Interview

Don’t Call It a Comeback: Electrik Red Has Always Shown Us “How to be a Lady” [Part 1]

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Just in time for the cut. Billboard just recognized The Dream’s deemed protégé female group, Electrik Red for their hit song, “So Good” released back in 2009. They deserve this accolade and so much more, still to this day. It has always been WORLD DOMINATION, and don’t you ever forget! That very year in 2009, Kyndra “Binkie” Reevey, Lesley Lewis, Naomi Allen and Sarah Rosete hit the scene knocking down barriers, kicking in walls, and breaking ceilings. The no holds barred crew are nothing short of world class superstars, but also everyday women that represent us all in a positive, don’t give a f**k manner. Oozing inspiration and equal rights for women of all kind, these ladies were and still are fierce, fearless, and phenomenal. That’s how to be a lady.

These Toronto and NY bred chicks aren’t your average. They set themselves aside from the rest in the beginning with their sexy, bitchy, and yet outspoken attitudes. These four have always said exactly what they want to say and dare anyone say not to. Making a statement is what they do, some may even be intimidated by the power they possess and the words they speak. They talk sh*t in their red lips and pumps, but always remain classy. Not too many can tell you off, say what’s on their minds, walk the walk with that edge, and still take care of business at home. *Wink Wink*. That’s the true definition of goals; that’s how to be a lady. The foursome can’t help but to be sexy and provocative, it’s in their red DNA. The chemistry and bond between them can’t be put into words. It’s sisterhood.

The release of their first one and only full length project, “How to be a Lady: Volume 1” by way of Def Jam will forever reign as one of the greatest of all time. It’s rare to find an album from top to bottom, hot all the way across, and they never released another after. There was talk for a while about “Volume 2,” but shortly following, we never heard anything else. Fans of the girl group, who followed their career all, wondered why.

When I saw the ladies pictured together a few months ago and witnessed the response they received under the comments on IG; it had been a while. It was evident they were still loved and missed. I knew I had to reach out and I did. I began to think of all the reasons for fans like myself to get the truth to all the burning questions. We spoke, coincidentally on the anniversary of the release of their one of a kind and striking woman guide, “How to be a Lady: Volume 1.”

Our hour-long chat was rewarding, fun, and LIT as they say now. We shared laughs and played a game of “This or That,” Electrik Red style. You already know that was “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content.” Here is the first part of my ever-so-candid conversation with Binkie, Les, Rosete, and Naomi on the phone. You can imagine this was interesting, their first interview together in a long time.

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PART 1:

PYNK: All right. So, first question is how did you all meet and did you all grow up together?

Lesley: I’ll take that. I’ll take it away. So, we met many, many, many, years ago, and Naomi and
Sarah have known each other since child hood, their tender ages. They grew up in Toronto and they were best friends from way back when.
Binkie and I also grew up together but in New York, Harlem and Brooklyn’s world, and we also
went to the same performing arts high school. So, it’s funny that we both had similar
upbringings but in different countries. So, Sarah and Naomi’s relationship and myself and
Binkie’s almost coincided, but we didn’t know each other just yet.  And then we collided dancing for Usher and we met Sarah on the road. We fell in love with here.  We asked her to be a part of it. She told us, there’s no way she could do this without her
best friend and they were also pursuing or thinking about a singing career.  Naomi was a stow away on the bus for a good week or so. We wrote songs in the back of the tour bus and never left each other’s side from there. Like we knew it was just meant to be the
four of us, so that’s how we all came to be together.

PYNK: That’s cool, so where did the name Electrik Red come from?

Binkie: I was with Lesley and her ex-boyfriend at the time and we were riding through the city, in New York and I’ve always been a fan of red …
And you know always been a Jimi Hendrix fan and he had a recording studio called
Electric Lady. And I kind of blurted it out and I remember Leslie turned around and her
eyes just were big and she said, “That’s it.” We had come up with some other funky ass
names that just weren’t as cool and that one just felt like, I don’t know, something I’d
never hear before, but kind of heard before. So, it was cool.

PYNK: Awesome. So how did you all get hooked up with the Dream and Tricky Stewart?

Naomi: Yes, I like you enthusiasm. So, excited to tell that story. So, basically what had happened
was … I was at the time, dancing for the Dream and telling him that I was gonna be in this group and, “It’s going to be amazing and awesome, and we’re signed and stuff.” And he’s like, “Yeah, yeah,
yeah, sure you are.” That was the story before. And lo and behold I was telling him, “Look, I was telling you the truth.” But some of big dogs
wanted us and were rooting for us and putting a budget behind this whole thing.
So, Dream at the time was doing a lot of records for Def Jam artists and he was doing a lot of
collabs for people and he was one of the people they really wanted us to work with, Dream and Tricky. So, you know he got the call on the separate end that they wanted him to work with us or whatever, make the album. And he was like, “Wow, really? I guess she was telling the truth.” He had already known us and when he met all of us he went kookoo for coco puffs, fell in love and wrote a dynamite smash album.

 

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PYNK: I definitely, I have to agree with that. So, I have to say that when I saw you guys together this past weekend, because I hadn’t seen all four of you together in a very long time, right? And I was reading the comments on the picture that you all posted. And everybody was like when is Electrik Red’s second album and are you all back together? All these different comments. I’m like, man, people love Electrik Red.

Lesley: Aw.

PYNK: Yeah, and I know myself, I’m a fan. So, I was excited, and while people were probably really happy it was kind of bittersweet because we were happy to see you together, but they’re like, “okay, are they back together?” So, are you all back together?

Lesley: We never really left. That’s the truth. The reality of us and I think what made us so magical
is that we were friends first. So, we were just … We’re always going to be in each other’s
lives and the sisterhood; so, you know, life happens and we grow up and go in different
direction and kids and you know, husbands and things of that nature, but I think
musically the opportunity is always there. We’re always excited to be around each other
when we can be. So, that is to be continued. You’ll just have to sit on the edge of your seat
with that. We did do a compilation recently that’s going to be dropping recently.

Sarah: Mixtape!

Lesley: For a friend of ours, but we’re always going to be in each other’s lives. So whatever it is
personally or business, you know, it’s all going to intertwine or whatever.

Sarah: We’re stuck. We love to keep you guys on your toes and wondering what’s the next move
going to be.

Lesley: We’re back on that.

PYNK: Okay, cool. I know you guys are friends and things like that and personally I support that. I think that’s a wonderful thing because the important elements is to be friends first and then sisters and then everything else will come. But I did want to … Is that what happened? The fact that kind of lives just … personal … is there anything that did happen to the second project? Because I remember you all doing an interview about it and the oh, yeah and talking about the second album and then it was like … No second album.

Lesley: Can I take this one? Yep, it’s Leslie. So I think what had happened was large budgets were
spent and then kids were looking at us like, “Wow, it’s expensive for a four girl group,”
and I think the intention in our hearts was obviously to give it a go and give a second
album, but the higher powers that had control over the situation. I think that they didn’t
see it the way that we saw it, and at the time we’d been putting this project together for
years before we even met Dream. Maybe six years prior to that we’d been cooking it up
and putting it together and you know, we all just got to certain points in our lives where it
was like, okay, do we have it in us to climb up that … To fight the battle again after we’ve
already proved ourselves and we know that we’re worthy of this? So, I think we just
respectfully, instead of fighting it chose to go in other directions. You know, the clocks
are ticking and to have babies and to get married and to just live our lives, you know?

PYNK: Yeah, I understand
.

Lesley: If the magical budget presented itself again then I think we would all have a different tone
or we might consider other options.

Binkie: That magical coin didn’t show up when it needed to. So … And then I want to piggy back too, Lesley … This is Binkie. You know what also happened was that the music business … You know, I think the music business started to change a bit. You know we had youtube and Instagram and things that were newly introduced into the
music business, and the numbers were starting to change, and there wasn’t anyone in the
building at Def Jam at the time that was foreseeing the changing of the music industry. I
mean I think people knew it was happening but we were a little bit behind the eight ball
and trying to catch up, and explaining to people like, “Oh why didn’t your first album get
the numbers when Dream makes hits all day?” You know what I mean, it’s a lot of … “Something’s wrong with the whole project.” You know
cause that’s what big labels do and you know that there’s so many artist that do this on
their own. You know what I mean? And the record numbers don’t matter anymore it’s about views, and I think we missed out
on a big opportunity had we jumped on the reality show boat, had we jumped on the
streaming and all that stuff early, I think that’s what one of the wonderful things about us
was, was our synergy when we were all together, and I think had we jumped on that boat
we probably would have had a second album a lot sooner than having people wait a
couple years.

Sarah: If I could just piggy back off of Binkie as well, this is Sarah speaking. The smart one. Basically, what’s crazy is … To take you back to ’08, we were, not to toot
my own horn, but we were ahead of our own time in many ways. You know like with the
reality show concepts that are out today, we pitched ten years ago. With the music content
that’s out today and as racy as it is, we did that ten years ago, so across the board we were
just kind of a little bit ahead of our time and I think you know, our work ethic was
matched to none in that sense, but there’s so many factors and your team. And being
signed to such a major label now, like Binkie said, the music … You can do that shit
virally by yourself and be a huge megastar, so there’s so many elements that technology
wasn’t what it is today. So that’s pretty much the gist of it, but I feel like if you love music
and you gave it a chance, and you know the difference between some fly shit and some
whack shit then you were a fan. And if you didn’t, you were hating. Okay?

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PYNK: Okay, I hear you. I got you.

Naomi: Really quickly too, we lost our champion in the building.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s important to mention as well.

Naomi: Shakir Stewart passed away right after we …

Sarah: Recorded the album.

Naomi: Yeah, recorded the album. He was the one that signed us, he was the one that got the
vision and I think TV shows and youtube and all the content and everything, had he been
around he would have absolutely saw the potential in that and I think would have pushed
us to keep a rollin’. And then we had everybody on our dick when we first started. We had Kanye trying to sign us.
We would the first ladies of whatever his shit is called.

Binkie: Good music.

Sarah: Good music, yeah.

Naomi: Yeah, we would have been the first ladies of good music and then you know, like so many
people wanted to rock with us we almost got with Interscope. We almost got with
Timbaland, this is after the Def Jam situation. Well, Kanye was before, but after that, you
know?

Naomi: The world was our oyster I think and you know, life happens and bills are consistent and
we’re all four multi-talented chicks.

Sarah: Independent women.

Naomi: You know what I’m saying?

Sarah: Ain’t looking for no sponsor!

Binkie: That’s so funny, you guys are so crazy.

Naomi: The thing is, with people get excited when we’re all together because we get excited. I feel like before we were even signed, we had you tubes of us acting crazy, and we had so many views and it
was like people were really following the cult so to speak of Electrik Red. We were the
good time girls. We were crazy. We’re honest. When we were mad you could tell. When
somebody had a little attitude you could tell, but it was not reality TV yet. Like the girls
said. So, I feel like we were already there, the people were already subscribing to us on a certain level
and then the music came and that became something that was really solid. It solidified
who we were and a lot of distribute the talents. I think the reason people ask, where’s the album every time we post a picture is because I don’t
think there are any other four women in the world, except maybe sex in the city, that have
this synergy that we have. It’s very special. We even get high off of it. And we miss each other when we’re not around. It’s the kind of
thing that feeds your soul, and you know when you’re in acting class they say if you
believe it and you feel it, the audience believes it and they’ll believe it. It’s the same thing,
we’re so authentically sisters in this and friends. You know, that it’s like you can feel that
and people love it. You know not to compare us to anything else. It’s the way that the
dynamic is with the Kardashian sisters, you can see that they are real sisters, and they
really do hate things about each other and love things about each other.  And so similarly, and that’s the only similarity I’ll say, is you can see that with us, and people love it and we love it, and I think that’s what gets people excited about: Where’s the album?

PHOTO CREDIT: IG

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