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Thursday, June 30, 2016
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FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – As a young Christian who loved hip-hop, Jonathan Giles often found himself frustrated with the lack of faith-based rappers in mainstream music.
He loved secular artists like Juvenile and Lil’ Wayne, but he also felt guilty about enjoying their music because he knew his faith didn’t agree with messages he was hearing in a lot of their songs. As he grew older and discovered a talent for rapping and making music, the struggle became more intense. Did he give up on making music – something he loved so much – or did he ignore the whispers of his faith telling him to walk away from the negativity of the music he so frequently found? By college he had come to the conclusion that he would walk away from hip-hip.
“But then one day a teenager in my youth group asked me if I’d ever heard of Lecrae – a Christian rapper,” J-Giles said. “I hadn’t heard of him, but when I checked him out and heard what he was doing, it inspired me to look for other artists like him who were real hip-hop artists but weren’t afraid to be spiritual. I started to listen to more people – people I hadn’t even known existed. It was so exciting, and I just couldn’t stop myself from writing. I wasn’t planning on recording anything, but the more I wrote the more things started to come together and next thing I know I’m recording my first album.”
Nine albums later, J-Giles is beginning to get some nationwide recognition. And his new album, “Hands on the Clock,” is a great example of the journey he’s taken – both in life and as a Christian. From growing up in a spiritual family, to accepting Jesus at a summer camp, to finding his wife and growing their faith together – J-Giles pours his life experiences into his music, and “Hands on the Clock” is a good representation of the amazing things God does in the lives of his people over time.
“The theme of the album is ‘time,’” J-Giles said. “A lot of us feel like we’re down here by ourselves and there’s not a God who’s working for us. This project is about a God who is outside of time but still involved and still cares about us. It’s about what you do when you’re going through tough times in your life and it feels like everything sucks. I hope this album helps others see that they shouldn’t give up and become bitter or discouraged.”
The lyrics on the album are raw, because they’re born from a tragedy in J-Giles’s life – the death of his newborn baby daughter at the time of her birth. He said it was such an unexpected and sudden tragedy that it has deeply affected him and caused he and his wife to turn to God for strength and support in the months since.
“This album is a reflection of what I’m feeling and going through,” he said. “It’s about the challenges we go through on a day-to-day basis and how we should keep our heads up and still follow our dreams, and hopefully see success and victory over the years.”
The first single off the album, “Even If Your Heart Stops,” directly relates to his personal tragedy. It’s a song that encourages others to push through tragedy. The song is already available for download on iTunes. While the album itself is available for pre-order.
“Even if you go through the worst moment in your life, time doesn’t stop for you,” J-Giles said. “You still have to wake up and go to work and pay bills. God is there with you as you’re dealing with tragedy, but you have to push through.”
As with all of his work, J-Giles hopes that this new album will inspire others to look to God for help and comfort. Ultimately, he hopes that his music is a faithful use of his talents for God.
“Whatever I’m given – whether it’s a small platform or a larger platform or somewhere in between – I just need to be faithful with what I have,” he said. “A lot of the vision for my music is being put on my heart and mind, and I just want to be faithful to that.”
NORFOLK, VA – Sometimes there are moments in life that are so traumatic that they can either break a person, or change them so profoundly that it shifts the course of their future.
The execution of Bronson Tor’res Garner’s brother by lethal injection in 2011 was just such an instance for the young rapper known as Bronzo. And though the experience was devastating and elicited a bout of depression, it became an event that ultimately pushed him to make some major life changes and focus on a career making music.
“My brother Darick always told me to keep rapping and singing because one day it would pay off,” Bronzo said. “After his death I became depressed and dropped out of high school, but despite the depression I never stopped writing and working on music. That hard work and dedication paid off when I was able to sign with Park Ave Records.”
The first single from that collaboration has been released and is available for purchase on all digital media platforms – including Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Music, Tidal and Spotify. The single is called “No Love,” and it’s about the hardships people face and the lack of respect that often accompanies a struggling lifestyle.
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“It’s a song that’s all about struggle,” he said. “The area where I’m from, we don’t get a lot of love out here. We don’t get no love and a lot of times people don’t show no love in return. That’s how life is out here, and this song talks about that struggle.”
Bronzo has been rapping for many years, and in fact had such a love for music that he even formed his own rap group while in elementary school. It was during those early years that he started writing lyrics on paper – a practice that he said he still does today. And most of what he writes comes from personal experience and the emotions that flow out of those scenarios.
“I love music, and I’ve got a good talent for it,” Bronzo said. “I like to write from my life. It really depends on my mood, or how I feel, what eventually gets written. I have a lot of mixed emotions about things, and I think that makes my music versatile. I have my own style and my own flow. I have party music and street music, struggle music and even female songs for the ladies. I think ultimately my message is that you can get a little bit out of any of my songs. My music is good for if you’re going through something, or if you want to ride or die, or if you’re a dealer for the streets. There’s a little something for everybody.”
And like the relationship with his brother that served as the spark to begin his rap career, Bronzo often peppers his lyrics with shout outs to family and friends for whom he cares about. His daughter Kamri, for instance, gets a mention in his song “Trap Stories,” and he said he frequently refers to her in other songs because he’s a proud father and wants her to grow up being proud of him and how he’s chasing his dreams.
Those wishing to learn more about Bronzo’s music can visit his website BronzoThemeMusic.com, or visit his Soundcloud page. He also has a YouTube channel, and fans can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @bronzobpg, and on Facebook under the name 1bronzo.
Written by Chris Roberts
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Friday, June 24, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When it comes to making music, there’s one simple rule for Laelo: whatever happens in life gets turned into a song.
“I live it, and I write it down,” Laelo said. “Every lyric I write is directly inspired by my everyday life or the life of my friends and family. I rap about what I do – something I was doing or going through yesterday. I stick to telling honest stories, and I smoke weed everyday so most of my music and sound is influenced by it.”
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The most recent example of that comes in the form of Laelo’s new single, “Ride with a Stoner” – a song in which Laelo explains why women prefer to ride with connoisseurs of the marijuana culture.
After 10 years of making music professionally – with six albums, hundreds of live performances, and multiple industry collaborations under his belt – Laelo said this new single is just one example of who he is as an artist. Being well rounded and versatile is a trait he takes pride in. But he also knows who his core fans are and what they want and plans to keep supplying them with exactly that.
“There’s really nothing too complicated about it,” he said. “It’s a vibe track about beautiful women who prefer to roll with stoners. It’s definitely a record that will do well with stoner nation – and my brand, the High Definition Society, has been making songs that cater to the ‘marijuana’ culture for years. I call them lifestyle records, for people who live that lifestyle. Most
people in the culture love my music because it’s the kind of music you can listen to in multiple environments – in the car, at your house, in a club … any scenario. That’s why my fans follow me, and this new joint is no different.”
In 2015 he released his fifth studio album entitled “Deeper Than Plenty, Higher Than Most” with Maryland based producer Hec Dolo. Laelo strayed away from his normal synthesized and bass heavy sound and went for a more throwback boom-bap feel – once again showing his versatility as an artist. The video for the first single “City Life” – which featured Grammy nominated soul singer Carolyn Malachi – was featured on both MTV.com and VH1.com. The second single “One Time 4 Hip-hop” reached No. 1 on two separate college radio charts, and was also played by DJs such as Premiere and Statik Seletak on their respective Sirius XM shows. The release party was held at the legendary ALIFE Rivington Club in New York City.
And now this year he’ll be releasing his sixth studio album “Grateful For Today.” The album is set to be released Sept. 23, but the first single “Ride With a Stoner” is already available and can be purchased online everywhere music is sold. Those wishing to sample the single can do so on Laelo’s Soundcloud page, or by visiting HighDefinitionSociety.net. The official music video directed by Supa Coop is also viewable right now on Laelo’s Vevo channel. Also, fans can follow him on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram to find out where he’ll have live performances.
ABU DHABI – Everybody is special in this world and nobody should ever feel left out.
That’s the message behind the music of new artist Amar Mohan – a young 22-year-old up-and-coming artist who hails from the far reaches of Abu Dhabi.
Since the age of 14, when he first became serious about music, Mohan’s mission has been to help put a smile on others’ faces as they listen to his music.
“All I ever wanted to do my whole life was just to sing and entertain people,” he said. “My dream is to get signed into a record label so I can improve and make better music and I can bring my creativity into writing better songs with more help from people in the industry.”
Self-described as a classical R&B and pop artist, Mohan said much of his musical influence comes from other artists such as Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and Jason Derulo. He said their dedication to the work necessary to make it as an international superstar is inspiring and something that he hopes to model his own career after.
“They have all worked so hard to come up, even after facing so much hardship,” Mohan said. “They still keep believing that they can reach the top, no matter what. They have always taught me to never stop what I’m doing – to keep working until you succeed.”
The first step toward making his dreams come true and following in the footsteps of his idols comes in the form of his new single, “When It’s You and I.” The song is about making people understand the importance of calling a loved one when in need and trying to make them understand the special feeling you get when you know you’re really special to them.
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“It’s about a guy who is waiting for his loved one to message him back,” Mohan said. “He believes in her love and he knows that love is so powerful that it can change the world. It’s just like saying one call from your loved one can just brighten up your whole day – and what makes it even better is knowing that a message is coming, and all of the excitement and happiness that comes from that anticipation. It’s a feeling that’s irreplaceable. I was really inspired to write this song because when I sing this song to people I want them to feel like I’m singing for them. I want everyone listening to this song to feel special.
“I want to write songs about the deepest feelings that I have gone through in life,” he said. “Writing songs always helps me to understand that things always happen for a reason and I want to make people understand the value of feelings that we go through in life. Music can help people understand the meaning of life and what it can do to change the world and make it a better place.”
To sample the new single, visit Mohan’s Soundcloud page. Mohan also plays guitar on many of his tracks, and fans can see his musical abilities on his YouTube page. Fans can also follow him on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out more about his music and stay up to date about upcoming live shows.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Los Angeles, CA – Hannah Elizabeth is joining the ranks of female musical powerhouses such as Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, and even “The Queen,” Beyoncé with her latest single, “Grey.” The Michigan native has had a lifelong relationship with songwriting and performing, but honed her craft as an English major at the University of Michigan. Hannah Elizabeth’s musical aspirations came to fruition with the guidance of producer, Fred “Blaze” Crawford (Owner of The Artist Refinery) and The Artist Refinery team. Says Hannah Elizabeth, “They brought out the songwriting in me and shaped my image. They were all hands in. I don’t know if I could be where I am without them, and they feel like family.”
While Hannah Elizabeth’s success is due in part to her team, there’s no denying her raw, unfettered talent. Soft soprano verses are accompanied by powerful, belting choruses. It’s almost as if Hannah Elizabeth reaches through the radio and into the soul of the listener, her lyrics teeming with emotion.
Her latest project, a song titled “Grey,” is what she calls “the most near and dear” to her. “It’s really heavy, it’s a powerful ballad,” says Hannah Elizabeth. The song is about a relationship that is stuck in between phases. Two people are in love, but one party is afraid to take the leap. What originated as a journal entry in the artist’s diary became the inspiration for the lyrics. It’s not irregular for Hannah Elizabeth to draw power from her personal musings and experiences, often taking pen to paper the second a wave of emotions hits. “A lot of my music comes from a darker place; If I’m feeling sad or heartbroken, my outlet is my writing.”
Hannah Elizabeth’s ultimate goal is to reach as many people as possible with her music, but expands far beyond her own success. The artist feels compelled to help destroy the stigmas associated with body image and mental illness. “If there’s something I can do to make the subject less daunting, I want to empower women and be a part of that.”
Hannah Elizabeth is brave, composed, and refreshingly uninhibited, which makes her music relatable and honest – and “Grey” a must listen in 2016.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Chico, CA – Shawn McMillan knows a thing or two about “the struggle.” The Pittsburgh native found himself losing everything in the pursuit of his dreams developing tech ideas for major companies, and ultimately, used his downfall to springboard himself back to success; to make a musical comeback and chase after a different dream, his love of music. Shawn attended a performing arts school in Pittsburgh, where he honed his writing and music skills. After a visit to California on a summer vacation, the artist decided that’s where he needed to be to make his dreams come true. “I told my mom that’s where I wanted to stay,” says Shawn.
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Inspired by a variety of genres and other artists, from Jay Z to Elton John, Shawn McMillan isn’t afraid to test the waters of different sounds and uses whatever moves him in his songs, leading to a diverse and eclectic sound. “I won’t be confined by any genre,” says the rising artist, “and the world should feel it.”
Listeners can expect some of that same diversity in the drop of Shawn’s new mix tape, Mind Over Matter, which is a culmination of many personal experiences and different sounds, from heartfelt, to rock, to hip hop. Many of the songs are derived from Shawn’s experience with an ex-girlfriend, a tragic heartbreak after over ten years of togetherness. “The most powerful songs are the ones about the breakup,” Shawn explains, pointing out “Hurricane,” as one of the most emotional on the record.
Shawn’s goal is to inspire others with his story, the same way musical greats such as Jay Z and Michael Jackson have inspired him. “I wanted the world to hear my music and let the world get to know me,” says Shawn, “I give my point of view an perspective on the world. My music is from a place of realization.”
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016
PRYOR, OK – After producing more than 160 vocal tracks for other artists, the “Snippet King” is releasing his own CD under the name UgolyE (pronounced Ugly-E).
The new CD is called “Last Chance to Listen,” and features a mixture of mainstream hip-hop, underground and feel-good R&B reminiscent of music from the 1990s and early 2000s. Accordingly to UgolyE – a name which serves as an anagram for Universal God of Lyrics You Enjoy – the CD project came about as a result of many years in the recording studio producing for other artists and wanting to create a sound that he wasn’t finding throughout the genre currently.
“This is a way to showcase myself as an artist,” UgolyE said. “I’ve been operating as a business person and producer for the last 15 or 16 years, and as I got to looking at the state of urban music right now, I decided that instead of working with artists it was time for me to put out one of my own. This CD is really a rendition of what I think urban music should be.”
This is actually the second album UgolyE has put out – though his first one came out in 2002 at the start of his career. “Last Chance to Listen” represents a maturity in song-writing and music that he said comes from so many years of creating sounds for others.
One of the first singles off of the CD is called “Thousand-aire,” and is a playful riff of the attitudes that many hip-hop artists have in regards to money.
“It’s a fun kind of club song, but the lyrics refer to being in the middle class tax bracket,” UgolyE said. “A lot of hip-hop artists today glorify the fact that you should have money, in terms of being ballers and that sort of them. With this song I break it down into being a class of non-millionaires. I poke fun at those people, and basically talk about stepping down from a perspective of being something that they’re not. Many of these guys are flaunting that they have money even though they don’t. This is where most of the guys are and they don’t admit it. You’re not a millionaire, you just act like it.”
UgolyE said he was first drawn to rap and R&B as a young boy growing up in New York City. The neighborhood in which he grew up was also home to artists like Noreaga and Capone – who he would run into from time to time. They would encourage him to pursue music, and he took those early conversations and began to experiment with sounds associated with some of his favorite early R&B musicians, such as Smokey Robinson.
“I don’t think I sound like anything else out there right now,” he said. “I’m a contemporary hip-hop artist who uses a unique blend of R&B flavor. It’s a mature approach to hip-hop, and I feel like I make mature, feel-good music for everyday people. This is the kind of music that you drive around in your car listening to. Nobody has any themes anymore, and nobody makes records, albums or CDs in the traditional album format like they used to. I wanted to put together something you could put in and listen to for 45 minutes or an hour and have something intriguing.”
Those interested in following UgolyE can do so through social media by searching UgolyE on both Twitter and Facebook. All of his music, as well as more information about him as an artist, can be found at ugolyebeats.com.
Atlanta, GA – Terrence, better known as “Yung Adamsville” to fans, is a musical rookie, having only joined the Atlanta music scene a mere two years ago. The producer began making beats in 2015 landing his first big placement featured on comedian and artist DC Young Fly’s “Supplyin Pressure” mixtape. Since then, Yung Adamsville has started his own record label (Boss League Music Group, LLC) and has struck out on his own to make hits with other successful artists.
His most recent project is a single produced in collaboration with Milwaukee’s own artist Jaemin Miquel and producer L.A. Trax. The song, which Adamsville describes as having a “chill, cool, club vibe,” is about the artist’s reasons for “grinding so hard, and cutting off unloyal people who don’t mean well.” While the song itself has met promising response (it’s gotten 4,000 plays since its release), Yung Adamsville is using this song as a way to prep audiences for what will culminate in a mixtape, entitled “Who Is Yung Adamsville” which is set to release later this summer. “I’m starting small. But, a goal I plan on reaching this year is getting a few records in rotation on the radio, and after that we want to hit the billboards, and ultimately, the grand finale is a movie soundtrack or video game placement.”
Much of the inspiration for Yung Adamsville’s music is his hometown of Atlanta, which is a hip hop epicenter for young artists. “Just seeing other local artist cultivate into hip hop stars, and watching the music scene become bigger and bigger in my city over the past years is a major incentive on my career.”
Stay tuned for more of Yung Adamsville’s music, coming to digital platforms summer 2016.
Monday, June 20, 2016
CAMDEN, NJ – Going to jail can either be a major eye opener, or the first step down a very dark path. As Mikey Maker likes to put it, “If you don’t learn the first time, something’s not right.”
When he spent time in jail for drug dealing, Mikey Maker learned his lesson. He also learned that he had a talent for making music, and dreams that had blossomed as a young boy began to re-bloom during his days spent in jail.
“I would always play on the keyboard making beats as a kid,” Mikey Maker said. “I never really thought much about it until I was locked up. For years I was just playing around on the keyboards – I always knew how to cut a record and make a beat, but I never thought I could be a producer one day. In jail, I realized I could probably become a good producer. So when I got out of jail I got a lot of equipment to become a producer, and after awhile it just started become natural to me.”
“Once I found out a better way, I changed my life and just focused on music. Lessons learned!”
And he wants to pass on some of those lessons to others through his music. In fact, the name Mikey Maker comes from a desire to inspire others to believe in themselves. Mikey has been a nickname all his life, but Maker is something he chose intentionally to help others see that they’re made to do something special.
“Whatever God put you here to do, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “When I stopped and thought about it, it just made sense. Every person in the world is a maker in some way – you make peace, or you make food, or you make money. You’re a maker – you create stuff. It’s about who you are and the purpose you have in life.”
A lot of that life philosophy is reflected on Mikey Maker’s mixtapes, “Free Giveaway Vol. 1” and “Free Dope Vol. 1,” both of which are available on Soundcloud. One of the standout singles – “$20s, $50s, $100s” – uses money as a metaphor for overcoming obstacles in life and making something out of life despite the many challenges that may come along.
“In this moderate day of music, people love talking about money,” he said. “They love talking about spending it and how they get it and what they do with it. My concept of it was to go into detail about how I got money – to tell a story about how I went through struggles and went through this and that just to get a couple of dollars to take care of me and my family. Ultimately I wanted to try to be a little different with it – it’s more of a concept about life than just about getting into money.”
Like most of his music, Mikey Maker created this single as an outflow of producing. He said he typically starts a song by exploring and mixing beats. As he discovers beats that he likes, he said he “comes alive.” He then takes the stories from his life and begins writing to those beats.
“The rhythms and beats add up to words,” he said. “Then I come up with a hook. I try to be different – I don’t just want to rap about the same things everybody else is. And then I fill the beat by coming up with different ideas. Most of my music is based off the beat. I have to listen to the beat first. I can write, but I have to feel the music – hear it, listen to it, feel it. If I can’t feel it I won’t be at my best.”
Fans can hear his best on his mixtapes by visiting his Soundcloud page. Those who want to catch him live can also follow him on social media, where he frequently posts alerts to live shows and new releases. Follow Mikey Maker on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on all new music.