Saturday, March 7, 2015
NATE OG DET @NATEOGDETROIT INTERVIEWS HIS MENTOR THE SOULFUL EMPRESS COKO BUTTERFLI
1. Peace and blessings sis, now I have been a fan of your work for a spell and I know how gifted you are with your talent. For those who may not be familiar with your work, feel free to introduce yourself?
“Allow, me to introduce myself…They call me Coko Buttafli/Let these words and rhythms sooth you ,groove you/ let me take you higk/Sexy/spunkyfunky grooving,Hip Hop/Jazzy/Catch these grooves and fly!” Well, my name is Coko Buttafli. I am known for my gritty funk infused vocals and my versatility. I was first introduced to the Detroit music scene in 2011. I worked with a local band called Will Sessions, and did the background vocals for Elzhi’s “Elmatic”. The day before his release at the Majestic, I received a call from his management team asking if I would sing live with the band. After that, I started featuring from time to time with Will Sessions at some of their gigs. In the meantime, I worked with several bands, musicians, and other artists in the Detroit are. I even had my own band for a minute. It was Coko Buttafli and the Ghetto Hippie Experience. Here is a clip of that Funk Night Show.
2. Now Miss Buttafli, How did your stage name come about, it seems to have a deep meaning to it, so what’s the science behind it?
Well back in 2007, I was working with a producer named Eddie Ed in Pontiac. I use to literally get off work, go home check on and feed my son, and then work on music. My stage name use to be Tony Covey. I liked it because at the time I was singing jazz, r&b and a little poetry so I liked the name fit the art. My boy Eddie Ed said to me, “you know what would be dope? You should change your name to Coco Butterfly! ‘Cause you got that smooth ass voice, like butter and you have that chocolate toned skin.” So as of October 2007, I was now officially Coko Buttafli. Truthfully, I was doing what butterflies do. I was reborn, and finally embraced my own sound. I was like a butterfly who was ready to spread my wings. I was ready to fly.
3. Who are some of your influences and how have the influenced your signature style?
4. What is your earliest recollection of music?
My earliest recollection of music had to be somewhere around 1976. I remember my brother playing Parliament Funkadelic all the time. My mom playing “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gay. I remembered I was singing that song and my Mom looked at me like I saw a ghost. I use to go to Jackson Tennessee in the summer when I was a child and be around all my cousins who were musically inclined.. Truthfully, we could have been a singing group. At this time, my cousin Tammy introduced my sisters to black culture. She taught us about Langston Hughes, Nina Simone, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. She made us appreciate the arts which opened us up to a wider variety of musical tastes. We spent a lot of time in church singing. Then we would go home and have talent shows and sing some more. My parents taste in music was different. My Dad likes blues, my mom liked R&B. When I became a musician at the age of 11, I then got into jazz. I played the clarinet and started doing solo and ensemble competitions. The biggest influence happened around the same time for me. Comcast went into all the neighborhoods and all the families go cable television. There was this cool channel called MTV. This channel opened up my musical taste in a whole other way. I heard The Police, Van Halen, Quite Riot, The Thompson Twins….wow! At that time, a lot of Afro-American artist were not featured but it did let me experience something other than R&B. This is where my eclectic styles hails from.
5. What was the moment that you realized what your gift was and that you wanted to pursue it?
When I sung the Marvin Gaye song. I realized I wanted to sing and asked my mother if I could join the choir at church. The funny thing was I was the youngest in the choir at the time because my church did not have a youth choir. I learned to harmonize singing in the choir. I think the only time in my life that I had patience was at choir rehearsal. My first solo was “Rock of Ages”. Ironically, I didn’t sing a lot of solos at church. I liked blending with the choir. As I go older, other choir directors took notice and started working with me on my range. I wanted to be a choir director (did it for a brief time) but then The Creator had another plan. I didn’t start pursuing singing until I was around 24. I started looking for bands to sing with.
6. How long have you been a vocalist, not to show age but what year did you start?
I have been singing since I was six years old. So about thirty seven years. I took it more seriously in my early twenties and started singing with bands.
7. We Are both from Detroit, but what are some common misconceptions about the city, people and the music scene that you would like clear up?
Actually I am from Pontiac. I just work a lot in the Detroit music scene. When I was in the Army, I was shocked with the perception people have about Detroit. They think everyone from here are “killers” or want to know if you can “sang” because of the Motown thing. I would say Detroit has a lot of talent. The funny thing is, when I watched American Idol once, they made Detroit look horrible! I noticed Detroiters never get far. That is a high expectation because of all the great music that has come from here. Detroit has more to offer than a bad reputation of violence and being broke. I don’t understand why Detroiters get such a hard time.
8. What is the local scene like where you live?
Oh boy, I am not sure if I should answer this. As I stated, I live in Pontiac. Literally, there are like two bars that do live music right now. I always have to go to the D to gig. I have some cats I gig with in Pontiac, and I have learned a lot from them. The thing about Pontiac is a lot of these cats are older and set in their ways. When I show up to practice for a gig, I have often been treated like I am green and don’t have a clue. Cats from my town want to name drop. “Hey man, I worked with the Fantastic Four” or “Man, I toured the country with the Dramatics for five years!” Okay, that is cool, but besides drinking and getting high, what are you doing now?? I tend to humble myself when I am around these cats. Perhaps I don’t want to seem pretentious or arrogant. I may not share that I just played a Funk Night with Gabe Gonzalez (drummer from the Enema Squad and George Clinton), Edward Tony Green (played a lot of the Death Row bass lines), or I sung vocals for Paul Riser or Dennis Coffey (Original Funk Brothers) and as we speak my voice is on Elzhi’s Elmatic (His Group Slum Village has a song with John Legend) cd. What does it matter, let’s work! I do believe it is important to embrace where you’re from. I am proud I am from Yaktown, but I decided to step outside my city and it was the best decision I ever made!
9. Explain the difference between and vocalist and singer as you see it?
10. How do you feel about the state of the music industry currently?
Well the music industry is a business. The goal is to make money for all parties involved. This means the artist has to meet a certain standard that the masses will gravitate to. Singing doesn’t matter. Actually, it is the last thing the record company is worried about. The record company wants to sell an image. They want artist to have crossover appeal. Now for independent artist, they should have some skill set to create a buzz. The best thing about being an underground artist is that people will appreciate your work, not your look or your antics. I was telling someone how Erykah Badu will always work, because she has a big underground following. That is the artist that you want to be. I don’t want one hit then I have to perform this damn song for the next twenty years! Lol
11. What does your creative process consists of?
Good question. I get inspired by different things. I may witness situation and right about it. I may be in love and write about it. If my man up and quit me, I will most likely write a Grammy winning album! But for real, I go and listen to my favorite artist. When I need to create harmony, I listen to the Clark Sisters. Or I will listen to Ta Ta Vega when I want to get down home with it. I go deep in my psyche and write. Sometimes I meditate before I write. I get my Cabernet Sauvignon roll up and think. Then I hum. Then I rock then I sang. It depends what I am writing about.
12. If you could lock in the studio with any three artist, groups or bands to create an album who would they be?
I would like to be in a studio with D’Angelo, Georgia Ann Muldrow, and Prince. That would be awesome! After of course being revived from fainting! lol
13. What are some of your current projects and where can we find them?
My vinyl’s are on websites all over. I will include some links.
14. What are some of your future projects and which ones are you looking forward to most?
I am trying to get this “Buttafli Effect” EP completed by late Spring. I have been working with O1 from The Almighty Dreadnaugtz on some of the tracks. Dope producers. I also have another song coming out with Will Sessions. I am excited about this, because this song really show me how to record a funk record.
15.Do you represent any companies or labels? if so who are they and how long have you been affiliated?
I am affiliated with Funk Night Records (FNR) shout out to the Soul Controller Frank Raines! If one of the bands who record records needs a vocalist, they may hit me up. I recorded “Boss Lady” and a remake of “Good Things” with Will Sessions on FNR. I recorded “Lady Lucy” and “Wicked” with the Soul Surfers (a band out of Russia) on this label. I love this funk realm, because my music is on wax!
16. How would you define your brand of music and art, what sets you apart from everyone else?
I would define my music as eclectic soul. See, music comes from the soul. I take all the elements that music is made of and incorporate it into my show. My live show takes you on a journey. I want the person who witnesses to come out with a better understanding and love for music. I want people to ask me, “did you just make that Cream song funky?” or “never heard it sung like this before”. Being a chameleon sets me apart.
17.How can we stay connected to you?
Hit me up on my Facebook fan page
18. Any jewels for aspiring artist that you have gained in your career?
Humility! Listen to people who have knowledge of the business. However, express your views in a respectful manner. In order to be heard, cockiness doesn’t have to be your weapon of choice. Artist need to know, your reputation precedes you; so if you are an azz clown, the word in the street is going to be just that. Most of the gigs I have gotten was because of my attitude. Personally, I will work with a person with a little less skill than one with massive skill who is a jerk. If an artist makes me want to kick him in the balls or punch her in the ovaries then we shouldn’t collab!! Treat fans good, because they buy your product and spread the good word about you. Dig this, if you run into a fan, and you are polite they may tell a few people about it and go on about their day. But if you run into a fan and you are rude, arrogant and flaming jackass, they are going to social media and blast you!! The other thing, STAY THE HELL OF SOCIAL MEDIA WITH DRAMA AND BULLSHIT! Stop advertising your love life, your beefs, smoking, and all your other vices. Social media is free advertising. Use it wisely. I could go on all day about this one.
19.Any special thanks or shout outs, if so feel free to show them here?
First of all, I want to thank you for thinking of me to do this interview. Thank you so much! I want to thank my band The Urban Hippie Project, my producer Gary Samuel aka O1of The Almight Dreadnaughtz, my brothers The Almighty Dreadnautz. My girl Venus Skye, Most Wanted, Will Sessions, The Soul Surfers, The Hip Hop Shop, Frank Raines(Funk Night Records) and everyone who has showed support and love for my craft!
20.Any final thoughts or anything we didn't cover feel free to do so here?
Keep going. Sometimes, it seems like this is in vain but there is a bigger picture if you stay in it. There is an artist named Charles Bradley who was discovered at the age of 61. His first debut album came out in like 2011. If you really want this music to work, you have to believe in yourself and believe you can do it. It is up to the artist to promote and produce. Make it happen!!! Never give up on your dreams.