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editor’s word to you Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. For many entertainment professionals, their talent, not hard work and business savvy, are what they’re banking on to reach that ideal level of success they hope to reach. I’ve seen some of the most talented and creative people fail time and again because, they refuse to work hard. These same people get angry when they see someone they feel is less talented than them get opportunities that they themselves desire to have. Well, it has been proven over and over that hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. So, this issue we want to focus on those who work hard and aren’t resting on their laurels. These folks are hardworkers who are constantly developing their talents and, instead of worrying about what oppoortunities others are getting, they’re focused on their own careers. Now you can stop reading this and go check these awesome people out. Ready, Set, Go!!!

Candy Freeman Editor-In-Chief

I learned some good stuff from Tank’s interview. The idea that an artist has to have a record label to be successful never sat well with me, but after reading his interview I felt even more strongly about staying indie. That aside, I learned about the importance of taking care of my ownership in the songs I write with other people. Great piece! Brad Stewart Los Angeles, CA

Prince Paul is a legend and everything he said in this article further validates my argument that hip-hop artists are pawns in a much bigger agenda. Good questions. Marcus Bealson Orlando, FL -----------------------------I didn’t know who Troy DeVolld was before seeing him in your magazine. Awesome information for my reality show ideas. Thanks guys! Barbie Toler San Diego, CA -----------------------------Thanks for supporting indie artists in your magazine. Perfect! Jaclyn Ernstein Austin, TX

“Unlike iTunes, Wix Music allows artists to keep 100% of their digital download sales,” says Eric Mason, CMO at, discussing the new Wix Music platform on The Miews podcast, Episode #82 -

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What you missed on The Miews show. Episode 74: How Joseph Dodd at Music Choice Helps New Artists Reach 60 Million Fans

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JOSEPH DODD, ASSOCIATE MANAGER OF PROGRAMMING AT MUSIC CHOICE - Every independent artist releasing music should get familiar with who Joseph Dodd is. Why? Because, he breaks unsigned artists into 60 Million U.S. homes through a cable TV and mobile music network. I Am Entertainment | Issue 33


i Am Entertainment

SUMMER 2015, ISS. #33


PUBLISHER: I Am Entertainment Media EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:


5 7

FILM & TV Actress/Exec, Adriana Sheri 3 Actor, David Banks 5 Actor, Eric D. Hill 7 Actor, Keith Powers 9 Actor, Jamie Mcshane 11 director, David Rountree 13 director, hunter adams 15


multiplatinum group, O-Town 17



plug 1 - de la soul darryn zewalk em album reviews

21 23 24 25

Candy Freeman



Daniel Hoyos -

ART DIRECTOR: Shaine Freeman


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Cover (Tank): Nick Caster All others, see interviews/articles.


Snail Mail: I Am Entertainment Media PO Box 263 Kennesaw, GA 30152 Tel: 818-813-9365 Article Submissions & General Info: I Am Entertainment Magazine is published quarterly by I Am Entertainment Media, LLC (IAE). The opinions expressed by our contributors falls under their constitutional rights of free speech. While we have made extensive efforts to ensure that the content herein has been obtained through reliable sources, IAE is not liable for any errors or omissions, typographical errors, or misprints. IAE reserves the right to refuse any advertising which it deems unsuitable. All advertisers agree to hold the publisher harmless and indemnify any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs, and expenses (including attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fees) made against or incurred by the publisher, including but not limited to the sole negligence and/or fault of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for any claims, losses, or damages of any kind, arising from the wording, text, graphics, or representations of any ads published herein, or of the condition of the articles sold through the paper, or performance of service advertised in this publication. All advertisements and submissions are wholly the property of IAE and cannot be copied in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. We reserve the right to edit or refuse any ad and reprint any ad or photo for promotional use. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2015. All issues of I Am Entertainment Magazine are wholly the property of IAE and shall not be printed, copied, duplicated, or distributed without expressed written consent from the publisher. I Am Entertainment is a trademark of IAE. ISSN 2161-9093 (print) ISSN 2161-3109 (digital)



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I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

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bUILDING THE DREAM By Candy Freeman | Photos Courtesy Adriana Sheri

Pursuing a career in show business can be a long and winding road, and nobody knows that more than actress, ADRIANA SHERI. This amazing woman is proof that persistence and loving others pays off...big time! Where are you from, and how did you get involved in the entertainment business? I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so I’m a California native, which is so rare. [laughs] When I was little I would always say, “I’m going to be a model/actress.” I always had the desire to do something in the entertainment industry. My brother, Billy, wound up working in the music business, which made it a little easier for me to jump in. I was always around Billy so, people would ask him if I could sing. As a result, I wound up being in a girl group, briefly. Although I was working in the entertainment business, my heart was always focused on acting. At the time, I hadn’t pursued (acting) fully but, I was always taking acting lessons to keep myself sharp. My first job on the acting side of the business was being Larenz Tate’s personal assistant. He was a friend of the family who needed an assistant so, I thought, “Why not?” While this allowed me to learn some things about the business side, I still wasn’t pursuing my acting career. I eventually got an opportunity to go to Italy and do some modeling. From there, I ended up moving to New York, but I did so just two days before 9-11 happened. That literally scared me out of modeling and I moved back to L.A. When I got back to California, I ended up being the Event Coordinator for Magic Johnson and his company. Then, I got married and had my little girl. From there, Tyrese Gibson (Furious 7, Transformers) asked me to oversee his entertainment company, Voltron Entertainment/ HeadQuarter Entertainment where I was the VP of Operations for 7 years. During that time, I decided to get back into acting. There would

be times when Tyrese would call me and ask, “Where are you?”, and I’d respond like, “What do you mean? You’re an actor, you know how this goes?” [laughs] Then, my agents would call and say, “What are you doing? Why are you leaving during auditions?” I just couldn’t juggle everything at the same time, and it wasn’t fair to Tyrese or my agents. So, since I couldn’t pursue it 100%, I completely stopped and focused on HQ Entertainment. Well, that stinks! That had to be tough for you, right? Absolutely! But, I had an epiphany and I realized that I had been putting my own dreams on hold for everyone else. I like the work, but I wasn’t doing what I truly loved. For instance, I started my charity - Godiss Love - which came from my desire to give back and help people. I resigned from HQ and decided to fully pursue my dreams. When I made that decision, things just started falling into place. People started offering me roles in independent projects, commercials, and most recently I booked a Wes Craven film that shoots in 2016 in North Carolina. I just leave everything in God’s hands and whatever is supposed to happen will happen. Speaking of commercials, I did recently see you on an NBA commercial. That’s awesome! I had about 3 auditions for that. When I booked the role, my lines were cut down to one line. Then, when it got to editing they cut that line out. [laughs] The commercial was a great opportunity, and I had a lot of fun. Talk about booking the Wes Craven movie. I sent in a video audition and didn’t hear back right away, so that made it a little suspenseful. Most of the time, casting will tell you in 3-4

days if they’re going in a different direction, or you just don’t hear from them at all. This situation was a little different because, I heard back within 5 days and she was like, “We love you!” And I was like, “I love you, too!” [laughs] I don’t have all the details just yet but, I know we will be filming in North Carolina. Tell us a little about your charity, Godiss Love. I’m a very spiritual person, and I have always believed that if you can help people you should. It started from me feeling like no one ever really took me by the hand and helped guide me through my career. I always had to figure things out on my own. If I can help connect the dots, I don’t expect anything in return. I started Godiss Love to help orphanages, and women who have been victims of domestic violence. For instance, I put together a backto-school event where I asked people to donate backpacks full of school supplies. Then, a week before school started we held the event at Los Angeles Children’s School, in their auditorium, and the kids got their new backpacks filled with all the school supplies they needed. We do the same thing with toys at Christmas time. We also have an event for clothing or toiletries. I try to focus on the necessities of life because, so many times people do not have their basic needs met. You’re like the ultimate business woman. I mean, you also have a hair extensions company as well, right? How did you get into that? Yes. Someone contacted me through a mutual acquaintance and asked me to consult for a hair extensions company. I gave them a lot of partnership and branding advice, and they eventually asked me to become a partner in the brand, Fourteen21. iae

I Am Entertainment | Issue 33


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creative acting

By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy David Banks

For many film and television actors, being typecast can be a bad thing. But, when you’re David Banks, the son of a commercial branding genius, you understand that life is all about thinking outside the box.

David Banks I just found out that your father came up with the California Raisins campaign? I loved those commercials when I was a kid man! My father-in-law actually still has a collection of them in his kitchen. [laughs] Oh yeah! [laughs] Oh my’s so funny. I’ll never forget growing up around that. I remember hearing my dad going back and forth with other people about what kind of concepts to come up with, what’s been done versus what hasn’t, and all kinds of stuff. It was a really cool and fun to be around all of that. So, how did all of that play a role in you becoming an actor and filmmaker? You know, as a kid you don’t really appreciate it because, you don’t realize what’s really going on around you sometimes. It’s just there, and you’re like, “Ah, whatever!” Then, you get older and you see it for what it really is, you start to think, “Well, I guess that really is cool!” I remember going to Hawaii and seeing him do the C&H Sugar commercials with all the hula dancers; and for me, this 10 years old kid, this looked like the most fun and cool job in the world. So, when my dad passed away, I took on


I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

this feeling that I wanted to make him - and my mother - proud by sort of following in (dad’s) footsteps. He also warned me that this is a very competitive business, and you’ll hear “no” far more than you will ever hear “yes”. But, that wasn’t enough to scare me out of it. [laughs] Yeah! [laughs] But, when you love it you’re willing to endure the hard times, right? Absolutely. It’s like when Matthew McConaughey said, “For every 200 no’s, you’re lucky to get one yes.” That’s kind of brutal, right? [laughs] But, once you get a taste of it, there’s a rush of excitement you feel that’s unlike anything else. The way I stay focused is, I try to only think about the good parts about this career path, and block out the negatives. What part of the film and TV business do you enjoy the most? Because, you’ve got an extensive resume of commercial work too. To me, I tend to gravitate more toward the commercial side, and some of my friends on the film and TV side give me a hard time for that. But, because I grew up watching my dad do commercials, I tend to have some bias there. Com-

mercials can be pretty intense because, so many peoples’ livelihoods are riding on this one commercial, but it’s a lot of fun on those sets because you get to be creative and play with your character a bit. I really enjoy it. With TV, you don’t usually have that kind of freedom. It’s a bit more strict, in the sense that you have to stick with the script because too much improv can throw the entire scene or episode off. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy TV acting, but for me, I just like the freedom that commercials offer. You’re a really fun person, but you play these seedy characters a lot. Some actors would have a problem with having to play the same types of roles because they don’t want to be “typecast”. How do you feel about that? People say that like it’s a bad thing. To me, it’s work! [laughs] People always say, “Vince Vaughn’s always the same! Will Ferrell’s always the same!” But, they’re still brilliant at what they do. Even better, they’re being paid a lot to do it! [laughs] I don’t worry about that because, as an actor you want to stay employed

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as much as you can. We’re in an industry where actors are unemployed 90% of their careers, so why would I care that I’m playing the same types of characters? I like working. Right! I’ve always felt that being a purist sometimes distorts reality for many creative people, and that’s how they wind up being all weird and depressed. So, good for you man! I love guys like Chevy Chase and Zach Galifianakis. They’re smart and funny, so I can’t wait to see what they’re going to put out next. So, I don’t think typecasting is a bad thing. When people say it is, to me, it’s like saying, “Well, if you win that lottery again, it’s just going to be the same amount everytime. You’ll be doing even better financially. That’s a bad thing.” [laughs] I mean, how crazy does that sound?

“...Matthew McConaughey said, ‘For every 200 no’s, you’re lucky to get one yes.’ That’s kind of brutal, right?” [laughs]

When it comes to the movie CUT!, how did you get involved with that film, and how did it challenge what you typically do as an actor? David Rountree, is the director of CUT! He’s this super talented and all around great guy that I really wanted to work and collaborate with. David came to me with his vision for the film and asked what I felt comfortable doing, but I said, “Let’s try something I’m not comfortable doing. Something that will really challenge me.” I’ll never forget watching Jim Carey do his first dramatic film called, “Doing Time On Maple Drive”. It was the first time I had ever seen him show his emotional side, and he just blew me away. I knew it was outside of the norm for him. But, it’s hard for the public to see him as anything other than the funny guy. I think when you start out doing serious roles and then go over to comedy, people can accept that more for some reason? I think that’s where the whole typecasting thing we talked about earlier can affect your career. So, with CUT!, we dove back into our childhood favorites like Hitchcock, and we got really dark and demented with it. [laughs] It’s something that’s way out of our norm. We even got William McNamara to be in the film too, and I’ve been a big fan of his work for a long time. It was definitely a challenge, and I thought it was a lot of fun. iae

I Am Entertainment | Issue 33


film & tv

Eric D. Hill, Jr. THE movie BUSINESS


By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy Adriana Sheri

When it comes to being an actor, Eric D. Hill, Jr. takes his craft seriously. Here, Eric shares insights on his role in the new hit film, “Brotherly Love”, and his failed attempt to guard NBA MVP/All-Star, Kevin Durant.

Lets start by telling everyone why you got into acting? It’s funny because, I didn’t even want to get into acting, initially. Just for the purposes of full disclosure, my sister and I were the only black kids in our graduating class, and when you’re 6’2” at 13 years old it raises eyebrows. I felt I could be a model, so my mom - who’s super supportive - came alongside of me and looked into a Q&A session on how to start a modeling career. Long story short, that turned into an audition for an acting studio and I wound up showcasing and landing my manager. When it came time for me to understand what it really meant to become an actor, I didn’t really know anything. I learned that, in order to become a great actor I had to figure out how to replicate real life, but in order to do that I had to first understand who I was. So, the ability to discover who I am while being paid for it, is the opportunity of a lifetime for me.


I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

Now, you’ve got a pretty strong role in this movie, “Brotherly Love” that is in theaters now. Talk a little bit about your role in the film. Are there any similarities between you and this character? I play Sergio Taylor, who is a basketball star and he lives in this really rough part of West Philly. Sergio’s dealing with a ton of different issues in his young life, and he’s just trying to make the right decisions. He and I are similar in that, he wants to do what’s right for his family. Here’s this promising NBA prospect who is in a position where he’ll be able to take care of his family and make them proud, and that’s something that I’m trying to do with acting. My sister went to school for this, and so I feel it is my responsibility to study my craft and deliver for her.

Man! Keke and Cory are amazing people; consummate professionals. We shot this feature film in 21 days, and anyone who knows about making movies, then you understand that this is not a very long period of time to shoot a film. But, throughout this process, Cory and Keke really made me feel comfortable and sure of my abilities. What I love about Keke is that she always made herself available to me. She and I would have long talks, and she really is an awesome person. Cory, as you know, is one of those dudes who cares about people. He used his veteran leadership to help me bring the best performance I could onscreen. They both took a lot of time out to help me understand that I was there for a reason, and I really appreciate them for that.

How did you like working with Keke Palmer and Cory Hardrict? Because, me and Cory go back a couple of years and he’s a good dude.

You did a few commercials with Kevin Durant too right? Yes, I shot three commercials with KD and let

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“...we all have different goals, but if you just remember why you got started down this path, you’ll never lose sight of where you’re headed.” -- eric d. hill, jr. on sticking with it when the going gets tough.

me tell you, he’s one of the most humble and down-to-earth people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He’s every bit as awesome as people say he is. I was shocked because he was very open to talking. My girlfriend went to the game KD was in at Baruch (College), and I missed it, but he dropped like 43 points or something like that. But, I brought that up to him and he really opened up to me about it, and said it was one of the best experiences of his life and that he’d love to do it again. Then, a month later we were in Oklahoma shooting around in the gym and he walks in and was like, “What’s up E,” I knew he was a genuine person. Did you try to guard him at all? (laughs) Man, he is so impossible to guard. I tried, and failed miserably. Just like everyone else who attempts to guard him. (laughs) Actors go through all this rejection, and I’ve

always felt that auditioning is so barbaric. Some people might even believe that once you’ve landed a leading role in a major theatrical release, you don’t have to audition anymore. How wrong is that? That’s way off! Man, what are you talking about brother, I just came from an audition before I got on the phone with you! (laughs) (laughs) I know it’s tough! What would you say to fellow actors to encourage them? Because, many of them are out there auditioning and aren’t getting the parts. I’d tell everybody what I do. I always remind myself of why I got into this industry in the first place. That’s the most important thing because, we all have different goals, but if you just remember why you got started down this path, you’ll never lose sight of where you’re headed. When people are working a regular corporate job, they know what they’re doing the next day

and they know where they’re going -- to work. But, for actors, this is a profession where 90% of the people don’t work. The moment you can accept that, the better off you’ll be. Just accept it and keep pressing forward. You’re going to have friends, or other people who may appear to be moving at an accelerated rate in their careers, while yours seems stagnant. But, you don’t know what they’re dealing with in their personal lives. They might be working but they’re going through a divorce, or some other ordeal you don’t know about. So, your personal life might be in better shape. Just be who you are and stay focused on why you’re doing this, and eventually it’ll all pan out. iae

I Am Entertainment | Issue 33


‘sin c Powers i t y sa ints’


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rising star

By Shaine Freeman | Photo: Elias Tehan

So, what made you want to get into a career in acting? I was already into modeling so, it kinda became an extension of what I do, you know what I mean? But, the way I got into acting was through commercials. The way I got that was through my commercial agent, and when they became a theatrical agency, I signed to their theatrical side. I booked my first feature film, “House Party: Tonigth’s The Night,” once I got my manager. After I shot that movie, I just fell in love with acting and being on set, I didn’t want to leave. I haven’t loved anything like that since I played football.

You made your debut as a TV series regular on the show, “Faking It”. What was it like trying to land that role; were there a ton of auditions before you booked it? First, it was one audition and I thought I did cool, but Alyson (casting director) didn’t seem so interested. Then, I found out that I got a callback, but when I got to the audition there was still like 15 people. So, I went first and had to read with Greg Sulkin and Bailey De Young in front of all the producers. The whole audition they were just laughing, and the callback was amazing. It all came to me natural and I was having fun with the audition. I could just tell that I got the role. It was a lot of fun. That’s pretty cool man. Now, you’re starring in the Yahoo! series “Sin City Saints”, with Tom Arnold, Rick Fox, Baron Davis, and a few other notable people. I’m a big sports lover, especially basketball; but, what got you interested in being involved with this particular show? Just like you, I love sports too. I played football more than basketball, but when I found out Baron Davis and Rick Fox were going to be on it, as well as Tom Arnold; that’s when I got very interested in the show. I had just seen Malin Akerman in a movie and I didn’t even know she had booked ‘Sin City’, and I also had just watched Justin Chon in “21 & Over”. So, when I found out Malin and Justin were both going to be on the show, I was like, “Oh snap! This show has a solid cast.” I was excited about it and couldn’t wait to get started. Talk about your character, LaDarius Pope, on ‘Sin City Saints’. What’s his deal? LaDarius is a crybaby. (laughs) He’s very naive, and he’s a mama’s boy. But, that’s because he’s only known sports his whole life. LaDarius only knows basketball so, it’s kinda like a mask for him, and when it’s stripped from him you get to see who he really is. That’s how a lot of NBA players are, or any pro athlete. They come off as this cool dude, but when you meet them you realize that their sport is the only thing they know. That’s why so many of them get into trouble when they’re not at practice or playing the game. Because, they have all this money thrown at them and they don’t have anything to do during their off time. I think that’s LaDarius’ problem; he’s really still learning life. You’re also in ‘Straight Outta Compton’, the biopic on 90’s rap group NWA. How does LaDarius differ from your role in this film? First of all, this was a surreal experience. I was around people that I grew up listening to; Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, that’s all I knew growing up. It was amazing being on that set. But, I play Tyree Crayton, who was Dr. Dre’s little brother. Tyree is different from LaDarius in a lot of ways because, LaDarius’ life wasn’t nearly as hard as Tyree’s. I mean, Tyree grew up in Compton and he had a temper too so, those two characters are nothing alike. What’s interesting is that Tyree is always trying to protect his big brother, which is kinda different to see the little brother always sticking up for the big brother. iae


I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

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Jamie mcshane

Netflix ‘bloodline’ Star 11I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

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Perseverance pays off By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy Vince Truspin

Jamie McShane is an actor whose journey has not been one void of bumps and bruises. But, when you stick with it things almost always work out. Here, the ‘Bloodline’ star, shares his 25 year bumpy journey to becoming a working actor. So, what made you want to get into a career in acting? Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be an actor. I’d watch shows like, “F Troop” and “I Dream of Jeannie”, and always wanted to be the sidekick guy; not really the lead actor. As I got older, life happened and I decided to go to college at the University of Richmond. After graduating, I saved up and went backpacking around the world. While I was traveling in Perth, Australia, I got into a conversation with this guy and he asked what I wanted to do with my life, and I said I wanted to act. So he said, “Well, why don’t you do it?” So, when I got back to the U.S., I went to work for my father’s delivery company in Jersey and started going to New York looking for opportunities in acting. I didn’t know what a resume or a head shot was; I knew nothing about how to become an actor. But, I started auditioning for plays, took a class, and just kept going. I eventually got my SAG card after doing some extra and stand-in work, and 25 years later, here I am. What led you to move to L.A., and how long did it take before you landed an agent? As I mentioned, I worked for my dad, and sometimes I’d be in the car sitting in

traffic while on a delivery or a pickup literally crying and slamming my head into the steering wheel saying, “I can’t take this!” When you really wanna make it, all the rejection from auditions is hard to deal with starting out. I’d take one day off each week and roller blade around NYC trying to get auditions. I did a lot of student films, extras work, and a lot of theater. I always got good feedback, but I just couldn’t get the breaks. Eventually, I got a mentor who told me I was going to have to move to Los Angeles or else I’d be stuck in NYC for another 10 years, not making a living; it had already been 10 years by that point. He helped me get over to L.A., and it took me about two years of doing casting workshops before I really got going. So, after about a total of 13 years trying to break into the business, I finally landed an agent who really understood me and was passionate about me. I’ve been with her for the last 12 years. You’ve done some stints on shows like, ‘Anarchy’. But, lets talk about the Netflix series, ‘Bloodline’. What’s your role on the show and what can people expect to see? First of all, the cast is an amazing ensemble, and I’m very grateful that I made the team. Second, it’s created by the guys who did ‘Damages’, which is an incredible show. ‘Bloodline’ is a psychological, dark thriller that jumps around in time from the present to the past. It also takes place in the Florida Keys, which is an area that I don’t believe any TV show has explored. The show follows this family, the Rayburns, and the story surrounds events that take place when the oldest son, Danny, who has been

away a while and is sort of the black sheep, tries to comeback and be part of the family again. I play Eric O’Bannon who is Danny’s buddy. So, you see this family who has this paradise sort of lifestyle going on in the Keys, but then my character comes in and brings the darker, seedier side. Danny and I hookup and we go from there. What advice would you give to other actors who have been doing this for a decade or more, but they’re where you were before leaving NYC; still pounding their head on the steering wheel because they haven’t landed anything major yet? If you’re really passionate about it, stay the course. If you have a dream inside of you, I think you need to stay with it and see where it leads you. Also, be open to where it might lead you because, it may not be exactly where you thought you’d end up; in a good way though. I also think you need to be realistic about the feedback you’re getting. Are you getting feedback from people in the business who say you’re talented at what you’re doing, or is it consistently the other way around? I might think I can play the piano, but if nobody else agrees that I’m good, then I need to explore something else. But, if you’re getting positive feedback from casting directors and others in the movie business, from there just try not to give up. I know it gets difficult when you’ve been doing for a decade; I mean, look at me! It took me 13 years before I got an agent to represent my career on the theatrical side. In New York I had commercial representation, but I couldn’t get somebody who could get me out for film and TV. So, you just have to believe and stick it out until you make it. iae

I Am Entertainment | Issue 33


film & tv THE movie BUSINESS

making the ‘cut’

By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy David Rountree

Named to’s “Top 20 Up & Coming Hollywood Directors Under 40,” David Rountree has found his true calling as an award-winning filmmaker. Here, we learn how he managed to go from thrilling sports fans on the field to providing entertainment to movie lovers.

How did you get started in the movie business? Were you always interested in it? I’m from North Carolina so, I really didn’t do any acting or on-camera work growing up. I remember when I was about five years old my dad turned on the Little League World Series and asked me if that might be something I’d like to do. Of course, he was referring to baseball, but I was referring to being on TV (laughs). I said, “Yeah! Let’s do it!” I ended up playing three sports in college before finally graduating from North Carolina State University. I was hoping one of them would take off and provide a career after college, but no such luck. I got drafted in football as a kicker, but it never really manifested into anything. I guess, in some ways that was my route to getting in front of the camera. After college I got into coaching kickers for football, and also swimmers. Well, I wound up meeting this guy who was a kicker at NC State, and his girlfriend was working at an acting school. She asked if I had ever thought about acting, and suggested I take some acting classes. So, I started taking acting classes and that ultimately led to me exploring the behind the camera side of things. What was that key opportunity in film that set you on the path to saying, “I want to be a filmmaker? After I started taking those acting classes, I ended up landing a role on a regional TV series my first year. I worked about 11 episodes as an actor on that show, but I was so intrigued by the behind-the-scenes process. So, while still being an actor, I started following what was going on behind the camera. When I moved to Los Angeles, I kept acting; doing a lot of athletic commercials in the beginning, before booking some acting roles. But, that’s

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where it started to take off. I was part of a writing team for the 48 Hour Film fest back in 2003, and we ended up making the film that won “Best Film”. Then, we got accepted to Cannes Film Festival based off what we did at 48 Hour Film. Just having a little say in the writing side of that kickstarted my desire to be a filmmaker. After that I kept writing and in 2004, directed my first film. Now, I’m five films in as a producer and four (films) as a director. You have a new film, CUT! Can you tell us about that film and what your role in the creation of the movie was? It started with me being a writer. David Banks (lead actor in CUT!) and I were in acting class together a few years ago, and collaborated on a lot of scenes together. One of the ideas we wrote together was a comedy script that got really close to being made in 2007 so, in 2011 it started to pick up steam again and we got some interest from a major studio. The ball got rolling and everything was looking positive for me to come on and direct this film, but we were faced with having to wait about 8 months before we could start shooting it in the summer. David and I started talking and we didn’t want to wait until the summer to do something creative, so we decided to shoot something in the meantime for fun. My production company has a lot of the equipment we needed, so that was an expense we didn’t have to cover. Our idea was to do something like “Blair Witch Project” or “Paranormal Activity” where they didn’t need the major production budgets to shoot the film. We decided to shoot this horror film in a week, guerrilla style with no script, and some improv actors. Well, long story short, we shot the open-

ing scene to CUT! and I showed it to a few friends of mine who work in distribution. They thought it looked really good and asked if the whole film was going to look like that. So we crafted more of a script, put together a small budget to hire some professional SAG actors and paid a crew, then shot the project. We lost the hand-held style and really went for more of a professional feel. CUT! took on a life of its own, which wound up being a good thing because the comedy we were waiting to shoot never happened. What’s the most challenging part about getting a movie made? And how do new filmmakers overcome those issues? For a new filmmaker you always have to prove what you’ve done because, everyone wants to know what other movies you’ve made. Like, when you’re approaching an agent about a certain actor and the response you get is, “What has your production company done?” It’s understandable because, you don’t have a $20 Million budget and the agent is trying to make sure their actors are going to be well taken care of and not in some crappy movie that’ll make the actor look bad. So, that’s one of the most challenging things as a new filmmaker. But, I cut my teeth in film doing short films. I learned from my days in sports that you’re not going to get great by showing up on game day having not practiced at all, and then trying to just make something happen. It’s like playing a basketball. You might go in the gym and practice free-throws by shooting 200 of them, just for the chance to make 5 in an actual game. It’s that practice time that will put you in a position to be great. It’s a marathon. iae

film & tv

david rountree top 20 ranked director

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film & tv


filmmaking 101 By Daniel Hoyos | Photos Courtesy Hunter Adams

Wisconsin native Hunter Adams talks exclusively about making his newest horror feature Dig Two Graves, starring Sami Isler (Captain Fantastic, Sean Saves the World) and Ted Levine (American Gangster, Silence of the Lambs) currently on the festival circuit. Dig Two Graves is a period thriller set in Southern Illinois. Can you tell us where the script came from? The script started out as a story about a young boy wrestling with a difficult and morally ambiguous choice. I had lost my mom around this time and became a little obsessed with the hypothetical question ‘How far would I be willing to go to bring her back?’ There are many films that involve adult protagonists burdened with difficult choices, but I wanted to see this inner conflict reflected through the eyes of an innocent child. During the casting phase, I began to notice that the young girls auditioning for the role of the sibling were much more interesting than the boys who were auditioning for the lead. So I flopped the gender of the main protagonist. But I kept the name Jake because I was too lazy to think of a girl’s name. Dig Two Graves started life as the short film Jakes’ Choice. Did you find any difficultly developing a short into a feature? DTG started out as a short because we planned to use it as a fundraising tool for the feature. It didn’t help with the financing per say, but it definitely helped me clarify the visual and aural design of the film. I was fortunate to work with a very talented cast and crew in Northeast Wisconsin where we shot it. While watching Dig Two Graves I noticed how well the different time periods were captured. How much research went into designing the sets?

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Production took place in Southern Illinois, about 6 or 7 hours south of Chicago. We shot in January during one of the coldest winters on record. So there’s also a stark beauty you get from the dead trees, howling wind and hanging icicles. Southern Illinois feels like it’s frozen in time. It was lucky for us because we didn’t have much money to create the period feel so we relied heavily on real locations and what we could find in local thrift stores. And I’m not a huge stickler for exact period authenticity. More important to me is the emotional impact of a location. How is the set and the art direction supporting the themes of the movie. Our set designer Merje Veski did an incredible job (on a very limited budget) of creating sets that conveyed the moral decay and dissolution that is an important visual theme of the movie. Having cast Sami Isler in my short film No One Knows, watching her work is like being in acting class. How did you end up auditioning Sami for the role of Jake? I auditioned hundreds of young actresses from across the country for the part. Late in the process I received an audition tape from Sami. She made really strong and clear choices in the reading. I knew her instincts were good and she clearly had a strong intellectual capacity to analyze and comprehend very complex emotions and relationships that were present in the script. And she ended being an absolute joy to work with. Her first day on set she had to gut a dead deer, fire a hunting rifle and hold her own against an intimidating Ted Levine.

Dig Two Graves blended some incredible live acting stunts. How did Tom Lowell prepare the actors on-set? We did have some challenging stunts but Tom is one of the best in the business. In fact, when we were trying to convince Ted Levine to do the film he was reluctant at first. But then he first learned that Rick Lefevour was the stunt coordinator and that convinced him. Ted actually called me up and said, “If Rick is doing the film, I’ll do the film.” Tom eventually took over production, and was very good at finding a way to make a stunt work with maximum visceral impact. And most importantly, he ensures the stunt is done safely. Ted Levine is famous for his roles in The Silence of the Lambs, and American Gangster. What kind of presence did Ted add to Dig Two Graves? Ted is just a great actor. Having him around elevated everyone’s work, both cast and crew. His acting style was pretty subtle and I didn’t fully appreciate his performance until I was in the editing room and I just couldn’t stop watching him. He’s mesmerizing. And he gives you so many options to work with. He’s an absolute pro. How can people follow the latest news on Dig Two Graves? People can follow DTG on our Facebook page at or our website iae

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I Am Entertainment | Issue 33


BY: Shaine Freeman | Photos by: nick caster



lines and circles

By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy eM

Back in the day (early 00’s), O-Town was one of the hottest pop boy bands in the world. After selling millions of albums, the band disbanded and embarked on solo careers. Now, the boys are back with one less member, a new album, and spring tour dates; and they seem poised to win back the hearts of those fans who miss them. Fellas, what’s up?! All – Shaine! Let’s talk about this tour and this comeback you guys have going. Jacob – We’re trying to balance the family life and the tour life. So, we’re excited to get back out there and visit some places we haven’t been to in over 10 years. We go about about once a month and hit a region, and I’ll tell you, it’s been the most fun we’ve ever had. The fans used to be 15 and now they’re 25 years old, so they can buy drinks now. [laughs] Yeah, I know right? [laughs] What’s the difference between the fans then, versus now? Jacob – Legalities! [everyone laughs] It’s crazy though. Not just the legal aspect of it, but also just from a critiquing perspective. The fans are older and wiser now, so they have opinions about our show and our music. Whereas, a decade ago, they were just screaming and crying with snot running down their noses. [laughs] Instead, they’re more into telling us what they think. They actually want to talk to us and have real conversations. Erik – Yeah, they’re definitely a smarter audience. I also think it has challenged us to write music that shows our evolution, and that’s what the album really is; an evolution. Now that we’re four (members), it’s a brand new thing and a whole new evolution for us. Lets talk about the new album, Lines & Circles. Why did you guys choose to put out Skydive as your first single and video? Jacob – We kept trying to find a song that would speak for all of us because, we’ve all had individual solo stuff, and we’re all very different people. We had a lot of ballads in the past, so


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we didn’t want to do a lot of soppy ballads like before, and this (Skydive) has power and drama behind it. It was a message to the fans to take a leap of faith with us. Skydive with us because, we’re coming back and we want you to come along for the ride. For those who haven’t heard the album, is it big on ballads this time, or are you guys doing some different things? Jacob – It’s still a mixture because, we are the balladeers so we still have the big ballads on there. We have a really sappy R&B ballad on there titled, “I Won’t Lose”, and another one called “Sometimes Love Ain’t Enough”. So, we do have the ballads but each ballad is its own thing, which is actually really cool. But, everything else is uptempo, which we all love. We have a lot of R&B like, “Right Kind of Wrong”, and then “Lines and Circles” is a mid-tempo that Eric wrote and it’s very indie sounding. There’s something for everyone man, and that’s what we are. Our album definitely gets all of that across. A lot of people don’t know this, but you guys are all from different places. You’re not all from Orlando (FL). Who’s repping O-Town though? Eric – Well, my parents actually live like an hour away from Orlando, so I’m the one who has the closest connection to Orlando. But, I think O-Town represents a time period in our lives. It represents the place where we met, because that’s where the inception of the (band) was but, now it just means a time period for us because we’re all on the west coast, nowadays. I’d like to give aspiring recording artists who haven’t been there yet, some advice about touring. You guys have done that already on an international level and most up-and-coming

artists don’t know how strenuous a tour can be. Can you guys give some insight on what it’s like to be a major touring act? Jacob – When the song’s a major hit like, we’ve been singing “All or Nothing” for 15 years now and the crowd still reacts so crazy and responds to us each night. But, the tour itself has changed a lot since the old days. We don’t take ourselves too seriously now. Eric – I also believe, if you want to be a successful artist, you have to be on the road. I think Ed Sheeran said it in an interview recently, and it struck a chord. As long as you can stay on the road, you can keep yourself relevant because, people always want to come out for great live music. Luckily, we have a song like “All or Nothing,” that we get to sing every night that people are familiar with because, it allows us to (introduce) our new music. Going out there and hearing an immediate applause because you’ve made someone’s night by singing a song that meant a lot to them at their high school prom. It’s probably the most gratifying part about this gig. Jacob – If there’s any kind of advice we could give someone about major level touring is, keep a balance. A lot of people, I hear, get burnt out on the road. We were playing 320+ shows a year! You don’t realize at a young age that, you are in control of your own destiny. You don’t have to do that much. As much as the money looks great, you’ve got to have a quality of life too. So, going out 2 weeks a month and coming home to family time is important. What would you say is the key to longevity in the music business, as a recording artist? Eric – I think there’s a couple of things. One is, we maintained our friendship and that helps a


lot because, you want to look forward to coming to work everyday. With the amount of time we spend with each other in the car and on stage together, having good chemistry is important. Also, connecting with your fans is the second thing. Making sure they know that they’re the number one thing that matters, and you’re making good music for them. For us, it shows when we’ve not been around for a decade and then, we get back on the road and so many people are still willing to come out to our shows. We just, always want to stay connected with (fans), and let them know that we’re nothing without them.

Jacob – Also, I think keeping a healthy perspective is key. When we’re on stage and the fans can tell we’re having fun, and we’re friends, they’re a part of the party with us. It’s really easy to get jaded and feel entitled, or just get bored with the whole thing. But, I think you need to step back and realize that you sing, dance, and make music for a living. It doesn’t matter who you’re compared to, or where you are in status. Regardless of what it is, you sing and dance for a living, and that’s a blessing. iae

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THE GRAMMY WINNER By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy Trevor Traynor


If you know the history of Hip-Hop, then you know POS aka “Plug1“. Not only is he a founding member of the GRAMMY® Winning hip-hop group, De La Soul, he’s also one of the dopest MC’s to ever grace the culture of Hip-Hop. Here, we learn what POS sees as the good, bad, and future of the genre.

o, how did it all start? The short-short answer is, Muhammad Ali and James Brown. Ali was the first commercial rapper, while the REAL King James – Mr. James Brown (aka the “Godfather of Soul”) was the original b-boy. Ali was the first person to bars of rhymes on broadcast television in the 1960’s when he said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George (Foreman) thinks he will, but I know he won’t.” This would be the foundation/bedrock of hip-hop’s lyrical birth. While Ali was spitting rhymes, James Brown was doing his b-boy stance and showing the world how to freestyle and dance. The Godfather of Soul used funky drum beats, basslines, and horns as the foundation of a sound that would make him one of hip-hop’s favorite musicians to sample. Ali and Brown showed us how to use our voices, music, and rhymes to stand up and fight for our rights. These men would inspire hip-hop legends like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Public Enemy, and Grammywinner, POS of De La Soul. Here, POS speaks on the Good, Bad, and Future of hip-hop music. THE GOOD What was so good about hip-hop music that you felt led to take part in it, and be successful at it? For De La Soul, success was measured by hearing ourselves on the station(s) that we listened to, personally. Whether it was BLS with Mr. Magic, or 98.7 KISS-FM with DJ Red Alert, we were just happy that they were playing our music. It was really that simple for us because we were young, and fans of both the music and those radio stations. We were truly just happy to be “on” and actually a part of the music business. I mean, be-

ing in the studio we would see guys we looked up to, like Stetsasonic or Rakim just a few feet away from us. We were just fans man! THE BAD At one time, you guys had a pretty dim outlook, as can be heard on your album – De La Soul Is Dead. Do you feel that the “industry” pushes rappers to say negative things on their albums? From an artist’s perspective, when we did, De La Soul Is Dead, we were talking about things that were going on with us directly; not necessarily addressing the industry as a whole. We were dealing with the label telling us they needed another “Me, Myself and I” (video above), so we finally started to see the business parts of it all. Our first managers were Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen, and they would tell us, “Yo, you gotta go to this radio station or they won’t play your record,” or “You have to go do this for us so that the guys behind you will have a chance to succeed.” So, the business side of it was seeping into this dream we had envisioned for De La Soul as a group. For us we were looking at it like, “These are our rhymes and our music,” instead of seeing it as a business and the fact that it was bigger than just our songs. We were seeing payola happen, and seeing Russell negotiate with people like, “If you don’t play De La Soul, I’m not going to give you Run DMC!” So, we were seeing all of that and because we were still young, we got a little frustrated by it. That’s part of what you felt and heard in “De La Soul Is Dead.” THE FUTURE When it comes to the creativity in hip-hop music, a lot of older cats feel that these young dudes who are doing it now need your guidance to keep the genre from completely dying.

From your perspective, what do you feel is in hip-hop’s future? It’s definitely here to stay! What I always try to tell people is that, while De La Soul, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff have to stay relevant, that doesn’t mean we have to be relevant to our kids. So, for me it just means that I have to be relevant to those who came up with De La (Soul). Those of us in our generation of hip-hop have to learn to do more than just reminisce on what it used to be. We have to look at what’s in the present and incorporate some of that into what we do, while still holding onto what’s valuable to our generation of hip-hop. When you do that, you create some familiarity for the younger generations and you’ll draw them in. For instance, when we did the collaborations with the Gorillaz a few years ago (“Feel Good Inc” won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Collaboration – see video below); that introduced so many younger people to our older catalog, and they went crazy over it. We’ve been able to keep ourselves relevant, and out touring. The only thing I see in the future of hiphop is that there’s been an overwhelming lack of creativity and forward thinking taking place. For example, if you call yourself “Young ___”, someday you’re not going to be so young and you’re going to have to rethink that whole strategy. So, how you treat yourself, name yourself, and the music you put out plays a big factor in your longevity. With the exception of kids like Kendrick Lamar, who is very creative and is challenging other artists to step up their game lyrically, you have to wonder what hiphop is going to look like in the future. While we know it’s not going anywhere, the question is what is it going to be? [laughs] And that, I’m not too sure about. iae

I Am Entertainment | Issue 33




building 120k fans By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy Darryn Zewalk

When it comes to social media engagement and building a strong email list, Darryn Zewalk is no rookie. Having amassed over 120,000 combined Twitter and Facebook followers, Darryn knows how to get them to respond to his posts. Here, the Gospel singer-songwriter shares some insight on how he does it. Twitter: @DarrynZewalk

Darryn Zewalk 23

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How did you get your start as a musician and in the music business? It’s been years in the making. I got my start in music when I was 12 years old. I was asked to perform a solo by my cousin, who was the musician at our church. My parents asked me to learn the piano when I was younger, but I didn’t actually start taking lessons until I was 12. From there, it developed into me playing trombone in the school band, and then I started singing more. I took formal lessons in high school. I eventually got a scholarship to attend Oklahoma Baptist University. I find that most musicians start at a very early age, and they progress from there. I want to ask you about your social media. You are so engaged with your audience, but I find that a lot of indie artists struggle to engage their audience. Why do you think so many people engage with you on social media? One of the things that I do is, I actually go after my followers. I think the paradigm for musicians is, we think that people are always going to follow us and seek us out. That’s not how I think. My thought is that if people don’t know, then you can’t grow. There are thousands, if not millions, of people on social media trying to get potential fans’ attention. So, I took it upon myself to follow as many people on social media during the day, in hopes that they would follow me back. It has worked so far. What I’ve heard from most indie artists is that, they don’t know what to post, or how frequent to post. They also don’t want to seem desperate for fans. How do you get over that? You have to know what your purpose is. My purpose is to bring encouragement to the listening

soul. I am not only doing that through my music but, I’m also doing that with my posts. So, my posts are about God and things that are encouraging. Initially, I started sending out encouraging emails and people loved it! So, I started collecting more encouraging quotes, and also came up with some of my own and then post them. These posts seem to resonate with a lot of people. Your posts tend to resonate with me too. I like a lot of your posts and it goes really well with the type of music you do, which is Inspirational Gospel. You recently released your third album, Favor; can you talk about what the goal behind this project is? As you said, the name of the album is, Favor. The album was produced by Jonathan Goodwin and I recorded in Nashville. He wanted to produce a slower, Praise & Worship sound. I tend to write pretty deep, and I write a lot of ballads. It was really to usher in the (Holy Spirit) and encourage people. I think that if people take a listen to (the album), they will find something that they like. Can you share some of your biggest challenges are as an artist? Like everyone else, I have my war stories. For instance, people make a lot of promises and then under deliver. [laughs] Also, trying to get my songs onto terrestrial radio is hard; and just artist development in general is hard. I’m learning a lot about how to develop a plan. I find that the biggest challenge for me has been getting my music out to people and finding places to sing. But overall, I’ve been happy because I know what my purpose is and that’s what keeps me doing it. It’s about me giving praise to God because, without Him I don’t have a gift, or anything to say. It’s truly not about me but all about Him. iae



music VS. crohn’s By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy eM

A few years ago, I met an amazing artist from Australia named, eM. Her music was very engaging and her story touched me deeper than any musician’s story has yet. Here, we discover more about the woman I have dubbed, “Australia’s Queen of EDM”. What, or who, motivated your desire to pursue a career in music? Music has always been in my life. I started singing when I was 6, played piano, clarinet then started writing songs when I was 13. Even though I’ve always had a day job I’ve never stopped writing and singing. How has your battle with Crohn’s disease helped your perspective when creating new music? Now that I am well I feel like I’m on a new creative wave and I cannot stop writing songs. During my illness there were times I couldn’t write or sing which was tough but I did learn that taking a break is actually a good thing and after not releasing anything for a year, I have plenty of material set for release in 2015!


You recently released some new music. Can you tell us what the title of the album and single is that you’re currently promoting, and what kinds of stories we can expect to hear in the songwriting? It is a single ‘When You Were Here’ with a gorgeous remix by Craig London. I wrote this song in like 30 minutes and just to had polish the production afterwards. It’s about missing someone and wishing I could ‘wake up and smile like I did when you were here’.

Why did you choose to tell your story through EDM, as opposed to some other genre? I’ve been listening to EDM since my late teens. Although I sang country & rock initially I moved into singing EDM in my 20s and started producing my own songs about 7-8 years ago. I just love the electronic vibe and I do experiment by adding piano and guitar into the mix. Like with ‘When You Were Here‘. Craig wrote the piano part which adds a pretty layer. If people take anything away from this interview, what do you want them to know about you? I’ve never given up on my passion and now that I am well, I’m full steam ahead. I have many more songs to share with the world. iae eM’s music is available on iTunes, Beatport, Juno and most music online stores. CONNECT WITH eM ONLINE AT: w w w. p r o . b e a t p o r t . c o m / a r t i s t / em/61266

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All Reviews By: Shaine Freeman (unless otherwise noted)

BITTER’S KISS | RATING: 8.3 / 10 Album: Bitter’s Kiss Genre: Singer-songwriter, Indie Pop City: New Jersey Website: Bitters Kiss is the brainchild of singer-songwriter, Chloe Baker, whose voice is among the softest and most sincere that I’ve heard in quite some time. Comparable to the vocal talents of great female singers like Sarah McLachlan, Carole King, and Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer, Chloe is a breath of fresh air amidst all the smog music that seems to be clogging the airwaves and the web these days. Of the eight (8) songs available on Bitters Kiss, the ones that stand out most to me are: “Waste Of It All”,


I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

THE MIEWS Reviews #1 Artist On Reverbnation Global Music Chart

DARRYN ZEWALK RATING: 7.5 / 10 Album: Favor Genre: Soul, Gospel, Pop Label: Soundz Records Website: Darryn Zewalk is a talented singer-songwriter whose third release, Favor, showcases his desire to uplift and inspire others through encouraging lyrics and emotional vocals. Having built a real audience of more than 120,000 social media followers who actually engage with everything he posts online, and holding the #1 spot on Reverbnations Global Music Chart (all genres included) for what will soon be an entire year, it’s safe to say that Darryn Zewalk is well on his way to becoming one of the next big stars in Gospel music. On his powerful, ballad-driven release titled, Favor, Zewalk declares his desire to please God in every area of his life. Similar to top Gospel singers like Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, and Bebe Winans, Darryn Zewalk’s sound offers a traditional spirit with hints of youthful swag. Of the 10 songs available on Favor, my favorite one is the title track because, this particular one offers a message that really speaks to the heart of any believing Christian. Darryn’s earnest plea to the Creator of all mankind, is one of humility and seeking the approval - or favor in this case - of the Almighty. The production does have an old school sound that doesn’t venture too far from the traditional sound that has made many African-American male Gospel singers so successful in their efforts to spread the message of hope through Jesus Christ. My only issue was that the producer used a pinch of Autotune on Darryn’s voice, when he clearly doesn’t need it. But this song really did speak to my soul. The rest of the album is filled with similar messages that build hope and speak of the redemption one will find through faith in Christ. But, the drawback to the album is that it’s top heavy on ballads. Oftentimes this is a turn off for young Gospel music fans. But, I don’t think Darryn’s goal was to have a ton of teenagers following his career; instead, he seems to focus more on the 35+ audience who grew up with this style of Gospel music. Nevertheless, Favor is well worth the listen, and Darryn Zewalk is well worth following and supporting.

“The Rope”, “Love Won’t Make You Cry” and “Too Far Too Fast”. I enjoyed these tracks for a variety of reasons, but for the most part, they all spoke to both the songwriter and fan in me. Each song, in it’s own unique way, opens a small window that allows us to peer into Chloe’s experiences, while still defending those moments in life which are too sacred to share with us all. I felt that I got to know Chloe a little through her music, but she left out just enough in each story to keep me wondering where the road ends. I love great songwriting that is backed by music that doesn’t overpower the singer and the message it supports. Bitters Kiss is an amazing body of work that I believe showcases Chloe’s vocal talents, while highlighting her creative writing abilities. This album is a must hear for anyone who appreciates great singers and music that is unafraid to be subtle and complimentary. Check it out below, and then buy it if you like it.

The Vigilance Committee

RATING: 8.5 / 10 Album: Exit A Hero Genre: Indie Progressive Rock City: Long Island, New York Website: www.thevigilancecommittee. Long Island, New York is a place where musicians go AWOL from the status quo everyday. The Vigilance Committee is one such group of musicians who have opted out of the mainstream and gone underground to protect their artistic freedoms. The VC’s latest release, Exit A Hero, offers a clear picture of what it means to be independently progressive as a band, and I guarantee you’ll be able to visualize every moving cog in the Committee’s audio clock. The VC’s are a rock music juggernaut whose audacious exploration challenges conventional wisdom in modern music. By using the same boldly sporadic drum beds, varying tempos, emphatic vocals, thunderous bass, and in your face guitar riffs that made bands like King Crimson so incredibly unique and amazing, The Vigilance Committee has created one of the most daring albums I’ve heard since 2015 started. As you enter the 10 track, Exit A Hero, you immediately feel the life force that The VC’s are pumping through their music. One listen to songs like, “Set The Pacific On Fire”, “Taking What’s Mine”, “Physics of Form”, “Vigilantes”, and the album’s title track “Exit A Hero”, and you’ll completely understand what I’m saying. Every musical note is as near to flawless as you can get, while the songwriting (lyrics and melodies) is well tailored to each composition on which the story rides. This is a must hear album that will plant itself firmly in your playlist if you’re a fan of progressive rock bands who have no boundaries set for their creative genius; like Smashing Pumpkins and the aforementioned King Crimson.

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RATING: 7 / 10 Album: Self-titled Genre: Indie/Rock City: New York Web:


RATING 9 / 10 Genre: Jazz Label: Motema Music Website: Joey Alexander is a piano prodigy whose talent suggests he’s been playing music for well beyond his years. The 11 year old pianist is quickly becoming one of the most respected and heralded young musicians in the world, and on May 12th, Joey will release his new album, My Favorite Things, on Harlem, NY based jazz label, Motéma Music LLC. The album offers 11 tracks of the best easy listening jazz music I’ve heard thus far in 2015; showcasing a glimpse of Alexander’s obvious and clear understanding of the genre, captured on


I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

one monstrous recording. I couldn’t choose a personal favorite from, My Favorite Things, because this whole album is literally one of my favorite things this spring, no pun intended. Each track is well produced, composed, and performed, building a strong case for Joey Alexander’s arrival as a force to be reckoned with in the world of jazz music. Painted with the brush of elegance, and polished with the fiery strokes of each piano key, My Favorite Things, could easily become both a reference point for piano instruction and a canon of youth jazz music.

When it come to jazz, Rodney Patterson has a knack for creating good vibes. His latest single, Just Relax, has a mellow groove that, like most smooth jazz tracks, can act as a calming agent when life has you flustered. Built on Patterson’s lengthy history as a musician, Just Relax is a break from all of the pop and rap music we tend to receive in abundance from mainstream broadcast outlets. From a composition perspective, Rodney’s new single shows off his ability to create on the fly. The track blends the sounds of piano/keyboard, brass, nylon guitar, and bass into an easy listening joy ride fit for the most hardcore smooth jazz enthusiast. When it comes to putting a composition together in the jazz, classical, or theatrical spaces it takes a great deal of forethought, something Rodney doesn’t seem to have rushed. In the area of performance, Rodney does a great job of trying to keep the instruments in their right orders. In some spots the drums don’t sync up exactly right with the rest of the instruments, which could be a distraction to the jazz fan who also plays instruments (like myself). But, that shouldn’t deter you from listening to and respecting Rodney’s hard work and talent because, there’s a lot of it on Just Relax to enjoy. I would recommend you take a listen to this new track from the Dallas, Texas musician and consider buying the music if you like it.

Joey is a perfect example of what happens when parents encourage children to explore their musical gifts. I couldn’t be more delighted to have had the opportunity to listen to Joey Alexander’s work and would encourage you to pre-order My Favorite Things now on iTunes, before it hits stores May 12, 2015.



RATING: 6.2 / 10 Album: Citizen of Earth Genre: Electro-Pop, Rock City: Seattle, WA Hailing from the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington is Aradia, an electro pop-rock artist whose new release, Citizen of Earth, is filled with a mix of whimsical and brash vocals that can turn you up or down, depending on the track. I found Aradia to be extremely interesting for her true DIY approach with her career because, unlike most artists these days who are calling themselves DIY just because they’re releasing music to iTunes without a record label backing them, Aradia is actually designing her own costumes and graphics, and recording and writing her own songs. Aradia is the ultimate do-it-yourselfer. As I got into Citizen of Earth, I instantly felt that she was genuinely connected to the music she created for the project. Another thing I liked about Aradia’s approach to this release was the fact that she didn’t opt to put out the typical 6 song EP. With 11 tracks to offer, Citizen of Earth gives you more of Aradia’s artistic expression and personality to connect with, so that you’re able to draft a well-rounded opinion of her music. In my opinion, the best two songs on the project are “M-Class” and “Today” because, they showcase the best of Aradia’s vocal tal-



RATING: 9.7 / 10 Album: Lakes & Seas Genre: Jazz, Flamenco, Tango Website: Cirkuszka.

RATING: 7.5 / 10 Album: The Other Side Genre: Indie Pop City: New York Web: New York indie pop artist, Lola de Hanna has a cool sound on her new EP, The Other Side. A cross between artists like Nelly Furtado, Shakira, and hints of Lisa Stansfield, Lola blends multiple genres together to form a sound that very few artists are bold enough to create. Her music is refreshing and tantalizing to the ears, and I’ve got a feeling she’s going to be around awhile if she keeps this up. There are a couple of songs that I really liked, but Lola de Hanna really shined on “A Knack For These“. I could tell she was really feeling the music production and having fun singing to it. A mash-up of the world, techno, and pop genres, this song is heavy on sass and energy with a light vocal that sits beautifully in the short breaths of the music. Some artists underestimate the importance of singing to music that compliments their voice, but as you listen to Lola you realize that she completely understands who she is as an artist and what fits her vocal range. I’d definitely recommend you check this song out if you like world music. The other songs I like are “Wings” and “Thin Air”. Both of these tracks make great neighbors for “A Knack For These,” and help The Other Side make a statement for itself. If you like artists like Shakira, Blondie, and Nelly Furtado then you’ll likely enjoy Lola de Hanna. Check her music out below.

ents. She really shines on these two tracks and should probably do more of this kind of music since the sound compliments her tone and overall approach to songwriting. The rest of the album sounded a bit forced, almost as if Aradia wasn’t feeling the music she was singing to. There were moments where she seemed uninspired by the production, and therefore lacked the enthusiasm to hold my attention. Overall, Citizen of Earth is a decent effort, and might resonate with an indigenous tribe of fans who may have grown tired of the Rihannas of the music world. If Aradia teamed up with Seattle-based electro-pop darkwave group, RxGF, and did some touring of the Northwestern states, I believe Aradia could exponentially increase her footprint and fanbase, and eventually land some of the top music festivals in her region, like Bumbershoot or the Decibel Festival. Check out her music below and see what you think.

Hungarian duo, Cirkusz-KA, has released their fourth LP, Lakes and Seas, an incredible new album that is a mix of genres and sounds influenced by a variety of cultures. You can expect to hear a heavy stream of tango, jazz, bossa nova, and folk music all coming together on this amazing new release. I am not new to the music of Cirkusz-KA, having had the privilege of reviewing their previous release, Spirit Masquerade, last year. Their sound has always been well composed and highly enjoyable to listen to, so it comes as no surprise to me that I like the Lakes and Seas LP just as much as their previous EP. Comparable to the sounds you’d hear from greats like Sergio Mendes and Susana Rinaldi (with a ligher vocal tone), Lakes and Seas, offers that special something that you’re sure to love if you have an affinity for Spanish flamenco, South American tango, and European jazz-folk music. Májusi tangó / A Dance in May, Lazy Summer Song / Lusta nyári dal, Tale from the Street / Városi mese, and The Show is Over / A műsornak vége are just a few of the great songs on CirkuszKA‘s new LP. Best described as beautiful, elegant, tasteful, and incredible, Cirkusz-KA‘s music builds an instant bond with the true music lover; one who appreciates more than popular commercial music. Cirkusz-KA describes their sound as “Acoustic DreamWorldmusic”, and they couldn’t be more correct. Each track on Lakes and Seas, helps to build a strong appreciation for the duo’s sound; like a fortress on the shores of the Balkan Peninsula. From the flamenco guitars and upright bass, to the woodwinds and xylophone, this collection of jazz-folk and Spanish inspired songs is the perfect backdrop to a romantic evening, and I hardly believe this is the last we’ll hear from Cirkusz-KA. Be sure to buy their music if you like what you hear.

I Am Entertainment | Issue 33




Siobahn Hotaling Review By: Jonny~Noel

RATING 8.8 / 10 Genre: Pop/Rock/Adult Contemporary City: Albany, NY Website: As a listener: What jumps out first you ask? Its is a tough call because everything about this EP is quite solid. The quality of the sound, lyrics, and delivery, both emotional and technical, are all strong. The EP as a whole takes you on a nice mid tempo journey through well constructed songs hitting you with moving lyrics that capture you attention such as City Lights’ “the seat next to me remains empty, except for the ghost of you”. The sound of the EP from its engineering to its concepts really enhance Siobahn’s lyrics which consistently shine through on all six songs. Her voice is never overwhelmed and the power of her words are not diminished. Her vocals possess strength in every part of each song whether it be the quiet intimate moments or climactic peaks. Her tone is crystal clear and has similarities to Taylor Swift’s voice, especially in The Way You Are. What differentiates Taylor’s and Siobahn’s voice is depth. Siobahn has more

layers to her voice which allows for a interesting listen. Its hard to pick a stand out tack as they all pose as strong contenders from Out Of My Head to current single Heart In Your Hands. For me though, the EP’s last track Back To Our Future wins. Is it single material? No. What is does possess is an emotional delivery that just outshines the other 5 tracks and ends the EP in such a way, with the great mix of electric guitar, piano, and strings, that you are left urning for more. You could not pick a better way to end a project in my opinion. It was a pure pleasure listening to Siobahn’s music and I commend her and her team for a job very well done! As a musician: This EP is great! What is most impressive is that every song feels rich in authenticity and sincerity. Siobahn conveys the emotion of every song flawlessly. You truly feel the emotion in her voice. The backgrounds really support her leads and the composition of all the songs suits her genre perfectly. My only constructive point would be that there were times I would have liked to hear the use of ad libs and some strong soaring vocals over some of the final choruses. In no way am I saying that every song needs this but a couple of songs did feel a bit light after the bridge and I think some more vocal showings injected to the right spots would have added another layer to the overall listening experience. As a vocalist I always want to hear people really sing especially when the idea is given to you in the build up/bridge of a song. Siobahn’s voice has depth and a gorgeous clarity that shine through in all parts of her voice displayed on this EP. Her voice, songwriting, and sound have won me over for sure! I just have to reiterate how great Back To Our Future is! As a recording artist myself, this song reminds me of why I love music so much: the feeling when you hear a song that takes you outside of reality where you live in the sounds and lyrics you are hearing. Its indescibable but that is the kind of moment Back To Our Future creates. It is a truly beautiful song. As a businessman After my first listen though to all six tracks it was evident that Because I Want To and Out Of My Head are the two obvious choices for adult con-

temporary radio. I think there is an opportunity for licensing for movies in the romance category. Back To Our Future probably has the strongest licensing potential in my opinion. I can easily see it being on the soundtrack of a love story themed movie such as Dear John. The instrumental is strong and fits that critical moment in a love story and the lyrics are suitable for those intimate moments. Outside of that this EP doesn’t necessarily bold well in the “commercial” world today but its a super strong project which overshadows that. Unguarded in my opinion doesn’t need commercial and movie placements to be recognized to achieve success. This EP contains great content, delivery, and sound and at the end of the day great music is what music consumers want and Unguarded is most definitely great music. Summary: Unguarded is well composed, written, sung, emoted, and engineered. What more could you want? If you want to have some mid tempo music in your library with meaningful lyrics and a beautiful clear voice to deliver those lyrics and emotions then this EP is for you! If you have to chose one song to listen to then choose Back To Our Future. Put simply everything about this project is strong. Buy this EP on March 31st! Note: Playing it safe vocally is a trend that has taken over the industry over the past few years. I want to hear singers SING! Don’t be afraid to show off your vocal abilities. If you have the talent, show it off! Take vocal risks in the studio and see what happens. Obviously, don’t over do it on every song but, find appropriate moments to enhance feelings and emotions with a long note or a cool slue of ad libs. Don’t be afraid, just sing! Below are three examples of ad libs and soaring vocals that enhanced the emotion and over all quality of the song after the bridge. Examples: Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love Mary J Blige – Be Without You One Direction – You & I

#MiewsicMonday/Tuesday on The Miews Podcast Each week, our #MusicMondays episodes feature the latest music from some of the world’s hottest independent and unsigned DIY artists and bands.The Miews podcast was created to be the broadcast derivative of our magazine’s music section. Published 2x weekly, The Miews podcast has become one of the most talked about shows in the music industry. Like I Am Entertainment, every episode of The Miews podcast features success


I Am Entertainment | Issue 33

tips and interviews with Grammy-winning musicians and top music execs; but the show offers something the magazine version can’t — music. To submit your music for airplay on The Miews podcast, send your Soundcloud or Bandcamp link to NOTE: If you are not committed to joining our email list, we are not committed to playing your music.

I Am Entertainment - Summer 2015  

Featuring Multiplatinum band, O-Town, on the cover.

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