Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lloyd Doing His Grown Man Thang

Lloyd A Man Revealed
By Jessica LaShawn in Stereo Ave

Lloyd grasped the title of sexy innovative r and b crooner with the release of his debut album Southside. Now at the age of 21 he has resurfaced with a more mature and thought provoking sound with his new album Street Love. Focused and determined to bring the love back to hip hop and r and b, this Atlanta native reaches out to his audience with a heart felt compilation of personal experiences that all ears can relate to. His sweet and savory voice is a constant on the airwaves currently with his undeniable power charged single featuring lil Wayne affectionately titled “You”. I had the privileged of interviewing Lloyd as he revealed the passionate side of man revealed.

JL: How did you pick which single best represents the structure of your new album?
L: I pretty much just sit in a room and blast my music over and over again to see if I still feel the same way as when I first heard it. I do that because once you release a single it is going to be played constantly and you want to make sure it has the right effect on people. You don't want people to constantly hear your song and say I'm tired of this song already. I want to make sure that it is something that you can get into and stay into.

JL: How if any has your subject manner changed and or matured during the development of this project?
L: Well I am 21 now so I'm not a little boy. I talk about real life situations that I go through.
JL: How do you determine which artist add the flavor you envision for a song for a collaborative effort?
L: I am a person that listens to music often because it is something that I love. So of my favorite artist I have a certain few that have a certain quality about them that just does something to me. Music is supposed to make you feel something so when it comes to picking the people I want to work with I tend to go with the individuals that I feel will bring a certain something to the table. I had to chose individuals that brought the same energy I try to exude. SO the people that are on my album are people I listen to a lot and respect in this industry game. They brought a particular element to my record by just being themselves. I am a real cat and I’m talking about real issues so I gotta work with real people to make my music touch the way I want it to. Its gotta be pure.

JL: What struggles or challenges did you face while working to complete this new compilation of music?
L: Making music is a struggle in general or within itself. A lot of people don’t realize that that being an artist isn’t simple. I have to constantly find ways to show how I am or have grown and my album has to have that evolved feel. Regular people just grow up and get wiser without people asking them hey how have you changed and what have you learned since “Southside” or whatever. I need to be comfortable talking about some of my private issues that I go through so that the people listening and I’m around can see. That is what music is all about. This album was pretty much about capturing all the stuff I’ve been going through or people I know, dealing with the situation, and moving on. I gotta write about that, sing about that, after I’ve lived it. That’s the challenge putting the experience into words over the right beat. You gotta find people that relate to you, respect your craft and their own and then you just gotta go full speed ahead.

JL: Describe just who "Lloyd" is on this new album and what message are you trying to get across to your audience?
L: Lloyd is a singer that goes through the same everyday shit that regular people go through. I’m real and normal just like you but I might be recognized a little more. I’m still Lloy don’t get it twisted. I work, I struggle, I have dreams, I get pissed, I’m real and the sooner people are able to understand that the better off things will be. I want people to respect me for my willingness to talk about what I’m going through. I think that I did a good job capturing reality and keeping it real. Love aint easy, no type of relationship is. You constantly gotta sacrifice and that is the thing that people stay away from doing. When you are involved with someone everything is about more than you as a matter of fact you lose you. It is like that when I have a girlfriend and its like that when I‘m working. I wanna sleep I cant because I have interviews. My girl wants to go get something to eat I cant because I have a photo shoot. Life is all about giving and taking. That’s what I’m singing about that is what I living.
JL: How do you plan to use your fame to give back to those in need?
L: It is not always about money. I go and I give myself and that is worth more than money. I am a living example that dreams come true. If ya wanna break into this business then my knowledge will help you out. That realness, rawness, one on one is priceless and that is what I am about. I visit schools, when I am out and about I stop and talk to the people. I don’t want people saying that Lloyd is stuck on himself I want them to say man meeting him was a good experience. You can encourage people like that. That is what I do When I do talk to people I try to emphasize the fact that humanity and respect for life are what we all need to strive for.
JL: This is an emotionally draining industry, have you ever developed a sense of doubt about your talent and or your music? If so how do you deal with it?
L: You can not doubt your self but your only human. It’s all about knowing that you broke into this business for a reason and bank on that. You don’t have room and time to doubt just thank God and take advantage while you can.
JL: What is the most personally challenging aspect of your profession?
L: Its all a personal challenge because its such a revealing industry. Everybody wants to know what is going on in your life. The trick is try and keep as much of your life your own as possible. For some reason people think that you lose your sense of being a person once your first single drops. They think you become a vocal superman.
JL: How do you feel that the education system can incorporate popular music and culture into its curriculum?
L: I think that you gotta do what you gotta do to keep folks interested and keep learning techniques fresh. I agree with it because when I was in school it benefited me. I was able to grow musically and socially based on people fusing the two elements together. Stuff like that is serious for kids today. I’m glad people finally noticed what a huge affect music has on the youth.
JL: So you do agree that such a movement is necessary?
L: Yes it is necessary and it will really help kids have an incentive to learn and come to school.
JL: If you could organize an event to motivate youth to vote in the upcoming election, what would it be?
L: I would do something like what David Banner did with Heal The Hood. That was a good idea. Its all about brining people together under the umbrella of some good old music. That right there can unite anyone. It takes us away from the things that segregate us and action outlines what bonds us which is the fact that we are all human, well I hope we are (laughing). You wonder about some people that have control over the way the government and society runs.
JL: What song on your album best resembles what is going on in society currently?
L: I gotta say Certified because I have grown and got my study on about how to be and embrace growing into a man. Now I did my homework and I’m officially certified. Its for the ladies but more so myself. I’m proud of growing older and wiser. I know I have no choice but to do that but it’s a difficult transition. I’m thankful though.

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Keith Robinsons Reality

Keith Robinson has refreshed his presence on the entertainment scene with his powerful performance within the critically acclaimed DreamGirls. Now with an immeasurable fan base of intrigued and faithful women, he has re-launched his career as a professional crooner with the release of his single “The One” which is followed by the flavorful “Stages” which talks about the struggle between life’s trials and decision making.

Facing many trials stemming from his quest to be seen as a serious performer after basking in the success of his musical big screen escapade, he concentrates on establishing himself as a “multifaceted entrepreneur undergoing a personal evolution.” Robinson states that he tries to “make music that people can relate to and hopefully reproduce to.” While suggesting that music is “the most powerful aphrodisiac known to mankind outside of the idea of being in love with the thought of being in love.”

Keith’s voice is powerful and packs a lot of feeling that invokes a listener to a more intimate level of emotional adventure. Within the smooth and sensual song “Thirsty” Keith explores the world of ultimate seduction over a jazz infused melody that abducts a listener and forces them to visualize themselves vicariously living through Keith’s lyrics. The air of the song incarcerates the beat and solidifies it as a potential classic while the lyrics exert an immense amount of energy to compete on the same level as the seductive music. The lyrics fail unfortunately and ultimately dilute the power of the song.

After spending time talking about the importance of family and how they serve as his major driving force in such an unpredictable field, Robinson states that his “family is truly supportive of his career because they have talent as well individually and encourages their children to use their talents.” Its all about family, love, and the quest to fulfill ones dreams when it comes down to this fellow as he expresses that “ones power and drive is what gives a person the passion they will need in order to start off trying, fight to stay in the game, and eventually accomplish something. You have got to just take advantage of life and live.”

Still within his bountiful twenties, this masterful gentleman hopes to replenish the presence of soul within the ever-changing structure of the R and B musical hemisphere. Actively involved with his community, he embraces his family values, talent, and fame by reaching out to his hometowns people and spreading words of encouragement as often as he can. Robinsons says that “its just my way of sewing seeds within every city that I frequent.” While on the road he keeps his “eyes open for real life situations that can inspire him to write and utilize some studio time.”

Sure the life of one of the hottest actors out right now is exhausting but he finds “rectitude in knowing that all of my hard work is paying off now and I just have to work a little harder to make sure that it doesn’t stop paying (laughing).” It seems like a trying fate to accept a hectic schedule but Keith comforts all that worry about him but simply reminding them that he “wakes up to do what I love which is the greatest blessing for me right now. I make music about the development or maturation of love, I sing about it, I write about it, and then I make movies about it. My life revolves around my passion.” When asked if he is living what he singing about he laughs and says “I’m optimistic.”
Its hard to avoid talking about dreams coming true after the overly used play on words for all cast members directly associated to one of the most successful Broadway plays to the big screen within the last 5 years. When ask how does it feel to be bombarded by the long living hype he says with a sense of zeal that “dreams are a reality but the quest is within the struggle to actually bring them into fruition. Yes people talk about the movie but hey if that is what helps me to get out there and familiar to more people then I say with a sincere heart keep talking about CeCe and those DreamGirls.” Yet, he is more than CeCe from the movie because he is even better in real life due to his captivating charm, respect, education, and debonair good looks.

Keith Robinson is constantly evolving to new heights from one of the cross cultural roles as a power ranger to appearing on mainstream TV shows such as ER, NYPD Blue, and Half and Half, and not to mention an unforgettable role within the movie Fat Albert. He is humble, passionate, and full of purpose. He is the one we have been waiting for beyond metaphysical mental authenticity with the sweet reward of his articulate tenor voice vigorously elevating us to his reality.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Erykah Badu at MGD Event (Review)

On March 22nd, 2007, Chicago witnessed a monumental moment within musical culture as EPMD and Erykah Badu visited the phenomenal north side establishment The Park West. It was a night of excitement, magic, and musical chemistry as local Chicago artists joined forces under the MGD Craft Program to form a sensational band built to display hometown talent and enrich a body of people willing to witness history. The crowd was rich and diverse and free spirited as MGD blessed everyone with tokens to share in the promotion of the acclaimed MGD Light Beer. The event started with local artist from the west side called Primal Fear, then the south side group infamously known as The Usual Suspects followed up with a riveting performance that set the atmosphere for non other than two legends within the hip hop canon EPMD. The crowd raved and sparked with excitement as they performed hits like “Rampage”, “So What Cha Sayin”, “Strictly Business”, and “Rap Is Outta Control” while Eric Sermon smoothed the crowd over with a few spontaneous freestyles ending with the Marvin Gay kissed classic song “Just Like Music” as the crowd swam with excitement. Erykah Badu then graced the stage with a sense of freedom with her head wrapped in a thick cloth and a space camp outfit that conventionally mimicked the ensemble created for the “Didn’t Cha Know” video. She opened up with a new track ironically entitled “Annie Don’t Wear No Panties” the crowd cheered and grooved to Erykah’s symbolic lyrics sprinkled with alliteration and sarcasm. The music paused as she stood still with a firm face to recite the line “ So Fellas if you can’t afford it, I think you need to video tape record it”. The crowd went wild and Erykah began to relax and get comfortable as she removed some of her many layers of clothing. She freestyled a groove entitled “Bigger Than Religion” which she stated is one of the elements she hopes to base her new album on due out in July of this year. On stage she rendered musical blessings on those familiar with her last album Digital Underground as she garnered a spiritual course while performing “I Want You”, “Danger”, and a verse of “On and On”. The crowd was entranced but Erykah’s passion for those that admired her work was immeasurable and she navigated through the crowd on the shoulders of her bodyguard to touch the hands of the people in the crowd that continuously chanted “Digital girl in an analog world.” Afterwards a jam session started with non other than EPMD, Erykah delivered a spellbinding performance of Bag Lady as the crowd went wild and the band showcased their individual talents. Some local artist were pulled up from the audience and joined in on this musical escapade and the audience loved it. Malik Yusef and Leon Roger hosted the event but encouraged everyone to pay attention to history in the making. MDG was thanked for creating such an event and making it possible to unite artist around the country in a similar fashion. After the show Ms. Badu rested for a few minutes and returned to the stage after the audience was cleared out. She took a seat on the piano bench with a Styrofoam container with what appeared to be Broccoli and steamed rice in her hand. She greeted the reporters with a warm smile and tried to avoid giving a look of exhaustion. She reiterated the fact that she loves to perform and she didn’t even know what type of show she was doing until she arrived at the venue. Overjoyed with the concept she felt energized to be apart of the event. She sat peacefully through numerous interviews and questions about her repeat hair do. She stated that she decided to go bald again because she felt like it and its just another hairstyle to her. A few people looked on in pure astonishment as she so elegantly sat and had an intimate moment with all that came into contact with her. She said that “she loved Chicago and she couldn’t perform and not give a shout out to her boy Common.” At the end of it all she went out to sit in the audience and talk to her band members about the show. She praised them for their hard work and began to eat. It was then that I was able to see the epitome of a successful black woman comfortable with herself as she lived out her dreams constantly. She was more than the pioneer of the Neo Soul Hip Hop Movement she was a woman that saw more to life than her fame but feed off of the art of living on a quest for happiness. MGD is known for being on of the leading competitors in the alcohol demographic but saw a chance to stem beyond that and work to unite different cultures under the umbrella of music. They succeeded and established this event, as an acclaimed happening that should never be missed. All in all it was phenomenal.

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