Video Interview: Actress Sandra Daley-Sharif

It would be accurate to describe Sandra Daley-Sharif as a Renaissance woman for sure. The Jamaican-born, New York raised creative geyser wears a number of “hats” stylishly, proudly, impressively and effectively.

Once a burgeoning and successful fashion designer with notable stints, amongst others, producing her own line and working for the wrap–dress icon, Diane Von Fürstenburg – Daley-Sharif is now a veteran and accomplished actress of stage and screen.  Her long list of credits include work in noted theater productions both on and off Broadway and in small screen favorites including The Sopranos, Law & Order, Sex and the City, The Blacklist, Orange Is The New Black and most recently, Madame Secretary to name just a few.

However the very long list of credits Daley-Sharif has amassed over her career encompasses her work wearing those other  “hats” as well, which include Director, Playwright, Dramaturge and Producer. Those “hats” have garnered her and the ground- breaking projects and entities she’s founded critical acclaim and award –winning recognition. A few of the many sterling examples include The Liberation Theatre Company, a creative incubator for emerging black playwrights, and Harlem 9,harlem9 a collaborative theater production organization based in Harlem that received the prestigious OBIE Award in 2014 for their efforts.  In addition to it’s other wonderful productions Harlem 9 is also responsible for the innovative 48 Hours in … , which challenges six directors and playwrights to craft stage productions in yes, 48 hours. For her efforts in theater Daley-Sharif is also a recipient of  the 2015 Josephine Abady Award from The League of Professional Theatre Women.

It’s also important to note two other “hats” she’s been wearing in the midst of all the others that mean the most, and understandably so – that of wife and mother. The obvious common strand through them all is the love, passion and commitment she brings to them.

Through the years of building this impressive resume of experience, Daley-Sharif has tapped into another excellent innate talent – that being as a writer. As a vehicle to bring her words and the stories they tell to the world she has called upon some incredibly talented actors to bring them to life in a filmed series of monologues that out the box have attracted great acclaim and interest.

ISPYSOUL caught up with Sandra Daley-Sharif to find out more about the series, her career and in the midst of it all how she’s discovered what happiness really is. Check out the interview and others on the I SPY SOUL YouTube Channelbc

Below is the first of Sandra Daley-Sharif’s monologues:


Dreams Deferred by Sandra A. Daley-Sharif, featuring Bridgit Antoinette Evans

To check out the other monologues I Like Fancy Things and Take Flight click on the links.

 And for more about Sandra Daley-Sharif go to SandraDaley.com

 

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Ty Causey- A few new “angles” The same great voice

Acclaimed, soulful crooner, songwriter and producer, Ty Causey can truly be described as prolific. Crafting enjoyable tracks that keenly and eloquently interpret the intricacies of love and life is a daily obsession or as he describes it, therapy.

“I write every day,” says Causey. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t write because I see so much around me and I just try to capture things that are realistic.” He explains, In order for you to capture things like that, you really have to be looking around you everyday. So pretty much everyday I’m working on something.”

Needless to say, that’s just fine for the legion of very faithful fans Causey has wooed around the globe over the years. Left to them, and admittedly if he thought it feasible, he might be putting out a project filled with those daily jewels every week. “It’s kind of weird for me because I’ve been so blessed for people to enjoy my music,” says Causey.  “It’s a style people have come to really embrace. But I have to be careful because I write so much stuff I do want to release something every week. But it doesn’t work that way,” he chuckles. “So I have to be careful to determine when [a new project] comes out.”

imageHowever, lucky for the loyal enthusiasts, Causey hasn’t been very good at policing his output, releasing twelve projects beginning with his now classic and popular debut, N-Tysing in image2004 as well as defining follow-ups such as Love Notes, the breakout, Expressions, Down To Earth, and True Love In Motion to name just a few. Needless to say, it’s hard for him to keep the goodness to himself and thought it time once again to share some more with the release of his latest, TYANGLES. It is indeed lucky number thirteen, which only proves the point of his prolificacy as well as the joy he has creating music and desire to share what he often acknowledges as a God bestowed gift.

As on his prior projects, that have enjoyed play and success in the U.S as well as abroad, Causey displays on Tyangles his engaging tone, great range and silky smooth delivery along with an apt compliment of thoughtful, moving lyrics – A skillful combination of poetry and real talk providing a catalogue of persuasive tips, if you will, for the fellas while at the same time offering embraceable, sincere sentiments for the ladies. An example? “Be A Man About It.” In it he sings, “You could say all the little perfect things / so she can meet your demands /but it still don’t make imageyou a man/ Treat her like a stepping-stone/ Love her til the break of dawn/ but it still won’t make you a man/ A real man has integrity /respects his woman naturally/ that’s what makes a man.” Causey laments,  “It’d be so nice if brothers would go back to treating the women the way they use to. You know, with respect. And some of the music that’s out there is totally disrespecting the women.” He continues, “I was raised with a mother and five sisters, man. And I’m just like, how can people say some of the stuff they say about women? I was just trying to send a message which was to treat [a woman] like a lady and be a man about treating her like a lady.”

When you add to those real life-inspired messages a musical backdrop of soul, R&B and smoothed out jazz, you then have his trademark brand of sensual soul and smooth R&B. It’s a winning recipe he’s been whipping up for years and for that reason many of the faithful don’t want him to ever change. Of course, he appreciates greatly that his fans have fallen for what he does and how he does it and acknowledges he’s not likely to stray too far from his core sound, but as an artist there’s always a desire to explore a bit.

“Sometimes I feel challenged,” admits Causey. “Without wanting to sound prideful or anything, I think people expect a certain sound from me and if I deviate from that sound too much, then you start to create problems for yourself. But at the same time, I think me personally; I have to allow myself to try the new things here and there. And I think that’s one of the things that I’ll probably be doing even more of in the future. You know, keeping my style, but at the same time trying new adventures [musically].”

Causey was surrounded by a family of singers as a child in his hometown of Fort Wayne, IN, where he still resides and so the talent was, as they say, in the blood. As with many soulful singers his beginnings were in the church. His style, sound and approach are tied to those beginnings and his faith. It’s something those fans can rest assured will never change. No matter the song, it fuels the emotion he sings with and the sincerity with which it’s delivered. He speaks to it in the track, “It’s Not Over Til It’s Over” on Tyangles, but it has also moved him to release The Gospel Truth imagein 2012 and another gospel project he has planned for release in the near future. “I would say [my sound] definitely has the foundation of my Gospel roots that comes out in pretty much all my songs because I’m pretty careful as to what I write about. There’s a line that I won’t cross when it comes to my lyrics and I think that’s one of the things that defines my style.” He adds, “But at the same time, I’m a jazz lover too. I’m an old school lover too of R&B and soul music. So all those things come together. But I would say for the most part, the foundation is my Gospel roots.”

Causey’s story beyond that and to where he is now is indeed one of faith, passion, hard work and preparation meeting opportunity. Through the early years of tirelessly performing throughout his hometown, both on his own and with various vocal groups, he steadily strengthened and developed his distinctive tone and style all the while rapidly building a solid star- like rep there. Because of the building notoriety, a series of significant connections brought Causey to the attention of renowned contemporary jazz saxophonist, Najee. Impressed with a demo of his, Najee quickly invited him to work on his next project which became, the 1998 release, MORNING TENDERNESS. imageCausey would not only be a featured vocalist on the recording, but he would also fill that spot on the worldwide tour that followed. The opportunity introduced him to a number of new fans and unsurprisingly, the enthusiastic response he received while on the tour encouraged Causey upon his return home to start crafting a project of his own. He ultimately released his aptly titled, full-length debut, N-TYSING, which featured guest spots from Najee and bassist, Nelson Braxton known for his work with amazing vocalist, Ledisi and of the jazz duo Braxton Brothers. The project drew enthusiastic reviews and found its way to the playlists of radio programs internationally. The resulting exposure gave notice to an engaging new voice on the music scene moving many to include N-TYSING on several “best of” lists that year and instantly moving Causey, for those in the know, to amongst the class of contemporary soul and R&B vocalists on the scene. Since, in addition to headlining his own performances he’s shared the stage with the likes of Babyface, Boney James, Glenn Jones and more.

Causey’s growth is synonymous with that of most true artists who continue to challenge themselves with the desire being to deliver something that will stand the test of time. That growth includes over the years becoming also an adroit producer and songwriter. But the star remains his voice and Causey has proven to be an elite vocalist possessing a captivating flow reminiscent of past Soul/R&B greats with swayed fans, industry vets and music resources confirming the due praise. It’s pretty clear he acknowledges that as the gift he’s been blessed with.

“I think people gravitate to my voice more than anything because that’s really the main instrument for me. And I think that’s what people recognize more than anything. There’s a lot of music out there, but I don’t think there’s a lot of signature voices that people recognize, like, and embrace.”

That’s Ty’s angle and it’s working out just fine.

Bert Caldwell

 

Note* I had the great privilege of being a “swiss army knife” of sorts including co-production duty (and even co-writer on a track from the Expressions project) for the talented Ty Causey for many years starting with his debut, N-Tysing in 2004. During the course of those years we became great friends and as friends do he has continued to bounce ideas off of me from time to time and let me know what he’s up to. And that has continued to be my great privilege. Ironically this is the first actual interview we’ve done for ISPYSOUL.

B.C.

 

To check out and purchase Ty Causey’s TYANGLES go here

and to see the whole catalogue go here

 

 

DJ Jazzy Jeff and crew give us “Goosebumps” in seven days

Jazzy Jeff & The PLAYlist Shatter Music Industry Rules with New Album, Made in Just 7 Days 

When February began, the DJ Jazzy Jeff-curated PLAYlist, a collection of more than 30 producers, musicians and singer/songwriters including Eric Roberson, James Poyser, SiR and Daniel Crawford, were yet to record one note. By the middle of the month they had a full 15-song album, titled Chasing Goosebumps, that’s blown fans away since its ceremonious premiere on Facebook Live on February 16.

Jazzy Jeff, the Grammy award-winning DJ and producer who first rose on the scene in the eighties as one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince with Will Smith, and has since worked with the likes of The Roots, Jill Scott, and Musiq Soulchild, presented the PLAYlist with the challenge of writing, recording, mixing and mastering an album from scratch at his Delaware home in just one week. The result is a genre-bending project with a feel that’s most prominently R&B and soul with a touch of hip hop. Jeff, born Jeffrey Townes, says it took every single person involved buying into the process 100 percent to make it.

“I knew from the level of people we had we could pull it off. I knew it was imagepossible to pull off, I didn’t know if we were going to pull it off,” admitted Townes, speaking over the phone less than 24 hours after releasing the album.

At the core of the task was the desire to challenge the limitations of a music industry that Jeff believes can tend to stifle creativity for the sake of business. It’s a dilemma that the artists of the PLAYlist — award winners with countless miles touring the world for their own tours or playing alongside the likes of Pharrell, Justin Timberlake and Raphael Saadiq — know too well.

“Without an A&R’s direction and without someone telling you what to make, let’s get a bunch of creatives in the room,” Townes explained. “I don’t get the feeling from a lot of music that I used to get back in the day. I don’t get the goosebumps, I don’t get the chills. The technology’s better, the outlets are better, how come the music’s not better? Something’s not right. And then you start realizing that I think it’s the gatekeepers that I think are stopping this type of music.”

While this is the first time Jazzy Jeff has ever tried pulling together an album this quickly, it’s not his first time gathering a large group of creatives to collaborate on music without the pressures of the business. In August 2015, Jeff held the first-ever PLAYlist Retreat at his house with dozens of specially chosen DJs, producers and instrumentalists. The following August he decided to add singer/songwriters to the mix.

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“It really became a thing of inspiring a lot of collaboration; that you want people to kind of get back to making music together. That’s kind of where this thing kind of sparked from, that with this generation, everybody makes music by themselves. Everybody has their own laptop and you don’t ever get that collaboration of two, three, four people like you did with the music that I grew up with.”

Townes says that while the great music that was shared and created was expected, there was another aspect of the Retreat that took him by surprise.

“It also turned into a very big healing factor. That was the component that I didn’t see coming. Most of the guys that had experience in the music industry were very heartbroken, they were very dejected. Some of them even were like ‘I don’t do that anymore, I quit.’”

“Everybody’s got this story of something that happened that wrecked them to the point that they’re not producing their art like they should, and that drives me crazy. So if I can be somebody that kind of brings people together to try to heal some of that so we can some of that music again, so be it.”

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The unintentional benefits of the PLAYlist reminded Jeff of his longtime friend and singer/songwriter Glenn Lewis, who throughout his career has drawn comparisons to Stevie Wonder. Lewis, following early success with his 2002 Epic Records-released World Outside My Window album and hit single “Don’t You Forget It,” had become frustrated with and distant from the music industry, leaving fans wondering why he seemingly disappeared.

“By the time I got into the game, you had all these numbers people and people trying to appease the stockholders, it’s like they just throw things against the wall, and if it sticks, cool, if not, on to the next,” said Lewis on the phone from Canada, where he’s originally from. “I had gotten to the point where I had become turnt off from the game. I stopped watching awards shows, I stopped listening to music, I wasn’t singing as much as I used to. I would sing around the house and I just altogether stopped.”

In 2003, Lewis and Epic released a video for the song “Back For More,” the title track of an album that would never be released. In 2013 he more quietly released the album Moment of Truth on Ruffhouse Records.

“I got emotionally exhausted and it was like, cool, I don’t have to prove myself to anybody,” Lewis reflects. “I was tired of giving and there was always some type of dialogue or some type of excuse as to why a particular thing needed to happen a certain way, or why the timing of it wasn’t right. It just seemed like things were being made to be more complicated with something that’s really simple.”

“People are so quick to say ‘no’ and tell you why something can’t happen, and I don’t even think that they necessarily even know why. Especially people who aren’t creative, they’re always looking for validation from someone else or whatever else is hot and trying to follow that instead of finding something that they believe in.”

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Jazzy Jeff, who Lewis praises for continuing to be there for him as a friend throughout his trials, invited Lewis to the PLAYlist Retreat last August. There Jeff split everybody up into 18 groups of four and gave each group a flash drive with instrumentals. In 24 hours each group had to pick one instrumental and sample, replay or remix it in some way, and write and record a completely new song from it. He tasked the artists with a similar challenge in the inaugural Retreat.

“What happens is you don’t have a enough time for your brain to get in the way, you’re going on natural instinct,” said Townes, who last year also began the tradition of inviting many of the same musicians from the Retreats to his house for jam sessions in late January to February, in honor of his birthday. “That happened at the first Retreat and it was absolutely mind-blowing at the second Retreat. So when I knew the sessions were coming, it was getting to a point where, you know what, let’s step up the challenge.”

Last September Jeff concocted the master plan to create a whole album from scratch in one week and one of the first people he reached out to was Lewis, asking him to be the featured vocalist for the entire project. Jeff says that he didn’t want it to be a Glenn Lewis solo album, but hoped the process would ease him into the desire to make a solo return.

“It sounded like fun because everybody there is brilliant, they’re world class artists, producers, songwriters,” Lewis remembers from when he first heard the idea. “It wasn’t until we got into it that I was like ‘yo,’ it was overwhelming. The earliest I went to sleep out of all the days I was there was three o’clock in the morning. All the other days I was going to bed at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. and popping up at 10:30 or 11 in the morning.”

Day in and day out there were musicians workshopping ideas into full songs and a team of writers forming lyrics for Lewis to record several songs per day. A lot of the process was shown to the public via Facebook Live for the doubters who might hear the final project and not believe that it was all done in seven days.

“I remember being told that, ‘You make this record, it’s going to take eight months before it comes out,’ and that never made sense to me because I just made this body of work [song] up in 15 minutes,” said Townes. “I am so much not against people giving me opinions and advice, but I’ve always felt like the people that always try to tell you how to make records have never made records in their life. They’re not the creatives. And I’ve always felt like if you get out of the way and let the creative person be free and make what they want to make, you’ll be shocked at what you get.”

Jeff says that Chasing Goosebumps gave many of the artists a license to freely push boundaries, which isn’t usually the case throughout the industry.

“Some of the musicians were almost moved to tears because they were like, ‘I have not been able to make or even play this kind of music in so long, that I almost forgot to really let myself go’.”

Lyrically, the time crunch of creating the album in such a short amount of time makes Chasing Goosebumps an unfiltered reflection of the times.

“The objective was to take a look at the world around you and not only tell me what you see right now, but tell me what you would like to see,” said Townes. “So of course with everything going on there was a ton of material to write about.”

“Mr. Grump” is a tongue-in-cheek, yet critical message to the current President of the United States. “Superman,” with a bright sound that manifests a feeling of upliftment and lyrics like, “Understand that your mind might be the strongest yet/ We have invented many things, what would this world be/ Without the work of people who look just like you and me,” sounds like it could be the soundtrack to Black History Month. Lewis claims “Superman” as one of his favorites on the album because the writing and production reminds him of something his idol Stevie Wonder might create if he made an album today.

“Everybody did it together,” said Townes, adding that there were even more songs recorded that didn’t make the cut with the 15 songs that made the album. “Somebody would write a first verse and it would be amazing and they would kind of get stuck and then somebody else would come in. You could not do that unless you set your ego 100 percent at the door and you understand that the project is the most important thing.”

Jeff premiered the album through an hour-long Facebook Live stream with hundreds of images shot during the making of the album covering the screen as more than 100,000 people took it all in for the first time simultaneously.

“Once the stream was over, I basically went in my room and closed my computer and collapsed from joy, anguish, pressure, but everybody involved had been joking that we don’t think we’ve ever cried this much in a week just out of satisfaction, said Townes.

“I crashed when I got home, but that week I was alive, alive in a way that I hadn’t been in forever,” said Lewis. “I’ve never experienced anything like that and it is easily the highlight of my career.”

Jeff hopes that the album inspires other artists to create in a similar fashion and maybe even follow the album-in-a-week model to a T. This is the first and last time you’ll see him do it though.

“Trust me, I’ll never do it again,” Townes insists. “I’ll never try to do it in a week again. It was a great challenge to see if we could. I’m happy to know that we did. Not only did we do it, but we did it, to me, with flying colors, but I think we don’t wanna issue that kind of challenge again.”

Julian JSWISS Caldwell

 

Chasing Goosebumps is out now on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp.

 

Julian JSWISS Caldwell  is best known as fast rising, highly-regarded hip hop artist and skilled emcee JSWISS. His acclaimed No Music project is available now.

Watch Closely: Daniel Crawford

Most great artists have a “signature” something – a feel, a look, a flow, a sound- a special thing you sometimes can’t describe, but almost always recognize. Sometimes it’s just a “gift” they’ve been blessed with, but often in concert with that “gift” the signature has been developed through committed practice and time honed experience. Examples of this are all over the artistic landscape – throughout all its disciplines.

In the role of music producer, particularly in R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop over the years, that “signature” sound has become one of the most sought after commodities in the music game. Think Kashif, Teddy Riley, Babyface, Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam, Raphael Saadiq, Pharrell/Neptunes or J Dilla to name only a few. Daniel Crawford, a fast rising and crazy talented producer, songwriter and keyboard extraordinaire, is one of those with that special quality that has his name on it – always a splendid concoction of infectious grooves, funkiness, lush climatic arrangements, infused with the sounds of his musical influences including Soul, Jazz, R&B, and Hip-Hip – beautifully and dexterously crafted.

Like the aforementioned producers, his palette is eclectic – his experience vast and ability, is off the charts. But there is also one other key element Crawford shares with those elite as well as others he grew up listening to and admires today – musicality. “No matter what type of vibe that you’re going for or what kind of genre that it might be, the musicality of it is the thing that has always caught my attention. Even from being a kid and hearing certain things and not even fully understanding what it was catching me,” says Crawford. “But then the older I got and listening back, the common thing is just the musicality of it.”

It’s undoubtedly what many have heard from the LA native in the mixtape and remix jewels he’s dropped over the years including his fantastic J Dilla tribute series as well as in the few full-length projects imagehe’s released, Red Pill and The Awakening. Amongst those many captured enthusiasts are the artists and musicians who are increasingly tapping Crawford for use of his obvious talent and sound. Artists like Amp Fiddler, Aloe Blacc, Vikter Duplaix, Osunlade, Raphael Saadiq, and many more. He even had an opportunity to work with the imagelegendary Maurice White, architect of one of the greatest bands in the history of music, Earth, Wind and Fire. “That was a surreal thing as far as being able to pick his brain about the way they use to record stuff and what were some of their influences. That was one pretty surreal moment,” says Crawford

That list also includes acclaimed, and uber-talented, singer/songwriter, Eric Roberson who’s beautiful, just released EP, EARTH, showcases Crawford on production duty. Crawford also supplied one of the many standout tracks, “Something” on the duet record Tigallerro from Roberson and A-list rapper/singer imageof both hip-hop clique, Little Brother and eclectic soul group, The Foreign Exchange, Phonte. And then there is his work with the highly venerated producer and turntable whiz DJ Jazzy Jeff who enlisted him to be amongst a hand-picked squad of top-notch musicians, producers, and vocalists (including Roberson) brought together as the PLAYlist collective to create the phenomenal project, Chasing Goosebumps that was unbelievably produced in a week. “That experience was life changing,” says Crawford of the project. “And this is something I can very often imagesay whenever I do something that Jeff puts together or is involved with. It’s crazy. We were there, but also, it was sort of like an out of body experience type of thing. Because once everything’s was actually done, and the album was streamed on [Jazzy Jeff’s Facebook] page, and we started listening and we saw the pictures, that’s when everything just started to sink in. Like wow! We really just did this!” He then humbly admits, “Even now when I listen to the album, and I’ve spoken to others involved with the project, you listen to album and its almost as if you didn’t have anything to do with it. Like completely being able to listen to it as a fan, that didn’t even help create it. Because of just how everything happened. It was like a spiritual moment, man!”

Crawford has been doing this for a minute, professionally since thirteen in fact. His father, himself a multi-instrumentalist who played professionally with a Gospel group for years and even now plays in a band the younger Crawford has had for twenty years called the Wylde Bunch, was certainly a major influence. Between Crawford listening to his dad play, having a spot designated as the “music room” in the house that was filled with instruments at he and his siblings disposal, and the vast soundtrack of artists being played throughout Crawford’s young years, he was bound to at very least adopt an appreciation for music. But it was recognized quite early that he had possessed more than an appreciation – He had a natural born gift.

“I started playing when I was around five or six years old and I played by ear starting out,” recalls Crawford. That realization came when on what he fondly remembers was a blue and yellow Fisher Price keyboard he received for Christmas, he worked out the parts of a song his father wrote that was played at church for the children’s choir to march in on. “One morning I was in the [music room], I was sitting Indian- style and I had the keyboard on my lap. So then I started figuring out how to play the song by myself. My parents got up and started saying, who’s that in there playing? And then they walk in and I’m in there on the ground, playing the song.”

From that point on his talent was obvious, so much so that he recalls when just in elementary school the music teacher saw enough in him to not only hone that talent and furnish him with great encouragement, but to also make quite a prophetic statement. “His name was Mr. Marshall and he said, ‘You need to take care of your hands because your hands are how you’re going to make your money.’” That predication was indeed something he could literally take to the bank.

Even though Crawford is firmly in place as a sought after producer, songwriter and musician he is savvy enough to know that growth and development is ongoing. It’s in part what’s key to solidifying that signature sound. Other things that are key to that continued growth? “Being surrounded by like-minded individuals that you can learn from and keep you humble,” he declares. “Also, everything that I do whether it’s playing or producing, I base everything on feel. Feel is the most important thing for me because it has to feel good. And if it doesn’t feel good, then we’re not doing it right or I’m not doing it right.”

Needless to say, he is indeed doing everything right.

Bert Caldwell

 

 

Look out for a new project from Daniel Crawford coming soon, but in the meantime go here to check out his popular remixes, mix tapes and projects.

Video Interview: Vocalist/Guitarist Raul Midón

Often the words used to describe singer, songwriter and guitarist, Raul Midón are likely along the lines of amazing, phenomenal, incredible or just plain “ridiculous.” That is to say, of course, you’re not just rendered speechless after hearing his music or especially witnessing his artistic wizardry and virtuosity live. However, for his many ardent fans those superlatives still may not seem to be enough.

Well, there is now a description that may best sum up the marvel Midón is or at very least be added as an apt “go to” on the list – “Bad Ass. It’s half the title of his brand new release. The other half is a fact that may possibly get lost in the midst of taking in his brilliance – and Blind. The moniker is perfect because both parts are simply fact and cannot be denied.

Blind since birth, Midón is confident in his abilities and proud of his accomplishments, as well he should be. Bad Ass and Blind, his ninth project, is a proclamation he was comfortable making and believed was the right time.

We caught up with Raul Midón to talk about the new project, his influences and why he thought that title could be important for others as well. Check out our interview below bc:

 

Click here to check out and purchase Raul Midon’s Bad Ass and Blind

And to find out when Raul Midón will be performing near you and more go to Raulmidon.com

 

 

Video Interview: Vocalist/Guitarist Tomás Doncker shows us “The Mess We Made”


“Don’t push me/cause I’m close to the edge . . .”

Many will recognize those as the lyrics to the iconic Rap classic, “The Message”, from Hip Hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Emcee Melle Mel earnestly gives the warning because, as he eloquently goes on to proclaim in the hook, “It’s like a jungle sometimes/It makes me wonder/How I keep from going under”describing the troublesome times, traps, and conditions facing a young black man living in New York City. That track was released in 1982. Fast forward to 2017 and for as many ways that we’ve advanced and come a long way, sadly, many of the same traps, biases, frustrations, inequity and volatility of the time that underscores “The Message” and even years before still exist today.

Something “pushed” multi-talented singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, imageTomás Doncker past that “edge” on June 17, 2015. The event took a huge emotional toll on the accomplished New York bred, musician and artist who in addition to his own acclaimed projects, has performed and worked with artists such as Madonna, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ivan Neville, Cory Glover, and James Chance and the Contortions as well as being at the helm of the label True Groove Records.

But to “keep from going under” this always busy, man on the run, stopped and cancelled everything. And as a way to just heal, he shunned the world- played his guitar and wrote. What came from that, quite without intention, was the framework for his new release, The Mess We Made, an incredibly impressive, provocative, no holds barred, scolding of our country – of our society- but not without a few suggestions of things we can do to get right. At the same time, Doncker masterfully manages to entertain with a stirring soundtrack of soul, blues and funk he calls Global Soul.

ISPYSOUL caught up with Tomás Doncker to talk about the The Mess We Made and what drove him to let us know. Check out our interview above and others on the the I SPY SOUL YouTube Channel.

Click here to check out and purchase The Mess We Made

And to learn more about Tomás Doncker and True Groove Records go to Tomás Doncker.net

© ISPYSOUL 2017

Video Interview: Expressionist Artist Tom Christopher

It is quite possible, perhaps even likely, that you’ve seen or come across the work of highly -accomplished, venerated artist, Tom Christopher, even if you’re not an art enthusiast.

Over the years you may have seen the music posters and covers he created for CBS, Verve, or RCA records. If you’re into cars you might have seen his work in Motor Trend magazine. Read the Wall Street Journal or New York Times? Yeah, his work’s been there too. How about those very cool ads for Absolut vodka? Yep, he’s done some of those as well that not only graced the pages of magazines, but also graced billboards and are now housed in a museum. And, there’s much, much more, you know like, paintings that have wound up in private collections and galleries around the world and stuff.

But if you’re a New Yorker or visited New York City, what Christopher might be most known for is what you’ve likely seen and marveled at and didn’t know he was responsible for. It’s his amazing Expressionistic renderings of the “city that never sleeps” in all its rambunctious, hip, cool, gritty and magnificent glory – In subway cars and stations around the city – on the cover of the official tourist guides that steer excited visitors all around town- on huge murals in places like Rockerfeller Center and on the side of the Roseland Ballroom.

The Hollywood, CA born, but long time New York resident has been tapped to represent NYC frequently, no doubt because of the way he masterfully captures the swag, the attitude, the organized confusion and yes, the heart and soul of the city, so well you can darn near hear taxis blowing in the background. But again, there’s so much more. We caught up with Tom Christopher at his studio in NY to find out more about his journey, his process and his objective as an artist. His insights are like his paintings- intriguing and genuine. BC 

Check out the interview above and others on the I SPY SOUL Youtube Channel

For more on Artist Tom Christopher go to tomchristopher.nyc

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