Artist Exclusive: Interview with Hip Hop Artist EsZ Behind The Scenes with EsZ

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EsZ

Fun Facts
One thing I can’t leave home without…
my iPod, I don’t like putting music on my phone..kills the battery faster.

What is on my iPod right now..
old songs like the The Temptations,  and new songs like Drake & Future.. might even hear some Nu Shooz …

The last album I bought was…
Scarface

Looking forward to collaborating with…
Pharrell, Timbaland, Andre 3000, Kanye  ect.

 

Checking out What’s Up in Erron’s Attic with Hip Hop Artist EsZ

erron eszYour latest release “MIA NIA” is a little bit different from your earlier work, what inspired you to make this particular type of track?

I was cleaning my old hard drive and seen old photos. .sparking the hook, about this girl ( Name is Anonymous ), later found this beat I made back in ’09 and was feeling the melody.. the hook matched the rhythm..fixed the drums,
and after a lil cut and paste.. MIA NIA

Can you in 3 words, describe to us who EsZ is and what is this Erron’s Attic we keep hearing about?

3 Words? soon you’ll understand.. Feed the Beast

Besides hip hop, what other types of music do you enjoy?

Anything that catches my ear, folk music, Reggae. .Bachata, anything

What do you think it is that sets you apart from other hip hop acts?

I, Erron, am human,  I Error…

For some reason people are still saying hip hop is dead, what are your thoughts on the discussion?

Hip Hop is about expression..via Dance, Tagging, Rap, Dj’ing and the way you dress… that’s Hip Hop..Can’t say the popular  success  of Hip hop today is what killed it because  if that’s the case, it died once LL cool J and Run DMC got on MTV..or even back to the Sugar Hill days. They to had ” Commercial  Success “.

 Lyrical  content  might not be as it was back in the  ( 80’s – 90’s )  but that was the expression of That environment..we have smart phones that read  and do math for us now..what do you expect?  * takes selfie *

You have been teasing us with some EP’s since ‘Songs in My Sketch Pad’, can fans expect an album in the near future?

lol Maybe, stay tuned..  ‘Songs in My Sketch Pad’ was just a first draft…

 

ESZ_PromoWhat challenges, if any have you faced as an independent artist considering how much music has changed over the last decade or so?

Just getting the music noticed, you know the saying, ” if a tree falls and no one’s there to hear it, does it make noise? “
Well With a label,  all the connections are already made…Radio, TV plugs, Co signs ect.  it’s like you have a head start,  indie is starting from the bottom..

Explain what the vibe was like the very first time you went to perform on stage?

nervous, lol I don’t think anyone would  say different. .unless your like extra high or drunk.. nervous

We were checking out YouTube and found some videos of fan4s doing choreography to a few of your songs, what goes through your mind when you receive this kind of attention?

Amazement, like..WoW, that’s My songs..like its one thing when people say they like a song, but to express  how the song made them feel, using their own art form…its like, wow!  It was touching, I’m very honored..

If there were 3 pieces of advice that you would give to anyone wanting to give a go at music but maybe a little hesitant, what would you tell them?

Keep at it.. I was an art student,  every  time I would like try to let the music majors hear a beat or listen to my song I wrote.. it was like ” yea, but can you draw me a Goku wearing Jordans  or a Tweety  bird for my girl”  now I’m doing an interview  about my music, and you’re reading my answers on this site… so just keep at it, and believe in yourself ..I’m still learning myself, with a long way to go..but when I have more I’ll let ya’ll know

 

Check out more from EsZ by following the links below

Follow on Instagram

Follow on Twitter

Listen on Soundcloud

Watch on YouTube

Visit www.erronsattic.com

 

 

 

Interview with Artist SmartBlackKid BTS Discussion with SmartBlackKid

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SmartBlackKid Interview

SmartBlackKid Interview

 

Fun Facts:

One thing I can’t leave home without….

Gemstones. I carry gemstones with me every single day.

What is on my iPod right now…. 

I don’t have an iPod, but my iPhone right now? Is playing Bad Like Jesse James by John Lee Hooker.

The last album I bought was…

Can’t tell you the last time I actually bought an album.

When it comes to music, I dream of…

Genie. Kidding. When it comes to music, I see colors swirling around

to match the sound. I see the vibration of the world rising with the right music.

 

Inside the Music with Hakhi Alakhun, SmartBlackKid

We recently checked in with Brooklyn musician, singer, and songwriter Hakhi Alakun to find out the scoop on his newest album release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’. Check out the deets below!

Your album seems like a huge project, What moved you to release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1’ ?

I gave myself no time to do any promotion when I released an album per month in 2012.  I literally would drop an album, rest for the first week of the new month; and by rest, I mean, gathering the songs, music, pre-production. 2nd week was recording. 3rd week was mixing and 4th week was mastering, packaging and release. When it was all finished? I couldn’t believe myself. But still no one except my immediate fan base from social media knew what I was doing. I knew back then that the next album would be the “Best Of” as a way to draw attention to catalog and actually promote the music.

Can you tell us about some of your music influences and what impact they have had on your style today?

My first real musical influence was Maurice White from Earth, Wind & Fire. My mom shoved one of their albums in my face when I was 5 and she asked me to read the lyrics and pay attention to the words. I did the same thing with Sly and the Family Stone, sitting and reading the lyrics. Then Prince happened to the world and his music helped me discover my voice as a singer. I have a pretty low baritone most times and can’t sing those high tenor songs. Prince had a baritone and a falsetto and by singing his music, I discovered I had the same thing. The energy and spirit of my music is heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix. Lyrically and creatively he seemed to always be reaching for new realities, new ways to hear sound, new ways to play guitar. I try to have that approach to making my own music, to not limit myself to hip hop or r&b just because I’m a black dude. But to really explore.

When did you discover that music was your passion?

I discovered music was my passion at 9yrs old. I asked my mom for piano lessons and she said we couldn’t afford them at the time.  Instead she bought me a Casio keyboard  which I took and sat with my boombox and taught myself how to play my favorite songs. I worked at this everyday with no motivation, and no encouragement. I just needed to know how to express myself with this instrument. I was in love with it and I couldn’t really stop until I developed some level of fluidity.

Everyday after school, I would hold these concerts in my room for about 2hrs, then I would have dinner and do my homework and be a normal kid.

It seems like your music is not just about music but there are some serious messages there, can you give us some insight into what that is all about?

I spent about 10 years of my life in the NYC underground poetry scene and from there I attended an unofficial “school of performing arts” so to speak. I was apart of a large community of artists ( writers, actors, dancers, photographers, musicians, poets, etc. etc) who performed regularly at various venues in the City. The standard was high and the expectation was excellence. I was a spoken word artist who always had a message about self-empowerment through the mind and through spirituality so a lot of my old writing habits from those days are still with me. I feel that writing song lyrics is a serious art and I have a lot to express but I have to be brief in a song. My time as a poet trained me, so to speak, to write about serious issues and themes in a way that is clear and simple. Plus, there’s no one really doing that right now. Bob Marley to me was the greatest example of music with messages done in a very wise and proverbial way. I’m reaching for that standard in my songwriting.

Do you feel that other artists need to be putting out more meaningful music content? If so, why?

Yes. Absolutely. There is a song for everything, every moment, every feeling, every circumstance that a human being can go through on Earth. But for some reason, today’s music only speaks to a few aspects of human life: social status, financial status and sexuality.  It’s a very limited means of self-expression against the backdrop of this very complicated world we live in. I personally need art to help me make sense of the world, and to hear the truth be affirmed. Music is bigger than money and fame; it’s a language of motivation , of love, of community, of society and I want to be counted among the musicians who wrote about more than myself. There are 13 and 14 year olds out there who are big thinkers just like I was as a kid. I want my music to be present for them.  If our world was a plant, and music was the water feeding this plant, it’s a plant that is wilting pretty bad I feel. I don’t feel the love, the insight, the wisdom, the motivation, the affirmation from a lot of today’s music. I hear a lot of the same themes in variation and repetition. Meanwhile, I’m over here trying to eat organic and not consume too many GMOs, I’m thinking about my right to privacy in the surveillance age, I’m talking about coming to terms with my shadows and my own dark side so that I’m not projecting it on others. I want to personally hear music about these things. So I write it.

If there were 3 words you could use to describe ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1”, what would they be?

Creative, Intelligent and Visionary.

The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1What is your most favorite track on the album so far?

Ohhhhh that is so hard. That’s like asking which finger is your favorite. Hmm.

I would say the song I’m most proud of is Labyrinths Within. I say that because it was inspired by a book

I read on shamanism. Most songs about people target another person as the antagonist, the cheating partner, someone didn’t love you enough, someone hurt you etc. etc. I wanted to write a song about what’s  really going on inside of people. What if your biggest enemy is really yourself? Your ego? We are often projecting what we dislike about ourselves unto others. We blame others for situations we create with our various levels of self-esteem. We are often looking for people to love us in place of not really loving ourselves. The song deals with that and in particular, betrayal , which is something a lot of people can relate to. I really like how I was able to capture a complex idea and turn it into what I feel is a funky, danceable, groove. That was cool. I also like Sell, Sell, Sell because it’s daring to say what people wouldn’t really dare say on a record. Today’s music sucks. Every song is favorite, really.

Your album is available in multiple media outlets, how has the response been from your fans thus far?

As an indie artist in control of my own business, I think the response has been really good but can also be better. Since I don’t have a major machine behind me, every move forward is a success.

If there were at least one takeaway for new listeners just tuning into SBK, what do you hope that one thing will be?

That real music played with real instruments with intelligent lyrics is very very very cool and worth owning and listening to regularly.

So, you do your own instrumentals, vocals, production, have your own label and publishing capabilities. Is there anything that you do not do?

There are instruments I can’t play, notes I can’t sing, and guitar riffs I’m still learning how to play. I have my limitations but I end up attacking them when I get ready. I also don’t eat GMO foods.  I don’t watch TV and I don’t believe everything I see and hear. 

If there were aspiring artists out there looking to follow a similar route in production and distribution, is there any advice that you would offer them?

Make sure you copyright your work twice. You need to own the sound recording AND the composition. Never take advice from amateurs and people who are NOT artists. Create time and space for self-care. Artists like to brag about how long they worked in the studio last night, or how hard they worked on this or that. But speaking for myself? I need to schedule some time at a spa and get a massage; and sit in a hot sauna to get my mind, body and spirit in the right balance.  Always create the conditions that inspire the best of your creativity.

When you are not in the studio or touring, where can your fans find you?

Wandering the streets of New York collecting ideas for songs. Or at a burlesque show being inspired the feminine form.

Your album just came out and is gaining traction, what’s next?

Next is releasing the video for Free Thought which will happen as soon as the planet Mercury comes out of retrograde. Then I will release a series of SBK videos to offer visual elements for the music. Also, be on the lookout for the SmartBlackKid Show which will be a series on YouTube later this fall.

Any parting words for our music-starved readers?

Visit smartblackkid.rocks and support an artist who actually cares about you-the music lover.

Check out our latest Music Review of ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1

Web Exclusive: Interview with Artist Zhanè Monique

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Zhane Monique Legacy of an Empress

Earlier this month we checked out the latest EP from Atlanta-based singer and songwriter Zhanè Monique. Our team caught up with the gifted young performer to find out what inspired her to release ‘Legacy of an Empress’ and what else is in store for this rising Queen. Check out our Exclusive Interview with Artist Zhanè Monique…

Artist Fun Facts

Zhane MoniqueOne thing I can’t leave home without…. One thing I can’t leave home without is my Phone.

What is on my iPod right now…. My iPhone takes the place of an iPod. It has every song that I’ve written in my Notes app

The last album I bought wasThe last Album I bought was Kehlani’s Album “You Should Be Here”

My dream collaboration would be…. My Dream collaboration would be to collab with Future. I think that would be extremely interesting and super fun. 

 

When did you first discover that you could sing?

I first discovered that i could really really sing around the age of 11.

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

Some of my musical inspirations are Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, Tasha Cobbs, and of  course Beyoncè herself!

Besides some of your musical influences, what other factors have played a role in shaping  your style?  My Mother and Aunt played huge influential roles in my life. Before i started listening to any  R&B artist, it’s was gospel everything!. They were the Children’s choir leaders and directors at  church and also full time Adults Choir members. They taught me everything i know. 

You have a very distinct sound though somewhat reminiscent to Beyoncè, how would Zhané  Monique describe her music to a newbie?

I would describe my music as ambient and distinct. Sometimes the music that I like to listen to  on a daily basis does influence the sound of my music but for the most part i try to come up with  different sounds from other music genres and incorporate it into R&B.

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How did your collaboration with Titus G. Productions come about?

I met Titus G. through an old classmate. He followed me on Instagram and asked if I would  be  interested in doing projects with people in the music business. I answered yes, we met up  exchanged contact information and i started working with Titus right away. 

Using 3 words, can you describe “Legacy of an Empress”? 

Three words that describe “Legacy of an Empress” is Birthright, Ruler, and Rare.

How did you decide on the title for your EP?

I wanted my title to represent a Legacy. The EP Title had to represent talent that can be passed  on for ages! With hard thinking, Titus and I just put two and two together and came up with  “Legacy of an Empress”.

What is your track “Lambs Become Lions” about?

The Track Lambs Become Lions is about a group of people who were being mistreated and  afraid to fight back or speak out about it. They finally built up enough courage to start a war  fighting to end the mistreatment and would not stop until they succeeded. Until Lambs (babies  or their up coming generation) become Lions (honored and worthy adults who fought for their  rights). Adults fought for their upcoming generation’s freedom and that generation fought for  their upcoming generation’s freedom until they were all free with equal rights.

If there is one thing that you hope listeners will take away from their experience with  “Legacy of an Empress, what do you hope it will be?

I want my listeners to be able to relate and gravitate to the stories that ‘Legacy of an Empress’  hold. The EP is basically a book of situations that people face every single day. It’s about Love  and passion, heartache and heartbreak, being the best at what you do, and never letting  anything stop you from making your dreams come true.

READ Our Review of Zhanè Monique Legacy of an Empress

As a young woman woman pursuing music, what challenges do you anticipate encountering  in the industry and if any, how will you respond?

As a young woman pursuing music, I expect there to be lots of competition. There are tons of  other female artists fighting to hit the top charts in the music industry just as I am. I am prepared  for pretenders coming to persuade me into signing unfair contracts and rip offs in general.  There’s a lot that comes with this music industry success… a lot that we do not ask for.

Do you feel it is the responsibility of artists to be role models for younger fans?

Yes, I absolutely feel that it is an artist’s responsibility to be a role model for younger fans. 

We have checked out some of your YouTube videos and you can definitely kick out some  awesome tunes, can your fans expect more videos from you this year?

You can definitely expect more videos from me this year on YouTube because a lot has changed  over the years from when I last posted. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t post video often or  back to back. I wanted my viewers to sporadically see the change in me and my vocal ability.

ZhaneMoniqueBesides singing, what other activities or interests do you have? Before I started singing I was a Teen model. I went to school at Barbizon Atlanta and attended  IMTA New York. I occasionally did fashion shows in Atlanta on the weekends that did not  interfere with school. I also started to pursue an acting career in which I did some work with J.  Pervis Talent and later signed with a talent agent called TDH Talent where I received my first  opportunity to be in a film called the “Choir Kid”, which totally related to me even though I did not receive the starring role

What other projects can listeners expect to hear from you in the next few months?

In the next few months you can definitely expect some upcoming and up­-to-­date youtube videos  of my original songs and some favorite and requested song covers! Any words of inspiration for other young women looking to pursue music?  My words of encouragement would be to “Buckle down and do what you have to do, so that you  can do whatever it is that you want to do later in your future” that is what that my Aunt always  tells me

Any words of inspiration for other young women looking to pursue music?

My words of encouragement would be to “Buckle down and do what you have to do, so that you can do whatever it is that you want to do later in your future” that is what that my Aunt always tells me.