Yaminah Brock’s Endless Journey

Yaminah Brock - BLAC Detroit Magazine - EAPro.net

Yaminah Brock is a veteran of stage and studio, and has sung every style of music from house and funk to country and Big Band and swing.

But now, she’s the boss, leading her own band, Yaminah and Jazzy Soul, and financing and marketing her solo debut, “Endless Journey,” a full-length collection of jazz-inflected soul music slated for a spring release.

While spending more than two years recording and assembling her band, Brock discovered the rewards and challenges that lie on the road to independence. Yet, she stays on course by staying true to herself—and the music.

“I have new respect for anybody who has [recorded an album] independently, because this is no joke,” Yaminah says. “It’s a whole other job! But it’s well worth it. I’ve learned a lot.”

Read More HERE

Robinson’s Revolution in BLAC Detroit Magazine

Rick Robinson

Highland Park, Michigan native Rick Robinson is on a mission to transform classical music. As a bassist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for 22 years, Robinson is rooted in the storied classical tradition.

But the animated original compositions and inventive arrangements of classical and jazz masterpieces that he creates for his own ensembles, the nine-piece CutTime Players and his string sextet, CutTime Simfonica, inject vim and vigor into the sometimes-staid classical form.

Now with the performance series Classical Revolution Detroit, the 2010 Kresge Arts Fellow aims to remove the physical barriers between classical musicians and their audiences by offering intimate presentations in restaurants, cafes, bars and other non-traditional venues around the city.

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Beat Thang Best DJ Innovation at NAMM 2012; featured on G4′s Attack of the Show

Kelly Beckett of G4's Attack of the Show with the Beat Thang

Kelly Beckett of G4′s Attack of the Show features the Beat Thang and a few other great products at NAMM 2012 in Anaheim, California. As she mentions, Beat Thang won DJzone DJ Magazine’s Crystal Disc Award for Best DJ Innovation of 2011-2012. Congrats, guys!!

BKE Wins Best DJ Innovation at NAMM 2012 DJzone Magazine

Hearing Redd: Detroit Soul Singer Neco Redd and The Full Disclosure

Neco Redd“The stage is my sanctuary,” says Ebony Neco Washington, also known as Neco Redd. “I turn into a completely different monster on stage. I’ve been blessed with the gift to work backstage as well, and I don’t have a problem with it. But if you’re gonna put me out front, expect Neco to act a damn fool!”

A native of Detroit’s west side, Redd seized the solo spotlight for the first time in 2010 with “No Discipline,” an eight-song EP of raw, bluesy soul. A year later, rather than watch a collection of songwriting demos languish in the dustbin, she offered an exciting and diverse 15-track mixtape as a free download through NecoRedd.bandcamp.com. October 2011′s “The Full Disclosure” shows off Redd’s powerful pipes, her versatility and her funky attitude.

Still, Redd promises that the real heat will arrive this spring with the release of her first full-length album, “Still Trippin.” She describes it as a “bass heavy, guitar heavy,” horn-driven album with live instrumentation provided by Tony Ozier’s West Coast band The Doo-Doo Funk All-Stars.

Read More at BLAC Detroit Magazine

BLAC Detroit Music Blog: Always Saxy


Efforts to promote Saxappeal’s 2009 debut album “Stay Saxy” were often rebuffed by smooth jazz radio programmers who judged it “too urban” for their stations. That was good news.

That first album by Saxappeal, also known as LaDarrel Johnson, blends hip hop and new soul sensitivities with a sultry contemporary sax sound that is meatier and more adventurous than typical smooth jazz fare. The prominence of the horn, however, ensures that Saxappeal’s music won’t be played on most R&B, urban contemporary or hip hop stations, where all songs must feature singing or rapping.

He could have bowed to the pressure and churned out a second album that conformed to the dictates of the almighty programmers. Instead, he stayed true to his art, titled his new disc “Unmarketable” and set about creating an album of music that he describes as “delicious jambalaya.”

Read More In BLAC Detroit Magazine


Why Music Is An Addiction… And Why I Will Never Quit

Addicted to the RhythmMy name is Nadir, and I’m an addict. I’ve been addicted to playing music for a very long time. And being addicted to music is like being addicted to crack.

Okay. I’ll confess. I’ve never smoked crack.

But the rush of being onstage… When I’ve got the mic in my hand, and the band is killing it, I am high. At that very moment I am completely myself. Not acting or posing for the crowd, but telling my story, singing from the depths of my soul. There’s nothing like it except…

…The high of creating in the studio. When the song is strong, and the rhythm track is hot, I catch a buzz. All of a sudden I start dancing uncontrollably in the middle of the control room. I feel like I’m stoned.

I’ve had some success with the work I’ve produced for myself and other artists – awards, radio play, international tours, licensing for movies and advertising, scoring indie films and more. Each accomplishment brings new validation.

But if you’re really passionate about your music as I am, you don’t do it for the money or the acclaim. You do it because you’re addicted to the rhythm.

In his bestselling book, This is Your Brain On Music, music producer/neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explains that the neurotransmitter dopamine is released into the pleasure centers of the brain when we listen to music we enjoy. Dopamine is most famous for its role in the brain’s pleasure and reward system. It is involved in mood regulation and coordination of movement.

According to Levitin, “When drug addicts get their drug of choice, or when compulsive gamblers win a bet – even when chocoholics get cocoa – this is the neurotransmitter that is released.”

On top of that hit of “dope”, when I’m playing music that I like, on an instrument I enjoy, with a tone that is pleasing, I begin to care, and I pay more attention. Levitin’s studies show that dopamine is released again, enhancing emotions, alertness and mood. My brain creates a neurochemical tag for every aspect of the experience to make sure I remember what this buzz feels like.

So if I’m really excited about this 16 bar verse I’m spitting, and the hook is hot, and the beat is knocking, my brain could be infused with enough dopamine to pack a Phillie blunt.  If I’m truly passionate about my music, if I’m feeding on the energy of a crowded club or a packed arena, and I’m on, the high can be like taking a hit of freebase cocaine.

Okay, the science isn’t perfect, but I do know that the more I get that feeling of playing great music, the more I want to feel it. I’ve gotta have it… every day, all day, all night, if possible.  I keep chasing that high, hoping for the same feeling or a better, more intense high.

And that’s why I will never quit. It’s not because the pay is great, that’s for sure. Even major label artists struggle to make ends meet. The rest of us make due with day jobs or odd jobs or, if we’re lucky, jobs playing music for a living.

Those artists who are most successful are driven like crack heads. The difference is they know how to balance the business with the buzz. They create a lifestyle that allows them to get high by playing as much music as possible, while keeping the bills paid, and (puff, puff) passing the feeling on to others who get a dopamine infusion when they hear music they enjoy.

So yes, I’m a professional musician and producer. I’m in control. But the first step to control is admitting that I’m an addict, and music is a drug that I will never quit.

Are you an addict? Do you have your high under control? Hit me up and tell me your story…

Originally Published at GetSigned.com
January 11, 2010