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.
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
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
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
As The Clock Neared Midnight On December 31, 2016 Kaina Castillo, Clutching A Microphone In One Hand And Bottle Of Champagne In The Other, Led A Packed Room As She Counted Down The Final Moments To The New Year…
To her right was a set of fresh-faced twins named Eddie and IZ, emphatically jumping up and down with the passing seconds. To her left, horn players Sen Morimoto and Sam Veren urged the crowd before them as the countdown hit three, and then two. A moment later, the whole group stood under a shower of bubbling champagne as Castillo exclaimed “Happy New Year,” popping the cork from the bottle in the process. As the suds rained down on the group of young friends from the ceiling, it was immediately evident that 2017 would have plenty in store for the central figures in what’s quickly becoming the next wave of Chicago music. Continue reading Chicago Renaissance Continued: Meet The City’s Next Wave Of Musicians
It’s 3:30 in the afternoon on a sunny Fall Tuesday in Madison, Wisconsin and I’m about three feet deep in a decades-old tweed couch. To my left is 18-year-old Davon Prather, better known to the world as Trapo; the only artist that’s pried us from the bustle of Chicago since our foray to Milwaukee a year ago.
Ahead of me, one of our crew, Westley, sits perched on the edge of the adjacent couch leaning aggressively into a Nintendo 64 controller, squaring off against Tray, who’s apartment we find ourselves in. Set amongst the high-pitched hum of the Super Smash Bros. backing track, Trapo tells us of making a name for himself from humble beginnings while carefully rolling a blunt on the table before him. Continue reading The Trapo Story: Madison’s Finest Gears Up For His Next Chapter with ‘Shade Trees’
Originally Appeared on TheseDays in July 2016
It’s the Fourth of July and I’m sitting across a couch from Preston Oshita as he decides between a hot dog or lobster roll. Studying the menu before him he weighs his options, the waiter just let him know the oysters weren’t available. Taking a moment and decides on the lobster. His food on its way, the artist better known as Towkio quickly reflected on his choice: “I’m not huge on fish but lobster just seems appropriate”. Such is a small indication of the kind of leap in lifestyle the 24-year-old crossover act has achieved since stepping out to the world four years ago as Tokyo Shawn. In the time since, he’s gone from sleeping on my couch to some of the biggest names in music, continuing a winning streak with his July release, Community Service 2, which continued building his distinct sound and mentality. Sitting on the couch with the fireworks crackling in the background, he settled into yet another sofa to explain the ride that has positioned him as one of the most exciting breakout stars of the last year. Continue reading Beyond The Theory: Towkio Rides A .Wav Of His Own
Originally Appeared for TheseDays in July 2016
Five minutes before taking the biggest stage of her life, Eryn Allen Kane is freaking out.
Her mind running, palms sweating, feet pacing, she begins to make sense of how she got to this point: backstage preparing to perform alongside none other than Prince, her first proper stage experience outside of backup duties.
Suddenly, a familiar face steps into the green room. Recognizing the worry on her face, sensing the nerves bubbling to the surface, Prince assures her, “don’t be nervous, why are you nervous, why?”
Looking at him, Kane could think of only one thing to say, “because you’re Prince, man.”
“So what,” he returned. “You’re Eryn and you’re here for a reason and this is your time, this is you.” Continue reading Carrying The Purple Torch: Eryn Allen Kane Continues Her Soulful March Forward
Originally Appeared in FLAUNT Magazine August 2016
With forty-five minutes left to go before the ten o’clock curfew for the sold-out show at Chicago’s Metro Lil Uzi Vert is nowhere to be seen. A surprise performance from Lil Bibby and subsequent set from DJ Oreo keeps the crowd moving with a consistent offering of turn up songs that has the room moving in frenetic dance circles, albeit without the name on the marquee. With just under forty minutes to go and organizers looking around nervously, the small ball of energy that is Lil Uzi rockets onto the stage. Reacting immediately, the temperature in the venue seems to rise exponentially. As Uzi works his way through the first single joined by none other than Famous Dex, I prop myself up on a folding chair to get a better view. Reaching to the ceiling for support my hand slips on the condensation from the pure energy in the room. Looking around one can see the future of hip-hop. While everyone in the venue seems to know all the words to every song and dance move to boot, all seem to do so without ever looking at the stage. Instead, a sea of cell phones light up the room, most screens flipped inward, the fans watching themselves enjoy the music for their followers. Continue reading Catching Up With Lil Uzi Vert at The Metro
It’s nearing ten o’clock and DJ Oreo is tucking a pink towel into the neck of his shirt as he settles into a big orange chair at a barbershop on the west side of Chicago. Home for a brief spell from tour with Atlanta-based sensation Lil Yachty, he’s been quickly summoned back to tour, so a visit to the barber is a necessity longed for on the road.
As the stylist goes about pulling at his locks, Oreo similarly pulls on a strand, peering at it in the mirror. “It’s about a foot now,” he says questioningly, looking over his shoulder. The barber, nodding in agreement, “yeah, about a foot now, maybe more.” Tossing back the strand and resettling himself in the chair, adjusting the yellow towel across his shoulders, he thinks back on his last haircut.