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NEW ARTIST: BLACK STAX INTERVIEW WITH DJ JAY ERICA

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DJ Jay Erica Intro: Firstly, thank you, Black Stax, for sitting down with me to discuss your music career. It was great speaking with you both previously on my radio show ‘DJ Jay Erica Takeover Hour’. You’ve have had so much progress since our last conversation. I want to ask you both a few questions regarding your career as a music group along with discussing your most recent work.

Jace ECAj (Black Stax): Yes, thank you.

Felicia Loud ( Black Stax): Thank you, DJ Jay Erica!

Q: You’re welcome. I am aware you are both currently based in Seattle as a group. However, can you tell the viewers where you are originally from?

Jace ECAj: Well, yes actually I’m a Seattle native born in Seattle. However, I was raised in between both Seattle along with Richmond, California. I frequently lived in Richmond during the summers growing up.

Felicia Loud: I’m originally from Dallas, Tx; I was born there. However, I consider myself a native of Seattle being raised in Seattle, Washington. I moved to Seattle when I was 4.

Q: When did you find interest in becoming entertainers & musicians?

Jace ECAj: I found interest in becoming an artist at the age of 11.  I originally started off as a lyricist writing spoken word and poetry; following behind my grandmother who was a well know legendary spoken word artist herself. I started taking myself seriously as a hip-hop artist & lyricist at age 16 and never stopped.

Felicia Loud: Myself I started off in entertainment industry performing at the age of 14 in the theater. Then I began song-writing in my early 20’s. I truly started to blossom during that period of my life writing music and singing; taking things seriously as an artist.

Q: How and when did your group come together?

Jace ECAj: Our group Black Stax formed in 2009; our group is the combination of my original group Silent Lambs & the well-known talented artist Felicia Loud. We collaborated our signature music styles to create one sound. We are a group that mixes many different genres such as hip hop, neo soul, jazz, RnB, & even Carribean sounds such a reggae. We’re truly undefined no words can fully describe our sound you have to listen and feel it to really understand what we bring musically.

Felicia Loud: Our first official single ‘I Love My Life’ was released in 2010 after a year of recording our first album ‘Talking Buildings’ which was also released the same year.

Jace ECAj: We just have had a mutual respect for each other from the beginning as not only musicians and creators but just as men and women. Which made the process of creating music together that much easier.

Q: Well that’s wonderful to see and hear. You guys have been making new music correct? Let’s talk about your new single ‘The Hope Dealer’ which is your first single released this year from your upcoming album. Tell me how did that song come together?

Felicia Loud: This record came together during our studio session with music producer Ezy Beatz. We truly wanted to get across a serious message that would touch the people in our own signature music style and Ezy Beatz understood our vision completely. We just flowed back and forth with our producer. I truly enjoy this record because  Ezy Beatz instrumental matches perfectly to the lyrics and vision of the song in which we are now presenting. 

Jace ECAj: I agree our main goal with this record ‘The Hope Dealer’ is to push a positive message and give our listener inspiration from this track.

Q: When will your new album be released and what’s next for Black Stax as a group for 2018?

Jace ECAj: Our new album “ILL- US- TRAIT” Live (West Coast Edition) is scheduled for release March 29. We will be dropping a new single-end month as well Jan. 30 from the album.

Felicia Loud: Yes and along with that we are planning our tour for the late spring Black Stax “ILL-US-TRAIT” Tour (East Coast) for all tour dates and location go to our website www.blackstaxmedia.com; Also for more info & to support follow us on Instagram @black_stax

Q: Great, last question who are your musical influences? Just go through your list with no explanation.

Jace ECAj: Otis Redding, Sela Kuti, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendricks, Early 90’s Hip Hop & Classic Blues music.

Felicia Loud: Marvin Gaye, Billy Holiday, Mavis Staples, Nina Simone, & Al Green.

DJ Jay Erica closing: Love it! Thank you!

Black Stax: Thank you!

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Let’s Talk About Haven: Soul Singer Renee Dion speaks to DJ Layne Luv

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How do you really interpret being a fan of an artist you know personally? And how does one explain that fanship when you are involved in the inner circle of the artist movement within that city? Can one speak objectively without bias? I’ll try my best. I came to know of this female sultry soul singer by way of a poet I used to date. From her introduction, I grew to know of all of the players within that artsy scene from Wali Crowder (poet), to B Jazz and The Liquid Crystal Project to DJ Krate Digga (eclectic DJ) to Lawrence Lemon (dancer extraordinaire). But around 2011, Columbus Ohio was buzzing by the release of Eric Roberson’s Mr. Nice Guy. Of course the city of Columbus has an adoration for the grammy-nominated singer, but the talk was more that of his generosity, almost an ode if you will, to the place that continues to give him so much love. Roberson included most of the artist aforementioned on his project, and from there I started to hear more and more about the songstress they call Renee Dion who was also a feature on Mr. Nice Guy.

With each project released, with each live performance, I became more of a supporter of Dion’s movement. Even witnessing her sing the national anthem for our 44th president Barack Obama was nothing short of amazing. In 2014, she dropped her project Moonlight off at my radio show, and my crew at the time and I were blown away at the maturity of her sound. We played every track for the entire show. By that time Dion was gaining momentum on the music scene….then all of the sudden “POOF” she disappeared. For a year and a half I would see her appear at a few music events around town or see her with her students from my window at that bank I was working at. (she was a school teacher at a school next door). But still no spark of music until around the end of October 2017. I started hearing from her chief supporter (her husband) she had a project coming out. He showed up at the club passing out her project to all the DJ’s but I was on the set and by the time I got done, the project was sold out. I ended up having to wait for the release date to hear it, and believe you me it was worth the wait. Haven put me in a trance from the first track I played.

I’m the type of person that believes everyone has a path and I follow good energy, so when I heard that my long time friend Jonathan Baker helped out on a lot of the arrangements for Haven, it made perfect sense why I was drawn to this project. Baker is an extremely talented genuine guy. I also felt that Dion was coming from a personal place. She’s a private person, but if you follow her life on social media and in real life…you know she’s in love and she’s been in love for quite some time. A story that is very rare in this day and age. Dion and her husband Artist Eric Jefferson don’t do it for the vine either, their love story is real. Those that listen to Haven can feel that story in the songs. So if you are in love, looking to be in love , or you just simply have questions about it…you can use Haven as to what that looks like.

I caught up with the songstress and I wanted her to break down some key elements of this masterpiece. Without further adieu …..Renee Dion…..

SO: Hey Renee, considering I just interviewed a musician you know well Ill Poetic and him taking 10 years to finish his project, and knowing it took you a few years to complete Haven, explain how difficult the process is to bring about a project with the musicality both of your projects possess.

RD: Oooh wee! (laughs to self) well after Moonlight I sort of hit a brick wall and I had to ask myself the question all artist get to a point of asking. Do I want to keep doing this, or do I want to let this go and just stop? I then made a decision, and with my mouth I told my husband…”I’m done with music” and from there was an almost immediate shift in my life from health problems to personal relationships.. things were just off. Speaking to that, I learned that when we abandon our purpose and what God has given us to do, things will shift and things can change until we find that path again. So as I stated, I was going to walk away but something kept bringing me back to it, and more and more I began to  find inspiration. I was finding inspiration everywhere, from listening to my best friend T. Wong evolve to lyrics just coming to me out of no where…and I started thinking to myself like “Are we done?” So my husband and I turned one of our bedrooms into a recording studio and I began to tinker around, and from that, the creativity started flowing …like if you ever saw the movie with Bruce Leroy …I had the glow (we both crack up) but when I started to show these songs to Jonathan (Baker) …first of all this man is truly talented, but I truly love his musicianship, so when he began to add his musical flavor, that’s when Haven started coming to life.

SO: If I could give this album a positive critique, you sound the most confident on this album than your previous projects. Songs like Uno (I really like that song btw) have your signature sound, but you can also hear growth and confidence in these songs. What made the difference on you taking risk vocally on this project?

RD:  I would say, when you take ownership and responsibility from other people’s hands, no slight to any other producer I’ve worked with…but once I had to sit in this studio and hammer out these songs myself, and I had to figure out production nuances and truly trust myself to express what was coming from my heart, I would say the confidence to elevate happened organically from those experiences. If you really want to know who Renee Dion is…Listen to Haven. 

SO: Considering we’re saying goodbye to 2017…We had a number of bare-your-soul albums from music’s royal family The Carters. 4:44 setting the tone for truth in music. Listening to Haven you can hear these songs coming from a real place. Did your husband inspire those songs?

RD: Well, honestly speaking the entire album is about him. But it’s also about me, my relationship with God and my relationship with people. When it comes to my music, I’m attracted to really beautiful sounds, so sometimes the music can stand on it’s own and overshadow the lyrics based on the sounds I prefer. However on this project, if you stripped the production and listened to just the words, you’ll hear my vulnerability, my fears, my questions and me dealing with myself. I’m still continuing to learn how to be a wife, and my husband is still learning to be patient with me as I find my way, as I am with him and these thoughts are what come out in the music. Life is about continual self discovery.

SO: It seems like your songs speak to women in love or looking for love. In a time where trust in relationships is a rarity and often times scary, what would you say to those women looking for love in 2018?

RD: Wow that’s a deep question and loaded hahaha but I’ll try to answer. I’ll say this to my single women waiting for love. Don’t lose your affection, don’t lose your vulnerability by being guarded. What do they say, “you can’t receive a blessing with a closed fist”, so you have to remain open to love no matter how great the potential of you being hurt again. With each experience there is a lesson until you reach the destiny God has called you to reach. The problem lies for most people is that they look to all sorts of media like Facebook and Instagram and the wrong outlets for guides to relationships. However that is so far from the truth of what love really is.

Listen, people look at my husband and I funny because wherever they see me they see him and vice versa. If he has a showing I’m right there, if  I have a singing engagement he’s right there as my No. 1 supporter. And it’s not based on a level of insecurity. Our presence is a sense of protection in this crazy world. Furthermore, we enjoy each others company. I sometimes go to events and there are married women and men showing up to events by themselves and wonder why they get involved in single activities. Don’t get me wrong our marriage is still work but it’s less work when you work at it and stay in tune with your significant other. Recognizing and dealing with things when things are off are another way to build strong relationships. But people have to be willing to let go of pride and ego to accomplish that. Communication is Everything. Eric is my husband and I protect him and his art just like he does for me…that’s the best advice I can give Layne.

SO: Where can people purchase your music and what events do you have going on right now?

RD: So they can purchase the music on iTunes and we just did Healing Haven and The Black Infinity a few days ago but those events and more are the many things to come in 2018. Just follow me on Instagram and Twitter under @ReneeDionMusic and please visit my web page reneedion.com

SO: Thank you so much for spending the day with us. Haven is definitely a instant soul classic.

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@FleetDJs

@StateOfHip_Hop

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[EVENT] MC Hammer at Staples Center Sept 8th!

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Back in Los Angeles for the first time in five years is legendary hip hop artist M.C. Hammer! If you missed him at Club Nokia FKA The Novo By Microsoft in 2012, you can make up for it by seeing him live at Staples Center on Friday, September 8. Joining M.C. Hammer will be openers V Bozeman, Keyshia Cole, Goapele, and Oakland Fight Club.

Tickets to see M.C. Hammer at Staples Center will go on sale on Tuesday, August 15, at 10:00 a.m. via AXS for $59.50 to $99.50 each plus service fees for the all-ages show. Don’t miss your chance to throw on your parachute pants and make your plans to see M.C. Hammer live next month in Downtown Los Angeles!
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[EVENT] Xscape Litty! @ “Essense Festival 2017”

<> on July 2, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I don’t know how many people has been waiting for this comeback reunion of Xscape, but there were so many people at the superdome in New Orleans that they couldn’t even see the performance. I didn’t make it to New Orleans but the performance hit youtube, social media and Xscape is back. Check out a few clips from the super reunion performance and first exclusive interview from the ladies at Essense this year.

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One Mans Art….A conversation with Louis Picasso by @DJLayneLuv

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When your 20 year old daughter tells you “Daddy you have to listen to this artist….” with all of her enthusiasm, you have no choice but to drop everything and give her your undivided attention. The back story is that she was attending a listening party and she got there extremely early to find a young man setting up stage and lighting. As she engaged in conversation with the young man she became intrigued by his views and outlook on certain things. They ended their small talk without any exchange of names. She gradually attended the party to the progression of the featured artist for the evening. As they introduce the featured artist, she then made the connection with the moment of clarity. Louis Picasso was the gentleman from earlier setting up his own show. She was even more impressed with the quality of his music.

Come to find out, he’s well known in Ypsilanti Michigan and has a commendable following. With his latest single Gold, he’s booked for a few dates across the country including some dates in California.

It is one thing to know a person by their art…but to get to know the authentic person behind the art is something totally different altogether. When I speak to masterful musicians, I am so amazed by their humility and dedication to their craft. This conversation gave me hope for my daughters generation. So much is lost in translation based on age differences that when two people put aside those prejudices, they find they have a lot more in common than not. Speaking to this young man made it refreshing that he is in my daughters circle. And Oh! did I forget to mention she is helping with his artist management now?

Ladies and gentleman… Louis Picasso

OTT: I’m always interested in the inner workings of an independent artists journey considering I’m one myself. So tell us how did you get into music?

LP: As with a lot of musicians, my entire family is involved with music. Everybody sings, everybody plays and instrument, so I was kind of born into it. However, I didn’t start writing music until about 2008. It was like another way to express myself verses being out here doing a lot of wrong, music was my sole outlet.  Then about 2013 I started to take it more serious.  I started learning about music theory and the history of music and different genres of music I wasn’t listening to before…so that’s how it started.

OTT: Because there are limited paths to success in the music business today, I see you’ve taken the approach of a Lamar, Cole, or even names like Lupe and Badass. What brought about your eclectic sound?

LP: My approach to the music always zoned in on lyricism vs the beat which is not the approach most people take. The majority are moved by the beat or the flow. I took a liking to B.I.G. because of his wordplay. Biggie was the first album that I went through and fully dissected and I got that from my dad when I was in middle school. And I just admitted I was feeling my dad’s music so please forgive that crime. (It’s human nature to rebel against your parents music LOL) Yeah but I was really feeling how Biggie put a song together and from listening to more rappers like him and Nas, I noticed how they put different feelings and emotion into their stories. Because you see… when you’re creating, you really don’t know how it’s gonna come out, but through their influence, I learned how to trust my feelings and expression.

OTT: Tell us about your evolution as an artist and finding your own voice.

LP: Well it’s like you said up until 2008, my interpretation of music was from everything that I listened to prior, so in that, there is a lot of mimicking and trying different styles. It took a lot of changing man because you have to be true to yourself and your art, but you also have to produce something your audience will love and appreciate.

OTT: Great transition! Without giving away your business secrets lol, how did you develop your respectable following?

LP: Weeelll…hahaha, I was tired of being told no when it came to my vision. Necessity is the mother of creation and invention so I was forced to think outside the box when it came to my marketing and building relationships. I remember wanting to rock at certain shows and being told no. I remember wanting to record in certain studios and being declined. I got fed up and started doing it on my own. You have to have faith behind your ideas and your craft. Because if you don’t, you’re going to get discouraged and eventually give up. You can put tens of thousands of dollars into your project but without faith you don’t have much. This is why you have the Missy’s and Pharell Williams and Timbalands that are masters at what they do because they took the time to learn everything on their own and they were hungry for that knowledge despite the roadblocks.

The last show I got told no to, it left a bad taste in my mouth so I created what is called a Pop-Up show at Third Rail. That was my very first show and it sold out the first week based on how we promoted it and previewed it. Well before the show, people were impressed with our presentation which made them interested. That’s a key right there. Your presentation has to be so appealing that it makes people want to check it out. The buzz was so real that I just took that formula and applied it to every single show.  I put my all into and keep my faith in tact.

OTT: Being that you are from Michigan, what is your take on the house that J Dilla built and his contribution to your home state and just music itself?

LP: The first time I heard about Dilla was around 2008 and a producer friend of mind  let me listen to him and it took a while to get into my system because I wasn’t really into that boom-bap soulistic style. But one thing about music is you have to open your soul up to it in order to receive it and once I did, I really see the time and effort he took to learn music and develop his sound and it made a huge impression on me.

OTT: Let’s talk about your project now…what is GOLD?

LP: Gold….. I want to describe it as an opportunity. With this project I want Gold to pertain to worth as in worth of self not so much materialistic . I dropped Gold around April 1. I wanted to get a bunch of creators around the area and like put together an orchestra that would display to the audience the worth of these independent artist in the area. That is what I wanted to display on Gold and then again my entire album.

OTT: Lastly, where can old and new fans purchase your music?

LP: Apple Music man, they can purchase the single on iTunes and mostly all of your favorite other steaming companies. Please get the word out and it is definitely appreciated. They can see my videos on YouTube under Louis Picasso and they can follow me on Instagram under @LouisPicasso. Thank you for having me fam.

OTT: We appreciate you as well. Best wishes on all of your music endeavors.

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@FleetDJs

 

 

 

 

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