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Publisher & Chief Executive Officer Tempestt Harris (CEO) Chief Operating Officer/ Editor In Chief Maresa Scott (COO) Chief Financial Officer Anitra Scott (CFO) Creative Director Michael Lopez Administrative Staff Sales Executive Anitra Scott Sales Michelle Mitchell Ashley Lindo Contributor Contributor/ Correspondent Shartiera Wilkerson Graphic Design Layout Designer Antoine Boderick Fashion Stylist Jerry Thompson Style and Wardrobe Contributor Jekia Benson Makeup Artist Alexis Washington April Hill Writers Writer Desi Helm Contributing writer Marage Blakeney Contributing writer Chris Pointe Writer Intern Chris Lewis Blogger/ Journalist Intern Kaitlin Booe Photography Antoinne Duane Jones Laurence Logan-The T.Z Studio Todd Youngblood Glen Byrd- Photo X Words Videography Toussaint StudiosEmmanuel Toussaint Corporate Public Relations Pac Public Relations Digital Level21 Media LLC. Yumpu Wribits
I N THI S I SSUE
LEVEL21 MUSICMEETS MAGAZINE FASHIONISSUE 8. DANEILLE HASKELL
42. Marche? Tayl or Templ et on
COV ER STORI ES
COVER-SUPER PRODUCER BRYAN-MICHAEL COX
38. MILAN HIGHTOWER
38 AUGUST.2018-w w w.level21m ag.com
HAIR/MUA : Paul Mitchell School Charlotte Creative Direction: Tempestt Harris Photographer: Tanisha Byrd Wardrobe: H. Lerent
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
anielle Haskell is using her voice to complete her life?s mission by encouraging others and spreading God?s love to the world. She is an accomplished Christian pop singer/song writer. Amazingly, Danielle began singing and playing the piano at the age of three. By the time she was six years old, Danielle began taking guitar lessons. Now at the age of 19, Danielle is making a name for herself within the gospel music industry. She has garnered several accolades, including the 2018 Carolina Music Video Award for Best Video within the Christian/Gospel genre. Danielle has been acknowledged as 2017 Akademia Christian Artist of the Year and nominated for the 2018 Josie Music Awards category of Rising Star. Recently, Level 21 had the opportunity to talk with her: How w er e you discover ed? My mother would set up singing ?gigs? for me. I guess you would call them ?gigs? but I didn?t get paid for them. I would sing at local events and my home church. However, my first paying gig was singing at Disney. . I sang at one event in Disney when I was in 6th grade.Two years after the event that I received another call inquiring if I still sang, and that began me taking my music more seriously and eventually leading to where I am now. Wh at m ade you w an t t o sin g gospel ver ses an ot h er gen r e of m u sic? I love all genres of music. Growing up, I went to a Catholic school. So, I naturally gravitated to music with Christian undertones. I wanted to create music that everyone, even atheists, could relate to the message of love and feel something in their hearts. The best part of music is when someone listens to and relates to your song. In the few minutes that they are listening to the song, not only do they become part of my story, but I become part of theirs and that is an awesome feeling. Wh at w ou ld you con sider t o be t h e h ar der t ask son g, w r it in g or sin gin g?
That is a tough question. I probably would say that song writing is much harder. Although singing and song writing require practice and hard work, song writing requires a lot of LEVEL21 M AGAZINE-PG.8
creativity. You must focus on the message and its words to provoke heart-felt emotions. I write personal songs to help and comfort others. Tell u s a lit t le bit abou t you r son g, ?For get ?. Forget is a very important song about my grandfather. He was suffering with Alzheimer ?s disease for the last six years of his life. One day, I received a call that my grandfather had fallen and had a brain bleed. Danielle flew back home to find him hospitalized. I was told not to expect much and that he would likely pass away in a few weeks. During his entire time with Alzheimer ?s, I was the only person he consistently recognized. Not once, did my grandfather get my name wrong. I was so afraid that he would forget me after his accident. However, when I saw him and said ?Pepere?, he immediately replied ?Danielle you?re here?. I was so grateful that my grandfather, even with a brain bleed, still recognized me. Immediately, I felt so much love and gratefulness that my grandfather had not forgotten me and neither had God. I wrote that song within Â˝ hour. The song?s message is that God never forgets us. Wh at advice w ou ld you give ou r r eader s t o f ollow t h eir dr eam s? Just relax. Success comes from being calm. When you are under pressure, just breathe and relax. If you stay calm and work hard, things will naturally fall into place.
Ben Carson once said that, ?Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams.? Danielle is living out her dreams and encouraging others, along the way. Her latest song is ?Breath?. The song is a tribute to everyone who lifted her up during her life. The video for this single has been nominated for the 2018 Carolina Music Video Award. Danielle is making huge strides in the gospel industry. According to her song lyrics, her music is a true testament that, ?when we are weak, you are my next steps. When we need it, you are my breath?. Danielle, keep letting your light shine! Written by: Marage Blakeney
www.daniellevhaskell.com / Instagram @danielle.haskell
The Music Meet s Fashio n Issue 2018
w w w .l ev el 21mag.co m
Con tact: M ich ael Sau n der s-Ph on e: (704-858-5640 Em ail :m sau n der s1959@ gm ail .com
LEVEL21 M AGAZINE-PG.14
Rec or d Br eak i ng Song wr i t er . c ompos er . pr oduc er
THE GENIUS That Is.. BRYAN- MI CHAEL COX The mark of a great architect is not in the volume of what he?s built, but in the impact his creation has on its surroundings. The same can be said for musical architects, and producers are the architects of the soundtracks of our lives. The best ones not only have extensive resumes, but they also forever impact whoever hears their songs. Bryan-Michael Cox is the epitome of such a producer. What Mozart was to classical music, Bryan-Michael Cox is to R&B and pop music.
Raised in Houston, Texas, Cox knew BeyoncĂŠ in high school, and even if his first demo tape was with her, Cox?s career truly began as so many do? with an internship for the then Georgia-based Noontime Records. Cox has said of moving from Houston to Georgia, ?Back then, there were three choices if you wanted to be in the music industry. Live in New York, live in L.A., or live in Atlanta.? So, Cox enrolled in Clark Atlanta University ?because I was just trying to get to Atlanta.? Since then, he?s reconnected with BeyoncĂŠ (he produced a track for Destiny?s Child) and has been mentored by So So Def ?s Jermaine Dupri, but Cox has carved out his own place behind the scenes of some of the industry?s most lucrative stars like Usher, Bow Wow, Justin Bieber, R. Kelly, and Drake? just to name a few.
Cox is also responsible for over 100 million record sales and thirty-five No. 1 hits. With that in mind, it?s easy to say that Cox has done it all. ?To be a great producer, you have to understand every genre. You?ve got to have a love and affinity for everything,? he explains. With a portfolio that boasts Grammy Awards and nominations alike (nine wins and twelve nominations if you?re counting), Cox?s success speaks for itself. His accolades are even more impressive when you consider the declining popularity of R&B and pop. Even with the increasing popularity of hip-hop, Cox isn?t concerned about the future of either genre. ?Music is always a cycle. As long as I?ve been alive, it?s been a cycle,? Cox told us when we asked about where he sees music trends, and listeners? tastes, ten years from now.
?I feel like R&B?s going to have a resurgence. You?ve seen what?s happened with the L.M.A. record, you?ve seen what?s happened with H.E.R., with Damn Caesar, you see what?s happening with these artists who are making some real movement. It?s a reflection of people reacting or gravitating to R&B music.? To keep the circle unbroken, Cox calls on the driving force of a younger generation. ?To all my little black boys and girls growing up, if you?re great at something, be great. Do not ever underestimate who you are or what you feel you can do. If you?re great at creating content walk in that s* * t! We need to be teaching ownership because our kids are still enchanted with labels. You shouldn?t be looking for Columbia, Atlantic, Def Jam? they?re looking for y?all.?
Cox continues, ?I?ve seen a lot of different styles come and go and come back. I?ve always tried to keep my ear to the streets and try to keep my ear to what the youth is doing and try to really pay attention to what everybody else is doing. I?ve always embraced the youth and I?ve always wanted to understand what they?re doing. I don?t carry myself as an old person. This business keeps us young,? Cox told us at Level21. Cox may have been talking about what influences his style, but style applies to more than just the clothes on your back. In fact, it?s that style and Cox?s desire to stay engaged in current trends that contributes to the longevity of his career.
Artists who were once on Cox?s wish list have become a hit list of artists he?s teamed up with to produce cultural classics. At this point in his career he?s partnered with so many legendary performers and amassed so many awards that Bryan Michael Cox has become the producer that even the stars prefer. ?I?ve worked with artists who I never thought I?d work with. Mariah and Whitney were unattainable. Mary J. Blige, they?re the queens of it all. I grew up wanting to work with them?, Cox passionately retorts. ?Growing up as a kid from Houston I never imagined that one day I?d work with these artists.?
The key to it all, regardless of genre, lay in the songs and how they?re constructed. As a producer, that?s where Cox comes into play. ?I discovered that when I worked with Usher. The best songs are conversations,? Cox explains.
?The first song I ever wrote with Usher was a record called ?U Got it Bad,?and that song came through a conversation. I learned from him and Jermaine? ?Oh, sh* t, we want to talk about songs.? We want to talk about what we?re going through, and through us conversing, these songs are going to present themselves, they?re going to develop.? This only happens because of our relationships. Cox has worked with platinum-selling artists like Usher, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Mary J. Bilge, and has done so for over a decade; it?s safe to say Cox is a master of both. And, according to us here at Level21, he?ll continue to be regardless of where the music industry goes from here.
" The i l l us t r at or of f eel i ngs . "
Photography: Antoinne Duane Jones Wardrobe: Maurice Brown, Stacey Adams, Untitled Facade Stylist: Jerry Thompson - JT's Kloset Creative Direction: Michael Lopez Video- Emmanuel Toussaint-Toussaint Studios
?Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.? ? Rach el Zoe
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FALLING THROUGH APRIL By Chris Lewis
Every now and again you meet a group of young musicians who truly have talent and drive; gaining a following in North Carolina, this alt-rock band, Falling Through April will be one of the few to change the landscape of rock for the better for Carolinas and beyond. In the midst of troublesome circumstances like transmission explosions and previous vocalists going M.I.A., managed to thrive together and create some pretty amazing music for fans to jam out to.
The band consists of Mikaela Salazar (lead vocalist), Dan Candia (vocalist and guitarist), Jim Siani (guitarist), Dave Piontek (vocalist and bassist), Taylor Foster (drummer/percussionist).The power of music runs deep within their veins! Dan?s family consists of many well-traveled musicians, and his father was a guitarist himself. Taylor ?s father was also a drummer, and Jim?s passion for music began at the young age of 13. Dave started playing when he received his first guitar at 13 years old. Mikaela?s love for singing came from listening to singers Alanis Morrissette and Gwen Stefani. Although they all hail from different parts of the ?States, Dan, Jim, Dave, and Taylor found each other while playing in other bands that were apart of Charlotte?s indie rock scene. Once Mikaela joined in 2016, the band felt complete and they went on to release their first single together called ?Desperate Measures? in September of 2017. The song?s music video premiered on Alternative Press and debuted at #13 on the YouTube?s Alternative Hotlist Playlist! The single is playing in 3,800 Health Clubs worldwide, and plays on shows such as MusicMix
USA and SidewalksTV. They also released their album called Zodiac on January 19, 2018, which exhibits influences from Incubus and Halsey. Falling Through April has opened for bands such as Theory of a Deadman, The Pretty Reckless, Pop Evil, Adelitas Way, and Flyleaf, among others. They?ve also performed at Warped Tour, SXSW, Florida Music Festival, Sonorous Music Festival, Dewey Beach Music Conference, and Celebrate Fairfax.
For each ban d m em ber , can you please ell u s abou t you r back gr ou n d? Wh er e ar e you all f r om an d h ow did you all get in t o m u sic?
M ik aela: I?m originally from California but I?ve lived in a few places across the country. Music is like air in my household ? growing up it was everywhere. My whole family is musical; my dad plays bass, mom sings, etc. There is a picture of us performing as a family in Mexico with me on guitar. Dan: I was born and raised in Maryland and decided to move to the Carolinas on my own in 2009. One of my brothers, Lou, introduced me to various bands my whole life that made me interested in picking up an instrument but my dad always encouraged me to ?keep practicing?and evolve. He also used to play guitar around the house so I grew up hearing it. Taylor : My dad is a drummer so I always looked up to him for inspiration. Seeing him play I knew that?s what I wanted to do. He lives in Arkansas and I spent time between there and North Carolina growing up. Jim : I?m from Pennsylvania and just grew up listening to music that inspired me to want to be a musician. The way certain songs or artists made me feel, that?s how I want to make others feel. Dave: I?m like Pepsi, born and raised in the Carolinas. I got into music because of my mom. She?s a singer and church band leader but always told me I need to get into playing the bass and as soon as I picked up a bass I knew that was my instrument and I still haven?t put it down yet.
Wh o do you all look u p t o m u sically as a gr ou p or solo act ? M ik aela: Gwen Stefani from No Doubt, Hayley Williams from Paramore, Jenna McDougall from Tonight Alive. Taylor : I?ve always been a big Incubus fan. The Beatles too. Dan: I have a really diverse taste in music but I was heavily influenced by Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against The Machine, and old school Metallica and that?s what inspired me to want to play guitar. I also look up to artists like Thrice, Paramore, Incubus, and Andy McKee. Jim : My favorite band is Weezer but I grew up listening to Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. Dave: For me it?s 90?s alternative bands like The Offspring. That time period in Alternative rock music was full of talent and really catchy songs.
Wh at is you r f avor it e son g you all h ave don e so f ar as gr ou p?
M ik aela: Probably With You in Mind or Better Off Alone. Dan and I fought hard to keep Better Off Alone on the album but With You in Mind just has something special to me in it. Dan: Yeah, I agree with Mikaela. For me, ?With You in Mind? has something extra special to me. I wrote that song when I was in a really dark place in my head and my life. I didn?t give her any back story I just let her connect to it emotionally and she nailed it. Literally wrote the perfect words to capture what I was feeling when I wrote the original idea. Wh at m ade you all con t in u e look in g f or gr ou p m em ber s? Wh at m ade you n ot give u p w h en you w er e "Falling Through April??
Jim : At the time we were looking for a vocalist we had been together for five years. We had two previous albums released, international tour history, major festival performances,etc., so, we didn?t want to leave that behind. We were Continued>>
looking for a male to replace our former vocalist and working with Mikaela on the side to put something completely new together, but the more we wrote together we realized how well she fit in with the sound of Falling Through April and decided to move forward that way.
Wh er e do you see Fallin g Th r ou gh Apr il in f ive year s? Jim : There is no limit to how far and high we want to go. We want to be out on terrestrial radio, playing even bigger festivals, and secure management and label support. So far, everything we?ve done up to this point has been grass roots and we?re doing just fine ? we just want to be doing much better than we are and think it?s time to have a third party step in that specializes in those areas.
We wish you all continued success and we look forward to hearing new music from you! Readers, you can follow the band on Twitter @bandfta, Facebook (Falling Through April), Instagram @fallingthroughaprilofficial, YouTube (Falling Through April), and search Falling Through April on Google Play, Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify!
HAIR/MUA : Paul Mitchell School Charlotte Creative Direction: Tempestt Harris Photographer: Tanisha Byrd Wardrobe: H. Lerent & H&M
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how do i Col l abor at e
of f ice st y l e guide
White collar tops work well with grey pleated skirts or pants.
Braids & top buns create a spark of edge in the workplace.
3. Less is more-Simple Shirt and Slack combo.
Go Natural: Try out different earth tones in the same color pallet.
A NEWPRINCESS IN THE SOUTH? MEET YOUNG NIYAH
very great act deserves an encore. When it?s the timeless hits of legendary R&B girl group Xscape this is especially true. This encore, however, isn?t simply a follow up performance by R&B royalty. It?s a dope new opening act by Hip Hop?s next generation. Young Niyah, the Princess of the South, is the fresh new face who?s taking center stage. She?s also just happens to be the daughter of Xscape member Tamika Scott. Young Niyah is an energetic burst to the rap genre. Her hot new single ?Hit Em? is stirring up the industry and proving that the apple doesn?t fall far from the musical tree. ?I started music at a very young age. I wrote my first song when I was 4 so I think it was just instilled in me?, she explains when asked how music initially captivated her. With a famous mother of a popular 90?s group she was practically born into the business. Growing up, however, wasn?t all about music for Young Niyah. Her mom made sure school was at the top of her list. ?My mom really pushed my education,? she sounds off emphatically. Even with all the talent in the world you get the sense that her mom didn?t want her to lose sight of her priorities. Sports also played a major role in her life. Young Niyah had a full scholarship to play collegiate softball. ?I love them both?, she exhales with endearment. ?I started softball and music around the same time when I was younger. I just stopped playing softball about 2 years ago. When I had to make a decision to pursue sports or rap and I turned down that scholarship it showed me that I loved music more.?
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Young Niyah had the opportunity to open for her mom on The Great Xscape Tour and it was quite the experience. ?My mother has had a huge impact on me. Just watching how hard she works even now when we?re on tour makes me work harder ?. Besides my mom my musical influences are Lauren Hill, Drake and Eminem.? Being impacted by legends in the business exudes through her personality and explodes in her music. ?I?m a ball of energy, beautiful, a song writer, singer and rapper,? Niyah rhythmically responds when asked how she?d describe herself. ?I get a lot of comparisons to Da Brat?, another Atlanta bred artists from the 90?s known for her combustive rapid fire rhymes. Even with their similarities Young Niyah has a style that?s all her own. She has a fun youthful persona with the music to match.
Her latest single entitled ?Hit Em? exhibits her melodic flows, flashy style and is ATL to its core. ?My inspiration for ?Hit Em? was haters. It was for the people who always have something to say. Rather than getting caught up in the negativity Young Niyah has a different approach. ?I?m going to hit em with this verse. I?m going to hit em with these shoes?. In other words, her remedy is to let her music speak for her and her lavish style handle the rest. ?I have a long list of artists I?d like to work with. Cardi B, Rae Sremmurd who I really like and PnB Rock are just a few. With her catchy rhymes and uniquely girlish charm collaborations with the industry?s top artists are certainly on the horizon for Young Niyah. ?Stay focused and be true to yourself ?, is her advice to other young aspiring artists. ?There are so many distractions out there?. Despite her youth it?s apparent that Young Niyah is the product of her own advice. If ?Hit Em? is merely the beginning for her, Hip Hop better brace itself for her follow up music. Just like her song Young Niyah definitely leaves quite the impression and The Princess of the South will undoubtedly leave her mark on the industry as well.
" My Mot her had a huge impact on me"
For More Information on Young Niyah, Please Visit: www.officialyoungniyah.com Instagram: officialyoungniyah Soundcloud: Young Niyah -Written by: Chris Lewis
By : Chris Lewis
WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW M ILAN HIGHTOWER D
ifferent,creative, bold, a creation of his own; Milan Hightower began as an actor when he at just five years old. Since then, he has entertained the masses with his upbeat and carefree demeanor. He has big dreams and aspirations, Inspiring many with his captivating music and art.
Descr ibe you r exper ien ce per f or m in g at t h e Sau ce Gala h er e in Ch ar lot t e. It was interesting because the Sauce Gala came from being my EP release event, but then it became even bigger. It was like someone having a baby; it was like my baby. Seeing everything come to life, it was We were able to catch up with him to get a a feeling like no other. I was like a proud more in-depth look into his experiences as dad. a hip hop artist and creative vision. Sin ce you ar e w ell k n ow n f or m er gin g Tell ou r r eader s h ow you got you r st ar t ext r avagan t visu al ar t s w it h m u sic in an in t h e m u sic in du st r y. in t r igu in g w ay, can you explain w h at I was in acting first. I started acting at the you r pr ocess is w h en you ar e cr eat in g age of five in Off Broadway plays in New n ew m u sic an d sh oot in g videos? York City. My mom kind of threw me in the game early. It was really around the whole I?m not a typical artist where I can sit down ?Lil Bow Wow, Lil Romeo? era. It was cool and write music all day. I don?t do that. I to see someone around my age doing have to go to the studio with the producer something other than football or who makes the beat. I let the music talk to basketball, so I kind of gravitated towards me and I ask myself ?What does the beat that. I started rapping and I?ve been into want me to say? What is the feeling?? I the whole industry from a young age, haven?t really sat down and written music, fashion, acting, everything. I really anything in so long, but it works because I don?t know anything, but the know what kind of artist I am. I allow the entertainment world. music to play and then I come up with the Wh o ar e you r biggest m u sical lyrics and the hook. After I finish each in f lu en ces? song, I?m thinking of the visuals. I guess it It would have to be Michael Jackson, goes back to my acting days because I love number one. You?ve got to say the King of creating visuals that give people a run for Pop. He?s creative and he?s able to take their money and crossing boundaries. The things to the next level. Secondly, I would majority of the videos I do, I write my own say Tupac. He didn?t treatments, cast my own people, and I hold his tongue; he spoke his mind. I feel plan on doing my own stunts. like with music you?ve got to be able to do Wh ich m u sic video of you r s w as t h e that. I can go as far back as the m ost ch allen gin g or r equ ir ed t h e m ost Temptations, Whitney Houston. I?ll also say r esou r ces t o Drake, Janet Jackson, Chris Brown, I have a sh oot an d w h y? big list. I?m open to so much that the sky?s the limit when it comes to my music The most challenging was the video for LEVEL21 M AGAZINE-PG.38
?Leaning.? We went to New York, and we worked with a director named Fresh Press. I told him that I wanted the video to be like Gotham City and the world is crazy. He doesn?t tell me the whole time that at the time it was New York Fashion Week, but we?re going to a club to shoot the video. We get to the club and it?s a little different than the type of club that I normally go to, bear in mind that I had no idea that it was also NYFW. I eventually asked him ?What kind of club is this?? and he says ?Oh, this is a gay club.? And I?m like, ?Oh, okay, cool, so you tell me this now?? That was probably the most challenging only because I didn?t know what to expect. It was a new world for me. But I have to say that video was so cool because everyone was so creative, no one was afraid to be in front of the camera, everything was just fun. What also made that night challenging was the fact that my brother was too young to get in the club and he was on the song. So he had to use someone else?s ID, but he still couldn?t get in because the ID said that person was 6?2? and my brother is only 5?7?. So, we ended up trying our hardest to persuade the security guard to let us in. We honestly went through so much to try to get this video shot, but we eventually made it work. Nam e a m u sic gen r e, if an y, t h at people w ou ld be su r pr ised you list en t o or n am e a gen r e you w ou ld like t o explor e in t h e f u t u r e. I guess I would say the whole John Mayer, Ed Sheeran folk music route. What?s funny
is people don?t understand that hip hop influences a lot of different genres. I would love to work with John Mayer or Ed Sheeran and make that type of music for sure. Wh at advice w ou ld you give t o aspir in g ar t ist s? Be yourself. Simple as that. No matter what road you?re taken down, just be yourself. I feel like with our generation now, people think that looking at something else and becoming that is being yourself. No, you have to look in the mirror. Once you figure out who you are, that?s when everything starts connecting, and that?s when time starts working with you. If you force something that isn?t genuine, your mind and your energy is going to fight it at some point. It might seem good in the moment, but down the road, you aren?t going to like who you?ve become. Anybody that wants to be in the industry, be yourself and stay true to yourself no matter what. Wh at m essage do you w an t people t o get f r om you r m u sic? The message that I want to give is to have fun. Have fun, express yourself, and everything?s not that bad. I feel like there is so much anger and darkness in music. And when I say music, I mean specifically my genre, hip hop. I feel like we?re in a dark era of hip hop but I think my music, even though it?s not happy, bubblegum music, it?s a bit more vibey than most. I feel like if you take the time to really listen to my music, you?ll realize that there is a deeper message below the surface. I want to share a message while also showing people that you can still have a good time. How can Level21 r eader s r each you ? On all social media, you can find me at Milan Hightower. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, everything. We appreciate you, Milan Hightower, for being such an inspiring artist and creator! We wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors and thanks for the amazing interview. Stay tuned for more awesome tracks from Milan!
Photographer: Ursula Madariga
any of us recall taking an art or music class during our early years in elementary, middle, and even high school. I enjoyed music class playing instruments. I recall grabbing my favorite choice, the tambourine made of wood or plastic with bright metal jingles, the zills. I would race to grab my favorite instrument, because there were limited supplies. I made all the noise I wanted; it was a ?free for all? type of class. To this day, I enjoy watching ?the saints? in church play the tambourine. They make it look so easy to use. The beat from the ?membrane head skin?, the ivory colored backing, has an awesome sound!
Unfortunately, some students are at a disadvantage when it comes to a performing arts program. The classes or programs are no longer part of their curriculum. The ?arts? refers to physical expression of creativeness which is found in all cultures. This includes visual arts, performing arts and even literary arts. LEVEL21 M AGAZINE-PG.42
Making St ar s Br ig ht er Than Diamo nds by Way o f Music . In recent years, many public schools view performing arts as a luxury simply because the funds are not always available. In most cases many schools fail to provide optional programs. Many students will need to use outside resources to participate in specific programs for performing arts. Meanwhile, some students are receiving support from specific nonprofit organizations such as Support a Cause Foundation for the Arts (SACFFTA) created by philanthropist, Marche?Taylor Templeton. Ms. Taylor Templeton, a Baltimorean herself, is also a former student who enjoyed chorus programs throughout her childhood education. Her strong desire to provide assistance to children lacking programs such as chorus, provided the eagerness to start her nonprofit, SACFFTA. The organization
provides funds to offset the costs required to attend independent programs. Tell u s abou t Su ppor t a Cau se Fou n dat ion f or t h e Ar t s. ?The organization is focused on partnering and bridging the gaps with other non profits that are all doing the work. It?s created for leverage for direct services for kids. Unfortunately, there is a financial need for all organizations with little to no funding. My organization was created to provide funding to help the nonprofit organizations that are in need of funding. We have recently partnered and will be providing grants for Muse 360 Arts, a nonprofit which provides diverse backgrounds in the arts programs, as well as, Crystal Clear Celebrity Camp. The children go into the studio and record music and even obtain ?head shots?. They
get a chance to get the full Hollywood experience at this particular camp. So, please t ell m e abou t t h e sin gle you r ecen t ly r eleased. ?I recorded a song to support funding for my nonprofit titled Naked. It was a way for me to do the things I love and also help the nonprofit. I am a song writer and I work with producers in Baltimore. Nate Lanzino helped produce the song Naked. However, I am creating an album to get a greater fundraiser stream from the album, with a tentative date for release in September. The album will be titled Naked. Wh y did you ch oose t h e n am e Naked? ?The title Naked came to me because I was on social media reading about how the world is always suggesting ?keeping it real?. And the moment you do, you are sometimes criticized with what you do. I think of Naked as being free and clear and just bare with no cover ups." We certainly look forward to Marche?Taylor Templeton?s album release Naked and look forward to providing assistance with Support a Cause for the Arts Foundation. Remain on the lookout for up and coming events and how you can donate or assist by logging on to the foundation?s website. www.SUPPORTACAUSEFOUNDATION.org Written by Anitra Scott
M ODEL WATCH Ch r ist in a & Nick i
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Photography: Michael Lopez MUA: Alexis Washington-Evolving Faces CLT Creative Direction: Tempestt Harris
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rom the glitz and glam of today?s Hip Hop comes an original perspective. Here, the catchy hooks yield to rap in its most organic form. Fade to black...MAC the Black Sheep that is. In the chorus that is current Hip Hop his voice actually stands out. Mac The Black Sheep, a native North Carolinian, is far more than a rural kid with urban ambitions. He?s a maverick who not only marches to the beat of his own drum but also dictates his own life?s soundtrack as well. ?It was the freedom to say whatever you wanted to say that drew me to Hip Hop,? MAC explains when asked what about the music initially attracted him. ?My dad used to play Martin Luther King speeches and his ?Drum Major ? speech always stood out to me?. With legendary speeches, from transcendent figures such as Dr. King as his muse, rap became a logical choice. ?I used to rap at the school lunch tables and got ooze & ahh?s. Then I entered a talent show and got the same reaction. Then it just became a way for me to channel all my negative energy?. ?I chose my name as an artist because I was always considered the BlackSheep of my family. Everyone in my family is 6ft 4 or taller and plays basketball. Anyone who chooses to do something different doesn?t get the same support or enthusiasm behind them?.
?The way I came up made me numb to a lot of stuff but it let me know that I was strong enough to get through certain things?. Mac the Black Sheep is not your typical rapper. There?s a depth to him that his music inevitably displays. ?As an artist it gives me something to talk about. It also makes me want to give somebody something they can relate to; get them through that hard time in their life?. Mac uses his pain and turns it into inspiration which is a musical quality that makes his music ultra relatable. ?A lot people compare me to J. Cole obviously from the Fayetteville connection?, he quips when asked how he characterizes himself as an artist. Mac The BlackSheep is from a town called Southern Pines which is only about an hour from Fayetteville, NC where J. Cole grew up. ?We LEVEL21 M AGAZINE-PG.46
have similar stories with both of our mom?s being on drugs?. According to Mac that?s about where their similarities end. It?s not because he doesn?t respect J. Cole?s music. He simply wants to be his own artist. He doesn?t want to be in anyone?s shadow. There are countless artists, however, that he?d like to share the spot light with. Mac would love to collaborate with Icons such as Farrell and Snoop to Neo Soul legends Jill Scott and Erykah Badou. He even envisions working with the likes of Stevie Wonder which is a testament to The Black Sheep?s range. His vision spans far beyond the scope of music. He has his own clothing line affectionately called Pineology. Mac looks not only to impact rap music but the culture surrounding it as well. His latest eat musical project is an album entitled ?Everytime?. It features a side for guys and one directed specifically for the ladies. ?My favorite track off this album is probably one called ?Lame S* * t?. I lost a lot of people recently to violence and prison?. The song features an acoustic guitar uniquely designed to highlight and accompany his emotional lyrics. Mac the Black Sheep is an artist who is not afraid to take the road less traveled in Hip Hop. Whether it?s anger, sadness or pain he encapsulates it all. The result is a introspective journey with a very personable feel. Mac the Black Sheep is a refreshing flow to a very predictable track in Hip Hop. Written by Chris Pointe
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per spect iv e Photograpy by: Ursula Madariaga
Music Meets Fashion Bryan Michael Cox and Falling Through April