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Music Video

Meek Mill Sits Down with Elliott Wilson for TidalXCRWN

Last night was one of the best nights I’ve ever had as a music journalist. Tidal hosted an in depth conversation with one of the most influential artists of our generation, Meek Mill.

He has come a tremendously long way from the streets of Philadelphia. In more ways than one, Mill has successfully beat the odds. That’s something to really take into account. When a black man, or someone from an impoverished neighborhood beats the odds they’re catapulted into a spotlight. They become everyone’s “example” of what to be. But as Meek explained, not all people who defeat adversity want to be an activist. He shared that he wants to keep being a role model for the youth and continue helping neighborhoods just like his own. And he also wants to enjoy his success like any regular person would.
I was able to attend Tidal’s live event. It was held at the PlayStation Theater in New York City. The crowd was vibrating with great energy. All music lovers gathered to listen to Meek speak. He provides motivation and inspiration for the many people he represents; People who have been counted out by society.  Meek spoke about Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, the time he spent in prison away from his son, Beyoncé shouting him out and more.

When Meek entered the stage everyone stood and applauded and cheered. The crowd was very open and accepting. It seemed as though each person in the audience genuinely cared for the artist they had become a fan of. He shared some funny moments: like when Kevin Hart and Michael Rubin came to visit him on his block* in prison or that awkward moment where he and Nicki Minaj are at dinner with Jay Z and Beyoncé and Jay decided to “accidentally” play Back to Back.
I even got to join in on the chat. Being from Philly I was able to watch Meek rise to fame, from the very beginning. I watched him take five steps forward in the music industry only to be knocked back ten, more than once. He remained determined. Each time an entry was blocked he made sure to have another way to get in the door. That is why he is so inspirational to our city. The Philadelphia Eagles fka “the underdogs” coming out to his monstrous hit “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” during their 2017 Superbowl win is a testament to that.
Before then the song had already stood as an anthem for anyone who was enduring hard times and planning on coming out on top. And past our city limits Meek is garnering a diehard fan base. I ran into a singer from New York, Nadia, with a cool DC tattoo. DC stands for “Dream Chasers,” a group and mantra initiated by Mill to push everyone forward.

[I remember when I first heard the Intro. There were three of my friends and I in our dorm. We all anticipated Meek Mill releasing his debut studio album, Dreams and Nightmares. The city was ON FIRE waiting for it and we brought that fire with us to college. When the beat started to play we all looked at each other. That’s the exact moment I realized that you cannot count this man out. We had to run the song back at least 20 times. It filled us with so much energy and we learned all the lyrics that night.]
As a music journalist my goal for all artists is to let them know how they have impacted millions of people. I want them to know that the consumers of their art appreciate them sharing so much of themselves with us. I wanted artists to know that they truly do resonate with a vast variety of people for a multitude of reasons. And that, when they experience adversity their supporters are along for the ride.
Check out my question below and make sure to stream the full Conversation with Elliott Wilson & Meek Mill on Tidal.

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Categories
Interview Music

Getting to Know H.E.R: a Chat with Today’s Rising R&B Songstress

In 2016, a mystical R&B sensation peaked all of our interests. Now, that we have become more familiar with her, we can begin to learn more about H.E.R.

With just a silhouette to pair with her identity she changed the way we look at music. The 21-year-old songstress forced us to rely solely on our auditory senses to palette her music. Beginning on Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing, H.E.R., has transcended gracefully from child stardom to Adult R&B fame. As a child she learned how to play the piano, guitar, and drums all thanks to her father who was in a band. The last single she released in her adolescence “Something to Prove,” was an up-tempo bop that left fans hankering for more. She reemerged with a more matured version of herself with single, “Focus.”
H.E.R. means “Having Everything Revealed.” That is exactly what she does with her music. Expressing her vehement feelings with a velvety smooth voice over emotion triggering production; H.E.R. mesmerizes us all. She’s received nods from the likes of Rihanna, Solange, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and more. In an interview with Refinery29 she shared: “Alicia Keys told me that when it comes to music, all you need is three chords and the truth.” She keeps her music simple yet dynamic; Revisiting the use of bridges in R&B and incorporating her poetic past.
After discovering more of who she was she released two extended plays, H.E.R. Vol 1 & 2. Both projects were without features. As “Focus,” garnered attention from the R&B world, another single was making waves of its own. “Best Part” with Daniel Caesar peaked at No. 8 on the U.S. R&B charts.
I Used to Know Her: The Prelude is her latest effort, released August 3, 2018. Already reaching No.1 on the U.S. R&B charts. This project is short, sweet, and features label mate Bryson Tiller.
I was able to chat with H.E.R. and ask a few questions to help us understand the mystique in front of the artist. In an openly candid conversation she gives us an inlet into who she is. Speaking with confidence and conviction.
She hails from Vallejo, a sunny city in California that matches her warm and radiant personality. I had to ask:
What’s your musical background and when did you learn to play the guitar? It’s interesting to learn how an artist so young could possess the expertise level of technique she has acquired.
Growing up in the bay area, there’s a lot of great music, old and new. My dad had a cover band and instruments were always all over the living room[…] I had the advantage of starting so young and being in the industry at a young age sometimes it’s frustrating…waiting your turn.
Signing to RCA records at the young age of 14; She says,I wanted to take out the time to release a project to find out who I was. I was constantly growing and changing.” It’s no secret that understanding the person you are is a trial we all must go through in life. Having been in the music industry for a while has afforded H.E.R. with the knowledge and experience a lot of new artists wish to have. She has studied some of the greatest artists and producers of our time.

Bts for cover shoot

Who were your musical influences growing up?
Lauryn Hill, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson… I was influenced by the people who our favorite artists looked up to. We can feel the effects of all of these legends in H.E.R. music. The soul, the passion, the melodies, and the instruments. Are all harmonious mixture of her angelic voice and mesmerizing production.
What’s your dream collaboration?
She answered confidently and without hesitation. “Miguel and J.Cole.” Those were the two names off the top of her head. She continued…”I love the message in their music.” Two soulful artists we would love to hear mesh with the vocal stylings of H.E.R.
What mark do you want to leave on R&B? How do you feel about the current state of R&B music? In recent years Rhythm and Blues music has merged with Hip-Hop. More quick-paced songs are being produced than ballads.
“It’s dope, substance is coming back. People appreciate real melodies, people are singing again, and they’re a lot more open. It’s not about the look, it’s about the message. My message is something all people can relate to[…]Raw emotions, I write the things that sit in the back of people’s minds, that they’re afraid to say. Sometimes we lie to ourselves, I like to be honest.” She explained, “Lauryn hill did that for me, allowed me to be open. Hopefully my music allows people the same and to live their truths.”
In regards to H.E.R. fashion sense, beauty and comfort meet. At a recent performance she wore an aqua blue ensemble. The outfit featured a hooded jacket with an elongated bottom that transitioned into a train. She paired the jacket with matching leggings and a pair of comfy kicks. She defines her style as “Tom-Boy Chic,” a perfect combination of the aforementioned.
Explain the energy surrounding your 2018 BET Awards and Coachella performances. What was it like sharing the stage with Daniel Caesar, another young R&B sensation, in front of so many legends?
“It’s funny, during the BET rehearsals I didn’t think about it, but I got to the side of the stage I was really nervous. She says she felt like people didn’t know what she could do live. “But I looked around and I realized there was no place I’d rather be. I proved myself,[…]” She continued, “Daniel is one of my good friends, we have great chemistry. Creatively, I can’t wait to get back in the studio with him. Coachella was a huge deal, I really enjoyed it.”
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When exemplary artists arise it’s always important to understand the construction of their craft. What was the writing and recording process like for “I Used to Know Her: the Prelude?” (Was Lauryn Hill a reference point in translating a certain message throughout the entire project or just the intro track?)
She explains “Naturally, Lost Souls was me getting back to my spoken word roots,”  and that she never had the confidence to just rap on a song. “I have a huge appreciation for Hip-Hop. I had a strong message and I wanted to make a statement.” She makes a few declarations, observations, and shines a light on a few social issues. Proudly stating ”I’m a rapper on that record.”
“I went to Miami and had a bunch of my favorite producers and writers come out…people I trust. We created a bunch of songs that we really loved. I had been on tour for the past year and thought to myself: ‘let me release something.’ ”
Since “I Used to Know Her,” is a prelude, does that mean we can expect a full clip of new music soon? She assured me that her debut album is “On the way…” Without mentioning many details, much is open for our imaginations. My mind immediately began to race with the endless possibilities of features and production options.
This issue of House of Solo is dedicated to the Best of British. The U.K. has always been fashion forward. Can you name any influences their culture has had on your style or music? (Leona Lewis, The Spice Girls, Adele, Elton John, The Beatles etc).
She agreed the artists mentioned are forces to be reckoned with and adds, “London is one of my favorite places to be because of the fashion. Ella Mai and I are good friends, so many people from the U.K. have been able to have great success at home and in the U.S. I love the London vibe, it reminds me of NY. I actually recorded ‘2’ and ‘Lights On’ in London. There’s inspiration everywhere.”
She teamed up with GRADES who rose to fame working with NAO and Grammy nominated producer Scribz Riley on “Lights On.” For “2,” she partnered with singer-songwriter and producer, MNEK. Both records are still co-produced by H.E.R. She is involved in each integral component of creating her music. Having had so many years of diligently studying the music industry at such a tender age has allowed H.E.R. to develop a sound artistry. The future is bright for this young star.
 

Categories
Music Video

Ariana Grande Drops Star Studded ‘thank u, next’ Visual

Ariana Grande releases the mother of all teenage girl videos.

thank u, next, is Ariana’s latest single. Social media was in a bit of an uproar when the single was initially released. Some made comments about to mention of her exes. However, Ari was firm in her reasoning. She thanks her former lovers for teaching her something different and helping her grow.

The video is a mega mashup of nostalgia from our favorite movies as teens. She combines theatrics and even some of the actors from: 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, and Bring It On. The video also features Kris Jenner as Regina George’s mom.

Check it out above.

Categories
Video

Ariana Grande Drops Star Studded 'thank u, next' Visual

Ariana Grande releases the mother of all teenage girl videos.
thank u, next, is Ariana’s latest single. Social media was in a bit of an uproar when the single was initially released. Some made comments about to mention of her exes. However, Ari was firm in her reasoning. She thanks her former lovers for teaching her something different and helping her grow.
The video is a mega mashup of nostalgia from our favorite movies as teens. She combines theatrics and even some of the actors from: 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, and Bring It On. The video also features Kris Jenner as Regina George’s mom.

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Check it out above: