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J U SU ME T IT EL C 's UR U LS C M P U EE O E S D S H T E O LI X W K E T EL C O Y S ST T O EP

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WRITTENHOUSE KWIET STORM KHEMIST

AND MUCH, MUCH MORE INSIDE!


Aisha Winfield

Founder of Junior Music Exec

“I’m excited about this magazine’s ability to share positive and accurate information about the business of entertainment. As an organization that is dedicated to educating youth about the industry it is only right that we provide exclusive interviews, informative articles, and important resources for future music executives.”

Contents 1

Musical Chess

Drum Technician. by Shauntae Agnew

12 Making Money

exclu Wronged 2 Copy Legal Representation.

3

by Henry Sauter

Storm 7 Kwiet by Shayna Safford

Student Spotlights: Royal Black

8 Who Got Next? Writtenhouse by Aashir Nuri

by Shauntae Agnew

Khemist by Christina Fisher

do you do? 5 What Detrick Lowman

9 Most Likely to Succeed JME’s top Grads

in the Music Industry by Ashley Coleman

13 Producers's Corner

Steve Mckie by Ashley Coleman

15 Reviews

Jay-Z Blueprint 3 by Ashley Coleman


Are you a Future Music Exec? Well, it's time to start dressing like one! Future Music Exec Tees are available now in a variety of stylish colors for just $20. Visit our website to get your today! jrmusicexec.com

Latoya Luckett Lady Love by Shayna Safford

Trey Songs Ready by Shayna Safford

Whitney Houston I look To You by Shauntae Agnew

The Biz Exclusives is a publication of Junior Music Executive. Editorial Director: Ashley Coleman Contributing Writers: Shauntae Agnew, Shayna Safford, Henry Sauter, Christina Fisher, Aashir Nuri Photography: James Smith, james.e.smith87@gmail.com Nya Abudu, nyaaphotography@gmail.com Graphics and Layout by Sulaiman Ali, ali.sulaiman12@gmail.com Junior Music Executive Executive Director: Aisha Winfield

Join The Biz Exclusives!

usive in Education 17 Arts by Ashley Coleman

We are currently and always looking for talented young people to join our team . . .

If you are interested in journalism, creative writing, photography, art or design; we could use your help!

Send a resume and two samples of your work to thebizexclusives @gmail.com


Musical Chess: A Pawn's Story In this music business there is plenty to learn, and one of the virtues you have to learn is patience. Song writing especially can be a huge waiting game. Especially because of the quantity of things you write, compared to what actually gets anyone’s attention. It all started when a song I wrote at the studio really impressed InLoveWithLove, a seasoned, professional songwriter. It was surreal. It was the first time I was given the chance to show what I had. And after a quick prayer to write something worthwhile, I sat down in the chair and proceeded to listen to a loop of a chorus and verse. Just that morning I had came up with a simple three or four lines and somehow the track seemed like it would fit with those words so well. I hammered out a verse and chorus and waited for InLovewithLove to return. Shyly, I began to sing what I had along with the track and he said, “I like it, I like what you got.” My nervous laughter gave me a chance to breathe. My first chance at writing in front of this brilliant, talented writer, and he liked it. After we collaborated to finish the rest of the song, he said it was a hit.

1

Close But No Cigars

Before I knew it, a new artist had recorded the song and I was on my way to having a placement on my first album. I wasn’t too excited at first because there are no guarantees. It wasn’t until I was assured it was making the album that I could feel excitement start to bubble. Nonetheless, I am still on the brink of having my first placement. The song is caught up in a limbo about whether it may or may not be on the album and in the meantime a girl’s dream hangs in the balance. So far I haven’t been able to quite recreate the magic of that first night, but doing it once, I know I have the ability to do it again. It’s all about getting him to say those faithful words again. Every time I’m welcomed back I’m given another chance to write, watch, and learn, so I can one day break out the cigars. *This column is based on the real life events of an aspiring songwriter but contains fictitious names to protect the innocent.


©opy W®onged When is the best time for an aspiring artist, songwriter, or producer to seek legal counsel?

It is never too early to start thinking about both legal and business issues. The music business is exactly that – a business and failing to recognize this fact does not change this reality. This doesn’t mean that you need to have an attorney on retainer, but you should start asking friends, family and business acquaintances for attorney recommendations once you are serious about getting into the industry. It is very important to speak with an attorney if you are being asked to sign anything. The music industry is littered with stories of budding musicians who signed away copyright ownership, got bad licensing deals, and don’t own their masters. Others get locked into four album deals that won’t ever see the light of day, but because they are under contract, can’t make music on the side. A good contract can be the best paperwork you ever sign. A bad

Our Legal eXpert Henry Sauter gives us good advice on seeking legal advice

contract on the other hand can destroy a career or at the very least set it back by a few years. I cannot overstate the importance of reading and understanding what you are signing. You must also have a lawyer explain any unfamiliar terms to you and point out the implications of each clause. Most lawyers should be able to read over a contract and provide you with general feedback. Copyright, on the other hand, is a specialized area and if you are considering signing with a label, it is recommended that you speak with a copyright attorney. What is a 360 deal? 360 Deals are a new way that music companies can generate revenue from their artists. Traditionally, record companies operated like financiers who invested in a record. They would advance money to the artist to make an album. Once the album was made, the artist would get about 7-10% of the money from the sales and pay back the “loan” out of their portion of the sales.

File-sharing and investment in bad music has resulted in a decline in album sales. As a result, record companies are looking for other sources of revenue. Touring and merchandise, which were always left to the artists to exploit are being targeted by record companies. Since there is no standard 360 deal, it is essential to have a good attorney negotiate the terms. Everything is on the table and everything is negotiable now. How should I choose a lawyer? The question should really be, “how can I find the right lawyer for me?” The reason for this distinction is that while lawyers may differ in terms of experience and specialization, your attorney will be more than a legal technician. He or she should be viewed as a resource, an advisor, an agent, a business consultant and more. There are two instances in which you may need an attorney. The first is for reviewing or preparing documents. An attorney who Continued on pg. 20

2


Student Spotlight Showcasing Gifted Young People Royal Black

Girl Group consisting of members: Kachina Pindell and Mercedes Brown School: Community College (Kachina) and Drexel University (Mercedes) Major: Music Business (Kachina) and Music Industry doubling in Entertainment and Arts Management (Mercedes)

Mercedes and Kachina met at Freire Charter High School in the tenth grade. By the eleventh grade they started writing and collaborating on their music. “It’s funny because I transferred to Freire and Kachina was well known around school and I was trying to figure out a way to approach her. So one day I went up to Kachina and asked her to help

me with a song I was working on and we’ve been working together every since,” said Mercedes. While juniors in high school they sent a friend request to DJ Touchtone from 100.3 The Beat’s Myspace page. When he visited their Myspace page and heard samples of their music, he introduced them to his manager Mr. All Business. “Mr. All Business has become our booking agent. Because of him we’ve had the opportunity to open for Jazmine Sullivan, Estelle, Wale, and perform at the Rotunda. We were all over Philly this summer. It was so much fun,” said Mercedes. In March, the talented ladies got a chance to perform in front of Ryan Leslie, J. Holiday and Michael Bivens for the 100.3 The Beat Music and Entertainment

Conference at the Marriot Hotel. “It was cool because we got a chance to perform a song we wrote called “Smile” for them and we also gave each of them our CD. We were so excited about it. We got business cards and we had portfolios and everything because in this business you don’t get opportunities often, so you have to be organized and prepared at all times,” said Kachina. Currently, Royal Black is working on their album with Myxtapecity Records. Irving Jean Baptiste, who also attended their high school, produces most of Royal Black’s songs. They described the album as having a little bit of neo-soul, R&B and pop. Also, Kachina and Mercedes wrote every song. “We want to promote something that is positive. We still want to have that Philly sound, but we also have some T-pain sounding songs and some R&B. That’s why we like our producer because he makes diverse tracks. We try to have different sounds because we love all types of music,” said Kachina.


“That’s what makes us different from other girl groups because a lot of them try to model themselves after other groups and we’re different. We don’t sound like anybody else. Sometimes in the music business there are some negative images of women. We want to promote positivity. When you hear our name you don’t think of anything negative. We picked the name Royal Black because we have high self-esteem, we believe in ourselves and we see ourselves as African American royalty,” said

Mercedes.

Terence Oliver

and journalism. “I know my surroundings and being talented and blessed I have no escape of the conditions I live in,” he said. In his eyes music opens up possibilities of wanting to live a better life. The local Khemist notices his failures; wants to be successful and to avoid his own failures as well as those of others. Terence does not quietly want to follow the exact footsteps of the other great rap artists from Philly. His plans for successes are to network, graph, do performances, and get more exposure. “ I want to make my own path of foot prints eventually not the same positions, to me the best artists from Philly are The Roots but my

Makes His own Beats School: The Academy of Palumbo Age: 18 Interesting Fact: His passion for music and enjoys talking to homeless people, “They’re the smartest people on this earth.” Oliver said.

When you hear someone talking about the local Khemist, does chemistry pop up into your mind? Well we’re not talking about being in a laboratory experimenting with chemicals. What we’re talking about is Terence Oliver a.k.a. the local Khemist being in the studio experimenting with beats, writing poems, or working on his book. Terence Oliver is a young artist from Philadelphia that has a passion for music and would like to further his education at Howard University in Washington, DC majoring in music

Royal Black can be seen performing all over Philadelphia. Some prominent venues that they believe are great places for new up and coming artists to perform are: The Clef Club and The Rotunda. As for young people, The School of the Future is a great place to get started. They also think its important to establish your fan base in school or at home first before performing at shows and competitions.

“To anybody that wants to work in this business, you have to be able to take constructive criticism, you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of your free time, and you have to love what you do. The hardest thing about being in the music business is staying in it,” said Kachina. To see Royal Black perform or listen to some of their new tracks go to www.myspace.com/royalblack1.

favorite is Young Chris.“ The things that make him different from other artists his age are that he’s a very observing conscious thinker, likes to imagine things, having dreams vs.. reality music, and being very experimental when it comes to doing his music. It all began when he and his cousin would try a mixture of beats like 4


scientists and together they were originally named local Khemistry. “My cousin would make the beats, and I would rap to whatever he made up,” He explained. This Local Khemist doesn’t just write raps, he also writes poems that can be found in his book of poetry titled “A Rhythm of Heart.” It’s about his feelings of love, hate and about plans for success. He also has journal entries in the book for readers to enjoy; the book is finished but he wants it to be perfect before it gets published. Khemist cites some of his most influential mentors as Anton Moore from BET “his big brother.” Moore never gave up on himself, stayed positive and the Khemist sees that he is successful. The other mentor is Aisha Winfield who runs the Junior Music Executive internship program in Philadelphia but to him she’s his “old head” by keeping him in check, looking out for him and by being an encouraging person. When asked what advice he would give to other young artists his response was simple. “Stay focused, don’t let anyone put you down, my own family was negative at times, but what you want to do is keep some of the negatives to obtain the positives” The Local Khemist is looking forward to a performance at Howard University’s Homecoming on October 23, 2009. You can also hit up Terence on his Facebook page www. facebook.com/localkhemist and YouTube.

5

WHAT DO YOU DO? Detrick Lowman’s career as a successful drum technician has given him the opportunity to work with some of the most idolized people in the music business. A Philadelphia native and graduate of University City High School, Lowman built friendships with established producer Steve Mckie and The Franklin Bridge Band while a member of the high school Jazz Band. In tenth grade Lowman sneaked into the Five Spot with Steve Mckie to get his chance to play the drums on the same stage as then undiscovered artists Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Anthony Hamilton and Jazmine Sullivan. At that point in his life, Lowman knew that music was his calling. A back injury due to a car accident prevents him from sitting and playing the drums for a long period of time. Some friends of his (The Franklin Bridge band) asked him if he wanted to tech a gig for them and that’s how his career as a drum technician began.

What is the role of a drum technician? “A good technician makes sure everything is in order as far as the drums are concerned. My role is to know the basic pieces of the drums and know the placement of the drums for the specific artist that I am working with. I’ve been a drum tech for almost six years now.”

What is your work schedule?


“I create my own schedule. I usually work through phone calls and emails. If I’m home, I look at the music stores and see what new equipment is out, but I’m always on call. I’m not home too often.”

What advice would you give a young person that wants to be a drum technician? “You have to know the ins and outs of a drum set. It’s not a book thing; it’s a hands on thing. If you know a musician or know someone who plays drums, help them setup their kit and read the manuals to find out how each piece works. You have to be quick on your feet. Look up info about certain drummers and find out how they play. You have to have an ear for music and keep up on the new equipment that’s out. It’s important to be sociable and it’s a lot of traveling.”

What’s the longest you’ve been out on the road? “Three years. I missed holidays and birthdays. I just got back from Singapore for the N.E.R.D tour and before that it was Anthony Hamilton and Jill Scott. Matter of fact I got a call at 1:30am after a

twenty-five hour flight from Singapore to do a show for Maxwell in Madison Square Garden and I was exhausted, I couldn’t do it. You miss out on a lot of things but you get to see the world and I do get breaks sometimes.”

Can you name some artists that have humbled you? “Stevie Wonder and ‘Mr. Philadelphia,’ Teddy Pendergrass. They’re just big to me. I have also worked with Jay-Z, The Roots, Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton. Just a lot of great people.” “I remember when I teched a gig for Alicia Keys at Spike Lee’s house. All the heavy hitters of the east coast were there to celebrate Barack Obama winning the Democratic election. That was crazy,” said Lowman reminiscing. When asked if he wished he could still be drummer, he replied, “I have no regrets. I genuinely love what I do. How many people can say that?” For anyone that would like to be the next Detrick Lowman some places he suggests you get your start are; Club Aquarium (Fibbers) located near 69th Street and the Live Pod located between Spring Garden and Callowhill at Fuzion Nightclub. 6


KWIET STORM

Four Part Harmony

The Biz Exclusives caught up with the sensational, talented, and stylish group hailing from Chicago. These four young men: Duke Terrell, Drey Skonie, Slow Mo and Romance make up the newest R&B group, Kwiet Storm (KS). Kwiet Storm is signed to JPat Records, which is managed by Usher’s mom Jonetta Patton. They bring a new style, flavor, and sound to the R&B game. The Biz Exclusives got up close and personal with the group and got to know KS behind their wonderful voices and looks. The group gets along so well they could be brothers. “Duke and Drey are cousins, then they met up with Romance and then they met me and that’s how our group was formed, “ Slow Mo said. We all know there have been plenty of male R&B groups before them but what makes Kwiet Storm different? “We are unique, have a humble attitude, we have a great image, same dream, work hard, and put our soul in our music, and we have a strong faith in God and ourselves.” Drey explained. “Kwiet Storm has the determination to become very well known and successful. KS wants longevity and to have people look up to us and we want to perform at the United Center in Chicago, Japan, and anywhere that people can see and hear us,” Romance said. Kwiet Storm has a heart touching song called “Everything” about Barack Obama and the lyrics of the song were phenomenal and you can tell that the 7

new president means a lot to them. Kwiet Storm simply responded “Getting to see history up close was a wonderful experience since we weren’t around when Martin or Malcolm was alive, so getting to see another black man from Chicago achieve a lot is an inspiration. “ These young men are more than just a group; they have a unity and brotherhood. You can hear the harmony in their lyrics and songs. Since they are JPat recording artists they will have an impact on other up and coming male artists as well. “Stick with it, stay focused, work hard expect the worst but never give up and in the words of Michael Jackson study the great and be greater,” Duke said. A lot of people have heroes, so we received word that Bill Gates was one of KS’s heroes and we found out why. “Because he reached a goal that he set for himself


and he is a very powerful man,” Romance laughed.

Writtenhouse: "Bringing the Basement to the Stage"

Overall, Kwiet Storm wants to make a name for them and they want people to remember it. Finally they gave us the scoop that the album is going to be titled Raining. They agreed that they are keeping it clean and making real music for the world that everyone can embrace and even grandma can listen to. Kwiet Storm is definitely what the R&B game needs. With songs like “Get To Know You “ and “ Red Light” which are up-beat, catchy, songs for the ladies that show off their unique voices. Duke Terrell, Drey Skonie, Romance, and Slow Mo are about to pour down their amazing talents on the world so this is a warning to get your umbrellas it’s about to be a Kwiet Storm!

If you’ve been up on the Philadelphia Hip Hop scene over last year, you may have noticed the emergence of a very refreshing “electronic band” called Writtenhouse. You’ve read it right, Writtenhouse is an “electronic band” that has been paying its dues the hard way through non-stop gigging. The group has traveled up and down the East Coast performing at venues from as far north as Portland, Maine to as far South as New Orleans, Louisiana. Besides the amazing lyricism of lead emcee Charlie K., Writtenhouse offers something different to Hip Hop in that the band has two talented producers that play their beats live on stage using a Yamaha Motif (used by producer Kush Shalimar) and an MPC 2500 (used by producer Chris Conway). For all of the producers out there, you already know that these two pieces of equipment are major pieces of production tools that bring a certain level of “Hip Hop aesthetic” to the stage that is normally confined to the basement. Writtenhouse has gained so much respect over the last year in Philadelphia that they had the honor of performing at the 2009 Roots Picnic which is an exclusive event of live performances from music most notable artists including Philadelphia’s first Hip Hop band, The Roots. You can check writtenhouse215

out

Writtenhouse

at

www.myspace.com/ 8


Most Likely To Succeed There have been numerous students that have come through the Jr. Music Executive internship program. Many have gone on to have great successes in the music industry. This year we picked 6 of the Most Likely to Succeed students for the year 2010. All of these young people have been an active part of the Jr. Music Executive program throughout their internships and after. A mix of artists, executives, producers, and songwriters, these are the leaders of the pack, and they’ve got next!

Angeline Campbell Age: 20 Status: Temple 2011 JME Class of ’08 Angeline is currently in her third year at Temple University. There she majors in Broadcast, Telecommunications, and Mass Media. Through JME she was able to network with various people and secure internships. Somehow she has found the time to manage school, an internship in the A&R department at Atlantic Records, and her endless promotion work with

Kash Kuumba Age: 21 JME Class of ‘05 KASH is an acronym that stands for knowledge, attitude, skill, and habit and KUUMBA means creativity. Kash cannot only be classified as an MC but also an activist and community organizer at heart. So when you hear his music you’re hearing culture, politics, the struggle, the streets … the black CNN. Currently he is working on his first album called Planet Ebony. Most recently, 9

Exponent Entertainment. Through her work with these various companies, she has been able to work on projects with both signed and unsigned artists. Angeline is the epitome of “The Grind.” A major advocate for the Jr. Music Executive program, she is constantly spreading the word and supporting the events JME offers. You can see her all over Philly and New York making a name for herself. She believes that the students in JME help to inspire, teach, and help each other on their journeys to make it in the music industry. And soon enough, you will see her as the head of her own record label. Follow this leader @msangeline on Twitter.com

Kash has received airtime and spins on various Internet radio shows including “The Bigga Chezz Show,” “Rap Star Radio,” and “Shadina Radio” all on blogtalkradio.com, in addition to “The Foundation” on voltaradio. com. Kash is also expanding his portfolio by working as a branding/ marketing consultant and getting in to modeling. Follow this leader @MusiqExecKash on twitter!


Tyree Gallimore Age: 24 Status: West Chester Grad ‘09 JME Class of ‘09 Being a part of the Jr. Music Executive program has opened Tyree Gallimore’s eyes to the endless opportunities within the music industry beyond the typical career as an artist. Through a JME internship at Studio 609 he was been able to gain experience in artist management, publishing credits, public

Jonnelle Oleana Fletcher Age: 22 Status: Drexel University 2010 JME Class of ’09 The daughter of “Ecstasy” of hip-hop legendary group Whodini, Jonnelle Fletcher is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Entertainment Management with a concentration in Media and a minor in Business. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Jonnelle has developed passion, determination, and resilience. In high school she worked on a project, as a casting assistant, with Benny Boom’s former Gorilla Flixx video production company. Since then, she has interned for MTV News, Island Def Jam Records, Fox News and several Hip Hop Pioneers, including MC Lyte. While at Drexel University, she has judged MC battles, orchestrated music showcases, and

relations, and concert coordination. As he became exposed to these different skills and opportunities along with his current promotional and marketing background as a promotions assistant at 100.3 The beat, he was able to start his own marketing, media, and management company, Breed Success. As he looks forward to making a strong impact on the music industry he continues to participate as an active member of the JME program looking to evolve as the music industry continues to grow in this new digital era. Follow this leader @365LiveMedia on Twitter!

has actively participated in organizations such as: the Grammy University Network and Jr. Music Executive. Most recently she assisted with the 2009 Philly Urban Legend Awards and is currently focused on developing Mazon, an Emcee from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Jonnelle has traveled all over the world and has witnessed, first hand, the impact of Hip Hop music and its culture. “My biggest moment was hanging out at a lounge in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and hearing the Deejay spin Meek Mills. I went crazy. That was the moment when it really registered.” Jonnelle’s love for Hip Hop goes beyond words and she plans on making a difference in the industry through evoking the best music, creatively, by bridging the global hip hop gap with the art of online branding. Follow this leader @itsjonnelle on Twitter! 10


Ashley Coleman Age: 23 Status: Temple Grad ’08 JME Class of ’08 Ashley Coleman is a guitar student as well as a budding songwriter. She has been taken under the wing of great songwriters such as Carvin Haggins and Donald Robinson. With the guidance and direction

Terence Oliver Age: 18 Status: Senior, Academy of Palumbo JME Class of ’08 Hip-hop. Experimental. SOULful Music. What do you get when you put all of this into a blender and crank it up? You get Philadelphia’s own, Khemist. Khemist’s only motive is none other than putting out good music, while helping those who listen have a better understanding of the art behind it. While Philadelphia is currently known for its violent and sickening crime rate, there is still light shining in this darkness. Khemist hopes to be the beacon for this light, advocating for the fact that there 11

of such talented mentors, she soon hopes to have her name plastered on album cover credits in many different genres. She has also been working with other talented newcomers including Andre Holmes, Voice Singh, and Cincere. Under the wing of mentor Aisha Winfield, Ashley Coleman has also been able to get a large grasp of not only the creative aspect of the music industry, but also the administrative side. She has had the opportunity to assist with the R&B Foundation’s Pioneer awards, assist with studio administration as well as edit for JME publication The Biz Exclusives. The entrepreneurial bug has also hit and Ashley has begun a company called Paper Cutz Inc. that helps musicians, songwriters, and producers with their paperwork. Follow this leader @ashjustwrites on Twitter!

are other options for success, besides a gun and a mask. Khemist doesn’t want to be known as just another great rapper. Inspired heavily by the other greats that have come from his city, Khemist would rather be recognized as one of the most influential musical artists to have ever blessed the microphone. If one was to compare Khemist to another artist, you would probably hear his lyrical style being compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Lupe Fiasco, while maintaining his creativity, individuality, and unique perspective. A self proclaimed “weirdo”, it is definitely noticed yet appreciated in his music. Take a listen. He’s in the lab and he’s ready. Follow this leader @localkhemistry on Twitter!


Getting Paid as a Creator of Music Have you ever w o n d e r e d how exactly songwriters and producers get paid from the music they create? Well if you’ve ever heard of organizations like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, there is your answer. These are what we call performance rights organizations (PRO). The job of a PRO is to collect the performance right’s royalties on behalf of its members whom are composers, writers, and music publishers. Then the royalties are distributed to members, minus the cost of the administrative work of the PRO. The venues that PROs collect money from are network television, cable TV, cable movie channels, nightclubs, stores, restaurants and anywhere else the music can be performed. Dramatic rights, which include theater, are negotiated directly by the composer and or their representation. And the United States is one of the few countries that do not

collect royalties for movie theater performances. PROs only collect the money for performances, so mechanical rights; grand rights, master rights, or synchronization rights are not licensed by PROs. They also monitor the copyrighted work that is played on the radio. The broadcasters pay the fees. These organizations also offer a lot more to its members. When you become a member, there are all types of workshops, networking events, and ceremonies where outstanding composers are honored. The best part is that the very same people it represents have created organizations like ASCAP. So their board and employees are very in tune to what the music community needs and wants. PROs represent all different genres of music from rock, R&B, rap, to country, blues, and jazz. So whatever your avenue, you can find adequate representation. And with a lot of things in the music industry, it’s all about doing your research. Look through the websites of the organizations and find out what might be the best for you. Just like a lawyer, or accountant, or image consultant, this is a relationship as well, and you want to find a place you feel comfortable with. Especially when it comes to handling your money. For more information on Performance Rights Organizations check out these websites: www.ascap.com, www.bmi.com, www.sesac.com, www.iammusic.com 12


Producers' Corner Steve Mckie on getting the music inside, out.

Steve McKie is a superior drummer, birthed out of the neo-soul powerhouse in Philly. After playing in Philly’s own, Bilal’s band, he realized he was one of the only band members that didn’t produce. He felt like he needed to be more than just a drummer. In 2002, McKie decided to buy an MPC, and it’s just been a step up every year for him since. “I think I had a lot of music inside of me, I didn’t know at that point but I feel like I had a lot to offer from a different angle.” McKie started playing the drums around the age of 12. However, before his mother could afford a drum set, he would practice on buckets, and anything else he could get a good sound out of. In his last year of high school, he took a music reading class which proved helpful later when working on an orchestral piece with the legendary Larry Gold. “If you want to get better, you hang around a circle of people that are better than you.” McKie said. On his journey, McKie found the right circle that motivated him to take his craft to the next level. His influential mentors were an NTA guard at school, Lee Patterson who also played the bass as well as Donald Robinson, a top notch, musician and songwriter. They 13

both gave him similar instruction on how to continue to progress. Their advice included these tips: be on time, know the music, always be prepared, make your craft something special and make it your own. He definitely took their advice. McKie worked very hard to get his drumming up to par. From recording himself and listening back to practicing constantly with other talented drummers. Around 1999-2000, McKie really kicked it into over drive when he began playing in jam sessions across the Philadelphia area. Eventually those jam sessions led to playing with Musiq, Bilal, and Jill Scott. And once again when McKie decided production was the next step he surrounded himself with those that were doing it and doing it well. He looked to fellow Philadelphia producers, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots and James Poyser for inspiration.


He set his eyes on being able to executive produce a whole project, in which he will be the executive producer on two projects in 2010, one from Bilal, and another from Joy, a German artist. His quiet confidence is what keeps propelling him towards the top. And for those wondering about the steps it takes to get there, McKie laid out some of the first steps to take. “Production is a tricky word because a lot of people call themselves producers but it’s a lot to it, to producing a record, you have to see it from start to finish,” McKie explained. McKie has taken everything he learned not only from peers, and friends but also from albums like Thriller, Voodoo, and yes, The Chronic to craft his own sound. When listening to music by Steve McKie there are a few things that make his style distinctive. “On my records, I like to keep live ambiances,” He said. From a stray tap, to an extra bar or two one of the musicians played, McKie likes to have atmosphere in his tracks. His music is full, soulful and feels good. All his hard work led to working with artists like Jill Scott, Estelle, and Bilal. He took us back to the feeling of the underlining moment of his hard work. “It all happened so fast, like somebody just threw me in there and I had to figure out my way … You’re in the car with nothing to do and then boom you hear your song on the radio.” But having a song like “Hate on Me” by Jill Scott or “Back in Love” by Estelle in rotation on the radio wasn’t enough for McKie. He wasn’t going to be content.

“Crafting your sound, making a plan, I think you have to stick to it and you have to be very ambitious about it. There’s no room for stress or putting yourself down. You have to be confident in how you present it.” With the grueling schedule of being on the road, McKie is content with producing and being able to work right out of his hometown. And with the gigantic steps he seems to be taking every year, it won’t be long before he’s sitting right at the top of the game. He sees himself creating a production team, discovering artists, and maybe even running a label in the next 5 years. Steve McKie’s innate ability to feel the music he produces, leads to “timeless” music that can transcend generations. “It goes back to the roots of being a child, or being right inside your mom’s stomach and you’re introduced to a bunch of things,” McKie said. With this type of outlook on music, it’s safe to say that we might be hearing from Steve McKie for years to come.

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Jay-Z is undeniably one of the best to enter the rap game period. So I can understand why a lot of fans are confused as to why he felt the need to tell us how great he was over and over including redundant references to his 11 number 1 albums on The Blueprint 3. With that being said, there is

definitely gold to be found in this most recent body of work of Jay’s. This album shows a more mature Jay-Z. In the first track “What We Talkin’ Bout” he states “Ain’t nothing cool about carrying a strap, bout worrying your mom, and burying your best cat,” which depicts major change from the former street hustler. The tracks on the album seem to have a different bounce that we’re not used to from Jay, even though he enlisted the help of his staple producers including Timbaland, Kanye West, No I.D. and the Neptunes. The Blueprint 3 shows more of a collaborative effort from

i v e r

LeToya Luckett released her new album Lady Love on August 25,2009. Lady Love is an album exclusively for the ladies. Luckett’s powerful voice and uptempo beats show a major jump between her solo debut and current

release. This album is very motivational and shows that ladies don’t need a man to fulfill the things they want out of life. She sounds more confident and edgy. The lyrics on this album are powerful, classy, and mature. Each song is very unique and stylish. It’s easy to connect with the songs on Lady Love because it’s very personal, and real. This one is for the clubs, a night out with your girls, to get over an ex, or to make you feel better about yourself. Luckett has released

Trey Songz “The Prince Of Virginia” released his long awaited album Ready on Sept. 1, 2009. Indeed this album is for the grown and sexy. Whether you’re male or female you can definitely appreciate this one. Ready is for a

mature crowd with its sensual lyrics and soulful sound. This album embodies the emotions of a man when it comes to love and relationships. The ladies can get a closer idea of what a man looks for in a woman and how he feels about love. This album is easy to vibe to with its up-tempo beats. “I Need A Girl” is his first single and video off of the album and it describes what he wants in a girl and how he just wants to be accepted for more than just his success but what he stands for

Move out the way amateurs, Whitney’s Back! Whitney Houston’s new album I Look To You starts off with “Million Dollar Bill” co-written by Alicia Keys. It’s a brush in hand, pajama singing in the mirror kind of song.

Her first single off of the album was “I Look To You” written by R. Kelly this song sounds a lot like “I Turn To You” by Christina Aguilera from back in 2000. It’s not the best song on the album it has already been done. Whitney makes up for it with “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” this song should have been her first single it’s a song of triumph the chorus states “I crashed down, I tumbled but I did not crumble I was


i

uplifting is “Don’t Need U,” which is very powerful and teaches the lesson that you can get over that man who made you put yourself down and that you’re better and can do better than him. LeToya keeps this album sexy, classy, and stylish. LeToya takes a stance with this album for the ladies. Her songs express an independent woman theme so go get Lady Love today.

as a man. Ready is a warm and relaxing body of work that needs to be on your iPod, iTunes, or CD Player. Ready shows a more mature side of Trey Songz that everyone has been waiting for. “Yo Side Of The Bed” which was also was featured on his mixtape, is a song that expresses a broken relationship and how it was uncomfortable to live without the one he loved which related to a lot of men or women who were having trouble

in their relationships. The high notes Trey hits on this album are mind blowing and will have you wanting more of “The Prince Of VA. “ All together this album was a success, just like his single “Successful” ft Drake that has quickly become an everyday saying whether young or old. Ready is creative, well put together, and amazingly crafted. So if you don’t have Ready I know you Anticipation is growing!

not built to break I didn’t know my on strength.” It’s very motivational and the best way to describe her past experiences. “Like I Never Left” featuring Akon starts off a little slow but by the middle of the song you find yourself tapping your foot to it, however, Akon wasn’t needed vocally. “For the Lovers” is a pop song with old school flavor, it’s a song that the young and old can dance to. The last

track “Salute” is the best way to end the album. She reminds us that this isn’t a come back, she’s been here for years. That she isn’t perfect but nobody is and she’s not regretting anything. I salute her and would recommend you to pick up this album. It’s like a roller coaster ride, it has its ups and downs and you’re going to enjoy every minute of it. 16

Jay Letoya

s w e

three chart topping singles so far: “Not Anymore,” which was about leaving a broken relationship, “She Ain’t Got,” a flashy song about how the other girl her man was talking to isn’t on her level and “Regret” featuring Ludacris, a very smooth song about how a man was going to regret leaving her. LeToya shows ladies love with this one. Lady Love is magical from beginning to end and is very creative. Another song on the album that’s very

Trey

feature Mrs. Carter although she’s not listed on the track credits. Blueprint 3 focuses a little too much on the haters, when Jay-Z seems to be so past the banter that people get involved in. And although he claims to be in a league all his own, he can’t help but address the critics. The body of work is fairly decent, and if it were another rapper, it might be undoubtedly “Great.” However, when you’re on top, the bar is set a little higher and that leaves Blueprint 3 somewhere in the midrange in the rankings of albums from Jay-Z.

Whitney

Jay-Z as well. Surprisingly, Jay used a lot of the hottest up-coming emcees on hooks as opposed to spitting verses. And although the hooks seemed to have benefited, most of us would have loved to get verses from Kid Cudi on “Already Home” and from Drake on “Off That.” In tracks like “Empire State of Mind,” although Alicia Keys is belting out New York, it seems to give you a sense of pride wherever you may be from. Jay cleverly gives props to massive emcees in “A Star is Born.” A fan favorite is also “Venus Vs. Mars” which, appears to


Giving the Arts some Class “How do we keep the students interested?”, is the huge question at the center of the conversation in the Philadelphia Public School system. Currently the district’s drop out rate is teetering around 50 percent, leaving administrators, instructors, and parents alike scrambling for answers. The good news is that people inside and outside of the school district are very interested in doing what it takes to keep kids in school. On the district’s part, they are launching new initiatives and partnerships with programs like Arts Rising and they have recently hired over 100 new arts personnel. They have replaced instruments, built graphic design labs and studios for music technology in schools like Lincoln and Fels. But students still aren’t engaged. On a brisk evening in Philadelphia, high school and college students, youth organizers, and school district personnel filed into a small conference room at the Philadelphia School District headquarters at 440 N. Broad Street. Bunmi Samuel, entrepreneur, consultant, and freethinker, moderated a panel discussion about Art and Education. From the start, the one thing that seemed present was optimism. Art, music, and entertainment are

elements

in

society that can transcend race, religion, culture, and age. And many see these elements as the vehicle that can be used to bring the youth back to academics. It is no secret that the arts are instrumental in the development of young people. Yet when budgets don’t make the cut, art’s programs are the first things on the chopping block. But without art therapy, a story like Dr. Dennis W. Creedon’s would not be possible. After struggling with Dyslexia, it wasn’t until his art therapist cited him as gifted that Dr. Creedon gained the confidence to overcome his disability. “When I heard those words gifted, it totally changed the paradigm of my life,” Dr. Creedon spoke candidly. Creedon had been failed by the assessment standards of the school system and placed in a category while his other talents were overlooked. When Creedon entered the world of academia and handed out his first assessment to students who looked “tearful,” he realized he was repeating the same cycle. How do we integrate artistically rich education in with the world of academia? How do we assess


advancement and progress when it comes to the arts? Dr. Creedon referenced June Jordan’s book Poetry for the People, as insightful in terms of assessment in the arts. Her ideology consists of building a community and building trust with students and teachers so that the assessment is more of an editing process. Joe Malachi, founder of Philadelphia Young Artists (PYA), sees advancement and assessment in regard to goal setting. In his program he makes it a point to look at each individual student and set an agenda for progress. This way, students are critiqued with a rubric catered to their specific agenda as opposed to a general assessment. The panel agreed that successful assessment in arts education need to involve the students, be constructive and strategic, and stand on the foundation of a creative community. Our conversation led us to how art education should take place in schools. Tamika Stembridge, a third year law student at Rutgers University, discussed the importance of keeping a balance between academia and arts and culture. First hand she was able to experience students that simply needed to express themselves in order to improve their academic endeavors. With students being given the opportunity to find their voice and be creative, they were eventually able to excel in other areas. In this specific case, Stembridge felt like music and education, didn’t necessarily need to merge to inspire students, but the availability of both, helped influence

the other. Support is something that ArtsRising Director, Varissa McMickens cites as a key to moving forward with arts education in the public school system. How do we make sure that the teachers diving into extensive, individualized creative educations have the resources that they need to communicate these important lessons and ideas to their students? Community and support are the building blocks of the ArtsRising initiative. Grammy U representative and University of the Arts Senior, Sakina Ibrahim, talked about the importance of building a catalyst between higher education students and younger students to show another option. Peer mentoring is something Ibrahim sees as a way of support on more of a grass roots level with people closer to a student’s age that can show them education as a road to success. The music industry is moving more toward technology and the school system is having a tough time keeping up. Students that want to be songwriters, rappers, vocalists, and hip-hop producers have expressed feelings of inadequacy in the music programs present in their schools. This brought into question, the integration of traditional music education vs. non traditional. Through his experience with after school programs Joe Malachi offered insight. “If you try to get kids interested in the ‘hands on’ part


of the arts, then you can try to work in the other things once you have them, “ he said. In his program at Delaware Valley Charter High School, he had student vocalists who just started off singing whatever songs their hearts desired. Eventually that led to teaching breathing exercises, posture, warmsup and the dynamic of really owning an individual song. This gives students the hook but also works in the traditional elements of learning about music. The way that artistic culture ties into traditional education is very important. It is exciting that the Philadelphia School District is on board for artistic solutions to get students back on track with school. Our panel came up with great ways to begin the process and really get involved with what needs to happen to get these programs up and running. As our moderator, Bunmi Samuels mentioned, “To talk about it in theory is not really to address the real issue.” “I think that the staff just shouldn’t be so judgmental toward the students. They need to understand that students have different personalities and different ways of reacting to things,” Academy of Palumbo senior, Terence Oliver, expressed his opinion on changes needed in education. The panel also believes that engaging students, collaboration and relationships are poignant to solving the issues in the school system. Starting with a small seed, can eventually lead to a huge movement 19

that can engage the learning community as a whole. Content Specialist, Tessie Varthas believes beginning with small pilot programs, in targeted areas, that have administrations that are supportive of the arts can really change how the school district as a whole operates. Students want to look forward to going to school, as Bartram student Terrell Kelly mentioned, and the reality is that the students can’t do it alone. The adults need to be able to meet students half way to begin the process of healing the disheveled learning community. It is the hope of those involved in the dialogue that this is the beginning of many more conversations between students and administrators. And as long as optimism is present on both sides, it is fair to say that these goals can be reached. Special thanks to Jonnelle Fletcher, Sakina Ibrahim, Tamika Stembridge, Terrell Kelly, Terence Oliver, Antonio Jones, Carol Fixman, Dr. Dennis Creedon, Joe Malachi, Tessie Varthas, Varissa McMickens, Virginia Lam, Bunmi Samuel, and Aisha Winfield for making this conversation happen. For more information on how to get involved, please e-mail us at thebizexclusives@gmail.com.


“Copy Wronged� from pg. 2. primarily handles contracts and licenses is called a transactional attorney. The second is if you are being sued or need to bring a lawsuit against someone else. An attorney who specializes in lawsuits is called a litigator. A good transactional attorney can help you minimize the need for a

litigator but should be able to help you find one when needed. The first test I would use when looking for the right attorney is to give potential candidates a phone call or send an email. Despite the busy work lives of attorneys, he or she should be able to make time for a prospective client. Ask yourself, was he or she responsive?

Was he or she knowledgeable? Did you feel that you would want him or her in your corner when making important career decisions? Resources for Artists Who Are Starting Out: Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (215) 545-3385 Send Henry your legal question at thebizexclusives@gmail.com

Resources Jr. Music Executive is a proud partner of the Urban Arts & Education Alliance, a coalition of arts, education, and media professionals that provide interdisciplinary programs and curriculums for school aged students, as well as an outlet for artist. Alliance partners are committed to programming that works directly with students while engaging parents, community, and the public into the learning process. The Alliance focuses on collectively providing exposure, resources, and outlets to artists, educators, organizations, and the community at large. The following is a partial listing of music programs compiled by the Urban Arts & Education Alliance. Art Sanctuary North Stars www.artsanctuary.org 215-232-4485 Coda Program www.codaprogram.com 215-474-4912 Jr. Music Executive www.jrmusicexec.com 215-207-9353 Lil Drummaboy Recordings www.lildrummaboy.com 215-574-1400

Music & Mentorship www.myspace.com/ musicmentorshipprogram 215-386-1298 x 286

Project D.A.S.H. (Destined to Achieve Successful Heights) Brandon@sefgllc.com 267-879-6200

Philadelphia Young Artists www.philadelphiayoungartist.org 610-299-8166

Entertainers4Education Alliance www.e4ea.org 212-501-6044

Words, Beats & Life (Washington, DC) www.wblinc.org 202-667-1192

Freedom Theater Performing Arts Training Program www.freedomtheatre.org 215-765-2793

visit jrmusicexec.com for more info


workshops • Internships • Scholarships • Networking Events

www.jrmusicexec.com Jr. Music Executive was established to inspire high school and college students in urban environments to pursue higher education, set goals, and reach their full potential by exposing them to careers in the music business. We will achieve these goals by providing students with the appropriate tools, resources, education, mentoring, and internship opportunities essential to successful entrance into the entertainment business. Through our interactive programs, Jr. Music Executive promotes selfconfidence, encourages peer mentoring, and increases students’ value of education. Our programs also provide a support system that fosters life and job skills for at risk youth populations.

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Winter Issue 2010