Sunday, June 17, 2012

Artist Interview: KEI-SHON-SON

Hello, everyone, MissTaintedLove here again - I bring you another great artist interview. 

Today I am interviewing the talented hip-hop artist KEI-SHON-SON. KEI-SHON-SON is from Long Beach, California, and you can check out his official page here

Now, let's get started with the interview. 


MTL: The name KEI-SHON-SON - how did that come about?
I don’t really know the origins of it… especially since I have been using the name for over 15 years … but apart of it has to do with me being a child of Hip-Hop.

MTL: How were you first introduced to music in your life?
I was first introduced at the age of 9 when I was given the “Michael Jackson – Thriller” album for Christmas and I am talking about the actual record.

MTL: At what point in your life was the defining moment that made you realize what you wanted to do, as a musician?
It was around the age of 11 when I was at a peewee league football practice and some adult rappers where filming a video with a film crew and they allowed me and some friends to be in the video, and soon after I got the number to there manager and she said send her some music… and ever since then I had been recording music that was worthy of doing business.

MTL: How long have you been making music now? When did you begin rapping? 
I have been rapping for about 20 years and I would say for about 5 years as a professional… where the business side comes to the forefront.

MTL: How do you describe the style/genre of your own music? 
I consider my style as being authentic Hip-Hop and that is with me paying homage to legends that brought it this far … with an original sound and style that all of Hip-Hop can be proud of.

MTL: If you could describe you and your music in five words, what would they be?
This song sounds like love

MTL: What do you feel sets you apart from the crowd?
What set me apart from the crowd is that I am the crowd… meaning that I am an authentic fan of the music and the Hip-Hop culture and the people that are fans of my music are simply like-minded individuals who share similar taste.

MTL: What type of music/artists have influenced you and your music? 
I listen to a lot of classic R&B and Rock from the 70’s to influence my style as I feel that it helps me to stay original and unique… instead of producing a style that everybody is used to.

MTL: What is the inspiration for your music?
I get inspired by the beat itself.. as I do not know where I would be with out the beat. So, whatever is the mood of the beat will be the mood of the song.

MTL: What was your first project? How have you grown since then?
My first project was a cassette tape that I made in 1996 with beats that I made myself … and the production side of it was pretty solid back then … but my vocals and overall delivery kind of sucked. Which is also why I took a while to get a little bit better … before you are finally hearing me.

MTL: What do you feel is the best piece of music you've created? Why do you choose this one?
My up-coming album titled “Tha SleepWalkers: Sub-Conscience” as it is a better version of myself, by me correcting past errors within past songs.

MTL: What can you tell us about "I Can't Call It - Vol 4"? How does it differ from any of your previous projects? 
Well, the whole “I C C I” series is more about feelings in general as I get them off my chest and on to the beat… which is why they are always as a free download and tend to have the same musical sound… as with other projects in my catalog they tend to be more focused on a specific direction and have original production.

MTL: What type of mindset do you get into before you enter the studio to record? Do you do anything special to prepare yourself?
I try to clear my mind. Light incenses and drink lots of water and spend time with the beat for a while.

MTL: What are your thoughts of the current state of the music industry? How do you feel you fit into it?
The Music industry is in a very good place right now… with the power of the internet and getting music to the masses… but as far as me fitting into it.. I feel that my impact will be very positive with new energy and also a revival of dormant Hip-Hop fans who have felt like they are out of place with the youth… just like I do at times.

MTL: Where do you see yourself as an artist five years from now?
In 5 years I see myself as touring and performing for people on a regular basis…and maybe some executive work as I love to bring the best out of other artist and their projects.

MTL: What plans do you have in the near future for music release/recording? What sets this upcoming project apart from your previous ones?
My up-coming album titled “Tha SleepWalkers: Sub-Conscience” which is also produced by myself, actually reflects the growth and evolution of myself as an artist and producer and the journey to reach the maturity level of a true professional.

MTL: Any upcoming tour plans?  
Yes I plan to tour extensively through the US and Europe just to really get out and meet people and embrace the fans and besides it being a great source of income … I love performing only second to creating the music itself as they are the core to artistic musical expression.

MTL: Any words of advice for young/aspiring musicians?
Only I advice I can give besides making the best sounding music that you possible… is to get as many people that you can to hear and like your music and everything else will work itself out.

Thanks to KEI-SHON-SON for the interview. You can check out more of KEI-SHON-SON at the links below:

Official Site

I Sang

I sing most every day of my life, I have for many years now. It's not that big of a deal - it's who I am, it's what I do. It's what I've always done. 

My family has always been highly supportive of my love of singing. Especially my extended family, such as my grandmothers. 

My Nan (maternal grandmother) was a singer herself growing up. She frequently told me about how she sang in the church choir. She loved music.We even went and saw Mamma Mia! together when it came out. 
Once, she invited me to sing at her church, and play the violin. I'll never forget that, it was an amazing performance. I was only fifteen at the time. 
I can hear her in my head say, "You did a wonderful job, sweetie, that sounded beautiful."

I'd never knew the next time I'd be singing in that church, she wouldn't be there. I was still singing for her. 
My Nan was 84 when she passed. She was very ill. She had been very ill for a very long time. I don't know why she had more then a fair share of health problems throughout her life. It wasn't right. 

As of recent, before she died, I didn't see my nan near as much as I should've. I should've gone more often. I should've called. I should've written. 
I 'didn't have time'. I should've made time. 

I'll never forget the day I heard she died. In that moment, it was so sudden. She had been going through a pattern of getting worse, then better, then worse, then better, etc. - I think some of us expected her to pull through again. But she didn't this time. She was gone. 

She was the first person who I ever really knew that I lost in my life. 

The morning after she passed, my mother called for me and told me when I got out of bed, she had something very important to ask me. I already knew what it was. She asked me if I'd sing at Nan's funeral. I burst into tears, shaking my head. "I can't do it, I can't do it." I knew I'd burst into tears at the funeral. But mostly, I felt guilt. After not seeing her like I should have, I felt such guilt. 
She called my voice teacher, Pati, to sing and play guitar at the funeral. Pati accepted the offer. 

Everyday, nearing the day of the funeral, I began to wonder if I could sing. Maybe, just maybe, it's the last thing I can truley do for Nan on this Earth. 
It weighed on my mind. 

The day of the funeral, Pati stepped up to sing "I'll Fly Away". I joined her, and we sang in harmony. 

"Some glad morning, when this life is over
I'll fly away"

Nan did die in the morning, so I guess it's ironic. 

But ... I sang. For her, I sang. In that same church that I had sung years before. 
I still believe she was watching me there. 

Nan, I hope your lungs are better in Heaven - because I know you'll want to be in that choir of angels. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Artist Interview With Danger of Countless Thousands

Hello, everyone. MissTaintedLove back with another artist interview. 

Today I bring to you my interview with the highly enthusiastic and intelligent Danger from the very talented band Countless Thousands, an indie/punk group from Garden Grove, California. 

Sit tight and hang on, you won't wanna miss this.

Photo is from the guy's Facebook page.

MTL: Who are the band members, and what do they each play?
Hi! I’m Danger. I play guitar and sing. Davey Munch plays bass, and Jon David plays drums. 

MTL: How did the band come together? 
Danger: Craigslist! I’ve been playing as Countless Thousands for almost ten years. Seven bassists later I met Davey. Fourteen drummer later I met Jon. All through the miracle of Craigslist. It’s also how I bought all the fancy guitar gear I shouldn’t be able to afford. Bless you, Craig!

MTL: Have you guys ever worked with any other notable musicians, or on any other projects/collaborations?
Danger: Davey was in a jazz fusion group in Philadelphia called the Half of It, and Jonny played with Noise Pollution over in China. They played to thousands of people over there, you can ask him all about it at our show. He loves talking about that.

MTL: The name "Countless Thousands" - how did that come about?
Danger: I’ve always been interested in the things that are given power because we ignore them. We had been Everyman for a while, but there was a band on the east coast called Everyman and we had to scramble for a new name. Thinking about crowds and identity and power got me thinking about the Statue of Liberty, and suddenly, “Oh, I know! What about ‘the Huddled Masses!’” But then I realized that sounded kinda wimpy and the next thing I knew the phrase ‘Countless Thousands’ paraded through my brain.

MTL: If you could describe the band and your music in five words, what would they be? 
Danger: “Enthusiastic Rock Music, baby cakes.”

MTL: What do you feel sets you guys apart from the crowd?
Danger: Our enthusiasm, which science is still trying to measure. Look, in terms of technicality we’re well past professional grade - our bassist is among the best bassists in pop music. Our drummer obsesses over bpms and subdivisions and specifics of music theory that I don’t pretend to understand. I’m… pretty good at guitar. As good as we all are at the music that we play, and as good as our music actually is, our enthusiasm will always be our most defining characteristic.  

MTL: What is the inspiration for your music?
Danger: Life, man. Easiest and hokiest answer, but the best.

MTL: What type of music/artists have influenced you and your music? 
Danger: The Weakerthans, genius indie rock born of the gentling of punk rock. No one writes better lyrics than this band. Goldfinger started everything for me, they were the first band that made me feel like I had found something made specifically for me. 'Hang Ups' is still a goddamn classic, and I met Charlie, their guitarist, at the Riverboat Gamblers show and he is a sweetheart. So hopefully if i ever am in the position of having a sweaty, nervous and clearly nerding out young fella talk in grandiose terms of my awesomeness, I’ll follow the Charlie model and be super cool. 

MTL: How were you first introduced to music in your life? 
Danger: Dancing to the Village People at weddings when I was five or six. 

MTL: At what point in your life was the defining moment that made you realize what you wanted to do, as a musician?
Danger: I got fired from a job that I really didn’t like all that much after going to college to get a degree to get that job. I had been playing music seriously throughout school, but when that door closed on me I took a gut check and realized that I wasn’t really cut out for office politics. I’ve always had trouble not telling people how I feel about something, and as a rockstar that’s praised as a highly valuable asset. So off to menial labor, and hello part-time rockstardom! 

MTL: What do you feel is the best piece of music you've created? Why do you choose this one?
Danger: We have a song called ‘Thanks for the Cockfosters’ that I wrote about Davey, our bassist. It’s a love song and I love it, not least because of this lyric: “You’re stuck on me like I’m an island oasis/ but I’ve got sour news, my heart is in homeostasis.” I know I can be my own biggest fan sometimes – important for maintaining one’s enthusiasm – but even I think that lyric is the closest I’ve ever come to perfection. Also, it might be the first use of the word ‘homeostasis’ in music.

MTL: What plans do you have in the near future for music release/recording? What sets this upcoming project apart from your previous ones?
Danger: We recently released our debut 16-track album “We’re Just Really Excited To Be Here” and we are very proud of it. It hasn’t gotten a single bad review from any of the bloggers and mags that have been kind enough to give us a shot. 

MTL: Any upcoming tour plans?
Danger: We’re putting something together for Utah and Wyoming. Stay tuned, kids!

MTL: Any words of advice for young/aspiring musicians? 
Danger: Get a helmet. It’s going to suck for a long time – for the first three years of playing your instrument, you’re going to suck. Then when you finally get good enough, you’re going to meet other musicians that are going to suck and people who will want to take advantage of you or folks who’ll just disappear on you when you need them. You absolutely must develop an internal strength against failure, because you will fail again and again and you have to be prepared for it. If things were easy, then you’d only be in it for as long as it is easy. Sounds gloomy as hell, but all great men and women throughout history were told to go home at some point. Some of us just hear it more often than others.

MTL: Being involved with the music business myself, I have to say that piece of advice happens to be extremely true. Things suck for a long time. Really. Suck. For. A. Long. Time. But anyway… 

MTL: What are your thoughts of the current state of the music industry? How do you feel you and the band fit into it?
Danger: There’s a nice cozy spot between the Foo Fighters and Against Me! that we’d love to occupy in the KROQ playlists. But really, the music scene is a swamp right now. The internet means anybody can do anything they want with anybody’s music –including their own – and finding a way to separate yourself from the pack is the biggest challenge there is. Our live show is what will preserve us from history’s ebb, though. See us live and you will not forget us. So many people are getting so overburdened with tired, pretentious music or exhausted themes and tropes that when a band as genuine as us comes along we’re a huge breath of fresh air. Here’s an experiment – listen to any pop radio station for ten minutes and take a shot of any grain alcohol every time you hear the phrases “throw it all away” or “be your baby” or “can’t go on” or “party don’t stop” . Then when you’re hung over the next day and trying not to puke, ruminate on the word “homeostasis”. 

MTL: Excellent advice. Note: I do not advise the grain alcohol experiment while driving and listening to the radio, could end bad! 

MTL: Where do you see the band five years from now?
Danger: God willing, we’ll be doing what we’re already doing,  just to more people and full-time. Also I will be the President of the Moon, but that’s on my ten-year plan.

Alright guys, if you want to check out more of Countless Thousands (which I recommend), then visit the following links! And thanks again to Danger, best of luck to the band!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It has begun once more

Commencing .... recording new music. 

Seriously? Yes. 

It's been quite a while since I last dropped some tunes, pardon my street. Recently, I have begun the recording of new material. Since I have taken three courses through Berklee so far that pertain to the subject of arranging and producing music - this time, I'm producing. 

Don't lecture me, I know that criteria alone doesn't qualify me to be a producer. I know. But it's a learning process. How can I ever improve if I don't actually do it? 

So here goes nothing. I've got my click tracks, got my tempos, keys, chords, lyrics, etc. set up. 

Now... to actually record. 

Wish me luck. 

Or at least wish me getting out of the ordeal alive... 

Now I must go, time to go recapture my love for the studio and music that I lost along this past crazey year of heartbreak and hell. Well, I didn't exactly lose it, it just became buried deep. 

And yes, this post makes no sense. Me... drunk? Never. No sleep? For certain! 

I need caffeine. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Artist Interview With Sierra Hurtt

Hello, everyone - MissTaintedLove here. 

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to interview Miss Sierra Hurtt, the very talented daughter of R&B songwriter Phil Hurtt. 

Let's get this interview started, and I thank Sierra again for the chance to interview such a talented artist!


MTL: How were you first introduced to music in your life?
My dad’s in the business. I’ve never not known music. It runs in the family. I taught myself piano at 3 years old, just to keep up. I probably sang before I spoke.

MTL: At what point in your life was the defining moment that made you realize that you wanted to make music?

The first time I wrote a song, I realized that I was capable of more than I’d given myself credit for. Prior to that, even though I’d always been involved with music somehow, I’d never taken it seriously.

MTL: I see that you have a backing band. How did the band all come together? What are the names of the other members?

I have several musicians that I work with, depending on the country. In the US, I work with Daniel Bacon (bass), Russell Gellman (drums), Sam McIlvain (guitar) and John Stenger (keyboards). Daniel travels with me, so when we’re in Portugal, we work with Rui Costa (guitar) and Pedro Santos (keys, percussion, horns) in something I call the Portudelphia Project. When Daniel and I are in the UK, we work with Lee Adach (drums) and DJ Harman (guitar). In 10 days, the Portuguese members will meet the US members for the first time. We’ll have one rehearsal together, and then do two shows together. It’s how we roll.

MTL: What are some other notable musicians or writers that you've worked with?

Well, I started out working with my father, Phil Hurtt. He used to bring me in on various projects, even as a kid, to do voiceover or backing vocals. A few years ago, we did a project with a whole host of music legends that included George Clinton, Kathy Sledge, the Funk Brothers, members of MFSB, Barbara Mason, Bunny Sigler and others. It was a big Motown-meets- Philly thing, and even though R&B and Soul aren’t my genres, I was proud to be a part of it. Aside from that, I’ve been able to work with some pretty amazing musicians, most of whom aren’t household names. People like Chuck Treece, Devin Greenwood, Frankie Chavez; people I admire. Oh, I did accidentally share the stage with Erykah Badu, once.

MTL: What music/artists have influenced you the most?

My list of influences is legion and usually leaves people scratching their heads and listening intently to my songs to try to find them. I’ll name a few: Sting/Police, Tool, Gotye, Kelis, Sia, Cocteau Twins, Ella Fitzgerald, Chopin, Pat Metheny, XTC, Metric, Skunk Anansie, Silence 4, Dead Can Dance, Karen Carpenter. I don’t just love music, I live and breathe it. Everything I hear influences me, either positively or negatively. Music shapes me.

MTL: How would you describe your style of music?

I used to call it American Mud, but I don’t anymore. It’s more global than that. I’ve heard the term “genre-defying” applied to my stuff, and I really like that. I hate being stuck in a box. I write rock, I write celtic folk, I write American Fado. My voice can be soulful, so I get the Soul label a lot. Basically, I take what I love, throw it in a kiln, and then try to mold something new out of it. It may make it difficult to sell to shops and to radio, but it’s who I am and what I do. People tell me that, if I want to get anywhere in the music business, I need to conform. I disagree. I will stay true to my music. Whatever happens happens.

MTL: What do you feel sets you apart from the crowd?

I have no idea how to answer that. Maybe the fact that I have no idea what I am doing. I have no guide, no plan. I react, as a writer. Something moves me, and I respond. I think that is why my songs are all over the place, stylistically. Even the covers I choose are reactions. Maybe that makes me a little different, but no more than Sia. No more than Gotye.

MTL: What can you tell us about your very first studio release? How have you changed since then?

My first release was a single called Letting Go, and it too was a response. The engineer that I’d worked with on some recordings with my old, defunct band had sent the song to a DJ friend of his in Manchester, UK. The DJ started playing it on the air, so I released it as a single. That led to the EP, 8 or 80. All of the songs on there were from my old band, except for the last track. Alchemy was so unlike anything I’d written before, that it intrigued me. I wanted to know what else was inside me. I realized I’d grown, or maybe just changed, and hadn’t realized it until that song came out of my mouth. I guess I became more aware of myself as a songwriter, and as a creative person, without the filter of a band around me.

MTL: If you could describe yourself and your music in five words, what would they be?

“Well, I wasn’t expecting that.”

MTL: What are your goals within the coming five years as an artist?

I want to work with even more musicians, more songwriters. I’ve met some really amazing people over the last 3 years. I hope to collaborate with them, as well as continue to write on my own. Ultimately, though I do love to perform, I want to write for other people. I look forward to the day that I turn on the TV or the radio and hear one of my songs sung with someone else’s voice. Or, hey, it could be my own, Why not?

MTL: What do you feel is the best piece of music you've created? Why do you choose this one?

The very last song on Stranger is a track called Ties That Bind. That song was a complete surprise to me. It was written on the very last day of mixing. The album was complete and I walked into the studio, looked at my engineer, and said “we have a new song to record today.” The look on his face was priceless! The song is a capella, though, so I’d recorded most of it at home. We just needed to clean it up and bit and he mixed in about 20 minutes. But the song…the song gets in your head and sticks there. It was the same when I wrote it. It was just suddenly in my head and I needed to get it out. I love when stuff like that happens. But to answer your question, Ties… may be my favourite today, but the real favourite is always the song I write next.

MTL: What can you tell us about your current album "Stranger"? What was it like going into the studio for that one?

Stranger is my first full-length album. I planned it out very carefully, and when that plan fell completely apart – scheduling, song choice, musicians, location – it was the best thing that could have happened to me. It went from being this blueprint of what I thought it should be, to being something more organic. It was recorded in three countries, in 6 different studios, with 15 people and I think it fits the theme perfectly. The title track, and some of the other songs, began life when I was on the road in Europe last year. I am surrounded by incredibly talented people, and they helped me bring my songs into the world. I’m forever grateful.

MTL: How do the music and lyrics of "Stranger" differ from your previous work?

“Stranger” was written while I was on the road in Europe. I felt the alienation that I think every traveling artist feels when they’re in a strange place, no matter how welcoming the people are. At the end of the night, after the gig and the after-parties, you’re alone. Well, I am. I can’t speak for all musicians, lol. But the song also speaks to the stranger that one can be to one’s self; looking in the mirror and not recognizing who you are anymore. My writing is more retrospective now. I’ve always been introspective, but this is a little different. And I’m giving advice, which is not something I thought I would ever do.

MTL: What plans do you have in the near future for music release/recording? What can you tell us about the new release? How does it differ from your old material?

The next project I devote myself to will probably be a release from the Portudelphia Project, the thing that I do with Daniel, Rui and Pedro. We will rope Russell in joining us, I think. We need to record together; it’s too special of a project not to do something. Other than that, I have a ton of collaborations underway, some with DJ-Producers, but also some songwriting for a friend that is working on his solo debut.

MTL: What upcoming tour plans do you have?

I have been invited to perform at Philadelphia’s Portuguese Heritage Festival. They asked me to invite some friends along from Portugal, so I invited Hejira, Frankie Chavez and the Black Mamba to come over to Philly. I’m really excited to present them to the local scene. I think they’re going to blow everyone away. Other than that, we are planning the Fall portion of the Stranger tour, which will take us back to Europe. I hope to do more in the U.S. as well, but sometimes you have to leave home to make your mark.

MTL: Any words of advice for young/aspiring musicians who are just getting started?

Fear and doubt are powerful weapons against your creativity. Don’t give them any more respect than they deserve. Be honest with yourself about your abilities. Don’t surround yourself with people who always say ‘yes’, and don’t surround yourself with people who always say ‘no’. ‘Maybe’ is a beautiful word. Possibilities are truly endless, but realism is key. Find your gift, and fly with it.

MTL: I noticed your Twitter mini-profile says "sing, write, perform, travel, rinse, repeat". What is an average day like for you as a music artist? How crazy do things get?

Many days, I am huddled in my home office/studio either looking for avenues to pursue (collaborations, exposure, marketing, etc) or I am writing…listening. I listen a lot. That may sound boring, but I have long periods of frenzied activity when I’m on the road or recording. I enjoy the time to myself that I do get, and I guard it fiercely.

MTL: As another artist I must ask, what are your opinions on the state of the music industry, and how do you feel you fit in with it?

I get asked this question a lot, and I try to be diplomatic when I say that I think it is in a bit of a mess. Sometimes, it seems there are two separate industries: one that mass-produces, and one that mass-creates. I prefer to think of myself as part of those mass-creators. There is so much unbelievable Indie talent in the world that it blows my mind. What we see on TV and hear on the radio is such a tiny fraction of what’s out there. I don’t understand how people can live on such a restricted diet. I don’t, like some, dismiss all major acts as talentless and corporate. For some people, once you become successful, you’re a sell-out. No one can deny the talent of people like Adele. To deny it shows nothing but bitterness. Whether she sings your style of music or not, recognize the talent. But there are hundreds of Adeles in the world, singing and recording, who may only ever be heard by the people in their local pub. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s nothing right about it either. Not everyone can, or should, “make it.” But the playing field isn’t level and it never has been. The mass-producers are short-sighted, and as a result the mass-creators get short-changed. Indie music can’t get on the radio, in the shops or even on the stage. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it is how things have always been. I always encourage people to support their local artists. Music is hard enough work without local support. Believe me, I know. I gave up on it once, myself. The Internet saved music, in my opinion. I know it saved mine.

MTL: Anything else you'd like to share?

Just want to give a shout out to my fans, the Purple Nation. Without them, I’d be in my room all the time. =)

If you want to check out more of Sierra's music - which I HIGHLY recommend - you can check her out at her sites here below...