TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine would like to introduce the multi-talented entertainer FC “Steel” Anderson to all of our readers. Steel, as you are so often referred to, have been around for a long time, with music being your primary calling. You also go by the name of Cisco Castille, so for the meantime we will call you ‘Steel’. How did you originally start in your music career?
S- Thanks Joseph! I guess I started out as a child, singing back-up harmonies for church and family groups, and taking beginner piano lessons, before I eventually got into playing trombone in high school in various bands, while still singing background vocals in various groups around the DC area.
TAEM- Tell us about your training at George Washington University and how it had helped you.
S- Oh, the 6 months of vocal/operatic baritone voice training at GWU helped me big time, until then, I was rapping, and producing a little, but had never thought of myself as having a possible lead voice, until my maestro at the time gave me a great compliment, saying I was his best student, and should continue opera singing, but since I’m more into urban music and my articulation was improved, I nicely turned down that opportunity and went back into urban music. Not only did it help me find my voice, or voices that I sing lead with, but also to truly appreciate the full range and power of the voice as an instrument, whether you are just singing, rapping, talking, or whistling. I truly appreciate everyone’s voice, even annoying, and sometimes just like to listen to a new group’s interaction and interchange of voices, I’m also a big karaoke fan too, when I was stationed in Tokyo in 98’ with the Navy, but that’s another story . . .
TAEM- Tell us about some of the entertainment performances that you did while in the Caribbean.
S- Oh, well, initially, when I was working and living down in Trinidad, I actually started out singing jazz, Frank Sinatra standards, in the main ballroom on Friday afternoon, during happy hour, out of a songbook with the great Trinbagonian pianist, Ralph Davies. Then, after a few months of living there, and picking up some of the local, Caribbean, way of talking, plus the country’s annual prep for the 2nd biggest Carnival in the world, I started falling in love with the calypso, soca, and Carnival spirit, and found that I could make new Carnival music as well, so. . . I defected for 3 years from the jazz and rock I had been doing , and joined the ranks of the soca singers for the following 3 Carnivals in Trinidad, with my great friend, and limer there, Kern, a.k.a. Cousin Cortez, and put together a 4 girl dance group, first called “Charlie’s Angels”, then the “Pussykatz”, and we had a wonderful time prepping for half a year, then releasing the new song for the next Carnival, and started signing up my soca group for shows all over the island up until the big 2 day annual Carnival, their version of Mardi Gras, but bigger. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I’d like to give a shout-out to all of the wonderful people of Trinbago!
TAEM- Tell our readers about the many variations of music that you performed, and some of the bands that you were in.
S- Whew, that’s a great question! Right now, after 20 years of music, but mainly off and on because I work day jobs in between, the genres are rock, neo-soul, rap, hip hop, pop, electronic, jazz, and Latin. The bands were high school bands, Go Go Lorenzo, Bowie State University Jazz Band, Mr. Gigolo, Native Creed, Dysfunkshunal Family, Aikan, Cousins Steel & Cortez, Darwens Theory, and Steel, and I’ve collab’d over the years with performers like Nychaela Symone, Bubu the Producer, DJ Kilmore of Incubus, Changamire, Suja, and Magnus.
TAEM- We’ve been told that you were also nominated for a Grammy. Can you tell what the nomination was for and what became of it ?
S- Yes, when I incorporated and became my own indie record label in 07’, upon my return to the U.S., I had been a member of the Grammy’s since 03’, I made 2 CD’s, a hip hop EP, “The Return of Steel”, and supervised/contributed to the first soundtrack for the indie movie, “Full Circle” by my great friend, director Master June Daguiso of MJD Productions and WMIFF, and submitted both for Grammy nominations, and my hip hop song, “Crackin”, was picked up in the initial round of Grammy nominations that year, which was on both CD’s, but didn’t make the final four, or the final cut. Still, it was an honor, and a validation from the universe for me, just to have it considered and see it on that list. Now, I work on so much music, I mostly forget about being a Grammy nominee, unless one of my friends and/or family reminds me, still, it’s opened up a few more doors in the music industry. People definitely know that I’m a serious musician and entertainer now, give me a little more respect, and even though it’s still not my day job yet, music is no longer called my “hobby” by loved ones, but they’ve always supported me from the beginning regardless, bless you guys!
TAEM- You have also been busy in the literary field as well, and have written a self-help book. Please explain to us what it is about.
S- Oh yes, hey, you’ve done your homework, LOL! Yes, it’s a non denominational Christian based self help/life coach book called “Love Thy Neighbor” by Chun Ki (another pen name of mine when I write, @askchunki). Well, basically, since I grew up attending a few different
Traditional Protestant churches, and until I could read the Holy Bible on my own, then asked questions of the respective elders that they, under their doctrine, didn’t have answers for, and was told to just follow, which I did, until age 18, and then I left the traditional Church, and now believe and worship God and Christ based solely on Christ’s words and teaching extracted from the first four chapters/gospels in the New Testament, and answered my own questions. In my book, it also explains to respect and view the rest of the Holy Bible as history, as well as other religious books, but not scripture, and I call it “Christian Purism”, or purely living by the words of Christ alone, that’s all. Then, after those chapters, I added a chapter giving advice to all positive hearted peoples, all religions or non, that I learned based on my worldly travels, based off of a Christian purist’s viewpoint, and the few people that have read, and bought it, love it! It’s a real quick read, but words to live by, if you take loving your neighbor seriously and are at that point in your life. . . You can tweet me anytime at that twitter account about life coach questions anytime, and the book is also on Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles.com, and Trafford.com, thanks for asking!
S- OK, well, after so many years of making music, underground, and actually missing out on, and turning down a few major label deals I wasn’t happy with, I decided to go independent in 07’, and just start to put out my own music for now, and if my label, Ellorenz, grew big enough, then possibly other artists in the future. So, right now, I just publish and promote my 30+ song catalog, just because I’m a one man label who does everything, but I’m close to securing some placement deals, so maybe in the next few years I can start looking for the next great talent to sign and help push and promote to that next level, I look forward to it!
TAEM- What is your next career venue and where do you see yourself five years from now?
S- Hmm, my next career venture, well, like I mentioned before, my record label, Ellorenz, is moving into the licensing of my music catalog, umm, I started a fledgling clothing line for men, www.ellorenz.com, but things are going slow so I may have to look for a co-investor/partner for that soon, and five years from now, hopefully retired from my day job, living someplace warm, and living off my publishing, making new music, helping the next big star, and enjoying my family!
TAEM- Steel, you certainly have a lot going for you and lead an interesting life-style. We want to thank you for this interview with us and wish you much luck in all that you do in the future.
S – Thank you Joseph, TAEM, God, my parents, sibs, fam, friends, and all my support system through the years, happy New Year’s and stay blessed!