Monday, August 6, 2012
"With each issue we hope to not only profile great talent but share amazing stories as well," says Cyrus Webb, President of Conversations Media Group (CMG) and Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine. "In this upcoming issue we do that and then some. We show people that no matter what your profession you can be fearless and success if you have your priorities in order and are ready to put in the work necessary."
Also featured in this issue is rising stars J. Rice, Heather Powell, Matthew Gray and Trenyce as well as Gospel stars Israel Houghton, J. Long, Carl Brister, Freda Battle and Travis Malloy. Webb's conversations with Grammy-nominated artists Warren G and Trenyce.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Success is something that is so much better when you are able to share it. For recording artists Kyle and Cody Mead--twin brothers in a set of triplets--success is something they are enjoying to the fullest. Blessed with the gift of song, the guys have been making their mark not just because what they look like, but because of what they sound like. At a young age they are not just singer/songwriters but are living their dreams as R&B artists following their dreams and seeing results.
I've had the pleasure of talking with the guys on a few occasions, and as I have watched their growth and the attention and buzz around them swell, I can't help but be happy for them and their family. Managed by their father Wayne, the two are excited about all of the great feedback they are receiving about their music not just online but in the shows and events they have been fortunate to participate in.
When I was compiling the second issue of Conversations with Music I knew I had to feature the guys. It wasn't just about what they were doing for themselves, but also because of the example they are setting for so many others when it comes to following a dream.
They talked exclusively with me about the progress they are seeing, their beginnings, drive and why Two Out Of Three is here to stay.
Guys, it's great to be able to speak with you two again. You all have been doing so much, but for those who weren't able to catch our previous conversations, let's go back to the beginning. When did this all begin for you two?
K.M.: We were really young, like nine years old. Both of us have always liked to sing. Around the age of 10 we started entering competitions and were hooked It's really just taken off from there. The response just kept us going, inspiring us to move forward.
Cody, how does it feel to be following your dreams the way that you are?
C.M.: It's really a blessing. I feel like we are blessed, because alot of people don't get the opportunity to do what we are doing. That's why we both are giving it our all. There really is no better feeling in the world.
Kody, we talked on the radio show about your having each other on stage for support. How do you carve out individual time for yourself? It has to be difficult since you are together so much writing and performing.
K.M.: I do write by myself, too. Though we sound good together we are different, so we do work on our own things as well. When it comes to being on stage it's just great to know that we have each other's back.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
C.M.: I want them to feel the love, energy and freedom that we project. This is our way of talking to people and telling them how we feel.
K.M.: I agree with Cody. I love energy, and we want others to know how we feel. Once you hear us you will know that we have our own style. We are not like everyone else. More than anything we want to make them happy.
We talked about success in June when you were on the radio show. You are getting more of a taste of that success right now. Where does it go from here?
K.M.: Our goals include for the world to hear us. I want our music to be available in store everywhere.
C.M.: Yeah, I agree. I just want us to be successful. Music is my life, and I want it to be my livelihood, my way of supporting my family. I also want to continue to help and bless others,too.
Thanks to both of you for allowing me to share with our readers your story. Any advice you have for those reading this conversation and need some encouragement in their own lives?
K. M.: Never give up. Keep pushing. If anyone tries to slow you down, get away from them. What's in your heart is in your mind and that is what you should listen to. Whatever you are trying to accomplish in your own life don't ever stop. Nothing's impossible.
C.M.: That goes for me, too. No matter how you were raised, do what you love to do. Go with your heart. If people inspire you, stay around those people. If you give up now you'll never know what you could accomplish.
Find out more information about Two Out Of Three by visiting www.reverbnation.com/twooutofthree /. You can also find them Facebook and on Twitter at @ttwwoouuttooff3.
Recording artist Vassy is one independent artist that is not waiting on the major record companies to give her anything. She's creating music that is being heard around the world not just for her fans online but in major ad campaigns that include Victoria Secrets, Chevy, Nike, Diet Sprite and several televisions shows. She's not just another pretty face. Originally from Australia but now living in LA, she is proof of what hard work will bring if you don't give up---and she is embracing all that the universe has to offer her.
"I am who I am," she told me in an interview on Conversations LIVE. That has been the mantra that has kept her relevant and focused. "You just have to do you," she says. "People are either going to connect with you or not. Just authentically be yourself and the people who are supposed to be around you will come."
And come they have: lovers of her music have popped up literally around the world. "My fans have been really supported," says Vassy. "They give me a lot of love and encouragement. When you've struggled and things haven't been easy they resonate with that and they admire it. It gives them hope of what they are able to do in their own lives."
Vassy is one of those people who recognized her purpose early in her life, though she admits that didn't make it easier. "I knew from a very young age that I had something to share," she told me. "Even though I knew at a young age it still took me a while to actually do it. It's never too late. As long as you're alive you still have time. I didn't choose this. It chose me."
Her single COULD THIS BE LOVE has become one of my favorite singles of the year, and her new album BEAUTIFUL DAY is available now. When I asked Vassy about what she hopes others will learn from her story and experiences she said this: "I tell people you have to believe in yourself and go for it, having the faith that your hard work will pay off. You're going to have your low days, but if you really want something just put it out there. Write your goals, make your vision board and start making it happen. As soon as you put it out in the universe the wheels are already in motion. Don't worry about making a Plan B. Put all your energy in making Plan A work."
Stay in contact with Vassy on at website www.kissmyvassy.com. Her music is available at your favorite online retailer.
In the single I'M HIS FAVORITE you hear the ladies say "I'm His favorite", following it up with "You're His favorite", showing that Jehovah God has no picks and chooses He loves us all.
The ladies (Charity, Khristi, Vennetta and Zimika) stopped by Conversations LIVE to discuss what it has been like to not only be together for over a decade but to see how their music and their message was resonating with others.
"We're out here spreading a message of love and faithfulness," they told Webb on the show. "The way God sees us is all that matters. We truly believe we are walking in higher authority."
That walk began for them some time ago, even before they were Higher Authority. They told Webb that they met in high school and used to sing in different places before it finally dawned on them that they could take it to the next level. They had other names but it was a faith-inspired dream that finally clenched the name they have become known for, and it is a name that truly reflects who they are and what they see as their purpose. The single I'M HIS FAVORITE reminds us all that we have a place in God's heart and in His plan. It's just up to us to identify it and receive it. "God knows what He's doing," the group told Webb during the interview. "Regardless of trials that come. We are excited about what God is doing and what's to come for us. We want to be able to awaken in others that they are not alone and they are worthy."
Find out more information about Higher Authority by visiting them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/higherauthority4 and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hamusic4. The single is available on I-Tunes and Amazon.com.
Seen as the one of the first young crunk artists to emerge on the scene, his work ethic and love of music has kept him in the minds of his fans and fellow artists for years and now he is back with a new attitude towards the business and his mind on building up his empire.
As the new season of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta was gearing up, he stopped by Conversations LIVE radio show to talk with host Cyrus Webb and guest co-hosts recording artist Chamber and Real Deal Entertainment President Stanley Clark about the business, staying on his grind (or "grustle" as he likes to say) and what advice he has for other artists looking to make it.
LIL' SCRAPPY ON BEING THE BOSS:
"Music for me is a stress reliever. I get to do it, make money and run my business my way. I own my own label. Nobody is stopping me or over me trying to make me do something. To me that's a piece of paradise."
LIL' SCRAPPY ON STAYING ON THE GRIND:
"Before I took it as if it was going to always be there. I took it for granted. Today I know better. I will never stop or chill out again. I thought I could help everyone else get on and fall back, but I know now that's not the way it works. It's hard to get back up to where you were. You can't stop.
LIL' SCRAPPY ON BRANDING AND RESPECT:
"Branding everything I have going on is key. That way it's hard to forget you. When people see you working, they respect you. After all the hate, after all the black-balling, after everything that others say if you are still around and doing your thing they can't help but respect you."
LIL' SCRAPPY'S ADVICE FOR UP-AND-COMING ARTISTS:
"Make yourself as hot as possible before you try to go there (to the majors). Be yourself and be hot. It's all about originality. People get geeked over something that's real and original. Above all you need to put God first, pray and go work for your own self. That way when they (the majors) come at you you'll get paid what you're worth."
LIL' SCRAPPY ON FATHERHOOD:
"When my little girl came I knew I had to be there for her. That means I couldn't be behind no glass (jail), couldn't be in a grave. She's a little girl and she needs her daddy. When a little girl has her daddy she grows up a certain kind of way. Likewise when she doesn't have her daddy around she also grows up a certain kind of way, you feel me? Being a father made me tone down and handle my business. I have to be there to let her see how a man is supposed to treat her."
LIL' SCRAPPY ON SUCCESS:
"I put God first and thank Him for even having me in this area right now. My idea of success has definitely changed. Today I pray for happiness.
To stay up on everything that Lil' Scrappy and the Grustle Gang have going on follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/reallilscrappy or "Like" their Facebook Fan Page.
No matter who you are the world changes each and every day. With the changes we are able to learn, to grow and to expand the way we see ourselves and our contribution to those around us. For singing superstar Karyn White, change has brought about not only accolades for her gifts but opportunities for her to use the dynamic gift that is her voice to inspire others.
It was 1998 when music lovers got their first listen to Karyn through her self-titled debut album. Among the hits on the project was the single SUPERWOMAN that still resonates with women today. From there she went on to be nominated for Grammy awards and other honors, but the important thing for her was singing. It has been that way since she had sang in the church at the age of 7 or 8. As her star continued to rise and more people around the world got to know who she was and what she had to offer, Karyn White made the decision in the mid 90s to walk away from the spotlight.
Now some 17 years later she is back with not only a new outlet on the world but a clear understanding of her role in it. Her new album CARPE DIEM (Seize The Day) reminds music lovers why they fell for her before and what she has to offer today.
Talking with Karyn was almost like catching up with a good friend. I had first interviewed her in late 2011 and was grateful for her to once again take out the time this year to discuss the new album and what it's like being back in the public eye.
I began by asking her about the rise of internet and how it affects the way we get our information and our music. "I think it's wonderful," she said to me "It's great to be able to reach out and touch the world. I love social media." And that love has added to not only her old fans finding her again but new ones connecting with her as well. "It's just a blessing. You have an appreciation when you step away from something. Having the love and the support is everything, especially when you're doing it independently. This time around I am involved in every aspect of my career. Hearing from the fans and their letting me know how they feel about the music and me gives me a boost."
CARPE DIEM is a theme that for me denotes the greatness that is the gift that is today. Karyn told me that she feels the same way. "The way I approached this album and the message I wanted to share makes the whole project worthwhile," she says. "I am also fortunate that my music is affecting others. Like anything else it's hard work, but I'm for the challenge."
Along with the music Karyn has been sharing her positive affirmations online and in her new book. She realizes that she is seen as a inspired person that is able to inspire others, and that's fine with her. When fans listen to CARPE DIEM Karen told me that she wants them to think about their own possibilities. "Don't waste your time looking at yesterday or having regrets," she says. "Look for ways to create opportunities for yourself. Many would like at my being gone for 17 years and say that the odds are against me. I believe that if you fall down then you get back up. Keep dreaming and stay focused on whatever makes you happy."
Karyn White can be found at www.karynsworld.me or on Twitter @karyns_world. You can get her new project on Itunes.com or wherever you get your digital music.
We all know what it's like to not feel as though we belong. Though we might be surrounded by people who know our name there is something about feeling as though they really know YOU.
Recording artist Eric Dill knows this feeling well. Many around the world go to know him as the lead singer and face of the group The Click Five, but he was so much more than another guy in a group. Realizing that there was more for him to do and explore, Dill walked away from the group and ventured into his own world created by words that came from him. Part of that process is now seen in his single Wherever You Are. It's obvious in listening to the song and watching the video that he has not only step out on his own but stepped into his passion.
I had the opportunity to talk with Dill recently. We discussed not just the transition from being a part of a group to going solo but the music that drew him from the very beginning. "I don't know when I realized it was a part of me," he said in our interview when talking about the music, "but I knew I loved it and was drawn to it."
Growing up as a shy kid the artist that has been places many people can only dream about says that he has always been an observer of people and things. It was through music, however, that he realized that he had something to say. "It has become a way for me to go beyond talking," he explained.
One thing that impressed me about Eric Dill is his realization of the responsibility that comes with any gift. "You have to be careful," he told me. "Everyone has something to say, but you want to make sure you have something worth saying and worth sharing. Music is that universal language that transcends actual words. You harness and expand on it, pushing those boundaries. Hopefully you put it back out in a sophisticated way." That is his hope with every release.
I was interested in how it felt for Dill to go from being a part of a group to stepping out on his own in a solo career. His answer to the question fascinated me. "While apart of The Click Five I felt lonely and alone. I was not in touch with the experience. It was kind of moving in its own way. The experience was amazing on one hand and unsatisfying on another hand. We were different people. We went from nothing to front and center. At the end of the day it wasn't so much can I do it by myself. It was more about growing and moving forward in my life."
Yes, for Dill it was about the music. Ironically he shared with me that he didn't really write for the group. As soon as he left The Click Five, though, he says he started writing almost immediately. "It was a positive experience," he shared. "The way I look at it, you keep moving and doing things. What was important for me was that I needed to make a record. It became about leaving some kind of legacy. It was all about continuing the music."
So what does Eric Dill want you to know about the power of passion? "What passion will do is keep you fueled, keep you motivated and push you into those places you need to be. You don't have to know exactly where you're going with it. There should be inspiration, and if you follow it then hopefully that passion will allow you to express something great." He then breaks it down this way: "The passion allows me to do things that others might not do. My love of music keeps me in music. You have to have that courage and the desire and the rest will follow."
Stay abreast of all things related to Eric Dill at www.ericdill.com and make sure to watch his music video for "Wherever You Are" on Youtube.
I've interviewed hundreds of recording artists of all genres of music over the past nine years, but few have proved to be as engaging and enlightening as MC Yogi. He has transformed from a shy, quiet kid growing up to a man that is a force of nature all unto himself. In April of this year I had the privilege of conversing with the recording artist and Yoga Teacher as he was promoting his new single GIVE LOVE and preparing for the launch of his album PILGRIMAGE. We were able to discuss not just the beginning of his love of music but how he sees his role as a recording artist and how it affects the world.
Here are some of the highlights:
MC YOGI'S LOVE OF MUSIC
"My love of music probably started when I heard the drum beat of my mother's heart while in the womb. I've been searching for the perfect beat ever since. Life is music for me. From the sound of the birds to our conversation it's all music."
THE MARRIAGE OF YOGA AND MUSIC
"Music like Yoga brings us together and creates this common language. For me music carries you into a different place. Music and Yoga help us to overcome the short-sidedness of our own ideas about life. In that way they're like medicine."
THE ARTIST AS A VESSEL
"I believe that the music is always there. As an artist we're not creating the music. We're just opening ourselves up to being a vehicle, opening ourselves up so that the music can flow through us. When I'm performing it's important that I am getting out of my own way so that the music can flow them me. That's what any good music does: it helps you to get out of your own head, expanding our horizons."
"When you commit yourself to something that is bigger than yourself, there is a tremendous amount of energy that you didn't know you had that starts to surface. The moment you plug into that source you start to create this experience of being in awe all the time. There's nothing like it."
"The moment I committed to making my art my service, I was able to realize so much more. Our words have power. Words create worlds. That's how we build the foundation of our society."
When it comes to his single GIVE LOVE Yogi told me that it combines "the two most important things we can do in our lifetime: 'give' and 'love'. We're only here for a short time. The most important thing for us to do while we are here is to give love."
To find out more information about MC Yogi and his new project THE PRILGRIMAGE visit www.mcyogi.com.
There is something about being able to devote an entire magazine to some of the great talent that I have encountered over the past few months on Conversations LIVE.
After we announced that Conversations with Music would be its own bi-monthly publication, the response was not only overwhelming but a testament to what you believe Conversations is doing to raise the kind of dialogue that is taking place today on the radio and in print.
With this issue of the magazine I think we will do something else: show you that no matter who you are or what your gift is it has a place in the world we’re living in today. Each of the interviews in this issue showcases not only amazing talent but perseverance as well. There are artists of every genre with an underlying theme that you can’t miss: they are passionate about their craft and give their everything to it. What I hope you are able to take away from their stories is that each gift is important, and the important thing is to make sure that you don’t neglect it or take it for granted.
As always I invite you to spread the word about Conversations with Music, and feel free to add your comments about the articles here by going to www.conversationswithmusic.com. Have others you want to see featured or have comments about some of those you have read about? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.896.5616.
Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief Conversations Magazine
When I announced that Platinum-selling recording artist/American Idol winner Ruben Studdard was going to be my guest on Conversations LIVE it was immediately seen as one of my biggest interviews of the year.
I was extremely excited about the opportunity to talk with Ruben on the air. I had followed his career since the American Idol win, and I was convinced that his was a life full of experiences and lessons that my listeners and me could all learn from.
I was not disappointed.
He was in the middle of a whirlwind schedule of performances and promotion for his fifth studio album LETTERS FROM BIRMINGHAM, and the single JUNE 28TH (I'm Single) was burning up the airwaves and raising a few eyebrows as well. For me it was going to be more a discussion of the evolution he has experienced as well as the man he has become along the way.
In this conversation you will hear from the man himself as he discusses the road to stardom, what keeps him grounded and ultimately what it means for him to be a great artist.
RUBEN ON THE MUSICAL PLATFORM:
"I just wanted to sing. After you try so much, you really just want to be heard. When I finally made it on American Idol I wanted people to hear me and enjoy me. To be an inspiration is really a blessing. I most definitely can attest to what perseverance can do for you."
RUBEN ON RESPONSIBILITY AS AN ARTIST:
"My responsibility lies with my relationship with God. I wanted to make sure that I made music with integrity. The music I make is something that I could sit in a room with my grandmother and listen to with no regrets."
RUBEN ON FANS AFTER IDOL:
"It was awesome. You never really get to see or feel what is going on outside of the show. When I got home for the first time and to have people waiting on me at the airport was a shock. We as artists would be nothing without them."
RUBEN ON COMPARISONS TO LUTHER:
"It was pressure in the beginning because I never considered myself in that category. I have always put Luther on a pedastal. It was kinda heavy because it's a lot of expectation. Some expect you to produce that kind of high quality music. I now believe it's more about what you make them feel rather than my actually singing like him. That's a compliment."
RUBEN ON BEING HIMSELF:
"Your first album you don't have as much say-so as you might feel like you should. You have to go with the flow. Clive Davis helped to manuever me through my first album. The older I get and the more creative control I have I am able to do more of my own thing and have a lot more say-so. This allows me to show people who I am. I just want to be myself and sing."
"I felt in the beginning it was important to separate the two. When you listen to all the greats, though, the further they get in their career they become more transparent. That resonates with their fans. Being so private isn't as important as you think it is. It's good to keep your business to yourself, but the only way you can sing songs that really matter to people is if you've actually gone through stuff.
"I can't act like my life is perfect. It's unfair to believe that people never go through things. For me this (the single JUNE 28TH and the album LETTERS FROM BIRMINGHAM) was my way of saying I'm human. I go through stuff, and I'm able to move on."
RUBEN ON SUCCESS:
"For me now success is longevity. Alot of times people feel that every time out is not going to be just the highs. You have to sustain yourself through the highs and lows if you want to make it in this business or in any business."
Ruben told me that he wanted to take the listeners on a journey with the new album, and I believe he does just that. LETTERS FROM BIRMINGHAM is available now at your favorite outlet. You can stay in contact with Ruben on Facebook and Twitter as well as on his website www.rubenstuddard.com.
To connect with other Ruben Studdard fans "Friend" this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/velvetteddy.bearfans.