Interviews

The Musician: Devin Nash

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(Image via devinnashmusic)

R&B without a doubt is my favorite genre, so when I stumbled upon O.D. by Devin Nash, I had to find out who he was as an artist. I was fortunate enough to talk with Devin, an artist from Atlanta, Georgia. His producer, Ryan Marsh, was also present.

Let’s start with the basics. Devin Nash is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. His influences are Prince, Bell Biv DevoeMichael Jackson, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, and The Dream. His latest EP is called “Her” which includes “O.D.”, “Calico/Kristols”, “Part-Time Lover”, “Cry”, “Tears From My Heart”, “Her”, and “Love Won’t Hurt”.

As an artist what drives and fuels his passion is the feeling of creating something new and special that could last forever and inspire people.

When I asked what was his favorite song that he’s written so far, as well as what video was his favorite Devin was a bit stumped, but went on to say The EP Her means a lot to him. Even Ryan Marsh spoke about how he can relate to it due to his past relationships, and agreed that Her is special.  Ryan spoke about how Kristols  was significant since it was the beginning of the EP. For Devin Nash it was the embodiment of a sad feeling he needed to release.

I was curious about the creating process so Ryan took over to explain how the creating of the music happens. The music process generally starts with a hook or verse or something Devin has been feeling and then the music will be shaped around that. It mostly starts with a feeling or a vibe. They have rule, they have to love it. Sometimes Devin sits down at the piano and comes up with something, then takes it to Ryan.  Part-Time Lover started with a few chords played by Ryan and then Devin came up with the verses. Devin went on to say that he usually knows when they’re creating something great. It’s a gift I wish I had.

 

When asked where he got his musicality. Devin said that he’s worked really hard in developing himself, but also had some help from a college roommate, as well as Ryan Marsh in terms of vocal production and creating songs. Something that has stuck with him that Ryan told him is that in order for a song to be good it doesn’t necessarily have to have a bunch of harmonies.  Devin doesn’t come from a musical family and shared that if he wanted to listen to certain artists like BBD or Prince he had to go to his aunt’s house. At his house they’d listen to artists like Luther Vandross or The Temptations, but music wasn’t played all the time…just around the holidays. He remembers a family trip to Florida consistently listening to Boys 2 Men who he is also influenced by.

I told him that he reminds me of Miguel, though Miguel is bit more rock influenced.  I think he took that as a compliment. My next questions for him were “As an artist what is your goal, how would you like to impact people? How do you want people to perceive you as an artist?”  He would like to be seen as an artist and inspire people. He doesn’t see everyone in today’s industry as an artist. Which I could agree with. He looks at Kanye West as an artist, because his music goes beyond rap and he inspires him to be better and do something crazy.

Devin has quite the sense of humor so when I asked him what he did to get rid of nerves before going on stage he said “I do a lot of drugs” which got a laugh from me. After establishing that he was joking he went on to say that he should probably have a ritual, but doesn’t. He imagines himself on stage,likes to relax, chat, and sometimes he’ll take a shot. He admits that when he does consistent shows he doesn’t get as nervous. Performing in LA was a time in which he does recall being nervous.

In the industry he would like to hear more singing. He thinks that there are a lot of artists who should be highlighted but are looked over because of the industry being more geared towards rap. There isn’t enough r&b right now. He would like to see more artists who dance, play instruments and sing; as well as more lyrics. Don’t we all? He wants to feel goosebumps when he listens to music, which is something that seldom happens. Devin mentioned how he talked with a friend about this and he heard Celine Dion’s “I’m Your Angel” and that gave him goosebumps.  That is produced by a combination of both vocals and lyrics. I asked if this applied to the music industry in general or locally as well. He said “People imitate whats popular so what you’re getting that’s popular is what you’re getting in Atlanta.” He also said that the rap in the area is over saturated.  If that’s all that people are doing then that isn’t very creative. He said “We all imitate someone and they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. However, we do it to some extent, but its good to always have something of your own niche”. He mentioned how I commented on how we want to hear something different. Everyone sounds the same these days. That’s what he and Ryan are trying to accomplish, something different.

In the next 5 years Devin Nash sees himself winning a Grammy, he’s not too sure for what, but he also sees himself  writing songs for different people and having a multimedia company.

I asked if he had any crazy fan or embarrassing stories. He had a “cool” fan story. He use to be apart of group and the fan drew a picture of them as ghosts and said they’d live forever. In my mind that’s a little crazy. As for an embarrassing moment, he once got heckled..by the man who introduced him. Why? He corrected the man on stage after he called him the wrong name. He hopes it doesn’t get anymore embarrassing than that.

The next part of the interview were questions more about him as a listener. I asked him what his top 3 genres were. He named the Singer/Songwriter, Pop, Rock genres. He doesn’t listen to the radio too much and prefers using Tidal. His favorite band is Kings Of Leon, so when he wants to really enjoy music that who he listens to. His top 6 all time favorite artists are: Prince, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, Michael Jackson and  Luther Vandross. I asked him who he could listen to once a day and he said he’d be really bored if did that, but if he were on an island…after much deliberation, anything Timbaland has produced. That was a brilliant answer, he found the loophole in my question. His current favorite song is “Slide” by Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean and Migos. That’s one crazy combination. I had never heard of this song so I had to go find it immediately, and I see why he really likes it. It’s a nice summer hit and it’s a little funky and a little groovy. He also named another song I had yet to hear. It’s called “Mic Jack” by Big Boi and it features Adam Levine.

When it came to naming an artist dead or alive who he could write or work with he named Prince. He came to realize around 5 years ago that Prince was a Rock Star, a Pop Star, and many other things. He used “Let’s Go Crazy” as an example. He said if he were asked 10 years ago he would have said Michael Jackson. I understand,  we have seen Prince work and collab with various people and it has worked really well.

We went on to discuss his age. He naturally looks 21, but he’s actually 32. We discussed how some people feel discouraged in listing their age, but in reality you can have success at any age. It doesn’t bother him.

Before we finished our interview I wanted to ask Ryan Marsh a couple of questions. How’d Ryan get his start? Ryan was right out of high school and he started singing with a group called “Status”, they were supposed to be signed to Death Row but Death Row closed down. From there he started performing as a solo artist and then he started producing for other artists. His advice for people who want to produce like he does is “try to look at the big picture and not focus on just making a beat. It is your responsibility for that final product. However you get there is fine but ya know you’re responsible for that final product.”

If you want to hear Devin’s album it can be found on his website; devinnashmusic.com. “Kristols” and “Cry” are currently on Itunes, Tidal, Amazon Music.

Devin Nash has 2 EP’s coming out in the near future. One will have a more urban sound, the other will be more old school. I asked what he meant by old school he named Phil Collins, Elton John, and Prince. Prince is huge influence for him.

The links are tagged for each of Devin’s Social Media accounts below:

Twitter

Youtube

Soundcloud

Instagram

Facebook

I’d like to take this time to thank Devin Nash and Ryan Marsh for taking time out of their super busy schedule to share with me. Also thank you, to you, the reader. Share with all of your friends!

-Amber

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A Take On After Laughter

I’ve been on the fence about reviewing this album, as there is so much to dissect. However, I love it so much and Paramore is my favorite band. This is the least I can do since I won’t be seeing them live this Fall.  Without further ado, lets begin.

Paramore has always stayed true to themselves with each album. After Laughter is still Paramore but, a lot more 80’s and Hayley’s vocals are crystal clear. That. is. absolutely. magnificent. I love the 80’s! That era had a sound like no other and Hayley can sing anything. 

When the band is on stage they have this funky stage presence, which is rather odd for a band that started out as angsty punk. This album conveys a bit of that funk and its a nice feeling. Its the cool rock sound that Paramore has been carrying for a couple of albums now with a little zest.  I’ve seen multiple people complain about the bands new sound. I have to admit that though I definitely have many favorites from their younger years this is now, and its mature. The same goes for their appearance. I can honestly say that they’ve transitioned pretty well. 

When it comes to content the lyrics seem slightly bittersweet and convey tones of sadness. Its all honest. One thing I know about Paramore is that they’re always relatable. We won’t always know who they are alluding to or their exact experience but, we will know of something similar.

Those are my thoughts. Thanks for reading and tell me what you think of their album!

-Amber
 

Interviews

The Musician: Tikyra Jackson

I was fortunate enough to interview Tikyra Jackson, the singer who made her debut at the Artistik Lounge last Sunday(March 19th). She’s 21 years old and  in a band signed to Stax called Southern Avenue.

(These questions aren’t in any particular order)

How did you get into Music?

I got into music through my parents any environment seeing as though my whole family on both sides are musicians or singers

  What do you love about Music?

I love that music is apart of everything we do and enjoy. When we dance, watch a movie, shop, drive, its the part of your personality that you get to express depending on your mood. And that applies wether you are a musician, listener, engineer or artist in general .

What are your top 3 genres?

My top 3 genres would have to be Memphis music, gospel music, neo soul.

Who are your top 5 all time favorite artists?

My top 5 fav artists would be Hiatus Kaiyote, Beyonce, Clark Sisters, Fred Hammond, John Mayer. as of right now

Who can’t you go a day without listening to?

I can’t go a day without listening to Hiatus Kaiyote

List the instruments you play, which is your favorite and why?

I play drums, piano, guitar, and I sing. Piano is my favorite because i love the sound and how different genres can be expressed through piano.

Who do you get your voice from? Mom or Dad?

Neither of my parents are really singers, they can hold a note but music runs on both sides so you could say I get it from both sides

As an artist, what is your goal, how would you like to impact people?

As an artist my goal is to encourage people to be more vulnerable with their emotions and relate to others around them. I want to unify human beings as souls and not as a race or subgroup.

What genre would you say you fit into? If multiple, please list.

Im not sure what genre I fit into because my music has so many colors, it honestly depends on the mood Im in when I write the song

How did it feel to perform your original music on stage?

It felt magical performing my original music on stage. having my family there and just letting the energy in the room carry my music.

What do you do to get rid of nerves before going on stage?

To get rid of nerves I either joke around or take a moment of silence for myself to gather my focus. But joking around usually works better

Who are your biggest influences?

HIatus Kaiyote, Beyonce, Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, Indie Arie

What is your current favorite song?

My current favortie song is Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra

If you could work with any artist or write for any artist (Dead or Alive) who would it be?

If I could work with any artist it would be Little Big Town

I don’t have the lists of your songs. I would like the names of them, and are they available for purchase?

My songs are not available for purchase but the list of my originals are: Look At Us Now, Made My Bed, Sweet Child, Aint Got No Time

I know you are in Southern Avenue, how has being in a band allowed you to grow?

Being in Southern Avenue has pushed me to be more creative with my sound and performing while playing an instrument and just overall Putting together a show that is conducive musically as well as entertaining,

How do you want people to perceive you as an artist?

I want people to perceive me as transparent, relatable, and inspiring

What would you like to see or hear more of in the music industry?

Id like to see more diversity in the music industry, Id love to see the industry ,more involved with really young musicians

What are your thoughts on the music scene locally, do you have any local faves?

The music scene locally is booming and the opportunities for artists to share their music is growing,

Lyrically, what determines what you write about? Life, relationships, etc?

My personal experiences are usually the core of my writing, I also write according to the mood of my music because sometimes I will just play a beautiful combination of chords on the piano or guitar and then he lyrics flow.

You’re 21 and this is just the start! Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I see myself still making music with Southern Avenue, starting a non profit organization with my sister that raises money for music programs and provides even more music programs for Memphis. I also see myself writing and arranging music for country artists

How do you react to people saying you have so much soul at such a young age?

I’m always very amazed and humble when people respond in such a positive way to my music.

What was it like performing with your siblings at your showcase? I know you are one of six. If I am I correct you performed with 3 sisters and 1 brother.

It was a dream come true to perform with my family and It made me feel more comfortable for my first show

How has your family influenced you?

My family definitely challenges me, pushes me, and inspires my music lyrically

Oh! You’re still in school, right? What are you studying?

I’m taking time off to tour but I will be returning to take online classes and finish my degree. Im studying music business.

 

A huge thank you to Tikyra for taking the time to answer my questions.

 

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The Artistik Lounge

This past Sunday (March 19th) I went to an event to support an old friend of mine, Tikyra Jackson. I don’t get out much, but I wanted to support. I knew she was talented and I was excited see her perform her original music. I also really LOVE live music.

I was curious about this venue. I wasn’t sure what to expect. This venue led to the best night of my life! Again I don’t get out much so when I hear the word “Lounge” I only think of something to similar to a club and I am not about that life. I got to the venue at 7 o’clock, not realizing that the show would start around 8:30. When I finally walked through the doors I smelled incense. Let me tell you guys something, I LOVE INCENSE. What do incense make me think of? Good vibes, Good energy,  a Bohemian paradise. It was light scent, welcoming, nothing too smoky or heavy. The room is also used as a dance studio, so half of the left side of the room was covered with mirrors. There were a couple of couches, ottomans and pillows on the floor for seating. I was so excited, this was a real lounge or what TV and Movies portrayed as a lounge.

The DJ, Siphne, was  playing neo-soul and r&b goodies, which was contributing to the feel good vibe. Slowly but surely the room began to fill with people and our host, Eso, got on the mic. He informed us of the organization joining us for the evening. He informed us about the food available as well as the bar.  I was sitting at the very front in the middle and was fearing I’d lose my seat so I didn’t buy any food. However, I heard it was delicious.

If I remember correctly before Tikyra performed Eso and Siphne warmed us all up with a little something. It was smooth transition into what was come. Before Tikyra performed Eso interviewed her and we got to learn a little about her and her up bringing. I won’t give too much away as I got the opportunity to interview Tikyra(It will be in the next post), but she grew up in Church and comes from a very musical family. She performed with her siblings that night as well. Her sisters were her back ground singers and her brother was on the drums. She plays the drums, piano, guitar, and she sings. She did all of that in one show. I remember seeing a post on Facebook before the show and she said that it would be a night to remember and it really was. It was her debut, and we the audience were blessed to be a part of it.  I’ve been to many concerts and that had to be the best. She and her entire family are immensely talented. She has such a rich and old soul to be just 21. Her vocals ooze emotion and it takes me to a nostalgic place, the good ole’ days. She reminds me of one of favorites, India Arie. Like India her sound is so organic.  Besides her original songs which will be linked below, she performed a couple of covers, 2 of them being by Lauryn Hill and Anderson Paak.

Closer to the end of show Tikyra was on the drums, her brother was on the other set of drums, and her sisters were at their mics just playing and vibing. It was then that Eso took the time to tell the audience that if you would like to freestyle and perform a little something now is the time. There were 5 brave and gifted individuals who followed the musical current. It was such a cool moment to witness and to be a part of. The night ended after the last freestyler.

It wasn’t until I got into the car that I realized I had been at the Artistik Lounge from 7 pm until 11 pm and it was so worth it. So thank you to the Artistik Lounge for making this misfitted introvert feel at home.

Thanks to you, the reader, for taking the time to read very first post here!

-Amber

 

Here is a playlist of videos from that night:

Playlist

 

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Me and Tikyra

 

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Tikyra and her little sister Ava
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Mad Love by Jojo

We’ve all had that one song that we put on repeat, but have you ever had an entire album? I’ve had plenty, but there is one in particular I am absolutely  crazy about. I have been in love with Jojo’s Mad Love since it came out last October. It is the album that I drive to, song by song. It’s relaxing, it’s nearly become a part of my daily routine. Jojo has been trying to make her way back to shore for quite some time, but due to problems with her previous record label it’s been a while since we’ve heard from her.

She pours her soul in Music, taking us on Journey through her life until this point. The beginning is sad explaining how music became an escape from what sounds like a dysfunctional home. To make a long story short Jojo needs music like she needs air to breathe. Its been there for her all her life. 

I Can Only, is the next track that screams INDEPENDENT. Its a track that says that I can only be me and though I’d like you to be happy with who I am and what I do, its okay if you’re not. Deal with it.  Whether you accept me or not I’m gonna do me.

Fuck Apologies is probably a lot peoples anthem.  It features Wiz Khalifa who unlike most rappers is great addition to this song. The song is about not saying sorry.  Sometimes we apologize when we aren’t guilty, sometimes we say sorry when we really don’t mean it, sometimes we say sorry even though we know damn well that person doesn’t deserve it. Jojo says Fuck Apologies I would say I’m sorry if I really meant it.  Don’t let people take people take advantage.

Another anthem is FAB also known as Fake Ass Bitches. Its a call out to all of those unreliable people who like to call themselves friends. They’re users and want to take credit for things they didn’t contribute to. The powerful Remy Ma is the feature on this track. It’s a bit ironic considering she had some beef with Nicki Minaj. 

The album slows down with Mad Love, not only is it the title of the album but its a love drunk tune. In a couple of interviews Jojo explained how shes loves love. She loves being in it, on top of it, under it, shes all about it. In the song,  with vocals as smooth as warm caramel, she shamelessly sings to her loved one. She loves that his love can take her places. She has to have it even if it brings pain. The pain, the thrills, the butterflies, the uncontrolable smiles, the fearlessness..she wants all of it.

Vibe has to be the coolest track. It makes me feel cool just listening to it. Its a dance track with a Caribbean…vibe.  This song is fun and in it Jojo is just chillin’ and she doesn’t want any boy to kill her vibe. She just wants to have a good time.

 Jojo sings about a relationship that just wasn’t mutual in Honest.  She and her man just weren’t on the same page. Jojo’s vocals on this track are like pleasant echos repeatedly bouncing off the walls of an empty room. Its a weird description, but its just so nice. My favorite thing about this song besides its honesty is that it has the little break down that allows the sound of the song to go from a mental sense of sincerity, realization, and acceptance to a more aggressive scene of what went wrong. She sings 

Why do we have to call it the night shift, why do we have to hide all of our vices, you just dont like it when I’m this open, I’m not crazy this isnt a crisis. I’m just trying to figure out if I’m in love, its not promiscuous its just owning it, you need to let go of what a good girl does, its not that obvious its my prerogative. It might not be what you wanted it but at least I’m honest.

Honest is one of my favorites to play on the road at night. Its from this song and forward that I absolutely love driving to.

Like This is sexy and confident! If you a Jojo fan its a more adult version of Like That. If there is ever a video to be made for this song I absolutely volunteer as creative director, free of charge. I imagine it as Jojo in club as a dancer seducing and memerizing various men but keeping her eye on that one and giving him a private dance . There is no other way for me to describe it. I guarantee that you won’t stop moving once you hear it.

What’s even sexier than Like This? Edibles! In Edibles Jojo is looking for a full time lover for some sticky edible fun. She puts all her cards on the table and wants someone who can keep up with her. I would say its your typical slow jam, but its not vocally or lyrically predictable. Its sound varies.

High Heels can make anyone feel like a boss. I’m talking about shoes and the song. This song is somewhere between a threat and the act of walking out on a guy who just doesn’t Jojo. If you’re in the process of getting over someone or know you deserve better, this song is perfect. Its not your typical cheap sounding “boy bye I deserve better” anthem, its classy and grown.

I Am is such an important song. It’s absolutely compelling. It is about self love, realizing your worth, owning your strength and understandinf that you are with out a doubt are beautiful and worthy of love. I can hear that this is something that Jojo has personally thoroughly thought out in her head. Her vocals leak emotion and the piano on this track adds to the dynamic.

The 12th track on the album is  Clovers. It is a progressive and optimistic tune. I love it. Its picking up yourself when your down. Its looking at the brighter side of things and when things aren’t great its knowing that it will all be okay. It could be interpreted differently but those were my first thoughts. Again, if there is a video to be made for this song I have ideas, I could totally be a creative director. 

Reckless gives me emotions I never wanted.  Jojo speaks on her faults. She hurt someone the way someone hurt her. The songstress was selfish and reckless with his heart.  Its apologetic and regretful. She realized how much she damaged him, she understands she was young and didn’t know better, she understands how self centered she was and how vunerable he was. Despite it being a bop this song had me feeling so bad for this guy.

Good Thing gets me so excited! I’ve had a lot of songs on repeat from this album, but this was on repeat for a long time. It makes me so happy and its a great a song to workout to. Its a super love drunk dance tune and its my favorite. This guy is Jojo’s motivation, escape, and truth. She is flaming with love and no one can put her out. 

This album unfortunately comes to an end. The last track is Rise Up. Honestly, after riding the emotional roller coaster before it is a refreshing tune. Its like getting a large cold lemonade after you’re been screaming your head off on every ride at the amusement park.  This song is all about love and how it takes two to make a relationship. If you want it to work, if you want that individual, nothing can stop you. 

If you have the album on repeat like I usually do, Rise Up transitions well into Music. 

If I had to rate this album it gets a 10/10. I’m pretty sure 10 years from now I’ll still be in love with it.

I hope you all enjoyed my thoughts. Have you listened to this album? What did you think? 

Thanks for reading!

-Amber