Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson. What can I say? The man was and still is very much an enigma, leaving most people to just postulate his inner thoughts and try to decipher the man behind the machine that executed complex dance moves to perfection on stage to some of the most recognizable songs on earth using probably the most recognizable singing voice on earth. Ever since guy died, as an upcoming artiste I've been doing a lot of research trying to find out who this guy really was and what was his work ethic like to achieve the things he did before his untimely and unexpected passing. I've already listened to his most popular and critically acclaimed albums (Thriller, Bad and Dangerous) and after his death the influence of those songs on popular music is even more glaring. He was the last of an era where super stardom meant that you possessed a plethora of unearthly talents; not just a good body and the autotune plugin. And despite his talents, this guy's work ethic was out of this world.

When I got into Michael Jackson at the age of about 7 or so, he was already white. I'm an 80's babe who didn't possess cable (still don't) so "Bad" was probably the first song from Michael that I heard. The first video I saw of Michael was "Black and White" on Kasey Casem's countdown and it would be quite a while still before I heard his other stuff and be able to reconcile the fact that the black dude who also sounded like him was him, just before that awful disease gripped him (btw, I wish someone could finally shed more light on that scene plese). Looking back I wonder a lot of things, a lot of 'what ifs'. What if he never broke his nose dancing or get burnt doing that pepsi commerical? Would he have participate in as much plastic surgery if he didn't need that first nose job? What if he had a normal childhood? Then he may not have had the robot-like discipline to perfect his complex signature moves and spend repeated takes in the studio with Quincy Jones recording Thriller aka the best selling album of all time or gotten in trouble liming too much with those little boys. The list goes on and on.

Anyways, the most important thing to take from this guy's death for me is the hard work that he put into his craft. Rumors and controversies aside, this guy was a true artiste who transformed music videos into what they are today and crafted some of the most edgy and eccentric sounding popular songs ever created. Songs like "Thriller" and "Billie Jean" are difficult to place in any category of music but the "Michael Jackson" category and are number one hits as well as classic songs. He wasn't just an artiste who wanted to be popular but one who was took risks with his musical choices. Most importantly, even though this guy was blessed with superhuman technical singing talents and range at his peak, he was obsessive about practicing and perfection, a trait that we should all emulate as artistes. Either way, let me know what you thought of the legend. R.I.P. Michael. Face out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lion's Den Studio Launch

I dunno how much of you peeped my facebook status Wednesday but in my message I had a link to the Lion's Den Studio launch event. This event was not only a launch of the studio but a launch of a new production company called "Solid Medz" as well. For those of you who don't know, Lion's Den is a new studio situated in Mt Lambert that is run by Lamar "Beebo" Pollar and Richard "Pun" Romano. The studio itself is of historical significance since it was owned by the late Roaring Lion, an icon and pioneer within the calypso music genre.

With that said, the whole event went down smooth. The ambiance of the place really set the mood for those in attendance. The crowd there wasn't over thick but was just the right size with man like Make it Hapn, Nem Red, Vmax, Bongah Chops amongst others in attendance. Sad to say, I wasn't able to make it to the after party down in the Lure @ Chaguaramas which I heard was also quite good. Nevertheless, yuh boy didn't stick wit de camera so you can check out the videos below. And don't forget to vibes Beebo and Lion's Den in Mt Lambert for your recording, mixing and production needs (check de facebook page). I do my thing there and have been working with Beebo for over a year now on my album Hitchhiker's Guide to Uwi so I fully endorse them. Face out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Five Underground Artiste Tips (unfinished)

So to prevent an over-abundance of 'loose' arguments I tacked on an unfinished to the title. I'm still underground, still hustling, mixtape "Recession Music" releasing this week (hopefully) and still massaging my album "Hitchhiker's Guide to Uwi" to perfection so I won't say that I have a doctorate on giving upcoming artistes advice on what to do. However, I'm very observant so peep the unordered list and let me know what you think.

1) Ignore the haters - People like to talk and hating on new artistes is a given. Even I'm guilty of not giving ppl a chance sometimes and I'm an artiste. No matter how good you are you're going to get it so you need to learn to have that healthy confidence in yourself. As ironic as it seems, people will actually like your music in direct proportion to how much you like your music.

2) Don't ignore the haters...completely - I know that I just said ignore the haters but as hard as it may be to swallow...some of them have a point. That freestyle you posted over Jayz's "Hard Knock Life" may actually not be better than the original. Use hate, even misdirected ones like: "Yuh should stop recording mih boy. Yuh is real sh*t" as a stepping stone to improve yourself. Personally, I go in front the computer and freestyle every time someone tells me I'm mess.

3) Practice - Practice constantly. Making it mainstream from underground is like making it into the premiership from first division: You have to be first in your league to advance. Yes you have songs better than what playing on the radio but your songs need to be better than everyone else who is trying to make it. It's true that it takes more than good songs to make it but having good songs is basic.

4) Understand the business - Success in the industry is not only about your musical output. You have to understand how to position yourself to be heard. This involves marketing, knowing important people, dealing with studios, taking advice, forming alliances, using collaborations effectively, networking, acquiring a good manager etc. I won't get into all of this stuff but basically a terrible artiste with good business sense will win over a good artiste with no business sense any day (ignoring lady luck of course). Discovering and understanding the market you are trying to appeal to also falls under this. Don't frustrate yourself with badman songs if you know girl songs is your thing. Just do you.

5) Plan for the future - If you do the right things then success will come so you have to plan for it. What will you do? What's the next step? You don't want to be caught pants down when an opportunity presents itself. Additionally, when that money start flowing you don't want to be caught broke and a 'has been' months later. This game doesn't offer pension so you need to make it work and make it last.

And daz it people. Look out for "Recession Music" soon and take in "Raining Shots" below. I gone. Face out.