Artist Interview – Erika Fatale

Erika Fatale is a sultry, talented and sensuous pop performer, originally from Chicago but currently living and working in Los Angeles. Despite Erika’s increasingly busy schedule we were delighted when she agreed to complete an in-depth feature interview for Essential Pop. Read on to find out about Erika Fatale’s move to the West coast in 2010, her current pop inspirations and her creative process for creating a track.

 

Erika Fatale

 

Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?

Pop/R&B/Soul

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Sultry, dark, glamorous, powerful soulful pop diva with an aggressive modern edge

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I’ve been singing and performing for a really, really long time now.  I knew since the age of 11-12 years old that I wanted to be a pop recording artist and I’ve never wanted to do anything else.  It’s so rare to have that strong of a passion for something from such a young age and to never outgrow it.  I got my start singing in church doing solos and ensemble things.  I sang in choir and performed in show choir and then that quickly escalated to becoming the “National Anthem girl” singing for all the major Chicago sports teams.

I made all the callbacks for the reboot of “Star Search” and was going to perform on the upcoming season before it was cancelled.  I performed in tons of Chicago Idol competitions and was lucky enough to be judged by Jennifer Hudson (one of my favorite vocalists) and open for Richard Street from The Temptations.  The first major label attention I received was based off of Whitney Houston covers I’d recorded at sixteen years old.  That ended up falling through after the A&R who was interested in me left the label before a deal was signed.  I really wanted to move to LA right out of high school but my parents were firm on me going to college first, so I actually was a soprano opera major at Northwestern University (I’d never sung opera before!).

Then I had the amazing opportunity of being handpicked by David Foster to perform in concert with him in Chicago.  That was really the turning point for me in finally making the move to Los Angeles.  It’s definitely been a difficult process filled with lots of disappointments, shady music industry people, the list goes on and on but I have learned SO much over the years and I’m actually so glad that I’m a little older and wiser at this point and know exactly who I am and what I want to do.  If it were easy to “make it” then everybody would be doing it!

 

Erika Fatale

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

2010 was an incredible year for me.  I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and it was my first time writing and recording my own material and discovering exactly who I want to be as an artist.  It was amazing to see my vision come alive in the studio and then translating that visually with the look and with the live performances we put together.  I’ve met so many wonderful people and have had the opportunity to perform all over Los Angeles, so 2010 has been a year of self discovery and growth.  I’ve grown obviously first and foremost as an artist but also as a businesswoman, which is so important in the music business.  You have to be extremely confident and have a strong sense of self and vision so people don’t try to take advantage of you.  You learn as you go and each experience prepares me a bit more for what’s to come.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

There are so many! Whitney Houston was my biggest inspiration growing up.  I remember growing up listening to her tapes over and over again mimicking every vocal run and aspiring to be as great a vocalist as her one day.  I was very inspired by all of the pop diva vocalists like Whitney, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Yolanda Adams.  A lot of soul music as well like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway.  Michael Jackson was obviously a huge influence for me as well.  I’ve always been inspired by vocal power, soul, emotion and translating that to the pop music market.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

As far as female pop artists go, I really look up to Beyonce.  I think she’s incredibly talented and most especially hard working and passionate about what she does.  I see a lot of myself in her (Maybe the fact that we’re both Virgos? :-) ) with her work ethic and devotion to her art.  She’s an amazing performer, always sings live, and is very creative.  I also think Adele is amazing and I love her new album.  Katy Perry is dominating the pop world right now too so I definitely look to her in terms of being very creative, always stepping up her game and putting out all of these back-to-back hit records!

 

Erika Fatale

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

I would love to collaborate with Beyonce. She’s the queen of pop in my opinion right now and I would love to do a fun, sassy pop diva collaboration with her!

 

Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?

I’ve been listening to Adele’s new album a lot, going back to a lot of my old favorites like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson.  Most especially just listening to the newest stuff on the radio. Katy Perry’s E.T. is a guilty pleasure.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

Well, it’s always different.  Sometimes I will come up with a title first or a subject matter I want to talk about and start jotting down ideas and lines that turn into lyrics.  Sometimes it will be a hook or melody idea first, and then sometimes it’s melody and lyrics together at once.  For several of the songs on this demo that I recorded with Peter Stengaard, I would actually sing the first verse and chorus idea I had for a song into Garage Band and send it to Peter and then he would put together a rough production idea that we would build off of from there.  It was a cool way of working.  The process is always different which keeps things exciting!

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

That’s hard to say because I feel both are so important.  The melody is usually what pulls the listener in, but as an artist, the lyrics are the most important to me.  It has to be a story that I emotionally connect with so that comes out in my voice when I’m recording.  My songs are bits and pieces of my personality that I’m slowly revealing to my audience.  I’m always trying to make bold statements and send powerful messages through my music based upon my own experiences.  My music is the one place I can be completely honest and raw and that all begins with the lyrics.

 

Q: Where are you based?

I have been based out of Los Angeles for about a year now

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

Chicago is an amazing and beautiful city with so much art, culture, and personality to offer.  The people are real and down-to-earth but also the horrible Chicago winters make us Chicagoans strong and able to endure the most difficult of circumstances. (The horrible Chicago winters are the one thing I do NOT miss!) It’s also one of the blues, soul and gospel capitals, which has definitely shaped my sound.  Love my hometown!

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I’ve put the live performances on hold for now to focus on recording new material to come back bigger and better than ever.  I’m about to head into the studio this week to start and I cannot wait!

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Having the amazing opportunity of being handpicked by David Foster to perform in concert with him in Chicago was the biggest opportunity of my career.  He is such a legend and has worked with so many of my favorite artists.  It has always been a dream of mine to one day work with him so it was an incredible opportunity to sing for him and to be featured during his David Foster & Friends Tour.

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

I cannot wait to get back in the studio and record new songs that are uniquely Erika Fatale.  Getting into the studio, experimenting with different sounds and creating my own unique niche is something I can’t wait to do and share it with the world and hopefully inspire people along the way.

 

Erika Fatale

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNvZY0vMTuY

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

The live shows are on hold for now, but several of my songs have received song placements on Showtime’s hit show “The Real L Word” and Oxygen’s “Real Bachelorette Party.”  So now you can download “Femme Fatale,” “That Naïve,” and “Whipped” on iTunes, Amazon, all major music retailers, so make sure you get your copy and watch out for the songs on tv this summer!

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

I live and breathe what I do so it’s very hard for me to relax sometimes and not think about work, but I love hiking in LA, yoga, exploring new parts of the city, visiting art museums, and what girl doesn’t love shopping?

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

I want to thank everyone for all of their support and I can’t wait to share new music with you all soon! Please make sure to join the official Facebook page for all of the latest: facebook.com/erikafatale

 

Editor’s Note: We’re awaiting Erika Fatale’s new album with intense anticipation. Her glamorous yet aggressive image compliments her music perfectly and we’re waiting for her unique and commercial sound to hit a radio near you soon.

If you’d like to learn more about or contact Erika Fatale. just follow the links below:

 

twitter link: twitter.com/erikafatale

facebook link: facebook.com/erikafatale

myspace link: myspace.com/erikafatale

soundcloud link: soundcloud.com/enrmusicinc

reverbnation link: reverbnation.com/erikafatale

youtube embeds: youtube.com/erikafatale

sonicbids: sonicbids.com/erikafatale

 

2011’s Top 40 Chart Acts

Today it’s easy for us to remain deeply engrained in the personal niche of an MP3 player, or our customized stations on Pandora. So the next time you’re riding in your car, give your ear buds a rest and switch on the radio to check out some of the current Top 40 chart acts. Here are some of the artists that are currently at the top of the charts.

 

Katy Perry - Photographed by David LaChapelle

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5Sd5c4o9UM

Katy Perry, E.T.

Lately it seems that, to quote Ms. Perry herself, everyone has been “on board the Katy Perry train.” She has consistently been pumping out catchy chart topping hits for many months now, and E.T., which features Kanye West, is her latest release from her album Teenage Dream.

 

 

 

 

Black Eyed Peas

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrTyD7rjBpw

The Black Eyed Peas, Just Can’t Get Enough

Lake many of The Black Eyed Peas’ latest hits, Just Can’t Get Enough starts with a melodic vocal hook from Fergie, then evolves into a electronic dance track that is ready to be pumped through dance clubs. It’s a formula that works for them and they’ve stuck with it.

 

 

 

 

Adele

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYEDA3JcQqw

Adele, Rolling In the Deep

Rolling in the Deep, which is Adele’s first single off of her second album, is quickly becoming one of the best-loved songs of 2011. Adele is one of the most powerful and authoritative female voices in music today, and her single’s mix of pop and blues is appealing to a wide range of audiences.

 

 

 

 

Lupe Fiasco

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmp6zIr5y4U

Lupe Fiasco, The Show Goes On

The first single from Fiasco’s third album Lasers, The Show Goes On is a likable interpolation of Modest Mouse’s popular motivational single Float On.

 

 

 

 

The Script

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DTQsJ6ZaOQ

The Script, For the First Time

The Script has created sort of a musical cheeseburger with their single For the First Time: A melodic “oohing” chorus is the meat patty, and it’s topped with a cheesy theme about ill-fated lovers, a slightly bitter mustard lyric about trying to make a relationship work in the middle of messy economic circumstances, and some large chunks of piano pickles on top. It’s a combo that listeners are finding quite delicious.

 

 

 

 

Jessie J

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMxX-QOV9tI

Jessie J featuring B.o.B., Price Tag

Although Jessie J is only 22 years old, she has already come a long way from singing songs into the webcam on her laptop and posting them on the internet. She’s penned songs for Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera, and now found success with her single Price Tag, a super upbeat ditty that’s much less aggressive than her last single, Do It Like a Dude.

 

 

 

 

Blake Shelton

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqrlhNmSZrc

Blake Shelton, Honey Bee

At a time when celebrity’s marital disputes are constantly making headlines, it is no wonder that Shelton’s single has hit a homerun with listeners. The Oklahoma crooner’s song with lyrics such as “you be my sunny day, I’ll be your shade tree” is super sweet.

 

 

 

 

Edward Maya

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_5D4y6x-oo

Edward Maya, Stereo Love

The video for Edward Maya’s electronic anthem has already received over 100 million views on Youtube. The Romanian producer and performer has struck a chord with his latest dance hit, and somehow even managed to make the accordion sound really cool.

 

Artist Interview – Cousin Affect

Cousin Affect are an eclectic Urban Funk band from Phoenix consisting of Tim-O (Bass Guitar), Jessica Thomas (Vocals), Mike Woods (Piano, Vocals), D Stanton (Vocals), Scott Cheaney (Guitar, Vocals), Meech (Percussion) and Dan King (Saxophone). Despite their busy touring schedule they kindly agreed to complete a feature artist interview for Essential Pop. Read on to find out how they create their uplifting funky tracks, what its like living in Phoenix and what they’re hoping to achieve for the rest of 2011.

 

Cousin Affect


 

Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or number of genres what would it be?

Our music is an interesting mix between all the personal influences of the individuals that make up our group.  We have focused on trying to find a sound to call our own.  We have flashes of blues, jazz, hip hop, reggae, rock, and pop infused into our base as an urban funk jam band.

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Urban Funk jam band with grooves of positive purpose.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

The musical backgrounds of each member are very different.  I (Mike Woods), personally, began playing drums with a few high school friends at age 14.  We formed and maintained a rock band throughout high school.  This was where I discovered my love for live music and performing.  I started taking it more seriously when I began playing piano at age 19.  I took one low level piano class at the University of Arizona, and I fell in love with the instrument.  With the help of a close friend, I began building a home studio to write and create my own music.  Over the next few years, I became familiar with turntables, guitar, bass, and lots of different unique percussion instruments.  I always learned best by ear and was eager to learn from any and all educated music people I crossed paths with.  From 2003 on, I produced my own beats, wrote lyrics, and created songs.  I went on to release two solo albums in 2005 and 2007.  In March of 2008, I continued this Cousin Affect project by assembling a seven member full live band to perform the music.

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

2010 was a big year for us as a band.  In the 3 years we’ve been together, each year has shown us bigger and better things.  We hope to continue this trend into the distant future.  We have really seen our fan base materialize in Phoenix over the past year.  No matter what direction you go in the industry, building up a solid following at home is a step that can’t be skipped.  We headlined a very well known venue in the Rhythm Room in May.  We won first place in a statewide battle of the bands.

Our single, “Where I Go” received a national grand prize in the “Rock the Highway” competition sponsored by Midas and SPIN magazine.  We were featured in the November issue of SPIN.  From hundreds of submissions, we were one of about ten bands selected to showcase at the NACA West Regional Conference in Ontario, CA.  From this opportunity, we built our first tour which is taking place throughout 2011 at college campuses all over the west.  In late November 2010, we released our debut album as a full live band called Fresh Foreword >>. This album features the hit single, “Where I Go.”

 

Cousin Affect


 

Q: What inspires you musically?

Music.  Art.  Words.  People.  Good.  Bad.  If you look through an artistic lens, anything can be considered a muse.  We work towards letting the music we write reflect the positivity inside of each one of us in the hopes that it spreads our own inspiration to the fans.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

I’m sure the answer would vary within the band, but I’ve (Dan King) always looked up to the Dave Matthews Band.  They have been one of my biggest influences writing music and lyrics since I can remember.   Their live show is unparalleled.  Their energy is matched by their precision making their live delivery untouchable.  We have strived to capture moments in our live show and thrive off spontaneity.  We are constantly tweaking songs, extending endings, adding different bridges, and improvising to keep the audience on their toes.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

There’s lots that come to mind.  Dave Matthews, of course, G Love and Special Sauce, Maroon 5, Jason Mraz, Ozomatli, Fat Freddy’s Drop, etc.  I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting.

 

Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?

Thousands and thousands.  Recently, I’ve been listening to lots of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Black Keys, and Bon Iver.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

It starts with a beat.  First a heartbeat.  Then a drum beat.  Most of our songs start with an idea I lay down in the studio.  I will drop rough tracks for all the instruments to flesh out an idea.  Usually this inspires some vocal recording as well.  Once I’m a little down the road, I will take it to the band, play it for them, and gauge the reaction I get.  It’s usually easy to tell what ideas they’re really digging.  For every song we end up completing as a full band, there are probably 5 or 6 ideas and beats that went untouched.  Some of those remain that way, and some are revisited.  Our most popular track, “Where I Go,” from the most recent record Fresh Foreword >> was actually written about 4 years prior to its release.  There’s lots of timing involved.  Our process is unique, but it really works for us.  We rarely run into many creative differences at all.

 

Cousin Affect: Scott Cheaney - Guitar and Vocals


 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

They are both an equal form of expression.  I cannot deem one more important than the other.  Our music is a reflection of our souls while our lyrics are a reflection of our hearts.

 

Q: Where are you based?

Downtown Phoenix.

 

Cousin Affect: Jessica Thomas - Vocalist


 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

Hot.  Only for 3 months.  The rest of the year is wonderful!  I’ve always enjoyed Phoenix.  Sometimes the music scene can be a little frustrating.  It doesn’t seem like the music community is cohesive.  Thus, you see potential being wasted in one of the biggest cities in the country.  However, our fans have meant the world to us here.  We owe them so much of our success.  They have continued to support us and spread our sound.  We have watched the venues get closer to capacity.  We have been asked back to venue after venue.  It’s because our fans come to have a good time.  We feed off their energy.  It is amazing to watch our band’s popularity and notoriety grow in my hometown.

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

We are working this summer on some career changing things.  I don’t want to give too much away right now, but look for the Cousins to make a huge splash early in 2012.  We are keeping up with regular shows in Phoenix, whilst continuing our tour of the west.  Late in the year, we will be returning to the studio to flesh out some of our newest material.  We are looking forward to releasing our sophomore album.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

This is a really difficult question.  There have been so many great times in the past 3 years.  We have won awards, competitions, been featured in national magazines, garnered notable accolades, etc.  However, I would say this past month of being on tour is the highlight of our careers to date.  We have always dreamt of traveling and performing our music for different crowds in different cities.  Our experience so far has been exactly that.  A dream.  We are all looking forward to spending more time together and sharing our sound to anyone willing to listen.

 

Cousin Affect: Dan King - Saxophone

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcH8fmD2Dug

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

The main objective for 2011 is to expand our influence.  We have built up a great reputation and following in Phoenix over the past two years.  Now it’s time to take our sound on the road.  We have done this early in the year and will continue to throughout 2011.

 

 

Editor’s Note: Cousin Affect have an incredible and varied live-set which really showcases their talent and diversity. With their current tour taking in many new cities, 2011 could be start of something special as their unique blend of urban funk finds its way to many new listeners. Cousin Affect are definitely one of Essential Pop’s ones to watch!

 

If you’d like to learn more about or contact Cousin Affect, just follow the links below:

twitter link: twitter.com/cousinaffect

facebook link:Facebook.com/cousinaffect

myspace link: myspace.com/mwoodshiphop

web page link: CousinAffect.com

reverbnation link: reverbnation.com/CousinAffect

Youtube embeds: http://www.youtube.com/cousinaffect

Sonic bids Lik: sonicbids.com/cousinaffectphx

Blog page: Cousinaffect.com/blog

Blog email signup: http://www.cousinaffect.com/rss

Blog RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Cousinaffect

 

Artist Interview – Tap Tap

Tap Tap is an upcoming and talented Hip Hop artist from Tacoma, Washington. Despite being incredibly busy putting the finishing touches to his latest album “One Nine Eight Seven”, Tap Tap kindly agreed to complete an interview for Essential Pop. Read on to discover his current career highlights, the direction of his latest musical project and what he does to relax when not working.

 

Tap Tap

 

Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?

I would place my music in the Hip Hop / R&B genre because that’s what most of my music sounds like. Its the genre I label my music under.

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

My music and who I am can be looked upon as a humble, hard-working artist striving to be remembered as a Hip Hop icon in the music industry.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

When my father was my age he strived to make it in the music business. I listen to him on everything about music. When it comes to music I like Hip-hop, R&B, Pop, Rock, Jazz and also Country. There’s no limit to what I listen to because music is music to me.

 

Tap Tap

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE1E72y3e0I

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

2010 was great. I spent most of the year just recording and getting ready to come out as an artist. Also I built an army at Lynx Records, to fight for this dream alongside me. There have been bumps in the road and a lot of “Hurry up and wait” but we all know its gonna be worth it in the long run!

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

My Father inspires me because he continues to fight for his dream and he has a mind-set of a warrior when things need to be done. He is responsible for most of my music being created when we are in the studio working on new stuff. He also inspires me about my image as a performing artist. I believe image for me is important because a lot of people will look up to you when you’re in the limelight.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Drake. The reason why I picked Ditty is that music is always first with him, no matter where he is in his life. He’s not afraid to think outside the box and make great music no matter what other people may think of him. I love the fact that he makes “feel good” music and speaks his mind through his music by talking about the troubles in his life. Drake is not about the guns and drugs, he’s about his music and his fans. That’s why I’m all about him when it comes to his music career.

 

Tap Tap

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvGhFHRDnH0

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

If I could gig or collab with anyone I would do it with Kanye West. That’s because I’m inspired by his choices with music and his lifestyle. Kanye just brings music to a whole other level every time he does an album. When I listen to his music and lyrics I say to myself, “That’s the kind of music I want my lyrics to be on!”. So thanks Kanye for the great music.

 

Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?

Right now, my iPod and iPhone are playing a lot of Michael Jackson. Listening to his music inspires me to do great things in music but also to look outside the box and do something different. I know he will be missed in the music world.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

I write in a quiet room with my iPhone and Macbook. Those are my tools when it comes to creating music. When I listen to a certain instrumental track sent to me by producers I try to think of the concept of the song. Or,even better, I write about certain events happening in my life at the moment or an event from the past that keep crossing my mind.

 

Tap Tap

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ekwtnQd-zs

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Both. Melody is important to music because it paves the way for the music to ride and makes you feel good inside. Lyrics are important because people want to relate to your music in some way when they are in a different mood. For example, when I’m in a good mood I throw on some Michael Jackson “Billie Jean”, or if I’m in a lazy mood I throw on some Bruno Mars, “The Lazy Song”.

 

Q: Where are you based?

I’m based right out of Tacoma, South of Seattle Washington. That’s my hometown.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

Cold and wet :-)

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on promoting my “Black Out” EP and introducing my fans to the new sound and direction I’m going with my music. At the same time, I’m currently also working on the “One Nine Eight Seven” album (which was the year I was born). This album is going to be more personal, hard hitting and soft at the same time. Which in a way, describes me as an artist, so I thought “One Nine Eight Seven” would be a perfect name for the project!

I think a lot of my fans are going to love this project more than anything I’ve worked on!

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

My biggest highlight has been performing in Miami at the 2010 All Access Music Conference in front of major labels and artists. The event introduced me to so many labels and artists that I didn’t know existed. It also showed me lots of other artists grinding and hustling to get to the dreams I’m also chasing. That experience changed the way I look at music which inspired me to work on the “Black Out” EP and the “One Nine Eight Seven” album.

 

Tap Tap

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qSBu1VgH3Q

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

I’m looking to land a major recording contract and want to do music for the rest of my life. Other than that I would like to connect with my people (a.k.a. Fans) a lot more and show them that I do this for them….

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

I listen to jazz music and sip on an Arizona Sweet Tea, Jazz music just takes me to another world and lets me vibe off the different melodies going on in the music which relaxes my mind.

 

Editor’s Note: Tap Tap has both a vibrant and commercial edge to his music which can be listened to both at home or in the club. We hope that 2011 is a breakout year for Tap Tap and he is definitely one of Essential Pop’s “Ones to Watch”!

 

If you’d like to learn more about or contact Tap Tap just follow the links below:

 

website: www.lynxrecords.com

twitter: www.twitter.com/iTapTap

myspace: www.myspace.com/iTapTap

youtube: www.youtube.com/TapTapprince

vimeo: www.vimeo.com/TAPTAP

blog: Nerdyboyjr.tumblr.com

 

Artist Interview – Glam Girl

Glam Girl is an upcoming singer, model and producer from LA and is our latest competition winner. Despite being extremely busy putting the final touches to her latest music video, “Make Me Famous”, she kindly agreed to complete an interview for Essential Pop. Read the full interview below to find out about her current career highlights, how she creates her uplifting, commercial tracks and what the music scene’s like in LA. Also make sure you check out some of Glam Girl’s world exclusive video stills throughout this article from the highly anticipated “Make Me Famous” video.

 

Glam Girl

Glam Girl

 

Link to the entire “Make Me Famous” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvGrUIf2VmA


 

 

Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?

Mainly top 40 pop with some electronica and urban influences

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

A Hollywood chick not gone Hollywood, who tells you how it is on pop high energy club beats and melody.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I grew up in a family that didn’t nurture music or any form of arts or sports but I was always drawn to anything that involved music, dance and sports.  Once I left my parents home at the age of 18, I immediately submerged myself in a 24/7 boot camp of vocal and dance training. I won a music scholarship in Europe and afterwards enrolled in the Musician Institute in Hollywood where I graduated with a 3.8 GPA degree in the IAP Program.  My first vocal coach introduced me to the old jazz standards, and I fell in love with Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald-- their tone of voice was so mesmerizing. After that phase, I got into dance music, neo-soul, R&B, pop, electronica.  Originally all I wanted to do was just be a singer, but eventually, because I know exactly what I like and what I want, I also became a writer and a producer, and the rest is history, ha ha.

 

Glam Girl

Glam Girl

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

Considering that in 2010 I was just getting my feet wet, it has been an amazing year, full of accomplishments and full of blood, sweat and tears as well, and yes I would do it all over again.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

Timbaland, Mariah Carey, among others

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Jessie J, she’s a true artist

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

Definitely Jessie J

 

Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?

Well I’ve got over 3,000 songs on my ipod, of course Jessie J Abracadabra, Do it like a dude, Nobody’s perfect, Mamma knows best, Trey Songz: Bottoms up, One Call: Blacklight, Katy Perry -- Kaskade Club remix: Teenage Dream, Ne-Yo: Cause I said so, Beautiful monster, Eminem: Not afraid, J Rae: Price Tag it’s Jessie J’s song remix, lately I’m into a lot of fitness remixes.  Well if you don’t stop me, I can go on and on for hours.

 

Glam Girl

Glam Girl

 

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

99% of the time I produce a track first and after I write melody and lyrics.  But there have been a few times when I had a melody stuck in my head and I built a track around that melody.  The crazy thing is that the times I came up with a melody first, was while I was asleep, those notes were so strong they woke me up in the middle of the night and I had to turn my iphone on and record it before I would forget.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

To me they are both really important, I definitely can’t stand stupid / empty lyrics, like when I wrote my current single  “Make Me Famous.” Yes the chorus purposely repeats “I wanna be famous, I’ll do anything to be famous, make me famous, make me famous, make me famous,” but the verses paint a picture of people who strive to be famous without having anything to bring to the table, who will do anything in their quest for fame.   My songs all have a story and / or a message.  In addition, a catchy melody and hot beat are a must!  All those elements combined are what make a hit song.  When people listen to a song they want to relate to the story you are telling or they wanna take their minds off the BS they deal in their everyday lives.

 

Q: Where are you based?

Los Angeles

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

Well L.A. is one of the toughest city on the planet, one of the most competitive, the bar is set very, very  high here………this is a place overcrowded with thousands of people trying to do the same thing you are trying to do.  That’s why the entire industry are cruelly pimping the artists.  This is a city where if you wanna play in a club, it’s strictly pay for play. You wanna get some press or radio play, just throw the Benjamins and all doors will be opened to you.  That’s why the majority of the new and up and coming artists making it right now are the rich kids……….What pisses me off is that they don’t really care about the music, they are in it just because it’s cool being in the music industry and they got money to blow, just something to think about …………..In case you are wondering where I belong, well I got no sugar daddy or rich parents, wasn’t born into a famous family, won a reality TV singing contest, or emerged from a teen cable TV sitcom.  I’m doing this the way you are supposed to. I played and I bombed in every club in town, and then killed it in every club. I knocked on every door, looked for every opportunity and didn’t take no for an answer, and kept going no matter what, and I found myself as an artist. I learned how to survive as an artist, get real, and how to fail, and figured out who I am as a singer and performer. I work hard to always take it to the next level.”

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

About to release my debut EP. Stay tuned for the title announcement in the weeks to come.  I’m promoting my first music video, “Make Me Famous,” in pre production on my second music video and in production on my second EP.

 

Glam Girl - "Make Me Famous" Video Still

Glam Girl - "Make Me Famous" Video Still

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Actually, there have been quite a few in just a short amount of time:

At the 18th Billboard World Song Contest, the judges comment was, “Make Me Famous”: “Strong commercial pop appeal. Very original and creative.”

Opened for Bone Thugs N’ Harmony

Been featured on 350 Clear Channel radio station in the U.S.

Getting airplay in Sweden, UK, Netherlands

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

The sky’s the limit.  It would be nice to be nominated for a Grammy.  A lot of people will answer “releasing my album,” but that’s the easiest thing to achieve.  For me it will be dropping my EP and selling thousands of copies, increasing my fan base, getting airplay in other countries, getting endorsement deals, placing my songs on film and television, anything I can possibly put my mind and my hands on.

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

I’m playing at The Joint on May 22, 8771 West Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90035.  Tickets can purchased on my site www.glamgirlmusic.com

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

I wish I would have time to relax, but there’s no sleep for big dreams, all I do is work. But I’m not complaining at all, this is what I love to do.  Even if I don’t have the time now, these are the things I luv to do: Play video games, I’m a PlayStaion 3 & PSP chick (favorite games: every Metal Gear & Metal Gear Acid, every Call of Duty, Resident Evil, every Socom). Sleep as much as I can when I get the chance, catch some movies, Listen to music… yes, you heard it correctly, even if make music I still love listen to other people’s music. Traveling, Sports, Kick-boxing, Sky Diving, Working out, Go-Karts, playing Black Jack, Good Food (favorite food Sushi, Thai), Cooking, Swimming with Dolphins, Rescue Dogs, Paintball, Trying to make a better world.

 

Glam Girl

Glam Girl - "Make Me Famous" Single Cover

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgi4w6iT9x8

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

Don’t forget to get your copy of Make Me Famous http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/make-me-famous/id381599071 and look out for the EP and “Make Me Famous” music video coming out very soon.

 

Editor’s Note: Glam Girl’s seductive voice and incredibly catchy beats create a really commercial sound. We’re really looking forward to the first album. Glam Girl is one of Essential Pop’s ones to watch for 2011!

 

If you’d like to learn more about or contact Glam Girl, just follow the links below:

 

twitter link: http://twitter.com/glamgirlmusic

youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/glamgirlmusic

myspace link: http://www.myspace.com/glamgirlmusique

web page link: www.glamgirlmusic.com

Itunes link: c.itunes.apple.com/us/profile/id-16785

reverbnation link: http://www.reverbnation.com/glamgirlmusic

 

Artist Interview – Kenya

Kenya is an eclectic soul singer from Chicago. Kenya is one of our SonicBids competition winners, from almost 500 entries, so we’re extremely excited to share her music and story with you. Read the full interview below to learn about her recent experience attending the Grammy’s, her musical inspirations and what she’s hoping to achieve in 2011.

 

Kenya


 

Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?

R&B/soul, jazz, adult contemporary and alternative soul.  You know…a little bit of this and a lot a bit of that!

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Eclectic soul, innovative, & soothing music…the kind of music that inspires yet also entertains.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I began singing around 8 years old the same time I began playing flute.  Singing naturally grew with me.  I picked up the piano when I was 13 and consider it my secondary instrument (voice being primary).

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

In one word…AMAZING! I released my first EP/CD and NEVER imagined all of the wonderful responses and reactions.  2010 was also a year for healing, nurturing, and spiritual growth which is why I truly believe my music came alive.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

Musicians who deliver music with passion, originality, and those who take risks while staying true to the craft.  Therefore, this list is LONG!  From Stevie Wonder to John Mayer to indie artists who few know…so many inspire me.

 

Kenya


 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Esperanza Spalding and Gretchen Parlato are absolutely amazing artists whom I look up to because of their individuality and ability to create progressive music.  They are jazz artists, and while I am not a jazz artist, I love jazz and its ability to be so progressive.  Its innovative and I aspire to do the same with my music.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

I’ve always daydreamed of the ultimate moment with greats such as Stevie Wonder or George Duke or Quincy Jones.  But, I also imagine singing with John Mayer or Dianne Reeves.  There is such a large spectrum to choose from.

 

Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?

The better question is what song ISN’T!  Can’t type that list….from hip hop to jazz to rock to pop to lounge to house music….I’ve got it all and that’s what keeps me so enthralled in music.  The options are endless.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

Typically one of two things will happen- a melody will simply land on my brain completely out of the sky (those are always eery moments) or I will simply fiddle on the keyboard and a melody will develop.  Once a simple melody is created, I then try to sense the energy or vibe of the melody.  Is it melancholy, happy, loving, whimsical, etc?  Then I create lyrics to fit the mood and create a story.  Sometimes, a story will come to mind and I simply develop a song to tell the message.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Good question…  I love to write and tell stories, so often I’m drawn to what is being said.  But, ultimately, its the melody that catches the listener and causes the song to be etched in the mind.

 

Kenya

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1rebtJdtmw

 

Q: Where are you based?

Chicago, IL

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

I’m originally from Denver, CO and Denver is an amazing city full of beautiful landscapes and positive energy.  It’s laid back nature is always so welcoming.  Chicago is also a beautiful cosmopolitan city with a huge variety of experiences.  The music scene is positive and I’ve met a number of amazing artists.  However, as an alternative soul artist, I’m still exploring the music landscape in Chicago to collaborate with like minded musicians.  So far, the journey has been exciting!

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

Multiple things, which is great!  This spring and summer is mostly focused on performing in both public and private events.  I’m also writing and collaborating with a couple of different producers.  I’m preparing myself mentally to begin going into heavy writing mode for the fall because I want to begin working on a full cd…and I’m REALLY excited about the possibilities.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Being in the music scene at this level is very new for me, so everything feels like a highlight!  I imagine a big highlight thus far was that I attended this year’s Grammy Awards show in LA.  While I wasn’t nominated for anything, it was a huge opportunity to simply be in the moment with so many amazing musicians.  I was able to meet Bobby McFerrin and even see Julie Andrews in person.  It was an awesome experience.

 

Kenya

 


 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

Exposure, exposure, exposure!  My goal right now is for people to hear my music either by performing or promoting my music where ever opportunities present themselves.

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

Two exciting gigs coming up include Keeping Success PURE May 27th here in Chicago at Mayne Stage-this will be a charity concert that will be videotaped & broadcast on Chicago’s PBS channel.  In addition, I will be interviewed and featured as an “On the Rise” artist in Chicago.  Also,July 22nd in Homewood, IL I am the opening act for American English, a Beatles Tribute Band, during the Starry Nights Concert Series.

 

Kenya

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knovovtst-8

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Exercising, watching House Hunters on HGTV (such a relaxing show…for some strange reason), spending time with my family… and listening to music.  Finding rare musical gems is a hobby as well as a source of relaxation for me.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

My debut EP/CD “Starting Over” is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.com…don’t delay!  Check me out!

 

Editor’s Note: Wow what a voice! The partnership of Kenya’s soothing vocals with laid back grooves creates an extremely commercial and eclectic sound. We’re looking forward to seeing Kenya’s career progress over the coming months and years.

If you’d like to learn more about or contact Kenya just follow the links below:

 

twitter link: www.twitter.com/kenyamjmusic

facebook link: www.facebook.com/#!/pages/KenyaMJ-Music/117845384914225

myspace link: www.myspace.com/kenyamjmusic

web page link: www.kenyamcguirejohnson.com or www.kenyamjmusic.com

reverbnation link:www.reverbnation.com/kenyamjmusic

 

 

Artist Interview – Xavier Toscano

Xavier Toscano is an up and coming singer songwriter from San Francisco. Listing some of his creative influences as Michael Jackson, Timbaland and Will.I.Am we knew his style would be perfectly suited with Essential Pop and we’ were delighted when he agreed to complete a feature artist interview. Read on to find out about Xavier’s musical background, what he’s currently working on and his current career highlights.

 

Xavier Toscano

 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13m32PM3Vi0

 

Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?

It is Pop music at heart, but it has R&B, rock, reggae, and dance elements.

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Modern pop with influences by top 40 radio.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

Music has always been a source of joy and escapism for me. I didn’t start working in music until I was an adult, but I always enjoyed dancing. So, I’m kind of a music newbie. Even though you can say that I have been performing since I was a kid.

 

Xavier Toscano

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvkwJk0k7Bc

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

2010 was a great teacher. I learned so much! Learned about promoting, about booking, and how to manage my act. I am my everything; manger, agent, PR, every little detail is my responsibility so I have grown in ways that I never expected. I’ve become more of a rounded music entrepreneur than I had ever expected. Go figure! So yeah, 2010 was an amazing teacher.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

For no apparent reason I just seem to gravitate to whatever is popular. Top 40 radio has always inspired me and continues to drive my musical taste. It seems that I’m always in tune with the top ten on Billboard. I’ve also drawn huge inspiration from Michael Jackson’s work, Madonna’s, and Freddie Mercury. I’ve studied these people’s career and I have drawn so much from them. But I would love to ultimately work with Timabaland. His music just moves me. I also really like the Black Eyed Peas -Will.I.Am is genius!

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Lady Gaga comes to mind, right off the bat. Her team has been able to produce and incredible career. Cee Lo Green is also noteworthy, as well Bruno Mars and Mike Posner. Timbaland and the Neptunes are also amazing to me.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

Timbaland!

 

Xavier Toscano

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSzSl4k5hFM

 

Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?

I’ve recently downloaded; “E.T.” -Katy Perry; “Valerie” -Mark Ronson; “Down On Me” -Jeremiah; and “A1″ because I really like Dev.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

On the last album, I collaborated with Octo5, an indie producer in the San Francisco Bay. We basically created the music first and then I would write to the tracks. It was sort of a reverse process. The music inspired the lyrics and melodies.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Musically speaking they are both equal partners. Even rappers use a melodic sort of speech when they do their songs.

 

Q: Where are you based?

I’m in the San Francisco Bay.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

I think one word sums it up: Eclectic. We are truly a melting pot of people. Diversity is not only abundant, but all of the variety within that gives the SF Bay many layers and flavors.

 

Xavier Toscano

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0l3M_yoMdU

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

Promotion mostly, but I am also collaborating with artists and producers. It’s a fun process and a random one as well.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Getting to perform at the Disneyland Hotel in 2009, and the experience I shared with the awesome group of dancers I worked with. It was an unforgettable week end!

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

WORLDWIDE FAME!

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

I would like to share my calendar with your readers, just log on to http://www.xaviertoscano.com/events

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Reading and meditation. I’m not very good at the latter, but when I do it enough, I feel on top of the world.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

Yeah, that I value each and every one of my fans and that I ALWAYS respond to e-mail and comments personally. It is very important to me to stay in touch and I love and appreciate their time. <3

Xavier Toscano

 

Editor’s Note: Xavier is a driven and talented songwriter, dancer, actor and performer who’s musical work always demonstrates a commercial, energetic yet profound pop sound. We’re already looking forward to his next album at Essential Pop!

 

If you’d like to learn more about or contact Xavier Toscano follow the links below:

 

twitter link: http://www.twitter.com/xtoscano

facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Xavier-Toscano/352543223829

myspace link:http://www.myspace.com/xaviertoscano

web page link: http://www.xaviertoscano.com/

soundcloud link: http://soundcloud.com/xaviertoscano

reverbnation link: http://www.reverbnation.com/xaviertoscano

Youtube embeds: http://www.youtube.com/jetdev5

 

Mod Sun: Positivity Through Pop and Hip-Hop

Up-and-coming American pop artist Mod Sun has more than just catchy, electro-influenced hip-hop songs on his side, he says. The 24-year-old rapper, born in frigid Minneapolis, Minnesota but usually found in sunny Long Beach, California, is an outspoken acolyte of the law of attraction. It’s a concept he first discovered, and widely popularized, by Australian author Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret. In essence, if you believe strongly in positivity, you attract positivity, and a cascade of good things continues to come your way.

 

The cover of Mod Sun's Health, Wealth, Success, and Happiness mixtape. Image via Modsun.com

 

So far, they have done so for Mod, whose handle is actually an acronym stands for Movement on Dreams, Stand Under None. As an independent artist with no manager or record label, he’s leveraged the power of social media and his own relentless friendliness to build a following of hundreds of thousands of fans.

 

The outcome so far? In recent months, it’s been recording session in Miami Beach with producer Dave Siegel — who produced such chart-toppers as T.I.’s “Whatever You Like and Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Thru the Phone — as well as a finalist slot in a recent contest for unsigned artists to grace the cover of the venerable Rolling Stone.

 

Before striking out on his own as a solo artist, Mod played as a drummer in several pop and rock bands, and there is a certain hangover from that experience in the high-powered hooks of his new songs. The rest of his material is relentlessly sunny, aimed at spreading the good news of an optimistic attitude to all of his fans. Or rather, his friends — Mod insists that he doesn’t have a “fan base,” but rather, a “friend base.”

 

We caught up with Mod not too long ago for an interview; here are some selections from the chat. In the meantime, follow him on Twitter at @MODSUN, and download his free mixtape Health, Wealth, Success, and Happiness below.

 

Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/?h78dxd66ksn5iyn

 

 

Essential Pop: You got your start playing drums in rock bands. How did you make the transition to rap?

 

Mod Sun: I always identified with brilliant sentences. There’s never a song that’s too deep for me. I can really understand what an artist is saying. So I wanted to come from behind the kit and get at the front of the stage and in front of people.

 

One of the special things that I wanted to do with my hip-hop career — I call it “hippie-hop,” by the way, if I haven’t mentioned that — from the very, very first song, it was released. I’ve released every song that I’ve written, because I really wanted to show progress. So the very first song I ever rapped on, which is me not even knowing how to rap, really, I wanted to show people that it’s all about progress. So at this point I’ve had six releases, and four have been full-lengths, or more than full-lengths, they’re mixtapes.

 

I wanted to just show that you start at this point, and the goal is to get better. I’m not trying to be the best rapper, or the best musician, or the best artist. I’m trying to be the best human I can absolutely, at all costs, possibly be.

 

I gave up my life to positivity; all I’m trying to do is spread positive vibes to everybody. All I want to do with my artistry is inspire — I want the next artist to be better than me. I don’t want to be at the top of the list, although I’d love to tie, because I want everyone else to be just as good.

 

When I quit playing drums, I went back my hometown where everyone knew I was in a rock band that had toured and done everything I wanted to do. And when I told them I had quit to start rapping, they were shocked, obviously.

 

And it’s all about proving to yourself, and I think it is very important what people perceive you as. I think if you say something out loud, it makes you hold yourself to it. If you say, “I am going to do this” in front of a bunch of people, they’re expecting you to do that, and it’s going to propel you to do it even more. That’s what I believe. So I came out, and I said this is what I wanted to do, and I’m definitely going at it as hard as I can.

 

 

When you started out, did you look up to any actual rappers in particular?

 

Yeah, being from Minnesota, one of the guys I looked up to, and still do to this day, was a guy named Eyedea. He just recently passed away, so rest in peace to him. He was absolutely, hands-down the biggest influence on me to start, to get into hip-hop.

 

His rhymes and subject matter were different, he’s smart, he’s witty, he can do it all. He won Blaze Battle with the freestyle, even P. Diddy wanted to sign him at one point and he said no. He stayed in Minnesota and that’s what he wanted to do, stay with the Rhymesayers and Atmosphere and Brother Ali. So what got me into it was totally, 100 percent the Rhymesayers crew.

 

You kind of said that was what you were into to start. Do you look up to somebody else now?

 

I definitely still look up to them and their movement. In the rap world, right now, who do I look up to? I don’t know. I’m the first to tell everyone that I never really listened to the rap classics, like Biggie Smalls and Tupac and Big L, and even not too much Jay-Z. I’m not the biggest rap-head and I’ll be the first to be 100 percent truthful about that.

 

So, you know, I don’t really cite those people as having a huge influence on me. But, with the fact that I want to be a better artist in my craft of rapping, I study, and obviously now I listen and go back and better appreciate that they’re doing, and really study hip-hop. But at the beginning, it was all about getting out my voice and not caring who heard it.

Mod Sun

 

 

How did you first get into ‘The Secret’ and the Law of Attraction?

 

One of my friends named Fatty, actually — that’s his actual government-given name — he showed it to me, and I couldn’t believe it. My world changed. Because the biggest thing about it is that everybody watches it and says, “Oh, I do that.” But the people who don’t really identify with it still say, “Well I do that already,” but it’s totally different when somebody sits there and looks you in the eye and says, “You’re doing it, but now try to just do that.”

 

I think it flips everybody’s world around when I show them. My sister, for instance, she didn’t grow up being all positive, and life wasn’t working that well. But I introduced her to it and she’s 100 percent a different person now. I just think it’s the greatest tool to live life — you adapt it to your own situation.

 

I don’t ever want to be the type of person that preaches that, this is the way you need to be. I always say, whatever you stand for, don’t judge the person who believes the opposite, because without them, you don’t have anything to stand for. So I believe that everyone should do exactly what they feel inside is right. But I do feel that in my case, I know that the law of attraction works 100 percent, and I’m trying to prove it to everyone else.

 

 

Your bio says you literally feel happy all the time. Do you ever feel down, and what do you do about it?

 

You can train yourself to not feel down, because you control everything. Your brain controls everything, and you control your brain. The fact that I’m talking to you right now, that is a total choice on my part to open my mouth and say these words. I’m controlling everything, and that means I control my thoughts.

 

So that means there’s a possibility I’m about to think down about something, I know it does no good, so I stop myself from doing it immediately. It says it’s a scientific thought that a positive thought is more powerful than a negative thought, it’s twice as powerful. So say that you do think a negative thought, and make it positive — it’s twice as powerful, so you just erased the bad thought.

 

That’s how I taught myself, knowing I just thought something bad, so I’m going to take the same thing and feel positive about it, and it completely erases the negative. And I know that.

 

What’s a concrete example of something you’ve achieved or something that’s happened in your career that you attribute to the law of attraction?

 

I want to make an impact on the world in a positive way. If you think about Mod Sun out there, the majority of people out there, if not all, think of positivity. So that sends an image of Mod Sun and a thought of positivity into the universe. The universe is then going to take that and send it back to me, because someone else out there is thinking positively about me.

 

And again, I mean, I could cite a million things to you right now about how, exactly, it has happened. My name stands for Movement on Dreams, Stand Under None. I’d be lying to you if not every single thing that’s happened in my career was not part of a plan, something I had asked for a year ago, two years ago.

 

Do you have plans to release a proper studio album? What are your latest musical projects?

 

Yes, I have a fantastic EP that I’ve just released this past December. It’s called In Mod We Trust. Upon release of it, it debuted at number one on the iTunes hip-hop charts above Black-Eyed Peas, Kanye, Kid Cudi. I mean, not for like, a month, but it did debut at number one.

 

I recorded that EP with a guy named Dave Siegel who’s a fantastic producer down in Miami. He did T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Through the Phone,” and he works off the Billboard charts and makes hits.

 

Are you looking for a record label deal?

 

I think music is at the absolute greatest point it’s ever been in the history of music. People complain about it all day, and there are old heads in the industry who don’t want to change, but I think music is so amazing, and everything is possible. People like Owl City went from a basement in Minnesota to number one on the Billboard Charts. That is possible!

 

So I think being on a label is great, because it means you have people working for you. That’s fantastic. But guess what, I can do everything by myself right now. I am my self-promotion — granted, half my day is spent really promoting the shit out of myself. But I’ve decided to do that instead of working a cubicle, so lucky me, I can sit on my iPhone and be at the beach, smoking a joint, and be doing my promotion!

 

I think until everything is over your head where you don’t even get to sleep any more because you have so much to do, I think you don’t need a label. You should hold out. I’ve been offered multiple record deals from major labels, independent labels, nothing labels, everything, because people have caught on early to this and knew the potential of it. I’ve been offered plenty of deals, and I’ve just said, you know what, I can do everything myself right now.

 

Artist Interview – The Movement Fam

The Movement Fam are a Soul Hop band originally from Melbourne, Australia consisting of Notion, his older brother Cee and Bekah. Although they’re all extremely busy pursuing successful solo ventures and recovering from relocating to Toronto, Canada, they kindly agreed to complete an interview for Essential Pop. Read on to find out about their favourite gig in the Evelyn Hotel, how they create their catchy Soul Hop songs and what they’re hoping to achieve for the rest of 2011.

 

The Movement Fam

 


Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or number of genres what would it be?

Cee: We call our sound Soul Hop, which is a unique blend of Soul and Hip Hop. We are also inspired by various other genres like indie rock, electro, dubstep, house, hardcore and classical.

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Cee: Soulful Hip Hop with an edge. Relentless with this effortless passion.

 

The Movement Fam

 

Q: What is your musical background?

Bekah: Soul and old school R&B -- ahhh Motown, loving it.

Cee: I was playing guitar at 9, rapping at 15, releasing music at 21. I grew up on Aussie rock, switched to Hip Hop and R&B in the early 90s, and expanded my horizons over the last decade. Now I feel just as at home in skinny jeans at a metal gig as I do faded at a Hip Hop show.

Notion: I have a little to no musical background lol. I played drums for a year at high school which taught me to keep a rhythm and read music, although those skills have faded a little haha. I also used to sing at high school in the choir until my balls dropped in year 9.

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

Bekah: Awesome. 2010 was fantastic. We performed and gigged so much and we had a great following for each gig. Cee & Bekah pushed our third mixtape, the Soul Movement Originals Album and began the making of the EP. A very productive year.

Cee: 2010 was a huge year of change for us. We managed to move countries, all the while releasing our annual Valentine’s Day mixtape, Notion’s 9th Wonder tribute, the Cee & Bekah compilation album, do a bunch of shows, attend A3C in Atlanta and CMJ in New York, perform our first international show in Toronto and enjoy our first winter.

Notion: 2010 has been one of the most life-changing of my years on this planet thus far. The year was filled with the most ups and down, ecstatic excitement and crushing downs and hardships. Moving country, selling everything, getting settled and thriving in a new environment. Music Festivals as much as the ears can take including A3C and CMJ, making some of the most valuable and treasured connections and relationships with amazing new friends and family.

 

The Movement Fam

 

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

Bekah: There are so many to name but here is a few: India Arie, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston and Joss Stone. Amazing artists.

Cee: Last time I was asked this I listed like 50 artists, so to keep it short, I really gravitate towards creative people who have a powerful message with a unique and soulful musical element. I also get a lot of inspiration from the things I’ve been through, the emotions I’m feeling, travel, relationships, politics…just life, I guess.

Notion: Lately, emcees such as J. Cole, Talib Kweli, Emilio Rojas, B.O.B., Royce and all the rest of Slaughterhouse, to cats like Cee-Lo, Melanie Fiona and Jazmine Sullivan. It’s the overall sound and feel that it bangs out that just gets the creative juices flowing. I’m talking about the beats, melodies and lyrics of all of the above.

 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtOagJCjktw

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Bekah: Alicia Keys and Beyonce for sure. They are such powerful women and they make everything seem doable.

Cee: Probably the dudes I know personally who are making moves, growing all the time and creating a movement with their music, all the while handling the business-side. Though my biggest inspiration for the perfect blend of artistry and business is Jay-Z, of course.

Notion: Pretty much everyone listed above lol.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

Bekah: If I could collaborate with the ladies who have and continue to inspire me (as above) then I would be the happiest woman on earth.

Cee: Kanye West, hands down.

 

The Movement Fam

 

Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?

Bekah: Bruno Mars, Craig David, Cee & Bekah :) I listen to pretty much everything.

Cee: Man I update my iPod every day, so as of right now, I actually just reloaded the songs that didn’t make the third Cee & Bekah mixtape, this amazing band from South Dakota called Showbaby that we discovered at SXSW, French reggae cats Dub Inc, Collie Buddz, Marsha Ambrosius, Frank Ocean and D-Sisive.

Notion: About 24,000 songs give or take. So a lot of genres! We’d be here all day… lol.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

Bekah: I close my eyes and clear my mind and sing whatever comes to me -- melodically and lyrically. It’s never failed me…

Cee: I listen to the beat over and over until a thought, theme, lyric or melody pops into my head, and I just ride with it after that.

Notion: It can come from any which way, anything and everything really! Either starting with a lyric or line I’ve already written down prior (I have a list of thousands of lines and ideas I think of daily in my phone), or just thought of, it can stem and build from that. If I start with a beat it can start with hearing a melody, baseline or whatever in my head, or in a sample I may be skimming through purposely. I just follow the vibe when it grabs me! That’s the fun part, chasing that feeling and just goin’ IN!

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Bekah: They’re equally important to me. To have a hit song, you need the catchy melody and you definitely need the catchy lyrics to go with it.

Cee: I agree with Bekah. Both are just as important as each other to me. At the same time, I’ve heard some amazing melodies with garbage lyrics and yet it doesn’t bother me, and I’ve also heard some dope lyrics over a weak melody. Each to their own, really.

Notion: It’s a combination of both. But for the purpose of the question, I’d say the lyrics. It’s just how I fell in love with Hip Hop. The lyrics said more and painted more in my head than the melody did.

 

Q: Where are you based?

Cee: We’re from Melbourne, Australia but we’re now based outta Toronto, Canada. Love it out here.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

Bekah: Melbourne is AMAZING. There is NO place like it. Australia is a beautiful country. Musically it’s great too -- but it’s more rock ‘n roll based but there definitely is some amazing talent coming from there.

Cee: I’m definitely proud to be from Melbourne. We rep it to the death. It’s big enough to show you how to handle yourself in almost any given city in the world, yet small enough to keep you down to earth (for lack of a better term). However, I really love living in a place where I wasn’t born, it definitely makes life more interesting.

Notion: Melbourne city is an amazing place in the world. I have been lucky enough to grow up there! It’s rather similar to Toronto with the good-natured people and city structure and layout. It’s a big part of why we moved here. Musically it’s a rock-oriented scene with a growing stronger every day Hip-Hop community. So much live music you will never get bored. If y’all haven’t been for a visit, holla at your travel agent!

 

The Movement Fam

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

Cee: A billion projects. We’re doing a FreEP with North Carolina producer S.T.T.R.E.S.S., we have a single with Krohme dropping soon, we’re working on Notion’s debut EP, Cee & Bekah’s double EP, a bunch of The Movement Fam mixtapes, my solo mixtape The Indie Experiment, and solo EPs. It’s hectic. Plus we’re capitalizing on all the networking we did at CMW and SXSW, so making those connects eventuate is a lot of hard work.

Notion: I am working on my first official album featuring production from the U.S.A.’s Remot, and myself. So check for that around summer. Also working on a mixtape for Cee, I’m always making beats for collaborations with various artists around the world and the crew. We are also looking at releasing the first in The Movement Fam Mixtape series really soon too. On top of that I am an engineer so I have a lot of good stuff to keep me busy!

 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDfMlLIsRx4

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Bekah: Being signed to a label in Miami. Also we have a publicist now which is awesome and will help our marketing and promotion across Canada and USA.

Cee: I think moving to Canada indefinitely is a huge thing for us. I don’t know anyone else who has made the sacrifice we have, and I truly believe it will pay off. And releasing The Soul Movement Originals album was a great moment for us; it’s technically a compilation but still is a solid snapshot of our sound thus far.

Notion: Personally handing 9th Wonder my “On The Corner Of Notion & 9th” Tribute Tape in Atlanta at their A3C Music Festival in October, 2010. Meeting Crooked I at the same festival and getting to chat to him for about 15 mins about our journey to North America, living in TDot, and how our music constantly drives us and he fully supported that. It was real. Collaborating on a song with one of my idols for my first album, and connecting with other highly respected and talented emcees and producers for the same album. I’m not naming names because I don’t want to ruin the surprise!!

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

Bekah: I want to be doing music full time. I want to quit my day job. I left my family and friends to make this happen so 2011 will be the year.

Cee: I want to perform as MUCH as possible in Canada and the USA, wrap both the Notion and Cee & Bekah EPs, rock at A3C and CMJ later this year, and start a real, solid buzz for the crew.

Notion: To continue to build networks and relationships as strong as we have in the past, travel the world and do shows/tours with other like-minded bands/groups/artists, keep my consistent beat game up, continue to build our social network presence and fans, collab with everyone and spread The Movement Fam love, message, and soul far and wide!

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

Notion: One that comes to mind straight away is a gig we did back home in Melbourne at The Evelyn Hotel in 2010. The crowd was insane, the biggest one we had played to so far. We were apart of a wicked line up with other funk/soul/hip hop bands and just rocked out all night. All of our close friends and fans were there to party with us, we played with a live drummer and enjoyed every minute of it. We recorded it and released it as a tribute to the best gig to date “The Movement Fam Presents: The Movement Fam LIVE @ The Evelyn” available for free via www.themovementfam.bandcamp.com. Not that that’s a plug or anything…

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Bekah: I watch movies and hang out with my family and friends. They keep me sane and if I didn’t have their love and support I wouldn’t be here striving for what I love to do most.

Cee: Read, drink green tea, play guitar, listen to music, chill on the internet, and watch conspiracy doco’s.

Notion: I unwind by making beats, write songs, harmonies and the like. Eating home cooked meals that we’ve cooked, with the Fam. Listening to my favourite joints, and some new music, watching MMA bouts, socialise with my buddies a lot, blazing up and having a couple cold ones with them. It’s that simple lol.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

Cee: We wanna thank everyone for the support thus far, and we want y’all to go download all the free mixtapes and album from our Bandcamp pages.

Notion: Notion, and The Movement Fam are a crew that doesn’t quit man. Check for our albums and all our other good stuff via themovementfam.com! We are “Relentless with this effortless passion…

 

Editor’s Note: The prolific Movement Fam have an incredible array of individual yet commercial Soul Pop. If ever you’re in or around Toronto you should definitely check out one of their gigs! We’re looking forward to the next album or EP with anticipation.

 

If you’d like to learn more about or contact The Movement Fam, just follow the links below:

twitter link: @TheMovementFam

facebook link: http://facebook.com/TheMovementFam

web page link: www.themovementfam.com

Bandcamp links: www.ceeandbekah.com, www.notionbaby.com

soundcloud link: http://soundcloud.com/themovementfam

reverbnation link: http://www.reverbnation.com/ceebekah http://www.reverbnation.com/notionbaby