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J U L Y - S E P T E M B E R 2012











International Jazz Vocalist GREGORY PORTER a LUX LUV conversation URBANLUXMAGAZINE.COM

(+)THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC Advice from Recording Academy Executive MICHELE CAPLINGER

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26 2 Ed g e w oo d Av enue Atlanta, GA 30303 4 0 4 - 4 2 0 - 0 0 7 7

photo by: Ish Holmes

“Fervet olla, vivit amicitia: While the pot boils, friendship endures.� ~Latin Proverb




“URBAN is NOT a definition of race. It’s city dwelling. It’s a lifestyle. It’s STYLE, CULTURE and CONSCIENCE . . . It’s URBAN LUX MAGAZINE“



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STYLE lux approved LUX YOUR MUSICALITY 12 lux looks ROCKER CHIC 14 lux decor STUDIO DESIGN 16 lux essentials ICONIC MAKEUP 36 fashion GO DJ! 28 CULTURE lux luv GREGORY PORTER 38


lux destinations MUSIC CITY 44 CONSCIENCE cover story INDIE ARTISTS SPOTLIGHT 20 lux pulse LEGENDARY MAGIC 42 lux economy THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC 46 diversity corner MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD 11 4

July - September 2012 |


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July - September 2012 |

Ish Holmes is a fashion and advertising photographer based in Atlanta, GA. His work has been published in the pages and on the covers of Atlanta based magazines such as Urban Lux Magazine. He has worked with several Atlanta based entertainers such as T.I., Future, Cash Out, Frank Ski, DJ Scream, Rich Kid, and D. Woods just to name a few. His visual artwork crosses many disciplines within photography, but tends to have an emphasis on clean, natural style.

Jasmin Moore Reigning from her hometown of Augusta, GA, Jasmin Moore moved to Atlanta to conquer her big city dreams. She embodies the quintessential Renaissance woman who has tackled all forms of art including drawing, painting, ceramics, and currently photography and design. She is sought after for her out of the box ideas and attention to detail.

Olivia Nezey Westbrooks Describing her works as livable art, Olivia is a nationally recognized award-winning interior designer. She is the Principal of Liv By Design Interiors Inc., a full service boutique interior design firm that specializes in unique interiors that reflect the lifestyle, soul, and spirit of their clients.

Stephanie Dawn

Ish Holmes

Tianna Faulkner

Tia Aikens is a 21st Century Muse, who has always embodied the arts. She has served as a source of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for many. Her progression through the arts has led her to currently release inspiration through writing. Tia’s mission is to always inspire individuals to do their best and live their Truth.

Rosalynn Wilson

Tia Aikens

Celebrity Makeup Artist, Stephanie Dawn is taking her knowledge of the Beauty Industry and giving you the hottest trends happening now. Since she is responsible for some of the

“All things are possible for those who believe.” Tianna Faulkner is a talented and driven writer with lots of stories to tell. Tianna has been writing stories since age five and dreams of being an entertainment reporter as well as the opportunity to

most recognizable faces on television, she has to keep up with the latest and greatest so she has to hit the streets to find the best products to fit your lifestyle. Stephanie’s makeup can be seen on Cynthia Bailey every Sunday night on Bravo TV’s ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta.’ Her clients also include Steve Harvey, Mary Mary and Soledad O’Brien.



write for television and film. A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, she studied Mass Media Arts and her stories include features with Kandi Burruss, singer Monica, Rapper 50 Cent, actress Terri J. Vaughn, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Kim Fields, Lisa Wu Hartwell, Roger Bobb, and Big Boi. Tianna is also the former Ms. Black Atlanta, Georgia 2005 and has covered politics, sports, and community affairs.

experience what my city is offering me and I plan on taking you along for the ride.” Get on board at

Exploring the wonderful city of Atlanta for all things fun, frugal and fabulous is what this girl on the go is all about. “I love to visit new places and really | 2012 July - September


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R&B, rap, rock, gospel, pop, countr y, and classical are just a few of the genres that exists today. Regardless of the genre, one thing that remains true is that music evokes emotion. Music can make you cr y, laugh, sing, dance, and shout. Moreover, it is an art form that brings millions of people together at one time. Music is an economic powerhouse and aids in medical research. Studies have shown that listening to music can help lower blood pressure and music is used as a neurological therapy tool in nursing homes to stimulate the minds of once non-responsive patients. Music is like a heartbeat. It is a source of energ y that lives inside many independent artists. It keeps them inspired to dream and seek opportunities to share their music with the world. As the landscape of the music industr y changes, independent artists are having a greater impact. Advancing technologies have helped many of them to create their own destiny without the backing of a major record company. In this MUSIC’S HEARTBEAT edition of Urban Lux, we spotlight six Indie Artists on the rise who were handpicked by the voting public during our LUX cover contest, page 20. The six finalists were judged by a panel of industr y professionals based on their vocal ability, song choice, performance, celebrity appeal, pitch, vocal tone, style and originality. The judges choice was awarded to Indie Artist Sam Collier, who is featured on our coveted cover this issue.


can remember as a kid having a great love for music. I played the saxophone in the marching band and worked at Peaches Record store, which was the highlight of my sophomore year in high school. I was always excited to get my hands on new releases and I collected ever y shiny vinyl record my paycheck could afford. A new artist would hit the air waves almost daily and their lyrics seemed to echo my reality by creating memories of great parties, best friends, crushes and lost loves.

photo: Ish Holmes

Also included in this issue are several music-inspired articles such as Legendar y Magic – a tribute to the extraordinar y lives of Don Cornelius, Donna Summer, Etta James and Whitney Houston, page 42, The Business of Music – valuable advice for indie artists from Recording Academy Executive Michele Caplinger, page 20, and Music City – a bird’s eye view of Nashville’s music scene, pg 44. We also meet with Internationally renowned Jazz Vocalist Gregor y Porter for a LUX LUV conversation about his profound music and lyrics inspired by family and love, page 38. MUSIC’S HEARTBEAT is a celebration of a powerful art form and as you will read in our Diversity Corner on page 11, regardless of where you come from, music is the common thread that unites us all. Special thanks to our LUX cover contest judges Kendrick Dean (,) Ish Holmes (,) Dorie Jackson ( and Pegg y Still-Johnson (pegg

LENTHEUS CHANEY Publisher/Editor-In-Chief | 2012 July - September


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by: Carlton Powell

usic is an art form; sound organized in time. Common elements of music are pitch, rhythm, and dynamics. To people in many cultures, music is an important part of their way of life; it comes from within and reinforces our existence. It is an expression of the way we feel, what we think, and especially, how we love. Music in all its diversity emphasizes this point. Remember, the iconic tune “We Are The World”? In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote the song to raise money for famine relief through the organization USA for Africa. Some of the most famous recording artists of that time lent their talent to this ground-breaking effort. A couple of years ago in 2010, “We Are the World 25,” recorded in the same studio by today’s leading artists, was released. This time the relief effort benefited victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. An estimated 316,000 casualties resulted from the devastation. However, the melodious fruit it bore was anything but destructive. On the contrary, this artistic fundraiser proved once again that music can unite the world. So, with that in mind, let’s explore a few of cultural varieties of music from around the world: MUSIC IN THE ANDES Stretching from the northern tip of the Andes mountains in Venezuela through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, Andean music represents a diversity of musical styles. This distinctive sound incorporates instruments such as the guitar, zampoña (panpipe), charango, bombo drums, violins, and a variety of flutes and woodwind instruments. The charango is a 10 to 12 string mandolin-sized instrument associated with Andean music. Panpipes are an ancient indigenous instrument that comes in different varieties. Quenas (flutes) remain popular, and are traditionally made of bamboo. It is commonplace at weddings and other holiday events in this area to see marching bands dominated by drums and panpipes. Andean people tend to identify themselves by the specific place of their origin. In music, the villages have different ways of making and tuning instruments and composing tunes – in the same way that they have distinctive weaving designs, ways of dressing or the wearing of hats. The use of different musical variants and singing styles are found throughout the landscape and can be tied to specific ritualistic occasions.

Kapampangans, to name a few. This cultural variety manifests itself in original Filipino music. Most Filipino communities remember the tunes and lyrics of traditional folk songs, and in these, rhythm is a form of ritual. Traditional types of music are played on wind, string, and percussion instruments made from local materials. These include the kulibit, a zither with bamboo strings and tubular bamboo resonators; wooden lutes and guitars; and the git-git, a wooden three-string bowed instrument. The Filipino people use these and other instruments to play complex musical compositions that have been passed down from generation to generation.



Civilizations, races, countries, and music have a common thread that unites us all.


Music From Around The World

MUSIC IN THE US Rooted in African drum songs, old Negro spirituals, field songs, and the Blues, it is said that jazz was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is the one true homegrown musical genre. Later, as New Orleans grew into a multi-cultural city, jazz was further influenced by a variety of music from around the world. When jazz intermingled with other types of music, styles such as Dixieland and Ragtime were born. However, it has never lost the one ingredient that has always made it truly outstanding – improvisation. Throughout our modern history there have been many jazz greats who were masters of improvisation. Names like Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington. No two performances were alike. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival celebrates these marvels of music each year. Inspired by the spirit of Mahalia Jackson, and the Eureka Brass Band of the 70s, the festival continues to celebrate the culture of Louisiana with the combined fervor of a gospel hymn and the joy of a jazz parade. We salute The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which recently celebrated 42 years of musical commemoration. As you can see, music is one of the most glorious celebrations of cultural diversity the world could ever know. Musical traditions can grow and encompass new genres from other cultures while retaining their own unique roots.

This is a brief overview from the vast history of music in each of MUSIC IN THE PHILIPPINES the countries listed. I encourage you to look further to discover Another multi-cultural locale with a rich musical heritage is their rich sounds because by exploring the origins of our the Philippines. Among its diverse and linguistically varied cultures, we may learn that civilizations, races, countries, and population are the Tagalogs, the Visayans, the Ilonggos, and the music have a common thread that unites us all. | 2012 July - September



LUX Your Musicality!




ow that you’ve gotten your hands on the latest smartphone and tablet, it’s time to trick it out with music gadgets that will make you the envy of all the kids on the block! by: Lentheus Chaney

BIG JAMBOX turns any phone, tablet or mobile device into a portable, hi-fi sound system. Now you can play music, movies and games and fill even the largest spaces with sound. Stream all your digital media from any Bluetooth® device and control BIG JAMBOX from across the room. With a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 15 hours, you can party all day or night, anywhere. - $299.00,

Deck out your iPad for some serious mixing. iDJ Pro from Numark is a professional DJ controller that expands your iPad’s touch interface, seamlessly integrating with Algoriddim’s djay for iPad app to form a completely new DJ experience. iDJ Pro features a sleek, brushed aluminum casing and is equipped with all the professional controls you expect, plus some design features and capabilities that will inspire brand-new surges of creativity. - $499.95,

Show off your House of Marley style and fill a room, the back yard or the beach with music. The Bag of Rhythm delivers amazing output with crisp detail and deep, powerful bass. The portable unit Charges iPods and iPhones when docked and is made from Earth-Friendly materials. The Bag of Rhythm is designed and crafted using FSC certified Birch wood and durable canvas. - $299.99,

No, this picture hasn’t been Photoshopped. The ION Audio All-Star Guitar is a full-size electric guitar that transforms your iPad into an amazing guitar-learning experience. Simply place your iPad into All-Star Guitar’s fitted holder, open the All-Star Guitar app, and you’re ready to go. - $99.99,


July - September 2012 |


ROCKER CHIC by: Rosalynn Wilson

No need to be cliché when rocking a popular look. Stand out from the crowd and let your style scream its independence. Consider the “Rocker” image for instance; the typical thoughts that come to mind are black leather, spikes, and total darkness. When attempting this look, you should consider how “Rockers” have evolved throughout the years to become fun, liberated expressionists who no longer equate “Rocker” with evil. They revolutionized the word into Rocker Chic.

Although black is the signature color for a hardcore Rocker, you can try softening up its hue by incorporating a bit of color.

Fatigue is a great option to use when trying to interpret the “Do or Die” mentality of a rocker, but why not make your statement a bit subtle with a solid vest and bow tie. No one would ever expect that combination, and who does not love a little shock factor?


July - September 2012 |


Remember to pair accessories with your looks to seal the deal. This is where you can add in those chic touches such as leather, suede, neon accents, a scarf or a great pair of shades.

These and other great rocker looks are available at Wumi Designs, Vittese Exchange, Envy Boutique and Threadz Atlanta!

Models: Jerrinna King & Jeff Tecoz Photographer: Jasmin Moore Wardrobe Stylist: SirGarde Karidza Hair: Calvaniece Mason Makeup Artist: Mercedes Raines | 2012 July - September




D E C O R by: Olivia Nezey Westbrooks


“What makes the ambiance special for me is that it’s very warm, intimate, and inviting.”


esign has taken me many places. I have crafted cozy cabins in the snowcapped mountains of Idaho and fashioned fancy island penthouses on the sugary sand beaches of the Caribbean, but no matter how often the design world transports me to the far reaches of the northern hemisphere, home beckons every time. Oz’s Dorothy said it best when she uttered those famous words “There’s no place like home,” and there is definitely no place like Atlanta, GA. If indeed home is where the heart is, then the blood that drives the rhythm of Atlanta’s heartbeat is music. Yes, music and Atlanta are home to some of the hippest and hottest music-makers in the world. These groundbreakers are making their mark in history by shaping the way we experience life through sound. I have the distinct pleasure of calling one of these innovators my client and dear friend. Kendrick Dean is one of Atlanta’s hottest emerging producers and songwriters. This musical genius is a fourtime Grammy Award nominee who has put his creative stamp on songs belted out by gifted artists such as Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, and Atlanta’s own Monica to name a few. One might imagine that these songs of his, which paint the portrait of life and love, would be created in a beautifully adorned space that reflected the layered complexity of his sophisticated sound, right? Wrong! My first visit to Kendrick Dean’s home studio was quite surprising. I was amazed, and equally impressed to see that he could produce such beautifully colored stories in a relatively dull and colorless space. “When people walked in this room, they didn’t have any comments about the room. They made more comments about my action figures than anything else. Those were subsidiaries for the room lacking personality,” said Dean of his uninspiring studio. I thought no differently. The most interesting visual in that gray box of a room was his Donkey Kong action figure doing the Dougie. This space needed a major swaggerhaul. I couldn’t have been happier when one day I received


July - September 2012 |

a call from Kendrick requesting that I help him breathe life into his studio that was sucking the life out of his creativity. We got to work right away. The inspiration for the space was spawned by a session that Dean booked at the famed Larrabee North Studio in Los Angeles, CA. “What makes the ambiance special for me is that it’s very warm, intimate, and inviting. It’s very sophisticated and at the same time it’s not lacking any personality,” he said. “It’s not overly designed but at the same time, there’s just enough stuff in there. It allows you to come in and think freely without being too crowded in your mind.” Dean likened his style of music to the aesthetic of Larrabee North—sophisticated, layered, and textural—making that studio a great point of reference to begin the design process. However, his studio was a design mile away from achieving the ambiance of the LA studio that he so admired. His space presented a few other challenges as well. It was aesthetically unpleasant, yes, but more importantly it provided the same level of functionality as using a spoon to eat spaghetti. Task number one was to create what Dean called a dead environment. Now I know that this idea sounds contradictory to what we were trying to accomplish so allow me to elaborate a bit. The space needed to be alive visually and at the same time audibly dead. Reverberation, which is created when sound waves reflect off hard surfaces, was a huge issue in the space. It prevented Dean from being able to hear the pure sound of his creations. We needed to soften the walls, ceiling, and floor to provide a medium for the sound waves to be captured. Enter Sam Thomas—Dean’s sound engineer, master craftsman, and all-around great guy. Sam put both his sound engineering skills and craftsmanship to work by constructing sound-catching baffles to be applied to the walls and ceiling. As functional as the baffles were, they were a designer’s worse nightmare—large wooden frames with soundproofing material wrapped in black speaker-like fabric. BLAH! I cringe just thinking about them; however, the mark of great design is the ability to merge function and fashion. The challenge was on.

“That’s what artists typically want. They want an environment where it’s leaning to creativity. They want an environment that’s safe and warm, welcoming, and cozy,” Dean explained. Instead of applying the bold print in a mild manor, such as using it for pillows, we opted to make a bigger statement. We wrapped the fabric around some of the large, ordinary black baffles. Following suit, we upholstered the remaining baffles in a rich cinnamontextured velvet fabric, which created a soft contrast to its printed counterpart. The walls were coated with a shade of milk chocolate colored paint reminiscent of a ganache-topped cake. We strategically applied the baffles to the walls, placing the printed fabric panels on the angled walls to create a focal point of our own, thus eliminating reverberation while adding interest to the walls. In design, that’s what we call killing two birds with one stone.

“Having the vocal booth window framed out with a picture frame is artistic, as well as has having a lot of symbolism in the fact that we’re creating a masterpiece,” he said. The studio also featured other custom elements that made it unique. A handcrafted engineer’s desk and a producer’s table on casters, constructed by Sam Thomas, personalized the space and incorporated a range of flexibility.


Earlier that week Dean sourced a paisley fabric at a local fabric store. He gravitated towards it because it reminded him of the fabric used on a focal wall at Larrabee North. The textile was indeed captivating with its warm chocolate hues punctuated with various shades of sage, cinnamon, and persimmon. It was the perfect palette to set the mood that the producer envisioned. Warm colors provoke a sense of security and comfort.


“This room is specifically tailored for me, from the design to the height of the keyboard.”

“This room is specifically tailored for me, from the design to the height of the keyboard, everything is basically Kendrick’s room,” Dean expressed. “That was the goal out of the gate. I can be multiple places in the room and still be able to produce.”

The scene had been set and like a producer uses drums and strings to build on a baseline, it was time to layer in special touches to personalize the space. Dean came up with an ingenious idea to add picture frame molding around the window that linked the producer’s room to the vocal booth.

continued on page 18 | 2012 July - September


continued from page 17

LUX DECOR Once functionality was accomplished, it was time for the fun stuff: the fashion! As Dean stated before, he wanted a space free from clutter so that his mind could think freely. In order to avoid clutter it was important that each additional piece had a specific purpose and major visual impact. I selected a glittering metallic gold rug fit for a rock star to cover the dark floors. The shimmering threads danced in the light and gave the floor life as well as provided another destination for sound waves to be absorbed. An espresso velvet sofa was the ideal pick to pull the wall color into the room and it provided additional comfort seating – for songwriters and artists, alike. It popped against the cinnamon tones of the baffles and the golden sparkle of the rug. All of the colors thrown about the room merged together on the sofa with the use of toss pillows in a myriad of tones and textures. Floor lamps with pleated bronze diffuser shades added another dimension of light and showered the room with an ambiance perfect for writing dreamy love ballads. The finishing touch was to welcome back a few of Dean’s old friends - his prized action figures. Making the cut was, you guessed it, Donkey Kong in his oh so perfect Dougie pose. “Having a room that is well put together, coordinated, and personally designed and crafted, I can feel like this room is mine. When I walk into this room, I feel like I’m walking into an extension of my body, my personality, and my creativity. Overall I feel like it’s given me great ideas,” Dean said of his newly designed space. “The room was very grey, literally and figuratively. It didn’t exhibit personality. It didn’t say anything. Now the room speaks probably about three different languages.”


July - September 2012 |

When I started this project, I never imagined that the words ‘baffle’ and ‘dead’ would take on so many meanings. Initially, I was baffled that such lively music could be created in a visually dead an uninspiring space. Then I used baffles to audibly deaden the space and we brought the room to life with warm tones, rich textures, and customized elements. “When I walk in here, or an artist or another creative person walks in here, the room is talking and it inspires you. It inspires you to write, it inspires you to produce, and it inspires you to sing better. You feel like you actually owe it to the space to use it well,” Dean said. “Creativity comes unannounced a lot of times. To have a space where I can fully flush out my ideas, in an environment that I’m in a large amount of time, is priceless,” he continued as he beamed with joy about his new custom home studio. Well folks, it looks like my work here is done. The composer of music is happy, the composer of space is pleased, and all is well in the world again.

Photography: Ish Holmes Interior Design: Liv By Design Interiors Inc.


SPOTLIGHT by: Tianna Faulkner

illustration: Jasmin Moore


ndependent artists are in a unique class of their own. Unlike mainstream artists, independent artists do not conform or look for popularity. It’s all about the music and the ability to maintain control over it. It’s all about the art, making people feel good, making people act, making people love again, and making them think. From R&B, electro pop, acoustic, rap/hip-hop, to rock, the independent artists featured in this issue are very talented. They are passionate individuals. Some are world travelers, songwriters, composers – musicians who love what they do and desire to get a positive message to their audience. Most astonishing is the fact that many have total creative freedom—an amazing feat in the music industry today. We take you into their world by showcasing their individual journeys, so read on and be inspired.




riter, singer, and motivational speaker, Sam Collier is not compromising his message of “No Losing” to blend in and be accepted by the world. Collier is the winner of the Urban Lux Magazine LUX Cover Contest.

Born and raised in Atlanta, and an adopted fraternal twin, Collier had a great childhood albeit unusual: his father made a practice of taking in and looking after the homeless. Seeing their struggles first hand taught Collier what it meant to endure pain. He has been performing since age six and got his start in Atlanta with the Freddie Hendricks Youth Ensemble. It was in this environment that Collier began to understand the power of music: the ensemble focused on world issues through song. “From there, I saw how art could influence people,” says Collier. In the ensemble, he and his fellow students sang about AIDS, teen pregnancy, and Apartheid. Ever since those days, Collier has taken on the task of making people happy musically. He wants to encourage people to have a better day, follow their dreams, love better and have healthy relationships. He is sharing this message as he tours high schools and colleges. So far he has spoken to over 10, 000 students throughout the Southeastern United States. His goal is to expand his philosophy even further, and with the support of Bernice King, daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Collier is well on his way.

Collier wants to create a whole new paradigm for music that inspires the soul. His message has reached Japan, Canada, South America, and Africa. His international music distribution reaches as far as Australia. “You don’t have to be a Trump, or Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s child to bring about change or make a difference in the world,” says Collier. “Bernice King said people make her father out to be a god, but she says he was a normal person who said ‘I believe I can make a change.’” Musical influences include Stevie Wonder, Tupac Shakur, Ray Charles, and John Mayer. Collier describes his style of music as R&B Pop with a mixture of T.I. and Jill Scott. Collier enjoys having creative control of his music and says people don’t see the need to write songs about issues, but he knows there are people out there who want and need to hear the “No Losing” message. He says that negative forces, and the music industry today, often hinder the message. “I want to be able to touch the world with a message of hope,” he said. “Once your mind opens fully, you begin to see the truth of the world.” If you want to learn more about Sam Collier and hear his music, visit

“We are in need of more love today around the world,” he said. “I’ve photography: Ish Holmes dedicated my life to this message. I am singing and speaking about styled by: Ashli Washington makeup: Travis Culberson making the right choices in everything.” | 2012 July - September





yron is an up and coming male vocalist, writer and composer, from Atlanta by way of Tennessee. His music genre is pop/soul. With song titles such as “Disease” and “Reverse,” he is proving that his music can touch the heart as well as deliver a profound message. He started his career by singing for fun in talent competitions, but later decided to try singing professionally. Kyron has performed at a variety of venues, from colleges to concert halls and he has even taken his music to Jamaica and Trinidad. His influences include Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Billy Joel. His work has also been used by Britney Spears. Kyron already has two albums that are available to the public and if you think his song titles are interesting, you should see his videos. His latest video for “Disease”, which is a song about unhealthy relationships, got over 16, 000 views on YouTube. “As an independent artist, you really want people behind you to support you. I want my music to have a social impact, not just to be popular with today’s music, but 20, 30, 40 years from now impact society.” Visit for more on Kyron Leslie. photography: Ish Holmes styled by: James Kelvin makeup: Travis Culberson


July - September 2012 |


DAWN McClain


’m not a gimmick,” says R&B recording artist Dawn McClain, whose singing career began in the church. “Not too many singers sing with a live band,” she says.

Originally from Los Angeles, McClain has been singing for the past 20 years and now calls Atlanta home. Her recently released album “The Love Project,” features the songs “Live, Give, Love,” “State of Emotions,” and “L.O.V.E.” Her career has taken her to Europe and Malaysia, where she also released her album “Dance Chronicles.” When she is not performing, she is writing, acting or giving vocal lessons. She also enjoys doing voice-over commercials and singing backup for singers like Gaelle, as well as Roberta Flack and Patti Labelle, who praise McClain’s singing ability. You can usually catch her performing at Atlanta’s Apache Café singing with Silk’s lead singer Gary “Little G” Jenkins. McClain also wants people to know she is a cancer survivor who desires to bring integrity back to music. Her musical influences include Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, The Clark Sisters, and Whitney Houston. “I do this because I love it,” she said. “God gave me a gift and I love being able to share it.” Visit or to hear more from Dawn McClain. photography: Ish Holmes styled by: Joe Stuckey makeup: Travis Culberson | 2012 July - September





rowing up in Manhattan was an amazing experience for Lindsay Brockington. Lindsay had Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall at her doorstep. Whether it was Broadway musicals, outdoor concerts or the sweet sounds of the subway, music has always been a driving force in her life. At an early age Lindsay began performing in local musical productions. It was her childhood dream to be a professional singer and she is now living that dream. After traveling through Australia, while working on her music, Lindsay began collaborating with Parisian composer Julien Ome and in 2006 Lindsay Ilana Brockington’s International Dream Orchestra (LIBIDO) was formed. LIBIDO is a combination of Lindsay’s vocals along with a two to ten piece band. She insists, “You can still make beautiful music with vocals and instruments without the use of Auto-Tunes.” Lindsay’s musical style includes reggae, R&B, punk, and a mix of others. Some of her songs and videos are “Angelina,” “The Music” and “The Sexiest Girl,” all of which she wrote and produced. Enjoy the eclectic sounds of LIBIDO at

photography: Briian Dargon styled by: Lindsay Brockington


July - September 2012 |




lassically trained at the age of six by her father, an opera singer, Annelise Collette prepared for a life of performing in musical theater.

As she matured as an artist Annelise chose to persue pop music rather than theater and opera. She classifies her music as Electro pop and incorporates dub step – a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London, England. She says her music sounds like it’s from outer space but assures, “When people listen to it, they’ll get it.” Annelise enjoys the creative freedom of being an independent artist and the fact that she answers to no one but herself. She performs all original songs, the result of discovering her own sound over the years. She has been featured on MTV and VH1 and also writes music for Viacom. “I’m on the right track,” she added with confidence. “I have a lot of fans in England and Asia.” Collette will be releasing an album later this year and is preparing to release her first music video. “It’s a hard road, but it’s worth it.” Visit or photography: Briian Dargon styled by: Annelise Collette | 2012 July - September





ormer rapper Jason “Jahah” Berry has taken on a new direction in R&B. The Atlanta native and world traveler is bringing the love back with his current single “Bare My Heart.”

“The response [to the song] was so overwhelming, we decided to shoot a video,” Jahah said. The video has gotten a lot of attention on YouTube along with the single being in rotation overseas and on indie radio. His sound can be compared to Musiq Soulchild and his diverse musical influences range from D’Angelo, Fantasia, Jill Scott, Bob Marley and Joe Sample to music from the Motown era. “There is not enough balance in the industry today,” he says and also explains that he’s making music for listeners who miss classic R&B and soul. Expect to hear more from Jahah as he prepares to release his new soul recording entitled “Nostalgia Black.” Listen and learn more at

photography: Ish Holmes styled by: Angelina Cook and Jahah makeup: Travis Culberson


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Leah Nuit Culver is a twenty year old music producer/dj also known as MK Ultra. Celebrated for her high energy and ability to make any crowd hype, MK Ultra plays many genres such as dubstep, electro, house, trance, and moomba but is best known for her heavy dubstep drops. MK Ultra grew up in Atlanta and has been singing, playing the drums and the guitar since age 13. She has written her own music since she was a little girl and has played with names such as Porter Robinson, Figure, Dirty Talk, Cookie Monsta, Mantis, Heroes an Villains, Mayhem, Pendulem, Zoogma, Charlie P, Evol Intent, Aphrodite, Cyberoptics, Mark Instinct, Ak1200, Popeska, Marty Party, Nerd Rage, Bassex and Captain Panic. “Music has always been a big part of my life, maybe being the only consistent part of my life, I believe anything can be expressed through music,” she says. If you haven’t seen Ultra play or heard one of her heavy electronic sets, be sure to check her out at one of Atlanta’s local venues such as Opera night club, Rush Lounge, The Masquerade, Primal, Quad, Connect Lounge, and many more. Hear her music at and be on the look out for her upcoming dubstep EP to be released after her National summer tour through America.

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Some of the singers that Porter cites as influential are familiar – Nat King Cole, Joe Williams and Donny Hathaway – and others – such as the pastor of the church he attended as a child among them – may never realize their impact on his development as an artist. Porter grew up in a single parent home where he listened to the soothing voice of Nat King Cole and he imagined the lyrics of the great crooner were meant just for him. He pretended as a child that Nat King Cole was his father. This gave great comfort and refuge in the life of a young child longing for a father. Porter’s early days chronicle him singing in small jazz clubs in San Diego. He attended San Diego State University on a football scholarship, as an outside linebacker, until a shoulder injury sidelined him permanently. Ultimately, changing his fate and leading him to a successful career in music. Pianist and composer Kamau Kenyatta, who Porter refers to as his “best friend” bears much of the responsibility for Porter’s career trajectory. Recognizing his talents, Kenyatta – along with saxophonist Daniel Jackson who has performed with Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, Art Farmer and more – nurtured the burgeoning performer, and, as Porter says, “taught him what he needed to know.” Born in Los Angeles, raised in Bakersfield, and now living in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, Gregory Porter has made the world his musical home. A frequent guest performer with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Porter also maintains a residency at Smoke Jazz in New York and tours around the globe. I recently had the honor of speaking with Mr. Porter from his hotel suite in Switzerland where he shared his thoughts on love, family and music. Lentheus: Some people believe in faith, some believe in luck and others believe in fate. What do you attribute to the success and propelling of your career? Gregory: They all sound good to me and they all feel right…I would have to say faith in both senses of the word in my spiritual belief and just faith in the simple human story. I try to be as human and as organic as I can be in my approach to music and I think thus far it comes across that way as genuine.

Lentheus: Your album “Be Good” is filled with deep messages of love and family. Tell me about the experiences and memories you drew from to bring forth the feel of this project. Gregory: I think the thing I like most about any artist, regardless of the discipline, is when you get a bit of the finger print that’s left on the canvas. That’s the part that I really like. That’s the part that really makes a piece of art human and I think that’s the approach I have had by drawing from my own personal stories. [The song] “Be Good” was a grown mans lullaby that I wrote for myself on my way back from a break up...Just conjuring the memory of my mother and my seven brothers and sisters, she would always say to us, “hold your sisters hand when you go across the street” and after she passed I just remember her always saying to us “hold on to each other and take care of each other, consider each other…you never get tired of your brother” just really consider family and that song [“Mother’s Song”] is a message to my brothers and sisters to remember what our mother said before she passed. What I am learning is the more personal the story, sometimes the more universal.



ith a voice that can caress or confront, embrace or exhort, Grammy nominee, Gregory Porter exhibits such an incredible degree of vocal mastery that no less a jazz luminary than Wynton Marsalis has gone on record to call him “a fantastic young singer.”

by: Lentheus Chaney



Lentheus: What was the first love song you ever wrote and who was it for? Gregory: The very first song that I wrote, I was like six, this is where the Nat King Cole thing ties into my very first love song, if you can consider a six year olds very first love song. [Singing] Once upon a time I had a dream boat, once upon a time I had a love…It a was silly song that went on and on and on for way to long. I put it down on tape and when my mother listened to it, she said, “boy you sound like Nat king Cole.” That is what prompted me to go dig into her records which I was forbidden to do. I remember listening to Nat’s voice and hearing another door of music opening up in my brain. As an adult man my first love the song was one I wrote after a break up when I was 26. It was called “Moving in the Right Direction” and at some point I’ll probably record it again. Lentheus: What would your life be like if not for your love of music and what would you be doing instead? Gregory: I feel my personality is very much connected to giving and serving. My mother was a minister and a missionary. She took half of my school clothes one year and gave them to a homeless kid. I remember how devastating that was for me at the time. It’s such a precious memory to me now that she included me in this contribution. She was giving me a gift then that would be a gift in the future. So, giving is important to my personality. I’ve always been a pretty serious cook, so I suspect I would own a restaurant and give people food. I would try to please them almost the same way music does.

Lentheus: The music of Nat King Cole influenced your childhood and brought you comfort in the absence of a father. What As my conversation with Gregory continued, I learned that messages and influences do you wish others to benefit and take he will be making a few stops in the U.S. in the upcoming away from your music? months. I implore you not to miss an opportunity to hear the Gregory: Once you produce and create a piece of music, you never voice of a truly gifted vocalist. know how it comes back to you. I think that the way I want the music to come back to me is for somebody to stop me and say, “You sang my Learn more about Gregory Porter and check out his tour story.” Weather it be a woman, an older person or a younger person, dates at or someone who is pushing towards the future, the present or the past…it’s a real compliment when someone can say, “you connected | 2012 July - September with me and you spoke to me with your lyrics.”




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by: Tia Aikens

he Landscape of music is carved with the vivid imprint of Don Cornelius, Donna Summer, Etta James, and Whitney Houston. Remarkable, incredible, and astounding rightly defines the essence of these legendary artists. These remarkable talents have made extraordinary accomplishments in not only the music industry, but also the entire entertainment sector spanning across television, movies, and Broadway. Don Cornelius (September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012). His birth name is Donald Cortez Cornelius. He is most notable as being the founder, producer, and host of the American musical variety show Soul Train. In 1966, he landed a job as an announcer, news reporter and disc jockey on Chicago radio station WVON. In 1971, he founded Soul Train on WCIU- TV, which aired in syndication from 1971 to 2006. In its 35-year history, the show primarily featured performances by R&B, soul, and Hip Hop artists, although funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artists have also appeared. As a nod to Soul Train’s longevity, the show’s opening sequence (during later seasons) contained a claim that it was the longest-running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history, with over 1,100 episodes produced from the show’s debut 2005 through 2006.

Cornelius modeled Soul Train after Dick Clarks American Bandstand transforming television by introducing African American artist to a broader audience. With this in mind, he fashioned a platform for musicians such as Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Aretha Franklin, and many other well-known artist. In addition, he created a platform of unity with artist such as Elton John, Robert Palmer, Duran Duran, Hall & Oats, and David Bowie. The Civil Rights Movement inspired Don Cornelius thus, providing an outlet that would lend visibility and support for the advancement of African American singers and artist who were invited to perform on his show. In 1987, he introduced the Soul Train Awards to the world. Following this success, he launched the Lady of Soul Train Awards in 1995. He spent over 30 years on the air influencing the lives of millions, and the fact is he is still on the air because his legacy lives on. In the words of Don Cornelius, “we wish you love, peace and soul.” Thank you, Don Cornelius for your revitalizing energy of unity Ladonna Adrian Gaines (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012), known as the legendary Donna Summer help shape the music industry. Summer is recognized as the “Queen of Disco” known for igniting the disco era in the 1970’s with her sultry voice and beats. Summer is thought of as one of the world’s most exquisite female vocalists. She contributed significantly to her career by co-writing many of her songs such as “Love to Love You Baby,” “I Feel Love,” “Hot Stuff, and “No More Tears.” A versatile Summer, ventured into musicals and television as she toured on a version of the musical “Hair,” and in 1978, held an acting role in the film “Thank God.” Additionally, she landed a guest role on the sitcom “Family Matters.” Summer’s music represents a range of rock, new wave, and gospel. In 1992, she was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Finally, her last album was released in 2008, “Crayons” Donna Summer’s resume is quite extensive signifying that her career was extraordinary. She received 5 Grammy Awards, and 6 American Music Awards. Summer was also a visual artist for which her work has been showcased at exhibitions worldwide. Thank you, Donna Summer for sketching your legacy into the hearts of many around the world.


July - September 2012 |


Her music career spearheaded in the mid 1950’s. She gained global recognition with timeless hits such as “Dance with Me,” “Henry,” “At Last,” “Tell Mama,” and “I’d Rather Go Blind.”


The matriarch of R&B, the illustrious legendary Etta James (January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) born Jamesetta Hawkins. The intentional weaving of blues, rhythm, rock and roll, soul, gospel, and jazz into her sultry vocals earns her the position of a “Matriarch.”

Her album “The Seven Year Itch” released in 1989 highlighted her musical creativity. In 1993, Etta was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in the same year, she recorded “Mystery Lady”, a Billie Holiday tribute album. Seven years later in 2001, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame as well as the Rockability Hall of Fame. Etta James had once been considered one of the most overlooked blues and R&B musicians in Music history of the United States. It was not until the early 1990s when James began receiving major industry awards from the Grammys and the Blues Foundation that she began to receive wide recognition. In recent years, James was seen as bridging the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll. James has influenced a wide variety of American musicians including Diana Ross, Christina Aguilera, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, and Hayley Williams of Paramore as well as British artists The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Elkie Brooks, Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith, Joss Stone, and Adele. Etta James received 6 Grammy Awards, 17 Blues Music Awards and she was a nine-time winner of the Soul/Blue Female Artist of the Year awarded by the Blues Foundation. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists. How sweet the penetrating vocals of Whitney Houston. She was born Whitney Elizabeth Houston on August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney, also known as Nippy to her close friends and family produced 7 studio albums, 3 movie soundtracks and all of them achieved diamond, multi platinum, platinum, or gold status. Her career launched in 1977 singing as a backup vocalist for the Michael Zager Band, Chaka Khan, Lou Rawls, and Jermaine Jackson. In addition, to her then part time music career opportunities she graced the cover of Seventeen and was featured in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Young Miss Magazine in the 1980”s as a Fashion Model. However, in 1983, Houston signed a recording contract with Arista Records / Clive Davis, which instantly plunged her into global exposure. Whitney had the ability to expand and diversify any song and she proved this in 1991 at the Super Bowl XXV in Tampa when she transformed “The Star Spangled Banner” into a top hit. In 2001, she reserved the right to sign the biggest record contract in history for $100 million dollars. In 2002, she generated the highest viewing for an interview with Diane Sawyer. Her awards include 22 American Music Awards, 30 Billboard Awards, 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 16 NAACP Image Awards, 6 People’s Choice Awards, and lastly 7 Soul Train Awards. Music is indeed a universal language that speaks beyond cultural barriers. Most people use music as a couch; they want to be pillowed on it, relaxed and consoled from the stress of daily living. But serious music was never meant to be soporific. Thank you Don Cornelius, Donna Summer, Etta James, and Whitney Houston for staying true to the essence of music. | 2012 July - September



MUSIC CITY Much More Than Country in Nashville’s Music Scene


by: Monica Compton


t may be home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but Nashville’s vibrant music scene offers a lot more than just one format of music. From rock to blues, gospel to pop, visitors can experience an eclectic mix of music on every street corner. Known as “Music City,” Nashville has more than 130 music venues ranging from large concert halls to small clubs and featuring nearly every genre of music. Rolling Stone recently gave Nashville the title of “Best Music Scene.” Artists like Robert Plant, Kid Rock, Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi and Michael Buble, among many others, have come to Music City to write and record, and names like Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, Sheryl Crow, Paramore, Hot Chelle Rae and Jack White call Nashville home. It’s no wonder then that Nashville has long been known as the “Songwriting Capital of the World.” Songwriters from all over the world come to “Music City” to learn the art and share their passion of songwriting. Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), which fosters the art of songwriting and works to protect artists’ rights, is headquartered here. The annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival presented by NSAI spotlights more than 300 songwriters who perform at venues around town. The famous Bluebird Cafe showcases songwriters performing their original music in an intimate “in the round” setting that was created in Nashville and allows them to share the stories of inspiration behind their songs. Past Tin Pan South performers include Art Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, Donna Summer, Loretta Lynn, Carole King,


Garth Brooks, Janis Ian, Kenny Loggins, Peter Frampton and many more.

a diverse menu of jazz, blues, reggae, funk, gospel, soul and R&B.

Nashville’s other famous festivals include the Stellar Gospel Music Awards which take place every January and the Music City Soul Series which takes place at B.B. Kings Blues Club and Restaurant every Thursday night in February.

However, you do not have to wait for a festival to hear a melting pot of musical formats in Nashville. On any given night, there are over 100 live music clubs where you can see and hear artists from every genre playing.

In April, all styles of gospel music are celebrated at the GMA Dove Awards, including contemporary pop, rock and urban. Sponsored by Vanderbilt University, the Rites of Spring is another April festival that features two days of the newest artists in modern music. In May, over 15,000 pounds of crawfish are delivered to Nashville fresh from Louisiana for the Merrell Crawfish Boil, a two-day music event. Past performers have included 3 Doors Down, Paramore and T-Pain. In September, the Next Big Nashville showcases the best of the thriving Nashville music scene and artistic community. This five-day music festival features over 100 bands performing at several venues throughout the city. Also in September, the Americana Music Association Festival & Conference brings over 1,000 executives, professionals, and artists together from all over the world, representing all facets of the music industry. The festival features over 50 showcases and performances from both established and emerging artists. Nashville’s festival season ends Labor Day weekend with the Music City Jazz, Blues & Heritage Festival. This two-day event merges local and national artists together to produce

July - September 2012 |

Located in Downtown Nashville, the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar was voted the best blues club. From up and coming artists to legends, 3rd & Lindsley features local, national and international artists. Half a mile from Downtown in Cannery Row, Mercy Lounge features “buzz bands” and renowned national talents. The second story venue brings a diverse crowd that includes everyone from Downtown tourists to hip, young socialites. Acts such as John Fogerty, Katy Perry, and The White Stripes have appeared here. With locations in Nashville and New York City, The National Underground is another live music hot spot featuring everything from roots rock and pop to country. Joss Stone, Nora Jones, and Moby are just a few of the artists who have appeared onstage. In operation since 1971, Exit/In has brought legends to its stage including The Police, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Billy Joel and many more. It’s made appearances in books – Steve Martin’s autobiography – and movies – the 1975 Robert Altman film, “Nashville.” Nashville’s diverse music scene provides a musical format for everyone, whether it’s a rock band on a festival stage or a blues act in a legendary nightclub. And don’t worry, you can always find a little country too.

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Advice from Recording Academy Executive MICHELE CAPLINGER by: Ian Smith


f you know anything about Atlanta and music, you know that our city has been leading the charts with pioneering artists who consistently turn out unforgettable classics from just about every genre.

“Without a doubt, Atlanta is a vibrant and diverse music center,” says Michele Rhea Caplinger, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy Atlanta chapter. “Georgia can tout great legacy [such as] Ray Charles, James Brown, [The] Allman Brothers, Otis Redding, Little Richard, as well as boast chart topping and GRAMMY nominated [or] winning artists like the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Usher, Ludacris, Sugarland, Zac Brown, Third Day and others.” As far back as many music lovers can remember, the music industry has been a part of a creative community that collectively exports more than $125 billion each year, fueling American jobs and bringing music to our ears. In fact, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), compared to 2010, global record company revenues grew by an estimated 8 percent to $5.2 billion, with strong consumer demand in these categories: single track downloads (up 11 percent by volume), digital albums (up 24 per cent by volume) and fast-expanding subscription services. These services – which began with offerings like Napster – are much more popular than was originally predicted. Paid subscriptions to music services increased 65 percent in 2011 to 13.4 million worldwide, according to IFPI estimates.

“The past few GRAMMYs have included great performances by indie artists and over half of the GRAMMY nominations in the past two years were of indie artists. The future is here.”

Digital music also saw unprecedented global expansion in 2011. Services such as iTunes, Spotify, and Deezer are now present in 58 countries, compared to only 23 at the start of 2011.

For independent artists trying to take their careers to the next level, Caplinger says it’s about being true to yourself and your art: “The industry welcomes new, fresh, different and unique,” she says. “Never try to copy another act who just ‘made it’ – the industry is looking for the next thing. Never invite industry types out to see you until you really think you are ready ‘to be seen’ – that is so important. Educate yourself on the business, meet everyone you can in your market in the music industry, build your army. Learn your craft and be willing to grow.”

Lost in this ever-changing world of recording, distribution and delivery, are independent artists who must maneuver a labyrinth of hurdles to be seen and, more importantly, to be heard. But with or without an industry contract or representation, the digital age continues to create an opportunity for independent artists to flourish, evolve and reach larger audiences. Could you be the next big thing in music? As newer, more sophisticated recording devices and instruments hit shelves each year, more individuals are able to create new music and experiment with sound. These days, virtually anyone can produce studio quality music from their own home. “We are actually huge fans and supporters of indie artists,” Caplinger says. “The majority of our professional development is geared toward them in fact – they are the future of music,” she added.


July - September 2012 |

Caplinger says the way consumers listen to and buy music is immediate and that’s what today’s culture demands. For better or worse, new technology prevents many new artists from making ‘big money’ selling CDs. The good news is unknown artists have a far greater global reach; since the introduction of the Internet, more people are listening to music than ever before. But this could be a double-edged sword for new artists. While it’s true that the potential exists to go viral and become a chart-topping artist sensation overnight, industry experts say the Internet has also given way to a devaluing of music’s worth, making it more disposable.

Caplinger says the future is full of opportunity. “Make your music, play your music, meet other music makers and industry professionals, be innovative and memorable, and be nice.” The Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy produces approximately 12 to 14 GRAMMY Professional Development events a year for its members. The industry has gone through seismic changes and continues to evolve at lightning speed so with the help of professionals across the country, the association is continuing to educate the music community through these workshops and panels, For more information, visit




JULY 2012 - MUSICS HEARTBEAT The Indie Artists Issue  

Music is like a heartbeat. It is a source of energy that lives inside many independent artists. It keeps them inspired to dream and seek opp...

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