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Entertainment Interview

Exclusive Interview with Brett Gray

Now is The Time: On My Block’s Brett Gray talks

Brett Gray serves as the comedic relief to a familiar yet, entertainingly unique teen drama, “On My Block.” The show centers four inner city LA teens transitioning into adulthood.

The young actor spoke with Pentagon Mag about his role and branching out into the music world. Gray is from the great city of Philadelphia, PA. The hometown of his acting idol, Will Smith. We shared a few laughs about being from the same city and chatted about his first rehearsal for “On My Block.” Co-Star Peggy Blow, noted his timing was spot on of a young Will Smith. She starred in an episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The whimsical star began his career in Musical Theater, having his first role be in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Brett has been a very busy bee. While wrapping up filming for ​On My Block, ​he’s also simultaneously filming the ​Secret Life of Bees (musical)​ and​ ​another Netflix original; “​When They See Us​.” The series was written and produced by Ava DuVernay. It exposes the U.S. criminal justice system during the ‘​Central Park Five’​ case. Gray makes it a point to play roles that tell stories that are encouraging to young black men. He plans to release an inspiring single “Our Day” for the series.

What’s your favorite characteristic of Jamal?

“​He is hungry, driven, and determined​.” Jamal would not give up the Rollerworld money hunt until he found the fortune, no matter who believed him.

When did you learn you could sing?

Gray says he could always sing since a child. His roots in Musical theater have helped the advancement of his vocal range. Brett says he went to the studio last year and then decided to drop some music of his own. “…​After On My Block, I focused and went to the studio and made my first project.​ ”

We began speaking about the rich musical history of Philadelphia. Home to artists such as: Gamble and Huff, Jazmine Sullivan, Patti Labelle, Jill Scott, Meek Mill, The Roots, and so many other greats. Gray will be apart of the greats our city has produced. His most recent releases include a debut EP, Easy Haze. Along with the video release for single S.O.S. Brett is very much so in-tune with the current wave of music. “I love Tierra Whack and Bri Steves,” he says. Both are fellow rising artists from Philadelphia.

How do you get into character?

To my surprise he answered, “I’m an over-thinker I try not to think about it at all. I just try to remember lines…I really lose myself.” An actor true to his craft, Gray submerges himself into any role.

What’s your dream role and if you don’t have one create one.

I have so many. Comedy, drama, avatar movies, I want to do everything. More live plays; My dream role is The Joker.” Which I could totally see, Gray has the chops to teeter the line of intense drama with a faint hint of humor. He declares he will do an amazing job and I agree. Look out for this promising young actor. He’s setting his own trail ablaze.

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Entertainment Interview

Cameron Boyce Recalls Grown Ups, Details new Movie ‘Runt’, and Talks Philanthropy

Cameron Boyce is on his way to the top of the acting world. On his way up, he checks in with Pentagon Magazine.

Cameron Boyce is that down to earth cool kid, everyone wants to know. The 19-year-old has been acting most of his life. What started out as a challenge strictly for himself, has transformed into a promising career. You may know him from his roles in Adam Sandler’s hilarious Grown Ups films, or from the Disney Channel show, Jessie. He’s also starred in the Descendants, Marley & Me, and Judy Moody and the Not so Bummer Summer. We had a cool and refreshing conversation where Boyce shares his philanthropic efforts, how he prepares for a role, and his upcoming William Coakley directed indie film, Runt.

I immediately dug right in:

What was your favorite movie/tv show to star in?

Boyce was very well versed. “It depends on what I took from that experience. Jessie was my favorite in terms of growth. I met my best friend on Jessie. We were like family. I was figuring out who I was and to have a place to go to that let me have an outlet…I ended up loving it.” He says. Then a thought crossed his mind. “…looking back on Grown Ups it was like summer camp, out in Boston, just hanging out.

How did you get into the acting world?

He surprisingly said “A combo of a dance background, and having a lot of friends in the industry. I saw it as a path to potentially take. My friends were doing commercials, print and photography. Growing up around creatives in LA motivated me.” He added if he wasn’t from LA, he probably wouldn’t have fallen into acting.

Did you learn any valuable lessons from the cast of Grown ups? There were so many acting legends involved. What did you take from that experience?

I booked it at nine years old,” He shares he didn’t understand the magnitude of the project. “I didn’t know I would be working with some of the funniest comedians in the world. It made me very comfortable. Doing a bunch of scenes with them [Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, David Spade, Chris Rock, etc], I realized pretty quickly, when you have people who are really good at what they do, that they will throw curves balls. You have to be able to hold your ground.”

He shares a funny moment behind the scenes: “In Grown Ups 2 there’s a scene where I break my leg and I’m in the doctor’s office. They’re fighting over something and the person playing my doctor was the director, Dennis Dugan.  There was one take they didn’t use, they yelled at each other for 10min. In my head I’m thinking ‘hold it together,’ they were all laughing, and I had a front row seat.

What’s your favorite genre to act in?

It depends on what I did last. If I did comedy last I’m craving to do something almost like we crave whatever we don’t have; the grass is greener effect. I try to be well rounded. A lot of people know me for comedy, but it doesn’t always work out that way. I would stagger them if I had a choice.

Who was your acting inspiration/idol?

As I’ve grown older, I’ve looked to Ryan Gosling. When I was younger my close friends were inspiration. I was a really competitive kid, I saw myself acting more than anything.” He says.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Boyce ran off a list…”Basketball, Singing, and Modeling.  I do a lot of random things, people forget I can dance.  I write and draw.” He’s a pretty creative young man.

Apart from his acting, Cameron Boyce has made tremendous strides in helping raise awareness to provide a basic necessity for those less fortunate.

Can you talk about your philanthropic ventures? I’ve learned that you’ve helped raise funds for clean water in impoverished countries.

He shares, “I just finished my second campaign, we raised a lot of money. I partnered with the Key Club, it’s a cool organization that is youth-based. People who are in their 20s and 30s, run this non-profit. The energy of the org is really great.  I was really inspired by the concept of  ‘yeah I’m young, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do something I’m passionate about.’ That’s why I’m being active about going out and voting, just b/c you’re young doesn’t mean you’re not equipped to make better decisions for yourself.” He continued, “It doesn’t have to be a celebrity, you can inspire your friends, your parents, and so on.”

What’s your ritual for starting a new script/role? How do you prepare for them?

I always approach them individually. I take one project at a time, what I feel is important.” He explains, “It comes with random things that affect your life, like ignoring my family a week before I went on set. I didn’t see my best friends for a whole month. There are things you sacrifice when you are doing something that isn’t really you.” [he’s speaking of assuming a role] “I committed to that fully. It always betters the product.” He shared a sacred actor’s proverb. “Your best take in a comedy is the first one and your best take in drama is your last one.

What do you have coming up? Where can we expect to see you next?!

He gives a great description of his upcoming role. “I just did an independent film Billy Coakely, ‘Runt.‘ It’s about a boy who is isolated. He has a friend that he outgrows, a mom who isn’t around, and he ends up going down a dark path due to the neglect in his life. People are overlooking him so he takes his life into his own hands. No one is there to stop him from his own life, he wants to thrive and study architecture, but ultimately his emotion and his teenage dumbness sort of take him off the edge.” He also shared that he’ll be starring in a Rock and Roll themed movie where he plays a kid who is a solo act trying to get into the scene. The kid is on his own, but he’s strong enough to handle certain things. Boyce says, “I took it more seriously than the average role.

I had an absolutely amazing time speaking with Cameron Boyce. Already a fan, I now have a better understanding of the actor. Make sure to be on the look out for Runt on the Independent film festival circuit and his other upcoming role as Rock and Roll badass.

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Entertainment Interview Music

A Rebel With A Cause: Interview with Sonny Digital

Trailblazing his own path, Sonny Digital is one of youngest producers making tsunami waves.

Sonny Digital is a Rapper-DJ turned producer. The 27-year-old was born in Saginaw, Michigan and grew up in one of the meccas of Hip-Hop, Atlanta, Georgia.  As a child Digital always loved music. He began rapping while in school and was inspired to produce by his cousin after not being able to find beats to his liking. Sonny looked to Drumma Boy and Shawty Redd as inspiration; two well known Hip-Hop producers. At the age of 16, Digital joined a rap group strictly as a producer. Over the years he began producing mixtapes for local rappers; working towards his big break.

Digital rose to fame in 2011 after producing the monstrous hit “Racks.” The song featured today’s biggest rapper, Future, and another Georgia native, YC. Peaking at #6 on the U.S. Rap charts and #8 on the U.S. R&B charts. After the success of Racks, Digital’s career was amplified. With his dynamic and futuristic beats now popular in the rap world, it was only a matter of time before he joined forces with other rap royalty and hashed out more hits with Future. Churning out bangers like Same Damn Time, Blow a Bag, I Don’t Sell Molly No More, Tuesday and more.

Sonny Digital has also produced for Beyonce, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Lil Uzi Vert, Gucci Mane, Migos, Young Thug, and Key!. One of Digital’s biggest hits to date is Birthday Song, made popular by Kanye West and 2 Chainz. While the song was a smash hit, many did not know the young producer laid the foundation for the tune we hear today. He recounts the tale of working with Kanye in “First Call,” a track where he holds no punches. Digital details the industry flip that happens a lot to upcoming rappers, producers, and singers alike.  He also talks about breaking his hard-drive and having to start from scratch after the success of “Racks.”

His hypnotic beats aren’t the only conversation piece provided by Sonny Digital. He’s been very vocal in encouraging all producers to speak up on not receiving credit. Amid fighting for his own recognition, Digital made sure to use his platform to shed light on industry practices. He took to Instagram to share his thoughts on producers not winning Grammys or MTV awards and so on for their efforts. In an interview with The Fader he explained that he wanted to start a union for producers. Giving them the backing and support that is lacking. A lack of support that has led many beat crafters to stay silent.

Since his immense success Digital has returned to his roots of being a rapper and producing his own music. He’s linked up with Que, Black Boe of Travis Porter, and other artists. The interesting part about a lot of his music is, artists gravitate to Sonny’s original sound and remix it. This is the story behind “I’m The Man,” the hit of producer’s past, and Birthday Song. Both tracks originally featured Digital.

The chart topping artist took time out of his schedule to answer a few questions.

You’ve been instrumental in breaking new artists and producers, Ex: Key!, 21 Savage, and MetroBoomin. How do you cultivate sounds and build relationships with upcoming artists?

The “Just do what you do, nobody can do what you do better than you can do it. I wasn’t looking that’s just how it happend

Aside from music Digital has another job he takes pride in, being a dad.

How has your experience been, being a father?

You can almost hear the smile on his face as he shares: “It’s lit, I recommend it, I like fatherhood I want some more kids.” He’s got the entire thing down packed. He tells us how much enjoys it and it’s not that hard.

What does it take for an artist to be noticed by Sonny Digital?

I just gotta like you, everybody’s different, What I personally like, If I like it I go into it. I can always find something that I like in any field.” Boasts the multi-talented artist.


SONNY WEARS BLAZER & PANTS BY FAITH CONNEXION, TURTLENECK BY Z ZEGNA, SHOES BY DSQUARED2
Have you given any real thought to creating a producer’s union and who would you enlist to be on the front lines?

Always true to himself he says: “None of the people y’all probably think, nobody real enough to be on the front lines except for me…I’m working on it.

Which do you enjoy doing more, rapping or producing?

“I don’t like that people separate it, It’s the same thing. It’s all making music.”

Which artists do you want to work with that you haven’t?

Nobody y’all know. I’m not all into the hype, y’all probably wouldn’t even know them.” Taking the road less traveled seems to be the way Digital prefers to do things.

We had to get in on the SRGOW (Sonny Rollin Grams of Wax).
Who would you smoke with if given a chance?

Now this is the exact person we had in mind. “Snoop Dogg.” That answer took no thought at all.

What are you working on now?

Elusive as always he explained “I don’t really wanna say, I’m in the studio right now.  Just know, the less you see the more I’m working.” We can check in on his social media to find him mesmerized by studio soundboards.

What’s your end goal with music? How do you want to be remembered?

“I don’t know, when you die nowadays you go to automatic legend…being yourself is already kind of legendary, ain’t nobody the same, everybody different.” Digital continued

What do you like to do in your down time?

For a man that is always working on his legacy, spare time is hard to come by. Digital tell us: “Building a studio, some stuff outside of music, chilling. Then he pauses to continue, “ain’t really no down time for me, there’s just time I can spend doing something else.

How would you describe your style?

Chill, being me, the cool guy I guess.

There is something mystical that lures artists to Sonny Digital’s mastery of music. Maybe it’s the hard hitting drums, the intensity of the high-hats, or the intricate little nuances that make his beats distinct. Digital is a beast behind the boards and should be revered as such. Some people follow the wave, Sonny Digital is the wave.


SONNY WEARS COAT, T-SHIRT AND SHOES BY HERON PRESTON, PANTS BY REEBOK BY PYER MOSS

SONNY WEARS SHIRT: PRADA

PHOTOGRAPHER: LUKE DICKEY

PRODUCER: NATASHA KHROLENKO

STYLIST: JENNY HAAPALA

STYLIST ASSISTANTS: OLIVIA JAKUBIK & ARTT KIM

GROOMER: TORU SAKANISHI @ JOE MANAGEMENT

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Entertainment Interview Music

Exclusive Interview with Joe Vango of Audiomack

Audiomack’s Secret Weapon

I recently had the chance to visit the Audiomack HQ and chat with Joe Vango, Marketing Coordinator. Joe is originally from Philadelphia and has made quite an impact in the music industry in a few year’s time. He speaks on bringing out James Shaw, the Waffle House hero, at Rolling Loud, the new Kanye produced albums, and artists he’s currently listening to. He also touches on J. Cole’s surprise KOD event in New York. Joe even shares how upcoming artists can garner his attention.

Joe got his start in the music industry writing for Hypefresh Mag, from there he began curating playlists. His knack for finding new artists and his keen sense of discovering new sounds made him visible to the Audiomack team. David Ponte, Co-Founder of Audiomack, sings Joe’s praises. “Joe is probably one of the most unsung taste makers in the industry,” with which I had to agree, “YES!” Ponte continues “He’s kind of like our secret weapon, he makes sure that we have the dopest upcoming artists on Audiomack first.” As a previous co-worker I can attest to all of this. #YouShouldKnowJoe

Watch the one-on-one interview above.

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Entertainment Interview Music

Starley Talks the Importance of Trusting Your gut, Being Yourself, and more

Starley is an Australian born Pop Star who speaks to the spirit of her fans through her music.

Just a few months after its remixed release, Starley’s mega-hit “Call on Me” has reached over 67 million streams on YouTube alone. The inspiring artist creates music that is true to who she is. Growing up in Australia influenced her desire to be a musician. Pop music is one of Australia’s main exports. Starley has made her way to international stardom. Her music is liberating and self-reflective. When asked of her influences, Starley explains she was very mesmerized by radio and Australian pop stars.

How does being from Australia Influence the music you create?

She says, “I grew up listening to a lot of Australian pop music, especially Kylie Minogue.”

Her family is multicultural, which adds to the depths and the sounds of Starley’s music. She credits her mother’s Aussie, Filipino, and Japanese roots as well as her father’s African roots for the base of her musical soul.

She mentions, “I was influenced by The Story of Ritchie Valens and Old Rock. African bands from Mauritius, and one of my biggest influences is Mariah Carey. ”

Starley recently teamed up with Katy Perry on stage for her WITNESS tour. A monumental moment for the international pop sensation. She says “Katy listened to ‘Love is Love‘ and that was it. She said she wanted me to join her.”

Who else would you like to work with?

She stated “Sia, and DJs like Diplo and Calvin Harris.”

Starley

With such powerful music comes great responsibility. Starley has been taking great strides to always be the best version of herself and provide her fans with the same opportunity. I asked, “Please explain the importance of being true to yourself and encouraging your fans to do the same.

“It’s one of the biggest things for me as a singer and songwriter. It was the main reason for me to just put my music out there. I had dreams of being an artist when I was much younger. I just wanted to get my music out. Starley revealed that she’d tried making music and writing for other artists. “…But nobody wanted to sing my truth.” She found that it was only she who could share a message so personally written. “Learn from my mistakes or connect with my life in general…People need one another to draw from and I like to put encouraging things into music.”

True to her word, Starley’s mega hit “Call on me” does just that. The uplifting track is the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling down. How did the success of “Call on me” change the course of your career? She answers, “I didn’t expect the success, I knew it was a special song that people were going to relate to. The song is very true to me.” Starley says, “I went through a serious bout of depression. I had to sing myself out of that depression and now the song taken on a life of its own.”

The single has over 67M YouTube views alone. Speaking on the success of the hit she says, “It was overwhelming. The most important thing is fans get to hear your music around the world and I get to put out what I want. I feel blessed.”

Through music, Starley has been able to find herself and learn herself layer by layer. In recent months past the singer bravely came out to her family. She shares that experience:

“It was pretty hard, I had always felt bi-curious. It was a bit of shock for me and hard for them to handle. I grew up in church.” She continues, “I began to explore and learn myself…I started falling in love with my girlfriend so I had to. Living in a lie is the worst thing. This is something my family didn’t expect. I continue to be transparent with them, as much as they will allow. You either live in the lie and torture yourself or you put it out there and the other people learn from the situation.”

As beautiful as her music is, so is her heart and mind. An artist of sound spirit is one to cherish. In her budding career I asked, What advice can you give to any aspiring artists?

“What I wish I had learned: trust your gut instinct the most, more than people with more experience. The most important thing is your gut instinct. People may try to deter you from your path, but trust it.”

After the release of her latest visual for Love is Love, Starley says she is working on a new single. She also recently wrapped up her album which could be a Winter release.

Her universal message is to spread love through her music, a message we can all stand to receive.

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Interview Music

Moon Taxi is a Breath of Invigorating air

The band that formed in Nashville, Tennessee seems to have been put together by fate.

Trevor Terndrup and Tommy Putnam were childhood comrades with a deep passion for soulful music. The pair attended high school in Vestavia Hills, a suburb in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating, the two moved to Nashville, where they attended Belmont University. There, they met the remainder of their dream team. David Swan, a drummer from Atlanta, Georgia and fellow guitarist Spencer Thomson, of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The group quickly gained popularity and began playing small gigs and eventually did their own college tour. Terndrup’s soothing vocals coasting with the band’s synchronized harmonic telepathy set the group for success. Upon graduating, Swan decided to depart from the band to pursue another career path. Moon Taxi then enlisted, Tyler Ritter as drummer. Another friend from Vestavia Hills. In 2006, the group was writing and recording in preparation for their debut album, Melodica. At the same time, the group had keyboardist, Wes Bailey sit in on a few shows; after Melodica was released in 2007 he was permanently added to the family.

“Their musicianship remains tight, intricate and top-notch” – Associated Press

In coordination with releasing their first studio album, Putnam, Ritter, and Terndrup formed their own label, 12th South Records. An independent label housed in their 12th Avenue South home. After the success of Melodic, the five-piece recorded a live album. This attracted the attention of festival lovers and laid the foundation for their performances at popular events. Events such as Coachella and Firefly Music Festival among other popular fests.

“Over the last few years, Nashville’s Moon Taxi have worked their way up from Bonnaroo buzz-band to something approaching Kings of Leon country, playing a pleasingly cross-bred rock – a little indie, a little proggy, kinda poppy.” – Rolling Stone

Image Shot by Eva Pentel

With their growing popularity and more than 10 years of playing together, the band signed to RCA records in September , 2017. It’s possible that their production of loving, free-spirited music has catapulted them to the forefront of the Alternative Jam Rock scene. “Not Too Late” is off of the band’s new album Let The Record Play. The captivating visual follows the lives of three different characters – each overcoming their own obstacles – the video perfectly captures the song’s yearning lyrics and ‘80s inspired guitar and shows that it’s never too late to achieve the impossible. Watch the video here:

Let The Record Play is a triumphant moment of rock-pop exploration that proves that Moon Taxi is a rare band that can address the temperature of our turbulent times while also providing the euphoric musical escapism we so badly need. Produced and mixed by Spencer Thomson (the band’s guitarist), Let The Record Play is a document of one of the most creative bands to emerge from Nashville’s immensely fertile landscape – and one that has been thriving on the festival scene for years, bringing their electric performances to Coachella, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and beyond. Beloved enough in their hometown to sell out two nights at the famed Ryman Auditorium this past October, this LP, their RCA Records debut, has catapulted them even higher.

Tying into the album’s release, Moon Taxi performed their hit single “Two High” on The TODAY Show with Megyn Kelly TODAY and  Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Two High,” is an uplifting song written to emanate peace,  following the Women’s March this January. The song is a global streaming hit, reaching #1 at Triple A Radio, is being played on Sirius XM’s The Spectrum, Alt Nation and Jam On, and has garnered over 78 million streams on Spotify alone. “Two High” is also being featured in the 2018 Jeep Compass commercial.

Currently reaching new heights, Moon Taxi is now on an international tour. Check out the dates below. The tour concludes on October 7th in New York, tickets are available here. Get the latest updates from the band by following them @Moon_Taxi

Image shot by Eva Pentel

Moon Taxi Upcoming Shows

February 14        Fayetteville, AR @ George’s Majestic

February 15        Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note

February 16        Oklahoma City, OK @ The Jones Assembly

February 17        Kansas City, MO @ The Truman

March 2                Punta Cana, Dominican Republic @ One Big Holiday 2018

March 23             Covington, KY @ Madison Theater

March 24             Covington, KY @ Madison Theater

March 25             Houston, TX @ In Bloom Fest

April 4                   Oxford, MS @ The Lyric Oxford

April 5                   Baton Rouge, LA @ Varsity Theatre

April 7                    Mobile, AL @ Soul Kitchen

April 12                 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall

April 14                 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater

May 16                 Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre

May 17                 Baltimore, MD @ Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

June 1                   Jackson, MS @ Cathead Jam at Cathead Distiller

June 7-10             Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

July 14-15            Birmingham, AL @ Sloss Music & Arts Festival

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Entertainment Film Interview

Goosebumps and Jumanji Star Madison Iseman talks Annabelle, Social Media Cleanses, and Her Sure Fire Party Trick!

The 21-year-old whose Harry Potter obsession turned into an acting career lands the lead role in the third installment of the Annabelle movie.

I had the pleasure of having a hilarious conversation with Madison Iseman. Bright and full of life Iseman dishes about falling in love with film and working with acting legends. As a child, her love for Harry Potter books and seeing the words projected onto screen ignited an interest in acting. “[…]I wanted to be a film editor at first.” she admits.

What was it like working with Nick Jonas, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and The Rock for Jumanji? Did you feel any pressure remaking such a huge classic?

Awesome!,” she replied eagerly. “I never expected to be in a movie like that this early on in my career, but everyone was so nice and accepting. It was a little intimidating. I read a bunch of write ups online, and felt a little discouraged.” She admits. However, “Everybody was easy to work with, it was refreshing.” Iseman says working with the comedy world’s finest was an unexpected blast.

We remained on the topic of the internet and how it’s necessary to take a break from social media. Iseman shared that sometimes it’s okay to sit your phone down for two hours out of the day and just relax. We joked about reverting to the old days of “house phones,” sending letters, and memorizing each other’s phone numbers.

In her first recurring role, Iseman was able to work with the legendary Billy Ray Cyrus. I was very curious to know what it was like working with such a staple in the music and acting world. After all, Cyrus did catapult the career of his eldest daughter, Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana). He coached her as an artist and actor. While the show is no longer being made, it still proves a popular watch for the kids of today. Parents whose children are fans of the show noticed that they engage will with the music and so also try getting them to watch kids learning songs on youtube.

Did Billy Ray Cyrus give you any advice on handling your career early on?

He taught me everything.” She notes, Cyrus was very interesting to watch. “He’s such a mentor. He was my second set father. We shared music, I left my guitar at home and he let me use his to practice. He also ended up letting me keep it.

I wanted to find out more about the thriving young actress. We explored how the role of Annabelle came about, her favorite genres of film, her dream role, and more. One thing’s for certain, Madison Iseman cannot be put in a box. Her acting knows no bounds.

Badass women are my favorite characters to play,”  was her first thought. “Every new script is special. I would love to play in a Rom-Com (romantic comedy), or act as a wizard and more Sci-Fi films.

Iseman confessed that she had always been a Horror film fan. “I love the Human Centipede, it’s one of my favorite movies.” She continues, “I had previously auditioned for the second Annabelle movie, so when the third installment came up I was excited to audition again.” After that it was pretty much set for Madison. “Gary, the director wanted to Skype with me and we hit it off.” Iseman plays the role of a babysitter given the task of caring for the Warren’s daughter, Judy. However, the unsuspecting sitter has no idea what she is in for. McKenna Grace stars as Judy Warren. Iseman adds “We had a great read. Be sure to watch all of The Conjuring and Annabelle films, there are a lot of pieces to pick up on. We just started filming and I’m really excited.

Top by vintage, Pants by Rag and Bone & Shoes by Steve Madden

Actors and actresses always have their one idol they look to as children. I asked Who would you want to play you in a biopic? Iseman picked a great choice. “…if she could Reese Witherspoon. She’s been my favorite since I was little. I agreed that she’d found her perfect match.

Iseman isn’t all business, she likes to have fun too. Reading, nature walks, and family are great escapes when work looms a little to heavily. Her hidden talent is something only one in a million people can do without breaking their necks or arms.”I can lick my elbow, that’s my party trick.” We giggled hysterically. Such a pleasantly beaming personality, I had just one final question for rising star.

What can we expect in the near future from Madison Iseman?

Lots of things, Annabelle, I’m doing some Indie films.” She continued “I have Feast of Seven Fishes coming up with Skylar Gisand. I’m working with some of the actors from the Sopranos

The star of the new Annabelle movie gives us so much to look forward to. Make sure to watch each movie in the series so that you don’t miss out on anything.

Jacket by Stella McCartney

Categories
Fashion Interview Music

Meet Model and Singer: Devyn Adair

Model and Singer Devyn Adair grew up in a small town in Washington state. By the age of 5, Devyn was already singing, drawing, and performing for friends and family. She embodies art in every sense of the word and is consistently perfecting her craft. As a model, she creates vivid images for the hungry eyes of art consumers worldwide.

Devyn has recently embarked on her journey to pop stardom. At the age of 20, she travelled to Seoul, Korea to train her voice and widen her vocal range. Afterwards, she moved to the “city of Angels” to further pursue her deeply rooted passion. She draws inspiration from the world around her for music. She explains in our interview, just how important music is and has always been in her life.

She is currently signed with EMPIRE and three different modelling agencies. With models like Devyn on the scene, it comes as no surprise that many other girls may find what she is doing to be an inspiration to them. Getting into the modelling industry may not be as difficult as it used to be, especially with the rise of social media. From becoming instagram models to walking the runway for fashion designers, hopefully, your dream of becoming a model comes true!

Get to know Devyn Adair below.

How does the music scene there influence your sound?

I grew up listening to everything. I was surrounded by my dad’s love of Rock and classic R&B. A lot of my friends loved R&B and Pop. There aren’t many opportunities in the music industry where I’m from. I wanted to move and get better educated.

How did you get into modelling?

She admits, “I had no idea how it worked. I spent my childhood modelling.” After graduating Devyn says she did her research. “I took some test shots, made connections. I got signed in Seattle to a great agency. I wanted to go to LA and pursue it further. After that, I signed with an agency in LA, in the Bay area. It’s so much fun there.

What do you like to do in your spare time other than music?

I’m such a fitness junky, I have to workout.” She laughed and continued, “I hangout with my dogs a lot.” Devyn refers to her pups as her Fur babies. She has a Pit-Lab mix named Rafiki, and a full Pitbull named Boss.  “I writing, reading, painting, anything I can do to express myself.

Where do you find inspiration for your music? How do you select the beats that you choose?

Everywhere, I admire the beauty in art. Anything that is creative and artistic. When I went to Korea to pursue singing I learned their culture and their way singing and training. It opened my eyes and allowed my sound to develop. I’ll always be thankful for the people over there that taught me.

What’s your recording process like? 

I’m so blessed to have Pete styles and wonderful team. I love creating the classic R&B sound with a modern twist. I want to make songs that make you feel something, that make you feel good. If I like a beat and can come up with a melody I can I take it and  create to it.

Who would you like to collaborate with? 

There are so many female rappers out now that I’d love to collab with.  Artists I’ve always listened to like, Chris Brown & Rihanna.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What is your goal in music?

To be able to get to a point where I can do it freely…basically do what I love and call it a job. I want to be able to influence people and work with others. I love meeting artists, vibing off their energy, and talking about anything. I see myself performing and being able to worry-free.

And of course, I diverged from our musical conversation. I love knowing little quirks about our favourite artists,

Do you come from a small or large family?

..A small family. I have a little sister and she’s 16. She’s so cute and she’s my biggest supporter. We share a Spotify account and I’ll sign in to use it and she’s listening to my songs. And she’s so mature.

What can we expect next from Ms Devyn Adair? 

She shares that she just set up an in-home recording studio. “Some singles! I write at home. You can expect more me, more of my sound, more developed.” She also shared a piece of advice for other oncoming artists. “I know that with any artist, with anything they do, if they keep working on it it will get better. ”

Photographer Kent Avery

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Interview Music Video

Exclusive: Coop Poppy Talks New Music, Losing Friends to The Rap Game, Gate Keeping and More

I had the chance to sit down with Coop Poppy and explore a little more about him as a person and an artist. He discusses his latest single, Sho’nuff, growing up in the city of Philadelphia and learning to express himself differently through music.

2x (two times) sheds some light on his upbringing in the city and what led him to his current position as an artist. He says he initially started making music solely for his neighborhood (just something to keep the hood motivated.) As his music grew, so did his fan base. The 26-year-old has tore down stages across the city and the nation. Coop poppy also shares his thoughts on realistically maneuvering the music industry (if you’re in it, you already know about the politics of the “the game.” It’s a game of chess.)
The uptown rapper has worked with some of the hottest producers, these names may ring a bell: Maaly Raw, DJ Tizz, Dougie on the Beat, and Infamous Rell to name a few. In the interview he gives us the drop on new music with long time confidant, Kur, a single with Drama, and Fredo Santana’s close friend and member of Glory Boyz Entertainment,
Gino Marley
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Big $lime has been a very busy rapper, check out the interview above and follow Coop Poppy to stay in the loop with his latest releases.

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.