Sandwiched between my trips to Chicago and Vienna, I snuck down to Chelsea last night to support a very important cause and speak to my new buddy, Pras Michel (of Fugees fame). New York"s Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter threw their annual benefit last night to raise important funds for this year"s programs. NCS provides men, women and children with shelter and gives them support to change their lives and aims to end their homelessness. It is a program which teaches and gives scholarships - NCS strives to make a difference for each person who walks through their doors.
Pras works with NCS and I chatted with him about surprising documentary moments, his new album and his love for all things New York, especially...Bambi?
In your documentary, "Skid Row", you posed as a homeless man for 9 days in Los Angeles. What was the most shocking impression you came away with during that experience? I realized I had so much in common with the homeless. We all do and it can happen to anyone. Going into it, I thought it was men and women who were substance abusers or mentally disabled, but that is just a small part of the homeless population. 25% in fact. Someone loses their job, loses their health insurance or loses their home in this tough economy. If you don"t have a strong support system of family and friends who can jump in and help you, it becomes easier to see how a man or woman can lose everything.
What"s your latest musical project? My new album, "Experience Magic" comes out at the end of the summer and I worked with one young producer, Roy Hamilton. He"s worked with JoJo and Ne-Yo and we kept it simple. It"s great, magical music.
Where do you live now and what part of the city do you enjoy in the evenings? I was born and raised in Brooklyn, but I live in Murray Hill on Park Avenue. I enjoy the Meat Packing District - it"s changed so much, but it"s still cool.
What"s your newest project other than music? I"ve got a new hotel! It"s down in BAMBI - Beyond Allen at the Manhattan Bridge Intersection. The lower, lower east side...way south of the Bowery. It"s going to be a great hotel and opens next year.
Kelly Will is a freelance writer in New York. Her work as appeared in various publications including NY Daily News and the NY Times, among other. She has recently joined the GofG team as our frequent guest writer.