Interview With Quinn XCII

March 3, 2017 was when Seattle welcomed the up and coming
pop artist Quinn XCII into its classic rainy Friday night music scene for his
third show on his first ever headlining tour- The One Day at a Time Tour. We
sat down in the equipment room before his sold-out show at Barboza in the
Capitol Hill area of Seattle and chatted music, tour life, and his take on
entering the music scene. Out of his 18 stops on the tour, this was his third
show and at the time, all of the three were sold out, not a bad start.

image

 I began the conversation by asking some local Seattle
questions as this was the Michigan native’s first time in the Emerald City and did
not get a chance to see the classic tourist sights, but he seemed to be a good
fit in the city as he said craft beer and coffee were two of his favorite
things in the world. He said he had plans on enjoying the local beer scene post
show. We also shared a few words on coffee, given that Seattle is famous for
its caffeinated drink and he said he has gained a new respect for it as it is
beneficial in order to make the most of his studio time and the “idea-sparking”
powers coffee has on him when writing.

 With now over 1,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and
64,000 followers on SoundCloud, Quinn gives credit to his music inspiration
coming from his parent’s record collection and influences from artists such as
Michael Jackson and the Motown scene surrounding Detroit, his hometown. In high
school Quinn began experimenting with his vocals and music in general as he
began to write raps and rap over beats him and his current day producer that
goes by the name Ayokay, would find on YouTube. From this sparked a musical
relationship between the two as they began “cultivating” their own sound
through these experiments. Quinn says the biggest challenge in creating music
is being able to stray away from the crowd and craft his own sound.

 Quinn spent his college days at Michigan State University
and his sophomore year was when he released his first official project via
SoundCloud, which he gives credit to being a major reason he was able to gain a
following during those first days of creating music. It was soon after that he
began playing live shows and says that after a show on a tour with electronic
artist Louis The Child in Lansing, Michigan, that was the moment he realized he
could do music as a career as he felt a, “powerful reciprocation” from the
crowd he had not felt before.

 We spoke on his hit song, “Straightjacket” that has a line
about a, “Psycho from a Mid-West suburb,” and I was curious whether he wrote
the song about anyone is particular which lead to a discussion about his
writing style and how he writes his music to which he responded by saying, “I
like to step out of the box and speak on a topic that I don’t really pertain to
with what I’ve been through, but I know people can relate to because people
have been through it.”

 A breakthrough artist who has been on two tours with artists
Louis the Child and SoMo and now getting the opportunity to go on his first headlining
tour has loved traveling and seeing new cities all over the United States. Quinn
also stated that his favorite fast food stop while living life on the road has
to be Burger King but that after a night of drinking with the crew the most
visited spot has to be the classic golden arches of McDonalds. And although
tour life has many promising features along with his new life living in Los
Angeles, Quinn says he misses the laid-back lifestyle the Mid-West has as well
as spending time with his friends and family.

Mike is Quinn XCII’s real name, and the first name he used
when he began releasing music was Mike-T. Eventually he decided to switch it up
and go with an acronym that he heard from a college professor at Michigan State,
Quinn, which stands for: Quit Unless your Instincts are Never Neglected. This
acronym to him means, “If you don’t have an instinct saying to stop what you’re
doing, continue what you are pursuing.” Due to copyright reasons, he ended up
throwing in the XCII for the roman numerals that translate to the number 92,
which was the year he was born. Due to the complexity of the name story, Mike
decides to introduce himself as Quinn and simply go by that name in the music
world.

 As an up and coming artist who just recently signed with
Columbia Records, Quinn says that he doesn’t feel famous, or in other words
hasn’t felt that he is “under a microscope” and jokes that he has decided to
just relax and take it “One day at a time,” following that statement by, “No
pun intended with the tour name.” He states that most of all he is very humbled
that people enjoy his music and says it is the, “Best feeling in the world.” Quinn
has a new single that recently dropped called, “Make Time,” and Quinn stated
that a new album is in the works that will be followed by a two month fall tour
in 2017.

 Following the interview, I was able to enjoy the concert
with the sold-out crowd and I danced with the melodic sounds of his music that
he claims is, “Great Summertime music,” and I will have to agree. His voice is
electrifying and his positive energy and genuine smile kept the vibes in the
crowd going as a majority of the crowd sang along song after song. Accompanied
by a live band on the keys and drums, his live act is very entertaining and he
brings a real energy to the show with his interaction with the crowd. I will
most definitely be seeing him on his fall tour!

Keep your eyes peeled for this up and coming talent in the pop
and electronic music scenes who is enjoying his new life in the music scene,
one day at a time.

image

-Gustavo O’Connell, RainyDawg DJ

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

Live Show Review: I Can’t Get Enough of Stanaj

image

By the time 7:00 PM rolled around on Tuesday night, the line of concert-goers waiting to be let into the Showbox stretched around a corner and over block and a half. I talked to nearly everyone waiting in line before the show, and most of them weren’t aware of who R&B artist Stanaj was other than being the opener for SoMo. By the end of the night, I think the singer made quite the impression on the crowd as he showcased his good humor and impressive voice in a relatively short set of 7 songs.

Stanaj opened with “Goddess”, one of the four songs released on his first EP, The Preview.  The song started him off strong and showed many clueless members of the audience what they were in store for with him, as he belted out the lyrics “Love beyond the sky / When heaven and Earth collide” in falsetto during the song. He was able to perfectly set the tone for the night, which was decidedly sexy, and display his wide vocal range at the same time.

image

The singer took a moment to address the crowd in front of him in between songs to talk about food poisoning and being sick, both of which he experienced the day before the show. He drew laughs from the audience when he went on about using throat spray for his voice due to his recent illness, and commenting that he wasn’t sure who he’d be kissing tonight because the throat spray tasted so awful. He kept up similarly playful “banter” with the audience throughout his time on stage, and this worked to create some rapport between him and the crowd and made his show, at least for me, pretty enjoyable even when he wasn’t singing.  

Stanaj continued the show with two more songs from his EP. “Romantic” was the slowest song of the night, and it worked nicely with the crowd’s energy. He also sang a personal favorite of mine, “Ain’t love strange”, which is really something else to hear live. I couldn’t get enough of his super smooth voice and emotional intensity on stage as he belted out “Maybe baby, I’ve seen crazier things / Stranger things have happened, how strange would it be / If I told you I believed you were made for me?”.

image

He gave a sneak peek at a new song called “Meant to Be”, a slow, bittersweet ballad that included beautiful lyrics like “it must have been our names written in the stars”. Stanaj also did a cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” while playing the piano, a song which he said was one of his favorites to play. He has a cover of the song on YouTube, where he first started posting covers and was able to initially gain popularity through the platform. He humorously told the crowd, “It gets me in the feels bro” after finishing the song, which helped to lighten up the heavy, heartsick feeling permeating the venue when he finally finished the emotional song. He finished the set with the slightly more upbeat “Sleep Alone”, which is also on his EP. It served as a nice finale and definitely pumped the crowd up for SoMo’s following set.

Stanaj waited by his merch booth to meet people after show, and took pictures with fans as they waited to exit the venue. Though he might not be an influencer yet, his music is already catching the attention of fans and established artists alike. He has already been seen in circles with big music names like Drake and Chris Brown, and I can say after seeing one live show, I cannot wait to see what he has in store. My one complaint about the singer? He has only four songs out. I’ll definitely be watching out for new music from artist Stanaj. 

http://www.stanaj.com/ / YouTube

Stanaj- Ain’t Love Strange

-Kenzie Wamble

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

Show Preview: SoMo’s The Less Stress More Love Tour Featuring Stanaj

image

The upcoming show is on November 22nd at the Showbox, Seattle and is part of R&B and soul artist SoMo’s current U.S. tour. He’s touring with singer Stanaj, and the show will hopefully be an amazing showcase of the two R&B singer/songwriters. Both artists are signed with Republic Records, and have released new music lately. SoMo recently released a single, “First” in August 2016, and also released another single “Control” earlier this year.

image

Stanaj had a lot of hype before releasing his first EP, The Preview, in August 2016. He’s gained much of his notoriety leading up to the actual release of his original music through his popular YouTube covers and talk of collaboration with big industry names like Drake.

image

Personally, I’m mostly looking forward to Stanaj’s incredible vocals, and I’m extremely curious to hear him live. If The Preview is any indication of how the show is going to go, I will not be disappointed.

http://www.officialsomo.com/  /  Instagram  /  Twitter  /  YouTube  

http://www.stanaj.com/  /  Instagram  /  Twitter  /  YouTube    

-Kenzie Wamble

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