Category Archives: Features

Amare Symone Is Here To Stay

The 21-year-old singer’s worldview and lineage manifest on her latest album.

by • Jake Krez photos • Timmy Risden

wardrobe • Big Hair Big City

(February 27, 2019) Amare Symone introduces herself to the world by alternating between hellos and goodbyes on her latest album, Hello Heathrow. It’s fitting. She’s been doing both through her music for most of her life. Bouncing from one coast to the next before settling in Chicago, Symoné’s family naturally instilled a sense of wanderlust in young Amare that has manifested itself into a centerpiece of the music she’s creating two decades later.

At different points in life, it was fair to wonder where you might run into Amare: hanging off Division near Young Chicago Authors, on the subway back to Brooklyn, crossing the Thames. With an array of experiences in her rearview, she’s setting up shop back here in Chicago, settling for a moment, looking determinedly forward.

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words • Jake Krez
photos • Keeley Parenteau

(June 19, 2019) Chicago’s a city long known for both its unique musical diversity as well as its ability to innovate from them. It’s never too hard to spot an artist that’s spent time here. For classically-trained jazz musician Lili K arriving on the cusp of the local Chicago creative renaissance that would span nearly a decade, the city has been a huge part of her growth over the years. But to truly breakthrough both with herself and the world at large, it took getting away . Her long-awaited return came last month in the form of her first album since 2015, the eclectically free-spirited and aptly-named, Songs with Friends.

With nearly a decade in the game, the Milwaukee native has scouted the top and bottom end of what the music industry has to offer. Having built a name and an extensive catalogue over the last five years, she’s checked most of the boxes possible for an independent act. Now, four years removed from her last release, Ruby, the multifaceted vocalist is primed for what many might consider a comeback. Being forgotten is easy. It happens everyday. Persevering, meanwhile, is often harder to do. With Songs With Friends in the world, she isn’t worried about any of that. Lili’s just now starting to have fun with it.


Artist Hebru Brantley Paints His Way To The Top

Two years ago, burgeoning local artist Hebru Brantley was just that: local. Today, the towering pillar of art with the toothy grin has established himself amongst the pre-eminent in the country. His art is a commentary on childhood and the forces at work around that experience and you would be hard-pressed to walk through a neighborhood in his hometown and not see one of his characters.

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Toronto’s Grandson Asserts Himself with Genre-Blending Sound

By now it’s not surprising at all to hear of a new, exciting act coming out of Canada. OVO and a steady contingent of artists from indie to full-fledged pop have positioned our northern neighbors as new-age proprietors of a range of sounds that have come to pace a sort of unique cross-pollination of genres that often find new understanding within its borders. While the R&B and Hip-Hop spaces have been packed full of card-carrying Canadians for some time, it was the brash, unapologetically rock-influenced sounds of 23-year-old Grandson that caught my ear. Having only begun to step out as of late with a string of talented singles that speak to his careful interplay of established motifs, Grandson is proving that rock isn’t quite dead yet.

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How Social Experiment Producer & Trumpeter Nico Segal Formed Jazz Fusion Group The JuJu Exchange

For 23-year-old Grammy Award-winning producer/trumpeter Nico Segal, progression has often come from home. Whether physically or musically, the Chance The Rapper collaborator has made a name for himself by working alongside longtime colleagues and experimenting with music first introduced to him before high school in his native Chicago. His latest endeavor, a new-age jazz fusion group named The JuJu Exchange, acts as a perfect continuance of a career made by listening to his heart and playing music with his friends. This time around, he’s looking to make a new kind of statement musically by returning to his roots. Continue reading How Social Experiment Producer & Trumpeter Nico Segal Formed Jazz Fusion Group The JuJu Exchange

Chance the Rapper Celebrates Birthday by Holding Special Charity Event With Friends: Recap

Originally Appeared on Billboard

Reflecting on a historical year-long run that saw him ascend to the national throne, win three Grammys and assert himself as one of the world’s biggest stars, Chance the Rapper comfortably raised a glass to the crowd at Studio Paris in Chicago’s River North neighborhood on Sunday night (Apr. 16). As the clock rounded midnight and bottles with sparklers flew in from every direction — via waitresses dressed in brown overall and matching ‘3’ hats — the MC toasted those packed shoulder-to-shoulder before him and turned his sights towards 24 alongside longtime friends, and Ludacris and T-PainContinue reading Chance the Rapper Celebrates Birthday by Holding Special Charity Event With Friends: Recap

Chance the Rapper Creates New Arts Fund for Chicago Public Schools

Chance the Rapper made headlines Friday (March 31) by announcing new plans to help support Chicago Public Schools. Calling a press conference for 2:30 p.m. at Paul Robeson High School on the city’s South side in Englewood, the Chicago native took another step forward in his fight to get the funding CPS deserves by teaming up with the Chicago Bulls to donate another $1 million to schools, alongside a new fund to support the arts in Chicago and added donations from his end. Continue reading Chance the Rapper Creates New Arts Fund for Chicago Public Schools

Home Team • TASHA

Over the course of the last half-decade here in Chicago we’ve collectively been lucky enough to enjoy as one wave after another has built, crested and broke onto the shores of the country at large. For whatever reason, I’ve found myself in rooms with many of those types, and a couple weeks ago was another unexpected opportunity as I was afforded an opportunity to catch a familiar face on the scene, but a relatively fresh name on the music side of things in the form of 23-year-old TASHA. Continue reading Home Team • TASHA

White Mystery Continues To Evolve, Kick Ass With New Album, ‘Fuck Your Mouth Shut’

It took about twenty minutes into their set for Francis White to stand up and tear off his Thrasher sweatshirt, revealing a sweaty and taut torso accented from behind by his bright red frock of hair. Now standing, throwing his top stage left, he smashed down hard on a cymbal with a drumstick clutched in his right hand and looked into the crowd with a vengeance. A sly smile crossing her face, his sister Alex White stood in a prepared stance, her guitar perched on her hip. “We’re White Mystery, and this is song is called “Fuck Your Mouth Shut” she said before tearing into a series of riveting guitar riffs that moved Francis quickly back to the kit. Continue reading White Mystery Continues To Evolve, Kick Ass With New Album, ‘Fuck Your Mouth Shut’

Knox Fortune Emerges From Behind The Scenes

It’s Mid-February In Beverly Hills And Already The Night Is Getting Long.

Taking a long sip from a glass of champagne, Kevin Rhomberg lifted his head from his glass, haphazardly brushing his mess of shoulder-length hair from his face and looked out across the scene before him. Stepping back from the surreal reality he now enjoyed, he began to try and make sense of the last few hours between congratulatory hugs and an endless stream of photos. Earlier that day, Rhomberg had earned his first Grammy award for his work on Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book that picked up the nod for ‘Best New Rap Album’ under the assumed alias of Knox Fortune. While many saw the win that weekend as the conclusion to a long story, Knox stood watching his friends, colleagues and heroes mingling with ease at the GQ-hosted event at the gilded Chateau Marmont. Understanding in that moment just how far he’d come in music, the night instead felt like the beginning of a story with a lengthy prologue, even the loftiest of dreams now within reach. Continue reading Knox Fortune Emerges From Behind The Scenes