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Interview | Questions & Answers With Valerie Ghent

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Interview | Questions & Answers With Valerie Ghent

The talented singer-songwriter-producer Valerie Ghent just released an anthem for New York City. Undoubtedly, it’s one of her best songs you will find on the 11-track album ‘Velours’. So, we chatted about her beginnings with music, the motivations behind her new single, the video clip, and upcoming live shows…

1 – Who in your life introduced you to music?

My parents were both musicians and composers, so I grew up with music all around – classical, jazz and electronic music. There were always rehearsals in home and concerts to go to. My father also had a recording studio in our loft in SoHo and showed me how to use the tape machines at a pretty early age.

2 – Can you tell us a bit about your formal music training?

I was always drawn to the piano – there’s a photo of me reaching up for the piano keys at age 1! My parents started me on the cello when I was 5 but I just wanted to play the piano and sing melodies. I had few years of piano lessons, then joined a rock band in high school – making music ever since.

3 – What was the first track you worked on?

The first released track I worked on was David Bowie’s song “TVC-15”, recorded while I was in high school with a band called Dizzy and the Romilars. I sang the lead vocal and played synth, and we pressed up a flexi-disk. “TVC-15” was followed soon after by a 6-song EP we recorded at Media Sound Studios. Before that, in grade school, I recorded lots of songs on my father’s 4-track tape machines.

4 – Why did you decide to give your new single “New York City Streets” an upbeat melody?

Actually, I didn’t decide anything! New York City Streets ‘arrived’ and I went with it. In fact, the melody arrived before the lyrics. I believe songs tell us what melody they want to be, what chords & mood they want to have – we just have to listen to what these nascent songs are telling us and do our best to realize where they want to go.

5 – How long did it take you to film the music video at the streets? Was it a fun experience?

It took six days of shooting to make the New York City Streets video, five days in the spring/summer of 2016 and one day just before New Year’s Eve. It was a super fun experience, everywhere we went people were singing along! We had a shot list that was 2 pages long – it was really important to us to film in all 5 boroughs. And I wanted a mixture of the iconic parts of The Big Apple as well as places that have personal significance to me growing up and living in New York. I’m ever grateful to Fredy Mfuko of Mission 101 Media, Elisa Zazzera and my husband Tom Bisio for trekking around NYC with me and a camera. Can you guess how many locations are in the video?

6 – Who wrote the lyrics and who produced it?

I wrote the lyrics and produced New York City Streets. I actually finished the whole song before the lyrics “arrived”. At rehearsal, a friend asked, ‘why don’t you write a song about New York’? It was great to put what New York City means to me, and what I love about New York City, into lyrics.

As for production, my vision was for a live, vibrant sound. So we recorded live basic tracks (drums, bass, guitar, piano) at Systems Two with long-time music family Tinkr Barfield (bass) and Kevin Johnson (drums), the killer rhythm section I’ve played with for many years in Ashford & Simpson’s band, and guitarist Robin Macatangay, who played on my Day to Day Dream album, and me on piano and vocals. Then I added percussion with Bashiri Johnson, and backing vocals with long-time friends and renowned vocalists Alfa Anderson, Dennis Collins, Keith Fluitt and myself on backing vocals. Then added B3 organ – nothing like real Hammond B3 – and re-recorded the lead vocal myself at Ashford & Simpson’s studio. Finally, we recorded the horns in France and NYC with Marc Borlet-Hôte (trumpet) and Nicolas Baudino (saxes) in France and Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Paul Shapiro (sax) and Dan Levine (trombone) in New York.

The song was mixed by Jérôme Buigues in France, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. it takes a lot of great people to make a record, I feel blessed to have so many talented friends who play and sing from their hearts, and gave their talents to this record – they all brought New York City Streets to life.

Valerie Ghent interview
7 – How different is “New York City Streets” from other songs written about The Big Apple?

That’s a great question and I listened to a bunch of songs about NYC before answering. Of course Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York” is one of the quintessential songs about NYC. I actually reference it with the lyric: “This is a place where you’re gonna find out / If you can make it”.

The difference is Frank Sinatra is singing about someone coming to NYC who wants to make it, whereas my song is from the perspective of a native New Yorker who loves NYC and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

For me, one of the beautiful things about NYC is that someone can come here for a day and be a New Yorker. NYC is one of the few places in the world, maybe the only place in the world, where you can arrive, decide you are a New Yorker, and you ARE a New Yorker. For someone who still wants to come here, or who just got here yesterday, or who has been here for 20 years – you’re all New Yorkers. Our big, beautiful city is open and generous and we welcome all!

Some NYC songs are about coming to New York and making it here (whatever “making it” means to you) from Frank Sinatra’s classic to Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”. Other songs are about particular parts of NY, like “Take The A Train” (Duke Ellington), “Tom’s Diner” (Suzanne Vega), “Rockaway Beach” (Ramones) and so many more. I think the closest maybe is Brenda Russell’s “Walking In New York” – which, although totally different, is a great song and great vibe!

I like to think “New York City Streets” is about the energy of New York, that driving force, why it’s the city that never sleeps, why people love to be here and come here, why people resonate with NYC all over the world. I wanted to share the New York City that I know and love and hope that comes across!

8 – I really enjoyed the laid-back funk vibe. Are you planning to release more songs with the same style in the future?

I’m so glad you’re enjoying our groove! Yes, we have lots more songs with that laid-back funk vibe – check out our album “Velours”, which features smooth soul, R+B, funk & ballads. Our new single “Feelin Alright” releases in March 2018 – another super live groove, upbeat, more killer horns & backing vocals. Can’t wait for you to hear it!

valerie ghent
9 – Are you performing live soon?

Yes! I have two upcoming dates here in NYC at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar, on March 20 and 27, 2018. To celebrate the new single I’ll be the featured artist at Nick Ashford’s “Nuttin but the Blues”. And right after that, I have a tour in France, our first date is in Hyères in the South of France in April. Come groove with us!

Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar, 254 West 72nd Street, NYC, 10024 reservations: 212.579.0222 sugarbarny.com

10 – Finally, What’s your favorite place in New York City? Why?

I love so many places in NYC. I love the West Village, where I grew up because it really is a Village. Although everything is more upscale than when I was growing up, the tree-lined streets and brownstones are pretty much the same. Villagers are friendly, the buildings are lower, there’s light, it’s really like village life in a smaller town, yet still in the heart of NYC. And I love the Hudson River. Biking along the river and singing to the sky has inspired almost all my songs and especially “New York City Streets”: “Head for the river, stare at the sky…I could go anywhere ‘cuz this city’s alive!”


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Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.

Interviews

RIZ Opens Up About New Single “Tribe” & More In Recent Interview

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RIZ Opens Up About New Single "Tribe" & More In Recent Interview

RIZ has always had a passion for music. His latest single, “Tribe” is a Rock/Heavy Metal masterpiece accompanied by powerful vocals. I got a chance to interview him about this song and his upcoming album, plus, some additional details related to his career. Make sure to keep up with RIZ on socials below.

1 – Was there a lot of Rock music in your house growing up?

My big brother turned me on to great bands like KISS, Black Sabbath, and Styx. But being raised in The Bronx right when and where Hip-Hop was born a lot of that influenced my music. My parents being Indian had a lot of Indian music playing and I think that influenced my sense of melody.

2 – What made you go from a psychic to an independent rock artist?

My life is a crazy story but it’s all true. I started off as a musician when I was a teenager but I was also very psychic, my senses eventually became so sharp that it became my life and I moved to LA and have been teaching meditation, workshops, and doing group psychic readings non stop for a decade: but something was always burning inside of me – my love of music especially hard rock and metal. Can’t take that out of me ever!

3 – How did your new song “Tribe” come about?

I wrote this song while in the quarantine lockdown here in LA. We couldn’t really get together to rehearse in person so we did it on Zoom and recorded all our parts in a secret studio location! I have a big tribe of friends online and wanted to write a song that represented the strong spirit of the people uniting.

4 – Do you think “Tribe” has a good message behind its lyrics?

“Tribes” lyrics are about what I believe in and what I have taught as a shaman for over a decade, that your freedom starts with your mind and your passion.

5 – Was it difficult to shot the music video?

We did this video on Zoom and then had a friend add some special fx to have fun with it. The shoot was easy, our crowd was everyone in their houses just rockin’ out to the band! Getting them all together was really my wife Oriah’s magic, she’s the director of most of my videos!


7 – Can you reveal to us some interesting details about your upcoming album, ‘The Bronx Bomber’?

This whole album was recorded during the lockdown here in LA! The good part of the lockdown was none of us could go to work so we really got to focus on our music like never before! The musicians who play with me are killers! The album drops 8/20!

8 – When is the release date of this album?

‘The Bronx Bomber’ is the name of my album which releases on August 20th this summer which is also my birthday! The term ‘Bronx Bombers’ refers to the baseball team in The Bronx, New York City where I grew up. I wasn’t a huge baseball fan but I always loved that term it was so badass!

RIZ rock music
9 – What keeps you inspired to write songs?

I can’t stop writing songs. It’s how I see life, through music. I have a wild imagination and being a psychic I’m very sensitive to my environment so ideas come to me all the time!

10 – Finally, how do you see yourself careerwise in the next 10 years?

At least 10 albums done and lots of live shows under my belt meeting our fans all around the world!


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Interview | Questions & Answers With Bobby Shann

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Interview | Questions & Answers With Bobby Shann
Bobby Shann
is an artist who is known for his outstanding productions that feature infectious grooves and steady beats that are perfect for the dancefloor. His discography includes releases such as ‘Call Me Papi’, ‘Break It Down’, and more recently a stunning collab with Blas Cordero titled ‘Double Vision’. We caught up with Bobby to find out his methods behind the music.

1 — Talk us through how you started your journey to learning how to produce?

It all began back in the days when I first got in touch with the hip-hop culture, through breakdancing. I wanted to start making my own beats and my producing career started. I just spent my time playing about with the software, I’m still learning. I think I will keep on learning; everything is a lesson.

2 — Were there any books or videos you used to help you?

Not really, I just got on with it! Nowadays there is also a lot of tutorials which can really help you out.

3 — What software do you use, and would you recommend it to beginners?

I use Ableton. As I started with more complex daw’s I would recommend Ableton even for beginners. It’s the best way to learn efficiently.


4 — Do you have any tips for finding a creative spark?

Well, I think the best way to get creative is to be yourself and not being afraid of creating what you have in your mind. Don’t ever let others’ opinions affect you. Just do your thing. That’s all I can say.

5 — Which top 3 plugins would you suggest?

To be honest the only thing I can suggest is to find out by yourself which plugins your sound fits and if this sounds good for you, then amazing! I don’t think there are any rules.

6 — What are your opinions on mixing and mastering your own tracks?

It could be good but also bad. It depends on the technical knowhow you have and especially having the ear for that. I love to see the technical aspects behind it all and learn about it. It can be fun, and you have the possibility to make the songs really sound like you want it to be. But sometimes there is also complicated parts I would wish an engineer would take all the effort. It really takes a lot of time. Sometimes it can also become annoying listening to your own track the whole time which could have a different impact on the song.


7 — How do you approach remixes?

It’s a good thing, I guess. Doing remixes is a good way to show how it would sound like working with other artists from different genres as well.

8 — What are the essential skills that a producer should work on first?

Just be yourself and do what you love don’t follow any rules you’ve heard about producing or whatever. It should sound like you. Music is the art to express yourself so do it.

9 — What piece of advice do you wish you had received in the beginning?

Oh wow, lemme think about. I guess you can always take advice from people It doesn’t matter when and how. What’s important is that you do what you want to do and have in your mind. The best process to learn is making mistakes and your own experiences.


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Exclusive Interview: Konami Homi On His Album, ‘Neon Dynamite’

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Exclusive Interview: Konami Homi On His Album, 'Neon Dynamite'

Electro Wow speaks to Konami Homi about his fresh 16-track album, ‘Neon Dynamite’. This article serves as an introspective exploration of the new project which somehow reflects the mayhem of everydayness. Add to this, interesting lyrics and melodies to fit in people’s current moods. Learn more down here.

1 — What led you to release the album ‘Neon Dynamite’?

What leads me to release ‘Neon Dynamite’ was the current state of the world. I feel like ‘Neon Dynamite’ is a representation of the uncontrollable emotions the world has as well as myself. We hold so much inside to uphold an image of being “human” and I feel this album was a release of those built-up emotions. An explosion of emotions if you will.

2 — How did you get linked up with Achilles, Ray Harvey, A.Cain, and Flex Cabana?

We were all friends already and are building a business together so it was only right that I involve people on the album who were basically family to me. Connection is always important.

3 — Are you looking forward to collaborating with similar artists?

I’m very excited to work with other artists in and out of my genre. I think what makes music great is when you step away from things that make you comfortable and I know there are great artists out there who can push me and vice versa.

4 — In your opinion, how different is this album from your first EP, ‘Animality’?

It’s extremely different sound-wise, I definitely let loose on experimenting with different melodies and such. I think they both hold similarities in the message but ‘Neon Dynamite’ was a much more freeing feeling in the creative process. I let go of myself and got lost in the music which brought out a more raw vibe.

5 — Why did you decide to release a futuristic-looking video for “Neon Ghost”?

Because I feel like the energy of the project is futuristic, when I listen to it I imagine a world of robots and chaos, not too much further from our current reality. I like imagining the future especially when the future isn’t always set in stone.

6 — Which other genres or styles would you like to try in the near future?

Honestly, I would love to try more Rock, I’ve always liked Rock artists and their rebellious ways of thinking. Rock honestly inspired a lot of this project too so it would only be right.

7 — Are you looking to promote your music on new apps like TikTok?

I currently have my music accessible on TikTok but I don’t really use it too often. I definitely would love to see people creating videos to my songs though, that would be a beautiful sight to see.

Konami Homi Interview
8 — In many countries, bars and nightclubs are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do you believe this will affect the promotion of your music?

No, not at, I think as an artist what makes us “real artists” is our ability to evolve in any situation. This COVID-19 should be pushing us to get more creative in ways to promote and push our music.

9 — As an artist, how are you dealing with this pandemic?

I’m honestly dealing with it as any other day, you can’t let fear and ignorance blind you from your purpose. Move smart, pay attention, and stay focused on what’s important. There’s nothing we can do to stop a situation like this so instead we must embrace it and learn from it.

10 — Lastly, can we expect more singles or remixes in 2020 and beyond?

Most definitely, I’m actually already working on new projects and singles. I have two singles dropping this month and most likely I’ll be dropping something new every month so people should definitely stay locked in if they want to see what’s coming next.


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Interview | Questions & Answers With Head Fake

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Interview | Questions & Answers With Head Fake

Get to know Head Fake, three semi-anonymous artists hailing from London, New Jersey, and Miami. While it is true they prefer to let the music speak for itself, I got the opportunity to interview them. Moreover, their latest music video for “I’m Found” is worth watching. Happy reading!

1 – Why did you choose ‘Head Fake’ as band name?

When we first started sharing music with friends and family, the 80’s vibe was unexpected based on other work we had each been doing individually, from classic rock covers to stripped-down indie to electro-pop, so came off as a bit of a head fake to most.

2 – How long have you been together?

We’ve been formally together for about a year, starting with an impromptu jam session with Michael and James and soliciting the production stylings of Ivan.

3 – What is the best phrase that describes your music style?

It’s an evolving style but generally draws from the 80’s music of our youth, from New Wave to Goth to crossover-pop. We’ve referred to it as neo-80’s – same basic sound with a bunch of new sonic tools.

4 – What are your favorite things in the artistic world?

Originality and authenticity. Being surprised by the way something is put together creatively and having it speak to something new or unexplored.

5 – What was running through your mind while writing “I’m Found”?

Memories of open skies on childhood travels to the country and a sense of hope, loyalty and perseverance that seemed to exist in those spaces. The song actually came together quite quickly, capturing the emotion behind it.

6 – Was the music video for “I’m Found” inspired by a cowboy film?

Not by a film, but was definitely inspired by the imagery of cowboys, open country and rural sensibilities, imagery in which one can get lost from the noise of the news and current events.

7 – Lyrically, what is the message behind this track?

If we focus on the things that are fundamental to our well being, despite the challenges that life brings our way, we’ll find ourselves “found”.


8 – What can listeners expect on ‘EP2’?

EP2 is a deeper dive into a broader range of 80’s influences that our first EP. From the sentimental “Song for Daughters” to the ironic twist in Overjoyed, our goal was to offer a broader sense of an 80’s radio playlist.

9 – Did you ever struggle with the songwriting process?

Rarely in the actual writing, although there are often pauses between new songs. As a band, we’ve been pretty prolific in our writing; we’ll likely have another EP worth of material by the time quarantine ends. It feels as though a lot of this material has just been waiting to be revealed, coming together very quickly.

10 – Lastly, tell us something about no one else know about each member of Head Fake?

None of us has actually ridden a motorcycle standing up!


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Interview | Questions & Answers With Sanya N’Kanta

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Interview | Questions & Answers With Sanya N'Kanta
Meet Sanya N’Kanta and his newest song in this exclusive interview. With “Can’t Stop Thinking Bout You”, the Jamaican artist displays his taste for a dynamic range of rhythms. Perhaps, you’ll notice his authentic sound is a  blend of Synth-Pop, Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul, and Rock. Best of all, its accompanying music video is out of this world! Visually, he takes you to a cosmic adventure set somewhere in the galaxy. In addition, he gives this tune a lot of emotion, yet its melody is upbeat and catchy. Learn more here!

1 – Who are your main songwriting influences?

My main songwriting influences are the everyday people and experiences around me. Some writers I admire are Bob Marley, Jeff Buckley, K’NAAN, Foster The People, Kendric Lamar, Black Star, and the War On Drugs. We are undoubtedly influenced by what we listen to, and these artists are on my playlist often, among others.

2 – How did the creative process work for “Can’t Stop Thinking Bout You”?

The creative process was much quicker than I usually take with a song. I started with the house beat and layered my guitars and bass. I did not write down lyrics to this song; I just hit record and started singing. I used my first take for the lead vocal and added the harmonies. The next morning I listened to what I created and liked where it was going, but it felt incomplete to me. If you listen to the entire album The Counterfeit Revival, you will understand that I usually put a lot more into my lyrics. I had to come to peace with the fact that it was so simple and that at its heart, it was a house music track where simplicity usually rules.

3 – What do you hope for listeners to take away from this new song?

I want the listener to catch a positive vibe and start dancing. It’s a feel-good track that hopefully makes the listener think about that person in their life that they would give anything for and to.


4 – What do you think is the difference between a good tune vs a great one?

In my opinion, a great tune makes you walk in the shoes of the writer. I love it when a song can make you immediately take on its meaning as it pertains to your own life. It becomes significant because it expresses something you already feel inside.

A good tune for me is a more visceral one. Sometimes you don’t even need to understand the meaning of a song. It could just be the beat or an amazing melody that makes you sing along, even though you don’t know the words.

5 – How would you celebrate if “Can’t Stop Thinking Bout You” reaches the top charts?

Honestly, I can’t imagine that. First, I would laugh long and hard at myself because the song almost didn’t make the album. The simplicity of lyrics and the repetitive nature of the song put it in the b-side category for me. So if that happened, I would really need to reevaluate how I obsess during the songwriting and production process.

6 – Where did the inspiration come from for the space-based music video?

It was the director John Isberg’s idea to involve space-based visuals. I didn’t quite know where he was going with it until he sent the first few versions over. He’s a great artist and musician himself, so I just had to trust his process.

7 – How many people were involved in this visual project? Was it a fun experience?

The director John Isberg and a small team of 6 from Suede Films were the only ones involved with the project. It was a great experience and a lot of fun. It was an excellent first video for me to get my feet wet, and I’m looking forward to working on more visuals with his team.


8 – Do you consider your music as an atomic fusion of different styles? Why?

I do consider my music a fusion of different styles. I can see the beauty in most genres of music, and I don’t like boxing myself into a genre when writing or producing. It is counterproductive for me to think that way about art. Instead, I focus on what I am trying to convey to the audience.

9 – What will be the first thing you’ll do after quarantine?

I miss the ocean. I’ll be taking a trip home to Jamaica with my family as soon as I can.


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