An interview with Rhode Island-based duo, Soul Babe

Esther Watrous –Anchor Staff

Photo courtesy of Soul Babe

Local music artists, Mary Gipson and Helena Widmann, have been performing as Soul Babe, an R&B, Hip-hop, Funk, and Neo Soul group, for almost two years. Besides performing together, Widmann is a 2018 RIC graduate and a voice instructor, and Gipson is a cosmetologist and radio personality at 101.1 WBRU.

The Anchor: You’re both very talented musicians, how did you meet?

Helena Widmann: We were both a part of a showcase called, “The Wave,” curated by BO8 Studios, and we were the only two women who were a part of the show. We exchanged information and that’s how we met.

Mary Gipson: Yeah, we networked a little bit. I was really impressed. When you go to showcases, especially the hip hop and R&B community, everybody is singing over a track, but she had a guitar player, and she just brought a whole different vibe.

The Anchor: What is the meaning and purpose behind Soul Babe?

Mary Gipson: When you’re an artist, you put your soul out there to view and see and criticize. That’s one thing that I wanted to incorporate in the name of Soul Babe. The fact that she does her own thing, and I do my own thing, I thought, let’s use this as a platform together and let’s do some live stuff.

The Anchor: Are you working on any originals together?

Mary Gipson: Not yet. We both live crazy lives right now. I think this year we’re really focused on getting at least a couple originals, even if it’s just basement tapes where we’re just vibing.

The Anchor: How do you choose cover songs to sing together?

Helena Widmann: There needs to be attention put towards popularity, so, what people like. My type of vibe is much more like an acoustic setting. People want to hear upbeat dance music. They want to drink and have fun. We have to focus on incorporating music that is soulful because that’s part of the band name, but it needs to be something that people are going to recognize.

The Anchor: Who has the most stage confidence?

Helena Widmann: Mary all day. I’m just more introverted and I don’t always like people watching me like a fish bowl, but I like performing. I like to sing, but I’m not as good at entertaining.

Mary Gipson: I’m awkward too but I just make fun of myself half the time. I think I’m funny, and I was always one of those kids who was like, look at me, look what I can do. So it just comes naturally with me.

The Anchor: Helena, How did you get into teaching voice lessons?

Helena: When I was in high school, I had developed this habit of pushing when I sing and it really made my voice hoarse all the time, and limited my ability to perform and use proper dynamics. It took away a love that I had because it was painful to sing. Over time, I had to learn from different teachers to sing in a healthy way. I like to help people achieve their best sound through what I’ve learned.

The Anchor: Mary, you released the single, “Therapy” recently. Do you have any more singles coming soon or any bigger projects?

Mary Gipson: I have another single coming out very soon. I want to release a video at the same time because its a fun track and I feel like with the video and some dancers it would gain a lot more attention than just releasing the song.

The Anchor: How do you find inspiration for both your group projects and your independent projects?

Mary Gipson: We all have separate lives. We all do what we need to do, especially with the band, it’s hard keeping everyone together and on the same page. You just have to keep that inspiration alive. I would say other bands that we go and watch inspire us to keep what we have going.

Helena Widmann: I write poetry a lot. That’s something that I enjoy doing because there’s no pressure. But I know that if I can take something that I wrote and turn it into a song, then I’ve already done half my work.