Current track



Peter CottonTale Breaks Down ‘Catch,’ Previews New Music on Vocalo

Written by on November 9, 2022

PC: I haven’t listened to that song in so long! Shout out Cynthia Erivo and Chance on that, man, they really brought some stuff and Kofi [Lost], he’s an amazing poet, he really laced the beginning, man, working with him. And I also worked with some YCA poets, too, to bring the demo to life. And one day we’ll get online and I’ll explain to you the real process of doing commercial music, as a producer, but man, shout out “Together,” man! We in here together, unified.

B: Amazing record, right there. You know, Catch came out in 2020. It was your debut project. For you, it’s two years now. How was it putting together Catch in the first place?

PC: The process for Catch was a little bit different than I’ve experienced  in producing albums. I’ve been able to executive produce some projects and sit in the studio with artists and get it together for a couple months or a couple of weeks, or whatever. I was in between doing a lot of projects for a lot of years. And I was running into a lot of gifted musicians. And we had a lot of, I wouldn’t say spare time, but we had other times where we were musically developing or enhancing together, or writing and stuff like that. So in that time, I just made use of what was around me and just started making more music. And records… I had been doing vocal production. And I’m known for doing  a lot of vocal production, or people call me to get choirs, or I’ll do background vocals on a track myself and shoot it over to some other people that enhance it. But just using those talents and having little writing camps over the maybe three or two years, and making Catch.

B: And this was previous to… 

PC: Previous to Catch, yeah. Having the writing camps… I remember me, Nico and Nate, we stayed over in London one time with Elliott, Richard and Ben, formerly known as Third Story, and we just cooked some tunes, had some people come through. I’ve done it in Chicago, maybe twice, I was able to do that, maybe upper Wisconsin, I was able to do that in a couple other places and it’s fire, man. The little writing camps that just brought us together. And one thing that brought us together was our belief in God. I was able to talk about that, expand on that on the record. I mean, like I said, Chicago is the birthplace of gospel music, and all these cats in my choir, man, you’d be surprised what church you probably went to at the same time as them in Chicago. So we was able to make that. It was so beautiful.

Photo by Morgan Ciocca, Vocalo Radio / Chicago Public Media.

B: You got me thinking, too, with Catch being out, how did Catch change you musically? Because think about it, you said you even went, you did music camp for two years previous to even putting Catch out. Then you being an instrumentalist and working on so many other people’s projects and music, and you finally putting out your debut album. So how has that changed your music?

PC: Honestly, the word change is hard, but enhanced, for sure. I went way farther into my choir writing. For example, my job is a music director there’s a lot of different hats that I put on. Music director, producer, artist and some other stuff. As an MD, I might have a choir pull up on you at your award show because you want to do a song with a choir, and I might have to write some extra parts or some “ooohs” and some “aaah” or work with Rachel [Robinson] to bring some more parts to life. And I just did that more on my record, just started writing more and got way deeper into that, started reading the Bible way more, studying, paying attention to my sermons and taking in that knowledge and putting them back on the record, honestly. 

It’s definitely changed me as far as I’m for sure a better writer than I was before. Writing for a group of people… I don’t hear many choir directors talk about it, but it’s definitely different, for sure, than sitting with an artist or rapper being like, “Oh yeah, you should just say this right here on this line!” Or hearing them go through their thought process and see them coming up with lyrics for themselves, this is way different. It’s definitely changed my writing, to say the least. And it brought a lot of new people, fans. It went number one in Japan radio, Japan Apple Radio for like six months. It was a good time, too, because ‘Jesus Is King’ was out around that time, and I was battling with him over there for the charts. It was crazy, bro. It’s definitely added a lot more value into making sure that I express my belief on record. Ever since 2005, 2002, whenever College Dropout came out, or post-that, a lot of people make one or two faith-based tracks on their album. We got “Jesus Walks,” you got “God’s Plan,” you got “Blessings” by Kendrick, a lot of big tracks. So I just made an album full of all those tracks.


B: Do you personally feel like, with you putting Catch out, it helped amplify the gospel genre? 

PC: Oh, for sure. 

B: Snoop, he also did a gospel album.

PC: Nicki Minaj did a gospel song. Lil Baby did a gospel song with Kirk.

B: Yep, with Kirk Franklin

PC: I think the bridge is widening, for sure. We don’t gotta get stuck in our lanes. The bridge for rap has widened, and we see here — and shout out to Migos, for real. We hear them on pop records, we heard them on a Calvin Harris beat. We heard Future on a pop beat. We heard all types of stuff we got Kirk Franklin and Lil Baby. We got Fred Hammond and Kanye West. I don’t think that this belief that faith music should be in a shell. Our belief doesn’t happen in a vacuum, so why should our music happen in a vacuum?

B: Preach, my brother. Let people know, because… my grandma, I remember when I got baptized. I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s always been a part of who I am and my family.

PC: And so many people have that same story. Same… “Oh, yes. Pardon me.” Okay, cool. What’s up? Here’s the album.

B: Yeah, but here’s the catch-22. 

PC: Okay.

B: Peter, I got this new joint, right, but…

PC: You don’t got it yet! I gotta send you the whole thing.

B: I got some of it! You’re right, I got some of it. But are we going to receive another album from you anytime soon?

PC: For sure. One thing that I want to do, I want to drop a mixtape. I ain’t… Okay, let me preface this with Fred Hammond and Kirk and all them guys. Hezekiah Walker. Back in the day, they was dropping live performance mixtapes of them performing at a church. For real! Yeah, you can go on YouTube and see ’em! It was boppin’ out the sins, oh my God, the church was cracking! A lot of their singles were doing really well after that, too. So I’m getting that. Yeah, come through, come through City Winery tomorrow and experience kind of the same thing, as well as a mixtape will be fun for people to view and listen to and their regular time. 

My pastor said something in a sermon on Sunday that really stuck with me, and I think I heard it before, but — pastors, their job, right? Pastors see people in the top 10% of their life and the bottom 10% of their life. So pastors get to do  weddings, pastors get to do matrimony, a lot of great celebrations, christening of children, but they also get the depressed, this is what happened in my relationship or my marriage and stuff like that, but there’s a lot of space in between. And let’s make a bridge. Shout out to Pastor Toledo at Chicago Tabernacle. I’m trying to make a bridge so you can live and walk with your faith through listenable and relatable things in between those 10 percents…. A couple years ago, I was on tour, a long time ago, and instead of watching Netflix and stuff on the road, I decided to replace some of that stuff or watching sermons or studying. This is what I believe in, period.

B: And what has that done for you? 

PC: Catch. To say the least, bro! It’s done so many other things, it’s planted so many things, and God has brought me such a ripe harvest from that. Known and unknown things that are still happening, so that’s definitely what it’s brought, for sure. And a certain maturity that’s helped me be an influence for my friends and the gospel being an influence to me. I’m writing some new songs… it seems like you got some new music that you ’bout hit play on! 

B: Most definitely is! 

PC: I really want to preview new music on Vocalo, because y’all play great joints all the time!

B: And we ’bout to jump into a preview, too. Before I get into it, let people know where they can find you, how they can follow you and that people know, again, to pop out to Black Star Festival.

PC: For sure. Once again, y’all, I’m Peter CottonTale from the South Side of Chicago. You can find me in Chicago. You can find me at RCM Studios up north, but also you can find me online at @RealCottonTale on Instagram

B: Break down things before I get into this!

PC: Man, I’m not even going to break down new music yet, because I’m gonna keep playing and I’m gonna be back on Vocalo and we’ll play some more new music. Y’all might hear the same track again, I want to put in your heads. But this is “My Healer.” Shout out Fred Hammond and everything he did in the ’90s, shout out Kirk Franklin, everything he did in the ’90s as far as gospel music, man.

Photo by Morgan Ciocca, Vocalo Radio / Chicago Public Media.

[continued on next page]

Pages: 1 2 3 4