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Local artists inspire Philadelphia’s youth at Aspiring Young Artists

Aspiring Young Artist | photo by Richard Sanders | courtesy of Aspiring Young Artists

The city of Philadelphia has a very incredibly vibrant music scene and a rich music history that spans genres. But imagine if those two intangible things could become more of a direct resource for the adolescents of the city who are in school and have a passion for creating music. That’s where Aspiring Young Artists steps in.

While most schools can only advocate for more funding so they don’t have to make really hard choices, like cutting out art programs because of lack of funds, AYA cuts out the middle man and connects North Philadelphia students from schools like Youth Build Philadelphia, Kensington CAPA and Olney Charter High School with local artists who teach them how to compose their own music and expose them to the beautiful things that are happening in their hometown’s music scene.

Recently I was able to sit with AYA’s founder Ricky Strickler about how the music programs and the local artists that lead them have made an impact on its students. Continue reading →

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Unplugged with Balmour

Balmour | Photo courtesy of artist

The 24 year old Yeadon crooner Balmour has been singing all his life, from first singing publicly in the church to honing his musical abilities during his time at Shippensburg University.

Since then, the young R&B singer has been quietly making a name for himself in the local scene, performing covers of different genres of music such as songs by Daughters, The Beatles and John Legend. However with his band Emötae‘s recent single “Missing Piece,” and the release of his debut EP Unplugged — which features vocal assistance and production from his brother Dan Goode — Balmour’s name seems to be growing within the past couple of years.

I recently sat down with him to discuss his band, his new EP, and how he feels about the local scene in Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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Listen to John Oates chat with Kristen Kurtis on the XPN Morning Show

                  John Oates | photo by Philip Murphy | courtesy of Wolfson Entertainment, Inc.

 

John Oates called into the XPN Morning show to chat with Kristen Kurtis about his memoir Change of Seasons, his new solo album Arkansas, the new Hall & Oates song “Philly Forget Me Not” with Train, and the 2018 HoagieNation Festival. Listen to the interview below.

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Philly Supports Beano: The local R&B underdog comes into his own

Beano French | photo courtesy of artist

Philly supports Philly, but not just because the person or thing is coming out of Philly, but because what is being presented is genuinely dope. Philly will support what they like, and when they find out that what they like is homegrown, the City of Brotherly Love will show an extreme amount of love to their brother/sister…and right now no one should know this better than R&B singer Beano French.

Whether killing stages or collaborating with other local artists, the West Philly crooner has always had the support of his friends and neighbors, so once Beano finally dropped his debut project Just Beano EPit was no surprise how excited fans were to hear and see how Beano could stand on his two feet as an artist. I was able to sit down with Beano and talk about his early beginnings, his debut EP and what he has in store for this year — including a headlining appearance at Coda a little later on this month. Continue reading →

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Philly son Eric Jamal puts in work from the west coast

Eric Jamal | photo courtesy of artist

2018 is looking very bright for the City of Brotherly Love not just because Philadelphia’s green and white Eagles are now Super Bowl champions, but there seems to be an abundance of good music coming out the Philadelphia region. Music artist such as Shawn Smith, Dayne Jordan, Beano, Tierra Whack, Sunnie, Ivy Sole, James Weldon, No Headliner, Doug C Jr and plenty more continue to provide the tri-state area with incredible dope music. Hip hop artist Eric Jamal is working extremely hard all the way from California to also put on for his city with his new video “Work Harder.” Continue reading →

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Experiencing the lows and highs of Philly’s Noél Scales in her Beautiful Bad project

Noel Scales | photo by Phil Meyer | courtesy of the artist
Noel Scales | photo by Phil Meyer | courtesy of the artist

Being an artist sometimes means being open and vulnerable about yourself, which may explain why a plethora of them, like Erykah Badu, are sensitive about their shit. But having the courage to open up to the public allows the world to see their perspectives and truths, whether you share them or not — and Philadelphia’s own Noél Scales is no different.

Since the age of 10, the young singer has been exposed to music from the late icon Prince, well respected art programs in the city such as Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement and Girard Academic Music Program, all of it preparing her to open the doors to the public so they can enter her world. I recently had the chance to sit down with Noel to talk about her humble beginnings, her debut EP Beautiful Bad and what she has in store for 2018. Continue reading →

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Philly dedicates a stretch of Broad Street to hometown R&B icon, Boyz II Men

Boys II Men Blvd Ceremony |Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

On Saturday afternoon, June 24th, 2017, the city of Philadelphia officially renamed the stretch of Broad Street between Christian and Carpenter as Boyz II Men BLVD. The R&B crooners have had a long and storied career that began in the city almost 3 decades ago. The fitting tribute took place on the steps of the Philadelphia High School of Creative and Performing Arts. Continue reading →

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Celebrating stories with Pecola Breedlove and The Freedom Party

Breedlove | photo courtesy of On Point Ink Photography

Why do they call open mics, open mics? Because open mics are invitations for artists to be open when they step up on the mic.

Imagine coming into a space that doesn’t require you to be perfect for entrance. A place where you can come to deal with shit, whether you’re an artist or a part of the audience. And when you come into the venue you instantly hear music like The Gap Band or The Backyard Band being played before the event starts. This event is none other than Pecola Breedlove and The Freedom Party. Located at A Poets Art Gallery at 4032 N Girard Avenue, Pecola Breedlove is a weekly open mic that has gained the attention of poets and fans of poetry whether they’re from the city or out of town.

KP Ultra, the Pine Bluff, Arkansas poet and founder of Pecola Breedlove and The Freedom Party, created a welcoming space for poets of the blue collar city of Philadelphia to share their stories on stage that has lasted for the past two years. I was able to sit down with him and to pick his brain on the Philadelphia poetry scene and discover the origins of the well-loved open mic event that has gained its city’s ears with their words. Continue reading →

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Vibing Out With Ivy Sole: A conversation with one of Philly’s most exciting new MCs

Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist

One of the best ways for an artist to create a vibe with their music is by allowing their listeners to enter their world. The feeling becomes genuine when the listener obtains the artist’s perspectives, stories, and even their moods. To do that the artist mustn’t be hesitant to be personable with their music. That’s exactly why Ivy Sole is an artist that the city of Philadelphia should look out for.

Whether she’s getting busy on the mic or creating soulful melodies, the Charlotte, North Carolina native hip hop artist always finds ways to bring her listeners into her universe. I was recently able to sit down with the local MC to discuss her introduction to hip hop, her debut project Eden, her recent followup EP East, and her upcoming performance at Underground Arts’ International Women’s Day benefit, which is happening tomorrow evening.  Continue reading →

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From P.U.R.E. to James Weldon and The Juice Jam, the evolution of a Philly MC

James Weldon | photo by Deej Spicer | courtesy of the artist
James Weldon | photo by Deej Spicer | courtesy of the artist

It’s always great to discover good music from local artists. You get to see a seed of talent grow and watch how the artists evolve with their music, seeing how long their progression takes, and seeing how they turn out throughout the four seasons.

Philadelphia’s P.UR.E., Presence Unifies Rap Everywhere, has always been a hip hop artist/producer with raw talent, but after the release of his 4th project Silence Is The Enemy it seems that P.U.R.E. has evolved into James Weldon, a more confident MC who possesses the ability to be open and pour more emotion on his lyrics making the connection between the listener and his music stronger.

I recently was able to sit down with local MC and discuss the evolution of his music, his recent EP Silence Is The Enemy, and his upcoming jam session / open mic The Juice Jam, which happens tonight. Continue reading →