The Orange Magazine - Vol. 5

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Page 24

Enrique Javier Chi of Making Movies


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Founder Michael Neely CEO Rasheed J. Neely Aaliyah Neely Editors Aidem Media Group David R. Navarro Jimmy Star Eileen Shapiro

Contributing Writers David R. Navarro Russ Ray Martha Samasoni Jimmy Star Eileen Shapiro Trey Willis Misty White Edmund Barker Graphic Design design&print

Advertising Aidem Media Group B & S Designs Copyrights The Orange Magazine is sole property of AidemMediaGroup/ AMGmusic.Net. Which is owned by Michael Neely and any articles and pictures are sole property of The Orange Magazine and any likeness. The Orange Magazine has been copyrighting since 2019.

Table of Contents Page 4-6 Marisol Flores

Page 20-20 Freddy Zamora

Page 31-33 Jola

Page 7-9 Elveektor

Page 24-26 Enrique Javier Chi

Page 34-36 Tarius Mahoney

of Making Movies

Page 11-15 Frank Luna

Page 28-29 Babah Fly

Page 17-18 Chrissy Stokes

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MUSIC



Marisol Flores

Photo Credit: Dave Stabley Photografx

The Beginning of a Career When did you first get into music? Since a noticeably young age I loved to sing and dance. My mom noticed my talent and put me in Folklorico dancing. My first performance was when I was seven years old. However, I gravitated toward singing and slowly began to focus on my vocals. Initially my mom asked a cousin of mine to instruct me in singing lessons but unfortunately, she said no and at age seven I started taking singing and guitar lessons with a Mr. Raymond Gallegos.

Who or What inspired you to pursue a career in music? My first favorite singer was Gloria Estefan, I fell in love with Miami Sound Machine. I would listen to Gloria Estefan cassettes, often with headphones on, always singing along. My favorite song was “The Rhythm is Going to Get You.” Later I began to fall in love with Selena’s style of dance and music. The beauty of Selena’s performance very much inspired me to pursue music. How would you describe the music that you create? It is a blend of Latin Fusion with a Caribbean and Mexican twist. I love all Spanish genres of music and am influenced by Latino music.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing? I now focus on more of the Cumbia style. Also, songs that are deep felt and relate to people’s true-life stories inspire me greatly. That humanistic aspect of music evolved from initially just fallowing the beats and melodies of songs.

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I’m sure you have shared the stage with a lot of talented artists/celebrities along the way. Would you share 1 or 2 of your favorite stories with us? I got to open for Los Kumbia Kings at the House of Blues in Houston, Texas. I also performed with them in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Legends Theater inside Route 66 Casino. I was elated and honored to perform with Selena’s brother Abe Quintanilla. Additionally, I felt like my state supported me and my music proceeding these performances.

Photo Credit: David Moreno


Photo Credits: Dave Stabley Photografx (Top Left), ESP (Top Right), Rowena Cruz Alvertrio (Center Right), Jonathan Wooden (Bottom Right)

If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business? Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why? Passion gives me my drive with respect to music because nothing in this world is worth it unless it is accomplished with hard work. Passion gives me the drive to work hard to accomplish my goals in music. Also, when people tell me no, I want it more. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in an industry overflowing with new faces and ideas? I believe in the songs I sing, and the music I create becomes a part of me. Music is my existence. I think that shows in the music I create and in my performances. What has been your biggest challenge as a musician/singer-songwriter? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how. Being a woman in this industry is hard because in many cases people want to take advantage of you and don’t take you seriously when you are a women in this industry. However, I have a great support system of colleagues, friends and family and I come from a long line of strong women. A common phrase in the industry is, “you must suffer for your art.” Do you agree with this statement? If so, how have you suffered for your art? Yes, I agree because this industry is hard, and people often tell you “no.” One must work hard to rise in this competitive industry. Rejection can cause great suffering but with it comes great opportunities for learning and growth. How do you feel the internet has impacted the music business? When I was a kid, people would buy CDs and cassettes when a new album came out. With the internet today and social media, people now have immediate access to music. This has also created avenues for artists to create and share music in a massive way, without a record label. These advancements have had positive implications for music today.

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If you could change anything about the music industry. What would it be? I enjoy the competitive nature of the music industry however sometimes the jealous nature of some competitors can be confused as simply competitiveness. There is room for all artists to create music without direct insults on a personal level. With that said I always welcome constructive criticism. Tell us about your experience on Estrella TV’s, “Tengo Talento Mucho Talento”? I went in with a confident mindset, passion and the song flowed from my heart. I did not expect to receive a no from one of the judges and I was hoping to have a constructive explanation as to why I received the no, but I am extremely happy I passed to the next level and thank all the judges for their insights. I am working hard to win over the judge that said no and receive four yeses next time around. What are the 5 albums that have helped make you the person you are today? And why? Gloria Estefan’s “Me Tierra,” Ana Gabriel’s “De Masado Tarde,” Alejandro Fernández’s “Resumen del Disco,” Lila Downs,’ “La Sandunga” and Selena ‘s “Entre A Mi Mundo.” All these albums have inspired me and have changed my life. These albums have molded my music style as well. Tell us about your current project. Are you working on new music? An EP or Album? I am working on an album with my friend Diandre Aragon. It is innovative. It has a Cumbia, Reggaeton and Modern Dance feel. The album release unfortunatlly is yet to be announced, but I am supper excited about its release and will inform my audience as soon as we know the date it will be available. What is next for you? I am constantly working on making my dreams a reality. I am working with photographers and many magazines on modeling, I am constantly working on my singing and am working on hair design. In fact, I am starting my own business alongside my cousin, Shirly Cruz-Abbasi called Hair by Marisol. Above all, my main dream is to help make my kids dreams come true. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? I am working on a website currently, but right now find me on Facebook: Marisol Flores and Instagram: @solflorymar Photo Credits: Sarah Martinez (Bottom Left), Rowena Cruz Alvertrio (Bottom Right)

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Elveektor

Hip-Hop Infused

When did you first get into music? The first time it came to my head, I was doing dishes and I had just finished seeing a Lil Bow Wow documentary. Then, I was in secondary school (High School) around 2004. Been rapping ever since, but I started doing music professionally in January 2018. Who or What inspired you to pursue a career in music? I inspired myself and I also let everything around me, inspire me. After all, those years of practicing and learning, by 2018, I just thought it will be a waste to back down. I believe, I am very good at it. Nobody or nothing motivates me more than I motivate myself. I keep saying to myself… Man Don’t Quit. How would you describe the music that you create? My music is mostly about my life and things I’ve been through. I like to also tell eventual stories I have seen or read about. It’s easy to tell stories, because with that you can never run out of what to say. So, I can tell my story or tell another person’s story in my perspective, but the difference is that I bare it all. Raw. It’s usually an untold story, like how I was telling the “Igbo Landing” and “Asaba Massacre” story on my Nsibidi 2 project. How has your music evolved since you first began performing? You know they say practice makes perfect. I have been writing and recording for a long time and I am always getting better. It is also becoming easier for me to deliver my ideas. I have more confidence now. I’m sure you have shared the stage with a lot of talented artists/celebrities along the way. Would you share 1 or 2 of your favorite stories with us? In 2016, when I was in University, I heard Mr. Raw was coming to

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my school to perform. So, I found a way to get his phone number and while he was backstage, I called him and begged him if I could perform. He said No! … I had lost all my hope and my phone just rang and it was the him. He said, I should come backstage. I rushed there and they let me in, and the rest is history. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business? Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why? Passion. It’s something I taught myself, all my life I have been dreaming about it. Oh no! I work all night and I still wish my body won’t feel like resting. Lol. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in an industry overflowing with new faces and ideas? My lyrics and rap flows are my greatest strong point. I carefully choose what I have to say on a song. I feel like I just say what everyone wants to say (but haven’t thought about it yet) and the way I say it is just so different and special. What has been your biggest challenge as a musician/singer-songwriter? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? My biggest challenge is the funds required. But I am very resourceful because I know that I cannot just sit and wait for money to come. I must be doing something. Frankly, there is a lot you can do even when you don’t have money. A common phrase in the industry is, “you must suffer for your art.” Do you agree with this statement? If so, how have you suffered for your art? Yes! You must bleed for your art to be recognized and stand the test of time. You must put in work. There is no shortcut, but hard and steady work. How do you feel the internet has impacted the music business? The internet has helped the music business in a lot of ways. One of the best ways is the reach. It’s a lot easier for artists to know and reach their desired fans. Have you done or plan on doing any Live-stream Concerts? If you have, how has the response been from your fans? I do live stream shows on my Instagram live all the time. People don’t stay a long time watching you. They easily get bored and I understand because it’s way different trying to catch the vibe from your couch compared to when you are at the event. If you could change anything about the music industry. What would it be? If I have to change anything then it will be the payola and all other corruption practices in the industry..

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What are the 5 albums that have helped make you the person you are today? And why? 50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Trying Eminem – Eminem Show Drake – So Far Gone Lil Wayne – Carter 3 Kanye West – College Dropout Tell us about your current project. Are you working on new music? An EP or Album? I just dropped an EP, Nsibidi 2. It’s a project that goes deep into the history of Igbo People, highlighting the steep fall and philosophies of the tribe. It’s my 4th studio project since 2018. What’s next for you? I am planning to shoot a few videos to help promote Nsibidi 2. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? I am the only Elveektor in the world so they can search, Elveektor on all digital platforms. Also, my handle across all social media platform is @elveektor, My email is elveektormusic@gmail.com.

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Frank Luna

Musician on the Move

When did you first get into music? My family has always been pretty musical. Ever since I was very little my dad would always have music playing throughout the day or would be playing some tunes on his guitar. When I finally got old enough, he eventually began to teach me a little bit of guitar. Over time I started noticing and playing the bass lines more, and got good at playing with my fingers. My dad noticed this and got me my first bass. From that point on I learned every bass line I could and that only made my love for music explode. What inspired you to pursue a career in music? Well, the short answer is that I love to play! I love the whole concept of getting together with other musicians, who each know their unique part, and making some incredible music. After a while, playing an hour a day in the school band wasn’t enough, so I did my best to put together a few bands, but most of them didn’t last more than a week. Eventually, I found my way into a band with Bailey Elora, Candy for Breakfast, which was the first band I ever performed with. After that first performance, I got addicted to performing, and that addiction pushed me to where I am today! How would you describe the music that you create? I am absolutely confident that there is no one way to simply explain my music taste other than “diverse.” In my band, Sunrise Daydream, I play stuff that ranges from heavy rock to some lighter alternative. On the other side of the spectrum, I just finished a tour with the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, where I got to play some of the most powerful orchestral pieces I’ve ever heard. I’ve spent days

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composing music for symphonic orchestras, the kinds of places where you study music. Then, the next day I’d head over to rehearsal with the band to record music with distortion and drums; the kind of music you have to get sweaty to play. And those are just the two extremes that I operate at, I’ve also been known to play anything in between like jazz and once even disco. How has your music evolved since you first began playing music? Since birth, I have been soaked in the classic rock that my dad listened to. Naturally, that was the music I was most familiar with, so it was the music I was most comfortable with. Later, as I grew up, I also learned things about music I didn’t even know about: theory, lyrics, Jazz. After I learned how to read music, I got really into orchestration and eventually wrote my own songs. Of course, during all of this, I never lost sight of the rock that got all of this started. In fact, I think the rock side of my life have strengthened my performances in other genres. There are times where directors are yelling at everyone to just get angry and really put in the emotion that the song needs, and while everyone else struggles to be aggressive with their instrument, I just let out my inner Cliff Burton on that passage of Beethoven. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to star in this tough business? Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why? Passion has definitely been the driving force of my music. There have been so many times where I see others give up a supreme opportunity to perform while I jump at every opportunity. Even the tougher gigs where I had to play under the mean sun for tips at a party of about twenty people, the thing that kept me playing through the sweat and frustration was undoubtedly passion. Without passion, there’s no reason to get better or to perform by best. Whenever I play a kick-ass show, always know that it’s because I was having a great time doing it. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a genre overflowing with new faces and ideas? I think the diversity of my background is what makes what I do so unique. Our band, Sunrise Daydream had a tough time finding a guitar player, and after a while, after a few gigs without one, we decided to embrace that circumstance and use it to our advantage. Besides the obvious things like playing guitar riffs through my bass with plenty of layers of effects, I’ve also done my best to create music that doesn’t need the guitar parts covered by the bassist or pianist. Sometimes that means pulling out and micing up my double bass that I use in the orchestra, and other times it means approaching songwriting from a completely different point of view (most recently, that of a composer).

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Sunrise Daydream L to R: Alexa Archuleta, Tanner Smith and Frank Luna


What has been your biggest challenge as a musician and songwriter? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? One of the biggest roadblocks for me has been learning in a formal setting. Pretty much everything I do musically now is what I have taught myself. I have never taken lessons, and the only instrument I was taught in school was the saxophone, which I rarely, if ever, play. Even for songwriting, I have never taken a theory class, much less any composition class, and without lessons on my primary instrument, there are sometimes, especially with higher-level orchestras and the like that I feel like I’m far behind in terms of basic conventions like terminology and little things (like what the “right” thing to do with your pinky on your right hand is). However frustrating that handicap might be, I never let it hold me back. I took every little piece of advice I could get and put it toward making myself the best musician I could become. A common phrase in the industry is, “you must suffer for your art”. Do you agree with this statement? If so, how have you suffered for your art? I don’t think that is necessarily true. There are always times that can be frustrating or tough, and although that is part of being a musician, more broadly, it’s part of being a growing person. Whether it’s the fun and enjoyable things that make people want to be a musician or the tough parts that get you to that point, I’ve always found joy in it. Whenever you do something, especially something that you call your art or your passion, you might as well put some passion into it. That’s what makes it different than just a job. It’s something I want to do, and that’s why it has never really made me suffer. How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business? I’m pretty young, so I didn’t get to experience the music business before the Internet came along. However, there are some things that I look back on and either think “wow! I’m glad things aren’t like that anymore,” or “wow! I sure wish things still worked like that!” The biggest challenge that I think the internet has posed for many young and new musicians is that it gives a platform to everyone that wants one. And there are lots of those people. When you first get started (and for a while after, too) you’re put on the same level as all the mediocre and half-baked ideas out there. The upside to the internet, though, is that it gives a platform to everyone that wants one! Communication is by far

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much easier than it was before the internet came around, so finding the right people and places for the job is a lot easier too. With enough patience and perseverance, you can reach pretty much anyone on (and off) the globe! There isn’t really one big down or upside to the internet in the musical world, it’s more about the kind of work you want to put into your art If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be? One of the biggest roadblocks I’ve found among basically every crowd is people’s resistance to trying something new. There have been tons of times, whether I’m inviting people to gigs or getting feedback on music, where the biggest problem was that the listener decided what they didn’t like before hearing anything. It’s interesting to see how much a person’s tone might change after you mention a female singer, pianist or the absence of a guitarist in the same sentence that you mention that it’s a rock show. I wonder how different a crowd would be if they all showed up knowing nothing about your music before you began. What are the 5 albums that have helped make you the person you are today and why? “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes” by Social Distortion holds a lot of nostalgia for me. My first ever concert was Social Distortion and their heavy grit has found its way into my music. “Superunknown” by Sound Garden, has also been very influential. It was one of the first albums that had music that seemed to describe an emotion rather than a story, and that was a very important realization for me to make early on in life before I started my career. Next is “They Can’t All Be Zingers” by Primus. Les Claypool is an absolute madman, and his creativity with the instrument alone made me realize how many possibilities there are for music. That album was the one that got me to understand that there really are no rules to what sounds good. This next one isn’t an album, but the music that this artist makes has taught me some important things. John Mackey is a composer, primarily for Wind Ensembles. I know “classical” or at least the instrumentation used for classical music is pretty boring to the good majority of the people that will be reading this, and there are some very good examples of boring classical music. But it’s the 21st century, so why do flutes and horns and clarinets have to be boring? John Mackey’s music absolutely shattered the idea of what I thought Wind Ensembles were capable of. I’ll just leave it at this: if you ever find yourself thinking that classical music is boring and for old people, listen to John Mackey’s Asphalt Cocktail. That’s definitely one of the songs that got me to think outside of the box. This last one has had the most impact on me as a songwriter. “Moving Pictures” by Rush, was the pinnacle of creativity in rock in my eyes. The ways that Geddy could juggle the intense basslines, vocals and synth lines always amazed

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Sunrise Daydream L to R: Tanner Smith, Alexa Archuleta and Frank Luna


me. The whole aesthetic that the band had was so unordinary and their music reflected that. They were rock, and sometimes it would be hard rock, and other times it would be gentle, almost orchestral rock. But no matter what category any given song fell under, each one of those songs were unique and carefully crafted to perfection. Tell us about your current project? Are you in a Band? Solo artist? I always have a few projects going at once. Right now, my biggest focus is songwriting for the band I’m in, Sunrise Daydream. Right now we’re working on our first release of originals, and this creative process is super different from what I’m used to, but I still absolutely love it. I also spend a lot of time writing my own original orchestral music. Whenever I’m not doing that, I also spend a lot of time working with MuseScore’s OpenScore project. MuseScore is the notation software that I have been using primarily for many years now, and a couple of years back they began OpenScore, which aims to be a huge digital library of works in the public domain transcribed into MuseScore to help make music creativity even more accessible to anyone who wants it. If you check out their website, you can see my name as the transcriber for Holst’s “Mars the Bringer of War”. What’s Next for you? This fall I’m going to be going off to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which is a ways away from the band, but I’m confident that our distance won’t change our passion for music. We all plan on keeping our band alive and well while we continue our paths, and for me, no matter what happens, I don’t see myself ever falling out of the musical side of the world ever. A new community means new venues, new groups, new events, and so much more new music. I’m super excited to see how this all works out. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Take a look at what my band is up to on Facebook or Instagram page (@sunrisedaydream_). That’s where we post all our updates about our latest releases and events! You can find everything about me on Facebook and Instagram (@Frank_Luna_music) where I post everything that is going on in my musical life. If you want to take a look at some of the pieces that I’ve written, arranged or transcribed, you can access it all at Musescore.com if you search my name!

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Chrissy Stokes Singer & Actress

First off, congratulations on Howard High and it being one of the top streamed shows on UrbanflixTV! How did you get the lead role? Thank you so much! Well, I enjoy reading my Dad’s scripts, and I asked him if I could audition for the role. And I auditioned and I ended up getting it! Tell us about your character in Howard High and how are you similar or different from your character? Nicki is vulnerable, she’s shy.. but she opens up once you get to know her. She is a teen just trying to find her place in life. I feel like Nicki and I are similar in a way that we only open up to people that we feel comfortable around. What was it like acting in a movie with such talented cast such as Marques Houston and Brian White? It was a huge privilege to work with such talented veterans. They are also such humble people. Chrissy what was is like to play opposite of Marques Houston in Somebody Help Me 2 and then work with him again in Howard High? It was awesome, I also felt super comfortable because Marques is like an uncle to me. So it was like being on a job with family. What was it like working with your father, Chris Stokes, who directed this series? It was hard because he is a perfectionist. He is really passionate, so I wanted to make sure I did my best...and the pressure was on. Let’s talk music, what was the first song you put out there and how has your music evolved since you first started? I put out a mixtape at 17 called “17.” I wrote all of my music and it was like therapy for me. I’d say it’s evolved in a way that my voice has become 17 more mature, so I am able to do more things.


And what is your thought process when making a song? Let me put all of my feelings and emotions into this song, so the listener can really feel it. What do you want listeners to take away from your music? Positive vibes. With so much negativity in the world right now, I just want to bring some positivity. What made you venture into acting and what has that transition been like? I grew up around it, so it was like second nature for me to want to be behind the camera, where I do production designing and also in front of the camera where I like to do my acting. How many tv/movies have you done so far any memorable moments you can share? I’ve done one tv show, opposite Regina King on Southland, years ago which was super awesome. Then I did one movie Somebody Help Me, then the series for UrbanflixTV Howard High, which is streaming now by the way. One of the most memorable moments I’ll never forget is when doing Southland I wrote a beautiful letter to Regina King and told her how great it was to work with her. Are you working on any current projects outside of Howard High? Right now during the quarantine I’ve been just enjoying my family. Getting closer to my best friend Miya. We started a YouTube Channel called “Chrissy & Miya” we do positive videos on makeup and fun challenges. What kind of roles have you performed throughout your career? Any particular that stands out as a favorite? I’ve played a murderer on Southland, I’ve played a scared little girl on Somebody help me, and a teen trying to find her place in Howard high. I’ve loved playing a teen trying to find her place because every teen goes through wanted to find themselves. How different is it to act in a movie vs theater? So I was in the WIZ play in high school & I LOVE THEATER. I played Addaperle, the crazy bag lady haha. I’ve never got to play a character that was crazy fun until I did the WIZ! I would say to act in a movie vs theater is the same because you’re following the character and the script. Do you have a favorite singing or acting? Both! I can’t discriminate, haha! What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career? It’s about there vision. It’s about listening to their direction. Listen to the director and trust them. What have you learned from your fellow castmates whether in Howard High or in other projects? That people who are not related by blood can really become your life long family. What are some of your future goals? To finish my EP I’ve been recording. What do you want to say to those who want to get into music or acting? What advice can you give? YOU CAN DO IT. Just keep working at what you are passionate about.

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Where can people stay up-to-date with you? All social media platforms are the same: @iamchrissy97



Freddy Zamora

Talented Singer-Songwriter When did you first get into music? I First got into music at the age of 11. I started taking guitar lessons from the church band leader where I attended. Being a part of the church band is how I honed my skills and where I developed my skills as a musician.

What inspired you to pursue a career in music? I always felt gravitated towards music, but I never truly thought I could make a career out of it until a teacher of mine, Tyler who at the time worked at Youth On Record, gave me the push and the motivation to begin performing live at events and open mics.

How would you describe the music that you create? That’s a question I’ve always found hard to answer because I have created music of various genres and instrumentation. The music I create is a form of expressing feelings and moods inspired by the things I see, hear, and feel. How has your music evolved since you first began playing music? My music has evolved many times over the years. Currently, the band I’m in, for Bailey Elora has made the way I approach writing music change almost entirely. I find my self writing choruses that have more harmonies than I ever have before and making sure that the Voice is at the center of it all. For the first time in my musical career, I have found people

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Photo Credit (above): Jon_Tru Photography, @jontruphotography


first time in my musical career, I have found people whom push me to be better and have a genuine approach to the music I wish to create with them. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business? Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why? If I was forced to choose one emotion that drives me to stay in this business I would say it is desire. I choose this emotion because above all else the desire to make music and to be able to only make music is the goal for just about any artist. It’s as if life has put a desire in me to express my self through music and it is what I intend to do and what keeps me going in this though and competitive business. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a genre overflowing with new faces and ideas? I would say that what makes me unique in this industry as a performing artist is the approach I have towards music. This won’t sound very poetic and I will try to explain it to the best of my ability but I approach the music in a very sorta Specific manner. I often find myself performing or creating music for someone. Every song is meant for someone different wether they are at the performance or not but it helps me connect with the music and express a more genuine and personal touch to the notes I play. What has been your biggest challenge as a musician/singer-songwriter? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? Like I said earlier, more recently my writing style has in a way changed entirely. I have for most of my career the music I’ve wrote started with a chord progression and then came the melody. The last thing to be written were the lyrics. Now, I mostly write music with Bailey Elora and well it starts with an a cappella voice memo she sends me and says hey put some music to this and structure it and make it sound like a song. It has been quite the challenge and at first it was very odd feeling and it made it hard to connect with the songs. I have needed a lot of help from our bassist with the songs and I am now co-writing music more after that than I ever have before. It has honestly made the writing process more enjoyable and frankly easier. A common phrase in the industry is, “you must suffer for your art”. Do you agree with this statement? If so, how have you suffered for your art? I both agree and disagree. Like any career, it’s going to have its ups and downs. Thankfully, I have found it to have more ups than downs. I have definitely made sacrifices for my art, but it’s been good and the benefits have outweighed the suffering. I guess, I just enjoy all aspects of this business, because I have the passion for it. Music helps me see things in a more positive way.

Pictured below: Freddy Zamora, Bailey Elora and Isaac Zamora

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How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business? Man, the internet has in my opinion been the most impactful thing to ever happen to the music business. I mean it has changed the way people release their music and even to how artists are discovered. I could write a book about how much it has impacted the business, but I feel like it has done more good than bad for the music business. It has become the most powerful tool for artists. If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be? If I could change anything about the music industry, it would be the way music is recognized. The music industry has changed so much over the years, but the way it is recognized hasn’t. I feel these award ceremonies aren’t as inclusive to the many new styles of music being created, in today’s age in music. What are the 5 albums that have helped make you the person you are today and why? Mi Sangre by Juanes, The Human Condition by Jon Bellion, Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold, blue slide park by Mac Miller, and Unidos Permanecemos by Hillsomg United. These 5 albums I feel are the ones that have inspired the music I create the most, because they are the albums that have stuck with me the most. They in some aspect of my life have connected with me on a more personal level, than other albums I have heard. The message from each album has changed the way I think and the way I experience music, feelings, and just about everything In my life. Tell us about your current project? My current project, is a solo project. I’m working on an EP that is in Spanish and it has a singer-songwriter feel to it. I am currently finishing the writing process and hope to start recording this project soon. It is inspired by some of the closest people I have in my life and their stories of love, heartbreak, hope and regret. What’s next for you? I would say working with the band for Bailey Elora is where my next move is and will be for a while. I think we’re finally reaching this place of unity in our music and getting real close to discovering our own sound and what we hope to accomplish. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music and follow your career? The EP titled “All The Feels” by Bailey Elora is on most streaming platforms and ready for anyone to listen and enjoy. You can also follow my Facebook Page @FreddyZamoraOfficial for any news in regards to my current solo project that I hope will be ready for everyone to hear on most platforms later this year.

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Photos Credits: Justin Urban @urbanimpressions, Pictured Above: James Romine, Freddy Zamora, Geoff Orwiler and Bailey Elora


www.rsvpcigars.com


Enrique Javier Chi of Making Movies

When did you first get into music? I cannot remember a time where I wasn’t into music. Before I could really speak, I was in love with the song “The Walk of Life” by the Dire Straits. I would dance around and sing the song long before I was able to speak english. That story is part of the reason we named the band Making Movies after the title of another Dire Straits record.

Who or What inspired you to pursue a career in music? I’m not sure if it was a person that inspired me to pursue a career in music. I had intuitively concluded that this is the only thing I wanted to do with my life. I think that as an immigrant growing up in the midwest, music was my refuge. It made being an outsider an outsider feel not only ok, but maybe being an outsider is cool. Also, Ruben Blades music was like a magic portal back home to Panamá. My family would put on his album Amor y Control and his poetry would transport me––I could smell the sulfur of the city and feel the humidity. That all felt like magic to me and I wanted to devote my life to making that kind of magic. In Kansas City there were very few mentors to guide me into what sustaining a career in music could look like. That is a big part of our activism is creating spaces and opportunities for young people (especially those from immigrant or disenfranchised communities) to connect with folks who can inspire a career in music. We founded a not for profit, Art As Mentorship with that goal in mind. How would you describe the music that you create? It depends on the day and who I’m speaking too, my main answer is that it is real music and with substance, listen for yourself and pull out of it what you need from it. It can also be simply described as rock n’ roll, since the birthplace of rock n’ roll, afro rhythms from the Caribbean formed the foundation for the music. In a way we are just taking rock n’ roll back to its spiritual origins.

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How has your music evolved since you first began playing music? I think that it has deepened and continues to deepen. Music feels like a giant conversation that is being had through time and place, songs from a previous generation, rhythms from our ancestors connect us to a deeper understanding of what it is to be human and be alive. In that music has changed me, I no longer feel like an outsider looking in at the world from a window, but I feel my presence as a tiny part of a giant conversation. There is so much comfort in that.


If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business? Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why? I think it would be passion, or maybe stubbornness. At some point I decided there was no looking back and when you have no safety net you end up finding solutions to whatever life throughs at you. Music is a beautiful conversation that can transform a human beings, it’s also a generously shitty business plan. On a positive note, I think this pandemic will force us to reconsider our priorities and really reflect on the societies we’ve created. As Americans we have are born with an incredible amount of privilege and with that comes a responsibility to shape the world around us with intention. We can choose what things we want in our lives, and thus create sustainable infrastructure for those things. I have no doubt that when asked to reflect on what we want in a healthy society most of us will want one with music written from and for our communities. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in an industry overflowing with new faces and ideas? I think that everyone has a unique voice and a unique story to share with the world and we all grow from hearing each other’s perspectives. That’s what the song “No Te Calles” is about, our collaboration with Rubén Blades. He ended up writing what is effectively the mantra of our band. What has been your biggest challenge as a musician/singer-songwriter? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? I think being a bilingual songwriter has presented some challenges as I’m effectively sharpening two writing tools. Each language has its own mechanisms to communicate spiritual and emotional intelligence as well as its own traditions. When you reference and older song form that can be a useful mechanism to triggering the listener into connecting their own heritage with it. There are two wells to pull from, know when and how to use each one has been the biggest challenge. I think that overcoming it is a process but I’ve been blessed to have amazing mentors in my life. Artists like Los Lobos and Rubén Blades have mentored us and various crossroads in our journey. We would definitely not be here without their mentorship. A common phrase in the industry is, “you must suffer for your art”. Do you agree with this statement? If so, how have you suffered for your art? I think suffering is all how you look at it. I used to think that I had to create suffering for my art to grow, we’d push ourselves to our physical limit on tour (taking on shows that were 12-15 hour drives). The band would tour with zero safety net. No one had any money in savings accounts, the gig had to make us to the next city, put gas in the van and feed us. We’ve been stranded as vehicles blew up in other towns, had to shoplift food, and spent a decade sleeping on floors. I think many people would describe that as suffering but for us it felt like a great adventure. Those times when we were really out there with no plan or safety net we really saw compassionate side of humanity and made lifelong friendships with folks who housed us and fed us. I am excited that I no longer have to say on over the PA system between songs “we don’t have any where to sleep tonight, so if anyone would be willing to house four musicians we’d greatly appreciate it.”

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What are the 5 albums that have helped make you the person you are today and why? Rubén Blades - Amor Y Control As I mentioned above, this album was a huge part of my childhood and stays permanently imprinted in my psyche. The Beatles - White Album My father was a big Beatles fan and their music also weaved its way through my life. This album was frightening to me as a child, I was afraid of it but I loved it. Soda Stereo - Dynamo The recurring theme here is my father’s musical taste. He had a cassette of Soda Stereo songs and the melancholy tunes from this album really connected with me. They were truly a great rock n’ roll band and Cerati was a brilliant poet. Shiner - The Egg I picked this up at a local music store, the clerk recommended it to me as a teenager. I felt inspired that someone in my city was making real music, that concept alone was enough to keep the flame alive in me. Santana - Abraxas This goes back to my father, I studied those songs and arrangements and eventually learned how to play them. I took pride in knowing that someone could be proudly Latino and American at the same time, that inspired me. Tell us about your current project. We are recording a new album, a project that has slowed a bit since the lock down but we are chipping away at it in our home studios. The album to me is a representation of our journey and growth over these last 10 years running around playing music. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? You can experience our music for free through virtually every platform, from Spotify, Soundcloud, Pandora and Apple music.

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Babah Fly

Mind, Body and Flow

Describe your sound? Genre? Hip-Hop! Influenced by Native Tongues, Slum Village, Digable Planets, Madlib and Andersen Paak What got you into music? Breakin’ as a kid got me into the dance and then beatboxin turned me on to performing music What’s your favorite song and why? I like when Nina Simone sings Suzanne. I’ve been listening to “Be Thankful For What You Got” by William De Vaughn. I just like the messages of those songs! Why did you decide to become a songwriter? I felt like I had something to say! What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Mostly self actualization are my themes, I’m a Sagittarius, so I’m pretty philosophical. Do you think these topics will change over time? Naw, because there’s always things to learn about life. Do you follow a formula when you write? I write a beat and record a freestyle to it, then I break down the rhythm of the words and sometimes substitute words that make more sense! Which song did you have the most trouble writing? Usually, if I’m feeling the beat a whole lot, I get real conscious of making the lyrics and flow to match.

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Do you ever perform any covers or do you only perform originals? Sometimes I recite some verses from some classic rap songs.. How has your music evolved since you first began playing music? I started just writing raps but I evolved into becoming a beat maker/producer. Hopefully I’ve gotten better! What musician or artist would you like to collaborate with and why? Probably any of my influences would be a dream of mine! Maybe Slum Village original members would be at the top! Are you a member of any music organizations? ASCAP Where have you performed? What are your favorite venues? All over Denver, my favorite place in Denver is Ophelia’s. What has been your biggest challenge as a independent artist? Staying focused! Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? Making weekly lists and checking off the stuff when its done. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Look up Babah Fly on spotify and all the steaming formats. @babahfly on Instagram. Any last words? Peace and Blessings!!

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Jola

More than a Drummer

A Conversation with “Master Drummer” One of the most vibrant musicians on the scene today as well as the most fashionable, Jola is one of the twin drumming members of the supporting band of the iconic and legendary Adam Ant. Adam Ant is and has always been (since the 80’s), one of the most exhilarating, flamboyant, and colossal rock superstars that the planet has ever known. As a frontman, Ant shines above the noise, however he is fortunate to have one of the tightest, most talented and titanic support bands in the music industry, Jola sensationally included.

Her essential and non-negotiable timing seems like one walking on a high wire without a safety net. Like a conductor, Jola and fellow drummer Andy set the pace for the music, and keeps the time with our emotions. I suppose the biggest question that everyone is asking is how are you as a musician keeping safe and busy in today’s surreal climate, and what good do you think will come out of this? I always like to keep busy, whether as a musician or in general, so it’s business as usual in that regard but possibly the challenge for a lot of people, whatever their profession, is not thinking too far ahead and getting anxious about what lies ahead. Only time will tell whether any good will come out of this current situation. Flora and fauna are definitely having the mother of all parties at the moment though! Aside from this you and the band are preparing for a US West Coast tour, besides leaving the house what are you most excited about? Alas, the West Coast Friend or Foe tour has now been rescheduled for 2021. Adam’s US tours have always exceeded high expectations and it’s a massive disappointment for me, but beyond anyone’s control.

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As a drummer how well do you manage with improvisation? I wouldn’t class myself as a skilled improviser, however, having studied jazz in the past, I’m not uncomfortable in this territory and I do enjoy musical voyages into the unknown. When I’m performing, I always try a different fill or voicings or change a pattern. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t, but that’s how I like to play. In a band situation, it’s quite exciting to perform a show that suddenly takes an unexpected turn and requires an ensemble ad-lib! Your set-up? I have a Gretsch New Classic in Black Sparkle with 10”,12” rack and 14”,18” floor toms. My snare is a vintage 1970s chrome Gretsch. Sabian and Paiste cymbals. I use Evans Calftone skins on all drums other than the 18” floor tom which has an Evans Hydraulic. These skins have been a revelation. The sound they produce is so big with minimum tweaking needed. What is your biggest challenge and triumph as a drummer? Good question. Just when I think I’ve overcome my biggest musical challenge, another one comes along and that’s fine by me! Playing in Hyde Park to a massive crowd with Adam, Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart was a crazy day. I am just thankful for all the luck I’ve had. What would your ultimate gig be? If you mean as a performer, then Glastonbury and Coachella would be interesting, as I’ve never played either of those festivals. If you mean as a spectator, I’m not sure. Though I did go to a surprisingly brilliant ELO gig. I wasn’t really a fan and wasn’t expecting much, although I am appreciative of their quirky, orchestral songs. But that was a hell of a show. No messing with the original arrangements, an excellent sound, which really does make a difference, and a celestial light show. A two hour fantasy. Certainly checked out their back catalogue after that. Thanks Roy! What music do you personally like to listen to? I listen to all kinds of music. Though it’s been a long while since I heard anything by a new band/artist that excites me. I’ve got Hank Mobley on a loop at the moment! He had a mind boggling gift for composition and a vast output of material, much of which I haven’t yet heard but currently on my Mobley loop are the albums Dippin’, No Room for Squares, Soul Station and Hi Voltage. These albums also feature legendary drummers Philly Joe Jones, Billy Higgins and Art Blakey. There’s some fascinating rhythms going on here. Do you have any solo projects that you are working on? I recorded some reggae tracks as part of a new project last year which went on the backburner due to other commitments within that band. But we may now have an opportunity to fine tune those tracks and get them heard. I’ve also been writing songs that would be good to record with a live band at some point. There’s 7 months till the end of this year so anything could happen between now and then. Who does your fashion? I design my own stagewear. I sketch my ideas and forward them, together with fabrics, zips, buttons, to the very talented Naomi Gibbs, a theatre costume designer who I’ve collaborated with many times. My costumes for the Friend or Foe tour were made by Naomi (www.societybelle.co.uk), and were based on my original sketches. She made them beautifully. They got pummelled on two tours but are now packed away, having a rest and waiting for the West Coast 2021! There are also lots of other stage outfits that I wear with Adam that I’ve cobbled together! I enjoy creating an alter ego for the stage. I’ve worn jeans and t shirt onstage with other bands but use colour and trinkets for effect like many performers. Adam’s image is very dramatic so I hoped that a theatrical look would work for me in his band.

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Are there any tips that you can share with other drummers to improve their speed? Playing fast does require stamina and ease of movement but playing at slow tempos is more difficult in my view. The musician is exposed. Dealing with space can be tricky. Precision and timekeeping are under more scrutiny. But for drummers wanting to gain speed in their technique, the


bad news is there’s no fast track to thrashing around the drum kit at breakneck speed. Unless you’re lucky enough to be performing continuously, boring old practice and repetition are the most effective way to improve your speed. If there’s a fill you want to perfect, slow it right down. Practice with heavier sticks than usual. Play it from memory as much as you can. Only refer to the source material, audio or written, when you have to. Move it up a gear once you are comfortable playing it slowly. There are tons of good drum tutorial books for rudiments out there for the reading drummer, but my favourites are Buddy Rich’s Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments and George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control and his more advanced book, Accents and Rebounds. Lots of essential reading to be found there. What do you have going on for 2020 and beyond? 2020 and beyond? 2020 has been a hell of a year so far, for all the wrong reasons! 2019 was the business. I was very busy musically. Aside from my work with Adam, I branched off into a reggae collaboration and recordings which as stated, I hope to pursue this year. Last year, I also did a stint with London band The Priscillas for some summer shows. The Priscillas (www.thepriscillas.co.uk); Taylor, Val and singer Jenny, have some great songs, punchy and melodic. Jenny is a very dynamic performer and I had a lot of fun with this lot! The east coast US and UK Friend or Foe tours with Adam were just sensational. Some very memorable shows! Cincinatti, Detroit and in the UK, Hull and Blackburn spring to mind. Adam’s energy and athleticism were second to none and he has such a great connection with the audience and we were firing on all cylinders, so I am disappointed that the US west coast tour has been rescheduled for 2021, but we will be back and after a lay off like this, I’ll be straining at the leash to get back on stage and thrash my drum kit to within an inch of its life! www.joladrums.com // Instagram: @joladrums // www.adam-ant.com // www.gretschdrums.com // www.daddario.com Photo Credits: Will Crewdson, Michael Sanderson, Dave Cox, Susan Phelps

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Tarius Mahoney Multi-Genre Artist

When did you first get into music? Well, of course I fell in love with everyone’s favorite performer Michael Jackson, but it didn’t stop there. I grew up listening to great music played by my parents like James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Kool and the Gang. I started singing at an early age, sang with kids in school and such, but it wasn’t until I was in my twenties and on into my thirties that I really got into it and formed the r&b trio 120. We were wildly successful at the time and were on national tv like BET and NBC a few times and won awards and recognitions. Who or What inspired you to pursue a career in music? As I said, Michael Jackson was the number one reason that I started loving music, but later in high school, singing groups were the cool thing; I followed groups like Jodeci, H-Town, 112, Drew Hill, Boyz to Men, and BBD. I was young and wanted to sing, dance, have all the girls scream for me and go on tour! It all just looked like a lot of fun! I got my taste by joining a few performing groups and it was exciting; I always wanted more! How have your skills evolved since you first got into music? I’m a completely different person than I was, when I’m writing my songs now it’s a lot more emotion involved and stylized -- it’s very therapeutic at times, I’m definitely even more connected to it. I feel like I’m capable of writing in any genre. I was even commissioned to write a country song! Many of my early songs were fun, upbeat, and had meaning too, but my life and personal experiences add a depth that just wasn’t there before. My vocal range has increased and my personal vocal style has improved too.

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Have you collaborated with any other artists? If so, who? Over the years I have collaborated with so many indie artists, it’s way too many to name! A few honorable mentions are my own South Jersey group 120, South Jersey rapper Boss, New Mexico rappers Madd Hatter and EnVee, the Bay area’s Slapp Turner,


C-Doe from Australia, and I cannot forget to mention my good friend Adam Fierro also from New Mexico. Right now I’m working on collaborating with several artists, and putting something together with my former group-mates from 120. But I’m most excited by the chance to work with Mark Calderon (Color Me Badd) -- I really respect Mark’s accomplishments and who he is as a person. If you could open for or collaborate with a famous artist, who would you like to work with? Back in the day, of course, Michael Jackson! If nothing else, just to watch him make magic; how awesome would that be! Now, I’d love to work with my all time favorite Usher Raymond, I’ve always respected his talent and work. I could list so many artists I respect... I’m sure you have met a lot of celebrities and talented artists along the way. Would you share 1 or 2 of your favorite stories with us? I’ve met John B, Mike from Boyz to Men, Case, Marlon Jackson and I met Mark Calderon of Color Me Badd ... and we’ve stayed in touch since! I was in my r&b group 120 and we were selected to be a part of a musical tribute show in Poughkeepsie New York. Keep in mind we were some young, struggling artists all the way in southern New Jersey, but we couldn’t miss that opportunity! My car wouldn’t make it all the way up there and no one else had a car. We ended up scraping up all the cash we could muster, taking 3 cabs 2 busses and a train just to get way out there. It was quite an experience. It was at this show that we ended up meeting and actually singing with Mike McCary from Boyz to Men and meeting and taking pictures with the legendary Marlon Jackson! If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business? Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why? Desire. Raw desire. I need to write songs, I can sing. I have these gifts and really want to share. Desire to make my children proud of me, to build and leave them something. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in an industry overflowing with new talent and ideas? I’ve always been told I have the “look” lol, really, I have old school sensibilities, but with a newer sound. I think I have wide range of different styles and sounds to my writing and singing. I don’t believe that I’m an artist that you can put in a box. What has been your biggest challenge as a performing artist? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? Life. Like, no matter what your plans are, life can pop up and say “cute plan, but nope, this is what’s really going down.” and you just gotta roll with it. I guess I overcome what life throws at me by simply continuing to create and put out songs. Tenacity wins over everyday obstacles.

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A common phrase in the industry is, “you must suffer for your art”. Do you agree with this statement? If so, how have you suffered for your art? I don’t know that I agree with that completely, while I can agree there’s a lot of suffering that happens in this industry. So many people want to catch that break, get their foot in the door, and be that next shining star, but so few actually make it. I do think I’ve suffered, in that, the brass ring is always just out of my reach. Like I can smell the success but don’t get to take a bite. I’ve traveled to far off places with only a few dollars in my pockets; I’ve called out of work just to make appearances and taken time away from my family for performances. Yes, the struggle is real! How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business? OMG, between YouTube and streaming alone, those two have changed everything! How many young artists have been discovered on YouTube? And streaming music has changed, so drastically, how people get their music that entire channels / music outlets have vanished to never return. How has the pandemic affected how you utilize streaming and social media? I recently released a video I’ve wanted to make for a while, Good Night, and am currently working on another video in the series of what I call the Quarantine Collection, which has become a bright spot in the dark. I’ve been watching a lot more than I’ve putting out, but what I’ve been watching has opened some doors and have been creating some opportunities (like collaborating with my former 120 group-mates). If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be? If I could change anything I think it would be the quality of music that is in the mainstream. Personally I think majority of the music can tasteless and contain self-destructive messages. I hope to help to create a change in that direction. I want to have fun and have romantic music delivered with class and poise. What are the 5 albums that have helped make you the person you are today? Off the wall - Michael Jackson, Usher - 8701, Usher - Confessions, Justin Timberlake - Justified, and Jodeci – Forever My Lady. These are just a few albums I listened to coming into my own as an artist. These are just a few of the artists I looked up to and aspired to be when I was growing up. I loved the styles of music, the topics, and the clothing styles of these great artists. Tell us about your current project. I have a project that is currently on all music platforms. The album is called, “Can’t Turn Back”. This is a project that is near and dear to my heart, it’s about love, life, and my personal obstacles. As I mentioned I’m also working on the Quarantine Collection of video shorts as well as many exciting collaborations. What’s next for you? I have various projects that I’m involved in. I am running my videography company shooting videos, I am writing new songs for others, and myself, exposing my music on all the radio platforms out there, collaborating with other artists, and performing on stage. Finally, I’m looking to create a much bigger Internet presence, by growing my fan-base by continuing to produce and release more and more music and music videos. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music and follow your career? Direct Access to me and links to new releases: tariusmusic.com Fan Page and where I announce new music and videos: facebook.com/TariusMusic Breaking News: twitter.com/tariusmusic My favorite and most personal: instagram.com/tariusmusic Find all my music videos and latest video releases: youtube.com/user/tarius27

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