HEARTS WILL NEVER BE PRACTICAL, UNTIL THEY ARE MADE UNBREAKABLE. ~ The Tin Man, from the Wizard of OZ
Category: Music Entertainment
There are thousands of blogs today that contain music or television or film or all three. Some of the major carriers have more. As part of Voltron Entertainment’s Media and Publicity team, we are a group of bloggers, writer, and radio hosts in the US and UK, who spend time collectively interviewing chosen talent dropping music, or hitting the stages near you. The information we promote for our performers and artists is legitimate material from direct conversation within an interview. We do not spy, or spoof, or snoop on other people or what they are saying, and we do not write gossip, nor do we ask any negative or positive questions about gossip. Everything we promote and publish is truthful. Feel free to browse this section and learn about this talent. Soundcloud provided music clips for those with recorded music, and links are always provided. Social Media links for following, listening and learning more about what these men and women are doing in the present, and have plans for the upcoming future are available with each post. So feel free to listen up, watch and see, or just take note of these up and coming, if not already out on the scene artists.
There is no better day to take stock of all your yearly accomplishments than on your birthday. For the average person like myself, this doesn’t take long. I spend a good part of the year taking care of other people, places, and things. Yes, I am a verb in a noun world. Imagine what it would be like to live in a world full of adjectives and adverbs. Just endless facets of the accomplished tasks completed in just one year. One thing is for certain; QT Jazz has no shortage of particulars for her achievements in the past, present or future.
One year ago I wrote a post about Jasmine “QT Jazz” Robinson. And today, I have another opportunity to once again recognize her personal and professional milestones. For someone like QT Jazz turning “21,” today is something unique, as will be her way of celebrating. This young lady has accomplished more at this age than some people do in their entire lives. Am I bragging on this girl? No, I am just speaking the truth. And you do not have to take my word for it. You can come to that assumption all on your own.
I know what you are thinking, “She’s 21-years-old? I’ll believe that when I see it.” Well, how about when you read it? Take a look back at the article on my blog from last year. Then, follow-up with the year forward. You will draw the conclusion for yourself of this lady’s inspiration to treat life’s milestones as if they were stepping-stones which have encouraged her to take every step forward, regardless of the positive or negative outcome. Still not convinced, then perhaps you should do some more research of your own. You can find @QTJazz on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. So, you do not have to take my word for it. You can make your inference.
For those of you who just happen to be in the Warren, Youngstown, Akron, Newton Falls, Cleveland, and as far as Columbus, Ohio, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but why not just celebrate with the lady. Join “QT Jazz while she celebrates her ’21st’ birthday at the “Youth Empowerment Faded Royalty Rally.” Another of life’s milestones realized she claims on her terms. “Proclaim Your Royalty” and “Your Right to be Great” are the convictions she will share at the Rally. For the young adults, the teens, the children and all who come, “Unite and Empowerment” are the messages she will share in Northeast Ohio to help others realize the potential created by their milestones, as she has, as stepping-stones.
We all learned early in our grade school grammar classes; a verb performs an action. By interpreting life and its purpose through the eyes of a young visionary, one step at a time, QT Jazz has taken action and her world by storm. She lives her life with no expectation of failure. Her dreams of a future in music entertainment, she expects to become a reality. She’s smart and determined, and she’s walked recently, in the shoes of America’s youth. She’s not done yet, though. She has much more to do.
Birthday wishes are being sent to QT Jazz today, as a reminder of her year-to-year birth milestones. Feel free to post this budding young entrepreneur some of your own, or if you are in the Northeast Ohio area, go by, feel the energy she creates. There’s so much more to learn about QT Jazz, who she is, what she’s accomplished, and the stepping-stones that lay ahead of her. Start today, her birthday, wish her well, and introduce yourself to the energy of this talented, young person. Just do yourself a favor and don’t get in her way. She’s stepping on stones, hard and fast, and she’s going places.
Adele’s smash hit album “21,” was her first album. It was a smash as well. It became the highest-selling album of both 2011 and 2012 in the US. In 2012, Taylor Swift’s “Red” hit the playlist. However, even “Red” couldn’t outnumber “21” as Adele’s tracks outsold Swift by more than a million. Imagine the excitement for Adele’s fans when the news of her 2015 album coming into play was set to release. Even industry watcher’s were wagering sales in the first week to be nearly 2 million. So is this post in honor of her new song?
Actually, it’s not. I do love the song. And yes, I am an Adele fan. However, this post reflects the outlook of just how popular Adele is, as well as the fact that her music is not only a benchmark, record breaking sound; it’s sales dates back to the 2000’s, when Napster was put music-sharing on the map. This was when Brittany Spears did it again, and NSYNC went in search of a puppet master and Taylor Swift saw red.
Adele rocked the scene in the late 2000’s and it carried us forward. As a major sales performer, who is bringing back the business with her “no music-sharing” approach to her albums; this is an opportunity for other artists to get on board and start this as well. Needless to say, the first week for Adele has prospered well.
With almost 900,000 digital copies on iTunes in the first week, and CD sales expecting to be in the range of 1.5 million, it seems industry watchers greatly underestimated Adele’s first week out. Adele’s third album, 25, appears well on its way to setting a new record for first-week sales. USA Today reports, “Fittingly, the new record is on track for 2.5 million sales, which would overtake the 15-year-old benchmark of 2.42 set by NSYNC. If it hits its projected targets, “25″ would also join “No Strings Attached” as the only other album to sell 2 million copies in its first week of release.
Adele’s first release, Hello from “25” did not stay still long. It has moved right up the billboard playlist, to debut at number one. The last time a song with this title made it to number one, it stayed there for a total of nine weeks, on three different charts in 1984. The song was brought to the world on the album “Can’t Slow Down” by none other than, Lionel Richie.
Some people have pondered the idea of a duet with Adele and Lionel Richie. What would it be like, if the two happened to meet? Sometimes, it is just a thought….
The celebrity world fascinates us all. Some people are captivated by everyday people and their celebrity status, and they spend hours watching them through social media. Some spend hours tuning in on reality programs. Other people find their celebrities on movies, at premiere events, and on Twitter or Instagram. When in motion, a celebrity’s primary concern though, is not as much their publicity, as it is, their safety. Not often will the outside world see those who provide their safety. They do not see security, unless someone is either a uniformed officer, or someone is standing there in a shirt, with bold stacked letters spelling out, “SECURITY”. The celebrities know they are there. They feel at ease, and you can see it as they glide through the entertainment welcoming parties with cameras and people calling their names. So what do they know? What is this safety experience? What is the defining moment of knowing everything “is handled”? Once before, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated – the Defining Moment is –What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Not a time were these words more eloquently defined, nor has there been a better opportunity to refer to them, than now, to Elijah J. Shaw, the most fortunate soldier.
(ICON) Global Corporation and the Business Behind It
The business of ICON Global Corporation is a security and investigative agency, entering into its 13th year. The president and CEO bringing it, is Elijah Shaw. Offering global protection on long-term basis, in a discreet capacity of some of the most elite celebrity clients, Mr. Shaw provides protection and security, consultations and classroom demonstrations and staffing worldwide.
ICON Global provide public and private training internationally. Mr. Shaw has invited and received people from the most diverse corners of the world to the United States, or himself, has traveled to their remote regions, to train under ICON’s services. Having had the esteemed pleasure to speak with Elijah Shaw about ICON, the conversation began as anyone who had seen the movie “The Bodyguard” may think “Oh, so you teach people to do what Kevin Costner does with Whitney Houston?” However, Mr. Shaw assured, that was just the movies. “ICON Global provides a training academy, that evolved during pre-twitter and pro-social media times.” “It was a ‘cloak and dagger’ business that evolved through helping others learn the work, and then helping them find work to do.” The Security Industry is about more than just working security at an event, or standing outside of a nightclub checking names off of a list, though many people who watch television, may seem to believe. The people who train with this service, learn about risks and secure situations. They learn to work any where and under any circumstances, either standing next to someone in an uncontrolled situation, to a risk situation, or on the border of Haiti making efforts to work with local doctors in an area where police and warlords work together. It’s about more than learning how just do the duties of a “bodyguard.” These people train to become Protection Agents, licensed and trained to act in an proper way, with an emphasis on professionalism and courtesy.
PASSION IN PROTECTION
One thing I noticed while speaking with Mr. Shaw; he really has a passion for what he does, and as the saying goes, “Passion, like negativity, is contagious.” In the celebrity business, I am certain this is an omnipresent truth. Mr. Shaw discussed his passion, how he assimilates it into the training academy, and what it provides to a trainee. He began by explaining how he came into the business world in the beginning, by discussing how sometimes in life an incident or an interaction, can transform us or others in a memorable way. For Shaw, his interaction was through a former employer, “I was working as a Senior Manager, and kept working toward moving forward.” “For some reason, when I came up for review, it never was my time.” However, on one particular occasion, “I was told I should start your own business.” “It was with these words of consideration I began to give it some thought.”
At ICON Global Corporation, their goal is to deliver superior services, with open lines of communication, and repetition of a real-world element. The Executive Protection Industry assists in facilitating Civilian and Professional services offered including Safety, Protection, Fitness, and Firearms training. The specialized courses cover a range of diverse disciplines; after all, Mr. Shaw’s 16-year contribution encompasses mechanisms of managing issues of both a domestic and international accord, applying them to the protection and security industry, that only years of training could produce.
GROWING UP SHAW
While speaking with Elijah Shaw, I suppose the question always comes up at some point of, “What did you want to do growing up?” I suppose some of us plan our lives out ahead or ourselves, and even as children, we know exactly what lies ahead of us. We also know what to
do with our time, our studies, and even our finances as we grow into ourselves. Therefore, the question was asked, “What about when you were growing up Mr. Shaw?” Elijah Shaw had no such well laid-out plan, but he did have dreams. Dreams he never let fall to the side, and still to this day, he is not afraid to admit to being just that.
Elijah Shaw grew up in the inner city housing project, Ida B. Wells, in Chicago, Illinois. He went to grammar school and high school and began college studies in Film and Television. As he studied, he began working in some nightclubs. He also held a job at a safety facility, in the bodyguard and security discipline. He worked up to a manager, then kept working up to Senior Manager, gaining experience, but not enough to move up to where he “dreamed” of being. There’s that word again. Mr. Shaw responded by saying, “I grew up in the inner city and I always dreamed bigger.”
Dreamers are often visionaries of the future. They learn the concept of defining moments. Years ago, I remember the words, “When the defining moment comes along, you can either define the moment, or let the moment define you.” I always think about it when I hear about dreamers, because when those dreamers take those dreams with them, they are the ones who walk the green. His dreams did take him further. When he heard the words, “You should get your own business.” And with a bit of continuing education, Elijah Shaw dreamed even bigger. Referring to himself as a creative sort, he referenced his creativeness and his perfected craft through his years of experience. Let me state something to you, that he mentioned, “Creative people are not business people; therefore, they have to learn to be a business person, or they have to partner with someone who is a business person.” “As creative people, we want creativity, but business people are business people.” The one constant carrying over from then to now, is his love for capturing the moment. He still loves taking pictures, which prompted his decision to move into the field of “Film” as a choice for a college major in the first place.
LOVER OF THE ARTS
One love for Elijah Shaw holding him forever close, is his love for the Arts. One love is for nature. Mr. Shaw’s career requires him to travel often, and he has been around the world five times and he has touched every continent except Antarctica. In conversation, one of his highlights of travel, was a time he had taken clients in the safe-keeping capacity to the world cup in South Africa. He mentioned, “It is my responsibility to keep someone safe.” “We travel to some really interesting places, but the threats against one’s self, is my concern.” Another love of the Arts for Elijah Shaw, includes architecture. Even though a person who loves the Arts, especially nature, might seem a bit laid-back; Elijah Shaw does not fit this classification. He then was asked how he considered his emotional state, and his response was, “I would consider myself engaged.” “Just like coming here, and meeting with you guys, this takes a lot for me, just to slow down and to get this, but I am excited to do this.” “I am very much attracted to nature and architecture.” “So, when I go over to something, like a wallaby, I am really excited.” “The life and shadows that appear on a structure, that makes me excited.”
The love for Art doesn’t stop with nature and structure, it goes to music, with compositions of jazz and classical music. Reading is also a love – anything from Business and Marketing, to Astronomy and History, such as the Ancient ruins to the Tongan Islands. His love of learning and reading would explain some of his love of travel, and his wish is not only to explore, but to share in all that he does.
You see Elijah Shaw is not your typical man. His heart leads him to the places he goes, as much as his career. When he isn’t working to create a safe environment, he is working to create the best possible photograph of that environment; he does so to capture the image of today to share with those he could not bring with him to see all he does. Elijah Shaw is certainly a man of defining moments.
To see this great love of the Arts, and how deep it runs, creates a picture of Shaw. You see this very intense man who has created a Security Consulting Firm, known for working with celebrities, members of Fortune 500 Companies, and political affiliates. He trains others for bodyguards, works with private and public law enforcement agencies, and he teaches others to do their duty with integrity, for the work is important. One minute you see this sophisticated, sharp-dressed man who takes each trainee from the classroom to the real-world implementation of the worst possible scenario in hopes each person leaves training with a realistic expectation of what could happen, and the knowledge that every cause has an effect. It is their job to not just react to a situation, but to also be proactive and keep things from escalating, to the point a reaction is warranted to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation.
The training provided by ICON seems not just as much about the protection; it seems comparably as much about the protector, as it is about the one being protected. The training provided by the defensive firearms instructors, allows individuals to participate in constructed live fire incidents, simulated to appear as a real-world event. This allows each person to experience a simulated event under-the-influence of adrenaline, which is a powerful neurotransmitter which can affect the way you think, the way you act, how quickly you cat, etc. This is one of the major factors that cause bad shoots in police work. These situations are realistically handled in the utmost manner of safety, as to allow individuals a realistic view of what could happen in a life or death situation.
Elijah Shaw really is quite the chameleon when it comes to visualizing the man at work, and the man at heart. Coming from a close family unit, where he was close with his grandparents, and even closer with his mom. For Shaw, at the lower times of his life, it is his mom,
he looks to when he feels the most open. It is this respect for his mother, it seems might have led his traits of humility and respect. He referenced, “I am blessed to travel the world, and I made a conscious effort to document it.” “So, I put them up on the website, and thought, I will sell the pics to help others.” It is the changeling which comes about is his spare time who travels through Israel and finds a sight to behold. It is on his off days he treks the risky and treacherous footing near the Colorado River, in Archers National Park, in Moab, Utah to stay until dark, under the stars to get the best image he can to place on a website for sale to whomever? That’s just one of the unique things about Elijah Shaw. All he does, all he feels, all he sees; it takes him home, and not just to his present home, but to his childhood home. He remembers what he missed as a child. He didn’t miss cameras or travel. He didn’t know about that. What he missed was the chance to know it! That is, he missed it then. Now, he knows about it. And he plans on taking every opportunity to share with those back in Ida B., in Chicago, Illinois. The cameras, the pictures, the money for supplies? It is just a small gesture from Elijah Shaw, to define yet another moment to share his point that there is #lifeupthere.
Although Elijah Shaw has many proficients, many are used to teach others through training sessions provided through his security services; others are poured into his philanthropic side which shows the most of who he is. Mr. Shaw has this vulnerable side of himself; a side it seems he would rather keep to himself. However, for someone who is so involved in the community, at such a distance; his shy exterior, seems to fall to the wayside, as his tender heart attempts to stay hidden mercilessly, behind the strongholds of his human armor.
For instance, he began photography in hopes of capturing some of the more beautiful and unique things he would see on his assignments or exhibitions away from home. Recently, he launched a website called lifeupthere.com where these photos are presented. The proceeds are donated from this site to inner city schools for to equip youths with projects and learning, awakening their creative insights. One again, defining Mr. Shaw, and the moments of the visionary he has become.
Another set of skills from the business used in return for altruism include the services for the ICON Safety-Net Program. The Women’s Advocates members host the nation’s oldest shelters for victims of domestic violence. Mr. Shaw’s services are free security services offered to the program to support these victims of domestic abuse and the shelters that support them. When asked about their relationship, he responded, “We provide Pro-Bono bodyguard and security guard services for domestic violence services and victims.” “I really wanted to help those who have a need, even if they do not have the payments for these.” “The shelters started screening for those who needed the services for court purposes and I started getting the clientele.” “Other people started doing things that worked with me too from my agency.” “This is a part of what I do.” “We started working with a group of others going to the homes and to the court dates as well.” “This is some of the things I do, and teach others to do, not just because it’s about helping other people, and it’s about learning how I do that work, without it being a job?”
Elijah Shaw has truly come a long way from the inner city streets of Chicago, Illinois. The current director of the North American Bodyguard Association (NABA), the Managing Editor of the NABA-produced Circuit Magazine, as an ongoing columnist called Keeping Your Edge Mr. Shaw is an expert in dealing with Operational Security (OPSEC), Executive Protection and the Security Industry. He has worked with the media on multiple occasions in feature publications, major broadcasts and standing in with celebrities. For most people, this is what they love – celebrities, media, the when, the where, and all that entails. And when it comes to being the one to call for all that entails, the one to call is “Elijah Shaw, the Fortunate Soldier“, with so many defining moments. Take a look at his projects! Some of those defining moments, he’s out of this country, he’s riding exotic animals, he’s learning new things, and lately, he’s even upside down.
When people heard the word “rap” in the community where I grew up, they developed a mental picture in their head of a group of young, adult men, heavy breathing into microphones, with little to no comprehension of the words they were saying. I can remember the first time I brought a “rap” tape into the house. “Yes,” I said “tape.” I turned it down as low as I could get it, and hit play. I tried to dance and keep time, but I could barely hear it. I had to wait until my parents were gone, and then I blasted it; Not only was I able to dance to it; I could ‘feel’ the music.
MUSIC BEHIND THE MEMORIES
I picked up some R&B, and then some Hip Hop; and I kept a steady supply of various genres. This collection sculpted the future of bittersweet moments of pain, joy, tears, laughter, and perpetual memories that would be part of the era of growing from a girl, into the woman I am today. And now, when I hear one of those songs, I remember a date, a time, or a moment; it’s so much more
than just a song. It is the feeling, which reveals the change within; a change each of us valued, throughout the serenading of the chorus, until the harmonious, fruition.
Having the pleasure to speak with the two gentlemen of Urban Republic, I was able to see the same appreciation was there for both the artist and the listener. A connection in the music, the memory, and an event, that you can’t get back. One thing remains the same though. Whether you are the listener, the artist, the performer, or just someone who hears the melody playing in the distance; You may forget something, but that song remembers.
THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS, WILL KNOCK BACK
Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, James Harris, (aka Dewey Da Don, Dewey) grew up with the odds against him. He didn’t have it easy, and he didn’t make it easy on himself. He learned from the “School of Hard Knocks” where you grow up, learning after a few unnecessary knocks, the ones you could have and should have, avoided.
James Harris grew up the typical way teens do, just doing his thing, “his way,” and that doesn’t make for an easy path when working with others. By the year 2006, he was on a path of no return, and labeled in the group that held, “Within the next year you will be standing before a judge, and what you have to say and hear, will not be easy.” He could see the pain he was causing others, and as he looked at the man in front of him, he didn’t like who was looking back at him.
By the summer of 2007, the hard knocks, finally knocked back in a positive way. And this time, he had someone who believed he could do it. He was presented with the opportunity to attend Usher Raymond’s Camp New Look. This camp enables their students to complete their graduation, and encourages them to seek a college degree, or get started on a path towards something else. This is the camp that helped James Harris, realized “Dewey Da Don,” the musician could be more than a dream. This was only the beginning for a man like him. His enlightenment came from seeing others empower themselves, and he found he was looking at himself and in his ideas for the future. He had a plan. He wanted to spread his message to others.
James Harris joined the movement, and he excelled in voice. Using his voice, became more than a passion that day. He became a voice that placed him on NBC, and in Washington DC in front of Congress sharing a message that has changed many lives to date.
James tells about his experiences growing up, and how this path changes his life, with Brian Mitchell of NBC Productions program of NBC Nightly. Some people don’t think people care; some people keep taking those knocks, but James tells you his story, and how it can change for him and how it can change for you.
Leaving night shifts and long hours working at the Waffle House behind, Dewey took advantage of everything he learned, and he went to work as a businessman. He became an Executive Board Member, and Digital Program Director for “Usher’s New Look Foundation”. He didn’t stop there, as he reveled in creativity, and as an “inspiration entrepreneur”, he founded LoudPack Productions. As CEO of LoudPack Productions, he would have to seek out a partner, and he didn’t have to look far. For, he and his CCO shared, first, an aspiration, “The greatest ability in a leader is to inspire someone else to be great!” – the two of them together, with what would become the first collective “Truth”, created a statement, “Everything we do, YOU are Going to Hear About,” and it rang out loud and clear, as the second “Truth”, was collectively formed, Urban Republic.
Dewey Da Don and Casanova “Novacain”, (aka Nova) Butler, have been hustlin’ up Atlanta, Georgia, and have been continuously working on their music, since 2012. They have tracks separately, and together, but their latest success has been a long-awaited, joint effort. They are both excited and ready to hit the streets with this one. Dewey and Nova attribute this labor of love to their hometown of Kansas City, also called “Killa’ City” by those from the area. As proud as both men are today about how far they have come, they also haven’t forgotten ‘where’ they came from, and they respect the self-made state of mind they have, and that without it, they would have never gotten out of there. When people hear them talk about this place, they want them to realize the bigger meaning out of it.
IN ATLANTA, WITH LOVE AND “YOU GONNA HEAR IT”
Tracks from their 2016 release, Atlanta with Love, vents their lyrical and creative talents. Every exchange of their distinct style, complements each other so well, it gives a natural feeling of chemistry to their soundtrack. And it’s not just their music where this effortless articulation of friendship is found. Even when talking business, it seemed each one was spot on with their goals and strategic suggestions. Both are driven, musically, graphically, and philanthropically.
It is important for them to get the message out. Their brand of greatness and excellence, and spoken, “It doesn’t matter if you are working at the Sonic, for a company, or for LoudPack.” “Your dreams and passions are bigger than that.” “You are bigger than that!” “You are who ‘YOU’ see yourself as, and you can do all you see.”
“CAUSE EVERYTHING WE DO, YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR ABOUT IT!”
Anytime you are speaking with someone, you get a genuine feel about them. Call it a vibe, if you will. When listening to these two men speak about themselves or the company, I could tell there was so much love in what they were doing. They truly love music. If you want to stay in music for the duration, you have to love it. You have to make it your world. You have to take a stance. LoudPack is their stance. It’s more than just a company, it’s who they are. I recall the statements, “Whatever facet we are doing, you are going to hear about it; and we do it all.” “I believe in you at LoudPack!” “Music is powerful.” Those statements are so positive. It was very admirable to hear two young men, so early in their career, laying roots down like this. It sets forth hope for music’s future.
The most impressive response for me though, was when Dewey mentioned how they want to have songs that have a different nostalgic moment in your life, whether good, bad or indifferent. This really resonated with me, as I mentioned before. Music really mattered in my life for this same reason. It does with my daughters today. I think it still does with many people. I think this generation especially, is looking for something to relate to. They need somebody, something, even if it is a song, to throwback to and say, “This is me.”
People may look up and see these two guys and say, “That’s those two guys from Urban Republic.” They may think they are just two rappers who do nothing all day but maybe sleep late, write a song based on whatever happens, but really have nothing to
do. The average person would not realize when looking up and visualizing two rappers, these two people in front of them, are actually two businessmen. Both of whom are writing their own story, and they are doing so by overcoming obstacles every day. They are working on getting their business venture set with communication, strategic goals, networking, and education materials all together for the future of other people. Their ambition is to live a life, dedicated to the service of others. They want to elevate people in communities, and to lift others above their circumstances. They understand when others see them people being active and positive, then other people do the same; youth in general, mimic other people and their behavior. It is through their artistry and entertainment, which they intend to empower our youth, because they are our future, and we need to invest in them, and let them know they can achieve their dreams.
THE PASSION AND CONTAGIOUS PLEASURE, OF MUSIC
The passion exuded from both artists is unbelievably contagious. “Dewey’s” passion is leadership, and he revealed, “I think I have learned a great leader wears many different hats.” “I have to push, grind until it makes sense to everybody, not just me.” “So I keep pushing until it makes sense.” “Nova’s”, wish is strictly to be an artist. For him, “Music is like a drug,” he mused, “Music takes me away from everything; I had just got a notification I was being evicted from my house.” “I had something that night, and as soon as the music started, I forgot about everything.” “Music takes me away from trials and tribulations in my life.” “Music is where I run to.” “Performing is everything.” They both talked about before they perform, they remember why they are there, and they pray, they give their blessings; it’s everything.
I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Dewey Da Don and Novacain of Urban Republic, and of the questions asked, both gentlemen reflected on their lives, as a duo and as people. They discussed their history as teenagers growing into musicians and the responsibility to you have to “Never forget where you came from, yet never to be content where you are!” – Reflecting on their own edification through growth and development. “Positive reinforcement for one, is the hardest thing, so you have to own who you are; believe who you are, not who you think!” This is a deliberation, which I feel most musicians share as performers and as writers. To contemplate an escape in their music, for whatever it gives back to them, whether it be an emotion, an inspiration, or a recollection. I remember reading in an article, another musician by the name of Hunter Hayes, wrote ~
“I’m very shy and awkward. I think the best thing is to embrace it. It’s about accepting who you are and what you want to become and knowing all that you’ve got to work with, whether it’s good or bad. My music was the only place I could be me for the longest time.”
This is what speaks to me about my own thoughts earlier with my kids, and when I was growing up. For musicians have the same thoughts and feelings towards songs they record. They find one that is special to them because of a certain meaning in their life. Both of these men are fathers, so they understand how hard it is to be away from their children when on the road and they want their children to learn from them to be inspired and to be empowered, and for them the greatest gift you can give a child, is to be present in their life. This was the inspiration for one of Dewey’s favorite songs, Daddy’s Little Girl; lyrics written about his daughter, communicating his love to her while separated. He also mentioned Distorted Portraits. This track about the “crown of our life”, was a collaborative effort about creating your own vision, and how it takes every one in their own unique image for the world to see. Nova’s favorite, What You Know About It, he reminisced on how the pain of watching his brother growing into a leader, was reflected in the lyrics of this song. “I can channel the music and it just really means so much,” he shared.
For Urban Republic, it allows them shelter from the rainy days when they are far from home and they compose their music. It also provides them a feeling of accomplishment within the bittersweet memories of the past, allowing them to chase their future aggressively. In essence they too, receive as much from the music, as they give, and at the end of the day, they remain as they want, as they need to stay, humble, but hungry.
Some people know Rhythm and Blues (RnB), and some people know Pop. Some people know both. However, these genres have grown over more than just a period of years. They have grown over people, over communities, and through culture. These each and together have experienced international fusions over social policies, over radical plights and political movements in history, and together they have survived and evolved. They are a mixture of music, vocals, writing songs, and dance- all kinds of dance, and it is, some of one and all of another of a young lady referred to as “QTJAZZ.”
Pop and RnB, these aren’t just a label where you find a musical genre, they come from a history, and Jasmine “QTJAZZ” Robinson has history, which would begin from the cradle, to participating as a dancer and vocalizing at the age of three. Where most of us hear music as we grow up, and once we reach a certain age, we start downloading it or hit some streaming site to fill our devices with what we want; it is years before we know anything about the evolution of it. For this lady, she would soon go from school to auditions with her manager-mother, who was helping others record and fulfill their dreams. It wasn’t too long, before she realized, Jasmine was not who she was born to be. She had watched others fulfill their dreams in the studio, and she knew she had a place there too. She finished grammar school and made it to high school, occupying her time with extracurricular activities and skills in the areas of dance, piano, gymnastics, fashion, makeup, song and voice. She then approached her mother, and introduced her future, as “QTJAZZ.”
Learning through her younger years, and following others in their endeavors, “QTJAZZ” had realized there was a history in the music. She learned how to incorporate the music and the dance, and how to creatively include rhythm and culture. She valued all she had learned through the years, and she never forgot those she had learned from along the way. She took full advantage of paying homage to CSP recording artists, Xscape with her tribute to the group at the inception of her recording career with a remix of Understanding.
All during this blossoming of her professional life, this young lady was still transitioning through her personal life. QTJAZZ was not just a pretty face, she had substance and she struggled; she struggled the most personally, to understand giving and receiving self-love. She recalled having a hard time associating being loved with being good. Everyone goes through a personal struggle in their life, and for her, she was in the business so early, that she felt would look for positive reassurance and feedback from others as a solid affirmation of love, and when she didn’t hear it, she would take it very personally. She felt blessed to have someone to help her transition through this period, and not feel lost – her manager – or should I say, her mother. For most, there’s no way the two could be one, but for QTJAZZ, she is content with it, as she muses how other than an occasional disagreement over her style of clothes, her mom and her discuss everything. They also agree on everything, and they have a remarkable relationship, personally and professionally.
This charismatic and spirited, personality with a contagious laugh, leaves no question unanswered about yesterday or tomorrow. Most people have dreams and aspirations, but QTJAZZ has a plan. Although she admits to being notorious for throwing kickbacks in her teenage years, she claims it was just an outlet. She still loves to go bowling, she loves horseback riding, and dancing, singing and writing is part of who she is. For some people, she thinks it may be something they do, but for her, it is more than that. Procrastination is her biggest adversary. She feels more normal, when she stacks her cards; and the more she does, the better she feels. She doesn’t neglect anyone having a learning experience, and she has continued to value her education. She is currently enrolled in college classes, majoring in Integrative Studies and a Focus in Business, with hopes of further her education through Fullsail University in Winter Park, Florida.
This carefree young lady, who turned 20 on October 9th, is not just a pretty face. She has taken the entertainment world in leaps of voice, and bounds of projects. With top music on Soundcloud she is performing and writing her own music. She also has a track, At Your Best, remembering recording artist Aaliyah, taken from us in 2001. QTJAZZ has traveled all over the world, and she admits she doesn’t mind missing sleep to meet her goals. Two of those goals are 1) To record with Justin Timberlake and/or Timbaland; and 2) To continue growing and expanding her cosmetic collection. She says, “Sometimes, you got to do something different, and then you have to brush it off your shoulders off when it doesn’t go off your way.” Therefore, she said she doesn’t mind pushing the envelope to get results. And results, is what she is getting.
Her song, Heels, Bags is just one of the many to come. This lady has so many things coming and going, but she is in line with all of them. She wears her heels every chance she gets, and one of those places in to Coke Awards Shows and Sprite Pour Fashion, Art and Music Programs, as QTJAZZ is a Social Influence for Obey Your Thirst. This is not the only time you will see her. Celphie’s Cosmetics has picked up QT’s collection of Lip Gloss, and hopefully, she will have more colors and products to come. Performing and music is her passion, and more of that is definitely on the way, as this lady is full of so much fizz and shine, it’s going to take some serious power to keep this girl down. She may wear heels, but she dresses to dance. All you have to do is turn on the music, and those heels can’t stay on those feet. I, personally would love to see a bags collection. I just love bags.
Occasionally, even a notable singer such as Tyrese Gibson, will deliver a music album so revolutionary, it is difficult not to consider any other being more, well-crafted. The release of the double album, Black Rose, a derivative of a documentary, a book and a testament to the laughter, the tears, the pain, and the sacrifice of twenty years from the bus to the studio, mimics just that. Black Rose became number One on July 10, 2015, in twelve countries within three days. Treasured genres with SnoopDogg’s rapping softly, with Brandy, Chrisette Michele, Jennifer Hudson, and Tank kissing the neck of R&B; this sensual album intertwined with introspective lyrics, introduces a subtle seduction, coupled with remorse and revelation, and drowned in faith.
Tyrese’s sultry voice explored the feelings of a broken man yearning for physical and spiritual peace. From track to track, his voice lured you with a smooth intimacy, somewhat reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s seductive and addictive sound. This was quite ironic to me, as the first track, Addict began the subtle, seduction and commission to each track that followed on the first four on this album. Shamefeat. Jennifer Hudson, the first release, reaches to the depths of the vocalist, and confronts the listener with questionable submission, followed by a diverse set of emotions ranging from remorse, pain, loss, and resonation. The realization you are about to experience the best of Tyrese Gibson, awakens a sense of presence within, and you feel the steady sense of sensuality, and reminiscent of the addiction. And if you heard Marvin Gaye in Tyrese’s voice, then you can expect some “sexual healing”, which the “Babyboy” delivers in one my most personally played tracks, Body Language.
This album is a true enlightenment, and a statement to the honest and transparent man Tyrese Gibson is today. Black Rose represents the presence of mind and where the music and this journey has taken Tyrese. The most intimate details of his wavering relationships in love expressed in each track on this album, signify growth, and a renewed positivity. Tyrese has endured two years of emotional reverberation and has emerged victorious- a black rose growing through concrete.
Music has always been a basic human function. With the continued growth of technology, opportunities for growth and influence in the lives of children, teens and into adulthood has taken various music genres from the educational and routine era, to that of free time and social maturity. Everyone has that natural desire to create something in their lives. Music just happens to be one of those significant pleasures that entertains us from a small child just listening, into the age of the teen where enjoyment is through performance, to adulthood and on where music tends to elicit and emotional response that interacts with our daily life.
Artists today seek to reach a unique audience. They act and dress to meet the mainstream society of what people find entertaining. When it comes to classical music, concert music, some still find this music pleasing to the ears, and nurturing to the mind, body and soul. With the impression that concert music has on society, American society believes that everyone involved in performing classical/concert music practices reading musical notations while providing an escape from everyday life.
One of the great things about music is that regardless of the genre, it is an important part of life. I remember growing up, I always loved music. I loved music from a very young age, and I learned to play piano at the age of six. I sang in the church choir as an older youth. I auditioned and was chosen as a band member in elementary school. I chose a wind instrument, the flute, in the sixth grade, and moved to percussion and melodics when I entered high school.
Everyone had a certain talent as part of our percussion group, and we spent hours just playing pieces we put together ourselves. I still remember sitting in the stands, just waiting for that few minutes when Andy Isca, director of the Caldwell Parish High School Band, would concede and let us take the stands for just a few moments. The senior players, Reed Parker and Steven Coates were on snare drums. Chris McDougald was on quads. Rodney George was on the base drum. Robert Lee Tatum was our Cymbal Guru. Susanne McIlwain and I were on various melodics and the upcoming classman were preparing for their positions. One night Wilbert Nesbitt grabbed the cymbals, and we started kicking the drums with a beat we had just tapped out in passing while hanging out in the band room. Now, Mr. Isca had heard Will thrashing the cymbals about in the band room, but he had never “seen” what that boy could do. Every cymbal crash was met with a right hip, a left hip and a pelvic thrust. There were girls screaming all over the stands. We would play harder, Will would crash the cymbals harder and dance a little more. After just a few minutes, even the lower section of the band started standing up, and dancing. Mr. Isca noticed the ruckus, and I thought, “Uh-oh, this man is about to lose his mind.” There he came to, “Stop playing, stop, stop, stop, and stop, doing, yea, that!” I will never forget it. He never said dancing, because we all knew what Will was doing, well let’s just say, I would put him against Miley Cyrus any day. It was just the music though. Good music makes you smile. It makes you move around. It makes you dance. You feel it in your body, your heart and your soul.