Published on Sunday, 25 January 2015 00:36
by Gwin Jean
Somber stories hide in the crevices of the lineage lines on her dark hands. Salt filled tears shoved in the bags beneath her brown eyes – I can almost taste the tears. Her swollen feet press against the laminate flooring in the house. She grabs my face with her hands, passing me each story that dances between the lines on the inside of her palm. I am not ready to keep all of her stories, but I do not tell her this.
My grandmother is short in stature, yet powerful and she expects me to be the same. I am not powerful – I am, however, short. She pats me up and down as I close my eyes. “You seem….thinner, dear.” She says, hands still focusing on my mid area. “I’m not, grandmother,” I say, briefly smiling. “These stories that I’m giving you will make you strong. They will give you strength. They will give you everything you think you are lacking, dear” she whispers, as if it’s a secret that only we can know.
I smile again, looking into her eyes as she reassures me that I will have strength. “What are you lacking, dear?” she asks. I cackle and look at the floor then look back at my grandmother who hasn’t taken her eyes off me. “What… are you lacking, dear?” she asks again. A lump develops in my throat, as I think of the obvious things that I am lacking. At 27 years old, I should be married. I should have a family and I don’t. I wonder if that has anything to do with my strength. Am I not strong enough for a man? Am I too strong for men? Do I scare them away?
My grandmother is waiting for my answer as I am thinking of an appropriate one to give her and I guess it all boils down to strength. Self-strength, not in physique, but in mindset. “Strength,” I respond, biting my lip. She promises me that these stories will help me, and my future children, and my children’s children. She promises that as soon as she passes them on to me, I will have them within me forever. I am not ready to keep all of her stories, but I do not tell her this. “These stories, Winter, will give you everything that you have been missing. Protect my stories with your hands as I’ve once done.”
Published on Wednesday, 21 January 2015 19:01
Let’s say you are an independent artist who has just spent a considerable amount of time putting together a music project you think represents the best work you’ve ever done. Now it’s time to get out there and present your work to the world. Either you have, or don’t have, money for a publicist who can get you on the interview circuit, but you recognize how important that is. One great interview in the right publication is infinitely more valuable than saturating social media with Soundcloud and YouTube links. Hitting social media is critical, but your social media approach should actually be designed to attract the attention of music publications as opposed to essentially giving away your product.
So you luck up and out of the blue a Marcus J. Moore, or Chris Richards, or Bobby Pen or Marcus K. Dowling calls to ask for an interview. Beautiful. But the thing is, you’re an independent artist and there’s no team behind you to prep you. No A&R, no publicist, no veteran manager… it’s just you, grateful as hell but without a blueprint to guide you. And understand; there is an art of interviewing. Artists who’ve mastered it are the ones who end up with more fans, more shows, more sales, and if it’s what you want, more possibilities of being signed.
Here are a few tips for making sure your next interview is successful:Read more: Tips For a High Impact Interview
Published on Friday, 16 January 2015 03:24
Landover, Maryland artist/producer Alex Real has stepped from behind the boards and into the booth. Influenced by the 90's era of Hip-Hop, Alex’s biggest influences on production were DJ Premier and Pete Rock and they were the reason why he started making beats. Another notable influence is Kanye West. Alex began working with local artists to build up his name and hone his craft. With many artists using the same message in their lyrics, cadences and beats he noted the vacuum that exists for fans of the authenticity of Hip Hop’s golden years and saw a role for himself in helping to bring some of that back. This hints at his choice of the rap moniker Alex Real. It is to always remind him to keep everything he raps about real. Currently Alex Real is working on his debut mixtape entitled "NO FILTER". Check some of his work here Soundcloud.com/alexrealmuzik and follow him on Twitter @iamalexreal for updates.
Published on Thursday, 15 January 2015 00:52
It’s like I’m already deeply infatuated
But not deep enough to get past your flesh and bones
I’d like to devour
And not the sexual kind, I mean that too, but more like the "I fuck with you mentally"
Grow beyond the stares, touches, smiles, blushes
Texts here and there
Like, fuck my brains out
Tell me some shit about me I never knew
Enlighten me of the worlds I never knew existed
Make me cry tears of pleasure because I’m just that deep into the crevices of your soul.
I wanna see the stars from your eyes
I wanna hear the cry of seagulls and the roar of the ocean from your ears
I wanna know your very reason for existing
And end up with the conclusion that you exist for me
Maybe in 10 years a "fuck you, I hate you" will appear and we'll want nothing to do with one another
But to know that we once vibed is worth the risk
I’d like to remember you when I hear my favorite song
Sip the finest wine
Blow trees of the finest bud
Sit on the edge of the prettiest lake
Make my bed of the softest sheets
I want you to never be nonexistent so that when we do grow apart it'll be easy
To find you again
I rehearsed for my funeral today
Because I figured that if expectations don’t kill me
If standards of what’s beautiful don’t kill me
Maybe a trigger finger would
I figured that a black man’s blood may not be where they think the gold is
And they’ll aim and fire shots at the womb of a black woman instead
I figured they’d want to give my glory to their daughters
And have them pretend they were meant to live longer
Have them pretend they have soil here, that runs deeper than mine
I figured they’d want to fake sow seeds with my blood
So, I figured that I’d practice dying today
And I wrote a letter to my mother...
Ma, you are the ultimate woman, and your best, has always been enough…
thank you for laughing at me, when I wore weird clothes,
It made the world less of a scary place, you’re the reason
I’m so brave…
I wrote a letter to my lover...
You made me feel so magical…and time never really mattered to me,
our connection stretched passed the long hand on a clock… I just wanted to know if all the time away would be worth it in the end…I meant it when I said I’m fucking with you, infinitely…deliberately…
I wrote a letter to my best friend...
I know I used to tell everyone that they were my favorite girl…but you really were, you were always so unconditional, you were always so strong, and you showed me exactly what friendship was…tell my godson all about me…
Because I figured that if a blast goes off
Or if I need more than mascara to seal my ‘pretty’
I’d stay ready