Conversations with Music Sept./Oct. 2015

Conversations with Music Sept./Oct. 2015
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Recording Artist Chelsea Crites: Reaching the Stars By Staying True to Herself

by Cyrus Webb

Country recording artist Chelsea Crites has been on one wild ride.

I first had the pleasure to chat with her in 2013, and it was obvious at that point that she was destined for greatness. In 2014 she released her EP driven by singles like "4 Wheel Drive" and "What Goes Around" and has been enjoying radio airplay as well as performing live at events throughout the year.

She slowed down enough for us to talk about the journey and the response to the single during her appearance on Conversations LIVE in May. "It's been amazing," she told me with a smile in her voice when I brought up the response to "4 Wheel Drive". "That's what I really wanted: a single that people could respond well to.  I'm really happy about that."

The success of the single is not just from the fans that have been with her since the beginning. Because of her many appearances and the power of word of mouth new listeners have jumped on the bandwagon as well. "It's awesome to look back and see how much it's grown," Chelsea says. "I've met so many new people.  I absolutely love what I'm doing."

This passion for music began some time ago. "My mom entered me in a talent show in my hometown at my elementary school," she relates. "I got the courage to do it and sang Patsy Cline's "Crazy"." After seeing the crowd response she fell in love with the experience. "I haven't stopped since," Chelsea says.

Since she mentioned her mom I wanted to know how much having the support of her mother has benefited her career. "It's absolutely great to have someone like that in your corner," she explains, "someone you can trust to be there for you and share the excitement with you. It makes it more special."

Chelsea also says her family and friends have been instrumental in helping her stay grounded as well. "I'm a super down-to-earth person, and I never want to change.  I just love being myself, and I think that's important for someone to be."

With over 10k supporters joining her on Facebook alone, it is obvious that others are gravitating to the rising star as well. One of the reasons she believes she has had this type of following is that she has learned to be comfortable just by being herself.

"When I first started out I would compare myself a lot to other artists," she says. "I looked up to so many people, then it really hit a point in my life when I realized if I'm like someone else that doesn't set me apart from anybody. It triggered something in me to be who I was. If I can make it with who I am it makes me unique. I think everybody should be their own person because that is what makes them special. That makes you who you are."

The songs on her EP mirror that sentiment. Chelsea says it relates to who she is and where she has been in her life. Though she wanted to release it before now the saying "Quality has no important time" reminded her that it was best to wait until it was ready. It's available on itunes and you can stay connected with Chelsea through her Facebook page and on Twitter at @chelseacrites as well as her website www.chelseacrites.com.

REVIEW: Kalenna's SPACE AND TIME reminds us absence can make the heart grow fonder

by Cyrus Webb

Musically it seems as though Kalenna can do no wrong.

Though many have focused on her emotional ride as played out on the current season of VH1's hit television show LOVE AND HIP HOP, we have to remember that she actually DOES SING---and does so well.  If anyone had any doubt then SPACE AND TIME is just the reminder that you need.

The single is seductive in its beat and the way Kalenna delivers the message of the song. When things in relationships don't seem to be going well, sometimes those two things---SPACE AND TIME---are just what you need to reevaluate where you are, what you want and what you're willing to do in order to get it.

"Maybe we need time to get back together," Kalenna sings. "We've been fighting all day. If it's meant to be then we will be together, forever always." How do you know what's meant for you? "Space and time, always makes the heart grow fonder. Space and time, always make the love last longer. Space and time, say what's really on your mind. Space and time, somehow makes the heart grow fonder."

Kalenna shows that in order for any relationship to work, the two have to be in it equally. "Pray for me," she sings, "and I'll pray for you. Fight for me, and I'll fight for you. Stay with me, and I'll stay with you."

This is just the kind of song men and women can take in and jam to, knowing they have been there at one time or another---or may find it to be just the song to address what they are experiencing right now. Either way SPACE AND TIME delivers a jam just in time for the summer wind-down, and Kalenna shows why talent in the end always proves itself.

Get SPACE AND TIME for yourself on Amazon here. Stay connected with Kalenna on Facebook and Twitter for more appearance and music updates.

KELLY PRICE: Recognizing Her Time to Shine In Life

by Cyrus Webb

For over a decade recording artist Kelly Price has been thrilling music lovers with her soulful songs, and audiences of all ages and walks of life have embraced her messages, her vocal ability and the way she seems to have her finger on the pulse of what everyone is thinking and feeling. Whether you're talking about her debut album SOUL OF A WOMAN or follow-ups like MIRROR MIRROR and KELLY you can always trust that she is going to give you a project that is full of heart and emotion---and that is why we love her.

In 2014 Kelly released her project SING PRAY LOVE VOL. 1: SING, and once again we were given a look into not just her own life but songs that spoke to our hearts as well. With the single "It's My Time" the mood is set for you to claim the moment as yours. "It's my time to rise," she sings. "It's my time to shine. It's my time to live. It's my time to fly. It's my time." Thanks to Two Rs Entertainment's Ra-Fael Blanco I got a chance to talk with Kelly about her career and why the message of timing we all should embrace.

KELLY PRICE ON THE RESPONSE FROM HER FANS TO HER MUSIC AND CAREER:
"It's very humbling. I will say that as connected as they feel they are to me I feel I am just as connected with them. Most of the stories that I tell in my music if they aren't my own personal experiences they are the ones of those closest to me. When I see people talk about what they are listening to affects them, it makes me feel as though I'm tapped in and connected. It really proves something that I believed since I was a young girl: that music is universal and one of the few things that transcends any difference. The heart is the heart. As humans we all experience the same kinds of things even if it's not the same exact things. Those are common to the human experience."

KELLY PRICE ON THE POWER OF MUSIC IN HER LIFE:
"I wanted to be an inspiration to others. What you hear the most is ultimately what you believe. I had to be reprogramed to believe that I could be a successful artist, because I had heard so much that I couldn't be one. My husband told me 'You can do this. You're the best at what you do.' I prayed that I would be, and I wanted to be. Music has been such a medicine for me. It's what I went to no matter what was going on. It's the one thing that I can go to no matter what I am feeling, and it can shift me. I wanted to be that person to share that with others. I wanted to do for people with music what music has done for me my whole life."

KELLY PRICE ON TIMING:
"I think that when you are raised in a certain culture that tells you that you can't succeed at a certain level that gets to you and it sticks to you. Some will say that unless someone endorses you that you can't be anything. The truth of the matter is that we have more to say about whether we are successful than most people believe. If you decide you are going to be a success and that no is not an answer for you, that failure is not an option, and that I am going to win because I refuse to lose... If you can deal with the ugliness of the process, then what comes out on the other side is beautiful. If we can reprogram ourselves to know it can be our time and we're not going to have it be anything else, you will see more success than failure."

KELLY PRICE'S ADVICE TO YOU:
"It's your time. Go for it. It's time to live. It's time to shine. I believe that, and I want you to as well. The worst thing you could do with the gift of life is not live it."

Kelly Price's SING PRAY LOVE VOL. 1: SING is available wherever you get your favorite music worldwide. Stay connected with her through Facebook at www.facebook.com/kellypricefans, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kellyprice4real and through her website www.kellyprice.com.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Brooke Adams shows the Importance of FIGHTING in spite of the world's troubles

by Cyrus Webb

When it seems as though everything is going wrong, we need reminders that there is still good that exists and we can be a part of the change.

In Brooke Adams's new single STILL FIGHTING it reminds us that just as evil seems to be taking over we have to still fight for what is right. Addressing the song to all of us, Brooke asks a series of questions: "What are we gonna do? Can we make a change?" She then delivers this powerful answer: "Together we can stop the pain. There's so much we can do. We can make a change... Make this home a better place."

This reminds us that to fight for the good is a choice, and one that we have to make if we want to see things turn around. "All across the world there's so much going on," she acknowledges, "but we keep fighting."

Apathy is not an option. In fact, it is really a choice to allow the darkness to win. To bring this point home Brooke asks this important question: "What are we waiting for? If we don't help one another..look out for each other... We must stand up for what's right. If we don't stand up for what's right there will never be a change. Together we can turn the page."

This great anthem is a reminder that change can come, but only if you are willing to do the work. "We have to take control," Brooke says, and that decision begins right now.

Get STILL FIGHTING on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3SI5V351G3464/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm. Stay connected with Brooke through her website at http://www.brookeadamsmusicofficial.com and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/brooke_adams_.

REVIEW: Conya Doss' SEVEN is a complete musical treasure for the ears

by Cyrus Webb

For those who look at the number 7 as a sign of completeness soulful artist Conya Doss' newest musical offering is well-named.

Full of songs that remind her loyal fans as to why she is a go-to for great music and powerful messages of love, this project from beginning to end is about the importance of loving yourself and not allowing yourself to settle for anything else than the best for you.

Stand out singles like NO STRONGER LOVE, LOVE'S NOT and BEAUTIFUL make it a project that music lovers will be drawn to because of the simplicity of the messages but also the power of the words. That is what makes Conya a true rarity: she is the total package of beauty, talent and emotion. What more could you look for in an artist?

There are very few features on this project, but that again keeps you focused on the power of Conya's voice and the picture she paints with each and every verse. She's a masterful musical storyteller, and all you have to do is press play and SEVEN allows you to just settle in for the journey as it unfolds.

Whether you have followed her career over the years or are just getting your first glimpse at this storyteller you won't be disappointed. SEVEN gives you everything you could want from an album, and Conya Doss delivers everything you expect from an artist.

Get SEVEN on Amazon. You can stay connected with Conya Doss online at www.conyadoss.com.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

R&B Singer Ty Lyricz Steps Up His Game with CURRENT SITUATIONS

There comes a point when you know that it's now or never when it comes to pursuing your passion in life, and for Mississippi's own Ty Lyricz he is showing that there's no time like the present in giving the world his best. His new project CURRENT SITUATIONS (Suthern Dynasti) raises the bar in good R&B, and shows that good music is good music regardless of where it comes from.

Released for free download on DatPiff.com the project is seven tracks that is sure to have you hitting repeat time and again, showcasing a message of love, the challenges of relationships and just having a good time. The ladies willl definitely find something they can jam to, but the guys will appreciate the words that Ty Lyricz says, knowing they might find themselves having to repeat them at some point.

In CALL TYRONE we get the view of a man that is trying to show a woman she deserves more. "Girl I know you gave a man but tell me if you need a friend," Ty says. "We can hit the movies up, 'cause that's how people fall in love. Baby I know you need a friend, someone to talk to when he be trippin'. I'll be the friend you need. Call Tyrone whenever you need me you know how to pick up the phone. When your man be trippin' I'm that dude that you can call on. Whenever you need somebody to talk to I'll be that man to take that stress off you..."

The track TONIGHT is a grown and sexy look at that special night with that lady in your life. "Tonight is the night and it's gonna be perfect. Promise Imma make it all worth it. Girl I'm only here for one purpose and that's to give you all of my service... So we gonna do it all night, and it's gonna be the best night of your life."

Tracks like I'M WRONG and FORTUNE TELLER are those go-to tracks when you know you've messed up---and guys, we know those days come more than we would like to admit. Though I'M WRONG gives hints that maybe she will take you back, FORTUNE TELLER seems to signal that she's not willing to go down the same road again. "I broke your heart into a million different pieces," Ty sings, "and then I lied to you. I didn't have a reason. That was me being a dog, and now you won't even accept any of my calls. How do I apologize for the same thing every single time?" He then concludes: "She knows exactly what's coming next. She mad at me, and I haven't done it yet. She must be a fortune teller, and she don't see the future getting better."

Don't worry: CURRENT SITUATIONS ends on a fun note with NIGHT CLUB,a single Conversations LIVE had the pleasure of introducing on the air prior to the project's release.

I have to say from beginning to end this is a solid project that not only shows Ty Lyricz abilities as an artist but his ability to draw you in as well. Make sure to get CURRENT SITUATIONS at www.tinyurl.com/tylyriczproject, and take a moment to rate it once you've had the chance to enjoy.

Stay connected with Ty Lyricz online at www.facebook.com/ty.lyricz and www.twitter.com/therealtylyricz.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Model/Recording Artist Don Benjamin Surprises, Teaches with Doin' It Well

by Cyrus Webb

(Note: Listen to Don Benjamin on Conversations LIVE radio show here. )

Anyone who dismisses Don Benjamin as another pretty boy trying to make a career with music is making a big mistake.

He may have made his mark in the world through modeling and with his looks, but there is more to him than meets the eye.

The single he released this summer DON' IT WELL (featuring Elijah Blake) is proof not only of his skills on the mic but his ability to send an important message to men and women alike: don't sell yourself short.

Guys take note: Don is showing you how to make a woman feel special by celebrating all that she is. "I know you tired of being disrespected," he raps, "tired of feeling disconnected." Speaking of her previous relationships that left her lacking he adds" "The sex is cool but the intellect is missing."

That's where Don make his case. "Let me get up in your mental, see where your head at. See where you headed in life not where your bed at." Though he finds her physically attractive he wants her to know that he wants and expects more from her. "So quick to throw that kit kat," he raps, "but give that kit kat a break we'll sit and chit chat."

Later on in the track Don properly addresses her physically, but he wants that special lady to know right now there's more on his mind. "Don't move too fast," he says. "Harder to hold a convo than to get some easy ass."

That's when we get to Don's motives. "I'm trying to take you higher. I know what you need." And guys Don shows we have to have more to offer than just looks and skills in the bedroom. "I'm gonna show you what a man is made of," he proclaims. "Self sufficient. Independent. Bills all paid up... Ain't running no game," he says. "In love with your brain. You are visually stunning, mentally too."

DOIN' IT WELL is the perfect song to show that special someone you love them for more than what they look like. You love them for them.

Get DOIN' IT WELL on Amazon today here. Stay in touch with Don online at www.iamdonbenjamin.com.

R&B Group Jagged Edge Gives Music Lovers HOPE with New Project

by Cyrus Webb

They are one of those groups that have given the world songs that bring back memories, relationships and situations you will never forget. For almost 20 years Jagged Edge has been thrilling music lovers and creating anthems that are sure to be classics for lovers of R&B for quite sometime. There is something about JE that keeps the fans coming back.

Now Brian, Brandon, Kyle and Richard Wingo are back on the airwaves and on stage with new music---JE Heartbreak II---giving HOPE to those who missed them and new listeners who are discovering them for the first time.

I talked with the group about the love of the music, their brotherhood and why fans can't seem to get enough of them.

JAGGED EDGE ON THE RESPONSE TO THE SINGLE HOPE: "It was amazing. We haven't put out an album in a minute, and seeing the fans respond by saying they missed us means a lot. When you get that kind of energy from your fans it makes you feel so blessed. We know we are going to gain new fans as well so we have really felt overwhelmed by the love."

JAGGED EDGE ON THE EXPECTATION OF THEIR RETURN: "We embrace that expectation. Our fans expect the best from us because they feel like they have gotten that from us in the past. Our best is all we want to give both for them and for ourselves."

JAGGED EDGE ON THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA: "When you're in this business you look for any kind of vehicle that can put your music out to the masses. Social media makes it so much more accessible. There are so many things you can do as an artist to reach out to your fans. It provides content to the fans and opportunities for the artists, so it's a win-win."

JAGGED EDGE ON THEIR LONGEVITY TOGETHER: "We understand and respect each other. A lot of groups have came and went.  From day one we have been four brothers. Each one of us have had our back up against the wall, and the others have been there. We protect each other. Everybody has a role, and nobody plays that role begrudgingly. At the end of the day we love what we do, we love the music and we love our fans."

JAGGED EDGE ON RELATABILITY: "The goal is always to be able to get a reaction out of that woman who is listening to our music but you want to be able to speak for that brother, too. That's been our formula from day one, and we're still sticking to it."

JAGGED EDGE'S ADVICE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF ARTISTS: "Keep God first. Don't be afraid of the work, because it's not easy...but it's worth it. Hard work pays off. Try to be original. Try to stand out. Love what you do, and don't get it in for the wrong reason."

Without a doubt if anyone can give solid advice for anyone pursuing their passion or dream it would be the men of Jagged Edge. Stay connected with the group, the music and upcoming appearances at www.jeheartbreak.com. You can also find them through social media at www.twitter.com/official_je and  www.facebook.com/theofficialje. The new album JE HEARTBREAK II is available wherever you buy your music online. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Wolf Critton: Channeling His Musical Gift to Be Heard By the World

by Cyrus Webb

Singer. Songwriter. Musician. These are just some of the ways that Wolf Critton has made his presence known, but there is so much more to the man than those three titles can articulate.

I've had the opportunity to interview Wolf a few times for Conversations, and each time he has reached another level of professional success but also appreciation for the life that he is able to enjoy.

This year alone he has enjoyed the success of singles like "China Doll" and "Iraq" as well as been sponsored by Luna Guitars new Vista Wolf guitar. Throughout it all Wolf has taken his fans along for the ride---and they have responded through his live performances and online presence.

During my initial conversation with Critton he shared that when it comes to music and the power it has it is "Something bigger than myself." What initially came out of a place of hurt and betrayal, has led him to finding a part of himself he didn't know existed. He quickly learned that whether he was playing music for his fellow soldiers while in Iraq or an audience that had paid to see him perform, the thing they all had in common was the connection they felt to his songs. "I know that if you want to help people they have to be able to relate to you," he says. That is what he believes is happening with his music today. "This is a passion of mine that is helping people."

When it comes to a song like "Iraq" Wolf told me it was a "breath of fresh air for me to let this song out." Why? Well in interviews he was always asked what was it like being in Iraq. For him it was difficult to explain. "There are certain things as an artist that are kind of hard to put into words but are easier to sing," he says. That is exactly what the song was for him, a way to not just tell his story but that of the Iraqi people, too.

The photos from the events are not just a show of the support but the exchange of energy that takes place between Wolf and his fans. Though he admits its nice to see the crowds, there is more to the experience than that. "The motivation isn't the crowd," he explained. "It's the music that I'm singing." He also feels as though the photos serve another purpose when it comes to chronicling his journey. "Just as truthful as my music is about my life I want what people see about me to be just as truthful."

Everyday for Wolf is an adventure, and he is excited to see what the future holds. No matter what, though, look for him to continue to showcase his gift of music with the world, knowing that if only one person is inspired by it he has done his job.

Make sure to stay in touch with Wolf Critton at www.wolfcritton.com and on social media through www.facebook.com/wolfcritton1 and www.twitter.com/wolfcritt.(photos seen in this article were provided by Wolf Critton.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

#ThrowbackThursday Woodson: Making Music That Lasts Forever

I first interviewed Woodson Michel in 2012. Today we confirmed that he will be returning to #ConversationsLIVE on Sunday, January 18th @ 5:30p.m. et (4:30p.m. ct/2:30p.m. pt) with his new single. Below you will find his feature in #ConversationsMag that ran in Dec. 2012. You can hear our first radio interview together here.


by Cyrus Webb

When I heard recording artist Woodson's single LET ME BE I knew that this was a song that men and women would make one of their favorites of the year. The message is clear: No matter what you've been through in previous relationships, don't be afraid to give another guy a chance.

If you are looking for music and a story that is worth your time, then my conversation with Woodson will interest you. He has gone from being literally in the background of music to taking the mic and his career in his hands, allowing his dedication to the craft to lead him. Talk about living life unafraid. Here is an example of what you can do when you are willing to give your all.

"To get to where you want to go you have to go through your ups and down," Woodson told me. "When you pay your dues you are going to be able to reap the rewards." And the rewards have included being able to share his music during live performances and the online audience he is garnering. "For me every song is a different message, depending on what I'm feeling." That is what he believes is the key to how he is able to cross-over to different types of music lovers.

There was a time, though, when Woodson's voice was not to be heard. "I knew I had been given this gift in 2005," he says. "I came out of college and started a group, but I was the back-up guy and wasn't really serious. Over time, though, I made the decision that we were going to give it our all. It took me time to grow and get prepared. Now I'm in a place where I am comfortable saying I can see myself doing this forever."

Like everyone else, Woodson has had to wrestle with the demons that come from being in the public eye. "Fear is everywhere," he says. "You have to attack your fear and conquer it. People aren't going to like everything that you do. I'm trying to give you an expression of myself. Because I am coming from a real place, I know the fans are going to get my point."

Since it is now just built around him, there is also the pressure that comes with being out front. "Everything now is about the total package. Branding is going to get you where you need to be. You have to do more than just look good. Likewise you have to be able to bring more to the table than the singing."

I was curious as to how his idea of success has changed during his growth in the business. "For me success is something that can come in stages.," he told me. "Getting the song (Let Me Be) done is a success. Once you start something you don't want to quit. It's going to take a lot of time and energy. If you are doing your part, though, it will come to you."

Woodson's advice to you: "Believe in yourself and pursue what you love with a true intent. If you can do that then it will come."

His single LET ME BE is available now on Amazon.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @IAmWoodson and check out his page on Facebook www.facebook.com/woodsonmusic.