Concert Reviews

Migos Superstar, Quavo, Delivers a Motivational Message at The Forbes Under 30 Summit

Migos Superstar, Quavo, came through Detroit with a profound message about his entrepreneurial journey at The Forbes Under 30 Summit in Detroit. Giving credit to his brothers who have come together to be the biggest and most sought-after Hip-Hop Group in the world, Migos, Quavo mentioned the importance of keeping both trust and equity in the family. Reminding all of the entrepreneurs in the crowd of the importance of staying true to themselves in the process, Quavo sat tall and delivered an honest review of his highs and lows which have led him to being one of the highest ticket-tag when it comes to branding, partnerships and more.

All Photo Credit: Jessica Golich

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Music Reviews

LA Superstar, Jillian Shea Spaeder, Releases New Single – “Barely Changed”

LA Superstar, Jillian Shea Spaeder, inspires the world by simply being herself. From the ripe age of five-years-old, Jillian has taken the driver’s seat of her life which has transmuted into the sprouting of a creative tree that bears a variety of artistic branches. Between acting, singing, playing guitar, tumbling and simply being a teenager, Jillian continues to prove that she can do it all. Having released her latest single, “Barely Changed”, Jillian has brought forward a Pop hit that carries an instrumental twist of EDM which carries a significant maturation in both tone and delivery. Jillian’s ability to capture and read both her audience and herself led to the track being mastered with precision while meeting the undertone of the Pop world. Jillian lyrically and vocally shines throughout “Barely Changed” in a grounded and moving way that challenges listeners to be more present. 

Being a step ahead of the game, Jillian Shea Spaeder’s accomplishments range from being a presenter at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards to playing the lead of Disney’s Walk The Prank and to name a few. Through her drive, dedication and blossoming heart, it is evident that Jillian has learned and developed the skills to both channel her vision and pour it all forward through her artistry. If you’re a fan of fellow musicians such as Ariana Grande, Alessia Cara and Camila Cabello, then keep an eye on the promising ride and journey ahead for the young, bright and talented star that is Jillian Shea Spaeder on Soundcloud.

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Interview: Mae

Virginia Rockers, Mae, have consistently stretched beyond boundaries to experiment with sound while infusing their artistry with frequencies to obtain special musical components that provoke and support healing responses from the mind and body. I caught up with Lead Vocalist, Dave Elkins, to discuss the dynamic creative approach taken for ‘Multisensory Aesthetic Experience’, the importance of remaining present, creative freedom working with Tooth & Nail Records, being mindful of breathwork, meditation, remaining in tune while on the road and more.  

Congrats on the recent release of ‘Multisensory Aesthetic Experience’. Tell us about the creative and recording process of your fifth album and what you learned along the way.

It took a lot longer than I think we expected it to take. I made the record at my studio right outside of Nashville. I started making the record in December of 2017 and the album came out in November of 2018. It took us about seven-eight months of 2018 and even a bit of time before that. It was certainly one educational process.

From my perception, it seems as though you guys approached ‘Multisensory Aesthetic Experience’ from a multidimensional artistic approach that encompassed far more than just the music. I have been listening since the days of ‘Destination: Beautiful’ and ‘The Everglow’, and it seems as though through this release, you created a sensory experience that subliminally showcases the maturation of your artistry. You are stretching into the fields of science, neuroscience, the incorporation of mindfulness, sensory balance, resonation and more.

Wow, I really appreciate you saying that. Back when we made ‘Destination: Beautiful’, we were just kids in the studio with an opportunity to experiment. It was our Bass player’s studio at that time. Therefore, any idea that we had whether that be sonically, lyrically and emotionally, we tried to execute. We wanted to try to convey something and we were willing to take that time to find that place of sonic expression. Ironically, in my studio around 15 years later and now, that is the exact approach that we took to make ‘Multisensory Aesthetic Experience’. We were able to spend time learning so that the sounds that we were hearing in our heads and the ideas that we wanted to approach with our minds were available for at least try.

Oh yeah. How refreshing it must have been to not have the potential pressure of a record label deadline for the album. As of recently, bands and musicians have been pushing out content on a steady six-month per release basis which I perceive stifles the natural creative release.

Yeah. We released ‘Multisensory Aesthetic Experience’ with Tooth & Nail Records which is the record label that we had our earlier records out on. They have always been so encouraging and enabling. We are told that we are going to go make a record and it is a joy to be able to go make exactly the album that we want to make. That is how we approached this latest release which always ends up being a good situational experience. You don’t feel any pressure, all you see and feel is opportunity.

Yeah, and that is where your core thoughts and feelings spill forward from you and through you without thought. No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.

I was 20-years-old when our first album came out and I am 37-years-old now. A lot of changes have happened in my personal life which will now be a part of my artistry moving forward. Moving to the studio was a huge accomplishment for me. I was just bouncing around at other studios and working with other Producers while learning to become a Producer myself over the years, and I finally have my own space where we can just create. We made the most recent record at my studio as well. It is nice to see other artists come in and take their time to make music and feel invited to my studio and space too.

I bet, as you have created your own intimate atmosphere that mimics you. You guys have been going since 2003. How do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re out on the road?

That’s a wonderful question. Breathing.

Yes, actual breathwork. You’d be surprised; I have learned through experience and conversation that majority of individuals are indeed not in tune and/or knowledgeable of their ability to reach states of euphoria and tame the body and mind through their own breath.

It’s so important to slow down. It is so important to breathe. It is so important to meditate, to contemplate. And to do so with a postere of gratitude. There is so much going on to deal with and struggle with and have upon that can bring upon anxiety, doubt and even hopelessness. Those are all real things that don’t go away.

We all subconsciously collect excess stimulus without even knowing it.

That is exactly right. On our new album we have a song that closes out the record by the name of “Flow” which is an example of a particularly meditative and contemplative piece. It was very intentional for both ourselves and our own creativity and for all of our listeners. We really wanted to give traditional Mae songs and lyrics to sing along to and think deeply about, yet we wanted to create some instrumental songs while experimenting sonically to lead others and ourselves toward reaching a meditative and contemplative space.

Did you pay attention to and/or tune the hertz and frequency of the music while creating it?

Yeah, we did. We took an emotional approach. We took a mathematical approach. We just really made share that when we were putting these sonic and esoteric ideas together that we were hitting our sweet spot which invites as many people in to get contemplative, to meditate along with us.

Powerful. How do you proactively tend to yourself on the road?

Right now, I feel that it is important to be present. Touring is something that I have been a part of ever since I was 19-years old. At one point, I was just excited to be on the road. And then there was another point where I was wrapped up in the industry, statistical side of success and asking questions. I was always asking how many tickets that we had sold, what were the numbers at the merch table, etc. I found that to be really distracting in hindsight. It is really important to be present. The moments while on stage connecting with our friends in the crowd mean the world to us. As I mentioned, I am 37-years-old now and I started touring when I was 19-years-old; to still be able to do this is great. It is more so about meeting people at shows now and meeting as many people as I possibly can. They are escaping from their day-to-day lives to listen to our music and sing these songs back to us. There are so many people at shows that share their stories with us and share how our music has complimented and inspired their life experience. It is really important to be present to all of that. Those are the moments that will stay as imprints on my brain over the years to come.

Indeed. As a touring musician, you are constantly out on touring cycle collecting and then taking the time to reflect when you get off of the road and artistically refresh yourself through the recollection of your experience.

Absolutely. We are in the middle of tour right now. We just played Sacramento last night. Being on the West Coast is wonderful in January. The weather has been great. A lot of touring musicians do not tour in January because they are playing their music in parts of the states where it wouldn’t be very wise to tour in January. We planned this out and are really happy to be around 50 and 60 degree weather every day and a lot of sunshine. As I mentioned, it is all about meeting people on this tour and the music is all about self-expression for me.

Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!

I am really proud of the album that we made. It does hit on many levels. The multisensory aspects of it are incredible. We have sight in the form of virtual reality content that accommodates each song on the new album that includes a VR viewfinder. The artwork for the album was created by a good friend of ours who is a wonderful painter and artist who has synesthesia, therefore, when she is listening to music, she is seeing colors and imagery in her mind. As we were making ‘Multisensory Aesthetic Experience’, we kept sending her the music throughout the process and the album cover is actually her interpretation of the 11 songs on canvas. We have all of these other options to create multisensory experiences for listeners and I really hope that people start to get into that because we are starting to include that in our live performances as well. Every night on stage, we play one song where if you do have that option (which you can buy at our shows!) you can bring it to the show and it really enhances the experience. Thank you so much for all of your support. 

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Interview: Pepper Gomez aka MyMy Lady G

Wake Up Music Group Founder, Pepper Gomez aka MyMy Lady G, has transcended her known to in turn reach back into her roots to gather the right tools and people to sprout a tree abounding with musical branches of hope, love and peace. I caught up with Pepper Gomez aka MyMy Lady G to discuss the creation of Wake Up Music Group, being an advocate for Human Rights, the music video for “Get On Up!” making it onto MTV and BET, taking care of your people, James Moore of Independent Music Promotions, feeding her loved ones and much more.

Photo Credit: Jacky Amar Photography

I think that 2019 will be the year for Wake Up Music Group. I really feel it in my heart and in particularly due to the recent trajectory of events and successes.

I am so pleasantly enthused and surprised by all of the developments. There has been a lot of them in 2018. The music industry is a very interesting business to be a part of. It is a fickle business in a way, yet I sorta feel that I have to prepare myself for the inevitable “No” that comes along because I have been getting a lot of “Yes”. At my core, I’m sensitive, and when it is not a “Yes”, it doesn’t feel good. Therefore, I have to remind myself that the real goal is to keep putting out great and new music. It’s about working positively with my artists and team and allowing them to create, and that is the real joy that I find in my work. But I do have to say, Matt Warren being #1 on DRT for two weeks is astounding.

It’s insane. Amy (ACRONYM) and I were texting when the music video that she filmed for “Get On Up!” made it on MTV and BET and we were blown away.

It’s insane! I am definitely riding that cloud because I am aware that those clouds don’t come all of the time. But I do have to remind myself that those successes are like the frosting on the base of the cake and the cake is the music. I think that the music is everything. Music is feeling. Music is encouraging. We knew that ‘Music Is My Life’ by Matt Warren was a good disc, but this has definitely surpassed my very modest expectations. It goes back to what you were talking about in a post that you had put on Facebook. I thought to myself, “Man, I gotta start dreaming bigger.”

You do. I perceive that we as individuals do have to burst our own bubbles at times and remind ourselves that we are capable of a lot more than we initially perceive. I think that perceive and/or perception is the most important word in that last sentence. If you aren’t attempting to perceive more than you already know, you will get stuck in your own stagnant rut. What inspired you to dip your toes back into the music industry? What led you to inspirit that creative fire once again?

I have always inwardly thought that I was a musician ever since I was a child, but my brother was the real musician. He is unbelievable. I mean, that guy can shred guitar. It was his thing. I wasn’t really allowed to encroach on that space because that was what my brother did. I would go around the house singing my little songs day by day and for anyone who has ever lived with me, you know you’ve heard me do that! I was told that I was giving the family a headache when I was doing so as a child, so then I would only sing in the shower. I would help my brother, Bruce Gomez, with lyrics at times when he was in bands, and I would always bug him and ask him to let me sing. His friends told me that I should try singing Folk, and that confused me. I did like some Folk songs, but not my idea of what I wanted to sing. You know that old saying about being left with the biggest gift under the tree? Well, I haven’t been left with the biggest gift under our tree, but I have always tried to make the best of it.

Photo Credit: Jacky Amar Photography

Yes, you have to cultivate the gifts under the tree. I perceive that we as human beings have gifts that we subconsciously don’t even open up or explore throughout our lifetimes. I think that one of life’s biggest puzzles is teaching oneself how to actively live without regret.

Absolutely. You have to take some risks. At some point, I would love to create a very Experimental album. Back to my brother, there was one point in which I got very lucky because he needed some Spanish vocals for one of his bands. I went to Jerry Soto’s studio and I sang the Spanish vocals. I don’t even have a copy of that project and don’t even know what happened to that musician who actually had some really good tunes. So, that experience made me think that I enjoyed singing. After that, I was married to Tom O’Callaghan who can play any instrument that he picks up. It is some kind of insane gift of his. I laid down the vocals with him for the Master Plan project that we submitted to Columbia College and before you knew it, it was an Underground College and Radio hit.

From my perspective, you experienced the College Radio world with your own music and the cyclic nature of what Wake Up Music Group is experiencing with Matt Warren is pretty bizarre.

Right! I really like College and Community Radio because they will dare to play stuff that they like and could take a long time to get onto mainstream music.

You can look at it through the metaphoric lens of college kids preparing for the real world and musicians preparing for the world of mainstream on college radio. Wake Up Music Group is in that in-between space right now, and once Wake Up Music Group hits the mainstream, it will be heartwarming to reflect upon the “college” days.

Yeah. I never forget the people who are with me in the beginning of things.

You have to choose not to. At times with working in the music industry, it is hard to remember your roots because you are immersed in tons of stimulus, around new faces and creating new ideas. But you really do have to choose to take care of those who took care of you. Those people carry such a piece of soul within the journey.

Yes. Carry is the word there. Those people have carried others and me when not a lot of other people would have paid attention. I do have to say that my “Welcome Back” into the music industry has been astounding. The people that remember my Pepper Gomez stuff really get me. I kinda feel like the prodigal daughter because I did do my straight gig for so long, yet everyone is happy to see me back at it and I didn’t even know that people remembered or thought about that stuff that I did literally decades ago. It’s a beautiful thing to touch people like that. I saw people talking about Master Plan in South America online and that would really cheer me up. Back in the day, we didn’t have opportunity readily available for distributions. The record labels were smaller. It is a whole new ball game now.

Photo Credit: Jacky Amar Photography

Right. There are so many resources and tools readily available to all of us each and every day and it is our choice to maximize the tools at hand for our benefit or not. We are literally carrying around a mini computer around the clock. I don’t know about you but my phone is always with me, and almost always in my hand. We are able to create whatever we desire at any time of day at any place around the world. How could that not fire you up? You didn’t have that in the past.

It is incredible. It’s almost like there is a whole generation who doesn’t know what was going on back at that time. People are now able to experience a new way to consume music. Back in the Master Plan days, it was just a street thing and lifestyle that you were just consumed with whether you listened to the music or not. You couldn’t go into 7-11 and not hear the various mixes by the DJ’s because that is how prominent the House sound was back in the day. We would go out dancing every Friday and Saturday night. It was around the time around the heels of the New Wave time so that music blended into my work because you are always a reflection of what you are experiencing. I thought that creating a Record Label would be great because there are so many cool genres including Flamenco which is one of my loves. I will very cautiously say that I sang Flamenco because I like to be respectful of exactly where I’m at, yet at the same time, I did bring some live singing to our Flamencos troupe. Every piece of the puzzle is important, but I do give great respect to the people who I consider to be the true Flamencos.

Yes. There are those who spearhead genres and movements who have earned the respect. You have to choose to expand your own craft through observing their skill. You have to be respectful of the wolves in the pack. If you think that you’re the only wolf, you’ll never make it in the music industry. It’s all about the relationships that you have developed.

Absolutely. Not only the ones who came before you, yet also those who are absolutely the best at their craft. Some of music is a personal thing, but when you have heard something that is the best, you will never forget it.

Yes. Do you feel that you have stumbled upon newfound clarity in your purpose through being a part of the music industry again?

Yes. I really wanted to give some support to some of the artists that are practicing. I love giving all of the support possible to my artists. I am looking for the next act because Matt is zipping along and actually starting to work on his next disc. I have spoken to so many different artists who have asked me what they would be able to say and what wouldn’t fly which is crazy to me. I want my artists to be able to express themselves exactly as themselves. I am here to support you. I am not here to censor. I am not here to make sure that an artist gives me something that is commercial. I believe that when you put out something that is really pure and from the heart, it is going to touch people whether it hits the mainstream or not. I believe that we have to keep evolving for the better and that each musician is going to bring something different to the table. In regards to me creating my own music again as Pepper Gomez, I am going to put together my own station for sure and that is just going to be all of my old stuff. You would be surprised how many people have asked me when I was going to do my own thing, but my own thing will be so massive. I tend to not do anything small.

I don’t either, ever. It’s a mentality. I have a massive mentality. I couldn’t just put my eggs into one basket, it’s impossible. There are too many baskets in this world to dabble in.

It’s the Virgo thing. When I do something, I want to do it and I want to do it all in. It’s just the way we are. It feels good to do it that way to me. So when I do my own project, it’ll be a tribute album with remakes, my new House stuff, it’ll be my Experimental work and I would love to do something with my two sons, Sharkeyes and Baby Tac – the ET Boys. They are just putting out some beautiful and great stuff that I just love. I love their Hip-Hop. I love Artist Development although it is a really hard thing. As I am searching for the next group or artist, I know that I would love to take someone or a group of people and just move them right along. I believe that I can run a Record Label now, I didn’t believe it in the beginning.

You learn along the way. Consistency, asking questions, developing relationships and being humble have been the keys to any “success” that I have experienced. Being vulnerable and realizing that you don’t know it all in the music industry is so important.

Yes. It has been amazing how generous everyone has been ever since I have been back in the music industry.

The music industry is not a cruel place. I think that many do make it out to be a cruel place, yet those who do make it out to be cruel just aren’t pushing hard enough and/or aren’t taking the time to develop the right relationships. Those people are dealing with their own self-imposed distraction by carrying that belief. The music industry is a very open, welcoming and creative place if you want it to be.

Yes. I am blown away by the welcome. I am blown away by the support. My Promo Team like James Moore of Independent Music Promotions, Stevie B and Andrew Kitchen; they have taken me under their wing and educated the life out of me. I just love that. Having people that you can turn to to ask questions is an absolute blessing.

For sure. I will say that I have personally learned through experience that there are indeed those hardened souls in the music industry who intentionally won’t support you or aid in finding answers because they are insecure in their work and feel as though giving another an “advantage” would put them a step behind. It’s not like that. Let’s get two steps ahead, together.

Totally. That is what has been ultra encouraging to me. I am thrilled when people tell me that I am going to be a part of the music industry for a long time. I absolutely love music. If I could play music all day and carry along with the work that I have to do, I am happy. It is exciting to see what people can produce and what people can create in the studio. The experience in the studio is its own world where things can blossom within the music that you didn’t expect.

But where do they blossom from? The people. Not to toot your horn, one key component that I have recognized through working with you is that you invest in people. I think that it is so important to invest in others. You aren’t going to make it without a team in the music industry.

I personally believe that your path will be made known to you but you really have to pay attention and be alert. I feel that I have been blessed and lucky with people who have crossed my path and have taken the time to respond to me.

Photo Credit: Jacky Amar Photography

Dots have connected for you through simply choose to walk your path in the music industry once again. For instance, I perceive that you connecting with James Moore of Independent Music Promotions has opened so many doors for you without you even trying to open those doors. James does that. I have worked with James for years and he is one of the most consistent, driven, knowledgeable, kind and reliable people to work with. The opportunities that he creates for others through simply connecting people never ceases to amaze me.

Yes. As you know, I absolutely adore James. He took a chance on the very first disc that I pressed which was very novel with mixing House with Flamenco. James heard something within the release that just got Wake Up Music Group on the map. Otherwise, you may have never heard of that.

True. Tell us about some pieces of yourself that you are proud of beyond the music.

Music is my life, but at the core of my being is serving others. It is one of the things that fulfills me most. I enjoy feeding others. Whether I am cooking or bringing people someplace awesome to eat, I really enjoy feeding people. I believe that we are what we eat and we are kinda in dire straights actually because we have poisoned up the earth so bad.

We have. The poison is leading toward awareness though. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but the rampant poison throughout the food industry is becoming so extreme that it is affecting individuals livelihood and wellbeing. The choice to consciously choose what we are putting on our fork and our plate creates the experience that is our lives.

Yes. I am going to pray that we take the negatives and turn them into positives. I like science a lot too and I hope that science finds some cures for the damages that we have done, but we have lived in a very selfish manner that I think ends up stifling everything. It’s not working for the long or short-term plan. I do love feeding people, but I am also heavy into physical fitness. I don’t believe that you can be happy if you aren’t feeling strong and healthy. I like going to the gym. I like my pole classes. I like anything that makes me feel strong. I do like to challenge myself. I mean, how many people at the age of 60-years-old do you know would have started pole?

That is amazing though, and you are subconsciously setting an example for others by having started pole dancing classes at your age. Life could just be beginning at 60-years-old. You never know what any other individual has experienced throughout their lifetime at any age, young or older, unless you ask. It could be a time of rebirth and renewal.

Yes! I am a solid intermediate now!

I love it. From my perception, dance and movement releases the mind and leads an individual into a state of flow.

Absolutely. I have been a dancer throughout my entire life and to me, pole has been like another branch of dance. I have been fighting to reduce violence throughout my whole life back in my professional years and it is a big issue to me. I believe that children have rights too. I am a huge human rights advocate and activist and in particularly for kids. If we raise kids with seeds of violence in our own homes under the disguise of discipline, what do we expect in the real world? The microcosm is always going to reflect the macrocosm, and yet in the final analysis we are all launched with baggage so we must use music, art, dance, science and/or anything that you can to heal yourself and reach a place where we can love. It sounds really cliche, but love is the saving force in the world.

Yes. Love is the most important force. It is so simple but we don’t get it. We are so bombarded with our own self-imposed pressures that we subconsciously neglect love. Love can fuel your creative fire and artistry.

Yes. I think that in the arts it is extra hard because you are interfacing with so many different individuals. It takes a lot of time and energy to find people who truly understand that the artist doesn’t relate to the world the same way that someone who has chosen not to embody that may have. Being an artist is so brave. It is so difficult to the point in which many artists need a day job while also creating art and on some days I think that is totally criminal because we should have the supports available so that the people that are artists can simply be the artists that they want to be and are.

A day job blocks creativity. I perceive that you do have to earn that place in which you are able to create art daily for a living and be art. You have to maintain it too. Where do you see Wake Up Music Group five years from now? What direction do you intend to take the Record Label in?

Okay. I only want to do and create music that I like. I started Wake Up Music Group with the intention that I was only going to work with endangered music, but I have come to the realization that endangered music is any music that I might like. I don’t want to close the doors on any particular genre. In a dream scenario, I would have a lovely library of productions from a lot of genres. Being an artist is a complex thing, and I want to work with people that are really artists. People that are actually composing, writing and making music is how I view the artists. It’s hard to do artist development with someone who thinks they know it all, you know? There is a certain way of thinking. It comes out of an artist naturally. Connecting people through the music is so important to me. I like to make music that makes people feel, dance and move. I think that movement is life and we need it so desperately. That’s not to say that we won’t put out songs that are deep, slow and sad because that is part of life too, but what I think Wake Up Music Group naturally gravitates toward is the music that helps me get through my day and that is Dance Music to me.

The more stagnant the body is, the more stagnant the mind becomes. Movement is life.

I can speak from this perspective. Many people think that getting old means that it is time to slow down and retire, but I think that the model is the exact opposite. You need to get busy, stay busy and stay active. It gives you the charge and energy to handle anything that life throws at you and as you may know, life can throw anything at you at any time.

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