Jacob Banks heats up Barboza

There was nothing like soul-infused Tuesday night when Jacob Banks hit the stage at Barboza.
Watching flashes his fans a stunning white smile, while shyly saying “Hi, I’m from
London,” we felt nothing but warmth for the soulful artist as he sang a cover
of Corinne Bailey Rae’s infamous “Put
Your Records On.”

Originally from Birmingham, England, the British
singer-songwriter first became active in 2012, when he was the first unsigned
act to ever appear on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. Influenced by a multitude of soul,
R&B, and hip-hop, Banks first recorded his debut EP The Monologue, released in 2013, with his top hit “Worthy,” a popular
play on various stations. A tall, brooding man with a bright smile, Banks cites Jake Gosling, Bondax, and Knox Brown as some influences and reminds us of a combination of Benjamin
Clementine, Seal,
and Jack Garratt.
Soft smooth vocals always seemingly complemented by melodic piano, Jacob Banks
is crossing genres often acoustic singer-songwriter ballads, like tracks “Homecoming”
and “Hostage” on his EP The Monologue.
Yet, the man has range, both vocally and emotionally, demonstrated in “Something
Beautiful,” also seen on his EP The
Monologue.
On his newest EP The
Paradox
, Banks delves more into
soul and R&B, experimenting with melodies in his vocal range, seen in “Home,”
and “All Mine.”

Playing fan favorites from his newer EP, Banks succeeded at demonstrating
a mix of softer vocals and instrumentals in Unknown,” while demonstrating a
hard, grittier audible aesthetic in “Sink or Swim.” Highlighting the soul aspects
of his set list, the British artist catalyzed a complete feeling of union and
communal love, as the audience swayed in unison to “Home,” a song similar in
feeling to any calmer Stevie Wonder
track

a nice complement to the upbeat and diverse sounding track “Monster.”

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Finally ending his set with new single “Unholy War,” the
audience vibe completely shifted as we all came together and empathized together
with the emotion in Banks’ vocals as he glided on the stage and crooned chorus “Let
love lead you home, oh no/ Let redemption keep you warm.” And just as Banks climaxes
as he reaches as the height at the bridge taper off, the audience in parallel also
drops.

We stop, we sway, we close our eyes, and we dance as the
rest of the chorus plays out.

Jacob Banks has reached a new level of soul, and it’s dipping
into funk—and we’re sort of hoping he continue only to reach new heights with
his artistic creativity.

And if we can’t convince you with our words to fall in love
with Jacob Banks, just let his music persuade you himself.

-Ariana Rivera

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Juicy J Changes Lives Over Course of Emotional Night

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Oscar winner Juicy J wrecked my soul at The Neptune Theater last night. Oh yeah, yes, it’s true, Juicy J and Leonardo DiCaprio have the same number of Oscars.

Project Pat brought out Nasty Mane and they performed some
booming bass music with predictable yet catchy lyrics.

Belly came out next. Never heard of him before. He does boast a bit of a belly though, which could point to the origins of his stage name. His
real name, according to the internet, is Ahmad. Further perusal of the internet
reveals that Belly was born in Palestine. Diversity! Yay!

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Okay, that’s enough with the facts. Here’s more opinion:
Belly’s set was damn good. I now follow him on Spotify. His song with Travis
Scott bangs confirmed.

Then the stage was empty for a while. Anticipation hung in
the air thicker than the sweat—and there was a butt ton of sweat.

Juicy J is a distinguished dude with an enviable career—Three 6 Mafia
and an Oscar then a TGOD comeback with Bandz a Make Her Dance then a really
good album and now mixtape after mixtape of roof rattlers.

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Anyways he stormed on stage, scarf draped over his head just like my mom wears a dupatta. Instantly I declared him my newest role
model. My list of role models was 29 pages long on Microsoft Word. Now it is 30.

I’ll be honest—I don’t know that many Juicy J songs. But
that didn’t stop me from leaping around like an electrified monkey. Bass on The
Neptune’s speakers exploded my brain into dripping mush—Beautiful. I still
haven’t recovered. At one point Juicy played a bunch of Three 6 Mafia numbers and
I knew the words so I screamed them and it was great.

Times like those, watching awestruck as an Oscar winner
screams down at you “YOU SAY NO TO DRUGS, JUICY J CAN’T,” you wonder what life
is really all about. Because maybe, just maybe, all you have to do is keep doing
your thing—whatever that thing may be—and you’ll eventually win.

Juicy J, legend, you inspire me to be the best possible me. Safe travels.

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Five Artists to Watch in 2017

A new year means another year of new music and breakout artists. Last year was a monumental year for music, bringing both major album releases and newcomers to the forefront. That being said, here are five artists that are sure to impress this year.

Smino

The St. Louis, Missouri native has already gained a following with the release of two EPs and as an opening act on Mick Jenkins’ recent tour. Now Smino is prepared to enter the spotlight with the release of his debut album blkswn early this year. Though a release date hasn’t been announced yet, Smino has been teasing its release with snippets of new songs on his snapchat as well as a new single, taking the same name as the album. Expect the album to be packed full of bars and smooth production, both staples of Smino’s craft. Listen to “blkswn.”

Ravyn Lanae

Ravyn Lanae has slowly made her mark through features with notable rappers, including Mick Jenkins, Noname, and Saba. Her debut EP, Moon Shoes, established her as a strong solo act, making effective use of her angelic voice and versatility to create songs that can be both groovy or moody. Her busy year has already begun, opening for Noname on tour (in Seattle February 15) and hard at work on her debut album, which is set to drop sometime this year. Be on the lookout for Lanae to drop new music soon and possibly perform in a city near you. Go hit up Moon Shoes.

Aminé

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Aminé has already made a name for himself with the smash hit “Caroline”. His performance last year on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon further elevated him status when he added an additional verse to the song, addressing the recent presidential election and his disapproval of its unfortunate results. His unique style and upbeat flow are a joy to listen and dance to, even though his library of work is relatively small (he has two singles on Spotify and one album on Soundcloud). Although he has yet to announce an album release this year, more new music is expected to come from the young star, so make sure to stay alert. Watch Aminé’s performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Kaiydo

Florida has recently become one of the hottest spots for new artists, introducing the likes of Denzel Curry, Kodak Black, Twelve’len, and Marcellus Juvann. Kaiydo is another one to add to the group. His typically bouncy songs have caught fire in the hip-hop community. My personal favorite, “Arcade”, has an incredibly bangin’ beat paired with a catchy hook. Kaiydo’s library only includes a few singles, but he told the music blog Pigeons and Planes that his debut mixtape Kartoons is on the way. Hopefully his mixtape includes the same catchy songs that he has released so far. Be sure to listen to “Arcade.”

Khalid

Khalid uniquely fuses electronic and R&B to create a genre all his own. His breakout single “Location” has already amassed over 30 million plays on Spotify, and his performance at ComplexCon has helped him gain national attention. He recently kicked off a tour to promote his debut album, releasing March 3. Khalid manages to create diverse music, as is evident on the song “Coaster”, a piano-driven ballad, and “Hopeless”, a song that sounds like an ode to 80s electronic music. Make sure to give Khalid’s album a listen when it releases, as it is sure to blow up in the weeks following its release. Definitely check out “Location.”

-Archie O’Dell

Interview with artist K.Flay

Walking onto her tour bus, we were taken aback by Kristine
Flaherty Halloween skeleton costume, but her kindness and warmth radiated from
her body as she said hello. 31-year old artist,whose stage name is K.Flay, didn’t
start music at a young age. Raised in a suburb of Chicago, Flaherty was just a
normal kid growing up. It wasn’t until she moved out west that she found her
niche.

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“I didn’t know music in the Chicago area,” she said. “I
didn’t start making any sort of music until college. It wasn’t until I moved to
the west coast bay area music. In general, college and university setting are a
place to just be open to ideas—whether they’re cultural ideas, political ideas,
academic ideas. I started listening to a lot of west coast rap. Just a lot of
music that has been previously unknown to me. A bit more left of center.  Stanford was a great place to be for me just
because it was a great incubator for all these ideas and thoughts I was having.
And I could explore that in a low-risk environment. There was a pretty good
scene there. There was a lot of people from Stanford who went on to make music
so it was a good community. I finished school and released my first mixtape.”

And even then, although the future artist was surrounded by
talent, she didn’t expect her career to take off. “I had no aims of any sort of
music trajectory,” she sheepishly said. “I sort of wanted to do research based
sociology. And then music just sort of happened.”

And it did. One mixtape turned
into 4 mixtapes, 4 EPS, and one studio album. Her latest EP Crush Me, just
released with latest sick single “Blood in the Cut.” And although the artist
has blown up since early 2003, she was modest about her early beginnings.

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“My understanding of dynamics was
very limited when I first started. I just didn’t understand sonically how to
create something that had true peaks and values and took someone in different
directions. There’s a certain logic to that and I think it’s something you figure
out when you’re beginning.”

The modesty was unexpected, but
refreshing with as good an artist as K.Flay. Something else we found unexpected
was when we heard that Warped Tour was the one festival that helped K.Flay grow
as an artist. We were intrigued why.

“It’s totally vibe-less. It’s
bright out, it’s hot, there’s no atmosphere, there’s no lights, you don’t know
your set time until that morning and it could as early as 10 am or as late at 7
pm. To me it was a real test of how to break down the basics of a real
performance. You can go see a show and it’s shrouded in darkness and haze, you
don’t even know what the artist looks like and it’s cool right? I guarantee you
if you saw that in the light of day, you would not think it was cool. So, I
think it reminded me of a show ultimately performance is about looking people
in the eye, connecting with them and conveying something that stay with them.
Things like lights and atmosphere shouldn’t be the foundation of what you do,
the foundation of what you do should be your music and the other things should
supplement it.”

And with smaller Halloween shows like the one she played
last night, she was in her element.  “At
a show like this at Barboza I’m looking people in the eye, we’re connecting and
creating this experience together. At a festival, you don’t have that ability,
but you can reach a huge audience and there’s something fun about playing big
stages where you can run around. So, I think a balance of big and little shows
is the ideal.”

What’s next for K.Flay? Hoping for collaborations in the future,
K.Flay laid out something she thinks would be dope. “Every collaboration that
I’ve done has been a very organic process of give and take—someone sending me
something or me to them and just seeing if it’s a shared process. And I think
those collaborations are the most fruitful ones I’ve done because I think when
things are structured or planned, it feels forced and doesn’t create that
energy. I’d like to do something with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. He’s got an
interesting story and a great song-writing perspective, with him being inspired
by classic hip hop breaks.”

And although K.Flay is influenced
by hip hop, she wouldn’t classify herself as a rapper or hip hop artist. “I can
rap and it is part of what I do,” she explained. “I think a lot of what I do
sits in between genres—and I think I’m just embracing that— and I’m not
trying to put any defining characteristics on it. I draw influence from a lot
of honest vocalists. Right now, I like and am listening to the new Glass
Animals
record, where each song is about a person. And I think I really
appreciate it because it’s honest to an experience.”                                                                                                      

Genre hopping real experience
music is what K.Flay hopes to convey and at Barboza she fulfills her goal.
Engaging the audience thoroughly, the artist’s vocals are studio album quality,
with a performance attitude that causes you to take a step back. There’s no
stopping with K.Flay and we hope only for more.

Check out her latest EP Crush Me.

Ariana Rivera

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Canadian artist Sonreal interview

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Aaron Hoffman walks up into a room and knocks down a
handshake for a warm hug. “Hey, how are you doing?” with a huge smile on his
face. “Are you ready for this? It’s going to be a real fun night.”

Canadian artist Hoffman, who goes by the stage name SonReal,
is incredibly humble—yet still cognizant of his skill. When first asked about
how long he’s been doing music, he responds, “3 years, but you know, like
everything it’s a journey. I wrote my first rap when I was a kid, but I was
lucky enough to get signed and here we are.”

Here we are indeed. We reference SonReal’s elaborate music
videos, which portray Hollywood level quality of budget and casting, and the
artist is all humble smiles. “I’ve always loved acting, I’ve always loved
trying new crazy things. Rappers always try, since the beginning of time, to
look and be cool and I can’t do that. I can’t do that, but I do know how to be
goofy and have fun and that’s what I love about the videos we make.”

He laughs when we asked how he does it, over and over. “I
have an incredible team,” he replies. “I have the same director for each video
who pushes me over and over to get things perfect but it works.

First a rapper, SonReal’s musical aesthetic has progressed
over time, with more melodic vocals intertwining into his albums. The artist
smiles when trying to explain his musical structure but finally expresses
himself with a declaration of love for music. “I just love singing,” he says. “I’ve
always just loved music. You know, when I first started, I just wanted to a rapper. I wanted to rap and that was
what I knew how to do, and I wanted just that. But as time passed and I started
making more music, it was just a natural progression. I would be writing a lyric
and I just wanted to sing, so I did.”

It works well, on tracks like the single, “Can I Get A Witness,”
in which SonReal showcases his vocal range—a range, we might add, we did not
expect the artist to have. In the chorus of the track that has, as the artist
scales higher in octave, we’re shocked, but pleasantly. It’s a distinct switch
from his lyrical verses of rap to the almost reggae chorus he sings, and
unpredictably so. “I like that I’m unpredictable,” he says. “I don’t want
people to ever just get used to what I do or sing or rap. I want to keep you on
your toes, and so sometimes that might mean just singing a whole song on the EP [The Name] with no rapping at all or rapping a love sing entirely. Who knows, but I don’t want
to be predictable.”

And the artist is anything but, as we see him pump it out on
stage, dancing every which way, reminiscent of Chance the Rapper’s stage
presence and Macklemore’s dance floor energy. We see big things for SonReal,
currently touring with Jon Bellion. With a new album out in August, we’re hoping
to see Sonreal make more unpredictable music and collaborate and work with big artists,
making a name for himself.

“Here’s thing,” he tells us, sitting back. “I want to work
with people, I do. But the thing is I kinda just want to make my own music. You
know, I don’t want to ever walk into a room and have to tell you who I am. I
want to get so good, be so well recognized, that someone walks in and says, ‘I
like that guy, his shit’s dope, I really like what he does because he’s
different and unpredictable and does what other people don’t, I want to work
with him.’ It doesn’t matter how I make people feel with my music, whether it
makes them cry, smile, laugh…I want to work with other people.” He smiles and
looks off for a second before back on us. “But it’s not my time yet, I need to
get there first.”

Be sure to take a listen to SonReal’s singles currently out,
and be the first to grab that new album, The Name, August 12.

Ariana Rivera

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!