Posts tagged with "creative process"

Fritz Michel "Look Out (Botticelli Girl)" artwork via Jon Bleicher at Prospect PR for use by 360 Magazine

Fritz Michel Q×A

Originally from France and currently based in New York City, Fritz Michel is a sensational, international star and storyteller. Michel has previously worked in film, television, and the stage, but is currently taking the music industry by storm. He recently released the highly anticipated single and music video for “Look Out (Botticelli Girl),” which can be viewed HERE. 360 Magazine spoke with Michel about his creative song writing process, the true meaning behind “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)”’s lyrics, and his upcoming debut EP release.

What has the reaction to the release of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” been like?

One really great thing to come out of the release of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” has been the opportunity to reconnect with artists that I have not had the chance to work with. I just shot a music video for the song in Oregon with a longtime filmmaking colleague. We used analog special effects, like puppets and slide projections, to create a visual story. I feel fortunate that my music is helping me tap into a whole new creative language. The streaming platforms allow you much more global reach as an artist. I’ve made personal connections with listeners and music writers all over the world over the past year, and that’s been amazing.

You’ve described “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” as a meditation and contemplation of amazing works of art and human history. Have any artists or pieces of art, besides Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus,’ inspired your music?

I look for musical inspiration everywhere. I borrowed the image of Ulysses lashed to the mast in Homer’s “The Odyssey” in my song “Stardust”. I use some snaky guitar steel there to speak of my homeward journey across the sprawl of Los Angeles from Hollywood to the PCH and beyond, while pining for my New York roots. 

What was the song writing process for “Look out (Botticelli Girl)” like?

“Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” came to me very fast after a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art one afternoon last fall, right after the museum had reopened. I find that the galleries calm me emotionally and transport me creatively. I thought about that tension between permanence and impermanence that I experience [while] looking at a great painting and standing in awe of the flow of history. I also thought about capturing little human moments in music [in] the [same] way a painting does. You see that in the verses. I also thought “Botticelli Girl” had a catchy ring to it and would make a good lyric!

How has the pandemic affected your music creation process?

I really started exploring songwriting out of necessity when the pandemic exploded and put the brakes on performing live with my bands. My world changed on a dime, and that prompted a lot of introspection along with observation. I spent a great deal of time alone in my NYC apartment with my guitar. Fortunately, I discovered the space to learn the basics of music production and found the motivation to reach farther with the process. That’s the been a silver lining to the disruption and tragedy of the last year.

In three words, how would you describe the sound of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)?”

Atmospheric, reflective, acoustic.

You are multi-talented artist, having shared your skills through music, film, TV, and the stage. Looking ahead, which of these creative avenues are you looking to focus on the most?

I’m very fortunate to have worked in music, film, TV, and stage. Music is a lot like putting on a play in my experience. You have to find or write a script and bring your own colors, sounds, and perspectives to the story. Rehearsal is required and technical elements need to come together. Then, you hope that somewhere there’s an audience that’s interested in what you have to say. Looking ahead, I plan to focus my creative process wherever I find willing collaborators and a game audience that’s open to the story. I’m making videos to go with my other releases (“Darker Now,” “Stardust,” and “King of Corona”).

I’m also thinking about writing a musical set in a family [of] architects with a longtime theater colleague, Oren Safdie. We collaborated closely on the premieres his trilogy of plays about architecture. One of my first acting gigs was performing in Oren’s spoof of “Fiddler on the Roof,” set in modern-day Montreal at La Mama, ETC on East 4th Street. So, in that way, I think I’ll be exploring all those avenues in the year ahead. 

What is something about you or the release of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” that fans may not guess or suspect?

I doubt many people who listen to my music would guess that I was born and spent my childhood in France. We’ve also talked about Botticelli a lot in this interview, but much of “Look Out” comes from personal reflection on my own history. Termini’s is an old Italian pastry shop we used to frequent in South Philadelphia. I lived in Tribeca during 9/11 when the towers fell. When I refer to cherubs, I was really thinking of my own daughters there, less than the ones in “Birth of Venus”! Someone might pick up on those details on a closer listen to the song.

Do you have any more releases to come in 2021 that you can tell us about?

I’m finishing up a couple so I can put out my first EP this fall. I want to get back to performing, too. So much of what I know about music, I learned playing bass in a jazz quartet– so I hope we get that going again. For me, music is a good way to tap into our need for bliss, storytelling, and myth in life. I think it’s all about that conversation and listening to one another.

Piso 21 illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Piso 21

“From Colombia to the world. I think we are in such a beautiful time that Colombia is shining for good reasons… Maluma, J Balvin, Karol G, Camilo, Greeicy, Us… it is an example of what we represent.”Lorduy

@Piso21 covers @360Magazine – exclusive interview at 7 PM EST
@dimpiso21 @pablopiso21 @profepiso21 @lorduypiso21

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Cravity Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

K-Pop Cravity × “Bad Habits” Release

K-POP GROUP, CRAVITY, RELEASE

PERFORMANCE VIDEO FOR BAD HABITS

OFF THEIR 3RD ALBUM, SEASON3. [HIDEOUT: BE OUR VOICE]

K-Pop boy band, CRAVITY, has released their highly anticipated performance video for “Bad Habits” today. The B-side track is off their 3rd album, SEASON3. [HIDEOUT: BE OUR VOICE], released earlier this year. With an ambitious drive to turn the year 2021 into CRAVITY’s, the members wasted no time speaking to places like Good Day New YorkiHeartET CanadaRadio.com, and many more, about their success thus far and the creative process behind the album.

“We shot the performance video for “Bad Habits” using many new techniques we haven’t tried before, for example, shooting with night vision or lip-syncing to a lower angle camera through a glass pane. The dance routine was really fun to perform and suits the mood of the song really well,” says Rapper Allen. The leader of the group, Serim, adds “We had a very short time to prepare for our B-side track promotion, but we’ve worked super hard to complete it in success.” 

The main theme for the performance video of “Bad Habits” is ‘Nocturnal,’ and viewers can see the members’ dynamic moves and performance on the night of the full moon. They’ve turned into bad boys with funky visuals and will draw full attention by showing more matured and developed skills. The song “Bad Habits” is meant to showcase a different side of the CRAVITY members with a more rough and tough persona. The lyrics tell a story of 9 members who will not collapse in this world but will clearly show their own way to survive through it. EXY from K-Pop Group Cosmic Girls (WJSN) participated as a lyricist on this track with underground trap beats. In addition, 3 CRAVITY members [Taeyoung, Allen, and Hyeongjun] participated in the draft version of the “Bad Habits” choreography, further showing their artistic abilities.

MORE INFO:

CRAVITY’s debut album, released in April 2020, SEASON1. [HIDEOUT: REMEMBER WHO WE ARE] caused a wave of intrigue and excitement here in the states, with mentions in PAPER MagazineAccessiHeartJ-14MTV NewsEarmilkTeen Vogueand Rolling Stonewho referred to their title track as “An anthemic track from the K-pop rookies that combines 808-style riffs with the melodic sensibilities of early-2000s boybands (extended dance break included).” In addition to that, CRAVITY made a splash on social media, debuting at No. 12 on Billboard’s Social 50 chart for the week dated April 25.

CRAVITY has also garnered the title “Super Rookie” over in Korea due to their debut album’s success, which hit No. 1 on the U.S. @iTunes Top K-Pop Albums chart, making them the first #Kpop rookie group to debut in 2020 to earn this achievement. CRAVITY has marked their relentless movement, sweeping the rookie of the year awards at various music awards ceremonies in Korea. Even after releasing only two albums, their achievements were more than enough to show their presence in the K-pop scene, giving them the title ‘2020 super rookie.’

The inspiration behind the name, CRAVITY, came to fruition through the combination of “Creativity” and “Gravity,” Starship Entertainment’s new boy band for the first time in five years since Monsta X. Consisting of nine members, [Serim, Allen, Jungmo, Woobin, Wonjin, Minhee, Hyeongjun, Taeyoung, and Seongmin], CRAVITY, which is also an acronym for “Center of Gravity,” is meant to attract/gravitate listeners into their unique universe, by pulling them in with their creativity, charm, and pure talent. As humans, we all have our own “first experiences,”; whether that be in school, society, or in a relationship. When encountering new relationships, we sometimes prepare ourselves by running from the starting line at full speed, hearts racing, butterflies in our stomach, but at the same time, we are afraid. We are hopeful, but we also experience despair.

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William Anthony Allen – Harlem’s Renaissance

By Abigail Baldwin × Vaughn Lowery

Earlier this month, 360 had the opportunity to sit down with the award-winning community activist William Anthony Allen. After many years of serving Harlem as a community leader and on its District Council, Allen is exploring the possibility of running for City Council serving the 9th District.

Harlem has long been a beacon of Black culture, community, and heritage since the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, the Harlem that William Anthony Allen knew was one of unity, familiarity, and freedom. According to Allen, “Crack cocaine came and killed all that. It stopped people from going to the community. It created mistrust. It changed how people participated politically and how they saw themselves. A great number of the working class and middle class of Harlem began to look at other options.” Allen describes his childhood in Harlem as poor but centered in the community, “people were so loving like they were aunts and uncles, but they really were not a blood relationship. The way they treated you, felt like family.” He watched as crack cocaine and the crisis that followed attack the infrastructure of Harlem and divided its community, giving way to gentrification. “Black people don’t own the businesses in their own neighborhood anymore and young people say that can’t afford to come back to Harlem,” he says. Allen has completed housing and community development efforts in New York, as well as health care and social services proposals on a local, state and federal level. His efforts have always been lead by a desire to uplift the community and uphold the “great legacy” of Harlem, “particularly for African Americans.”

But what are his plans? How does Allen intend to use his experience in the community to serve them at a City Council level? He told 360 he would begin by “sitting down with parent leaders, senior citizen leaders, youth leaders, and really talk about mapping it out in terms of how do they see the future of this community, what do they want from it, and make that the blueprint.” He calls for the people of Harlem to define their own community and make their own decisions, with himself as a representative of their interests. “I’m going to be fighting very hard to address the housing inequities and disparities, helping to lower the cost of housing,” he told 360, “making sure that folks that really want to make a contribution to the life of this city can afford to be here.”

Allen lamented that a particular program that had been around for nearly fifty years, the Addicts Rehabilitation Center (ARC), has closed; “without those services, gentrification moves us all out.” Allen is fighting to get these programs reestablished, but he specifies that black and brown people should be running these programs for the community, “I want to make sure that the people that are running the program are culturally correct.”

In his youth, William Anthony Allen attended Fordham University in the Bronx where he was the first non-white person to serve as Vice President of the Student Council. Later, he transferred to CUNY where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. Now, he is the founding member of a local charter elementary school. He recognizes that education is of the utmost importance. In the City Council, Allen plans to create a network through Historically Black Colleges. “We need to make learning and knowledge sexy,” he says, so everyone, regardless of their circumstance can step up and participate in the betterment of their community.” Of his current efforts, he says, “I’m organizing a network of black influencers to address crisis issues that affect black people across the country.” These crisis issues include police relations, employment discrimination, gentrification, and inadequate schools.

For himself, Allen’s goal is, “to be known as the guy who brings everybody together to have dialogue and then create action.” He says to not only the Black community, but to the youth of Harlem and the LGBTQ+ community, “Tell me how I can support you to have a strong voice.”

“Harlem represents a great legacy, particularly for African Americans. And our entry, not only here into the city but what we have done for the nation,” says Allen, “We need to leverage that.”

Check out his latest article inside New York County Politics.

William Allen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery, Harlem, protests

Harlem Democratic District Leader William Allen encourages others to take a knee during a march in honor of George Floyd. Black men march through Harlem, pick up hundreds of others along the way to insure justice by claiming power.