It’s been along time coming for Seattle Independent Musicians. Primarily for those who master the urban culture of R&B and Hip Hop. Taking a back seat to the Seattle Sound known worldwide as “Grunge” or “Alternative”, The Seattle Sound Music Awards (#SSMAs) provides a platform for Soul and Rap Artists reigning for the Pacific Northwest.
Join us as we honor contributors to the Arts and Culture community of Seattle. Saturday, August 9, 2014 at the historic Columbia City Theater . An exclusive Press Reception for Nominees, Honoreesand VIPs kicks off at 6:00 PM and the Awards Ceremony starts at 8:00 PM. Advance tickets are available online at www.SEATTLESOUNDMUSICAWARDS.com. NOTE: This is a BLACK TIE AFFAIR.
Here are our NOMINEES & HONOREES:
2014 #SSMAs Community Contribution Honorees
Marcus Trufant | Greg Lewis | Shawn Kemp
Hip Hop Oscars/Rap (Male) –
Raz Simone | Da Big Dime | The Physics | Parker | Black Stax
Honoree – Sol
Hip Hop Oscars/Rap (Female) –
Lady P | SynSay | Gifted Gab | Jus J | Julie C
Honoree – Blacc Sapphire
808 Award/Best Producer –
Jake One | Vitamin D | Beezie 2000 | Mike Wingo | JC Flow
Honoree – Tha Bizness (Dow, Henny & Kuddie)
Board Beast/Best Engineer –
DJ Phinisey | Jakael Tristram | Kip Beelman | DJ Roc’Phella |Justin Armstrong
Just getting started a little over 3 years ago, the lovely Heather Gin is no beginner when it comes to making music. Quiet as it’s kept, she started playing piano at the age of 4 and can play the guitar and flute as well.
I had the opportunity to attend Heather’s album release party last month at Seattle’s Barboza Night Club in Capitol Hill and was pleasantly surprised w/ the indie movement. The venue was filled w/ 206 pioneers in the indie scene and highly energetic music lovers. The Pop Princess came out blazing w/ a live band supporting her every move. “Smooth” and “Sultry” are just a few words off top that describe her delivery. But, don’t get me wrong, Heather turns it up w/ tracks like ” Jump” and “Can’t Enough”.
We had to ask Miss Gin a few questions about her music career, here’s her responses:
How old were you when you first knew you wanted to sing? This was Heather’s response:
When I was around 14 years old when I sang in church as the youth group praise leader, I really started getting into singing and playing guitar. I formed an all-girl band at school with fellow classmates playing guitar and singing. We would hang out and write our own songs and learn how to play popular songs from our favorite bands. We got to perform at school functions and parties and had a lot of fun. I was also involved with the school band, marching band, jazz band, and choir. I don’t think I could have been any more involved with music than I was growing up. At home I continued taking private piano lessons, performing at several concerts, recitals, competitions, and went through strenuous training, passing all 10 levels of OMTA (Oregon Music Teachers Association) Piano Syllabus. I had to practice a minimum of 7 hours a week every week and it took a lot of work and discipline. Trust me, there were times I wanted to quit but my step-mom didn’t let me! But I never thought about taking music any further than church or doing it as a hobby until late 2009 when I was exposed to the recording industry from my involvement with a start-up recording studio venture. My life changed after that and I was determined to learn everything about it and be involved, whether as an artist, writer, producer and/or engineer.
Has your family been supportive during your career?
Not much, my dad and step-mom have very conservative Christian views and would never approve of any music that wasn’t Christian. My mom and all of my siblings are outside of Washington State, as far as Atlanta and Washington D.C., so they don’t really follow what I’m doing too closely, other than liking a post on social media related to music. However, growing up as a child under my parents’ roof, they did financially support me through 12 years of private piano lessons. I consider that a blessing and will always be grateful for that. Piano was the grassroots of my music career and nobody can take that away from me.
Have you come across any cultural barriers?
Well, like I just mentioned, religious cultural barriers is something that prevents me from gaining support from my parents or sharing the joys of my success in my music career, but the biggest barrier between my parents (and when I say parents, I’m referring to my dad and step-mom who raised me), is the generation gap between our different cultures. They’re first generation Korean-Americans, so being 2nd generation, I’ve grown to be emotionally and mentally detached from a young age. When I went off to college, they didn’t want me to pursue music anymore and to focus on my education, but music had always been a part of my life. I was never able to let it go, so I ended up getting a double major in Sociology and Music to satisfy that need as well as continue being involved with music at my church. Other barriers I’ve encountered since I’ve been doing music, is related to being a female in the industry. People are so judgmental, and there’s a double standard between men and women. A man can be assertive and self-promoting, and I guess to sum it up, somewhat narcissistic when it comes to his music career and still be well-respected and likable for it. This gives them advantage in the industry in many ways, including their art being more valued and praised and as a result, getting paid for it more often than not. Being a woman on the other hand, you sometimes get the opposite reactions for being assertive and self-promoting. First off, my music and my art is often overlooked, and I’m either viewed as an object, or the even worse, told that I’m displaying actions of being an insecure woman, seeking validation, setting thirst traps with my image, or just trying too hard to impress people etc. when in fact, I’m just promoting myself as an artist, my image, my music, my art, my passion and having fun doing it. I think it’s a blessing to find your talents and purpose in life, so please don’t knock me for going all out and living out my dreams and doing the best that I can. I’m an independent, strong woman and not afraid to express myself and show my sexuality. I was even told once that I should remove all my photos from social media and only have a couple up so that nobody looks at my pictures anymore and just goes straight to the music. If I were a man, would someone be telling me this? It’s unfair sometimes, but it is what it is. It’s a complicated subject but gender barriers is something that we all face, no matter what profession. I’m sure you can relate to what I’m saying, as a woman in the industry. Don’t get me wrong though, being female definitely has its pros too, but anyone that knows me or has worked with me, knows that I take this seriously and work hard at it. I wouldn’t change anything in the world and I love being a woman. People’s opinions don’t really matter much but I do listen to constructive criticism. I can filter out what’s helpful versus what’s hateful.
How has your experience been, being an artist in Seattle, WA?
I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work with some very talented producers early on in my career, such as Vitamin D and Kuddie Fresh, as well as talented artist collaborations with Neema,SPAC3MAN, and Romaro Franceswa. But what really got my music jump started was that I was able to purchase a home studio and put together a production team with songwriter/producer Michael Kidd and recording/mix engineer, Kris Stiell. We work very well together and produced nearly 70% of the tracks on my new album “Passion” from my home studio located right in my bedroom! Overall, it wasn’t that difficult for me to fit into the Seattle music scene, but I do realize that it takes time to win over people and gain a solid following. Since I’m fairly new to the scene, I know I still have a ways to go and need to put in a lot more ground work before my career can really take off. In the meantime, I’m still working on me, my craft, honing my sound, gaining more exposure, networking and building my brand.
What are the pros and cons of being an artist in the Pacific NW?
Pros – the hip hop scene is a small-niche community and everyone who’s active either knows each other, or there’s only like one degree of separation between people. People in the industry in general have showed me love early on, but I really think it’s because I came out with people like Vitamin D backing my production. As a result, people were more curious and open to meeting me and seeing what I was about, and when they finally got to meet me, they realized that I’m down-to-earth and a genuine person. Cons–I’m not exactly sure where I fit in with the local hip hop scene as a pop/rnb artist. Perhaps I need to leave my current situation and hit different scenes, network outside of my circle, but it’s hard to meet new people and develop the trust I have with the current team I work with within the hip hop community. To be more clear on the issue, I’ve been asked to perform at several rap shows, some a little too gangster for my style and image. I couldn’t even find any pop artists to open up for me at my album release party earlier this month so I had rappers open up instead, with the exception of Dice. Another issue that I’ve faced is that sometimes I feel that people outside of Seattle show more love—not the industry folks, but the listeners, crowd, fans in general. I’ve travelled to New York with my music and have gotten a lot more love and respect from random people than I have here in Seattle. I’m not exactly sure what that means and it may be too early in my career to really understand it, but that has been my experience so far being an artist here.
Do you write your own material? If not, who contributes?
Both, I write my own and have co-written with Michael Kidd.
Tell us about your team…Who do you work w/ and why?
I work with Vitamin D and Kris Stiell, and in the past Michael Kidd. I also work with a team based out on the East Coast called The Debonaire Group under Ryan Davis. I work with the people mentioned because they’re not only talented, but solid people to work with. You run across a lot of flaky inconsistent, unreliable people in this industry and can get burned left and right if you fall for the BS. Luckily, I came into the business with seasoned veterans schooling me in how the industry works, so I learned quick. Plus, being an independent woman, you learn to fend for yourself as it is and gain a sick intuition that protects you from making bad, costly decisions. A lot of woman and young girls come into the industry naive and desperate and that’s never a good look. I’m not easily impressed or mislead by people who aren’t about what they say they are. I trust and respect the people I work with and feel blessed to have met them. They’re like family now.
What are your plans for Summer/Fall 2014?
Well since I just dropped my first full-length studio album “Passion” I’m focused on doing more shows and getting my name and music out there. Last summer I spent a lot of time recording in a hot booth. This summer, I’m ready for some action want to work towards gaining more public exposure.
Any advice for an up and coming indie artist?
Build yourself a solid dedicated reliable team that believes in you! From production to marketing, promotions, street team, graphic designer, PR, bloggers, etc. This is key to success–we can all learn a thing or two from how Macklemore made it. I’m still working on filling the gaps within my team, including a publicist, but I’m assessing the situation and trying to figure out what the next move is in filling the gaps with the right people in order to move in the right direction. You also need to believe in yourself and never give up, despite the criticism that will come your way. Last but not least, engage with your fans as best as you can. This is all stuff that I’m still working on too, so it’s not like I know everything or have it all together, but everything is a working progress and nothing happens overnight.
What can your fans look forward from you this coming year?
In addition to doing more shows, I’ll be dropping new visuals off the album. We already wrote a music video treatment last week and are now in the process of working out the details, coming up with the budget, and coordinating dates to shoot. I’m also currently working with Roc Nation producer, Jahlil Beats, on a new record. I’m really excited for this one—I can’t really say too much right now but doing my first record with a mainstream producer is a dream come true!
SHE BADin the most fabulous way!!! Waking up to the best news ever!!! I am so proud of all of Lupita’s accomplishments, she is truly a blessing for Black Little Girls and Black Women EVERYWHERE!!!
I know first hand, how hard it is growing up in a world, where White is right and Light Skin is the next best thing. In my life, I’ve dealt w/ not fitting in because of my skin color, being called nigger and more. But, I swear moments like this, make it all worth it.
My mother, Charko is the Founder of Charko’s Vocational Education School of Fashion & Fitness Agency…Seattle’s FIRST Black Modeling School. I heard the painful stories of her being told, she could never become a model, because she was “Too Black”, “Lips Too Full”and “Hips Too Big”, yet she was determined to make it happen. I have always admired her tenacity and strength. She stayed rockin that succulent Dark Chocolate Skin w/ so much confidence, I vowed to be just like her.
It’s crazy, you don’t set out to be a role model, it just happens 🙂
PEOPLE you got it right this time!!!
Check out Lupita’s interview w/ People Magazine Here:
“never dreamed” she would be touted as “Most Beautiful” for all the world to see.
“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” the 31-year-old says of gracing this year’s cover. And especially, “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”
Born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, Nyong’o first equated beauty with what she saw on television: “Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.” Her mother, Dorothy, who is the managing director and head of PR for the Africa Cancer Foundation, “always said I was beautiful,”Nyong’o adds. “And I finally believed her at some point.”
As a teen, Nyong’o dyed her hair every color – except blonde – and even went as far as shaving her head bald. “It was very strange and very cold!” she says, laughing.
“It was scary but I like to dare myself.”
Now she says the best compliments are “when I have been called beautiful with not one drop of makeup on,” she adds. “And also before I comb my hair or put on a pretty dress. Happiness is the most important thing.”
Past covers have included, Halle Berry (1st Black Woman to become People’s Most Beautiful Woman), Beyonce and Denzel Washington.
I pray we don’t have to wait another decade 🙂 #BlessUp
Honestly, it was a long time coming. How many times can Kenya talk about someone’s Husband, Mother, Children, Friends, Careers, Animals and whatever else she can think of, without expecting to get her ass whooped?
I continue to stay down w/ #TeamTwirl, but I sincerely rock w/ Porsha. She may be slow on the witty responses, but she stands firm in what she believes in and I respect that. so, here’s the get down on the RHOA Smack Down:
Porsha Williams of the Bravo network’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” is facing a charge of battery after fellow cast member Kenya Moore told police she was attacked during filming of the upcoming reunion show.
ATL police were called to the Biltmore Hotel on 3/27, where Kenya told an officer that Porsha assaulted her.
Although, Kenya was unable to fill out a statement at the time because of filming, an arrest warrant was issued later that day.
On, Wednesday evening at the Fulton County Jail, Porsha turned herself in and was released that night. The charge against Ms. Williams is a misdemeanor. Thank GOD!!!
I know her former husband Kordell Stewart is happy she didn’t beat his ass!!! And, we all know he deserved a grandiose bitch slap!
Well, hear that Porsha claims the battery charges are unfounded and that she looks forward to clearing her name. Plus, she plans to contest the charge and file aggravated assault charges against Kenya.
This is not over to say the least. Stay tuned!!!
Check out the sneak peek of the RHOA Reunion Special, airing this Sunday, April 20, 2014 on VH1.
If you know of me, you know I’m sooooooo #ProNaked !!!
But this right here, this right here, in my best Katt Williams’ voice, is straight PORN!!! Yea, I said it! Vivid is doing them a favor, not disclosing they made a previous PORNO DEAL, by hiding it behind Social Media infused #SexTape viral frenzy!
I’m all for it girl! Get over Stevie, move on, find someone new, not necessarily a look alike, but find someone who’s diggin all over you. But, was that Nikko? Is that Nikko? I know first hand, once you’ve been sex deprived, not because you can’t get it, but because you’re still holding true to a relationship, that has far from left you, you stumble across some “Withholdings” 🙂 and, every stroke is like a live symphony 😉
But, not only does this dick have you in concert halls globally, but on front street too.
How can you come back from this? Fire your publicist who tells you to call it a #SEXTAPE !!! Let the public know, VH1 ain’t paying nearly enough, to have 24 hour access to your personal lives. Shiiiiiiiiit, bills still need to be met…But at what cost?
Stevie AND Nikko can get away w/ this, because they are MEN.
This is nothing but, an old school ‘Notches Tournament’ to them and you fell for it. What? For more screen time? Porn side deals to ensure financial security??? I just want to say, fuck the viewer. Girl, you have nothing to prove to us. We live in a 24/7, at the palm of your hand, front row ticket, to EVERYTHING these days. Your daughter could literally roll over on your phone and pull this shit up!!! Not good!
((( JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DO IT…DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD!!! )))
Why shit on your brand like this? I know in heartbreak we make silly decisions, but you’re a BOSS, let you tell it, so this had to be calculated. Timed to 7 days from your Season Premiere original date,…??? I’m baffled. Nothing about this video screams, Fiance, Love, Step Dad, Romance, Future….
Just hit it and quit it. You put another one on Girl…
To your credit and your decline. ((( #Typecast )))
Fuckin raw in ATL, I’m not from there, but even I know that’s a NO NO, shit, anywhere in the world, on some real shit, no condom is a #NONO. Homosexuality and Heterosexuality make major mistakes in unprotected sex, however when you mix both of them, like those gay rumors about Nikko, you double your chances on that death bed, give back confession video, to young women, infomercial. True Story.
Black Women will surely take a hit for this one. Scheduled Visitation and Child Support payments will tank to an all time low, because men will argue the mother’s of their children are debuting in sextapes across america lol! You know I had to throw some late night comedy innnnnnn hahaha!
But [Black Women], dayum, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. Not realizing the bullet goes straight through to our daughters.
Love and Hip Hop Atlanta airs, Monday, May 5, 2014 on VH1. See the Super Trailer Here >>>
BET cuts Comedian Luenell from Hip Hop Awards broadcast!!!
It seems like every time we turn around, BET is screwing over talent that have played crucial content providers to their programming over the years! Even though they aired her part of ‘The Other Butler‘ w/ awards host Snoop Lion, during last month’s taping, they cut her scene in last night’s airing! But, we forget, this isn’t OUR NETWORK anymore and truly, Viacom could care less!
Via @Luenell on Instagram:
I wonder if this would have happened if she were a rapper?
I can’t lie…I have no real BIG GIRL or FAT struggle, simply because I have done nothing to try to lose weight over the years. Now, with that said, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been ridiculed by others about my size…
Yes, I’ve been told, “I’m too fat for fame!“, what hurt the most was, it came from family and friends majority of the time. Yes, I have a background in Communications and Journalism, but that wasn’t all that I wanted to do. I am a POET first and foremost, but I’m also a Singer and a great Songwriter.
Now, that I’m getting older and putting efforts into living a better life and becoming a better me, I’ve asked myself hard questions, like, “Why didn’t I take my singing career to the next level?”, “What kept me from going to those auditions?”…
And, it’s clear, something in me must’ve believe them, and eventually I found it easier promoting others, than myself. It’s that simple.
Well, I had the chance of meeting Kelly Priceand her husband, when Syleena Johnson debuted at RnB Live Hollywoodin November of 2012. I’m talking the whole camp is cool, chic, opinionated and outright sexy!!!
Trying to stay in my lane, didn’t want my groupie to jump out :), but I was in awe with the star power I had around me. It’s incredible w/ the new TV ONE R&B Divas L.A. hit, Kelly’s still finding time to give back w/ TOO FAT FOR FAME…Watch here to hear her story…
***SEND IN YOUR VIDEO SUBMISSIONS BEFORE WEDNESDAY, JULY 31ST, 2013 !!!***
Not often to you see a mega-star, stripped down, emotionally naked, given their all to you. I encourage you, to put your shame aside and submit your video now!
TYRONE RELEASES NEW SINGLE “PARADISE” FT. RICH TYCOON and LOU STYLES
(+ FULL VIDEO)
TYRONE releases the new single and premieres the video for “Paradise” featuring Rich Tycoon
(Chris Rene’ / San Quinn) and Lou Stylez. The single is now available on Itunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and music retailers globally.
“Paradise”…An Electro-Soul beat, that embraces a Melodic Piano Riff, is only toppings on the track. Truly, the Bassline drives the record while the Drums keep the song moving from verse through chorus. Mario Armstead’s keys, lifts the melody out of monotony, while atmospheric sounds set a tantalizing mood.
Tyrone and Rich Tycoon trade verses about a woman who finds her; “Paradise”, in materials, not in love and commitment. RnB Crooner, Lou Stylez , tells his side of the story on the hook: “I’m trying to please her heart, but she demanded more than I can give…”, he sings, as his heartbreaking, skeptic tone adds feeling on the topic.
The video’s cinematography sets the stage for the sound bed. The red hue and bar backdrop is the perfect blend of soulful “coolness” providing a creative landscape for the unique song. Directed by Tyrone himself, the video is a step in a refreshing direction artistically for the cinematographer; showing his versatility, attention to detail and creativity.
Rich Tycoon (Filthy Rich) of Black Bizness Records made his debut in 1992 on E-Dawg’s; (Sir Mix-A-Lot / Rhyme Cartel Records) “Droptop”. Since then he has been featured on music w/ pop star Chris Rene’ of Simon Cowell’s X Factor, San Quinn, Yukmouth of the infamous, Luniz and many others.
Because, I am a Classic Soul, RnB, Neo-Soul, and Good Music period lover, I know you have India Arie already in your playlist. Always filled w/ encouraging vocals and calgon melodies, this #SOULBIRD is back!
Although, I would luv to spill the details, I would rather you tune in and cop her new album (dropping 6/25) to find out, what made her take a pause for the cause at what some thought was the height of her career. Me on the other hand, believe this songstress will surpass previous accomplishments w/ this heartfelt, uplifting new album, #SongVersation.
Check out the lead single “Cocoa Butter” off the album here:
Presented By: Gold Toes & The Untouchable Black -N- Brown Empire
Featuring Artists c/oMMG Latino |Badd Dawg Records
Now Accepting Dates through Spring 2014
The LATIN RAP KINGS TOUR | Coming to a City Near You!!!
A capite ad calce (From top to bottom),there are millions of fans who are aching for Southern Latin Rap. THE LATIN KINGS of RAP TOUR is re-engaging the die-hard Latin music fan on an up close & personal level. A posse ad esse (From possibility to actuality), this tour is bridging communities and inspiring music lovers, musicians, producers, songwriters, and aspiring emcees globally!
Some may have wondered where they are now…? However, these living legends and emerging superstars are still hard at work! Touring nationally and internationally, bringing you the best of the best in Latin Music!
The worldwide support for this genre is mind-blowing. The opportunity for Product Placement is tremendous. We encourage Booking Agencies, Brands, Venues and Sponsors, to take advantage of this direct gateway to our niche demographic.
Ab imo pectore (With deepest affection), we look forward to hitting the stage in a city near you!