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Spotlight on MR. Craig (@MRCRAIGTA)

| August 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
Washington, DC – A Queens, NY native, Mr. Craig began his career as a poet. His affinity for words and rhythm lends itself to his unique writing style – evocative, emotional, and powerful. Previously known as “Strict-ly Shadow,” Mr. Craig reinvented himself with a new moniker. The artist and his music are influenced by classical rap legends such as Tupac and Nas. “Their music has a poetic feel to it. Their lyrics had a lot of meaning,” says the performer of his musical heroes. Mr. Craig, too, is a man with a message, using his powerful words to relate to and connect with others.
Craig entered into a joint venture deal in 2016 with Image Sight and Sound, a multimedia production company, and has worked alongside company CEO Anthony “Mr. Tuck” Richards, who directed Craig’s music video. With Richards’ help, the artist has released his latest single, “One + One.” The song is a true story, an anthem of love and loss experienced by a once broken-hearted Mr. Craig. True to his poetry background, the song evokes feelings of hurt, but mostly hope. Says Craig of the song, “If you’re lucky enough to find someone you can connect with, that’s a really special thing.” Most recently, the artist released the song’s music video, which features actress Hada Vanessa, handpicked by Mr. Craig for her immense talent. “
Mr. Craig is a man of many talents that span far beyond songwriting and rap. Deeply rooted in the entertainment industry, he holds a degree in radio broadcasting, has worked in audio and video, voice-over, mastering, producing, A&R, and more. With his background in video, Craig was responsible for editing his own music video. He continues “behind-the-scenes” music work under the umbrella of Strict-ly Entertainment, a company of which he remains CEO.
With all of his experience and knowledge, the artist and creative entrepreneur is eager to pass on his knowledge to upcoming artists. His advice to others? “Learn the business,” insists Mr. Craig, “Music is not an easy industry, and a lot of young artists don’t understand the logistics – they just want to rap.”
Driven and immensely talented, Mr. Craig is an artist to watch. Stay tuned for his album, Evolutions, which is set to release Winter 2016, and his next single, “You Wouldn’t Understand.”
Learn more about Mr. Craig: www.mrcraigta.com
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Spotlight on Alex Boye (@alexboyereal)

| August 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

PARK CITY, UT – In a world that feels constantly at war, Alex Boye is trying to promote healing. His music – self-described as “Pop music with an African twist” – has been producing positive vibes for more than three decades. He’s had success as member of a 1990s boy band, as a gospel singer and, most recently, as a contestant on the NBC hit show America’s Got Talent. His music videos have garnered more than 260 million views on YouTube. But it’s his newest original single “We All Bleed the Same” that has him more excited than he’s ever previously been in his career.

 

“Everything right now is trying to divide us,” Boye said, referencing racial and violence issues in the U.S. and socio-economic and political clashes globally. “My new EP is trying to do the opposite. I’m trying to unify through the power of music. ‘We All Bleed the Same’ is a song that should give you an amazing feeling. When I sang it three weeks after the Orlando shooting, I felt healing just singing the song. Unfortunately in today’s day and age we give each other labels a lot, but those labels are dividing us. I wanted to do a song that talks about one label: the human race. This song and the EP is one big group hug – a sonic group hug.”

 

Boye has become known throughout the music industry and his fan base as an amazing cover artist. His unique style of pop with an African twist is something that he has given treatment to such popular songs as Disney’s “Let It Go” and “Under the Sea,” as well as more mainstream pop songs such as Adele’s “Hello” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” But this new EP, which goes by the same name as the single “We All Bleed the Same,” is his first original album since his time a decade ago as a Gospel artist. He said it was his mother – a native of Nigeria – who eventually convinced him that it was time to tackle such a project.

 

“I first started doing this Pop music with an African twist when I was contacted many years ago by a group called The Piano Guys,” Boye said. “They’re classically trained musicians who do pop songs with a classical twist. They asked me to sing Swahili on a cover of “Paradise” by Coldplay. In Swahili, the word for paradise is ‘Peponi.’ When we posted that song on YouTube, it had 4 million views within four hours. Now it has more than 51 million views. The funny thing is that for years my mom had been telling me that I should be giving my music an African twist. But African music is often lumped into the genre of ‘World Music,’ and that’s a small niche. When that video with The Piano Guys got so many views, though, I realized that this African influence came natural to me. When I showed it to my mom, she said, ‘I told you this would work.’ The moral of the story is that you should always listen to your mom. So after that I started wondering if I could make original stuff that has the same flavor. The result is this EP, which is a more marketable pop music with an African twist.”

 

The African flavor is present throughout the album. Boye sings in six different languages throughout, and introduces instrumental influences native to African countries. All of the songs continue the theme of unity – many of them sparked by one individual idea that he expands on through music. The single “Arms Around the World,” for instance, started with an exploration of the idea of inclusion. Once he found a melody and good beat, the lyrics for the song came naturally. In the end, it’s an album that he said is relevant for today – a socially conscious EP with music that people will want to get up and dance to.

 

The EP is scheduled to be released July 29, with a new music video for the single “We All Bleed the Same” to be released on Boye’s YouTube channel. Fans can also visit his website AlexBoye.com for more information about his music. He also stays active on social media through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, for those fans who want to know about upcoming live shows.

Incredible Artists Charles Jenkins (@CharlesJenkins7) – “Winning”

| July 27, 2016 | 0 Comments

The St. Petersburg, FL native and current Chicago resident burst on the international music scene in 2012 when his debut mega-hit with Fellowship Chicago, “Awesome,” reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart and stayed there for 22 weeks. In 2014, he followed up with the smash “#WAR” that also hit No. 1 on the Gospel Airplay chart and was cited as the most played and most streamed gospel song of 2015 on Billboard’s end-of-the-year chart.

For his newest release, Charles has teamed up with Grammy Award winning producer Warren Campbell (Kanye West, R. Kelly, Snoop Dogg) for “Winning.” Now accompanied by a summery lyric visual, Jenkins inspiring single takes on new life as it delivers warm, affirming energy. “I wanted to lift people up with a different sound and spread some #positiveair on the the radio airwaves and social media,” says Jenkins who is pastor of Fellowship Chicago, a historic church in Chicago, IL. “There’s so much bad news, pain, negativity, violence and hopelessness in the world right now that we just wanted to send out some encouragement and remind everyone that they can win and be upbeat in this thing called life.”

charlesjenkins7

You can find “Winning” on iTunes, as well as the pre-order for Jenkin’s impending LP, Think About These Things, which arrives September 2nd.
Twitter: @CharlesJenkins7

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Watch “Winning” Lyric Video

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Spotlight on T-Dubb (@T_Dubb_O)

| July 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

St. Louis, MO Since the age of six, T-Dubb-O has been a man with a message. A son born to a musical family, he had progressed to writing, producing, and recording by the mere age of eleven. In 2010, TDubb entered the Streets Status Battle League arena and was quickly recognized as one of the best rappers coming out of Missouri, and continued to make a name for himself on the international stage. His music has met wild success, garnering support from outlets both in America and abroad, from Rolling Stone, to BET, to MSNBC.

Dubb is far more than just a rapper, and has used his success in the music game to chronicle and fight for the end of racial disparity and to stand in the fight against injustice. As a black man in the wake of Ferguson, Dubb was on the frontlines of heated protests, battling the wounds of systematic racism endured by people of color at the hands of the government and law enforcement. His activist work with grass roots organization Hands Up United landed him in a personal meeting with President Barack Obama, to discuss issues of race and injustice with the esteemed leader. From the streets to the Oval Office, Dubb’s plight has not been an easy one. As he put it, “I shook Obama’s hand with the same hand I sold crack with.”

His latest project, an album released in January of 2016, is a testimony to his fight for justice across the globe. Its title, The Drop, pays homage to his group’s work in Mexico, where he continues to fight the battle of police corruption and brutality. After a group of revolutionists were kidnapped and murdered at the hands of the Mexican Police, a young Mexican woman explained to Dubb that this was the last straw, using the proverb, “The drop that spilled the cup.”

Dubb’s music is full of power and street influence, and a worldly perspective that is severely lacking in other modern rap. In 2016, when so much needs to be said, T-Dubb dares to speak.

www.T-Dubb-O.com

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Spotlight on Jay Stubbs (@Hamseason)

| July 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

CORONOA, CA – The best things in life are sometimes unexpected. A song that starts off as something fun for the summer can take off and become a hit, given the right circumstances.

That’s what Jay Stubbs has found with his new single, “This S**t is Lit.” The rapidly rising musician from Southern California is a free-spirited, fun-loving individual who injects his music with humor and good vibes. As with most of his songs, the new single started with a beat that he knew almost instantly he loved. He started writing lyrics to it with the thought that it would be a fun song to share with friends.

“I kind of created it by accident, but it took off,” he said. “It’s crazy how things travel. The song is a have fun, party-it-up kind of song that makes you want to dance. But the term ‘lit’ – which means dope or cool or the bomb – has become really trendy lately. Everybody is saying it now. So when this song was made it was kind of like a perfect storm because it came out right in the middle of that trend. Plus it’s summertime, and everybody just wants to have fun, and this song is made for that. Since it came out, I’ve had quite a few venues call me up and ask me to perform at events or at college universities. It’s been really cool. But, you know, the best things in life are sometimes unexpected.”

That unexpected fame isn’t something new to Stubbs. While in college, he and his best friend decided to start making parody music videos just for the fun of it. Their first parody video was of the song “American Boy,” and it became an overnight viral sensation. From that one video they began getting calls from campus radio stations all over the world about picking up the song for their regular rotation. They followed that up with a second parody for the song “Paper Planes,” which also took off. The rest of their college career was then filled with parody videos that made them minor celebrities on campus and sought-after musicians on YouTube.

After graduation, Stubbs has dedicated his life to pursing a music career. Though he’s not ashamed of the limited celebrity he enjoyed through his parody videos, he wants to pursue a more serious music career. His first single, “Young Souls,” hit YouTube earlier this year and has seen good success. The same university radio stations who called him earlier in his career have come calling again. And now he wants to show the world his diversity with his second single and a mix tape scheduled to be released later this year.

“After college I spent a lot of time finding myself,” he said. “I explored a lot of different genres – from pop to hip-hop to alternative rock. At the end of the day I decided that I’m the kind of musician who does a little bit of everything. So my mixtape is going to be everything. That’s me being me. Musically I embody every genre. And there’s nothing wrong with being me. That’s what I want people to get when they hear my music – that there’s nothing wrong with being yourself. The realest thing you can do in life is to be yourself.”

“This S**t is Lit” is available for download on digital media sites such as iTunes and Soundcloud. He has also released a new mixtape entitled “Who is Jay Stubbs,” which is also spotlighted on his Soundcloud page. Those wishing to see Stubbs live, or who want to know about upcoming music releases, can follow him on social media on Facebook, or on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat under the handle @Hamseason.

Spotlight on Lucid (@hasten21)

| July 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

WINFIELD, AL – Growing up in a small southern town like Winfield, AL, there’s not a lot of musical diversity beyond country music. For someone like Hasten Langston, who loves hip-hop and rap, the work to establish himself as a legitimate hip-hop artist is a daily struggle. But his talents are such that he’s grown a loyal fan-base throughout the region, and he’s ready to take his music to a bigger stage.

“My parents both grew up very southern, and everybody here in my town is very much into country,” Langston said. “But I’ll be driving down the road blasting Kanye or something. I love all music, but I think hip-hop takes it from music to a lifestyle. I’ve always had talent with lyrics and I could always freestyle, but when I first started pursuing hip-hop as a career I didn’t have any real experience. It started off slow, but I worked extremely hard to put everything together. There aren’t many teachers or rappers in the area, so I just had to listen to the greats and study what they did. I even had to learn the equipment that goes with it. But mostly I would listen to WuTang or Dre – a lot of the old school artists – and just tried to put a lot of what they did into my music.

Now, at age 18, Langston – who now goes by the rapper name Lucid, in honor of the dreams he feels like are beginning to become a reality – is ready to release his first Mixtape, entitled “Lucid Dreams the EP.” He’s already performed a couple of singles from the mixtape life at the Legend’s Sports Lounge in Birmingham, AL, which some pretty positive response. His sound – which includes a bit of a southern drawl in the midst of his rap – is so unique that it’s drawing an ever-growing fan-base.

To honor that fan-base, Lucid said he wants to make music that will inspire others during all times of their lives, but especially during the hardest times. He said a lot of his lyrics come from personal experiences and some of the toughest heartbreaks he’s encountered have made their way into song in ways that he hopes others will hear and be able to relate with.

“I want to be able to have a way to get my message and positive vibes out to people,” he said. “If there’s somebody having a bad day and one of my songs can reach them, that’s more important than any money I could make off a single. I know what it’s like to go through bad times. I recently went through a tough break-up and was feeling pretty depressed. I was a terribly sad person to be around, and I didn’t have a reason to want to do anything anymore. But it was a song by Logic that helped me out of that – a song that made me realize he’d been through some of the same things that were happening to me. I want my music to do the same thing for others.”

Those wishing to get a taste of Lucid’s music can see him perform live Aug. 3 at Saturn Birmingham in Birmingham, AL. He also performs every Monday at Legends Sports Lounge in Birmingham. He also has music available for download on Soundcloud, or fans can follow him on social media on Instagram and Twitter.

Spotlight on Veeh Lil’Monsterpull (@VLilMonsterpull)

| July 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

BARTOW, FL – In the deep south parts of Florida, there’s a term frequently used among those in hip-hop circles. That term is “Monyon.” It’s slang for money, but it’s also the name of the new single from up-and-coming hip-hop artist Veeh Lil’Monsterpull.

Monyon means money down here in our lingo,” Veeh said. “And this song is about getting money and what people do in all kinds of ways to get money. Some people rob, some people sell drugs, and some women have sex with dudes. It’s a song that’ll make you laugh in some ways, but it’s also serious.”

The single – which is available for download on all digital media download sites, such as iTunes – is the first off a new EP due to be released Aug. 26 called “Before I S.T.U.N.T.” Veeh said the song was written by an artist he frequently collaborates with called Trey, and Veeh is featured as a rapper on the single. The EP is the first for Veeh, and features music that he says will show the hip-hop world a unique new sound.

“No one sounds like me,” he said. “I’m very different. When you hear me and how I sound – and even how I dress and my whole image – you wouldn’t picture a normal person rapping or dressing like that. But my style and my music matches me. No one can sound or flow like me. It’s something I’ve gotten good at with lots and lots of practice. And though I never tried to sound like no one else, there are people who I look up to in the industry – like Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Wayne and Jay Z – because they’ve always sounded different. When you hear them, you just picture them and not anyone else, and that’s what I want my music to be.”

Veeh said he hopes that when people hear his music they not only get a good feeling and have a good time, but also gain some knowledge and gain some respect for him as a hip-hop artist. He said a lot of rappers today just spew whatever comes to their mind in the moment and don’t necessarily give much thought to their lyrics. But his songs, he said, have a specific flow and a unique perspective that combines with the popular party song vibe.

The EP that will come out in August is his best example of that style. He said its an album that will allow people to party and have fun, but it’s also mature in a way that he hopes will prove that he’s ready to become a serious threat in the hip-hop industry.

“I called it ‘Before I S.T.U.N.T. because I’m Sometimes Turned Up and Never Turned Down,” Veeh said. “This album is very hot, and it’ll be mostly for club bangers. There have been a couple of songs already from it that are getting played in clubs down here. People kept saying that I’d never put out an EP, but I finally did. That’s the most exciting part to me, and I’m even more excited to hear what people think when it comes out next month.”

A music video for the single “Monyon” can be found on YouTube, and those who follow Veeh on social media can find out more about upcoming live shows or new music releases. He’s active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and can be followed on Snapchat @VLilMonsterpull.

Spotlight on Val Johnson (@IAmValJohnson)

| July 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

BROOKLYN, NY – During a hot summer day, Val Johnson was sitting in his room in Brooklyn, NY, looking through his catalog of songs searching for inspiration for a new song. The hip-hop artist with a flair for traditional R&B looked at himself in the mirror and in a tongue-in-cheek comment said, “Man … I’m handsome.”

Thus was born Johnson’s newest single, “I’m Handsome (Remastered).” It’s not a song about another conceited rapper. It’s a song that uses the word “handsome” as a metaphor for success.  

“To me, handsome means having a nice demeanor, being sophisticated, optimistic, manly and extraordinary,” Johnson said. “I think I’m handsome economically, physically, spiritually – in lots of different ways. The song is about me being handsome – being confident in myself and not letting other people bring me down. And it’s also about having fun and hoping all the girls will come to me because I’m good looking.”

The song – which has a music video on YouTube – has already inspired a “Handsome Dance” that is sweeping across the nation. Johnson said he loves that he’s inspiring others through his music because he’s almost always inspired by people – especially girls – when he writes music. He tells the story of a recent encounter with a beautiful woman at a café in Manhattan as an example of how inspiration can strike at any time.

“I saw this girl with an afro and she was looking real nice,” he said. “I thought she was beautiful. And immediately in my head I started writing a song called ‘Shawty With An Afro.’ I came up with the beat and the chorus on the spot, and walked outside and recorded it on the phone. I feel like I have a special gift for coming up with beats and melodies in my head. If I have a lyric, I can come up with a beat in my head and write it or record it on my phone right away.”

Johnson said his sound is unique – self-described as R&B with a hip-hop sound. He said he feels strongly about representing traditional R&B because many of the artists out there today who call themselves R&B artists have, in his opinion, moved away from what truly makes R&B great.

“I feel like I have my own style, and yet I have the traditional R&B style,” he said. “I’m very melodic. Some people might hear it and think I sound like Ne-Yo or Usher. Ultimately I want people to feel inspired and loved. I feel like that’s missing nowadays, especially in R&B. Love is missing. All you hear is sex and drugs and that kind of stuff. I want to bring the love back.”

Johnson’s single, “I’m Handsome (Remastered),” is currently available for download on all digital media download sites. It will also feature on an EP that he plans to release later this year. He’s also made a music video for the song, which can be seen on YouTube.

For more information about upcoming live shows, or to hear more of Johnson’s music, visit his website at ValJohnsonMusic.com, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @IAmValJohnson.

Spotlight on B. Smoke (@bsmokedre)

| July 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

VICTORIA, TX – A few weeks after being released from jail, B. Smoke found himself homeless and at rock bottom in his life. He was ready to give it up.

But as he looked up at the city around him and truly took a deep look at the beauty of life, he found a moment of hope. That moment developed into desire that has turned into a lifetime of chasing his dreams of becoming a famous hip-hop artist.

His most recent album – entitled “City View” – is homage to that moment and the journey he’s taken from rock bottom to the success he sees today as an up-and-coming musician. His city view today is a different one – quite literally. In fact, he describes a recent city view from a Hilton Hotel in Houston as the moment when he realized just how far he’d come.

“I came from being homeless and out of jail with nowhere to go to sitting in this executive suite,” he said. “As I sat there looking throughout downtown, it just mesmerized me. I was in such a different place. It was an out-of-body experience, and it was the first time I’d ever felt that. It meant so much to me in a lot of different ways, but mostly it was like, ‘Wow! I’m here.’ I’ve come a long way, and people who listen to my music can hopefully be inspired and know that they can make it, too. Nothing is impossible.”

The title track on the album is also called “City View” and speaks to that journey, as does the second single “Rock Bottom,” which details his time on the streets and talks about his success today.

A third single – entitled “Away From Me” and featuring Tito Speedo – explores the need to push negativity away from you when you’re trying to better yourself. He said he had to learn the hard way that people who bring negativity into his life are a lot of times the inspiration for his bad decisions.

“When you’re trying to be the best you can be, you don’t need to be surrounded by people who are bringing you down or distracting you,” he said. “As a hip-hop artist I want to articulate in my music so that you can see some kind of illusion in your mind of what I’m spitting at. I want people to get that feeling of life – that feeling of understanding what’s going on. I want people to know that they’re not the only person going through whatever it is they’re going through. Just because you see somebody like me who has success doesn’t mean we don’t have hard times, and I want my fans to understand that I’m a person who understands the hardships of life and what it takes to overcome them. That’s what my music is all about.”

He said the inspiration for his music most often comes from real-life events. His name B. Smoke comes from a combination of his first name (Bryant) and the fact that he likes to smoke.

“Smoking is kind of my thing,” he said. “The ‘Smoke’ in my name just comes from that description. I like to get blazed and write some music and make it happen.”

His new album will drop on all digital media downloading sites on Aug. 9. The singles are already available for download. Those wishing to listen to his music or find out more about his production company can visit bsmokedre.com, or follow him on social media on Twitter @bsmokedre or Diamond Rich Entertainment on Facebook.

Spotlight on Bad Girl Good Tea

| July 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

New York, NY Tea is far more than just a beverage. For centuries, tea has been a lifestyle. It inspires conversation, elicits comfort, and encourages the drinker to sit back, relax, and relish the moment (all too foreign a concept in the hectic year of 2016). Bad Girl Good Tea is a movement sweeping New York, encouraging ladies (and gentlemen) to add tea to their beauty and wellness regiment.

Samantha Colarusso has had a longtime love affair with tea, and a deep appreciation for its healing, comforting, and calming attributes. Colarusso is an unlikely tea connoisseur. Working for many years in the nightlife industry, the brand’s founder enjoyed tea as a hobby, but always felt that it could become a way of life and business endeavor. Always up for an adventure, the young entrepreneur took a leap of faith and started www.BadGirlGoodTea.com. She packed up the Bad Girl Good Tea operation and attended the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival, where her booth remained busy for the entirety of the 2 day event, onlookers impressed and surprised by the company’s unique blends and branding concept. The brand has found its niche by “riding the feminine wave,” explains Colarusso. Bad Girl Good Tea changes the way women connect; giving them a healthy alternative to coffee or cocktails to discuss the latest Ryan Gosling movie or newest makeup palette. The company’s mission is to make a product that women can commune over in a positive and inspiring way.

This isn’t your Nana’s tea company (No offense, Grandma). Bad Girl Good Tea is a sexy take on a classic beverage, a drink that a Kardashian generation can enjoy with branding and packaging that suits a glamorous lifestyle. Colarusso has worked diligently to fuse herbs and flavors that inspire positivity. A fan favorite, the Sleeping Beauty Blend is a mixture of lavender, vanilla, and chamomile that fills the stomach and relaxes. Caffeine free, the tea is a healthy way to ease the drinker to a sound, refreshing sleep.

Bad Girl Good Tea’s mission is simple: It’s a choice all glamorous girls can feel good about, and it offers wellness and beauty benefits that prove beneficial to the health-conscious fashionista. But, Colarusso notes, the brand doesn’t strive to make any “one-size-cures-all” claims like popular detox teas on the market. In fact, the tea expert explains that using tea as a quick fix to shed pounds and “detox” is, in reality, an unhealthy choice. “It’s actually very dangerous to detox with tea,” admits Colarusso, “Nothing is going to make you healthy except making good choices for your body, and tea is a part of that healthy lifestyle.”

Despite the brand’s “bad girl” name and inspiration, part of Samantha Colarusso’s endeavor is to empower and enlighten women. Essentially, it’s the philosophy that you can be a “bad bitch” and still be kind. Drawing from personal experiences as a young woman, the young entrepreneur is determined to use tea for good, ultimately finding ways to give back to anti-bullying campaigns and encouraging healthy relationships between girls and women alike.

www.badgirlgoodtea.com

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