Meet – Rekstizzy

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J-Key Rekstizzy Hoya – Oh Yeah
A fresh talent in the Asian American music industry, Rekstizzy, a New York based rapper is one of the artists who is collaborating with an amazing producer CHOPS (see my last post!).  He also recently released his second album “Whatever You Say”. Rek is all about having fun, and wanting to connect with the listeners. He knows what he wants to say, and has a very strong presence on stage & also social media like twitter and instagram!
Rek mixes well-crafted verses with a “class clown” sense of humor and is carving out his own flavorful niche in the industry.
I had the honor of interviewing him! Please meet Rekstizzy!
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Tell us about yourself! 
Aw man, God bless America. I was born and raised in Queens, NY. I started rapping since a youth but only started pursuing it as a career in the last few years. I laugh at all my own jokes and drink soda.

How did you start rapping/artist career?
I stopped making music just for me and started thinking about how I can make a connection with the listener. I improved drastically after that and am only getting better at it.

How would you describe your sound/music?
Focused but random. I know what my mission is but I’m drawing from a lot of influences so you’ll hear me reference something only hip hop heads would know about and then I’ll mention something from Napoleon Dynamite in the next. I think a lot of people in my generation are like that and it’s a good time.

What inspires you?
Everyday people. People are funny. Mad stupid, mad smart, cruel, and compassionate. Nobody knows what they’re doing or what it’s all about, myself included, and that inspires me as an artist.

Tell us about your album Whatever you Say and your tracks!
Whatever You Say is an album about living in America. As a minority, I think it’s important to let people know where you stand, so I’m saying things like “I was born in the US, this (is) my motherland, diss my motherland, I’ll go to war for the US”. At the same time, I’m poking fun at a lot of the same things I’m celebrating. I tried to capture the attitude of right now.

Your favorite song from your album
Man, I love “Come At Me Bro”. It’s aggressive but it’s funny and I got one of my favorite rappers to guest on it. Whenever I perform that shit somebody ends up dying. Not literally, but sometimes.

I know you just did a release party in NY. How was it?
We actually didn’t plan on doing the party this time around but there were a lot of fans and friends asking us about it because we always throw parties where everyone gets turned the f**k up for no reason. So we put it together and me and rapper homies Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, and Sonny Bonoho performed a couple songs and people got turned the f**k up for no reason. There was also this one random old white lady who was at the venue just to eat and if you look at the event photos, she looks SO MAD.

Are you proud to be an Asian American artist? What is it like?
Meh. I remember I tried to book a gig a few years back but the last Asian rapper they got was so terrible he cockblocked that opportunity for me. That s**t ain’t make me proud, not one bit. It’s something we gotta deal with because we haven’t had our real breakout artist yet like an Eminem or a Big Pun so we gotta work twice as hard for a limited number of opportunities. I’m proud of my heritage but that’s a different question.

Any Asian artists in the states you admire?
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I’m in a crew with Dumbfoundead and Awkwafina called Saturday School. We don’t have any plans to do any projects or nothing like that yet but they inspire me with how they put their rhymes together and their sensibility is closest to mine. Also, Cool Calm Pete is pretty amazing. I’ve been waiting on his new album for years now and I hear it’s almost done.

Who is your favorite artist?
I think right now, it’s gotta be Pendleton Ward for creating Adventure Time. Everything from the stories to the character designs is amazing to me. I mean, LSP got lumps yo! If you mean in hip hop, it’s probably Kanye. I’ve been a fan since he had like one freestyle on Napster and I love how he continues to challenge himself and his listeners. Yeezus was dope.

Any passion other than music
I have other passions but I don’t think it’s really worth talking about until I have something to show for it. For a long time in my life I’ve been one of those people who just talk about things they want to do. I think after you finally complete something for real, you start to talk less and do more.

Who plans and manages your projects and how does it work?
It’s a collaborative effort between my manager Jaeki, myself, and my engineer Marcus aka Avec Plaisir. We get a lot of things done because we know how to communicate, we don’t take things personally, and we trust each other’s taste. It’s my project and my voice, but if they tell me I should try it another way, I’ll try it. Anyone who works in a creative field will tell you how valuable that is.

Your future plan? Goal?
Man, it would be nice to own a yacht and like a Wendy’s franchise or two. Musically though, I’m trying to get this album into more ear holes but I’m always thinking about what’s next.

What do you think about the Strength in Numbers project?

Man, Chops made a lot of folks sound better than they ever have with his production and direction. It’s a real testament to his skill and experience. For my contribution to the project, I actually got to record with him at his studio in Philly and learned so much from that one session. Anyone supporting the project is saying, ‘yeah son, reach one, teach one’. Salute to the big homie. My favorite joints are the Rocky Rivera “Mary Lou” and the Ann One joint with Chops rapping, “Come Go With Me”. Fiyah.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE AND SUPPORT THE STRENGTH IN NUMBER PROJECT! 

Check out Rekstizzy’s MVs!

Come at me bro

God Bless America

And don’t forget to follow, like, share Rekstizzy!!

Twitter: Twitter.com/rekstizzy
FacebookFacebook.com/rekstizzy
InstagramInstagram.com/rekstizzy
SoundcloudSoundcloud.com/rekstizzy

Music Video Of The Week – ‘Romantic Dreams’ – Deftones

Produced by Brett Novak

Music :

While I’m not the biggest Deftones fan, actually I barely listen to any of their stuff, I must admit that this song grew on me. On the other hand, I am and always have
been a big progressive/alternative music fan but I’ve learnt to understand that not everyone’s ear is accustomed to such tonal qualities, tempo changes and harmonic changes. But this track definitely hits home. With a very simplistic but very efficient main riff, the ‘less is more’ type of approach works every single bit. And with layers of octave chords droning in the background, the tension just builds up to the point where the lyrics sing ‘tonight the stage is yours’ and a powerful riff full of drive comes in and grasps the listener. The modal change into the chorus is also great at releasing the tension and the low-end on the guitars just makes it really hard not to pull a jazz face of approval to. The soaring vocals full of reverb and delay make it all the more epic and work all too well to make this chorus as catchy as could be. It needs to be said that Rich Costey and Eric Isip did an absolutely phenomenal job at mixing the whole album, Koi No Yokan, Deftones’ seventh studio album. They have managed to squeeze out every little bit of guts and tonal qualities that the tracks had to offer.

Video :

Even though none of the members of the band appear or perform in the video, it’s got Deftones written all over it. Instead of having as corny of a concept as a band performing to their own song, or a cheesy storyline, they asked world-renowned professional skateboarder Jason Park to shoot a reel around night-time L.A. Other professional skater, Brett Novak shot the footage following Park around the city’s most infamous concrete landmarks and backdrops. He produced the music video with the goal in mind to convey the band members’ passion for skating. The video was premiered by RedBull.com and frontman Chino Moreno tells them in an article that “When we started this record cycle, we decided that we didn’t want to make any videos whatsoever. They’re not much fun to make and they usually turn out pretty corny. But this was an idea that we were interested in because we’re all very keen skateboarders and we like the idea of marrying one of our songs to someone as talented as Jason Park.” And even though the band members aren’t shown directly in the video, their presence can be pointed out on billboards in the background of Park’s skating.

In my opinion what truly makes the video is the level of creativity that Park displays around the streets. You see him landing sweet tricks that aren’t ‘in the books’ and it really shows that he’s having a good time. You can also hear the noises and clunks that the deck makes against the concrete when he lands tricks or power slides over sidewalks. You can also see Park bail out of tricks and have pretty big falls and that, is to me, what makes a decent skate edit. Novak also did a really good job at editing the video, using slow-motion and trick landings to emphasise upbeats and downbeats respectively. It gives the video a more artistic feel.

ROCK LABEL OF THE WEEK: Fearless Records

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Rock Label of the Week is focused on highlighting some of the biggest – or most obscure- labels that you may – or may not – have ever heard of.

  • Name Of Label: Fearless Records
  • Founded: 1994.
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA.
  • Label Type: Independent
  • Distributors: ADA, RED.
  • Genre of Focus: Alternative Rock/ Pop Punk/ Post- Hardcore
  • Current Roster: The Aquabats, Blessthefall, Breathe Carolina, Forever The Sickest Kids, A Skylit Drive, Tonight Alive, The Word Alive.
  • Inactive Roster: At The Drive-In, Every Avenue, Lostprophets, The Maine, Plain White T’s, Portugal. The Man, Sugarcult, A Static Lullaby, Sparks The Rescue.
  • Website: http://www.fearlessrecords.com/

Back in 1991, Bob Becker founded/created Fearless Records. Becker, who was the original singer of band the White Kaps, was looking to release his bands music. During this period, he also spent a lot of time selling cd’s at concerts, record stores, etc. He then sought out advice from Dr. Strange Records in CA and found a recording studio, producer, and a pressing plant, officially starting Fearless Records. The name Fearless Records came to Bob when he issued his first album off the label:

“I figured I had to put something on there, so I thought ‘Fearless.’ It fit because I didn’t know what I was doing and I felt like I was being fearless about this whole thing. Then I made this kind of cheesy logo with these little dark eyes on it, and I slapped it on that record.” [Orange County Register Interview]

Around 1997 is when Fearless began the hunt to sign more bands, as Bob Becker moved the label from Torrance, CA to Huntington Beach. He went on to sign bands 30footFall, Big Wig, and (the band who would put history on the map) At The Drive-In. Fearless released ATDI’s next two albums (which were very popular in the scene at the time) before the band decided to go on an indefinite hiatus. The group members would later form bands The Mars Volta and Sparta, and it looked that the band was over, for good. However, At The Drive-In put Fearless in the forefront of rock labels, and soon after the hiatus of ATDI, the label expanded its roster into more genres of rock.

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At The Drive-In.

Fearless would go on to have further successes within the next 10 years of its inception. Two bands that found success on the label are Sugarcult and Plain White T’s. Sugarcult’s Palm Trees and Power Lines, a Fearless release, featured their powerhouse single, Memory, which was featured on numerous television shows, video games, and which had steady rotation on MTV and VH1. Plain White T’s, which you may have heard of, released their album All That We Needed on Fearless, which featured the massive hit Hey There, Delilah. The song became a multi-platinum single, and the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Arguably one of the biggest successes Fearless Records has had since its beginnings, however, would be its Pop Goes… compilation albums. The albums feature popular punk bands doing covers of popular songs (aside from Pop Goes Acoustic 1 & 2, which feature bands performing their own original work performed acoustically). The first album, Punk Goes Metal, debuted in 2000, and as of 2013, Fearless has released 13 compilation albums under the Pop Goes… name. The most recent album, Punk Goes Christmas, is due to be released November 5th, 2013. A percentage of the proceeds from Punk Goes Christmas will be donated to MusiCares, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the music community with financial, medical, and HR services.

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Fearless Santa Delivering Punk Goes Christmas.

As of 2012, Fearless announced the inception of their sister label, Old Friends Records. Bob Becker would make a statement on behalf of Fearless about their new business venture:

“Old Friends came about from us being fans of other styles of music, in addition to the genres that fall under the Fearless brand, and wanting to release records that were more geared towards the indie rock / alternative world. It will allow us to work with the bands that we discover that don’t necessarily fit with Fearless, and release music geared towards alternative radio, without confusing our established audience. We’re excited that we will be able to diversify and work with even more talented artists via Old Friends.” [BryanStars Interviews] 

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Old Friends Records Logo.

Currently, The Static Jacks and Hellogoodbye are signed to the label, with 5 album releases between the two bands. Portugal. The Man has also released an album through Old Friends Records.

So what is the secret to success, according to Bob Becker (the dude obviously knows what he is doing)? It involves hard work, and choosing the most deserving artists:

“I never take any of this for granted. I never think that I have everything figured out and that I can just kick back and relax. It’s tough living like that because you’re always on edge, but I think that’s what keeps me trying extra hard. We’re not a big label that has a huge investor behind it. We’re scrappy here and we’ve always approached things that way. I want to help the people that deserve to be successful. I look for good guys. I look for bands that can actually write songs, play live — and then there’s their work ethic. With the Internet now, you can see which bands are working hard and getting their music out there.” [Orange County Register Interview]

SAMPLE THE CURRENT ROSTER

Looking for more reading material? Check out my blog Heavy Bass and Breakdowns on WordPress!

Tori Alamaze vs. The Pussycat Dolls

When you think of the 2005 smash hit “Don’t Cha” you most likely instantaneously associate it with the girl group, The Pussycat Dolls.  Chances are that you’ve never even heard the name Tori Alamaze.  Who is Tori Alamaze?Image

Tori is a make up artist and former backup singer for OutKast.

Tori originally recorded the song “Don’t Cha” (written and produced by Cee-Lo Green) for her debut album that was slated for release in May of 2006 by Universal Records’ independent distribution arm, Fontana.  The record sampled Sir Mix-A-Lot’s song “Swass.” DJ’s had begun to spin her record, but before it could even gain momentum, Universal Records abruptly shelved her album before a video could even be shot. The song didn’t gain much exposure and her project was scrapped due to The Pussycat Dolls inking a deal with Interscope Records (A company of Universal Records). “The next year, The Pussycat Dolls recorded it in a version also produced by Cee Lo and with Busta Rhymes on guest vocals.” (Songfacts.com)

Cee-Lo Green recalled to The Guardian newspaper March 22, 2008: “I originally wrote it for another artist – Tori Alamaze – but it found its way to the Pussycat Dolls and the rest is history. I was more than content with it going to the original artist, but of course the Pussycat Dolls took it to another level.”

Tori Alamaze’s Version of “Don’t Cha

“Don’t Cha” was used as The Pussycat Dolls lead single for their debut album, PCD. The single reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart as well as #1 on the dance charts for its club remix.  Worldwide, the song has sold more than 6 million copies, making it one of the best selling singles of all time.

The group’s lead singer Nicole Scherzinger stated: ”I had [Alamaze’s] version as a guide. But ours is just a bit fresher.

**Ouch!!!**

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The Pussycat Dolls’ version of “Don’t Cha”

Tori is unable to collect any monies from the song since she has no songwriting or production credits. It seems like Tori may have missed out on what may have been her big break…

**Another song was also “taken” from her project entitled, “Take Control” which was re-recorded by Ameriie. The song wasn’t as successful as “Don’t Cha” but it peaked at #66 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.  It also reached #2 on the iTunes UK Top 100 chart.**

References:
Entertainment Weekly: Pussycat or Copycat?
Tori Alamaze Explains “Don’t Cha” Controversy
NY Times: “Don’t Cha Blink”
Don’t Cha Song Facts

Amazing Artists You don’t really hear about (Heres 1)

So, It was causal friday, I was browsing the internet, and I came across this amazing artist and band called Snarky Puppy, feat. Lalah Hathaway -(song name) Something !!
Then I thought (WOW) why don’t Artist like these ever get radio play!!!
Is it because of looks? Music is to complex for the average listener, or is the music to urban or soulful to be enjoyed by the masses…..WHat ever the case may be! this video features an extremely talented artist ( who can do things with here voice, some singer dream was possible!) And a band that infuses classic jazz flavor with the new sound of today!…(Take a listen)

Can Anyone Stop Kendrick?

Kendrick Lamar. K Dot. King Kendrick.

However you wish to address him, this man is heating up in the hip hop scene. The Compton, CA native who cites major rap icons Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre as two of his biggest influences is making a name for himself with his controversial lyrics and bold personality. Since the release of his mixtape Overly Dedicated in 2010, Lamar’s prominence has skyrocketed.

In 2011, Lamar was included the cover of hip hop magazine XXL’s annual “Top 10 Freshman Class” release. Just over a year later, his debut album with a major record label entitled good kid, m.A.A.d city was released. The project opened with 241,000 copies sold in the first week and has since gone platinum. 

Lamar has been praised as one of hip hop’s more lyrical emcees. Despite his success, however, many fans of the genre had not truly began to take notice of his talent. Lamar’s reputation changed in August 2013 when he was featured on an unreleased track from fellow rapper Big Sean’s upcoming album. Taking the second verse of the record “Control,” Lamar spits one of the most aggressive verses in recent hip hop memory, verbally challenging his peers in the industry. Here is an excerpt:

“…..I’m usually homeboys with the same n-ggas I’m rhymin’ wit
But this is hip hop and them n-ggas should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale
Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you n-ggas
Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you n-ggas
They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n-ggas…..”

Lamar’s verse sparked a series of responses from other rappers that took offense. But the self-proclaimed King Kendrick didn’t stop there. Recently, at the BET Hip Hop Awards, Lamar brought out more strong words, allegedly attacking rapper Drake and reinforcing his statements from “Control.” Listen to his full verse below:

So what do you think? Does Kendrick have a firm grasp of the hip hop game? Can he be mentioned in conversations with the likes of Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, Eminem, and other greats? Or will he meet his match when challenged by his fellow contemporaries. Only time will tell, but hip hop is a competitive game. If Kendrick Lamar accomplished one thing, its that there is now a huge target on his back, with countless hungry emcees aiming for his spot.

Strength in NUMBERS: Asian American music project

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CHOPS Strength In NUMBERS music project Kickstarter video

Hit producer Chops is working with the best-established & aspiring Asian American & International music artists on a compilation record called Strength in Numbers.
Chops has worked with some of the world’s biggest & best rappers which include “The Creep” by The Lonely Island & Nicki Minaj (which has 78+ million views!), “Damn I’m Cold” by Bun B & Lil Wayne, and “National Anthem” by Young Jeezy. One of Kanye West’s first rap appearances was my Virtuosity album, with greats like Talib Kweli and Raekwon from Wu-Tang Clan. For the last 2 years Chops has been making music with over 30 of the best Asian American artists out, with special guests from Japan and Korea.

“I noticed amazing Asian American artists making waves, and rekindled an old dream: a project with ALL strong Asian talent! Artists today who go through many of the things my group did, overcoming the same obstacles, same struggles, pushing forward, and going beyond.” -CHOPS

Strength In NUMBERS shouts of support!

Strength in Numbers: Roll Call Video

Strength in Numbers is an Asian American music project featuring artists such as
Ann One (LA), Baiyu (NYC), Bambu (LA), Catzie of Yellow Rage (PHL), Connie Lim (LA), Decipher (PHL),DJ Bonics (PHL/PGH), DJ Neil Armstrong (NYC), DJ Roli Rho (NYC), Dumbfoundead (LA), El Gambina (NJ), Erika David (Bay Area), Hopie (SF), Hoya (NYC), J-Key (NYC),Joanlee (LBC), Kiwi (LA), Lil Crazed (MN), Matt Cab (Tokyo), Mic Barz (ATL),Mountain Brothers (PHL), Nikko Dator (LV), Paul Kim (LA), Prometheus Brown (SEA),Rekstizzy (NYC), Rocky Rivera (SF), Ruby Ibarra (Bay Area), Tasha aka Yoonmirae( Korea), Thai (PDX), Tiger JK (Korea), Timothy Flu (ATL), Verbal of M-Flo / Teriyaki Boyz (Tokyo), and Yellow Boyz (ATL).

This is a grassroots project, engineered entirely with ZERO funding. The kickstarter will cover the costs in production of the music and creating the actual albums for distribution.
By doing this Kick starter, the money will recoup basic travel & equipment costs, creating, refining and all the daily cost of working. It costs a lot mastering, promoting and video production, of course. The money will be used to cover all these expenses. Chops thinks the challenge would be actually getting the outcome, and he said it will worth the wait. And another big challenge is spreading the word. So, (if you can’t support money-wise…) please help by sharing and feel free to share this to your friends. ;p

We got 8 more days to go to support Chops and the Asian American artists!!

Click Here to find out more! 

 

 

 

A Country a Week: Germany

Across the global market, a trend is taking hold. Declining revenues in physical sales of albums are being replaced by increasing sales in the digital world, particularly music streaming platforms such as Spotify and Deezer.

In Germany however, physical sales dropped off much more slowly and are holding their own, accounting for 71% of total revenues in the industry according to BDVM (Bundesverband Musikindustrie). In an interview with Rolling Stone, Frank Briegmann, president of Universal Music Germany stated, “Over the past few years, we have repeatedly tried to generate impetus for the physical market without merely lowering prices.” Much of the strength of the physical market in Germany can be explained by packaging. Artists often release extra features and special editions, but German artists and labels are releasing something called “Pur Edition” several months after the initial release. These editions have stripped down packaging and streamlined inserts to provide a lower cost model for consumers.

Another example of why Germany’s physical market was so strong might be evidenced by the GEMA (Gesellschaft fur musikalische Auffuhrungs- und mechanische Vervielfaltigungsrechte)’s dispute with Youtube in 2009. The German courts found that Youtube can be held liable for any infringing videos that are posted on it’s site. For this reason, over 60% of the top 1000 most popular Youtube videos are blocked. This made many citizens unable to easily view music videos online. But this blockade has ended with an agreement between Vevo and GEMA. For the first time ever, Vevo  will launch it’s videos without Youtube. This may help explain the decline in physical sales as people find it easier to watch videos and get music online.

Currently, 1 in every 5 euros that are being earned in Germany from the music industry now, are from digital sources. 8.4 million people purchased and downloaded music in 2012, 55% of which bought full albums. This is promising for artists looking at an increasingly singles dominated market. Music streaming platforms such as Deezer, Musik and Spotify hold a 12.1% share of digital revenues and 5 % of total revenues, the biggest amount of growth seen this year.

Germany’s music industry experienced a slight decline this year however, because these increased digital sales are not fully keeping up with the losses of physical revenue.

Unlike France, Germany’s number one single this week is not a native artist.

Music as a Muse: “Searching for Sugar Man”

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Art forms have always found their ways to collaborate, mix and melt into a different piece of work, a new, creative form of expression. Specifically, music has been the muse of other art forms, resulting in the birth of paintings, films and poems.

What is interesting about the story I’m about to share with you is the fact that it was the work inspired by the music, and not the music itself, what brought worldwide attention to the artist, to his surprise.

THE MUSIC: Sixto Rodriguez

Rodriguez, Mexican American folk musician, was born in Detroit in 1942. He was discovered by Motown producer Dennis Coffey while playing in local decadent and grey bars in his hometown. With his back turned to the audience so that they would pay attention to his message, he sang political and antiestablishment messages, expressing controversial social issues with his inner-city poetry style. Rodriguez signed to Sussex Records and released two albums: Cold Fact (1970) and Coming from Reality (1971).

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Rodriguez’s first album “Cold Fact”

However, while he enjoyed some success in Australia, the records sold so few copies that he was dropped from the label while still completing his third record.  Loosing hopes of making it in the Music Industry, Rodriguez walked away and adopted a humble and quiet lifestyle in the construction sector.

“I really thought Cold Fact was going to make it. There was a lot of work done, and I thought there was a big chance for it, but it didn’t happen. I went into the second album, but again a lot of other things happened and the place went bankrupt. Nothing beats reality. But the revolution never stops. ” Rodriguez [Social Stereotype]

THE DOCUMENTARY: “Searching for Sugar Man”

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 Steve “Sugar” Segerman in the documentary

Directed by: Malik Bendjelloul
Produced by: Malik Bendjelloul , Simon Chinn
Release date: 19 January 2012
Released by: Sony Pictures Classics
Length: 86 minutes
Country: Sweden, United Kingdom
Language: English
Music by: Sixto Rodriguez

While nobody was interested in listening to him in America, the citizens of a politically repressed South Africa found meaning in Rodriguez’s message, were he became extremely popular and the voice of the oppressed youth. In South African record store owner’ Steve Segerman’s words:

 In the 1970s, if you walked into a random white, liberal, middle class household that had a turntable and a pile of pop records…you would always see ‘Abbey Road’ by the Beatles, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by Simon and Garfunkel and ‘Cold Fact’ by Rodriguez. To us it was one of the most famous records of all time. The message it had was ‘be anti-establishment.’ One song is called ‘The Anti-Establishment Blues.’ We didn’t know what the word was until it cropped up on a Rodriguez song, and then we found it’s OK to protest against your society, to be angry with your society. [Voice of America]

After hearing rumors about Rodriguez committing suicide by burning himself during a performance, Segerman started an investigation with his friend and journalist Craig Bartholomew Strydom to find out what had really happened to his hero.

Malik’s documentary narrates Segerman’s and Craig’s journey in search of the artist’s true story, navigating the little information available. They finally encounter Rodriguez, alive and completely unaware of his success and musical influence in South Africa, who finally finds an audience to direct his songs to.  In 1998, without having ever seen any royalties from his records, he travelled to South Africa to perform in arenas in front of thousands of people that had been waiting for him for years.

Searching for Sugar Man Official Trailer

IMPACT: “Award winning Documentary”

The film has received very positive critical reception and has been repeatedly recognized in the film industry, winning in the category of “ Best Documentary” in events such as the Academy Awards, the British Academy Film Awards, the DGA awards, the Sundance Film Festival, WGA awards and the PGA awards.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez talks about his musical career, his thoughts about his new fame and his experience during the recording of the documentary.

Finding ‘Sugar Man’: Rodriguez Reflects on a Crazy Year with a Hollywood Ending

The tremendous success of the documentary worked as an unplanned massive marketing campaign for Rodriguez, giving him the opportunity to relaunch his music career, and be recognized as an artist and reach a worldwide audience. “Searching for Sugar Man” has captured fan and media attention, which has triggered an extensive tour around Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, US and Europe as well as performances in many festivals such as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Glastonbury festival or Montreux Jazz festival.

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Rodriguez performing at Montreux Jazz festival

Currently, the 70-year-old Rodriguez is discussing with producer Steve Rowland the idea of recording a new album.

Artist Matchup of the Week: Charity Vance vs. Tori Kelly

First Up…
Name: Charity Vance
Age: 20
Label: Independent
Sounds Like: Taylor Swift, Ingrid Michelson, Regina Spektor
Website: http://www.charityvance.net/

Charity

  Charity Vance is a classifies herself as an Indie Pop artist hailing from LIttle Rock Arkansas.  At first glance she looked really familiar, with a little bit of research I realized she competed the 9th season of the reality singing competition juggernaut that is American Idol.  Since then she has worked the music scene attempting to release a full length studio album.  So far she has released a slew of singles and and 2 EPs’.   As I listened to her singles I would find myself thinking, man she sounds like (Insert any modern female single here).  In one song she sounds like Taylor Swift then like Katy Perry, then like Avril Lavigne. Check out some of her stuff and maybe you can hear what I’m saying.

  Very Avril meets Taylor if you ask me, no?  Then we go to…

  This song could have literally been taken out of Katy Perry´s Teenage Dream. 

  I think the problem here is that her team is trying to make her fit into the various sounds happening in the music industry at the moment rather than trying to develop her own sound and lyrical content. In my opinion she has everything you would want to make a female pop star she just needs to find her own sound to get her there. Something that will at least set her a part a little for all the rest of the pretty girls trying to break in.  She definitely has what it takes check out her cover of Hold on We’re Going Home by Drake.  Still plenty of pop but just different enough to make her stand out.

THEN I SAW THIS…

  Charity teamed up with singer April Kry to record a couple of videos together, and they were probably my favorite to watch.  They were all covers like the Justin Beiber one above but the harmonies and creative choices they made with the songs impressed me.

Next Up…

Name: Tori Kelly
Age: 21
Label: Major
Sounds Like: Jojo, Leah Labelle
Website: http://torikellymusic.com/

Tori+Kelly

  Tori Kelly is an Pop singer with an R&B influence. She competed in many talent competitions but her most notable appearance was on the the same season of American Idol that Charity was in, with both being  eliminated before the live shows.  Since American Idol Kelly has gained much attention  with her covers  and originals on YouTube.   Her channel has more than 600,000 subscribers and over 48 million views to date.  She has released some singles and an EP with the newest, Foreword  coming out October  22nd via Capitol Records, take a listen here.  Currently she is being managed by none other that Scooter Braun a.k.a. Justin Beiber’s manager and with that kind support skyes the limit.  Check out some of her videos, new and old.

My personal favorite.

Dear No One Off her new EP.

  She definitely has her own style that set her part from a lot of the girl in the music industry doing the type of pop music.  She has some R&B and soul influences in her music style and vocal inflections that I really like.

Conclusion

  This one is tough  because they both have established somewhat of a fan base following their short stints on American Idol.  They are both young talented girls that have a lot to offer.  Solely based on the music I should go with Tori just because she has her own laid-back R&B/Pop style that is almost absent in music today when it comes to popular females in music. After listening to her new EP I´m not sure if the content is strong enough to really make any impact, she definitely has the potential to do better.  On the other hand if Charity created a duo with the equally talented April Kry I think there could be something there! Their voices complemented each other very well and at least it sounded more original than Charity’s individual work, and it was a cover. Maybe then we would have a different outcome. There also has never really been a big female duo, at least from my knowledge so that would be interesting dynamic to work with.  For now though  I think I would go with Kelly, even though I’m not too fond of her new material.  She  already has a good fan following and with right material I think she could blow up.