January, 2020 | L3 Magazine ft. Tosh Alexander | Life. Love. Lyrics. | L3Magazine.com
M A G A Z I N E
Reggae Month Calendar Music Charts Music News
Editorial: Just When You Think It’s Over ... It’s Not L3 Magazine Who We Are! Hazell McKenzie Suitcase of Dreams
L3 Magazine | January | 2020 | No. 64 CEO and Editor-in-Chief
Natasha Von Castle – email@example.com
L3 Media Group Inc. – L3Magazine@hotmail.com
Music Review Editor Jennifer Menster
Emelio Lynch aka Melio Sounds
Camille aka Talent Promo | Tilsa Wright
Senior Writers & Photography
Song River | Marcus Weller | Joah Baston | Zakada Milton | Vincent Libosso | Raul Dunkley
Zakada Milton | Nova Cash | Pia Jordine | SteffyT | Mimi Mamichula | Ayeola George | Rico Vibes | Andre Gomez | Roger Lashley | Gelina aka Baby G – UK Correspondent | Michelle Parker | April Stanford | David Peters | Rohan Beckford Contributing Editor and Caribbean Affairs Editor Tricia ‘ZJ Sparks’ Spence
Contributing Editor and Music Editor Tre Carn
Director of Caribbean Promotions Keisha Pinnock
Editors Heart... Just when you think it’s over, its not. I can’t tell you how many obstacles I’ve privately faced in 2019, I can tell you they were many. I can’t tell you that the obstacles I’ve overcome had to do with an entity outside of my inner-circle, I can tell you the obstacles were created by people very close to me. So close, you would say “wait … what?!” Those of us who live in our bliss know that it’s not hard to do – we just do it. We don’t have anything extra special over the other person; we choose to dwell in our happiness and we have the belief that what we need will be provided. In a way we live in a cocoon that is maintained by our focus on our passion. The more the focus, the tighter the cocoon, the less the focus, the weaker the cocoon. The tighter the cocoon, the greater our successes and the more irritated agitators become even when they appear to be happy for our success. As tightly wrapped in my cocoon as I was, I had moments of leaving the cocoon and those were the times of being zapped with other peoples vibrations which zapped my peace and my energy. I had to cut them off. I had to refocus on me. I had to hold on to the voice within me that whispered everyday saying ‘Natasha don’t give up – recharge and go again.’ As we have beautifully landed in 2020, and we embrace the idea of 2020 vision, I encourage me, and I encourage you to not even attempt to deal with people who are not adding value to your life and not encouraging you to reach higher levels in your career. Don’t even consider their fake smiles and ulterior motivations. Stay focused; stay in your cocoon; maintain perfect vision and know your heights go beyond what the human eye can see. Share your successes on Instagram: @thesonicexecutive
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“It’s not about wanting to flood the marketplace with too much; I do like to take my time to put out quality material. From the writing to the production, everything has to be on point for me as well as the execution in the marketing of the songs and music. We’ll be picking up the pace for 2020 because of the planning and preparation we made in 2019. Naturally, I always take my time in putting out solid material”
- Tosh Alexander L3 Magazine interview page 62
featuring Tosh Alexander
Pg. 12 This year we are giving readers a look into who we are and what we do (especially behind the scenes). We are a collecive of writers and publicists who come together to promote talent within our genre, and do it in a way that, when we look back in 10 years, we are proud of the journalism! Pg. 14 to 27 Writers Pia Jordine, Vincent Libosso and Steffy T share their forecasts for 2020 which is definitely a year of vision. All three writers share a little about their personal lives and what they do behind the scenes and within the industry. Life is not as easy as our writers make it look, but together we push on because we’re doing what we LOVE to do! Pg. 32 Super producer Relle is no stranger to making hit music. To kick of 2020, he teams with Platinum Kids to jointly produce the Silent Riddim. Not only is the riddim a perfect balance between Reggae and Hip Hop, the artistic lineup of heavyhitters makes us wonder ... how did they do that?! Pg. 42 Reggae sensation Koffee made her debut in Kenya late last year at the Blankets and Wine Festival. According to our Senior Writer Vincent Libosso, Koffee was all the hype and more. She performed for her captive audience cementing her invitation to return. The young starlet is gold. On the Cover: Tosh Alexander has a few significant notches on her belt. She is one of the few Jamaican artists to work with Pharrell Williams, she’s one of the first to have a song reach 60 Million plus views on YouTube, and she’s taken her time releasing singles. Until 2020! This year Tosh will be hitting us with more EPs and we are not complaining about that! L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 9
Who We Are, What We Do, And Why! By: Team L3
L3 Magazine was created and founded by Editor-in-Chief Natasha Von Castle. In 2007 when it started, finding publications that shined a light on Selectors and Reggae DJs was the most difficult feat – Natasha aimed to change that. Focusing on the men and women who make Reggae parties rock, Natasha set out to interview the who’s who and publish those interviews. People like Richie Feelings, Black Reaction and Ron Nelson graced the cover. L3 Magazine grew. Today, some of the best journalists and writers around the world interview influential people in Music (not just Reggae), Beauty, Fashion, Business and the Arts. Our publication is read by 100,000 readers per year and is rated by the industry for our responsible approach towards the subjects featured. As you can imagine, it takes a team to make L3 work. Several writers are located around the world and have the freedom to contribute content they think readers will enjoy. They are not told what to write about, so the publication comes together organically with the aim to promote! If you’re an independent artist, an entrepreneur or a person of interest, we want you. A common complaint we receive asks ‘why doesn’t L3 come out every month?’ The short answer is not enough time. Turning around a 70 to 80-page quality publication is not as easy as it looks, and, we work outside of L3. We are a collective of writers who contribute to the magazine because we want our readers to know about great talent. What’s more, many of our writers are hired to work on individual campaigns for artists or event producers, and some work for record labels and management. Working the industry within the industry gives us unique insight which is what allows you to enjoy our content so forgive our revolving release dates. There is no better way for you to know who some of our writers are than to introduce you! Here’s a partial look at members of the team who bring L3 together. We also share some of our forecasts of what will come in 2020 – the year of perfect vision! Connect with us anytime for a feature or to say ‘hello’: L3Magazine@hotmail.com L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 13
Pia Jordine Music - Lifestyle - Interest By: Pia Jordine When I was asked to write an article about my 2019 journey and what my 2020 is looking like, I was rather flattered yet, nervous. While it’s was an eventful one I felt the need to share how has my transition been being a Jamaican visiting the U.S back and forth like a kid to now officially living here in New York little over a year as an adult. I felt compelled to share the “real journey” which was an anxious one for me as I’ve experienced anxiety attacks, rebranding phase, career networking but most importantly finding the niche to adjust to my new-found home. I’ve always known myself to be an optimist, a-get-it-done -type -of -girl- by -all -means -possible, but when my career took a short halt due to my anxiety attack it became real to me I had to slow down, assess my situation, learn to not want all the success at once but being prepared to accept it all and putting in the hard work. Having a career in PR I’ve never had a mentor, nor seen it first hand as a career path living and doing it in Jamaica compared to New York. I found a host of young women maximizing their skills and talent into their own PR company and that I found intriguing and super inspiring. For me, I questioned my place in the “big apple” and doubting my capabilities as I had no sense of direction. For some reason, my skillset and aggressive nature were no more. I shut down. Many people believed in me more than I did myself. I’ve gotten opportunities, with hip hop and afrobeat artiste but somehow, I felt that my anxiety was getting the best of me. It never dawned on me to look at how far I’ve come until my friend said to me “Pia every step closer to getting better in your career, give thanks and be appreciative of the journey.” This statement resonated with me. I put it in full effect; I went back to the drawing board and I took an aggressive approach. My MacBook, iPhone and note pad became my best friends again. Rebranding who Pia Jordine is and what she truly represents became the focus. I started revamping my social media pages, I rebranded my logo, my company’s name and my directions as a PR. I became humble and hungry for knowledge. It is evident to me now, more than before, that things are done differently in Jamaica than in the U.S. Since then, a lot of things started falling in place. What was important to me was branding, redirecting my focus for my audience to one, follow me with a purpose, and two following my journey as I evolve as a person building my career.
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I put myself in position, and in a place where my ultimate goals are. Call me Dora the explorer but I was going to places and events to connect and communicate and be in spaces with the industry heavyweights. I was ok being the only black woman in the room, and I was ok being an island gal from Jamaica. It was important for me to stand out and not conform. I am a proud Jamaica woman who represents brand Jamaica which I’ve made transparent through my accent. I’ve seen it countless times how much my country starts a conversation whether through music food or vacation spots so why not capitalize on that?! I see myself endorsing my country and waving the flag highly to collaborate brands and artistes to its full potential. I consider myself a Jill of a few trades from video production, writer to publicist. 2020 would be the year I will be dabbling more on being in front of the camera rather than behind, creating a team to create and execute campaigns and understand that it’s ok to execute and not focus on doing it alone but trust in other people ‘s expertise. 2019 for me was a lesson learned, it taught me how to be humble again amid my highs and lows. Connect with Pia on Instagram: @piajordine In 2019 Pia brough you: Noise Cans - Front Cover Interview (April, 2019) Album Launch - \jah Cure - Mist in Harlem, NY 9mile Music festival - Miami Grace Jerk fest in Miami & Nyc Grammy weekend Hot 97 Summer Jam Hot 97 On The Reggae Tip What’s Next?! An Ebook called the ‘Broke Artiste Bible’ (Worksheet for Artiste, Musicians, Management and Publicity Firms). The book contains valuable nuggets to advance your career by changing your artistic mindset and being optimistic by taking actionable steps on a minimal budget. Pia was also featured on the Love yourself podcast by Dasha. She talked about career, living in New York and relationships.
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Photo of: Cheyenne Sapphire
Vincent Libosso Music - Fashion - Art By: Vincent Libosso 2019 has been a whirlwind for me. I have had immense obstacles and challenges on my path but I feel I have grown tremendously. Honestly a part of me can not wait for it to end, yet another part of me knows too well much of what happens in a year is unpredictable. But with 2019 a page swipe away, there are a few things that can confidently be recapped as we welcome a new decade, the year 2020. Concerts We Loved 1. Buju Banton’s Long Walk to Freedom concert on March 16, 2019 was more than a homecoming for the legendary star. What We Said: “As I watched Buju perform, I was overwhelmed with symbolism. His all-white suit symbolic of what Christians wear when they are baptised. DJ Khaled leading him on stage reminded me of John The Baptist leading Jesus to be baptised. 2.Chronixx and Zincfence Redemption Band Light Up Kampala Pulse Jam Fest What We Said: “Snaking our way into the Sheraton Gardens in Kampala Uganda, it was clear this was no ordinary reggae show. Chronixx has quietly built his own movement and we have been a witness to that, bracing a 13-hour bus ride from Nairobi to be here.” 3.Nairobi’s Safaricom International Jazz Festival What We Said: “The beauty of the festival for me is a discovery element. You might have gone to see your favourite act, but you will have left with a plethora of new favourites and an education in what Jazz music is, its elements and how it affects every person who encounters it.” On a Sad Note: Bob Collymore, the jazz-loving CEO of Safaricom and the man who was heavily behind the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, died of cancer on Monday, 1 July 2019. He was 61 years old. L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 19
4. Reggae Soulful Star Etana Returns to Nairobi What We Said: “Unlike her earlier concerts in Nairobi alongside Tarrus Riley in 2012 and Richie Spice and Luciano in 2017, The Strong One returns on this tour as a sole headliner. The millennials queen of Reggae, Etana has placed another historic accomplishment under her belt as well being first female reggae artiste to sit on top of the Billboard chart twice and acquire a Grammy nomination for her album.” Albums We Loved 5. Burna Boy - “African Giant.” When he billed a loud and clear memo to Coachella 10 months ago that he would not accept the tiny writings marginalisation, we thought he was too much. 2019 is almost over and yet his album continues to appeal to every audience, inspiring pride and poising his place as truly the African Giant of Afro-pop music. 6. Busy Signal - “Parts Of The Puzzle” Busy Signal has long been poised for a crossover moment and I believe with this multi-genre album, Busy Signal’s album is splendid hour of jams. 7. Morgan Heritage - “Loyalty” We had longed for the return of the iconic ‘Rockaz’ sound from the Royal Family of Reggae Music. Loyalty truly delivers the Morgan Heritage sound that fans recognize as ‘Rockaz’ with a heavenly embrace and paying homage to their African and Jamaican roots. 8. Christopher Martin - “And Then” The well put together and well produced summer bop album remains a favourite. 9. Bugle - “Picture Perfect” He remains one of those artists who I can not wait for the world to wake up to! His third studio effort is just uplifting, 10. Julian Marley - “As I Am” Julian ‘Juju’ Marley 17-track album is a true reflection of who he really is musically and why his music gathers people in love. Wait ... there’s more!
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Styles We Loved 11. Nairobi’s Thrift Social: Africa’s Biggest Fashion Market What We Said: “Thrift Social Tye and Dye Edition was an absolute banger of an event. A free spirited Sunday spent dancing to fantastic tunes, feasting on good food, fashion, culture and mingling with locals and tourists.” 12. Front Cover feature Of The Month: David “Avido” Ochieng - Fashion From Nairobi Kenya What We Said: “David ‘Avido’ Ochieng’s African inspired clothing have caught the eyes of both local and international personalities including G Money, Nasty C, Talia Oyando, Tarrus Riley, Bank Slave, Naiboi, Kelissa, Chronnix, Cecile, Ty Dolla $ign, Christopher Martin, Romain Virgo and recently Richie Spice.” Destinations We Loved 13. Kampala Uganda My Pick: Tweny Benjamin is Kampala’s third eye. His passion for photography started at a tender age and he expressed it through drawing. “I actually shoot everything I find appealing to the eye, but to be precise, I look at shadows, the sun rays, and the framing,” he once explained of his inspiration in photography. You can follow him on Twitter #UgPhotographer @twenymoments. He also occasionally Instagrams – you can follow him here: TwenyMoments. 14. Jinja, Uganda - Nyege Nyege Festival Why We Love It: Set in a breathtaking forest on the shores of the Source of the mighty River Nile, perfect for a swim or spiritual contemplation, as well as wild river rafting and other fun things, Nyege Wonderland is full of pathways and hidden corners which it makes it a perfect site. 15. Nairobi’s Reggae In The Sun Event Why We Love It: Nairobi is a city bustling with sounds. To hear some of the best roots reggae bands, artists and deejays to come out of Nairobi you have to make a date with Reggae In The Sun! ... still more! L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 23
Rising Acts We Loved This Year 16. Naomi Cowan The multi-talented ‘Paradise Plum’ sings, writes and plays the guitar. 17. Cathy Matete Cathy Matete is a Kenyan reggae vocalist full of soul and passion. She produces some of the sweetest melodies you will ever hear live and recorded. 18. Zlatan 2019 dance craze of the year was from the Nigerian Zanku’ originator Zlatan. Finally... 19. As 2019 has closed and a new decade beckons, it is such a great month for the culture. Christopher Martin, Eric Donaldson and Luciano are returning to the 254 Nairobi. Kenya. Koffee has also earned her debut Kenyan performance slot and we can not wait for her rapture! - Embukane Libosso is your part-time foodie, a keen events reporter and an expert at all things cool @theeventskahuna Events Covered by Vincent: Blankets and Wine Concert – Kenya Koroga Festival – Kenya African Mardi Gras – Kenya Pulse Jam Fest – Uganda Safaricom International Jazz Festival – Kenya
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Ms. Steffy T Art - Music - Fashion By: Ms. Steffy T 2020 is here and I am happy and thankful to be alive and healthy! 2019 was an amazing year for me; I was able to create art that inspired me, and by extension as I have been told, that same art inspired others. It has been rewarding to sell my art, knowing people are connecting with the pieces. Making them available on canvass, card stock and metal (the mediums) has also played a role in how art lovers connect with the pieces. Then I made even more art! It has been a labour of love creating over 300 avantgarde / artistic makeup looks in one year. One flattering highlight was being noted as one of the “Top 20 MUAS to look for in 2020,” by Viewereel. Being in the top 20 means people are expecting more this year and I will deliver! To kick off 2020, I will be doing an exclusive popup event! The Artistic Collective TRAPXART (@trapxart / @trapxarttoronto) invited me via Instagram to participate in their edgy popup event and party. It’s a one night only showcase at The Boat in Kensington Market, in downtown Toronto, which will see a collective of local artists exhibiting and selling their work and merchandise. My popup, will showcase a brand new collection of pieces, consisting of acrylic pouring / mixed media with gold leafing; along with one of a kind and unreleased paper designs, my limited edition tote bag, and some other unique surprise pieces as well! Another little fun flattering highlight coming this year is my feature in an article titled, “World, meet Steffy T!” The feature is in SPENCER Magazine, and the article is written by Demi Theo. If nothing else, 2019 has shown me what can happen when we believe in ourselves, surround our talent with people who believe in us, and wrap that in prayers to the Universe. The result of those three things are amazing things happening – it’s commonly called magic! Definitely look out for more hot music and more hot charts with ‘Work Your Waistline’ on L3Magazine.com! I am looking forward to L3 reaching new heights and having an even broader reach and impact. I’m blessed to be able to fill my world with so many rich and diverse projects. And I hope 2020 brings everyone health, wealth and the same fulfillment and joy as I have creating. @mssteffyt L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 27
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Out NOW! MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - L3â€™s NEW - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC
Out NOW! MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - L3â€™s NEW - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC
Vybz Kartel To Tanesha
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Music We Love The A-Teamâ€™s
Silent Riddim By: Natasha Von Castle | L3 Magazine
Rellee Hayden and his A-Team are hitting the airwaves loud with 2020’s newest riddim release entitled ‘The Silent Riddim.’ Inspired by “Wait (The Whisper Song)” by the Ying Yang Twins released in 2005, the A-Team outfit collaborates with Paul Platinum to make this riddim raunchy, raw and perfect for Dancehall, dance crews and lovers wanting to turn up the dial in the bedroom. Sonically, the riddim focuses on the musicalization of beats from the 808, finger clicks and the high-hat cymbal. This serves as the perfect backdrop for each artists lyrical flow. Known for producing hit records for Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Notorious BIG, Usher and Mary J. Blige, Rellee’s ear for blending musical genres is world renowned and trusted by artists of all backgrounds, including those from his native Jamaica. The 10-track riddim features a stellar line up of artists such as Tifa, Spragga Benz, Darrio, and Shawn Ice. Each artist who performs cannot help but get raw the moment the beat drops. Ranging in topic from bedroom antics to the physique of a beautiful woman to the return of a good man, it’s clear that the x-rated dialog between couples is well represented. Balancing the production experience of Rellee is partner Paul Platinum who, alongside his brother Markus, has created a musical empire designed for fans who love music. The duo created a movement that started in the Bronx with customized theme parties attracting thousands of patrons. Using their knowledge of what fans like to hear, the duo co-created music for the Reggae / Dancehall landscape, which was well received and streamed, all while guiding the career of Dancehall Star Aidonia. There’s no doubt that Paul Platinum’s knowledge of a radio successful record and a street successful record give he and Rellee a competitive advantage. Paul Platinum of Platinum Kids has produced past projects including the Snake Wine Riddim and the Fat Kat Riddim. Both producers garnered success and are deemed to have a cutting edge and innovative approach to sound and production. L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 33
Music We Love Hitmaker and his
By: Emelio ‘Melio Sounds’ Lynch | L3 Magazine
Kedon “Hitmaker” Whyte is a well-known upcoming, yet established artist, also known for his popular productions as one of Dancehall A-lister producers. Hitmaker was born in Jamaica’s Capital and musical blooming city, Kingston, where at the age of 16 Hitmaker started developing his Artistry as an Artist and began his musical path as a career. After High School the young Artist went on to complete a one year crash course on the Performing Arts at the Exced Community College, and after leaving college the young DJ fully emerged himself into his musical career. He recorded his first buzzing single “No Fren” in June 2009 on his own Label, HitmakerMuzik / Pablo Productions that caused fellow producers and radio disc jocks began to sit up and pay attention . Spending most of his time in the studio, Hitmaker also makes time to network; whether online utilizing social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or on the road doing his own street marketing. Wearing two hats; he produces and song writes for well known artists and up and coming talents looking for a ‘buss.’ As a Producer and Engineer, Hitmaker puts nothing out except quality productions. Projects such as chart topping compilations “Seduction Riddim” has captured various media outlets; worldwide radio, social media, Magazines, and T.V. The Riddim was nominated for “Riddim of the Year” at the M.I.A Awards and continues grabbing attention up to now. Popular titles off the compilation include: Tiana “Broad Out,” Hitmaker “Da Look Deh,” Demarco “Apartment,” and Kalado’s hit single “Bring Life.” As if that wasn’t enough, Hitmaker hit them again with the Skin to Skin Riddim, followed by the Intercourse riddim with the dancehall giant Bounty Killer. The song “Wet Weather” was a undeniable hit. Additional releases that made waves are the Fornication Riddim and Hitmaker Muzik Hits Vol. 1. The latter peaked at #5 on the iTunes Reggae Top 200 charts. As an artist his style, lyrics and flow can be identified with the likes of the new era DJs / Sing-jays in Dancehall and Reggae’s New Generation. The song “Every Night” earned Hitmaker his first 1 Million views video on YouTube in its first week of release and then doubled in size the week after. Look for more hot singles like “Body Language” and “Back Challenge” as well as “Styla.” Hitmaker is bound to be a success in the Dancehall and Reggae industry. L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 35
Music We Love Yazmin Soul
Yazmin’s Turn By: Rohan Beckford | L3 Magazine
Yazmin Soul is the newest female phenomenon to grace the microphone in soul music. Growing up the daughter of a member of the Drifters (a popular 50s-70s American doo-wop and R&B group), having a mother who briefly sang in an all female group and being the youngest of 5 siblings, Yazmin grew up surrounded by all genres of music. Although she is influenced by artists such as Dionne Warwick, Jasmine Sullivan, and Jennifer Hudson, Yazmin is proud to have developed her own style flipping hip hop songs and making her own print on them with her melodic voice and uncontested melodies. Yazmin has a deliberate and purposeful goal to leave an enduring LEGACY in the world of music. Her experience in the off Broadway play “What About Your Friends” helped her gain the confidence to accept her artistry and pursue a career in the music business. Yazmin is currently working on her mixtape entitled “Yazmin’s Turn” (CROWD CONTROL) which is expected for release later this year. Passionate and determined she is looking to make waves with her raw, uncut and honest approach on tracks (industry and original). To date she has performed with numerous artists throughout Virginia, North Carolina and New York. She has won open mic contests and has performed at shows in Baltimore, as well as the Good Music Festival Hampton, VA. Yazmin participated in the Making a Difference Obama fundraiser in Brooklyn which generated a little over $12K and was personally greeted and thanked by Brooklyn’s district leader Robert Cornergy. Performing at “District 35” for city council woman Letitie James for her fundraiser garnered high praise for her performance, and she has been a featured artist for one of New York City’s most prosperous open mics “R&B Love Jonz” hosted by renowned NYC promoter Adante Ace. As Yazmin sails into 2020, she looks back at her biggest achievement last year which was performing on the world renowned Apollo Theater stage and being featured on Donny Klang (FROM MTB seasons 3-4) DJ’S website (WWW.DJSWIVET.COM/YAZMINSOUL). Next up is her EP titled “Yazmin’s Turn” which she hopes to release in late October. L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 37
Music We Love Nia Orea
Musician & DJ By: Pia Jordine | L3 Magazine
Why is Nia Orea unconventional you may ask? One, she is a music producer and there are not many females in such a career space, and two, being a Jamaican born music producer, Nia doesn’t box her creative space into producing only Reggae and Dancehall genres as expected. She is meticulous in creating music and sound outside the realm of Reggae and Dancehall and being different came naturally to her. Nia Orea created an avenue to produce tracks likes EDM, Hip hop, Trap, Pop and Future Brass. These genres were introduced to her when she migrated to London, England where she was exposed to a melting pot of cultures and sounds as a little island gal out of Jamaica. None the less, she was an optimist, took the initiative to live, love and capitalized on her new-found home. Singing in the school choir and playing musical instruments were embedded in her at an early age; not to mention, having a musically inclined family growing up. Celebrities walking in and out of her home was second nature. Thanks to her uncle, Don Taylor Bob Marley’s former manager, hearing the loud thumping music and instruments vibrating the walls of her home excited her and gave her the urge to do something in music. When the opportunity was given, she indulged in studying music and media when she secured a job with BBC Radio. Thereafter she earned a diploma in audio engineering and kick-started a career in music production. The British raised recording producer, musician and DJ, produced a recent track called Fly So, a high tempo dance feel good music Fly So creates a dance movement on the viral scene. “Sticks”. The introduction of the riddim starts off as a horror movie with sounds of xyclone leaving you in suspense until the drums drop! You would be blown away; your heads would be nodding and your face would get intense with how to impress you would be with this hip-hop track. Prior to that, she released her EP called “Gift” with her top single called “Colours” followed by “Budda” which got featured on EDM Joy. “Mythical”, her EP earned the attention of AWAL, a British record label under the Kobalt Music Group, which signed her, and Spotify, which invited her to be part of its Secret Genius Program, only offered to songwriters and producers, to receive access to the latest studio equipment, as well as the opportunity to connect with each other and collaborate on future projects. L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 39
Music We Love The ‘Doktor!’
Musician & DJ By: Pia Jordine | L3 Magazine
Doktor refutes the claims that 90s dancehall is not dead yet thriving, despite naysayers saying it’s watered down. The British artist who channels his Jamaican heritage has exuded a longstanding musical influence on the London scene with his dancehall flavor and it’s no secret he is an advocate for the culture. His eclectic vocal style ranges from smooth and sensual R&B fusing with a flair of dancehall making his songs easy on the ears. Doktor puts his focus solely on his career by dropping his new track called ‘Action.’ Produced by DOT INC and PRGRSHN (WSTRN), ‘Action’ takes the positivity and life-affirming fun of the ‘90s dancehall scene and applies that island flavor to a track that’s fresh and vital to 2019. “90s dancehall was a pivotal part of me growing up in Jamaica,” says Doktor. “With this single, I wanted to recreate and reference a few dancehall classics that everybody knows and loves. ‘90s dancehall was all about good vibes, dancing and having fun, and with this video, I wanted to capture just that.” The intoxicating fusion of London swag and dancehall vibes has the perfect crossover to appeal to the dance-floor and playlists alike. That authentic cocktail of Jamaican roots and modernist British productions has created a catalog of uptempo, feel-good dancehall that connects with both the domestic scene and a wider global audience. The video reflects the same vibe. Directed by Eric Myers for Media Worx (Russ, Tion Wayne, Ms. Banks) opens with a sweeping shot of London’s iconic skyline then moves to Doktor delivering a charismatic performance in the back streets of Wapping with the help of a crew of dancers. And as night turns to the day, the action heats up as it switches to some sweltering club scenes. An entirely independent artist, Doktor has been featured on numerous tracks which have hit huge numbers, with 11 million streams for the all-star collab ‘Feelin U’ as well as millions more for collabs with Flux Pavilion (‘International Anthem’), Sigma (‘RudeBoy’) and DJ Friction (‘Mad In The Jungle’). He also featured on Lokate’s ‘Flow’, which the leading football app Otro used as the soundtrack for their 2018 ad campaign which starred numerous icons such as David Beckham, Lionel Messi, and Neymar. L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 41
Concert Love Blankets & Wine
Photo Credit: @SlumPhotography
Koffee in Kenya By: Vincent Libosso | L3 Magazine
It’s hard to believe it has been more than a decade of the best in live music, fun, friendship, day drinking and the ultimate Nairobi Sunday plan, but that really is how long the event Blankets And Wine has been vibing together with us. We make our way to the stage to secure our spaces. The crowd is diverse and it just hits you once more this may just have been another “where were you when” moment in Kenyan live music and events history. Storming on stage a few minutes past 3pm, fashion blogger turn musician is Kash Kaaria, an opening act. She throws herself right into the set backed by her amazing band, before breaking into well synchronized routines with her dancers. Commanding the stage with every song and quick wardrobe changes. She ends by saying “Thank you for being a part of this dream come true.” The crowd appreciated her humility. Pop group, Sauti Sol’s keyboardist, Mutoriah and Tha Movement reaffirm something: his good voice and how good he sounds live. With a set like that, creating live music on the spot, it is hard to cancel on this artiste. Even the rains can’t get the crowd to shelter when he is performing. Muthoni Drummer Queen (MDQ) walks by us as we are dancing on the rain on her own event cheering Tha Movement, which only adds to her down-to-earth, humble attitude. Backed by a super band and wooing a younger audience especially filled with lots of female fans, Sauti Sol’s newest production outfit in town from their ‘Legacy Project’ – Sol Generation eccentric delivers. Nviiri The Storyteller, Bensoul, their cock mascot and Kaskazini erupt. These next frontier of show men leave a heartfelt impact. Phones wielded in the air, Chimano and Mudigi from Sauti Sol jump on stage and the party extravaganza unfolds. Offering Marijuana thoughts with a mild but charismatic delivery, Bensoul can really sing, play the drums and guitar too. Before welcoming Fena on stage, MDQ vote of thanks is quite short and sweet. A woman in music and live events enters a culture that is dominated by men – but from MDQ, hailing Justin, Flora and Maleen, inspires young women to get involved in the music industry.
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Photo Credit: @seethrusolomon
Photo Credit: @afribuni
Photo Credit: @afribuni
Photo Credit: @The_Mentalist
Photo Credit: @shemobara
“Be your brother’s keeper and do not be silent when you see a lady being harassed,” she urges before Fena takes the stage. Rocking a yellow African print jumpsuit, Fena slowly builds her performance with crowd’s sing-along tracks. She is quick to remind us of her of new album, ‘Unleashed,’ and why we cant sleep on it, 1o years later since she got into music. Hyping the crowd with a flowing themed dancehall and reggae dubplates, veteran broadcaster G Money warms up. By this point the venue is ready for the star of the evening. From this moment on, the crowd is singing along to the songs and G Money picking the right moment, ushers in fellow South Londoner, Koffee’s official deejay and Grime rapper, Stormzy’s sister, Rachael Anson. Koffee started right after 10pm. The teenage sensation delivered her debut Kenya performance. Dressed by Kenyan designer, Avido, in an African print patterned shorts and a matching jacket, her blonde-tipped dreadlocks pulled away from her face, Koffee confidently strode on stage singing ‘Burning’ to resounding applause from the capacity crowd. To be honest, while we initially were looking forward to hearing her songs with a fleshed out live band, Koffee still killed it; I’m grateful I got to hear the impressive young singer perform in such a raw state, hype other acts Jamaican and UK dancehall songs and call out fans from the crowd to dance on stage with her.
Photo Credit: @seethrusolomon
Thanking herself and finishing of with “Toast,” the crowd went nuts, and Koffee looked overwhelmed and moved by all the support. She had to do ‘Toast’ again. The venue erupted! L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 45
Books We Love Hazell McKenzie
Suitcase of Dreams By: SoUnique | L3 Magazine
‘Suitcase of Dreams’ explores Hazell’s transition to life in the US as an adolescent Caribbean immigrant and all the growing pains, trauma and subsequent battles with various mental health challenges that followed and led to her eventual path of triumph.
The success of the book has been a phenomenal and humbling experience for the author. She shared, “Since its release the outpour of support for the book and for me has been amazing. I’ve received so much positive feedback from readers and even professional book reviewers.” Some readers have said “Suitcase of Dreams is an incredibly affecting, beautiful story of perseverance in the face of hardships and of overcoming obstacles that seemed insurmountable at the time. I think it will give hope and inspiration to anyone who reads it.” Another wrote “The characterization is good. I felt like I got a vivid picture of everyone, and I felt very emotionally invested in her story.” A third reader mentioned “The character development is excellent. Changes in people that take place over long periods of time are portrayed well.” With its easy to read flow and diverse yet relatable topics ‘Suitcase of Dreams’ has intrigued readers globally, promoted a positive message about mental health and has become a useful tool in initiating conversation about this subject with individuals and within communities who would have otherwise been hesitant to speak about these very real struggles. The book has also raised Hazell’s profile as an already in demand public speaker on mental health. She was recently selected as a panellist at the ‘Women On Fire Conference’ in Philadelphia and has been requested for some appearances at upcoming events. Along with the book’s success, this year Hazell has also graduated Binghamton University, New York with a Master of Social Work and is currently working as a substance abuse therapist. Additionally, she is creating a prototype for the first ever social work smart doll called ‘AdamaDOLL’ which is geared to detect signs of sexual abuse in children. As a proud Caribbean-American woman and author, Hazell is presently planning several book signing events and a 2020 book tour. www.amazon.com/Suitcase-Dreams-Hazell-McKenzie-ebook/ L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 47
Events We Love Reggae Month
Calendar of Events By: Jennifer Menster | L3 Magazine
Twenty-nine days of Roots Rocking Live Reggae day and night activities set to bring REGGAE MONTH FEBRUARY 2020 ALIVE….in Jamaica and fed across the world. The Hon. Olivia Babsy Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in collaboration with the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism and its partners JARIA , Tourism Enhancement Fund and JHTA, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, jointly present Reggae Month 2020!
The designated month sees multiple sectors join in the celebration of all things Reggae ranging from the Entertainment, Cultural and Creative industries, Tourism and Business Partners, the International and Diaspora Community, Education – through Universities, Colleges and High schools, Musicians, Artiste, Event Planners, Dis jockeys, Cruise partners, Entrepreneurs, Media fraternity and the public at large. Brand Reggae has been acknowledged as a powerful tool and measurable instrument by the corporate sector and significant contributor to our GDP. February 2020 will see a plethora of exciting events and activities on show right across Jamaica to highlight the strength and importance of the Cultural and Creative industries such as Live Music Showcases that honours our icons, the Reggae University Sessions, Conferences, The 2ND staging of the Reggae Golden Award Show, JARIA Industry Awards Show and Grounation Series adds to the authenticity of the genre that was born in Kingston, Jamaica that so many other nations have tried to adopt.” City Kingston as a designate UNESCO Creative City will benefit from the activities starting with an Official Reception event in Florida embraced for the first time by the diaspora community in conjunction of Black History Month awareness followed by the official Church service, Opening of the Jamaica Jamaica Reggae Exhibition at the National Gallery, REGGAE GOSPEL CONCERT, BOB MARLEY BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, DENNIS BROWN FLORAL TRIBUTE and CONCERT, Children of the Icons Tour stop in Montego Bay, Falmouth, Mandeville and Port Antonio. Brand Reggae achieved its inscription as Jamaica’s intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2018 will see several members also visiting Jamaica at the invitation of the Government of Jamaica. Several other key industry partners have endorsed Reggae Month including the Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB), the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and the Diaspora Community International Community. L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 49
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Music We Love Work Your Waistline
Energy Tracks For a Fit Body!
Images by Robin Claire originally created for LargeUp.com
By: Steffy T for L3 Magazine Winter ... the time of year where staying indoors is preferred because we want to escape the cold, has turned into staying in doors to keep our body fit! This monthâ€™s playlist will ensure that your waistline is fit and taught when Spring rolls through in 2 months. Hang in there!
Skiibii - Omaema Fireboy & DML - Jealous Vybz/Afro B/Dre Skull - Shape Nice AfroB & Busy Signal - Go Dance Burna Boy - Anybody Juls ft. Eugy, Kojo Funds, Not3s - Bad Wande Coal + DJ Tunez - Iskaba Wagon Cookin - Desejo ( Atjazz Remix ) Wizkid - Ojuelegba (prod by. Legendary Beats) Migosy - Skyline (Rancido Deep Journey Main Mix) L3 Magazine | January, 2020 ft. Tosh Alexander - Pg. 53
TOP DIGITAL SPINS - JANUARY, 2020
L3’s Top 20 Independent Spins 01. Koffee – Toast 02. Busy Signal – Stay So 03. Stylo G – Dumplin ft. Sean Paul and Spice 04. Dexta Daps x Masicka – Leader 05. Skillibeng – Brik Pon Brik 06. Vybz Kartel – World Government 07. Buju Banton – Trust 08. Govana – Up Front 09. Trinidad Killa – Gunman in She Hole 10. Shenseea – Limited Edition 11. Davido ft. Popcaan – Risky 12. Shenseea – Foreplay 13. Kemar Highcon – So Saucy (Remix) ft. Shaggy & Spice 14. Kranium – In Charge 15. Jesse Royal – Lion Order ft. Protoje 16. Noah Powa – No Stress 17. Mortimer – Lightening 18. Tosh Alexander – Games 19. Busy Signal – Cock Soup 20. Skip Marley ft. H.E.R. – Slow Down *Charts are based on radio airplay in Canada / YouTube Views / Live Event Selection Fan Feedback
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JANUARY, 2020 MOST WATCHED VIDEO’S
L3 Magazine’s Top Music Video’s 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Vybz Kartel - Then You and Me Vybz Kartel – World Government Buju Banton - Trust Skillibeng - Brik Pon Brik Govana - Up Front Shenseea - Foreplay Shenseea - Limited Edition Magneto - Likkle Addi x Likkle Vybz x Vybz Kartel Tommy Lee - Under Vibes Masicka - Image Blazing Video - Tamo J - Fake Smile *Based on recent YouTube views
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Tosh Alexander ‘No Games!’
By: Natasha Von Castle | Photography: Aliano Harris
Tosh Alexander was born to sing and entertain. Named after Peter Tosh because of his voice and songwriting, Tosh has amassed a catalog of music that keeps audiences entertained for hours. Her uptempo bubbly persona shines in her music (and videos), and her witty lyrics are so catchy, you can’t help but sing the punchline with her. Tosh is beautiful in the recording booth and in the boardroom. If you felt you weren’t getting enough of her musically, you’re not the only one and Tosh addresses her fans regarding more music. She’s put a team in place who are assisting with her music’s execution, ie, getting more of her music to you. This is Tosh, and this is how 2020 is looking!
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NVC: Tosh! When many of us first met you, we did so through your Christmas project called “An Island Christmas” and you have fans who knew you long before that. Do you ever laugh at the thought of you being called a ‘new artist?!’ TA:
Yes and no. I understand that there are some people who know my career from its beginning, and there are some who are just getting to know me now. It’s cool. Not everyone is going to know all that I have done – some people will hear me for the first time on the radio in Florida with a song like “Bubble,” and some will hear me for the first time in New York with “No Games.” Others will hear me for the first time in California with “Ready Fih Dem.” I interact with fans where they are. One thing I do know is once they become a fan, they get to know all of my music!
NVC: You were ‘major’ before your Christmas EP. You have a song with Busta Rhymes and Nicki Minaj called “Twerk It.” The track was produced by Pharrell – this is HUGE! Tell us how that track came about? TA:
The “Twerk It” track came about because I had worked with Pharrell and Busta on prior projects and so he wanted to release his new single with a Jamaican act on it so he called me and we linked up and this was the song. It was challenging because I didn’t want to be so raw on the track – I didn’t feel it was authentic enough, but, we vibed and they loved it so the song became a single and I’m glad it did. The fans definitely love it!
NVC: Your sound can be defined as Dancehall with a sprinkling of Pop. Another definition is infectious! What are some of the musical themes that inspire you when you write, and before you go into the studio?! TA:
You know musical themes don’t necessarily inspire me; I’m inspired by life. I soak up a lot of what’s going on around me. I was raised in both Jamaica and the States so that type of exposure and travel encouraged me to write and sing about what I see as opposed to writing by a ‘theme.’
NVC: With non-stop consistency, you’re blessing us with music. 2018 we got the infectious single “Bubble,” then 2019 we got “Games” which is based on Serani’s track “No Games.” Your musical pace is keeping fans intrigued. Is that the intent … don’t flood the marketplace with too much too soon? TA:
It’s not about wanting to flood the marketplace with too much; I do like to take my time to put out quality material. From the writing to the production, everything has to be on point for me as well as the execution in the marketing of the songs and music. We’ll be picking up the pace for 2020 because of the planning and preparation we made in 2019. Naturally, I always take my time in putting out solid material.
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NVC: Another element we’ve noticed about you is your balance. You fill a large stage as easily as you fill a smaller stage. You are poised and eager to connect with fans. Is this a correct assessment? TA: When I was doing artist development, performance class was a part of development. Whether performing for 2 people or 5,000 people, we were taught that you have to give your all. You don’t know who that one person is in the audience who’s listening. Regardless of who’s in the audience, as an entertainer, you have to take your craft seriously. This is something I try to get better at. I have to connect with the people who have come to see me perform. They’re supposed to feel who I am and know my musical personality – so yes, I must connect with fans every time I take the stage. NVC: Shifting from the stage to the pen. Lyrically you seem to be having fun with the way your lyrics tell the story of the song. Yes?! What are your earliest memories with telling a story through song? TA:
I remember writing songs in grade 5 (Tosh laughs)! I wrote about frivolous stuff – my life with my friends – silly things that meant a lot at the time. I won’t sing the song for you, but I remember every word! What I would do after writing the songs is perform them for my cousins who were a great audience and sing for my extended family. All of this was so natural for me and I was encouraged to perform. As I look back to those days, I’m happy I was nurtured to sing and explore the arts.
NVC: Your art and artistry shined bright at Art Basel last week at the Let There be Reggae installation. How did it feel to be there, and are you a lover of Art on Canvass and photography? TA:
Art Basel was exciting and a great experience for me. This was an opportunity for me to connect with fans. I’ve actually been going to Art Basel for the past 5 to 6 years so it was cool to be a part of it. I love most things creative, and on my down time I go to museums and art galleries and such, so performing in that space, amongst artists whose work I appreciate; that was extra special for me.
NVC: As we’re in 2020, what are your plans for this year? Will we see / hear singles or albums? TA:
This year is going to be a little different. For the past few years I’ve been putting out singles, but now I’m going to release EPs – specific bodies of work. I want to show my growth as an artist and showcase the different sounds that I’ve developed. Being influenced by what I see and hear comes out in my music, so those sounds will reach fans soon.
NVC: The name of the magazine is L3 and each ‘L’ has a meaning. The first ‘L’ is for Life, the second is for Love and the third is for lyrics. What general advice would you give our readers on Life, Love and Lyrics? TA:
I would say in everything you do, you have to do it because you love it. That’s what’s going to give you life, as in the energy you put into what you love. As for Lyrics, make them uplifting.
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Jamaican recording artist Tosh Alexander talks career and the making of her career, including working with Pharrell Williams, Busta Rhymes a...
Published on Jan 14, 2020
Jamaican recording artist Tosh Alexander talks career and the making of her career, including working with Pharrell Williams, Busta Rhymes a...