Therapy through a beat, isn’t that what music is anyway? Ayodale has mastered the ability to create music that feels like a therapeutic release. “HE-R.”, is no different and simply put, is one of my favorites from this artist. She simply talks over the beat and pulls you in as she discusses a woman in love and all that may come with it. Instead of writing about what she says exactly, I’ll leave the words up to her. Take a listen and comment below.
Venturing out into the music industry is never an easy task and sometimes can be daunting for all of those involved. Artists have one of the biggest challenges especially, as they have to not only brand their unique image and sound but to ensure their music gets in the right hands that will lead them to success. Winnas Only partnered with Loft9 to put together an insightful event for those in the industry entitled #MeetTheDJs. The event was a panel discussion with some dope DJs from Jersey who offered their advice to artists and other upcoming DJs who were looking to follow their journey to success. The panelists included DJ DARKKENT, DJ Drewski, DJ Tarzan, DJ Shy and Ray Swag.
Throughout the night, everyone had an opportunity to network with people in the industry from artists and DJs to photographers, bloggers and those in media as well. The discussion focused on artists mostly and how they can be heard, how their music can be heard. Each panelist had an opportunity to bring their own perspective for how they achieved their success and how they maneuvered in this world. They expressed the best ways for artists to get in touch with DJs, branding one’s image and ultimately how to be the best version of yourself at all times.
Even though I am not a music artist, I was happy to walk away from this event having learned a lot as someone in media. Behind the lens, I was able to not only capture connections being made, but I witnessed growth and overall development through Loft9. I am a writer first but as a woman in media with a brand and platform, I learned a lot about how to take myself to the next level and how presentation is sometimes and usually, everything. If you missed the first one, make sure you catch the next one as Winnas Only and Loft9 seem to be only warming up! Check out some pictures below from the event and please be sure to click the pictures to enlarge and get the full quality!
I had the privilege of attending Loft9’s Speed Shooting 101 event this past Sunday in New Brunswick, NJ. This unique event catered to beginner and upcoming models, photographers, stylists and make-up artists to not only improve their portfolio, but for an opportunity to connect with other individuals in the industry. The event included multiple backdrops, props and spaces throughout the space and even on the space’s rooftop where models had an opportunity to transform their looks between photographers’ stations. The event was hosted by Loft9’s owner DJ DARKKENT and his colleagues Amber, Kaila Boulware, Cooke and Jasmine Eaton.
As I moved throughout the event, I was able to really take in each moment, each snapshot of beauty that the models exuded. It was chaotic at times as there were many moving pieces, but I enjoyed witnessing the interactions between so many individuals. I had time to talk to some photographers such as Najee from Rebellious Visions, Where’s Diggity?, and Joshua before I also ran into some other familiar faces from social media and local events. It wasn’t long before I ran into Hajirah, from Urban One Radio who was modeling a few different looks throughout the space. Being able to watch these individuals create and network was a breath of fresh air and ultimately an inspiring way to end the weekend.
Loft9 is a local business and ultimately a space for creatives to use to expand their visions and crafts, was able to step out of the norm and execute a vision that was not only memorable but beneficial for all of those involved. As the music soared behind the beauty being captured in front of the camera, I realized I was surrounded by passion, ambition and peace. Each individual there had a purpose and was using their resources to execute it to perfection. This was a dope event and I am eager to see how they expand with future events or a Speed Shooting 102 sequel. Make sure to follow their page for more or contact them directly for your creative needs. You can find some pictures from the event below.
All photography work done by Joshua Hagwood.
I tried my best. I had a vision in my head for what the next event would be, how it would feel to those performing or those attending and I tried to execute it perfectly. It was a dream, that remained in the forefront of my mind that I chased and tweaked so it could fit the mold and purpose of TGM.
My last two events which took place in Hoboken and New York were dominantly music showcases, a platform for local artists to perform in front of others for pure enjoyment. I wanted the artists’ hunger to take front stage, providing them the perfect outlet to express who they really are. #ViewsFromThaGrey was unique, as artists hit the stage, and artwork hung against the walls, I incorporated local vendors and/ or businesses who are doing something positive with their brand. You see, there are negative connotations about young African Americans, but through these events we are able to start to chip away at them. Ultimately I wanted to shed some light, well major light on young, black-owned businesses who are striving to do something for this community, for the underground.
And you all contributed to making the day beautiful.
So, I wanted to say thank you for coming out to thagreymatter‘s 3rd event at Loft 9 in New Brunswick this past weekend. It was very hot (trust me, I know) but also exhilarating to witness and be a part of. We rejoiced to words of wisdom from poets, we sang alongside a soulful R&B singer and we rapped the bars of some dope lyricists and rappers all for the love of art. We connected, we worked together, we built and are still building.
And I emphasize we because I am not alone; I couldn’t do anything without you all, so Ithank you!
Every year we celebrate our mothers the first week in May in an attempt to honor their work and dedication as they raise us and prepare us for the life ahead of us. New Jeru Native SiR.M00RE decides to show his appreciation for the mothers in his life through his latest song, “4momma”. He begins the song by recognizing different types of mothers and how they are the leading ladies in our lives. Even in one listen, you can feel the warmth and absolute love he has for not only the mothers in his life but for anyone has stepped up to the plate to be a mom. Featuring Jay Marv on the chorus, you have an opportunity to hear the melody from Tupac’s “Dear Mama”, which was incorporated flawlessly to be honest. Even though Mother’s Day has officially ended, you can and should play this song for your mom or the woman in your life who has contributed to your growth; it will be beautiful.
My exact thoughts I have had recently when I realized I wasn’t alone. The words traveled slowly through my ears as I listened to Monica’s latest album. It was good, but the ending took a different turn. The last song, “I Miss Music” discusses the greats in music and the way they have impacted her personally and musically:
“and the Fugees and Lauryn, I miss Kurt Cobain. I miss Stevie, I wonder would things be the same”.
She continues to list out the icons of music, the artists who are timeless when it comes to the culture. All of which, represent different eras and different sounds. I couldn’t help but feel fueled by this particular song as I approached TGM’s 1 year anniversary. It was a blaring wake-up call. Not to just reminisce but just to remember why it is I got into this game. At one point in my life, I ‘missed’ music so much that I chased it. I looked for the feeling it gives me in the wrong places, realizing music was it for me, it was everything. I was in love with it.
I realized my relationship with music is usually one that gives and takes but also inspires. It is hard and daunting and sometimes can even be disappointing, but never absent. I can depend on it, no matter the circumstance. I have always found myself in music, in the culture.
Thagreymatter has been my journey of finding fulfillment for myself but to ensure that those in this industry do the same. Its purpose was and still is to provide a dynamic platform for young adults with these god given talents that elsewhere, can’t shine. Over the last year, I have dedicated over a 100 pieces/ articles to document artists and their work. And along the way, I have somehow thrown two shows at the Paul Vincent Studios in New Jersey and at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.
So maybe I used to miss music. Maybe I used to really crave and miss this old sound, a certain era perhaps, but that feeling has since departed. I have found something else that gives me an even better feeling through thagreymatter. I have grown to love and adore the underground scene. The vibrant energy of each individual through a beat, through a memorable lyric or even through someone’s canvas. I have taken this new found love and turned it into something positive for myself, my peers and hopefully for this community.
I have pushed the boundaries of being just a writer or an event host, and I hope to continue to evolve well into 2016. I even had the opportunity to host TGM’s first Hip-Hop Cypher for some of Jersey’s most talented rappers and I was blown away with the work of each artist. 2016 is about doing more for myself but more for the culture of music for Jersey. I won’t always succeed, and I know I won’t always be great, but I will always try.
So to those who have watched me, who have inspired me and pushed me, I sincerely thank you. I thank you for your encouraging words that extinguished my internal fears. For every artist that I have wrote about, met, interviewed– thank you. I couldn’t have possibly executed this brand without your talent, dedication and work ethic to pursue your dream.
Here’s to #thagreymatter’s first year as a blog/ brand and so much more. Stay tuned as I continue this journey for Jersey, I promise, this is only the beginning.
Being inspired is rare for some, but it is beautiful when you can be inspired to do something so simple to evoke change for others. It takes the right organization, the insightful vision from the right person in order to inspire people to care about other individuals, especially those less fortunate than them. But Care More, a non-profit organization whose objective is to make the world a better place by caring for others through homeless outreach and other avenues, is inspiring everyone it touches. Founded by Brooklyn native Mercedes, the organization celebrated its one year anniversary this past weekend with a panel discussion, music showcase and homeless outreach tour. thagreymatter had a chance to attend the music showcase, Vibe For A Cause, Saturday night where the vibes were dope and the talented people were enticing.
The events of #CareMoreWeekend took place at the IMAGE Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. The wall space taken up by decorative art and dramatic pieces, allowed the space to transform into a creative platform for each artist. With free drinks and food alongside the entrance to the gallery, everyone seemed to enjoy the overall atmosphere.
The first artist to perform was a New Jeru Native that goes by Chesne. Her sultry and soft vocals cleared the room of chaotic noise, bringing everyone into a trance as they listened to her closer. Up next was R&B female group, Symplicity, who began their performance with an acapella version of SWV’s song, “Rain”. The crowd seemed to be drawn through their beautiful harmony, dynamic energy and synchronized choreography.
Other performers began hitting the stage such as Khamaal, Penny Shaw, and Ty Jack. The assorted selection of artists was perfect for providing different elements of music that each listener could enjoy. They were able to showcase their talents while also shedding light on the importance of caring more, the essence behind the entire organization. Then singer LeiLa Dey took the stage; her somber voice hit hard as she embodied the soul behind R&B.
The performances continued to transform the room and the energy heightened during SōULFULL’s performance. Hyping the crowd with his lyricism and potent energy was crucial as they transitioned into SiR.M00RE’s performance towards the end. He brought out other artists to perform alongside him, making it a perfect way to end such a beautiful event.
Vibe For A Cause was an outlet for many, a time and place where talent could rise to the occasion, but for a good cause. It isn’t easy for artists to do what they do, making the entire night special for those who performed and even those who remained in the audience. I could see how moved every attendee was based on their smiles, uproar and love for the music. So I applaud Care More for putting this together and for reminding me especially how important it is to love others and to simply CARE.
It is always beautiful to see artists focusing on their music but even more so when they take the time they do have to spread positivity. So it quickly warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face when I saw that Atlanta artist Maestro Riko was doing something different with his Free Hugs Tour. Traveling to different cities throughout the country to spread the word about who you are is hard enough, but he has decided to step out of his comfort zone and make sure that others take a moment or two to remember that spreading love and happiness goes a long way. He’s currently on the west coast but check out some coverage from where he’s been so far below!