Posts tagged with "poetry"

Lady London headshot press photo via Steph Paul for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Lady London – Lady Like: The Boss Tape

Trinidadian/ Jamaican American artist Lady London released her “Lady Like: The Boss Tape;” a series of her most acclaimed freestyles since she surfaced in the rap scene in 2018.

The New Jersey/ New York artist possesses a wide range of talents, from being a rapper, songwriter, poet, published author and educated woman, there’s not much that she cannot do. Her music reflects her drive, and “Lady Like: The Boss Tape” highlights all the best parts of her music.

This compilation of freestyles showcases London’s talent of freestyling, which gained her praise on social media. In her tracks, London remixes some iconic Hip Hop tracks and gives them her own flare. Featured tracks include “Lisa Story” ft. Dub Aura that samples “Get Me Home” by Foxy Brown and “Long Live Shamello” that remixes Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See.” Check out the full tracklist below.

The popularity of London’s freestyles has gained widespread attention, earning herself co-signs from Cardi B, Nas, Timbaland and so many more. Sitting at 618k followers on Instagram, London has established a loyal fanbase that has supported her music through the years. Lady London continues to elevate the rap scene, and last year she released two standout singles; “Money Over” and “Never,” which is her most personal record to date.

Lady London is one artist that you will want to keep on your radar as we dive into 2022.

About Lady London

New Jersey-born and Los-Angeles based rapper Lady London is known for her rhythmic lyricism. While her mother was Jamaican and Father Trinidadian, her childhood was divided between East Orange, New Jersey and the Bronx, New York. Hip hop culture has been an integral part of her life, as her uncle was Chino XL, and she grew up inspired by artists like JAY-Z, Lil Kim and Whitney Houston. In college, London was on a pre-med path, but still expressed her love for the arts while putting on successful poetry shows. In 2018, she posted one of her poetry videos online, and the video went viral with 8-million plus views. After London obtained her Master of Science from Keck School of Medicine at USC, she also was accepted into the school’s medical program.

Ultimately, London put her dream of medical school in the past to chase her dream of music. She talks about the decision, stating, “everything changed, I figured I could always go back to school. Convincing my West Indian family was very interesting. They didn’t understand why I was willing to give up everything I had been working towards. I knew I had to do music, though. You can’t run from destiny.”

Moreover, London’s career has taken off since 2018. This artist has generated millions of views online with her own original music. Her single released in 2021, “Money Over,” accumulated 500,000-plus views on YouTube as the one and only Cardi B described London as “the most slept on” to social media. London serves as a SAVAGE ambassador for Rihanna’s FENTY. Giving a performance in support of Black Lives Matter at the BET Awards, London caught the attention of many, eventually becoming co-signed by Diddy and Revolt TV.

“There are multiple levels to me,” Lady London clarifies. “I’m not one-dimensional. I really take my craft seriously. I consider rap to be an artform—not a trend. I’ve studied cadences, timing, breath control, double and triple entendres, and syllables. It almost breaks down to an exact science. I pay attention to verbiage, semantics, and diction. I’m a connoisseur of rhythmical composition in its purest form. I’m just a boss.”

Lady London continues to prove herself in the rap world as a force to be reckoned with.

Lady Like: The Boss Tape Tracklist

  1. Viral
  2. Long Live Shamello
  3. Yikes
  4. Lemon Pepper, Wet
  5. Lady What, Lady Who?
  6. All I See
  7. Black Love
  8. Buss It/Ski
  9. Welcome To The Party
  10. You’re Still Mine ft. Makaela
  11. Reciprocity
  12. Girl Like Me
  13. Lisa’s Story ft. Dub Aura
Mike Mattison via Kailey Wolcott for use by 360 Magazine

POETIC SONG VERSE: Blues Based Popular Music and Poetry

While accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, Bob Dylan quoted The Odyssey: “Sing in me, muse, and through me tell the story.” In their new book, POETIC SONG VERSE: Blues Based Popular Music and Poetry (University Press of Mississippi, November 9, 2021), renowned musician Mike Mattison and literary historian and beloved Catholic University professor Ernest Suarez offer an enlightening look at the artform that artists like Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Gil Scott-Heron, Lucinda Williams and others used to tell their stories. Mattison and Suarez lay out the contours of what they see as a unique literary genre they dub ‘poetic song verse.’ This form was inspired by blues music and poetry, nurtured in the beat coffee houses of the 50’s and 60’s, and fully bloomed as it cross-pollinated with rock and roll. It goes far beyond the borders of popular entertainment, using voice, instrumentation, arrangement, and production to highlight evocative lyrics that resemble poetry. 

Synthesizing a wide range of writing and thinking, as well as their own experiences, (Mattison is a vocalist and songwriter for the Grammy-Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band; he wrote hits like “Midnight in Harlem,” “Bound for Glory”), the authors train a powerful lens on some of the most well-known songs of the 20th and 21st centuries. By demonstrating how the blues and poetry came together to birth a whole new genre of artistic expression, they shift the thinking on how we categorize lyrics—as literature, as music, or as a combined, innovative, new art form.

Q&A W/ Mike Mattison × Ernest Suarez 

What is poetic song verse, and how has studying and writing about it changed your appreciation of the artists who practice it?

We use the term “poetic” to describe lyrics that have literary intent and that consciously strive for aesthetic impact: linguistically rich compositions that operate on many levels simultaneously, incorporating image, metaphor, narrative, and play in ways that often deliberately correlate to broader cultural conversations. We’re talking about lyrics that seek to transcend the grasp-and-release mechanism of pure entertainment, lyrics that prick our curiosity and invite repeated visits and renewed scrutiny. Poetic song verse isn’t poetry set to music, like the Beats’ poetry with jazz accompaniment, but it sometimes takes a hybrid form in recordings like Gil Scott-Heron’s or Leonard Cohen’s. The distinction we draw rests on the symbiotic relationship that most often occurs when potent lyrics and sonics are developed together. By “sonics” we mean every aural dimension of song, including voice, instrumentation, arrangement, and production. In poetic song verse, sonics combine with verbal techniques often associated with poetry—imagery, line breaks, wordplay, point of view, character, story, tone, and other qualities—to create a semantically and emotionally textured dynamic.

The book argues that artists like Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Jimi Hendrix were transformative in the development of poetic song verse, but there were allusions and poetic phrasing in lyrics long before them. What did they do that wasn’t being done previously?

Songs from many periods and in different styles contain compelling verse, but in the late fifties and the sixties blues-based popular music and the new American poetry—especially the work of the Beats—came into close contact, resulting in a concentration of songwriters who transformed songwriting from entertainment to art-that-entertains. 

Poetic song verse sprung from a confluence of the blues and contemporary poetry.  Both forms emphasize the sound of the human voice.  Poetry’s turn toward more accessible language and the blues’ origins in the sound of the human voice helped rock absorb poetic language and techniques, and provided a catalyst for Dylan and others to change rock into a more lyrically and sonically sophisticated art form. Think about it this way: If you were a reasonably intellectual young musician who had been turned on to the blues, traditional metrical verse, or high modernist poetry such as T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, this might provide an idea of how to use allusions in a song, or provide strategies for intermingling certain types of imagery (as in some of Dylan’s, Van Morrison’s, and Joni Mitchell’s verse). But the language in most traditional and modern poetry tends to be very different from the type of language that characterizes blues-based popular music. However, when that same blues-enthralled young musician heard Howlin’ Wolf or Willie Dixon and read and heard Beat and other contemporary poets, he or she was exposed to rich, sophisticated language based on rhythms of speech (i.e., material that could serve as a powerful source for lyrics). With different twists and turns this essentially was the case for Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jim Morrison, and many others.  By examining the confluence of blues and poetry in various artists’ work, and by considering the creative practices of various seminal artists and the cultural conditions and landscapes in which they worked, we identify a relatively specific subgenre of song that’s also a form of literature.

What role did the coffee houses of the 50’s play in creating this genre? What does instrumentation add to the artform?

In the late fifties and the sixties Beat coffee houses, bookstores, and nightclubs sprang up across the United States and spread to Western Europe. Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, and others embraced the blues and Beat coffeehouse culture, where they encountered contemporary poetry, rural blues, and folk music.  After putting rock ’n’ roll of their youth aside for a handful of years, many sixties songwriters returned to the rebellious rhythms of fifties rock ’n’ roll and wedded it with verse inspired by contemporary poetry. In the mid-sixties Dylan’s rock ’n’ roll–Beat poet persona strengthened his already active sense of the possibilities between poetry and music and led to Bringing It All Back Home (1965), Highway 61 Revisited (1965), and Blonde on Blonde (1966), albums that ignited an explosion of poetic song verse. Instead of portraying themselves as the descendants of Woody Guthrie, Bukka White, and Pete Seeger, artists returned to the theatrics of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis but retained the cerebral, self-consciously artistic emphasis that characterized songs and poetry in Beat coffeehouses. This combination released Dylan and others from songwriting conventions that ranged from the length of individual songs to how albums were conceptualized, recorded, and produced. In essence, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Doors, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, the Kinks, and others followed Dylan’s lead and expanded fifties rock ’n’ rollers’ sounds and emphasis on performance, assuming often extravagant yet artistically resonant personae that resulted in songs and albums replete with ambitious wordplay and sonic arrangements.

Is poetic song verse a uniquely American invention? How did America’s history of slavery, Jim Crow, war, and sexism affect its creation?

Poetic song verse sprung from a confluence of the blues—a quintessential American art form—and various types of contemporary poetry that developed in the United States.  That said, artists around the world quickly started to write songs in this mode, largely due to blues artists’ popularity in England and other countries, and to Dylan’s influence on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and others.

The history of slavery had a profound influence on the blues, which grew out of nineteenth-century spirituals and work songs, much like those styles grew out of various African musical traditions.  Nineteenth century work songs and blues songs written during the era of Jim Crow often contained “coded” lyrics that indirectly commented on topics that would have raised the ire of their oppressors.  This practice melded with techniques employed by contemporary poets in the work of songwriters from Dylan to Joni Mitchell to Marvin Gaye to Bruce Springsteen to Grandmaster Flash to Lucinda Williams.

The War in Vietnam also had a strong influence on many songwriters.  They often combined surrealistic imagery that they encountered in contemporary poetry with imagery from various African and Western metaphysical traditions.  This combination led to songs like the Stones’s “Gimme Shelter.”

What artists do you see as the contemporary and future upholders of this new tradition? 

Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Kendrick Lamar, Norah Jones, Dave Grohl, Fiona Apple, Lorde, Aimee Mann, Fantastic Negrito, Josh Ritter, Lyle Lovett, Luther Dickinson, Jason Isbell.

Lola Young after midnight cover, from MacKenzie Reynolds, Capitol Records, for use by 360 Magazine

LOLA YOUNG’S NEW EP – AFTER MIDNIGHT

British star on-the-rise Lola Young’s brand-new EP, After Midnight, is out now on Capitol Records. Listen here. The four-track EP is accompanied by an official music video for the track “Bad Game,” which can be viewed here.

Previously sharing tracks “Blue” and “Pill or a Lullaby,” Young releases After Midnight in full today, showing herself at her most open and honest. The record tells the story of one night in Young’s life, tracing the hours between midnight and 5 a.m. Young moves from feeling confident and in control to gradually becoming more vulnerable and, eventually, entering a manic state of mind.

The EP is coupled with a beautifully shot short film due out imminently. Directed by Dumas Haddad, it features Young and a love interest, as well as spoken word accompaniment written for the film by the poet Thea Gajik. The film is set in an apartment at different stages of the night, showing her in varying mental states and winding its way through the story of the EP; with Young leaving nothing on the table.

Describing the EP, Lola Young says, “My thoughts, my worries, my past lovers and my present ones too, my guilt, my fears, my dreams, wishes and all the crazy ass thoughts I have when the sun rises and I can’t sleep for shit. After midnight. The truest form of me.”

Last month, she played a sold-out show at Camden Assembly in London. Young will perform at numerous summer festivals and tour the U.K. with Dermot Kennedy in September. View itinerary here.

Hailed as “a star on the rise” by ELLE UK, the 20-year-old artist is fiercely independent and uncompromising. As a live performer she is uncompromising – clearly showing the potential, spirit and individuality that makes her one of the UK’s most exciting new talents. Her work to date – the personal and powerful singles “Bad Tattoo,” “Ruin My Make Up” and “Woman,” her debut collection of tracks, Intro, and second release, the Renaissance EP – received support across the board from the likes of Billboard, Atwood Magazine, Wonderland, British Vogue, British GQ and CLASH Magazine.

After Midnight Tracklist:

  1. After Midnight (1AM)
  2. Blue (2AM)
  3. Bad Game (3AM)
  4. Pill or a Lullaby (4AM till sunrise)
image from Linda Carbone for use by 360 Magazine

TIBET HOUSE — ALLEN GINSBERG × GELEK RIMPOCHE EXHIBIT

Tibet House US Presents Transforming Minds: Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche & Friends

Exhibition Celebrates Rimpoche and Allen Ginsberg’s Relationship Through the Lens of Ginsberg’s Camera

Tibet House US is delighted to partner with The Allen Ginsberg Estate and Jewel Heart International on an exhibition of unique images by the celebrated visionary and poet Allen Ginsberg. The special exhibit will be on display at the Tibet House Gallery (22 West 15th Street, New York, NY) from September 21-December 12, 2021 with more details and special events to be announced in the coming weeks.

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), best known as one of the most influential poets of the 20th Century, is also recognized for his photography, intimately capturing friendships from the birth of the Beat Generation through the countercultural, cultural, and literary circles he helped inspire. Ginsberg’s lifelong spiritual quest, beginning early on with visionary experiences involving the 19th century English mystic and poet, William Blake, ultimately evolved into a deep commitment to and practice of Tibetan Buddhism in the final decades of his life.

Gelek Rimpoche (1938-2017) was one of the last Tibetan Buddhist lamas educated in Tibet and is considered to be one of the great Tibetan Buddhist teachers of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He fled Tibet in 1959, and in the late 1970s began teaching Westerners in Northern India. By the late 1980s he had moved to the United States, and in 1988 established Jewel Heart here, having already opened Jewel Heart centers in Europe and in Asia. He remains particularly known for his thorough knowledge of English, his familiarity with modern culture, and his effectiveness in teaching Westerners Tibetan Buddhism.

In 1989, Allen Ginsberg’s close friend, Philip Glass, a student of Rimpoche, brought Ginsberg to Michigan to perform a benefit concert for Jewel Heart. From that first meeting and until Ginsberg’s death in 1997, Rimpoche was his Tibetan Buddhist teacher and friend. Ginsberg, was also, in many ways, Rimpoche’s teacher—a consultant in matters involving the English language and the more puzzling facts of Western culture. The two formed an indissoluble bond.

Allen Ginsberg used his friends, peers and teachers as subjects in many of his photographic images highlighting and documenting his life as he did in this exhibit, focusing on his life with Gelek Rimpoche and friends, many of whom they shared. Images in the show include the Dalai Lama, Philip Glass, Patti Smith, Francesco Clemente, Robert Thurman and others, and exemplify the transformational nature of this time in US history.

The exhibition is a partnership between Tibet House U.S., The Allen Ginsberg Estate and Jewel Heart, and was curated by Peter Hale and Ben Paljor Chatag.

Timed entry tickets are available now. Please email sonam@tibethouse.us for reservations. Estate prints and copies will also be available for sale, and the exhibition will be viewable online HERE.

ABOUT TIBET HOUSE US:

Tibet House US is a non-profit educational institution and cultural embassy founded in 1987 at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama working to promote and preserve Tibet’s unique cultural and spiritual heritage. Tibet House US serves to expose and share this unique civilization through innovative educational and cultural programs and events for the general public, providing inspiration for others to join the effort to protect these treasured arts, sciences, and ways of living.

LFREAQ x Lissyelle single artwork by Anna Azarov from Leigh Greaney, Big Hassle Media for use by 360 Magazine

L’FREAQ shreds her puppet strings – Gimmick

“Fans of FKA Twigs and Banks would be remiss not to check out synth-pop enchantress L’Freaq” -Billboard

L’FREAQ’s blend of gothic sensibilities and sultry soulfulness manages to continually hit the marks of bona de pop bangers.” -Nylon

L’FREAQ has a sexy, neo-goth, synth pop sound.” -Bust

“world-building music… colossal” -Refinery29

Today, LA-based dark-synth pop artist, L’FREAQ, shares a music video for her latest single “Gimmick,” the debut single from the forthcoming release and sophomore EP, Showgirl, due out on August 27, 2021 via Position Music. The first visual from the upcoming release is absolutely stacked with metaphor, all-star fashion, witchy vibes and an important message about the role media plays with children – especially young women. From puppet to powerhouse, L’FREAQ breaks free of the monotony and shreds through the brainwashed stereotypes, as she literally shreds on a guitar.

Describing the video, L’FREAQ says, “While the song is about my experience on a singing show and the judge who made me doubt myself, I wanted the video to have a bit of a darker message. My director and I, Shepherd Flashman Lowrey, came up with the idea to have a little girl watching me on a growing TV screen, a symbol for how the media consumes and controls us. I came up with the puppet master idea to go along with it, showing that what we see on our screens is not always what is happening in reality.”

The new track embodies the theme of resiliency in a time of self-doubt. “Gimmick” combines heart-pounding beats with passionate lyrics about believing in the power that everyone inherently owns and nobody else can take away, while and emphasizing L’FREAQ’s expansive “robust range” (Refinery29).

Describing the song L’FREAQ says, “After a grueling audition for a singing show in late 2019, I felt incredibly disempowered. One of the judges called me “gimmicky” and I felt as if my career had ended. What I didn’t realize was that this one person, one show, and one opportunity just wasn’t the right fit for me. After months struggling with mental health, I wrote this song as a way for me to empower myself and others, and a tongue in cheek diss to the judge that made me doubt my power.”

Having recently performed for Backline’s “Set Break” live stream alongside Alanis Morissette, Tom Morello, Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and more to raise funds and awareness for mental health services to be distributed to music industry for free, L’FREAQ has been a champion for her community. This song is another chapter of that consistent commitment to rise up and bring people with her.

L’FREAQ, continues to remain an open book of emotions for fans as she lays out her own experience with rejection and struggles with mental health. L’FREAQ belts, “Got the courage to be vulnerable, got the guts to wear the crown, cause I dare to bare it all, I refuse to water down,” as a testament of truthfulness and self-confidence even when it’s hard. Intimacy on this level allows L’FREAQ to push the storyline forward when it comes to believing in dreams as a reality, especially in the face of adversity. NYLON says, “Look at L’FREAQ, draped in jewels and Cleopatra-esque eye makeup; then look a little harder. Behind the artifice, integrity abounds.”

L’FREAQ is all about being inclusive, and she is outspoken when it comes to defending the underdog. As an ally of everyone on the spectrum of gender and sexuality, bullies, racists and sexists are not allowed in L’FREAQ’s kingdom. She also shows her love for those closest to her, by highlighting their work: namely her fashion photographer mom, Kelly Cappelli (as seen in Vogue), who does all the photography and artwork for L’FREAQ.

The new release follows L’FREAQ’s debut EP, Weird Awakenings, which played with themes of self-discovery, as well as her 2021 single “Make Me Move.” Armed with a full book of poetry, L’FREAQ took pieces of her work and composed songs with Mike Irish, who also produced and mixed the EP at Shifted Recording Studios. The EP was mastered by Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis London Music. They took their time in discovering a sound that felt genuine, one that explored all the raw places she had been longing to find. Together, they created a modern amalgamation of L’FREAQ’s dark, thoughtful poetry and her raw musical instincts, which inevitably alchemized into songs that are all at once aggressive, sensual and moving.

Having shared a stage with ABBA, India.Arie and Jakob Dylan, it’s important to note her live performance prowess, even without tour dates on the books (speaking of longing). L’FREAQ played a packed NYC performance debut at SoHo House, and channeled Britney Spears (especially during her ferocious “Toxic” cover”), Nick Cave and Beats Antique vibes. The Deli Magazine later dubbed her “NYC’s Favorite Emerging Artist.”

With over 500k streams, 240K plays on YouTube, and songs featured in “Riverdale,” Playboy, Netflix’s “Dating Around, “Good Trouble,” “FBI,” “The Voice,” “City on a Hill” and more – all born from her 5-song debut EP, it’s safe to say this follow-up EP is highly anticipated. Stay tuned for more visual components to follow, along with brand new singles. Showgirl is on the way.

Track listing: SHOWGIRL EP

  1. Gimmick
  2. Showgirl
  3. Take You Down
  4. LOUD
  5. Nothing on Me

Previous Releases By L’FREAQ:

Listen To “Make Me Move”: Here

Watch “New Skin”: Here

Listen To Weird Awakenings Ep: Here

Watch “Weird Awakenings” Video: Here

Watch “Moonlight” Video: Here

About L’FREAQ:

L’FREAQ is the alias of Brooklyn and LA-based singer/songwriter Lea Cappelli, who crafts songs inspired by pop and R&B but with a biting edge. Some highlights of her career include performing privately for Muhammad Ali, sharing the stage with Jakob Dylan, and performing with Grammy-winning artist India.Arie.

L’FREAQ released her EP, Weird Awakenings, to critical acclaim in October 2018 and was voted one of NYLON’s 20 Best Releases. The EP has also garnered radio play and enthusiastic reviews in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. Her second music video was premiered by Billboard while her most recent music video, “New Skin,” was released exclusively through NYLON which noted “integrity abounds” throughout.

Playboy recently used the title track “Weird Awakenings” in its groundbreaking video of actor Ezra Miller, while another song from the EP, “I’ve Become a Thief” has been featured in the trailer for the CW’s hit show “Riverdale.” L’FREAQ was recently voted “NYC’s Favorite Emerging Artist” in an open poll sponsored by The Deli Magazine, and can be seen this fall on her upcoming west coast tour in support of the Weird Awakenings EP.

Stay Connected with L’FREAQ:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Spotify

Woman at computer illustration by Mina Tocalini

Kelsea Ballerini Announces Poetry Collection

Two-time GRAMMY Award-nominated multiplatinum songwriter, producer and ACM Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Kelsea Ballerini announces her debut poetry collection, Feel Your Way Through, available at retailers and online on November 16, 2021. It will be published as a Ballantine Hardcover by Ballantine an imprint of Random House. The collection is available for pre-order now HERE. The jacket image, painted by Kelsea, was also revealed and can be downloaded HERE.

A born storyteller, lyricist, and wordsmith, Ballerini applies the keen intuition, delicate introspection, and raw honesty that turned her into a superstar to this candid collection of poems. She opens up about everything from family dynamics, relationships, and body image to confidence, self-love, sexuality, and the lessons of youth she’s picked up along the way. As always, she speaks straight from the heart.

About Feel Your Way Through, she shared, “I’ve realized that some feelings can’t be turned into a song, so I’ve started writing poems. Just like my songs, they talk about what it’s like to be twenty-something trying to navigate a wildly beautiful and broken world.”

It continues a prolific year for Ballerini. She recently teamed up with US alt-pop trio LANY for “I QUIT DRINKING.” The song has quickly amassed over 11 million streams in its first 2 weeks of availability and shot to #2 on the iTunes pop songs chart upon release. Inciting critical applause, People described the debut CMT Awards performance as “swept up in a storm of emotion” (see the performance HERE).

Ballerini’s current single at country radio, “half of my hometown (feat. Kenny Chesney)” has more than 47-Million world-wide streams to date and had its television performance debut on the Academy of Country Music Awards (click HERE). Kelsea recently shared the music video, which is an ode to her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.

As announced earlier this month, Ballerini is joining the Jonas Brothers on The Remember This Tour later this summer. For additional information and tour dates, please visit kelseaballerini.com.

TT The Artist illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

TT the Artist × Netflix

TT THE ARTIST’S GROUNDBREAKING DOCUMENTARY

“DARK CITY BENEATH THE BEAT “

LANDS AT NETFLIX

Tedra Wilson A.K.A. TT The Artist Directorial Debut Produced by ColorCreative

Netflix has licensed multi-hyphenate director, Tedra Wilson a.k.a. TT The Artist’s, critically acclaimed debut documentary musical, DARK CITY BENEATH THE BEAT.  Winner of the Bushwick Film Festival for Best Feature Documentary 2020, the doc takes you on a journey about the rising Baltimore club music and dance culture.

The film is an audiovisual experience that defines the soundscape of Baltimore city. Inspired by an all-original Baltimore club music soundtrack, the film spotlights local club artists, DJs, dancers, producers, and Baltimore’s budding creative community as they are realizing their life dreams. Rhythmic and raw, these stories illustrate the unique characteristics of the city’s landscape and social climate to its creative LGBTQ community and showcases Baltimore club music as a positive subculture in a city overshadowed by trauma, drugs, and violence. 

The film is a noted love letter to Baltimore that uplifts the narrative of the city and is produced by Issa Rae and Deniese Davis through their management production company ColorCreative. In addition to the Netflix premiere, TT will also be dropping its soundtrack through Issa Rae’s Raedio

The soundtrack, titled, Dark City Beneath The Beat Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is a fusion of Baltimore club music intermixed with poetry, hip hop, house, and soul. Executive produced by TT The Artist and Baltimore club music hero Mighty Mark, the eighteen track project features local artists on the rise from the “Charm City.”  The soundtrack is available on all digital streaming music platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal among others. The documentary feature will premiere on Netflix April 15, 2021.  

About TT The Artist:

TT The Artist is a multi-hyphenate filmmaker whose work is an intersection of music, art, fashion, and film. Her bold and colorful visual storytelling is influenced by her love for black cinema and narratives that expand the representation of women of color and LGBTQ stories on screen. TT The Artist has worked with influential DJs and producers in the music industry such as Grammy award winning producer Diplo. TT The Artist’s musical success in the television and the film sync world has secured her placements on The Chi, Twenties, Netflix’s Nappily Ever After, HBO’s hit series Insecure, and more. Stepping out of the recording studio and into the director’s chair, TT The Artist was selected as a shadow director for Insecure’ s highly anticipated season 4. TT has directed many of her own videos such as CENTER OF ATTENTIONPAYROLLBLACK HERSTORY, and WOAH. TT The Artist is also a participant in Powderkeg’s 2020 FUSE Program, founded by Paul Feig. Most recently, TT shot WHEW CHILE for Dai Burger, which debuted on Paper Magazine.

TT The Artist is represented by ColorCreative management and the law firm of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.

Tedra Wilson a.k.a. TT The Artist

QxA with Akeem Mair

This holiday season, actor Akeem Mair took the time to speak with 360 Magazine about his craft, his inspirations, how his career has been impacted by COVID-19, and more. Movie star Akeem Mair is the entertainment industry’s up-and-coming icon. In his career as an artist, he has appeared in several movie productions including All About Money, A Wonderful World, Limbo, Life of a Villain, Red, Fine Line, Silent Love, The Kidnap, etc. He’s worked with many production companies, including the Columbia College of Hollywood Production.

Akeem has signed with two agencies: Commercial Talent Agency (under Sarah Angeli) and Minc Talent (under Mariko Ballentine). At 32, Akeem is in his prime. With his noteworthy work ethic and passion, he is destined for greater heights. In fact, he has over 5 million views for a single video alone – the time when he appeared for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which Ellen described as “the best episode she’s ever seen.”

Besides this feature with 360 Magazine, Akeem appears in many publications such as NY Wire’s Top 25 Individuals, US Reporter’s Top 15 Entrepreneurs, LA Wire’s Top 20 IG Accounts to Follow in 2020, and many more. Read on to hear 360’s interview with Akeem below.

What do you love most about being an actor?

I found a strong love of being in front of the camera with everybody watching. It’s like my escape from my own reality, which is refreshing to me. I get the opportunity to pour myself into different characters and experience that person’s life. How they see the world and how different their life experiences are from mines. I love to learn how they think, how they would react in certain situations, the way they talk and walk, the way they dress, etc. Then, you can take what you learn from playing that character and use it to make your own life more complete. Meaning if you like how that character approaches life, then copy and apply it. At first the camera scared me – I’m not gonna lie. But a director once told me that the fear I show in front of the camera robs the audience of their entertainment. Once I broke out of that, my understanding of my own craft changed. Acting is my life!

Did you always wanted to be an actor, or did you have other ambitions?

Actually, believe it or not, I wanted to be a financial banker. I watched Michael Douglas in the film called, “The Game,” and became hooked after that. I saw the 2000 BMW 740 I, the designer suits, the excitement of winning their clients’ money in the office, the personal maid that lives at his house, and I always loved crunching numbers in a calculator. But as I was working at Ralph’s grocery store when a loyal customer ending up changing my whole life. I was a cashier, and she came into my line with a sad demeanor. I could tell something was troubling her, so I tried to brighten up her day with my personality. I said “Hi, it’s good to see you again, did you find everything ok?” She said softly, “Yes I did, thank you!” I said, “Usually I see you smiling, but whatever you’re going through I know God will not give you more than you can handle! He has something better for you!” After the transaction I said, “Have a Blessed day! I hope to see you again soon.” Immediately she paused and finally looked up at me for the first time and I could tell she had been crying. She asked me, “Are you an actor?” I said, “No. Why do you ask?” She said, “Because your energy is filled with so much positive energy. You move people by it. You lifted up my spirits after I just lost my house in a foreclosure. Thank you!” Her reply shocked me. After she left, I went home that day and wondered, What would my life look like if I was a successful actor? I thought about how I would be able to help my family so much more and how I can infect millions of people with the same positive energy. That night, I searched ‘how to become an actor’ and it said most start as an extra on a movie set. The next day I reached out to Central Casting in Burbank for their free introduction and here I am today! I am more than satisfied and really love what I do!

How has COVID-19 impacted your industry?

My industry has changed a lot! At first, the acting classes I would attend would be at different acting studios across Los Angeles and held in person. Same as the auditions I would get. And I would have to deal with sitting in the heavy traffic, busy freeways, hoping to get to where I need to on time. Now it’s crazy to think everything is happening on my iPhone 11 Pro! My auditions are either through Zoom or I would have to submit a self-tape that would record off of my phone’s camera and be edited in the iMovie feature. All of my classes have been online through Zoom. So, the coaches now email you a link to jump on when class starts. The biggest issue now is not the heavy traffic, it’s the internet connection. If you have bad WiFi, it easily destroys your Zoom live audition and costs you the job. So, it is extremely important now to have amazing WiFi connection.

Do you have other passions besides acting?

I love writing poetry; it really soothes my soul. I like to write out all the emotions and experiences I go through like in poems and lyrics. 2pac was the one who really inspired me to use my pen as an outlet.

I appreciate Vaughn and 360 Magazine

For allowing me to tell my story

It was a journey to chase my dreams

And stayed away from things ain’t for me

I would sit in the movie theaters

And picture myself reaching glory

I knew could take care of my family

If I stop feeling sorry

By working hard building my legacy

It creates an attraction

Sending me blessings of opportunities

I would of never would of imagine

I had to escape from my reality

By following my passions

I can’t be worried about anybody else

I constantly take action

When I’m finished grinding everyday

I die as a legend

What is the biggest life lesson you learned?

You have to decide to go after your dreams because that’s what you want to do. There’s going to be so many people in your ear telling you different things and most of the time, it’s family because they want to protect you from failing. The only problem about that is it takes you away from doing what you love and moves you closer to a life of regret. So, take your time and really think about your dreams and how you want your life to be. Take out a piece of paper and write what you want out of life. I am an actor today because it’s my dream. I wrote it down, I proclaimed it in front of the mirror, and I tell my friends and family all the time what my dreams are and that I am going to achieve them.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is balancing my money and time. Because let me tell you, I’ve invested a lot of money to strive as an actor. Dreams come with lots of sacrifices. This is the one side of dreams that is not so glamorous. I can’t watch television when I get home because I have to practice, do auditions, or attend classes. Before I can even think about buying the latest technology, clothes, or shoes, I would have to also think about classes, camera equipment, printing, headshots, costumes, etc. You have to be willing at any moment to sacrifice for your dreams and it’s the hardest part. I’m giving up sleep most days because I’m so busy, but I love it!!

Who are the people who are your biggest influences and why?

Tupac Shakur, Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy are my biggest influences. Everyone knows why Eddie Murphy is so big of an inspiration to me. It’s how I got my name! His character, Akeem, from Coming to America made my parents fall in love with the name due to his performance. As I’m older now and have watched it for myself, it’s crazy so much of my personality has rubbed off of him and into me. He possesses a sense of humor and radiates authority, yet he remains humble, practices kindness and self-sacrifices for the people around him. Denzel Washington is my next inspiration. I always love how Denzel approaches his game. The confidence, swag, fearlessness, and mental toughness he possesses in most of the characters he played, you can just feel his presence through your television. His Oscar performance character Alonzo Harris in Training Day was unbelievable. You felt the selfishness, greed, carelessness, ruthlessness, and his betrayal. I would love to ask him, “how do you get to that place in a character and stay there?” Finally, 2pac! His wisdom and his work ethic are what really blow my mind. I love how he was able to captivate a crowd of people and get everyone to follow him around. To be so young and so ahead of his time is crazy. He inspires me to think ahead always and to do more than what you think your capable of doing. And stop taking breaks! I remember how upset he got when his team took breaks and reminds them how time is short.

If you could change one thing you did at the beginning of your career, what would it be?

I would go back to tell the younger me to keep track of your day. Stop worrying about your yearly resolutions and worry about your daily resolutions. Because if you can’t take care of a simple day, how on earth are you going to conquer your year? It’s going to escape you every time. I always hear it in people’s voices when they talk about what they are going to be or going to have. I’m like, wait a minute, what are you going to do today? And people are usually confused or haven’t thought about it. See, it’s that’s answer right there that’s gonna kill everything you just told me.

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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.

Red Wine via 360 MAGAZINE

Festival Napa Valley

Festival Napa Valley Announces Its 15th Anniversary Season

Featuring Jennifer Hudson, Joshua Bell and Larisa Martínez, Roberto Bolle, the Young People’s Chorus of NYC with Thomas Hampson, and the World Premiere of Gordon Getty’s Opera Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Festival Napa Valley, recognized for transforming California Wine Country into a cultural destination, announces its 2020 summer season, July 17– 26. The Festival’s 15th anniversary will be commemorated with more than 40 concerts and events in an inspiring season of reflection, celebration and enthusiasm for the years to come.

Now in its 15th year, Festival Napa Valley offers a rich range of programs—from symphonic concerts, opera, film, and dance, to chamber music and jazz.

In addition to presenting the finest performing arts, Festival Napa Valley is committed to supporting underserved members of the community by providing free tickets to students, veterans and seniors. The Festival’s extensive educational program includes master classes for local college students; Arts for All camps, which serve more than 1600 Boys & Girls Club youth ages 6-18; and a tuition-free music academy for 60 pre-professional musicians from around the world.

“This anniversary season is dedicated to recognizing and honoring all of the outstanding artists, chefs, vintners and partners that make this Festival so special,” says Richard Walker, President & CEO of Festival Napa Valley. “We are equal parts inspired and reflective, and both of these feelings have found expression in the programming for our 15th Anniversary Season. We are excited to create a little magic for our audience and supporters this summer.”

Festival Napa Valley 2020 Highlights:

International opera star Thomas Hampson kicks off the 15th season at Castello di Amorosa with his bountiful Song of America: Beyond Liberty. Hampson will be joined by acclaimed pianist Lara Downes, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and a chamber ensemble in this concert pairing music, poetry, rhetoric, and history.

Grammy and Academy-award winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson headlines Wine Country’s biggest arts charity event, the Arts for All Gala at HALL Napa Valley.

The Festival presents the world premiere of Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the highly anticipated opera by acclaimed composer Gordon Getty.

High-energy cover band Brickhouse headlines Taste of Napa, Festival Napa Valley’s signature celebration of food, wine, and music, at Vista Collina.

Violin virtuoso Joshua Bell and radiant soprano Larisa Martínez perform music inspired by Bell’s chart-topping CD, Voice of the Violin at Charles Krug Winery. To commemorate Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Bell and his two distinguished colleagues, pianist Jeremy Denk and cellist Steven Isserlis, perform Beethoven’s masterpiece “Triple Concerto” with Festival Orchestra Napa, under the baton of Joel Revzen.

Brilliant American violinist Chad Hoopes performs Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the Blackburn Academy Orchestra under the baton of acclaimed conductor Carlo Ponti at Far Niente, accompanied by poetry written by Napa County high school students on the theme The Four Seasons of Napa Valley.

Renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performs a private recital at Darioush.

Maestro Joel Revzen and Festival Orchestra Napa bring Disney’s seminal film, Fantasia, to life while the film plays on the big screen.

Opera Under the Stars at Meadowood Napa Valley features Festival favorites soprano Nadine Sierra and tenor Michael Fabiano performing arias and duets with Festival Orchestra Napa, led by the eminent conductor James Conlon.

Ballet superstar Roberto Bolle brings his celebrated show, Roberto Bolle and Friends, to Napa for the annual Dance Gala.

Festival Live! Chamber Series returns with 12 free concerts at locations throughout Napa Valley.

The popular Bouchaine Young Artist Series showcases the next generation of classical music artists.

The Festival’s Blackburn Music Academy Orchestra shines in an admission-free Monday at the Symphony concert featuring works by Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Karen LeFrak at Lincoln Theater.

Single concert tickets starting at $39 are now on sale. For an elevated Festival Napa Valley experience, Patron Passes including access to exclusive lunches, dinners and lounges are also available. To view the full schedule and to purchase passes, visit http://www.FestivalNapaValley.org.

About Festival Napa Valley:

Blending the beauty and bounty of Napa Valley with the very finest performing arts, Festival Napa Valley offers programs that enrich the economic and cultural vitality of the region. The Festival’s central mission is to make the arts accessible to all. The Festival presents world-class performances staged in iconic Napa Valley venues and inspiring educational programs offered at Napa County public schools year-round. It is presented by Napa Valley Festival Association, a nonprofit organization governed by a board of prominent vintners and local leaders. More than 200 artists, wineries, resorts, theaters, restaurants, chefs and vintners participate each year. Festival Napa Valley 2020 takes place July 17 – 26. To learn more, visit http://www.festivalnapavalley.org.