Conversations with Music Special Edition

Conversations with Music Special Edition

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

J. Rice: Creating Music Listeners Can Feel

by Cyrus Webb

There are a lot of recording artists out there that sing, but not all of them can make you feel something in the process. J. Rice is one of those that can.

With over 26 million views of his videos on Youtube, he is definitely enjoying the attention that artists like him want when it comes to something that they love. What really makes it impressive, however, is that he is actually sharing something genuine along the way. 

When I was introduced to his new sing "Thank You For The Broken Heart", it was obvious that he was not only talented but had something that was sure to strike a chord with music lovers of all genres. After reaching out to his camp I was able to get an interview with him on Conversations LIVE, and it was there that we had a chance to talk about the road he has traveled, what inspires him and what he has learned that he now shares with others.

"Music has showed me how big the world is. Growing up in the U. S. you sometimes think that is it. When you begin to hear from other places you realize how small where you are  when compared to the rest of the world. It's really a cool feeling to hear from someone in the Philippines and from people who can connect with lyrics that I wrote and feelings I felt. If it helps them in some way that's even better."

"I just knew I wanted to do it, and I was going to do whatever it took. After high school I started writing with a friend of mine. I wasn't excited about college. I knew it was not what I was passionate about, so I made a decision to focus fully on music. Took them (my parents) a while to come around and believe that I didn't make a mistake. They believed in me. That was a hard decision, but I'm glad I made it."

"So excited that it can work. It definitely makes the reward sweeter. I tell everyone find what you're passionate about and go after it. It's hard to make those decisions sometimes when you have an opportunity put in front of you and you don't know if it's the right one. The important thing is to keep moving on. You have to remember that if you want something to happen you have to make it happen on your own. I'm not going to be the reason why I fail or don't make it."

"My mom taught me a lot of lessons growing up. Number 1 was to stay humble, never expect things to be given to you. If you want something you have to work for it.

"I never craved to be a super star. My main goal was just to be able to live off of music and be happy.  I believe what I'm saying and singing about, and people can feel that. I want to be able to write songs that help people heal."

It's difficult not to talk with J. Rice and not get excited about the possibilities that life has to offer. Before ending our conversation I asked him for his final words of encouragement for anyone with a dream. His answer? "Just do it. Start today. There is nothing that you're going to regret if you're passionate about something. Everyone has some kind of talent. It might take some time in your life to find it, but once you do you'll know. If you have to make some sacrifices along the way, that's the price you have to pay." 

I couldn't have said it better myself.

J. Rice's single THANK YOU FOR THE BROKEN HEART is available for you wherever you purchase your music. Stay in contact with him on Facebook and Twitter ( You can also visit his Youtube channel at .

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eliza Smith: Using Music to Replace Fear with Faith

by Cyrus Webb

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to cause us to look at our lives and where we are in the world a little differently. That was surely the case for Eliza Smith.

Singing was something she loved and with her brother as her biggest cheerleader she had made a goal of pursuing it. With he passed away at the age of 17 Eliza knew that she had to keep going not just for herself but for his memory and all that he was to continue as well.

"It's been absolutely amazing," Eliza told me during our conversation when I asked her about what it has been like to share her musical gift with the world. "For me this is what I am meant to do." She went on to say that she knew this was always what she was meant to do, and for the past ten years she has been doing just that.

When talking about her brother and the impact he had on her career as a musician, it is obvious the two are intertwined. Forming a non- profit organization called the “Ride Free Community Association.” Eliza has put on several benefit concerts in a span of the past few years to raise money to build a skate park on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, the very place where her brother and her spent hours skateboarding. "He was supportive of the music I made," she told me. "That is why I am so dedicated. Giving up on music would be like I was giving up on him."

After listening to some of Eliza's music I told her I felt as though she was in a unique position to capture the emotions of those who would hear her. "When I write something it's personal, but you want to be able to touch people and get them to relate to it," she told me. "If I can do that for people in any way I think my job (as an artist) is done."

Music is something special for Eliza. "This isn't what I do," she says. "It's who I am. If I try to be somebody I'm not it's not going to work. I realized that I'm at my best when I am just being myself."

Social media had done wonders for her journey to share her music with the world as well. "The way the world works now is the internet," she says. "The majority of the opportunities I have gotten have been because of my constantly promoting myself." The worldwide web has been the centerpiece of that promotion.

The lesson? "You have to believe in yourself," Eliza says to anyone with a dream or a vision. "No matter what, you are going to have doubters. For years I felt I was fighting for everything.  All I had was myself. Who knows where I'd be if I had given up. If this is something you really want to do, you have to find out every aspect around it." 

Stay in contact with Eliza Smith on Twitter at @elizasmithmusic. To discover her music and what's coming up for her visit

The Reintroduction of Willie Taylor

by Cyrus Webb

Music lovers around the world got to first know Willie Taylor with the formation of the R&B group Day 26 in August 2007, but the music that was burning inside of him began long before the reality show that introduced him and the group. It was something that was always meant to come out.

Now as a solo artist with two successful mixtapes under his belt (SEXTAPE and THE REINTRODUCTION OF WILLIE TAYLOR) the man who is Willie Taylor is allowing the music and passion he has to speak for him.

Over the past few years I have interviewed Willie a total of four times. One thing that has always struck me was his ability to not only think for himself but make the case for his career better than anyone else could. At a time when popular music is not always good music, he has managed to give his fans a combination of both.

WILLIE TAYLOR ON THE LOVE OF HIS FANS: "It is still amazing to me how they have always been there, from Day 26 to now when I am doing my own thing. They are the people who keep me going. Just to know that they rock with me means alot.  It just feels great to have their support."

WILLIE TAYLOR ON HIS INTRODUCTION: "This is my time to let you know exactly who I am as an individual. When you listen to my music I want you to be able to say 'I know exactly where he's at. I understand.' This my being able to make a clean slate and let my words and talent speak for me.I'm a fan of my music first. I expect everyone else will love it the way I do."

WILLIE TAYLOR ON WHAT KEEPS HIM GOING: "I have so much more to give. Yes, I'm completely excited about the success I have had up to this point, and I could have stopped...but that's not me. When I do stop I want to have really made my mark on music. When I am long gone I want people to be singing my music and remember who I am. The truth is I can't stop until I give them (my fans) all that I got."

 "I have an insane work ethic and an incredible drive. I never see myself failing so I never fail. It's like I really believe I'm going to win. Once that's in my mind I don't do anything that won't allow me to win. I always see myself winning."

WILLIE TAYLOR ON THE GIFT: "I want people to know the gift. I am a true believer in God and a true artist. My work ethic will outdo my talent any day. I'm a talented individual, but I work so hard. That's why I I am not going to stop. I'm a believer in myself, and I want you all to believe in me as well. I'm a well rounded artist and business man. I want to be a household name.  I want you to say that the name Willie Taylor means something That's what I'm working towards. "

THE REINTRODUCTION OF WILLIE TAYLOR includes the hit songs INSTAGRAM YA BODY featuring Jeremih, NOT MINE featuring Dondria and the new single OVER featuring Tank". I asked Willie what it is like to have artists that he respects co-signing his career by appearing on his new project. "It's humbling to me," he says. "The fact that they believe in me and the music says a lot. It's all love."

No matter what he does musically moving forward Willie Taylor is definitely going to be making his mark on the industry. As his star continues to rise he gives this advice for those artists coming up after him: "When it comes to music I want you to stay true to yourself. Don't feel like you have to follow the trends. Remember you have to love it first. When you love it your audience will love it. Most of all trust in God and work hard. Make sure you put your all into it."

Stay in contact with Willie through his Twitter page at as well as his label Noivak Music website

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Young Dinero:Staying True to the Grind & Himself

by Cyrus Webb

Over the past year I have interviewed over 200 recording artists on Conversations LIVE the radio show and for Conversations Magazine and few have the drive, determination and passion of Ice Age recording artist Young Dinero.

From the first time I spoke with him you could tell that he was excited not just for the success he was garnering for his music but just to be doing what he loved so much.

When I asked him about the way his career has taken off, Young Dinero was humble in his response. "It's like a blessing," he told me. "It's all about hard work and dedication. I'm just staying focused and trying to make good music."

The seriousness he has for music began some 2 1/2 years ago . "That's when I really began taking music seriously," he says "I wanted the world to hear me and know who I was. I wanted them to get something real and to show that there are some young, smart rappers out there who are doing something positive."

Without a doubt Young Dinero is showing others that you can succeed at your dreams, but it's not just about getting another hit. He wants to give something to those who listen as well. "When I get in the booth I look to create something that others can be motivated by,"he says. And motivating people is something that he does quite well. Either through his Twitter page or videos on Youtube he is never more than a social media site away.

Those fans are not just listening to Young Dinero and following his career. He is listening to them as well, and that has provided it's own inspiration. "When I hear back from the fans it let's me know I am on the right path," he told me. "Because they are hearing it from me they are getting to know who the real Young Dinero is."

Talking about things being "real", when I asked the artist what it was like to be a part of the Ice Age family he told me "it's crazy" and "epic". "I have always been a fan of Mike Jones," Young Dinero told me. "Mike saw my grind," and that grind has led to his being a part of one of the South's most notable record labels.

When asked what advice he has for those artists coming up the ranks or anyone with a dream, Young Dinero says this: "Don't be afraid to be yourself."

Keep up with Young Dinero and his project FACE YOUR FEARS on Twitter at and on Youtube at You can also follow Ice Age on Twitter at and Mike Jones at