in prolific fashion. He was already a consummate professional in every aspect, and a very pleasant and personable young man to boot!! Given his very young age, he was a joy to sit down with and chop up all things CULLEN.
From the beginning I knew this would be something I would enjoy when I simply asked him the most trivial of interviewer questions, How he got started.. “Oooh! I knew I could hold a note at like 5, but I didn’t get the confidence to really work on it until I was like 10, within church. I began training with the praise team.” stated the now 21 year old vocalist. And it shows, that he is not a Disney kid, a trained kid performer who hits every cue in showbiz and talks thru a plastered on grin or a plastic postured stance, Media Training 101. It is appreciated, but can get a little condescending. The young man is as genuine as his music is awesome. It makes you wonder and then applaud that a young man with such a recognition of his own abilities, at even such an adolescent age, how do you handle that. Because a career in show business let alone music is fleeting… according to CULLEN it was an automatically respected and in fact, encouraged endeavor. “My family was always supportive! My Mom was the first to come around. It took my Dad hearing that first note out of me during my first solo at church. His jaw had dropped and he was “Oooooh! that’s my boy!” CULLEN gushes When asked about his family’s view of his talents. And after meeting his Mother at his performance its obvious they are not just proud and supportive to appease their gifted child. Its an authentic belief in him being Happy as opposed to forcing him into a traditional life choice. “My Parents have always had the “you write your own ticket” mindset. As long as I’m doing what I’m passionate about to the best of my ability, then they love it. I love them for not only allowing me to express myself creatively and follow my passion, but investing in me during my early years!” Explaining his parents support of his Pursuit of music as a career. It wasn’t always the path he was so sure of. He had to do the work to get himself in the proper positions. “I’ve always been on the fence about it. I wasn’t sure until I was 18. I had thought about studying engineering first, but after my first year of college I said fuck it and went full speed into music .” Says the artist whose first project 2019’s “Unfold” featuring my first EMADREY jam “Dive Into Oblivion” got things going on the fast rack for the young vocalist.
A product of Detroit Suburb Farmington Hills, CULLEN has been on his grind for a minute and is among a cadre of young performers of this generation or cycle, who are putting their own stamp on music in the Detroit area and making a name for themselves the Detroit way. Which is hit the ground grinding. Showing that the Motown work ethic is still very much in tact within even this and probably future generations. He counts 2014 American idol Alum Malaya Watson and newly signed Interscope artist Jayla Darden as inspirations and signs that Detroit’s time has been starting to come. CULLEN has done his groundwork performing at various colleges and making his mark at One of Detroit’s most diverse and yet well attended festival on Wayne State University campus not far from Downtown Detroit called Dally in the Alley. A rather busy member of the Detroit Music Scene, CULLEN sees and expects big things on the horizon.. “Detroit is such an artistic city I feel like during period of time Detroit is going to be out here. You may have to go to LA or Atlanta to get into bigger markets.. but Detroit has a lot offer.. I feel like we need to network and interact and support one another so if one makes some headway, they can reach back in the form of opening the same doors and more for the next one on deck.”
The Music Business in general and to a point, isn’t what you expect. Promises are made to be broken. And young talents need to be vigilant and aware of the many traps and trappers around every corner at even the earliest of levels..“Its a Journey . The Highs are High Like getting recognition.. And the Lows are people or producers offering things and not following thru. It makes me wonder whats wrong with me .. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this .. I feel like if that person doesn’t wanna work with me then, the next one will or if that one falls thru, the next one will. I just keep going until I run into the right person and to keep myself ready for when that time comes..” On the many different experiences he himself has had during his short tenure in the game. Sadly some things never change.
“CULLEN, who is as disciplined a performer as he is a songwriter. Pulls no punches nor leaves no one un entertained during his High energy stage show that he refuses to do without his just as disciplined backing band. He gives off major Maxwell and MJ (Michael Jackson, who else?) vibes. He is enjoying himself as much as his audience. He performs as if he is embodied by his own music and just doles out pieces of himself in the form of every note. I was so taken by his medley of Maxwell’s “Ascension” and MJs “Remember The Time” I had to ask him about it. To which he stated (About the Maxwell influence) “He is like my musical father!! He really is. i get so much from him. His whole album “Urban Hang Suite” I wish I could have made that!!” Taking his cues from one of Soul musics Masters of the last 20 years, as well as citing Alaina Baraz, Mac Ayres and Daniel Ceasar among others his current favorites in music. As for what he feels is his own strength and keys to building his own legacy, he stated that he would like to be remembered for bringing Something Soulful, to it. “Writing, is an expression or a conversation with yourself. I’d (like to) stand out with my lyrics, I am not afraid to be vulnerable. says the Young Singer on his own techniques. ” It just depends on the topic of the song Its more of an expression. I want people to be able to enjoy and vibe and relate to what I do”. His current single “Chimera” which is defined as “a thing that is hoped or wished for” quite frankly describes his overall passion for music itself and what he is seeking to accomplish. Its early in his journey , but somehow I feel he will no doubt fulfill his own Chimera, and we will all be witness to his own realized Ascension . – Terry Martin for RnBInTheD.com
Website – https://www.cullenemadrey.com/