CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Over the past 14 years, Jon King has made more than 10,000 beats. As a music producer – collaborating with two-time Emmy-winning artists year after year – he’s put in the work that it takes to make a successful career … a thousand times over. In fact, it’s that very idea that led to his stage name, Thousand Times.
His most recent display of that work is a new album called “Road Maps,” and one of the album’s singles – “Power,” a politically charged track that’s been building momentum in light of recent events in Charlotte – has a bid for a Grammy nomination. The album features electronic music with a hip-hop aesthetic – all couched within a positive, uplifting message that says, “If you focus, work hard and follow your dreams; the sky is the limit.” It’s an album he’s extremely proud of, having created all the tracks for every song and collaborating with some of the country’s hottest up-and-coming artists.
“When I came up with the name for the album I was thinking of how my music has been kind of a road map to financial freedom,” he said. “But it’s more than that, really. It’s about creative freedom and being able to explore things through music. I’m a hip-hop producer and I try to incorporate a lot of chords and chord progressions, but ultimately what I’m trying to do is make a work of art.”
The irony of his success is that he was very nearly an attorney instead of a successful musician. Though he’s been producing tracks and creating beats since the age of 14, he attended college pursuing a political science degree. And upon graduation he had every intention of working toward earning a master’s degree and taking the Bar exam.
“But there was something inside of me that really wanted to follow the music,” he said. “That was my passion. And I knew that if I didn’t follow the music, I wouldn’t be happy.”
At the time he was really into musicians like Timbaland and Pharrel, and he always wondered how they could “make those noises come out of the radio” time and time again.
“That’s really what I latched onto,” he said, “and it became my focus for the next 14 years of my life. Today I hope people see a young, upcoming producer who wants to get into the industry and make beats for artists of every genre. I want to show people that I’m good enough to make it in this industry.”
His work has already caught the ears of Emmy-winning artists such as Boris Bluz Rogers, a spoken word artist who recently won two Emmys and who has become a frequent collaborator and close friend of King’s. He said he hopes to develop more relationships like this with other artists, and that through that combined work he can share his music with the world.
Fans who want to get a taste of Thousand Times’ music can check out the album “Road Maps” on CDBaby, or the single “Power” on his Soundcloud page. Fans can also visit his website for more information about him and his music.
Former basketball standout reinvents himself through new sound fusion of reggae, calypso and hip-hop
ORLANDO, FL – For most of his life, Armani Amin Muhammad – AKA Mani – was focused on basketball. As a promising starter for his basketball team in the Virgin Islands, Mani had aspirations of making it big as a professional athlete.
But when he moved to Atlanta midway through his high school years, a series of challenges led to him not making the team and he found himself facing an uncertain future. It was in the middle of that uncertainty that he found his voice as a musician. Turning his commitment for basketball toward a career in music, he soon discovered that he had a natural talent that growing numbers of fans have clamored for in the years since.
Today Mani is set to release his latest single, simply titled “Intro.” It’s a name that speaks for itself, and it’s a song that will not only introduce him to the world but introduce his unique blend of reggae, calypso and hip-hop to a world eagerly looking for that next new star.
“It’s kind of a song about the everyday struggles of anybody who is trying to make something of themselves,” he said of the single. “Raggae and Calypso comes second nature to me because I was raised on that in the Virgin Islands. But I can make music in every genre, and I’ll go by whatever I’m inspired by. I want my music to speak for itself, and let the people who listen to it interpret however they need to for themselves. If they see the hard work I put into the music and they’re inspired by that, then my music has done its job.”
Not only does the single introduce Mani as an artist to the world, but it also serves as an intro to a new mixtape he’ll be releasing in the first quarter of 2017. The name of the mixtape is “L.I.F.E. Pt. 2,” and it’ll feature a variety of songs he’s written over the past few years. He said it’s a project that will help fans get a feel for his range as a musician and his ability to weave meaningful lyrics into catchy instrumentals that will leave listeners eager to his replay.
“L.I.F.E. stands for Living In Fear Extinguished,” Mani said. “I’m not living in fear. I don’t fear anything. When you’re living an enlightened life, you don’t have to live in fear. That’s the way I feel about it. And I want to be able to reach people all across the world with my music and inspire them in the same way.”
Fans who want to sample Mani’s new single can do so by visiting his website, 1mani.com, or by visiting his YouTube page at ManiTV. Fans can also follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook under the handle @1officialmani, or on Snapchat @officialmani.
WILMINGTON, DE – When most people take a first look at Joshua Marzz – with his long red hair and thick beard – their first thought is probably not, “He must be a hip-hop artist.” But the 20-year-old prodigy from the outskirts of Wilmington, Delaware has been immersed in hip-hop since he was a little kid. It’s been his passion for more than a decade, and his new EP “Pvrvllvx” (pronounced Parallax), is his most recent offering to the world.
“Parallax essentially describes looking at something from many different angles,” Marzz said. “And this EP is about me looking at my life from different perspectives. It’s a really hard EP. The beats slap and the content of the lyrics are very in-your-face. It’s aggressive, but that tells you a lot about the struggles I’ve had over the years. But instead of taking a practical look at it, I decided to be creative and take a kind of devilish, out-to-get-me, trying-to-bring-me-down persona to it.”
The new EP drops on Dec. 10 and will consist of four songs. He collaborated on the project with a producer out of Sweden who goes by the name Pvrvnormvl (pronounced Paranormal) – who’s name and spelling was inspiration for the title of the EP.
“His beats are crazy hard and his production is on another level,” Marzz said. “I needed a change with what I had been doing and I needed to show people that I’m not in just a box of one kind of music. I can do whatever I want to. And when I found his music on Soundcloud I knew that’s the direction I wanted to go. I worked very closely with him on all four songs on this EP.”
Marzz said he’s excited to see how the world accepts his music, especially when they find out where he’s from. Wilmington, Delaware isn’t known for being a mecca of great music. In fact, it’s known for something far worse – as one of the cities with the highest murder rates in the world. In fact, it has such a bad reputation that many people refer to it as “Killmington,” and there was even a film made about the town called “Murder Town USA.”
But Marzz said he was somewhat insulated from the violence of the inner city. And even though he did see “some crazy shit go down,” he said wouldn’t change his childhood experiences because it was those same experiences that introduced him to hip-hop greats like Eminem, Lil Wayne and Whiz Khalifa. Unlike others from throughout the city, Marzz wasn’t into country music and he didn’t like pop. But the underground nature of that hip-hop movement was something that spoke to the things going on in his head, and he soon discovered a way to put out his own message through music of the same ilk.
“I’m all about the good vibes,” he said. “There’s a lot of negativity in the world, and a lot of bad shit happens and people dwell on it too much. My music talks about all this negativity around us by trying to figure out the best way to go about things. The stereotype with hip-hop music is that everyone kind of drinks and does drugs, and that’s just what is cool to do. I even went through a period of that – but for me it was just a way to get away from the world. I was caught in that negative cycle, and I knew I couldn’t do it anymore because it was eating away at me. Over the past couple of years I’ve realized that what I put out to the world is what I get back, and if you put out negative vibes, that’s what you’ll get back. Even though all this negative stuff is happening around us, we have to push forward. Positivity is the only thing that’s going to change the world. We’re at a time where digitally we’re progressing faster than what we even know what to do with. At the same time, we’re too bogged down and distracted with what’s going on with politics and other issues in the world. We have to start thinking differently. We have to start looking at these situations in a different light.”
Fans who want to get a sample of Marzz’s music can check out his Soundcloud page, or watch the music video for “Demon of the Hidden Mist” on YouTube. The EP “Pvrvllvx”, scheduled to drop Dec. 10, will be available for purchase on all digital download sites – including iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Rhapsody, iHeart Radio, and more. Fans who want to stay tuned to future music releases or live performances can follow Marzz on social media on Twitter and Instagram.
TORONTO, ONTARIO – One of the hottest young artists to hit the hip-hop scene is hailing from Toronto, Canada – a city that is quickly becoming one of the brightest creative outlets for artists within that genre. And now 18-year-old Shay-D Kid is ready to join the likes of Toronto-based rappers like Drake and Tory Lanez with his new single “Make Money.”
Released two months ago, “Make Money” is a party turn-up track that’s been making waves throughout Toronto, with a fan following that’s rapidly growing into the States and around the world. According to Shay-D Kid, it’s a song he created with his long-time friend Killah K where he wanted to experiment and shift lanes a little with his style.
The single is yet another example of the success this young artist is having after only announcing himself to the world a year ago with his debut track, “Twisted.” To date, his songs have been played on HitsFM 93 Toronto, A.V.A. LiveRadio, 50Artists50States, Hideous Radio, L.A.F. Underground and more.
“I think it’s really amazing how young you can be and get the exposure you can get with music,” Shay-D Kid said. “But I like when people don’t necessarily focus on age but instead focus on what’s good and hot in the industry at the time. I know I have a lot of time to grow, and I have a lot of things that inspire me that lead me to make more music. One of the things I love the most about hip-hop is the freedom of speech and the ability you have to express yourself in any way, shape or form. That’s so important. And from a young age I’ve always been attracted to rhyming, beats, and everything involved with creating that kind of music.”
According to his manager, Mike James, the choice to create “Make Money’ at this point in his career was an intentional one. Not only is it a fun song that fans can listen to over and over, but it’s also a song that focuses on subject matter that’s hot within the hip-hop genre right now.
“A big theme with hip-hop right now is all about the paper,” James said. “So we thought it would be cool if he did a single with that idea. The music video has already gotten more than 40,000 views on YouTube, with over 1,600 ‘thumbs-up’ and more than 3,000 Likes on Facebook in only two months. Plus it’s seen some great traction on Soundcloud and ReverbNation, which has been really great. And we know a lot of that is because of the response from his fans on Twitter and other social media.”
Shay-D Kid said he takes it in stride that so many fans follow him via social media and share his music. As an 18-year-old, he hasn’t known a world without social media and he knows that most of his fans also fit into that mold. It’s natural, therefore, to share music and promote new artists via those communication outlets. And he’s thrilled to see his Twitter followers climbing to the tens of thousands.
“I love my fans and I just want to make sure that no matter what mood they’re in, when they start listening to my songs they’re having fun and feeling good,” Shay-D Kid said. “I want them to be excited about what they hear. If they can listen to my music and it can transform their mood, that’s the best thing that can come out of listening to my music. Turn it up and have a good time.”
Fans who want to sample the single “Make Money” can do so by visiting Shay-D Kid’s Soundcloud page, or check out the music video on YouTube. And fans can find out more about upcoming single releases, or even live performances, by following him on Twitter, Faecbook or Instagram.
Yuma, AZ – Mr. 5P – born Iskaar Chavez – has pursued music since his freshman year of high school. Influenced by the likes of Drake, 2pac, Biggie Smalls, Eminem, The Game, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West, the artist’s music covers all genres from R&B to Hip Hop, calling it “laid back, romantic, and full of angst.” One thing is for certain: Mr. 5P isn’t afraid to mix things up in his music. A “go-with-the-flow” individual the artist is laid back, and yet simultaneously focused and determined for success.
His latest project, a collaborative album with artist Manny Ca$h, is set to be released sometime in 2017. (Follow 5P on social media for updates!) The album’s central mission is to put Mr. 5P’s native city, Yuma Arizona, on the map.
Mr. 5P has overcome negativity and doubt to make something of himself and his music, and advises anyone interested in music to do the same. He says of his goals for the future, “The main goal is to actually make something of myself, and prove everyone who doubted me wrong.” His advice for others? “Don’t listen to all the negativity - there will always be that group of people hating on what you’re doing… just focus on what you really want, and if you make great music, it will take you places.”
Listen on YouTube.
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BOSTON, MA – Meg Lieder has always loved to sing. For as long as she can remember she’s been singing and performing – anything from dance recitals to special music during a church service. She also comes from a family of musicians, so she was constantly surrounded by music. It should come as no surprise, then, that she long dreamed for a career in music … she just didn’t know how to make that dream a reality.
Until one day her father posted a video of her doing a cover song onto his Facebook page. The video blew up, and one of the thousands of people who saw it happened to be a finance manager for the Artist Refinery. He forwarded the video to the award-winning producer Fred “Blaze” Crawford, who liked what he heard. He contacted Meg and asked her to forward him more of her singing samples. Shortly thereafter, he offered her a contract for a six-song EP.
The first single off that EP is “Think Twice,” and was just released on Nov. 15. It’s a song she said will introduce her to the world in a way that showcases her versatility as a singer while introducing them to a fun new vibe that fans will want to listen to over and over again.
“The way it came about is really random,” Meg said of the development of the single. “I was in the studio with the plan to record another song that one of the producers wanted me to sing on. But things just weren’t clicking, and while they were working things out I started writing this song. He heard me singing and asked what it was and I told him I wanted to create a song that kind of gave off an Ariana Grande kind of vibe. He immediately created a track and I really liked it. The lyrics just kind of came easily after that.”
The song tells the story of a woman who is head-over-heels in love with her boyfriend, but he is worried that she might be thinking about other men. Out of his jealousy, he confronts her, only to discover that she’s been daydreaming about him the whole time. Essentially, Meg said, she’s telling her boyfriend that she loves him so much that he doesn’t need to “think twice” about it.
The song is one that definitely fits into the pop niche, Meg said, though it’s just one of many singles that will explore a variety of genres. She’s already been featured on other artists’ tracks – anything from EDM to hip-hop to some samples with her sister who is an opera singer. To develop her sound, Meg is currently studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she is focusing on contemporary music.
“My music has become a place for me to truly process my emotions,” she said. “Although I’m striving to share my music publicly, music humbles me privately. Aside from my bright, spunky and energetic personality, music has given me an opportunity to explore a more emotional and reserved side of myself. Each one of my songs is a reflection of my multi-layered personality.”
“Think Twice” is now available everywhere for download and streaming (listen on Spotify; buy on iTunes) and fans can check out the new music video on YouTube. Fans can also follow her on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud and Twitter.
ORLANDO, FL – Marquise Lamar Glover – AKA Kese – is a musician with so much passion for his craft that it practically shines off of him.
His talent was apparent at a young age. At 7 years old he was already free-styling and creating verses that flowed in ways that marveled his friends and astonished adults. Music, rap and hip-hop became a backbone for his life, but often warred for preference with his love of sports – especially football.
As a natural athlete, Kese became a standout high school star and eventually pursued football in college – first at a junior college and then looking forward to playing as a cornerback for a Division I school. But an injury pulled that promising athletic career short, and Kese found himself focusing solely on a music career. Today, he’s committed to sharing his smooth, compelling and versatile sounds with the world.
“My brother was always the one who did music in the family,” Kese said. “He was into music and I was into sports. When he did his music I was kind of playing the backup role behind him. But he left and my football career was brought up short and so I decided to focus on music and take advantage of the opportunities I had with that. I decided to put the pieces together and make something awesome.”
Toward that end, Kese is set to release four new singles to the world. They’ll be released steadily over the next two months for fans to enjoy, and are the first of many to come throughout 2017, he said.
The first single is called “Flavor,” and it’s one that Kese describes as upbeat and just fun to listen to. He said he uses the term “flavor” as a substitute for swag, and said the song is kind of his introduction to the world and describes what he’s going to be bringing to the table for the music industry.
“On Me,” his next single, is similar in its upbeat style, Kese said. It’s a song that serves as a kind of metaphor for having what it takes to be successful. Combined with “Flavor,” these singles serve as a one-two punch that display to the world who he is as an artist and what they can expect from him going forward.
The third single about to be released is called “What’s Up.” Of the four singles about to hit the market, it’s the most different of the bunch, he said.
“It has two different feels to it,” Kese said. “It goes into hip-hop and then into more of a melody. It all feels good and it’s like the others in that you’ll want to listen to it over and over again, but for different reasons.”
The last single is called “Bounce.” It’s a song that Kese describes as a “strip-club anthem.”
“It’s about a girl dancing – simple as that,” he said. “When I was looking at all the songs I’d created, I realized I didn’t have a strip club anthem and I figured it was time for one. So I got the beat and I put the lyrics to it and it just kind of came from there. It’s definitely a song people are going to want to play over and over again.”
Fans who want more information about upcoming music releases can follow Kese on social media on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. For bookings, email email@example.com.
BELLEVILLE, N.J. – When Marcus Jones was serving overseas in the U.S. Army, his official title was Officer of Fun.
Ok … so maybe that wasn’t his official title, but it would have been appropriate as the Sergeant in charge of volunteer groups. He was literally the one in charge of helping single soldiers find better opportunities to let loose and enjoy their free time while serving overseas. He became known in Germany, and then again in Afghanistan, as Sergeant J – the officer who knew how to throw a dope party and who could rap like nobody’s business. That eventually evolved into the stage name that he’s known by today, J Maddix.
He was so good, in fact, that he made somewhat of a name for himself in the music industry while serving in Germany. He recorded some songs in a studio and was set to take a tour across the U.S. after finishing his time with the Army.
“It started one week when I got some down time after getting my wisdom teeth removed,” J Maddix recalls. “I didn’t have to work for five days, didn’t have to shave, didn’t have to do nothing. So I started messing around with some beats, and I could always rhyme. I made something and I thought it was dope and I let my friends hear it, and they thought it was dope, too. One of them sent it to Pretty Ricky, a producer back in the states, and he liked it so much that he told me to come record it. So I flew to Florida for a weekend and recorded and then came back to Germany. After awhile the supporters in Germany started to peak, and I was ready to come back to the States and I thought things were perfect. I had shows lined up and stuff. But unexpectedly I was ordered to be deployed to Afghanistan, and I knew I had to put the mission first. I thought my mission was to come back and take the music where it needs to go, but I had to go to Afghanistan first. That mission is complete now, and even though I lost some of the buzz about my music, I’m proud of what I did and I’m ready to take my music career as far as I can back home.”
It didn’t take long for his return to music to be noticed in the U.S., and it was because of the timely release of a single he wrote while serving in Afghanistan called “Radio Raheem.” He recalls that while on patrol one day in Afghanistan, the line “Fight the Power” came into his head from the movie “Do The Right Thing.” The character who said the line throughout the film was a guy known as Radio Raheem. J Maddix was inspired by the memory to write a song. It was a single that got some positive feedback from his friends, but he didn’t do anything with it until coming back to the U.S. And then, unfortunately, the actor who played Radio Raheem died in October of this year. As an homage to the actor and the character, J Maddix decided to release the single.
“It has an old-school hip-hop feel to it,” J Maddix said. “When the actor died, a friend of mine encouraged me to release the single so that people could share in the memory of him. So I went into the studio and recorded it that night. My twin brother (Maurice Jones, former Chicago Bear cornerback) was able to come into the studio and lay down some rhymes with the song. Once we released it, fans just went crazy with it. We used the tag #radioraheem all over social media, and the buzz has been going like crazy ever since.”
J Maddix is ready to follow up that release with another project, and he’s already lining up live shows – such as the show on Dec. 7 in Queens as part of the Major Record Label Music Showcase. Fans who want to find out more about his live shows or music releases can follow him on social media on Facebook or Twitter. Fans can also sample his music by visiting his website jmaddix.com or going to his Soundcloud or YouTube channel.
LOS ANGELES, CA – War is awful. Perhaps no one knows this better than war refugee and current LA-based musician Twenty Two B.
He’s a man who has overcome an unbelievable amount of twists and turns throughout his life – a life journey that has developed him into the musician and man he is today. Before his eventual move to LA, Twenty Two B grew up on the Ivory Coast in West Africa. It was a place ravaged by war, and over the years he experienced the loss of family members and friends. The war had such an impact on his homeland that it became a daily fight for survival. Wanting to escape away from this horror and find a better life, he eventually found himself on a plane to Los Angeles.
“War is awful,” he said. “You have to find your way out. I got out 10 years ago, but there are still a lot of people stuck in it – people like those children in Syria right now. I wrote one of my songs, ‘No More War,’ as a way to inspire others to do what I did and try to change their lives. One of the lyrics in the song is, ‘Live each day as if it’s your last,’ and I hope that my music helps other people to realize that they have to enjoy every moment of their lives, because there may not be a tomorrow.”
Though it’s a place with more bad memories than good, his years in Africa did lay the foundation for his eventual career as a musician. He said he remembers many times as a child watching his mother – who was an African folk singer – perform for others throughout the area. He learned through her that music is the ultimate way to express yourself, and that through music you can help others solve a lot of problems.
“It’s the best way to ease your mind and to make people happy,” he said. “In this life there’s a lot of drama and tragedy, but through music you can spread a lot of positive things.”
He also realized early on in life that he had a unique sounding voice – something he describes as “raw, and not like anything you’ve ever heard.” He describes his music as a fusion of pop and rock, with influences from all over the world, but most especially from the American rockers he heard as a young boy who influenced his dreams.
His new album, “In The Making,” is one that he hopes will serve as inspiration for others in the same way. It’s set to be released by mid-December, and will feature 10 songs that he said will show off his versatility as a musician and explore a “mix of everything” when it comes to themes and issues in the world. The feature single, which shares a name with the album, is about a dreamer who has to go through the process of trying to reach his goals.
“We all dream about big things,” he said. “But you have to put in the work to get there. I’ve been working on this album for a year, and I hope my story inspires other people to act and to dream in the same ways I have. I would like people to reach for their dreams, and through my music I want to inspire people.”
To find out more about Twenty Two B, visit his website at twentytwob.com, or follow him on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Fans can also check out his music on Soundcloud and YouTube.
Houston TX – STREETDUDE FLENCH is a self-proclaimed spokesperson for the street – an embodiment of the hustle, the grind, the struggle. Having faced many trials in the streets himself, his music speaks to those who are desperate to be heard. STREETDUDE’s music comes from direct experience, as his life has been no walk in the park. After fathering seven children with five women and ending up in jail due to a life of drugs, the struggle isn’t something FLENCH just raps about. It’s a raw, true account of a hard life lived with determination.
Inspired by classic rappers such as Scarface, and through collaborations with people like S.U.C (Screwd Up Click) and under the musical guidance of SPC (South Park Coalition), he learned the art of touring and how important loyalty to fans is.
His latest project, “STREETDUDE,” will arrive to much anticipation by fans of the up and coming rapper. The song will strike a chord, in particular, with those who are familiar with the “street struggle.” Says the artist of his fans from the street, “I’m telling their story, and reclaiming back trapping.” His other most recent project, a single entitled “Top Chef,” chronicles the drug culture of the streets and pays homage to the hustle. “The song is about top chef crack, and how my music is crack,” explains STREETDUDE.
This focused, determined artist has a story to tell which makes his music real, raw and authentic.
Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Listen on Reverb Nation and SoundCloud.
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