M A G A Z I N E
Black Lives Matter
July, 2020 | L3 Magazine ft. Shani Kulture | Life. Love. Lyrics. | L3Magazine.com
Bob Marley - War (Lyrics) Until the philosophy / Which hold one race superior and another / Inferior Is finally / And permanently / Discredited / And abandoned Everywhere is war Me say war That until there is no longer / First class and second class citizens of any nation Until the color of a manâ€™s skin / Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes Me say war That until the basic human rights / Are equally guaranteed to all / Without regard to race Dis a war That until that day / The dream of lasting peace / World citizenship Rule of international morality / Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued / But never attained Now everywhere is war War And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes / That hold our brothers in Angola / In Mozambique South Africa / Sub-human bondage Have been toppled / Utterly destroyed Well, everywhere is war / Me say war War in the east / War in the west War up north / War down south War war Rumors of war And until that day, The African continent / Will not know peace, We Africans will fight we find it necessary And we know we shall win / As we are confident In the victory Of good over evil Good over evil, yeah Good over evil Good over evil, yeah Good over evil
July, 2020 | L3 Magazine ft. Shani Kulture | Life. Love. Lyrics. | L3Magazine.com
M A G A Z I N E
Gordon Chambers The Power of Voice
For The Culture
Shani Kulture Diana Webley: Director - Caribbean Tales
L3 Magazine | July | 2020 | No. 66 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... I understand but I do not like it. In hindsight, I understand why COVID-19 had to strike when it did, but I do not like it. I understand why the racial revolution had to take place now, but I do not like it – I don’t like that life had to be lost for us to finally say ‘enough is enough.’ What we have experienced over the past 4 months is hundreds of years in the making. On one side of the coin, we were not respecting the earth who decided to unleash a pandemic, forcing us to pause. Pollution went down, we spent much needed time with the family, and bonds were sealed. We needed this. On the other side of the coin, the issue of race, and her relations, stared us down while saying ‘today is going to be THE day.’ No longer will you deny the atrocities done to the indigenous people of this land, and no longer will you deny enslaving Africans and bringing them to the indigenous people’s lands to build your wealth. It is ‘payback time.’ The war is raging, and our warriors are not stopping until the war is won. This is not about good over evil; this is about justice. Justice must be handed down for the countless lives devastated, and the generations of children harmed by evil-spirited men and women who were / are ok with financial gains on the backs of people whose liberty they deny. Justice is about leveling the playing field so that every human being has an opportunity to create the life they want to live, and live it without fear of being denied, because of the color of their skin. We were given the messages in music. Some did not believe, and others didn’t think the day would come. Here we are living the days of Dennis Brown’s “Revolution.” Agree or disagree on IG: @thesonicexecutive
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“Legacy is anything that can be left behind or remembered from my contribution. Good energy and a connection to God is the main thing. I would be proud to know that my legacy made people feel better and helped them through a tough time. If that’s all people say I’m cool with that... I laugh at the thought that a venture capitalist would think of me as a pawn. My spiritual direction plays a bigger role than being advantageous to others.”
- Shani Kulture
L3 Magazine interview page 58
featuring Shani Kulture Pg. 17 Diana Webley is the new Creative Director of Caribbean Tales (CT). CT is one of the premiere Black film festivals in Toronto, and speaks for the creativity of film-makers who may not always have an audience at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance and the like. Learn more about this 15 year old institution for creators of film. Pg. 21 Alexia Lue shares a powerful story about Racism through her eyes. Most speak from an all Black experience - Alexia speaks from a mixed race view which may help readers understand her voice. Not only does she provide her words, she provides her art. Pg. 23 We have a new VP Marketing and we’re eager for you to get to know him. You’re already familiar with his work which has been seen in Jamaica and around the world online. Get to know Buckley and understand Marketing and a new direction for L3 Magazine. Pg. 35 Model and Fashionista Nefatari continues to ‘wow’ fans with her glamorous looks. Vogue Italia has featured her - find out how! Pg. 66 Gordon Chambers music and songwriting always captures the essence of human emotion. Some of his most famous lyrics, performed by Brandy and Anita Baker are played today though made some 20 years ago. Gordon talks the power of voice and how he shares it. On the Cover: Shani Kulture is movement onto his own. The HOT 97 co-host is also very active in his Brooklyn community, working with stakeholders who want to see the borough prosper. In the matter of recent unrest, Shani has been very vocal - he represents the Culture. Getting to know Shani will inspire you. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 11
BIN: Black Information Network By: L3 Magazine
This month marks the launch of BIN: Black Information Network, the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective in the United States. BIN is focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding. BIN will leverage the resources, assets and financial support of iHeartMedia, and fills the void for a 24/7 well-distributed all-news audio service for the Black community. A study of Black listeners found that 86% believe a service like BIN is necessary and are likely to use it as an important news source, and 83% think BIN provides a key service and important information they can’t get on radio or TV today. The study also shows that the BIN concept is equally strong among both the 18-34 year old and 35-54 year old segments of the Black community. Instead of traditional ad supported media, BIN is enabled by the support of National Founding Partners who share and support the mission of BIN: Black Information Network. These partners are Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon. BIN will be distributed nationally through the iHeartRadio app and accessible via mobile, smart speakers, smart TVs and other connected platforms, and on dedicated all-news local AM/FM broadcast radio stations providing local news, weather traffic and sports in addition to national news - all focused on the Black community and from the Black perspective - in markets including Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, GA, Detroit, Greenville, Macon, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle, with additional local markets being added over time. Because iHeartMedia’s broadcast assets alone currently reach 93% of Black Americans – more than any other media outlet, including local and national TV -- BIN’s news service will gain immediate brand awareness and audience credibility through respected and successful Black audience-targeted music stations. BIN will also be amplified through iHeartMedia’s 200 million-plus social footprint. iHeartMedia has a unique news infrastructure that can be utilized by BIN to provide support as needed. iHeartMedia has more news reporters located in more places than any other audio news organization, and each year its local news operations are the recipients of some of the most prestigious awards in broadcasting. In addition to its local news operations, iHeartMedia’s 24/7 News Source newswire service provides text, audio and breaking news to over 1,000 stations in the United States and Canada. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 15
Diana Webley Director - Caribbean Tales By: Louise Noel-Ambrose Diana Webley is the 2020 Director of the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival. This move follows the appointment of three new members to its Charity Board: Dr. Dori Tunstall, Mr. Shawn Cuffie and Mr Peter Lyman. All are passionate supporters of CaribbeanTales and its mission to create, market and distribute educational programs and films intended to promote racial equality and a healthy community in Canada. This is a milestone year for the CaribbeanTales Film Festival as it marks its 15th edition of bringing unique and diverse content to the Canadian film landscape. “We are so excited to have Diana take the reins as Festival Director,” says Frances-Anne Solomon, founder and CEO of CaribbeanTales Media Group. “Additionally, for these three individuals to join our Board is a great asset to our organization. They all bring unique expertise that will help us to evolve and lead CaribbeanTales and its various platforms through 2020 and beyond.” As Dean of Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is the first Black female dean of a faculty of design in Canada. With a global career, Dori served as Associate Professor of Design Anthropology and Associate Dean at Swinburne University in Australia. In the U.S., she taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She organized the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and served as a director of Design for Democracy. Peter Lyman co-founded Nordicity in 1979 and guided the firm’s merger with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 1998. He was made national lead partner for the Information Communications and Entertainment/Media practice. He then led Nordicity’s re-emergence as a standalone firm in 2002. Peter is a media commenter and frequent panelist or chair at professional conferences. He is active in the arts and social justice community, serving as chair of the board for the Inspirit Foundation and governance chair of Canadian Stage in Toronto. Shawn Cuffie has been active in the arts and entertainment industry for over 25 years, working in dance, fashion, music and film/ television. Shawn later moved on to operate his entertainment enterprise in his Toronto studio. Some of Shawn’s direct efforts include large scale model and talent competitions in the U.S.... – having won 20+ awards over a decade, corporate shows for Pepsi, TD Bank, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, The Toronto Raptors, concerts for KiSS 92.5, hundreds of fashion shows and creating and producing the TD Black Diamond Ball. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 17
Mr. Jane & Finch Ngardy Conteh George and Alison Duke By: Sasha Stoltz
OYA Media Group’s Mr. Jane and Finch documentary, which was directed, co-produced and co-written by Ngardy Conteh George and co-produced and co-written by Alison Duke, won two 2020 Canadian Screen Awards: the ‘Donald Brittain Award for Best Social / Political Documentary and Best Writing in a Documentary. The Canadian Screen Awards are a celebration of Canadian visual storytelling and the people who bring these stories to life. The CSAs recognize and champion the authentic voices and universal themes that resonate in Canada and beyond. Mr. Jane and Finch explores the life of long-standing community activist and amateur Documentarian, Winston LaRose who has dedicated the last 25 years to support the troubled community of Jane and Finch in Toronto. With gentrification high up on the political agenda, the man affectionately named Mr. Jane and Finch decided to challenge the traditional powers for the city councilor seat of ward 7. His run for public office, reveals how the deeply racial politics have plagued the area. Over-policing without accountability and a perennial lack of social services in the area has further marginalized Black and people of colour in the community. “When I was capturing Winston’s story I had the opportunity to see what is happening in the lives of so many that live in the Jane and Finch community. Not everything made it into the film; it’s not surprising that right now this film and the issues discussed are so timely. It was released last year, but when you watch it now, it’s impactful on a very visceral level. Seeing people in the community working to make a positive change with very, very few resources and support was quite sad. They should be acknowledged for leading the change in their community and given the proper resources to make those changes. I am proud to have captured that moment in time of Canadian history and have the affirmation from peers in the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television,” said Ngardy Conteh George. Mr. Jane and Finch has had much success on the festival circuit both in Canada and the United States; from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Toronto Black Film Festival, the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia, and BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta. Educational institutions such as HBC (Historically Black College) Morehouse College in Atlanta and Humber College in Toronto have also screened the documentary. Canada’s leading educational distributor McIntyre Media has acquired the Canadian distribution rights for Mr. Jane and Finch to be made available for high school, university and college educators as well as libraries. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 19
A View Through My Eyes Racism’s Ugly Head By: Alexia Lue
I have spent A LOT of time trying to process my feelings and emotions about everything that’s going on around me and across the United States. I decided to sit down, draw my feelings, and reflect. If you do not know me, let me tell you a little about who I am; I am mixed. I am black, white, and Asian. My dad is a black man, and I identify as being black despite being mixed. Growing up in the 90s and early 2000’s in America, my family was always the talk of the town. We are an interracial family, and the familiar expression I heard was ‘how cool.’ Sometimes, while out, people would whisper when they saw us – or saw me – and it always felt like there was an elephant in the room. I remember going to restaurants and having the whole room stare at my father and stare at my family - stare at me. The stares, that were experienced most times we went out, intruded on my enjoyment of being out with my family. It got to the point where I felt uncomfortable eating at restaurants where I did not see at least one other person of color. While everyone was always watching my father, he never showed any fear. He was guarded and prepared but never scared. He stayed strong for us ... but the people around him were scared and they made that apparent. There was an incident that occurred during one of our outings, and one of my parents needed to go to the police station to make a statement (nothing related to us). My mom went because they decided it was best if a white woman went instead of my Dad, a black man. Most people will never have to make a decision like this in their lifetime – decide to send a white parent to a police station instead of a black parent for fear of something happening to the black parent just because they are black. As I grew older, I started to see racism and ignorance for what it was. People could not grasp the concept that my brother and I were my father’s children because we are lighter than he is (I am a splitting image of my dad). My peers would ask me why I bother claiming my black heritage. In times like this, I think of my dad, my black family, and my friends who are such good people. These good people cannot rely on our system to bring them justice, and good people who must work twice as hard to prove their worth. We live in a country where our leader can’t even acknowledge this plight. I want you to know that #BlackLivesMatter. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 21
Marketing Genius Buckley - VP Marketing By: Zakada Milton
The Marketing department plays a vital role in every company. It is usually the place where ideas are conceptualized, executed, and polished for the marketplace. As with L3 Magazine, we thrive on producing one of the best marketing concepts and as such we are proud to introduce you to Buckley, L3 Magazine’s VP of Marketing! Buckley’s background in content creation, as well as his design of marketing concepts, makes him one of the most sought-after talents in the industry. As a matter of fact, you might be familiar with his work. If you are in Jamaica and enjoy seeing some of the billboards that line popular locations, you are acquainted with Buckley’s work. On the corporate side, if you’ve visited an esteemed lawyer’s office, such as Christopher Townsend from Townsend White and Porter (TWP) Attorneys-at-law, then you’ve seen Buckley’s talent on display by way of the infomercial produced. He has also furnished his talent in providing services for the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the Garnet Silk Foundation just to name a few. Where L3 Magazine is concerned, Buckley’s magic made its debut on the company’s YouTube channel. Queen Ifrica’s soul-moving song “I Can’t Breathe” was without a music video. The song was released 3 years ago and placed on her album Climb. VP Records re-released the song a few weeks ago, and under Buckley’s direction, a lyric video was created. Not just any lyric video, but one which stimulated depth which earned the approval of the Queen herself. “Creating a video for an artiste’s project is a combination of interpreting the lyrics and combining the right visuals” said Buckley. “In some cases, the work we create not only represents the feelings of the artistes but resides in the psyche of the person watching the video. Being cognizant of that, our goal is to make sure the artiste name and brand is stamped on the consumers’ mind as much as the song.” Several projects are upcoming for the creative arm of L3 Magazine. If you’d like to have your work featured, email Buckley via Buckley@L3Magazine.com or connect with him on social media @L3Magazine | @BuckleyMediaGroup L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 23
Green Card A Love Story By: Shiavonne “Butter” Manswell
Green Card, A Love Story,” is an Afro - Caribbean web series written by B. Nandi Jacob, directed by Roderick A. Warner who is also the project’s cinematographer. Produced by Ashenandi Stages in association with Conflicted Genius. The play turned web series places focus on the main character Petra, an illegal alien with 15 years invested into her stay in the USA played by lead actress, Ms. Asha John. A Crown Heights, Brooklyn native, Asha John is a college graduate, with a degree in science, minors in Math and Spanish. Now the Dean of a charter school, Asha reflects on memories of her mother, who danced with Afro Carib Asafu dance troupe and immersed her into the arts early. Attending Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented found Asha acting in plays learning modern dance, ballet at an early age. Caribbean culture comprises a lot of music, dance, style and colorful movement. While on the contrary, parents of Caribbean offspring have been known to implement a strict idealistic itinerary for education. The “brought-upsy” encourages less emphasis on the creative arts, while advocating for a more preferred career choice. Asha relays, “it’s cool as a hobby but not recommended as an ideal career”. She states “Caribbean parents understand struggle, and would more vie for stability of occupations such as becoming lawyers, doctors.” Although her parents wanted her happy with whatever she chose to do in life they simply didn’t want Asha to feel the burden of struggle working as a “starving artist.” Ms. John would love to follow the likes of Denzel Washington, being able to flex between broadway theatre and movies or star as an action figure in Regina Kings’ cable series “Watchmen”, a TV series which she admires. Asha, has a love for what she calls the “geek community” during Comic Con, and has admittedly attended the convention several times adorned in full costume. She’s dreamt of playing an action character on Luke Cage, like Simone Missick or Danai Gurira, who stars as “Michonne” on “The Walking Dead”. “Differences between film and stage” she states, “is that with film, hours of video can be spliced it together into one shot, whereas in theater you’ve only got one shot to get it right, with specific emotion for the scene to be executed right on the spot. Asha states that with her performances she desires to be timeless. Green Card, A Love Story explores the survival of the undocumented immigrant Petra, and the plight that surrounds her lifestyle. The producers nudge the elephant in the room, coercing open and compassionate conversations that revolve around Black, Brown and Caribbean-American people’s immigration issues by utilizing media platforms to tell their truths, from their perspectives. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 25
Kmetik Nyne, born Satique Hayles is a Jamaican / American Reggae and Dancehall artist based in between Jamaica and the U.S.A. As a child he lived on the Western side of Jamaica with his mother, where he attended Barrack Road Primary school in Montego Bay St. James.
At a tender age he was bombarded with music, having elder brothers who were musicians, artiste and engineers made the little house on the hilltop a meeting ground for the local artistes. His musical influences are that of; Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Steele Pulse; Sizzla, Bugle and “any music that comes with a conscious message”. Although he is still taking lessons, his instrument of choice is the acoustic guitar. “The sing-jay’s style of music is similar to those of Chronixx and Protégé, with a unique voice” said Pytel Gilbert in issue 61 of Reggae Vibes magazine based in France.
Kmetik Nyne @kmetik9music Kmetik Nyne L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 27
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Out NOW! MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - L3â€™s NEW - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC
Buju Banton Upside Down
Out NOW! MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - L3â€™s NEW - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC
Lila Ike The ExPerience
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Nefatari - Model
Singer and Fashion L3 Magazine
Many of us began loving recording artist Nefatari early in her music career. Her music received a lot of love from DJs, but her beauty always stood out. Many encouraged her to pursue a career in modelling because of her undeniable good looks, and a year after her Covergirl ad was released, Nefatari has worked the runway. Signed as an ambassador to the Sonja by Sonja Morgan clothing line (from Real Housewives of New York), Nef’s image caught the worlds attention in the international publication Vogue Italia. Her spread was shot by photographer, Diane Allford, at various locations in New York. For British Vogue Nefatari wore Ann Luchade, and for Vogue Korea, Kim Tiziana Rottmuller’s designs popped! These designers and more rely on Nefatari to not only wear the clothes, but ‘sell’ fellow fashionistas on the concept that they too can look just as beautiful wearing these brands. If you follow Nefatari aka Covergirl Neffi on social media, you know that she is laser focused on her career. She makes the time to share insights with her fans, and also gives them encouraging words. She admits that her words are for herself as well as fans. Nefatari said “There is a lot going on in the world right now, but what keeps me going is when people tell me I inspire them, just by pursuing what I am passionate about.” Recently, Nefatari did a virtual fashion shoot in her backyard in Queens, NY. The shots were creative and showcased how the Model and singer sells fashion and style no matter where the location, and no matter the circumstances. “Modeling is a form of expression for me, just like the music. I like to make sure I am constantly creating and testing out new trends. Every since quarantining virtual shoots have been taking over Instagram. The photo shoot was conceptualized by Delali Cofie, a photographer out of Canada and it came out amazing!” If you’ve ever watched shows that tell the real-life story of a person who worked their way to the top with no favors and no hand-outs, and appreciated those shows; you will LOVE and appreciate Nefatari’s story. The beauty is you don’t need to watch it on TV., you can watch it in real time and cheer her on by following her @nefatariofficial on Instagram L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 35
Music We Love Edley Shineâ€™s Music
“Based on Talent” L3 Magazine
Music’s healing power is needed now more than ever before. Seminal artist Edley Shine has wasted no time preparing his dose of feel good music for the masses with his new EP “Based on Talent,” which was recently released. A stellar effort which boasts well orchestrated elements of Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop and more, “Based on Talent” sees Edley Shine at a creative peak. The skilled artist ingeniously perfects the sound that thrust him to musical prominence in the 90’s as half of the ground breaking group Born Jamericans and douses it with timeless appeal. The long awaited 5-track “Based on Talent” EP (plus a bonus song) is Edley Shine’s first solo project in over 20 years. As the title suggests, talent is both the driving force of the EP and that of quality, long lasting music in an ever-changing entertainment landscape. Teaming up with notable producers like Roe Summerz and Riddim Boss, each curated track on the EP has so far pleased the palates of music lovers far and wide. After more than 20 years of refixes, hit songs, underground bangers and burgeoning popularity on the Cali Roots scene with new generations of fans, the baritone artist with “Da Big Voice” unleashes musical fire on the praise-worthy release and shines through out. Priding himself with a mature, yet festive vibe, “Based on Talent” boldly showcases Edley’s gift with the pen and ability to seamlessly switch up styles over tracks that could easily rock any radio station, playlist, club or Dancehall bashment. Whether the lyrical don is spewing straight hardcore deejay bars, sing-jaying or straight up singing, Edley doesn’t hesitate to expand his artistic landscape on this effort. “This project is special to me, as I poured over 20 years of my creative energy into ‘Based on Talent’ to demonstrate that I can thoroughly entertain the masses with a quality body of music as a solo artist.” The candid Edley adds, “the timing to release ‘Based on Talent’ couldn’t be more appropriate as the world craves music to entertain them, warm their hearts and deflect from trying circumstances of today.” True to his Jamaican heritage, Reggae and Dancehall sounds take center stage, but elements of R&B and Hip Hop perfectly round out the EP. Whether he is saluting natural queens on the candid and melodious “Factory Skin,” unleashing hardcore Dancehall lyrical word play on “Cyan Recova,” crooning grown up settings on “Big Mon Ting” or turning up the party vibes on “Glow Party,” every tune will have one rocking incessantly and/or singing along. @edleyshine L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 37
Music We Love week.day Creates
Music You Love By: Nova Cashh | L3 Magazine
One of the great things about what we do, is we get to connect you with the people who make music – not just any music – but the music associated with memories of a great time you had, or a healing moment that meant a lot to you. One producer whom we are proud to introduce you to is week.day from Tru Ambassador Entertainment. Born Jahvanie Morrison, “week.day” is Jamaican born and one of the CEO’s of Tru Ambassador Entertainment record label. His love of music started and was nurtured at a very young age where he mastered the keyboard / piano and pursued formal education at the Edna Manley College Of the Visual and Performing Arts. His creativity on the keyboard and a broader appreciation for live music, has led him to be a unique and vibrant producer and composer of various genres, most notably Reggae and Dancehall. Artists Dexta Daps, Munga Honorable, Ding Dong and Christopher Martin (to name a few) stepped out on the Olympe Rose riddim produced by Olympian and international hero Usain Bolt, and the world was in a frenzy. The unmistakable songs debuted on Billboard, and to this day, still get love. The riddim was created by Rajah Karanja Nelson and week.day. What’s more, week.day has worked with Julian Marley, Buju Banton, Kranium, Mavado, Jesse Royal, Elhae (Atlantic Records), and Shenseea. Not one to keep his talents to one area of the music business, week.day also travels as a sound engineer and has participated at live concerts such as Reggae Sumfest, The Chronology Tour, Jamaica Rum Festival, and the Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta, just to name a few. His versatility and ear for melodic sounds is also shown in the composition of commercial advertisements for Jamaican powerhouse brands such as Flow, Singer, Wray & Nephew, Rubis and many more. This week we have the AMG Riddim in rotation in honor of week.day: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=rvrEcDpGqDI Connect with the producer / composer on Instagram @week.day L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 39
Music We Love Beenie Man
Photo Credit: ShotByDeth
“Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” By: Natasha Von Castle
We are about to have our own competition! King Yellowman vs. King Beenie Man. What we want to know is who runs “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” for 2020?! When Reggae and Dancehall icon and legend Beenie Man steps into the booth to record, we know that teamed with the right producer, the track will be musical ‘murdah.’ When you put iconic producer Jeremy Harding in the production seat, then give the track to Beenie Man, we are in for a sweet treat. Guess what VP Records has done …?! The new Beenie Man track “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng,” is taken from the forthcoming Jeremy Harding production entitled Dancehall Anthems. The various artists collection is a sampling of new recordings of classic reggae and dancehall songs. Dancehall Anthems features Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Agent Sasco, Wayne Marshall, Kabaka Pyramid, and Royal Blu, among others, taking on material from Ken Boothe, Dennis Brown, Yellowman, Garnet Silk, Foxy Brown, Michigan & Smiley and several others. The original cut of “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng,” a Junjo Lawes production, was released on VP Record’s Reggae Sound label in 1982 and was a transitional hit in the artist’s career. The track is included on the anthology, Down In Jamaica - 40 Years Of VP Records. Greensleeves Records released the single in 1982 and an LP of the same name in 1983. Sonically (you know I love to talk about the music part too), I appreciate the nuances Jeremy uses, including the sliding riff of the guitar at the 1:11 mark. Another aspect that music lovers will appreciate is the phat-ness of the bass line countered by the skank of the riddim guitar and the juggle of the organ. Beenie’s 2020 lyrical flow is like the perfect house flip / renovation! Jeremy originally produced Beenie’s hit record “Who Am I,” and in addition to that, Harding is known for Mr. Vegas’s “Nike Air” and Sean Paul’s “Infiltrate” (all on the Playground riddim); and Tanto Metro and Devonte’s “Give It To Her” (Liquid riddim). Harding was Sean Paul’s manager through the apex of his career and produced three tracks on the Dutty Rock album. More recently Harding produced “Heaven” for Jah9, found on her Note To Self album. @kingbeenieman L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 41
Music We Love Jus D Sings “Touch”
Soca Gold 2020 By: Jennifer Menster | L3 Magazine
While 2020 has seen a halt to travel and carnivals due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the vibrant sounds of soca music cannot be dismissed. VP Records brings a solid collection of 17 soca tunes with this year’s Soca Gold, out July 31st. The albums lead track comes from Barbados’s own Jus D with “Touch.” The Bajan artist was named as one of Complex’s artists to watch in 2019. No stranger to the entertainment scene, Antonio “Jus D” Johnson has had his fair share of writing and producing for artists behind the scenes for quite a few years but now he’s fully in the spotlight and foreground. Having wrote and produced songs for Allison Hinds (Mr Sweetwine), Hypasounds (Closer), Statement (One More Night), Machel Montano (Rough Wine), Samantha J (Your Body), Ricardo Drue (Wifi), i-Octane (Love and Life Album) and Shaggy in recent years, the multi-talented artist decided to turn it up a notch and VP Records Soca Gold 2020 is a great notch to start with. In addition to the highly anticipated album, the label will present “The World’s Greatest Soca Party” which will be presented live on Zoom and VP Records YouTube page on release day and feature live performances by featured artists as well as renowned Soca DJ’s from across the Caribbean and beyond including DJ Quest (Antigua), Ding Dong (Trinidad), Big Red The DJ (Barbados), DJ Hersheys (St. Lucian), Soca-holics (UK) and more. The event will be hosted by Da Bajan King and Redd of Reggae King Radio. More details will be announced soon. This year’s album features the hottest songs from the most recent Trinidad Carnival including Iwer George who was Trinidad Carnival 2020 Soca Monarch and Road March King with “Wet Fete” featuring Viking Ding Dong. Also on the compilation is the Peoples Monarch and Road March King Barbados of 2019, Lead Pipe and Just Jay with “Sometime”. The Viking family Bunji Garlin with “The Struggle”, and Fay Ann Lyons with “Dive” also appear as well as “The Nookie Man” Jamesy P with “Doh Give Ah”. The 17 tracks give listeners a taste of music from Trinidad, Barbados, St. Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, Antigua and Venezuela. “Soca Gold was established in 1997 and it keeps getting better”, said Edwin Howell, A&R at VP Records and Program Director for Reggae King Radio. “We can’t wait to bring the album to life with the virtual event and to showcase this genre to new audiences,” he continued. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 43
Music We Love King Cosmos
“Payback Time” By: Zakada Milton | L3 Magazine
Performing artist King Cosmos relaunches his 2005 thought-provoking record, “Payback Time (Reparations)” with a deeply moving lyric video that asks the American government to settle their debt to the descendants of enslaved Africans. Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., King Cosmos says, “now is the time.” Using the YouTube platform and enlisting the creative direction of the team at L3 Magazine, King Cosmos’ song “Payback Time” also channels Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. It revives the call to action spoken by many. Inspired by the recent racial events in New York, Atlanta and Minneapolis, as well as Toronto, with echoes around the world, a lyric video was created to bring this powerful song to life. Composed in 2005, as a response to the US and Israeli delegations’ stance at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, also known as Durban 1, held in Durban, South Africa, the song speaks to the leaders walking out over resolutions having to do with redress for the enslavement of Africans and equating Zionism with racism. The song belongs to the Calypso tradition; but uses a structure, instrumentation and tonalities not usually found in calypso music. It is built around a simple riff and includes hints of Caribbean, continental African and Afro-American music, especially work songs, blues and jazz. Listeners will hear hints of Calypsonian Shadow (Winston Bailey), Miles Davis, Sam Cooke and creators of the steelpan, whom King Cosmos credits as musical influences. Through sounds of Miles Davis’ trumpet style, the work song and percussive effects, “Payback Time (Reparations)” evokes images of enslaved Africans making their way through various environments as they try to escape slaveries brutality. The song is as Pan African as the topic it covers. The lyric video brings these themes to life. It belongs in every educator’s tool kit. The visual story of “Payback Time (Reparations)” is available on YouTube on the L3 Magazine YouTube channel using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgKmPNUOvEE. King Cosmos plans to release a series of visuals for previously recorded songs covering themes such as the joy of life, the need to put everything in writing and the ‘tricks’ in politics! https://www.facebook.com/king.cosmos L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 45
Releases Love Songs Out Now
Load Up the iTunes By: Jennifer Menster | L3 Magazine
Listen! Since we’re still spending a lot of time in the house, we may as well load up the iTunes to ensure we have the best possible music to keep us company while we ‘wait’ for life to get back to normal. Yes, yes, I know you’re tempted to tell me that YouTube is your go-to for music and videos, which is cool, but when you want to listen and not watch, I have the perfect suggestions for you! “Live for the Summer” is one of the best Trap Dancehall releases that I think gets the vibe and the energy of the genre right. Recording imprint New League Music known for working with a plethora of stalwarts in the Reggae and Dancehall genre is once again stepping to the fore with a solid offering for the summer. The project titled, ‘Live For The Summer’ is a collaborative effort and features dancehall heavyweights, Busy Signal, Stylo G and potent lyricist Ajji (formerly known as Ajrenalin) boastfully flexing their lyricism on the sauce-filled record. They sing about the opulent lifestyle and all its trappings. Endorsed by a myriad of noted industry players as a ‘must-have’ on your playlist, this song is the one you’ll hear bumping from radio to cars to YouTube. Get up on Richie Spice and his album Together We Stand. The Reggae legend has delivered a new body of work for fans who have come to rely on him for inspiring messages in his music. In addition to inspiring messages such as the lead single “Together We Stand,” his album talks about meditative consumption of cannabis, and the “Beautiful Life” we can all have if we choose to seek it. Lila Ike offers a very relatable EP called “The ExPerience.” We all know what it is to have a broken heart, and we also know what it is to recover from that, so definitely take in this EP. My favorite track is “Stars Align” and I have special love for the catchy Reggaeton beat held in “I Spy.” Aza Lineage is an artist I first noticed on the Havana Meets Kingston project released in 2017. The collaborative effort included sounds and voices we wouldn’t normally be exposed to, so I used that as an opportunity to explore the musical stylings of Aza and I’m not disappointed. Her song “Sound System” is on the Far East riddim and her lyrical flow will get you hooked. Tune In! L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 47
Playing Merri-Music By: Darren Hamilton | L3 Magazine
The name Merritone Music identifies the famous Merritone Sound System, which originated in Morant Bay 70 years ago. The late Val Blake the founding father of Merritone Music, was also the father of the Blake brothers, Trevor, Winston, Tyrone and Monte. It was evident from the onset that Merritone chose to follow a path that made it different from the great sounds of the era in that, Merritone opted for a unique quality of sound and a varied musical selection. The tonal quality of Merritone’s sound was more melodic versus the raw power emphasized by the other sound systems. Merritone presented the music selected with sensibility and purposeful organization that became their hallmark, charting a course that they have maintained and which has sustained them to this day. Another important difference that Merritone displayed versus the other “sounds”, was that Merritone music was almost always played by a Blake while the other “sounds” were owned by individuals who employed operators/DJ’s to do the actual playing of the music. Merritone’s ability to survive 70 years is no easy feat as it has been mistakenly pigeonholed as an “oldies” sound system. However, over the years and up to the present time, and without fear of contradiction, Merritone has in fact introduced more, new, quality recorded music to the dance/party scene than any other sound system. An abundance of young people flock wherever Merritone is playing. Today, gone are the great names that paved the way, gone also, is the stigma which was attached to sound systems, but what has not gone is Merritone Music! It is the ‘last sound standing’ from that pivotal period in Jamaican history, and is proud to have been there from the formative years. One of Merritone’s greatest attributes is its aficionados, who, once having tasted “merri music”, become life-long fans, bonding in friendships second to none. These are the real heroes who take their music (and fun) seriously, and who settle for nothing less than the best. Merritone fans are music and dance savvy, when they party, they party hearty, and when they rock, they literally rock around the clock. That’s the way Merritone has been doing it for the last 70 years, because for the entire Merritone family, music is life and life is music. Their mantra sums it up succinctly, “things of quality have no fear of time”. L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 49
By: Steffy T for L3 Magazine Suddenly, itâ€™s summertime and many people are trying to work off their COVID-19 body. Being forced to stay indoors and not be able to go to the gym to workout and being told to not exercise in parks has made staying in shape a little more difficult. If you are like some of my friends, the refrigerator and cupboards were seeing all the action, not the exercise equipment. As the world slowly opens to us being outdoors with a mask, here are some tunes you can add to a playlist. Start easing into a walking route within your neighborhood and use these songs as motivation to keep moving. If you live in an apartment building, try walking up five flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator. In no time clothes will start fitting the way they did pre COVID!
Maleek Berry - Lost In The World (Kinsky Ext.Edit) Alkaline - Spoil You Elephant Man - Wap Bap Govana - Up Front MDeez - Bad Company Nessa Preppy + Salty - Pull Up Skinny Fabulous, Travis World, Dan Evens - Bend Yuh BWine Machel Montano + Afro B - Slow Wine Lil Rick -Bruk It Off (Organic Riddim) Mdeez - La La Konshens + Anju Blaxx - What A Vibe
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TOP DIGITAL SPINS - JULY, 2020
L3’s Top 20 Independent Spins 1. Daddy1 – Swag Shop 2. Vybz Kartel – Cute Rider 3. Kranium – Gal Policy 4. Alkaline – Ocean Waves 5. Dexta Daps – Breaking News 6. Shenseea - Side Chick Song 7. Shenseea – Trick’a Treat 8. Jahvillani – Million Dollar 9. Popcaan – Numbers Don’t Lie 10. Skillibeng – Mr. Universe 11. Stylo G – Too Hot 12. Busy Signal – Bredda 13. Intence – Yeng 14. TeeJay – Nuh New To This 15. Busy Signal – Di Na Na Na 16. Vybz Kartel – Our Girl 17. Busy Signal x Ajji x Stylo G – Live For The Summer 18. Chronixx x Kabaka Pyramid – Same Prayer 19. Beenie Man – Zungguzungguguzungguzeng 20. Christopher Martin – Big Big
Photo Credit: Ashley Verse
*Charts are based on radio airplay in Canada / YouTube Views / Live Event Selection Fan Feedback L3 Magazine | July, 2020 ft. Shani Kulture - Pg. 53
JULY, 2020 MOST WATCHED VIDEO’S
L3 Magazine’s Top Music Video’s 1. Shenseea - Side Chick Song 2. Shenseea - Trick’a Treat 3. Teejay - From Rags to Riches 4. Vybz Kartel x Teejay - Uptop Gaza 5. Teejay - Unfaithful Games 6. Stylo G - Bam Bam 7. Popcaan - Numbers Don’t Lie 8. Intence - Yeng 9. Popcaan - Sex on the River 10. Govana - Convo pt. 2 Blazing Video - Hitmaker - Styla
*Based on recent YouTube views
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Shani Kulture For the Culture
By: Shiavonne “Butter” Manswell | Photography: @bigaqe_tv with additional notes by Natasha Von Castle | Styled by Khandie Woo
For years, Shani Kulture has played a major role in New York representing ‘the culture.’ The world culture in this case is really about life. Our culture is our life, and sometimes the way it is perceived, is not what it is, so Shani became an Ambassador for us. There’s more. Shani realized that there is a huge problem in the communication and understanding between people in our community, and the NYPD. Instead of pouring gasoline in that gap, we has worked to bring both sides together so there is understanding. By the way, he’s been doing this long before it became the ‘trending’ topic of the day and the cool thing to do. Shani has been representing us from day one. There are a few things in this interview that you will learn about Shani. Once you see him from a ‘behind the scenes’ perspective, you will understand that he deserves credit for being on the frontlines of justice and the betterment of all people.
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SM: Most people know you from Hot 97. What role do you play in the who’s next Dancehall/Reggae edition? SK:
Every year there’s at least one event dedicated to Caribbean culture. Willy Daniels is the creator of ‘On the Soca & Reggae Tip, which is Hot 97’s annual Caribbean concert. He initiates the showcasing of upcoming acts. My role as host ensures quality mainstream interviews of the headliners. I remain influential by getting the push for Soca and Reggae on NYC radio, and highlighting musicians.
People unfamiliar with our culture love to jump up and dance in the club however, listening to Soca and Reggae on the radio sometimes gets lost in translation. Club play is definitely there, but acceptance of regular radio play finds it difficult to find the middle ground.
You have always represented the culture, and you are a representative of radio. How do you feel about the industry dropping the category of ‘Urban’ in its description of music and culture in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement?
When they use the word Urban in music, they mean Black. It’s a category that allows them to use a “politically correct” term to discriminate (especially in night clubs “this is urban night”) and at the same time discredit the origins of the culture connected to the music. It continues the psychological brainwashing of America and confused messaging of equality. It was originally a term coined by New York legendary radio DJ Frankie Crocker in the early to mid-1970s as a SYNONYM for Black music. It made it less intimidating and commercial. Urban contemporary radio stations featured a playlist made up entirely of Black genres such as R&B, Soul, quiet storm, hip hop, and Caribbean music such as reggae. Like most things connected to black people they have found a way to put a negative spin on it. At this point in the game I prefer they keep everything crystal clear.
SM: Tell us about the sit down you put together between teens and the NYPD. SK:
I believe that honest dialogue helps build neighborhoods through collaborative efforts, so I merged their concept with my nonprofit organization, the “no disrespect campaign.” Similar to any kind of therapy, there is an ongoing work in progress for transparency and change. The social justice dinner called “we build the block,” is a play on the build the block organization within the NYPD. Recognizing that the NYPD can’t police without the peoples help, I utilized the assistance of Dana Rachlin, who gave the opportunity to merge interests. My nonprofit organization partnered up with chiefs and officers to create a situation for understanding. a dinner with the youth, a sit down to have real discussions with candid openness on topics that affect the community directly. Addressing the effects on children who are scared of officers; evident trauma on both sides of the fence, a chance to talk about perspectives from each side. As a black man who has had unfair experiences with the NYPD, I felt it was necessary to bridge that gap. Eric Garner is only one example of life threatening situations across the country that should be given no passes. If there
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Con’d: is a means for de-escalation and coupled accountability, we can come steps closer to stopping anyone from behaving above the law. SM:
As we witness the life changing movement of Black Lives Matter impact the United States, Canada, the UK and countries around the world, what institutional changes are you most looking forward to seeing?
I predominantly look forward to police officers that do criminal acts being stripped of their badges, held accountable for their crimes and charged with the same severity as the citizen they once arrested.
You reposted the Tamika Mallory speech on your social media page. Why was her speech impactful to you?
I salute that Queen for her courage, consistency and unapologetic stance in the fight for our people. Her points are clear and passionate. She leads by example and we need more people like her to help create the change that’s needed.
SM: Going back to music and on a lighter note! You were presented with a plaque from Young MA’s team? What was the reason for that? SK: People that have an influence over an artist’s success or contribution receives an accolade of acknowledgement for the help. SM: Tell us about some of the awards you’ve received. SK: I have a few Caribbean impact awards and honorary City citations. I feel honored to be recognized. I love my culture so if I win, it’s a win for all of us and I want to see us all win. Just like how I love kids, I want to see them win. SM: You took a trip to Jamaica earlier this year. Did this change your perspective about Reggae / Dancehall? How was the experience? SK: Jamaica was an amazing experience! Unbeknownst to people, it was my first time going. The Jamaican tourism board gave me the opportunity to explore the island from the inside out. Already being an established local ambassador for Caribbean culture, they invited me.
Jamaica received me with open arms in every direction – north, west, east, and south. interacting with people, eating the food, linking with good friends, meeting respected artists and even chillin’ out with the bushmen in Jamaica, was all worthwhile. I made amazing connections with government heads. restaurant owners, political officials and radio jocks.
SM: How does calypso music speak to you in comparison to Hip Hop and Reggae?
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When the time comes, I will be in Trinidad for carnival! I can’t wait for the mud, powder and Soca to free up myself. Carnival is something that forces you to give in and submit to a freedom that your mind, body and soul seeks all year round. You can be beyond and past tired, beyond drunk, passed out from dancing, none the less your spirit connects to Carnival in a way that revitalizes and brings you back to life. As Trini people say “monday could fall on a Tuesday” but we have to celebrate Carnival.
Have you been involved in song / album production / talent management?
What will be your legacy?
My children are my first priority in my legacy. Carrying on my blood line and everything that I stand for; What I try to instill in my children is tradition and values. I want my children to recognize the most high is the number one. Understanding the universe brings us to our essence, money doesn’t place a true value on life. We aren’t that different from each other so respecting each other and our space as far as individuality is necessary. Legacy is anything that can be left behind or remembered from my contribution. Good energy and a connection to God is the main thing. I would be proud to know that my legacy made people feel better and helped them through a tough time. If that’s all people say I’m cool with that... I laugh at the thought that a venture capitalist would think of me as a pawn. My spiritual direction plays a bigger role than being advantageous to others. I’m thankful to have found a way to be my authentic and true higher self while creating revenue to sustain myself.
What advice would you give our readers on Life, Love and Lyrics?
On life ... condition yourself to avoid negativity and align your mind, body and Soul with high frequency vibrations - meaning good energy. On Love ... Love aggressively ... Be deliberate. On Lyrics ... only consume those that strengthen you and as a creator, write from your heart.
There are a lot of artists that I’ve helped start off, or even jump start their notoriety but I’ve garnished no publishing rights. In hindsight, I’m definitely looking into the business aspect more seriously. This is a hustler’s industry; the common benefits of retirement plans and 401k’s isn’t granted to you; you’ve got to create your own path to becoming a millionaire. You have got to constantly calculate the right moves to make sure the longevity of your lucrative success. Royalties from publishing allows you the ability to receive residuals from hard work you’ve put in; one must be able to eat continuously from the fruits of that labor.
Connect with Shani on Instagram @shanikulture
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Gordon Chambers The Power of Voice By: Irobia Allen | Photography: @bigaqe_tv
Music has a way of documenting a period of time. In 1964, Sam Cook’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” marked a part of the Civil Rights movement (as one example) and “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” by Helen Reddy ushered in the women’s rights movement in the 1970’s – as another example. In the case of Gordon Chambers, his music speaks to the depth of emotion felt because of an event that occurred in our lives. “Missing You” performed by Brandy, Gladys Knight, Tamia and Chaka Khan is a song often played during a celebration of life for a person who has passed away. On the other side of that coin, Anita Bakers “I Apologize” expresses the heartfelt emotion of a person who is sorry for a wrong they did to a loved one. These two songs are examples of Gordon Chambers and his contribution to music – and there’s more! Gordon makes time to teach students of all backgrounds about the voice. He more than anyone knows how powerful that instrument is….
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In light of the events that are happening in our City, across the country and around the world, have you been inspired to write a song for this moment / these moments in our history?
Yes, indeed. I’m working on something as we speak that speaks to the times.
Is there a song from your catalog that you would add to the soundtrack for the Black Lives Matter Movement we are currently experiencing?
Since the pandemic, people all over the world have been doing very deep soul searching and digging through my entire catalogue for musical strength. I am humbled. “One Voice” (my cover from my “Surrender’ album which I wrote for Brandy’s “Never Say Never” CD) reflects the multicultural, multifaith and multigenerational movement that the Black Lives Matter movement has grown into worldwide. The bridge says: “ A song that heals / a melody of reason and freedom.” The song “Always Be Proud” acknowledges listeners who have survived their battles. This song is a powerhouse for our youth who might be full of fear right now. “Lead Me” is a spiritual call to God for strength and “Unfair” speaks to the pain and loneliness of social distancing.
Brooklyn has been home for 20 years. You’ve been inspired to make music here. Is there a location here in Brooklyn that has changed, or a part of the borough that has been rebuilt that when you see it makes you say ‘wow?’
I’m Jamaican, and there’s a Jamaican restaurant on the corner called Buff Patty (http://buffpattynyc.com/). The first meal I got here in Brooklyn was from Buff Patty. They give me a sense of community and continuity. There has been a lot of gentrification in the area so it’s nice that they are still here. Shani is a part owner of Imani (https://www.imaninyc.com/) so that’s nice to know they are here and to see how much they support the community. Brooklyn Sweet Spot (https://www.facebook.com/BrooklynSweetSpot/) has cupcakes that is a ‘problem!’ They are so good. I take friends there and they become fans and we keep spreading the love that way.
It’s nice to see business owners still here, we’ve become friends which also helps with the continuity of the community. Madiba being gone breaks my heart. Madiba was on Dekalb and was nicknamed ‘a place of love.’ That was the happy hour hang out for many years – since 1999. There has never been anything to replace it. People who have been there know what I mean.
As a fan, I noticed that your personal project was released in January. Your last project was released in January. Is there a connection with the month of January?
I didn’t notice that. I wanted to get back to the mood and the style of the first album – that wasn’t planned.
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When listening to some of your projects, I notice you have performed songs you have written for other artists. How do you decide what you’re going to cover on your own project?
In the beginning it was a branding tool because people knew me as a song writer, I figured I would connect the dots and perform some of the songs I’ve written. That has changed over time because some of those songs mean more to me now on a deeper level through life experience. “Missing You” has a different meaning. When I wrote it in my 20’s my Grandmother had passed. When I did my own version, I was beat because so many friends and relatives had passed – the longer you live, the more lessons you learn and the more people you lose. That solo recording took me to a deep place.
“Surrender” was written in 1999. Singing that song has a deeper meaning even now because of the times we’re living in.
I feel your passion. What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
Make your music timeless. Sometimes I get caught up asking if I am ‘on trend,’ but at the same token I’ve had so many of the trendiest writers say “yo G, you’re a big inspiration to me.’ I strive to make my music timeless.
Years ago when LA Reid signed me, and we had a Christmas dinner party and he asked me to say the prayer, I wondered out loud ‘why me’ and he said because there wouldn’t be this without me. He said “I knew that if I signed you, the others would come.” I didn’t know. Sometimes you are living your best life doing your best and you have no idea of the impact you’re making on others. You should do your best always because you are making an impact. How you treat people makes an impact and music is the same way.
When there is a death in the family, people tell me they sing my songs. Beyonce told me that when her parents renewed their vows (before their divorce), my songs were sung. School graduations it’s the same. My songs have helped heal and that is an honor to know – they have hit the charts and touched the hearts.
Are there any moments that are bright from working with artists that stay front of mind?
Whitney Houston became a personal friend and a friend of the family. She treated me so warmly on a different level. She was the biggest star but the most emotionally available to me – we really talked. Those are memories and more I will always remember which can be a book. Working with Whitney was transformative because in the studio, I would try to get her to sing the bridge higher, and she would sing her run the way she wanted, so I would go into the booth how I wanted her to sing and she would say “you need to sing it” and that was transformative.
That conversation, the motivation, and her looking through my soul, encouraged me to become a vocal coach. I’ve coached hundreds of people, I’ve toured Japan, and consulted on South
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Africa’s ‘Idol’ show and more – so that moment of her seeing through my soul, is a magical moment that will always stay front of mind.
I just started coaching the charter school up the block – 5th graders and they come here every Tuesday – 25 kids and 5 teachers – and I have the most beautiful time with them. Seeing what music means to the next generation and seeing the confidence it instills in people of any age. Music is universal. You can be a Gladys Knight or a fifth grader, or a senior – music gives you that same connectiveness and same sense of emotion. I love being a part f that whether as a singer, a writer, a coach or a producer.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be in the business?
Always be working on your craft. Learn that there’s song writing and being a publisher. Every song writer is a publisher and that’s the money-making mechanism of the song. A lot of black artists got ripped off back in the days because people bought the publishing rights to songs. What was often said is we don’t want the song we just want the publishing - that’s 50% of the song. For example, Otis Redding who died in the 60’s. His publishing is alive and well. If someone wants to use the song “Sittin’ By The Dock of the Bay” has to pay the publisher for legal use of the song.
This is not just about being in the business, you must know the roles of people in the business. Also, we must focus on self care. I’ve made a lot of relationships in the business and have been to many funerals. A close friend, Shakir Stewart is a young man who committed suicide. In the 2000’s he was the Executive senior vice president of Def Jam during the 2000’s. He was under a lot of stress and pressure and had a lot of mental health challenges that slipped under the radar of his colleagues and he took his life. You must take care of yourself. We don’t just need roles, we need role models. You must know who you are, you must take care of yourself, and you must live.
The name of our magazine is L3 and each ‘L’ has a meaning. The first is for Life, the second is for Love and the third is for Lyrics. What general advice would you give on Life, Love and Lyrics?
Once again to quote “One Voice”: “There is just one sky above/there is just one source of love / If I’ve got one chance, one choice/I’ll sing it from the heart with one song/One voice.”
That song says it all about how I feel about the power of music and my use of the gift God me and the platforms I’ve had.
God is able, and I use my lyrics to uplift his children through challenging times.
Connect with Godron on Instagram @gordonshambers
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The July, 2020 issue of L3 Magazine features the voices of people who are on the front lines where Black Lives Matter. This months content...
Published on Jul 5, 2020
The July, 2020 issue of L3 Magazine features the voices of people who are on the front lines where Black Lives Matter. This months content...