All Articles Tagged "music industry"
“When You Separate Us By Gender, It Puts Female Rappers In A Box”: Rapsody On The Female MC’s Identity
It is often said real hip-hop is dead because the musical genre has gone mainstream. With this notion in mind, MadameNoire got the chance to interview Rapsody, who was featured on BET’s Hip Hop Awards cypher and Pepsi’s “Who’s Next” Artist To Watch. Not only is she a breath of fresh air but she revives a hip-hop generation who has forgotten its roots. Found and signed by legendary producer 9th Wonder, Rapsody offers up the edge of Lauryn Hill and realness of Lil Kim with her staccato bars.
The North Carolina native, brings people inside a world where millennial women voice their opinions on sex, love and politics with no apologies. Her resume that includes work with the likes of Kenderick Lamar, Erykah Badu and Big K.R.I.T to name a few. Whether it was her thoughts on how to make in the music industry, how to connect with fans or her morning ritual of searching the internet for new artists to collaborate with, Rapsody spoke with humility and raw honesty.
How She Entered The Music Business
I got my official start around 2008 through signing with 9th wonder. I met him in 2005 through friends and from that meeting, we kept in touch and I was eventually signed. I released my first solo project , Return Of The B-Girl, in 2010 and from then to now I have six projects. Because of that meeting, I began my initial introduction to the world as Rapsody.
What Does It Take To Make Money In The Industry
The best way to make money in the industry is to tour. The beauty of touring is, a fan will be able to experience the music and connect with the artist. Because of tours, fans will be able to understand the music they believe in, especially if it is a powerful fan base. They will follow you ’till the end of the earth. After the tour experience fans will trust anything you put out because they have a better sense of who you are. The other creative ways to increase your finances as an artist, is to create mixtapes instead of albums. Though, mixtapes may not tell your story the way albums do. Also artists can pave a retail avenue by designing their own merchandise. That is the beauty of the internet, you are able to be creative and your own boss- cut out the middle man. Whereas, in the past you needed approval from the record label before you did anything. In present times, there are more opportunities to connect with your fans from a business standpoint.
I never entered the industry feeling like, “Oh I am woman, they will treat me differently.” The way I see it, everyone needs to read their contracts and find a lawyer. It is important to make smart business decisions. No matter your color or gender, once you are a dope artist you have the potential to make money. You will always meet people who will want to take advantage of you, so you have to be protect yourself with the moves you make.
On Rebranding the Female MC’s identity in hip hop
Honestly I do not like the term “female MC” because I hate to be put in a box. I don’t look at labels. I believe you are either dope or you’re not. I think that is what matters the most. We need to cut the term and view female MCs as artists. To re-brand the image, I suggest we focus on whether female rappers can rhyme or not. Do we make dope albums? So people will not say, “I really like these female MCs.” Instead it will be, “I like Rapsody, I like Nicki just like I like Kenderick.” When you separate us by gender, it puts female rappers in a box. Then people only expect women to rap about certain things or achieve a certain level of success.
or many years the microphone of Grammy winning vocalist Bebe Winans collected dust as he took on acting, wrote and produced hits for others, became an author and crafted a play about his journey to stardom with his long-time duet partner and sister CeCe (tentatively titled “From Detroit to Pineville”).
“I stopped singing for a long time because it just wasn’t something I was very passionate about,” the baby boy of the first family of contemporary gospel music said.
Winans spoke with ESSENCE.com about uniting with his brothers to reintroduce their award winning sound to today’s generation.
On the formation of 3WB:
A phone call to Marvin after the thought hit me of coming together with my two brothers and then with that phone call 3WB was born.
How they plan on keeping the music current:
Bringing on producers Daniel Weatherspoon (Marvin Winans, Vashawn Mitchell) Rodney Jerkins (Lady Gaga, Ciara) will help to keep the project current.
What listeners can expect from the new project:
The theme of the album is hope and the title of the album is “Foreign Land” which is a song that Marvin wrote many years ago. The style consists of a combination of The Winans’ style and BeBe & CeCe’s style of music. It will be out in the beginning of 2014.
You can read the rest over on ESSENCE.com. Winans discusses more about whether or not he was denied entry into legendary music group, The Winans, why that group will never exist again, and why he almost quit the music industry. You can also check out 3WB’s new single, “If God Be For Us.”
Many people would love the chance to break bread with the likes of Jay-Z, Irving Azoff, or Simon Cowell. But these music industry magnates come from humble beginnings, learning as much as they could before commanding millions of dollars.
Helen Bruner and Terry Jones, owners of Philerzy Productions and artists in their own right, sat down with us to talk about the tough but fulfilling road to owning your own music label, which is paved in sweat, hustle, and smarts.
MadameNoire: How did you both get started in the music industry?
Helen Bruner: My first deal, my first record was in 1989 with Warlock Records. At that time I was a kid right out of high school and I had this song called “Over You.” I knew nothing about house music; my cousin took me to a club in New York and I was like “What is this?” [Soon after], I wrote a song, it got picked up.
From there, I went over to Cardiac Records, which was owned by Virgin Records in the 90s. I had my first top ten record, called “Gimme Real Love” on Cardiac. Cardiac was folded into Virgin Records and I recorded an album and in the midst of it all coming in on the second single, I got dropped from the label. I received a check from ASCAP because I wrote and produced my own material and it was quite lucrative, but it was from overseas. So, we [she and Terry] decided to hop a flight and go over to the UK. We found that we weren’t failures. We began to write all around and decided to start a record company.
Terry Jones: My mom was a famous R&B singer, Linda Jones. She passed away when I was a baby. As I grew up I watched her music being played on the radio and on TV. My sister and I were not receiving any residuals because when she passed, she was only 27. My family was not that familiar with the business of music and were so distraught they couldn’t pick up where she left off [in regards to the business]. As a young child I always said, “You know this is what I wanna do and when I grow up I’m gonna make sure that no one takes advantage of me.” So, I actually got a record deal on Atlantic Records.
During that time I had a manager that was handling my deal and the producer of the project received the advance and spent it all on drugs. At that point, because the budget was spent, I was dropped from the label. After that, Helen and I began to work together. We spent a lot of our time in Milan (for ten years!) and just took it all in and worked and decided to start our own label. It’s a global economy, so the experience that we had of being overseas and really learning how to conduct business internationally was really a blessing for us.
If you’ve followed the second season of R&B Divas you know that it has had its awesome moments of support, love, growth, hilarity, and friendship. You also know that it has had its fair share of drama, tears, cusswords, fly makeup/outfits and conspiracy theories. The bad outshines the good – sadly enough.
So, as I watched the reunion show last night I was not surprised that I found myself shaking my head at so many things: Some of the horrible outfits (Nicci Gilbert looked one shade of UniverSoul Circus ringmaster crazy), Joe Clare, the random host who could NOT adequately host a reunion of six Black women with tons of passion and differences alike, and the total disproportion of listening to speaking skills of a few of the women on stage (Nicci and Syleena).
It was what I expected. I expected Nicci (formerly of the group, Brownstone) to be ultra defensive and play the victim as she masterfully has throughout the season. I expected soul singer Syleena Johnson to throw her stinging one-liners out at Nicci (“You foul! But you casket sharp!” to Nicci Gilbert).
I expected neosoul legend Angie Stone to keep her cool no matter how many curse words or accusations were hurled. I expected 90s R&B vixen Monifah to remain true to form in minding her own business and staying out of the drama.
So I suppose TV One delivered the right amount of drama we were all looking forward to during this first part of the “R&B Divas” Reunion show. And even though drama is what we crave to see, we’re still hoping for there to be some sort of resolve between the women before the season comes to a full close.
What was supremely telling, and I applaud Faith Evans for this, was the fact that she did not appear with the other ladies. While it has been reported that she had a previous commitment which did not allow her to be present for the reunion taping, I am almost certain she was protecting her reputation and her business brand by not mingling in all the tom foolery that has taken place on the show. Recording her part of the reunion show separately was extremely smart on her part. While these ladies were fighting over workout DVD releases and tour dates, Faith was performing, taking care of her family and building her own brand. That’s wise, Faith and we ain’t mad at you.
July 10th will give us the second part to the R&B Divas Reunion Show and I was elated to see that production will be swapping out host Joe Clare with actress, philanthropist, and motivational speaker Sheryl Lee Ralph to mediate between the ladies of the show. From the preview clips, it seems like it will make for great television as she raises her voice a time or two and pretty much all the ladies on stage are dabbing at their eyes by the end.
Will you be watching the second half of the reunion or have you had enough of The Divas? Who is your favorite R&B Diva?
Oprah Winfrey sits down with recording artist India.Arie in this weekend’s episode of Super Soul Sunday.
Arie talks about her spiritual awakening and why she almost left the music industry. “There’s several months where I was retired,” Arie shared. “I just decided I wasn’t gonna do the music industry. I feel like I’m always gonna sing and write songs because it’s me. But I never felt like I had to be in the music industry, but I understand now that it’s the vehicle for my message and, you know, the more people you reach, the more people you reach.” She goes on to talk about the way she felt during that time and what helped her bounce back.
You can check out the clip over on Essence.com. India.Arie is a prime example of how you can be making money and affect lives for the better at the same time but find yourself without full, personal happiness. Her new album, Songversation, is out on June 25th and this episode of Super Soul Sunday airs Sunday, June 23rd at 11am.
Are you an India.Arie fan? What’s your favorite song?
‘I’m Proud Of Rihanna:’ Alicia Keys Talks Marriage, Growing Up In The Industry, And Respect For Other Artists In Evening Standard
Alicia Keys surely knows how to radiate for a glamorous cover turn. After dropping her Vegas girl gone soulful “Tears Always Win” video, the gorgeous Grammy Award winner graces the cover of the Evening Standard. She looks absolutely regal and elegant for the black and white cover photo, shot by photographer Eric Guillemain, and heats up in technicolor for the editorial. She looks lovely in her trend of the moment, a midriff baring two pieces, showing off her fabulous curves. In the issue, Alicia talks about growing up in the industry, her evolution as artist, wife and mom, and even about Rihanna.
On growing up in the music industry
“It’s such a tricky, crazy business, and when people are a little bit younger than me, I’m always hoping that their soul is good ’cause it can be such a soulless space. Who’s really love you and making sure that you’re ok? Because everybody wants to make sure you’re ok when they can get something from you, and they’re getting a percentage from you. But they don’t technically care if you’re ok. They just wanna make sure you can stand so you can go to work. So naturally I am always thinking about people and hoping that in this very soulless place they can find completion.”
On loving Rihanna
“I’m proud of Rihanna. Because it’s not easy to stand up in this crazy world and make it and keep going and try new things. And find your way through it.”
Read and see more at StyleBlazer.com
We just knew Toni was talking crazy when she said she was considering walking away from the music industry. The industry hasn’t always been kind to her and we could certainly see how she might have become disenchanted. But denying that gift would almost be a tragedy.
So we’re hopeful that the recent picture she posted on her Instagram page, is a sign of good things to come.
She posted this pic of she and Babyface along with this caption:
September 2013 @KennyEdmonds @Motown : *
Well we’re not mad. I’m certainly ready for that collabo.
Well, I suppose this was his moment of clarity.
In an interview with Vibe, EURweb reports that rapper The Game was reflecting upon his career and really wished he hadn’t dissed Jay-z (along with seemingly every other popular rapper at the time) in a few of his songs a few years ago.
“I think I f***ed that up early in my career. I’m probably one of the only cats that went at Jay-Z’s neck and had a career after.”
He’s probably right. Much like Biggie did the polka dot wearing rapper Kwamé back in thr day, Jay-Z does seem to have that rap power to make sure either your music doesn’t see the light of day or that no one really buys it if you cross him. Of course, he does it all with one of those boyish grins and the “it’s nothing” attitude.
The Game said he even got into an argument with his kids’ mom (not sure they’re still in a relationship) because she knew the power Jay possessed:
“I remember having a real altercation with the mother of my children. She was like, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing. He’s going to come back and we’re not going to be able to survive.’ Jay and Beyonce are a powerful couple, they will turn your whole family against you.”
Hilarious! I don’t if the Carters will turn your entire family against you but they can get to your fan base. Luckily for The Game, he’s been able to maintain a decent career, even if he is more popular on the West Coast.
And who knows: maybe Jay will hear about this and grace him with a verse for a song in a couple of years. Yeah…probably not.
Last week, Rihanna added another accolade to her resume, becoming the first artist in the history of Billboard’s Pop Songs radio airplay chart to tally ten number one songs. No disrespect to Mariah Carey, who had at a handful of number ones before Billboard launched the chart in 1992, but, Rihanna’s achievement cements her status as the quintessential pop star of the 21st century.
Say she sings like a goat. Say she dances like she’s on the last five minutes of her shift. Pan her side projects. But fix your lips to say that Rihanna hasn’t mastered the business of music. The numbers don’t lie.
How is the Barbadian provocateur pulling off massive success in an industry changing so quickly even veterans have trouble keeping up? If you pay attention, she teaches lessons everyday. And we’re taking good notes.
Bow Down? No Thanks. But I Will Salute The Underrated Women In Music Who Keep It Humble And Real At All Times
Ah, you thought this was going to be a shade-throwing, Beyonce/Beyhive-bashing free-for-all, huh? No. It’s been done before; probably a million times alone since “Bow Down” dropped. But this is not that. That’s boring and really very non-progressive.
The lyrics that H-Town Stomped their way down my Twitter and Facebook timelines were enough. I didn’t need to hear the song. I got the gist. Shock value. Getting the rumor mill spinning. Debates about feminism. Press. Media coverage as far as the eye can see. Buzz got stirring in the belly of the Beyhive. Mission accomplished.
What all the media attention steered my little old truth-seeking self toward is the world of down-to-earth artists who’ve proven themselves in an equally effective yet totally counterintuitive way: a baseline of truth-telling and humility. Many of them have not secured as vocal a cult following as some contemporary artists, but all things considered, does that even matter? I can sit at an Amel Larrieux show at the Blue Note and listen to an entire set that will speak to any number of situations going on in my life, a millionairess’s life, a poor girl in India’s life. I can tweet her and see her respond, genuinely. How dope is that? I can watch Melanie Fiona’s “Creating of the MF Life” Youtube videos and understand exactly what she puts into her music from her own lips. Not a pre-packaged explanation, but a heartfelt narrative about each song and the process. No gimmicks. Just truth.
I can peruse an Erykah Badu interview and see her respond, “I don’t know. I’ve got to think about that.” Badu, who has TIME IN with music and success in the industry doesn’t try to sugarcoat her way to a “good” answer, but instead offers honesty. Consistently. That’s just her way and music fans respect that. Though the person must evolve, their transparency is what fans vibe with more than anything else. It never fails. The artists who have already and will continue to secure the most meaningful kind of longevity (may not be the most visible or lucrative) are the ones who don’t strive to be untouchable. They just want to make music that is truthful and evolving and says, “Yo, I been there/am there too.”
We often try to weld together the ideas of true artistry and entertainment. And while the two can come together to create a transcendent experience, they aren’t one in the same. Just as processed foods satisfy us for the moment – natural, healthful food vibes with our body chemistry much more because it sustains, it cures, it invites us to be better, to live. There is no difference in music. The processed kind is cool and fun in moderation, but what stands the test of time and elevates us as individuals is in the $40 -ticket, smoky, dimly lit blues club set. It’s a simple “Thank you so much” to a fan’s praise. It’s the “I’m human too” interviews that make us understand that these folks are just on a journey like the rest of us. They’re not untouchable, they’re relatable.
The Behind The Musics and E! True Hollywood Stories and Unsungs show people who were/are so deeply in love with music but pushed to create everything/anything other than what feels real to them. Sell units. Sell out tours. Win Grammys. Be the best. Then, artistry and truth-telling suffers at the hands of being on top and staying on top when Lauryn Hill told us years ago that EVERYone has seasons of “learning and mastership.” No one is going to be on top forever. So what then are most fans going to crave for the long-term? The memory of one crazy hyped show, which was off the chain but cost them a car note? OR album after album of authenticity with track after track that speaks directly to any and every situation they face?
I salute consistent authenticity. Humility. Transparency. That takes courage and I can vibe with that. We vibe with those who come from where we’re from and refuse to pretend that they are larger than life. They leave their not-so-glamorous photos floating around on the Internet because, hey, they’re human too. They show us their scars and let us show them ours too. What they create may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is their own and you can’t help but to dig that.
So, quite frankly, no, I won’t bow down to any entertainer, but I will stand tall and salute my sistren who are consistently affirming themselves and others, evolving, living honestly and giving me good music to last a lifetime.
La Truly is just encouraging thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly.