Interview by MissCallMe Cris. Edited for clarity.
The distinguished gentleman, Cleveland P. Jones, delivers a triumphant new single “Be Right There” and we sit with him to talk about the inspiration behind it, and how he developed the purity, honesty, and power that transcends throughout it.
When listening to your music, I hear something pure, powerful, and with a significant range. You certainly have a gift to make people feel what you are relaying. Where does that come from?
That’s such a good question! I’d definitely say that it was something that was simply given. A higher power has definitely gifted me with something. At first, it was hard to accept because I was always told “You sound so unique!”, and the word unique did not translate to me as positive. Eventually, I just thought to myself that I have to do me and not care what other people think. I’m also an empathetic type of person. I feel things, I see things, and when it comes out, it just happens to come out the way it does. What you are getting is honest and pure, and it comes from me thinking this could be my very last day. So, if you’re going to record, sing live, or whatever, give it your best every single time.
You definitely hear all of that in your new single “Be Right There”. Can you paint the picture of how it came about?
Well, back in 2016, I was introduced to PRO from CREATE.Digital. Back then, PRO wanted to know if I had released a song called “Mistakes”, and at the time, I already did. So, he was like “I wish I had gotten that song. But, we’ll do something together eventually.” Here we are 4 years later. He hit me up and said, “Hey, I hope we can team up and do something together.” I said, yea, I’d be open to it. What do you want to do? He said, “I want you to write something inspirational. We are going through a lot right now and we need something uplifting.” Within that period of time, my sister had a stroke. My sister and I are unbreakable and she became the main reason behind the song. Her situation helped me push to write and the thing that I always wanted her to know was, I am never going to leave her. I’m always going to be there. Even though we live in two different places, she knows by spirit, presents, by phone calls, and driving back and forth from state to state to check on her, that I will always be right there for her.
What was the creative process like working with PRO in A&R/Executive Producer mode?
He was totally open to my creative control in whatever I was doing. He also lends a helping hand. Like, this could be a good idea…or that could be, and I’m just like...“Thank you!” Because it can get complicated in my brain. I’m an over-analytical type of guy, and he just gave me nuggets to move forward, and that’s what made it easy.
Although “Be Right There” came from a personal place, I think many others will be able to relate. What do you hope others gain from the powerful lyrics and emotion of the production?
I hope people who normally would not shake or hold hands, get over themselves. I’m talking racism, sexism, classism, and that we understand the cliché “You cut me, I cut you, we all bleed.” It’s the truth! We are all the same and we came from something that is the same. If we really saw beyond the outer shell of others, I think the song is big enough to grasp people to just love each other. Just go ahead and love…unconditionally, without all the frails. I hope that the song encourages people to understand what unity is, and being there for someone. If you listen to the passion and the honesty of the song, it is undeniable that anyone that hears it with an open heart, it will translate well.
“Be Right There” is pretty big. Is there more music we can expect from you and your team of collaborators?
“Be Right There” did inspire me to want to write more. It gave me a huge, new surge of energy that said, “Cleve, you’re really getting comfortable with this thing. You’re getting used to yelling, screaming, and using your voice the way you want to.”... and it feels liberating! So, let’s just say yes, there is more music coming. I plan to write a jazz album for sure. I’ve always wanted to do jazz. So, I’m going to say yes to this question.
Interview by MissCallMe Cris,. Edited for clarity.
This week we sat with music producer and creator, NOBRAKES MIXX to talk about the vision of his latest release “Bang My Line” and how he saw the perfect artist combination to make it all come together.
Can you tell us who is NOBRAKES MIXX as a producer and entity?
I’m a producer and consider myself a creator in general. I’ve been producing for a long time, making beats since the age of 16. I started off producing for my friends who were artists, and began branching out to independent artists who really took their craft seriously. It all hit a fast-track when I started a production and marketing company called SOCAL Radio, where we started grass-root branding and marketing for different artists. But yeah, I’m a creator! I kind of move to the beat of my own drum. I make music I want to hear and stick with what I feel.
What was your role in the creation of “Bang My Line” featuring Pretty Pape$ and G-Funk Supreme? How did it all come together?
Me and Pretty Pape$ work closely together. I’ve known that he’s been wanting to work with G-Funk Supreme, and I’ve wanted to get a track with them together. So, I was like, I’m going to make a sound where I know both of them can fit, with them both having their own lanes. So, I made the beat, sent it over to Pape$. He loved it and came to the studio and recorded his part. After he was done, I called G-Funk and was like, hey, I have one for you! I sent it to him, he hit me back 20 mins later like “I already have my verse. Let me know when I can come in and record it”. What’s crazy is, the night he came to record it, I rushed to my studio and I left the charger for my laptop. I literally had 12 percent battery left on my MacBook. I had to turn my brightness down and disable everything in order to get his verse. As soon as he got done with his verse, my computer died. But, that was the premise of getting both of them on the track.
What was your process in completing the vision of the collaboration? How did you know this was going to be a perfect fit?
Their styles! G-Funk is from Long Beach, Pape$ is from Orange County. Pape$ is like rah-rah, in your face, while G-Funk is more laid back, cool, and collected. I knew that the two would mesh very well together. They typically don’t make the same type of music but, the sound in their voice and the way they approach music, I knew it was going to be a good mesh. Knowing their sounds individually, I just had to make the right sound for them to team up on, and it was a done deal from there.
How important do you feel collaborations are as a producer?
Anyone who follows me on Twitter or on social media, I’m yelling that all the time. Collaboration is key! The more eyes you have to look, the more eyes you’ll have looking. You can’t do everything by yourself. You’ll burn yourself out. Especially, in the field we’re in. There’s nothing that I’ve been able to do by myself. Everything has been team-oriented. I’m a big team guy, I want everyone else to shine. That way, you bring more people to the table and we all eat at the end of the day. So, collaboration is a big piece of what I do.
How difficult or easy was it to make the collaboration happen during a pandemic?
It’s a change. Back in the day, we had our studio and was just like, I’m going to be here on these days, just come through. Nowadays, you have to plan around it. I’m not so much recording in the studio with people right now. I’m kind of keeping my distance, working from home. It’s a challenge but, you have to roll with the times.
Interview by MissCallMe Cris and edited for clarity
This week we are joined by “Substance Pop" recording artist, singer, and songwriter, AZRA, as she drops her empowering single “Hell & Back”. Giving us hope through overcoming her challenges in life, in an upbeat, invigorating piece of work, in a much-needed moment in time.
Can you paint us a picture of how “Hell & Back” became a song?
I wrote the song a while ago with my co-writing and production team, The Heavyweights, with Jamie Jones and Matt Wong. I went into the studio one day with this idea that I’d been through so much in the past. Even just looking at my artist journey. I’d been doing music for a long time. Since I was born, I’d been dancing and singing. But, one day I was looking back at all the things like being in L.A., working in the industry, all of the experiences I’ve had with my eye being diagnosed with juvenile glaucoma in 2008, and just different challenges that I’ve had to face and figure out a way to grow from and move forward with. So, I went to the studio, and I was like “Hey Guys! I’ve been through hell and back”, even though people may not be able to pick up on that when they first see me. You would have no idea that I’ve been through some challenges. But, that’s very relatable to a lot of us. So, I wanted to work with the idea that there’s always going to be ups and downs in life, and it’s not a matter of only picking the positives to get through life. It’s actually accepting both. There’s always going to be the negatives, and if you don’t know the negatives, you’re never going to know positives. So, that’s how the song came to life. It’s a very upbeat song but, I wanted to make sure it had substance to it.
Why do you think it’s important to tell these kinds of stories?
In life, it’s not always going to be happy. There’s always the yin and the yang. I’ve been through a phase in my life when I was learning about positive thinking and discovering the benefits of being positive, and in the beginning, I didn’t know how to deal with all the negativity. I knew to just focus on the positives and hopefully, the negatives will just go away, I guess. That was my mentality for a while. But, this year with the pandemic and everything that is going on, a lot of us are forced to face the things that we didn’t want to face, including all the negative things. We can be oblivious to it but, that’s not going to last forever, and that’s not going to really make us grow and become stronger as a person. It’s really when we can recognize that there’s going to be good times, and there’s going to be some not so good times. It’s good to accept and recognize that because it’s only going to make us become more appreciative of the positives. I think that’s the true meaning of growth.
What kind of reception are you getting from the song so far?
It’s pretty positive actually, which I’m really grateful for. It’s very upbeat, it’s a different vibe but, still in the 6th Dimension. I’m getting a good vibe from it. The people that I’ve shared it with, they recognize that it’s not just a dance, pop song. They recognize from the lyrics that it’s kind of deep, and has a message. About two week ago, I shared the song with four of my closest friends, and one of my friends actually teared up during the bridge. That just motivated me, like yeah, I guess this is good!
What’s the one thing you want everyone to get from “Hell & Back”?
The one thing that I want people to get is a feeling of hope. That’s the most important thing. With everything that’s going on right now, it’s been really challenging. Speaking with a lot of my fans, it’s been rough. But, at the same time, seeing how people are figuring out how to rise from it, in the midst of all the darkness, seeing how people are coming out of it every single day and getting themselves up in the morning, including myself, it’s pretty damn empowering. So, I hope that my song can just add to that and give them a little more light. Even if it gives them a little boost and makes them want to dance a little, then I’ve done my job.
Is “Hell & Back” a part of a bigger project that we can look forward to?
Possibly!! Yes! I am constantly working on more music. I have been very actively going to the studio lately. Stay tuned!! I definitely hope to and plan to release more music this year.
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By MissCallMe Cris. Interview edited for clarity.
Hailing from North Carolina, Smart Boy Beatz is a multiple showcase winner and beat battle champion. When he’s not racking up these wins with his skills, he’s teaching his musical prowess to high school students in Atlanta, GA. With the Coronavirus lockdown still in place and putting a hold on things, we chopped it up with Smart Boy Beatz to see how he’s thriving through these days, and what he’s been working on.
So, what do you have going on these days?
I’m an in-house producer for Patchwerk Studios. In conjunction with Patchwerk Studios, every Tuesday we do #PWRBASSLINE, a show where producers and songwriters can submit their music, and me and my co-host give feedback. Every Saturday we also do this show called “The Pull Up”, a place online where songwriters and producers can come and vibe out for a little bit since we’re all in the house because of the Coronavirus. We’ve been trying to curate a lot of content so that people feel okay with being in the house, and that they are still being inspired and have the will to create. Being in the house can be depressing sometimes but, having these outlets and this content online is our way of helping to alleviate some of it.
How are you and your team thriving throughout the Coronavirus lockdown?
I’m an introvert, I’m shy, and quiet. I will come alive when I’m around my friends or when doing a show. But, I like being in the house, watching Netflix, and chilling. That’s where you can find me. However, I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t negatively affected me. I need other people around to be inspired. I need personal interaction sometimes. I like my close-knit relationships, and sharing the bond we’ve developed but, the Coronavirus has placed a hold on all of that stuff. Communicating electronically is cool but, there’s nothing like it in-person. Knowing that this is happening, knowing that this is prime time for all of us to capitalize on these emotions and the things we are feeling, we are all trying to keep each other lifted by creating these shows. So, we could be of service for the creatives who felt like they needed an outlet for the music that they have been cooking in their “Corona Caves”, where no one can hear them.
Where did the idea for Smart Loopz come from? How are people receiving it?
The Coronavirus lockdown definitely affected me. I was in a rut for a little bit and that’s where the pack came from. Being in that place. Knowing I had nowhere to go, I thought to myself, let me dig and see if I can find some inspiration. There were a lot of days I would just sit and play around with chords and melodies, play with some drums, and just put them aside for the pack. I was stupid excited to get it out, ecstatic about sharing the posts. I never made a loop pack before, this was my first one. It’s been a lot of support behind it too. I love the feedback and support that I’ve gotten from it. Some of my people back home never heard of any of this stuff, so when I explained it to them, they thought this was something huge. So, they’re sharing the posts, and they are excited for me. Also, shout-out to all my producers who have already copped the pack. They’ve given me some good reviews on it.
What’s something else you’re most proud of?
My favorite is a song called “Dolly!” by Tai the Cherub. It’s one of my favorite pieces. I feel like I got the mix right on it. I love her voice too. She and I went to high school together and just decided to start making music. I like to call our relationship something sort of like a Timbaland & Missy relationship. But, “Dolly” is my favorite…favorite song. It’s nice, upbeat, and vibey. It has some Reggaeton, Reggae, Afro-Beat elements inside of it. It’s one of my favorite beats and she’s just sitting on top of the beat so pretty.
Anything you’ve been working on that you are looking forward to dropping?
I’ve been heavy in the studio with this young artist named Riah. She’s from Atlanta. I’ve been working with her mother and Ciz from iStandard Producers for a few months now. We have 8 to 10 tracks cooked up, ready to drop whenever we get the roll-out plan together. I’m dumb excited about this! For her to be so young and on top of her game already, this is going to pan out very well. There’s a lot of people pushing the project, and I’m honored to be a part of it.
Special Thanks: Courtney "Cizzurp215" Carroll of 2ew Gunn Ciz, LLC.
Original article by CIZZURP215 June 26, 2020 iStandard Producers
Kansas City-based group We The People release their new single, a funky instrumental groove entitled Misunderstood. The single is composed by Houston born and bred Jazz pianist Eddie Moore and distributed by CREATE.Digital Music...continue
By MissCallMe Cris
After the release of the sizzling hot “Mambito’s Percussion Loops” Sound Pack, CREATE.Digital was excited to catch up with Artist, Producer, & Musician, Anatomē to talk about the release and how the authentic Latin influenced percussion kit came together.
So, let’s begin by telling the world a little about yourself.
My name is Michael “Anatomē” DeLeón, originally from Lorain, Ohio. I was born into a musical family, where my father and his siblings were
musicians and singers. I grew up in a Salsa family. Half of my uncles
were DJs. So, there was always live music influence growing up.
The influence of music started when I was 10 years. My dad gave
me my first shot at being a percussionist and musician, playing
Salsa, Mambo, Merengue.
How did your journey transition into becoming a producer?
I was always intrigued by rhyming, listening to a lot of classic hip-hop albums. It wasn’t until I started rhyming that I starting diving into the hip-hop part of what I really enjoyed about music. After rhyming for some years and listening to beats, admiring the history of hip-hop, and being a musician, a couple of people asked me if I thought about producing. I hadn’t at the time, because while being a musician and MC, the mental approach wasn’t the same for me. It took a few more people to convince me to try my hand at production. That’s when I jumped on my bro, David Cordy’s Roland XP-80. He showed me the ropes as far as sequencing and tracking, and that’s how I got my start.
With all of your cultural and hip-hop influences, how would you describe your sound?
When I got into production, I was digging in the crates and chopping samples. It took me a while before I began to incorporate musicianship, instrumentation, and performing with my hands. The two didn’t connect right off the top for me. It took some time. But, if I were to describe my sound now, there’s definitely more influence on what I played most of my life. I incorporate more bongo, conga, a lot more percussion. If I’m not playing it live, I’m still incorporating the timing to give it that type of feel.
Do you think playing percussion is a skill, or can anyone pick up a percussion instrument and start playing?
Yes, it is a skill. There are a few different variables between those who play by feel, those who are professionals, and those who play as a hobby. For someone who has a natural knack for rhythm, it doesn’t take long for them to figure out how swing works, and where to find the pocket. That’s a natural gift! But, in terms of skill, a lot of old heads always say to practice. Especially for me! Even though I grew up in a family of percussionists, singers, and musicians, the thing that always separated those who excelled was practice, studying the arts, studying the craft, diving into different sub-genres like Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latin sounds of songs. So, it’s pretty much like anything else. You get what you put in. If you have a knack for rhythm and can connect with the instrument, it’s really doing the math, the history, and enjoying yourself from there.
So, you just dropped “Mambito’s Percussion Loops” with Native Instrument’s Sounds. What was the inspiration behind it?
This is my first official sound kit. Quite a few people have been encouraging me to do it sooner. In some ways I wish I had but, I know everything works out the way it does. Just as we were talking about skill, that was one of the things that motivated me even more to do it. The history and feel of the music were just as important as the chops someone develops. I just wanted to translate the culture. I heard different packs out there that had conga sounds, bongo sounds, timbales sounds... and typically, they just came off as sounds. I never felt any cultural relevance. I never felt anything that I connected with, or felt like “Yo, I grew up listening to these rhythms, or to music that involved this particular style”. I didn’t find any packs that had that. So, that was the goal. I wanted to connect with people. I wanted the people to connect with the sounds. I tried to include different textured strikes. In terms of loops, I wanted to give a variety. So, there’s things in 3/2 time signature, which is typical in Puerto Rican Salsa. You got 2/3 time stuff which is more Afro-Cuban and Cuban style timing, and I threw a couple of 6/8 time things in there. For the people into Jazz, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Afro-Latin Jazz, they’ll definitely be familiar with those sounds.
Special Thanks: Courtney "Cizzurp215" Carroll of 2ew Gunn Ciz, LLC.
#MogulStatusMedia has partnered up with @KaliAudio @Tracklib & @AllHipHopCom to bring you an exciting new event called 'The Long Run' [7 Hour Music Producer Marathon] on Sunday June 14th from 2pm to 8pm EST on my IG live then 8pm to 9pm EST [for the finals] in our private EZ talks video room.
180 Beats | 60 Producers | 7 hours | 1 Winner
Submit (2) beats to firstname.lastname@example.org
If selected you will receive an acceptance letter w/ full details
Deadline to submit is Friday June 12th at 2pm
Confirmed Judges for IG Live
Top 2 from each hour will get invited to the private EZtalks final round at 8pm
Confirmed Judges for 8pm Private EZ talks finals
@ShawnBarron [VP of A&R | Motown/Capitol Records]
@MoneyMakinMatt [A&R | Dreamville Records/ Manager for Cardiak & more] & more tba
1st Place Prizing includes
All expense paid trip to LA Fall 2020, flight, hotel etc
Pair of @KaliAudio LP-8 Speakers [$400 Value]
@KaliAudio MV-BTS Controller [$99 Value]
1 year @Tracklib Professional Level Membership [$299 Value]
A write up on @AllHipHopCom & More TBA [2nd & 3rd do get prizing tba]
SUBMIT NOW! email@example.com
I was introduced to Pretty Pape$ a couple of years ago by Steven Contreras of Oh That's Filthy, who is also CREATE.Digital Music's Client Experience Manager. I instantly recognized his image and essence as an artist because his energy was authentic. I was initially hesitant to sign him via our joint venture with OTF because I was not yet fully tuned in to his flow and lyrical content. However, the fact that he was Filipino and from Orange County, California made him somewhat of a trap rap unicorn. I trusted Steven, OTF, and my instincts which ultimately backed the Pretty Pape$ movement that you're witnessing today.
I consider myself privileged to have witnessed Pretty Pape$ evolution alongside the growth of his team at OTF. His live stage presence and performance on video inspires his audiences. His songs instigate litness, confidence, camaraderie, and vibrations. Pape$ is consistent and focused, taking full advantage of every opportunity that aligns with his vision.
Vibe with him...
Amilcar "PRO" Welton
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