My mother once asked me, "Do you know what the saddest thing would be?" And of course I said, "No." And she answered, "The saddest thing would be if the world never got a chance to hear you or see you perform." I weeped like a baby and vowed to never forget her words.

When you think of progressive artists in the music industry very few names come to mind. When I use the word “progressive”, I’m not speaking of success measured in album sales or money. I’m speaking about artists who evolve musically and are able to find balance with their music, blend it in with the times, and set new trends and standards for the industry, while making music for the love of the art. Aside from well known acts or geniuses, do you know of any new and/or local artists of that stature? Red Maiden, one of Atlanta’s rare gems in the music community, fills that void as she breathes new life into a dying culture. What makes her unique? The chemistry between the music, the depth and content of her words and her delivery is what I identified with when I listened to her songs. After listening to a decade worth of material from Red Maiden, I was left in awe for the simple fact that she has stood the test of time to deliver powerful and thought provoking music. The new songs from her soon to be released debut album prove that she is not afraid to experiment with different sounds and explore new heights. Her ability to skillfully transition between rapping, singing, and producing is also much needed in today’s one dimensional music market. If diversity is the key to the future, Red Maiden is in the process of unlocking the wisdom, strength, beauty and magic our past ancestors represented. If you want to hear music from Red Maiden, check her out on MySpace and/or Soul Commune.  To hear her latest track “Last Words”, check her out on iRule Atlanta Radio (Music Mix #1). Below is an interview with Red Maiden.


What is the meaning behind the name Red Maiden?
Red stands for the bloodline and bloodshed of our ancestors so their lives will not be lost in vain.
Maiden brings awareness to all living things to show there is not one cloud without a raindrop.


Who is Red Maiden?
Red Maiden is a genius Songwriter and Performing Artist who loves to share her world wide perspectives on stage and film.
Red Maiden is a World Phenomenon.


When did you start writing music?
I started writing and arranging music at the innocent age of 10. My first performance was at the tender age of 5 - my Auntie wrote my songs.

First song lyrics:Please slow the beat a bit for these words I have to say
Are words of wisdom
Are words of wit
That just might make your day
Being a young black woman you see, I'm very proud to be
I wouldn't change it if I had my say
I wouldn't change it any other way
Attributes of Chisolm in me
Some Giovonni too
Pitman, Tubman, Bethune you see
I can be anything I desire to be
This fact I know so well
If I believe
Conceive it
I surely will receive it
There's nothing I can't do
And if it is to be, it is up to me
It is truly up to me
You can't just have a dream
But you must work your dream
And it will work for you


And my little self rocked stages with this particular song/rap - Real talk! :) I can't believe I still remember it. LOL!

Who have been your influences (musical or non musical)?
My initial and closest influences in my musical career has been my Auntie Oogie and my mother. They formed a gospel group called, "Harmonies of Coy" - Named after my Great-Grandaddy Coy Wolf.

Signed Artists who I listen/ed to over and over again are:
Michael Jackson, Prince, Eric B and Rakim, Tupac, Sade, Whitney Houston, OutKast, Jill Scott, Pointer Sisters, Mother's Finest, Stevie Wonder, Mahalia, Nina Simone, Billy Holliday, Phyllis Hyman, Nirvana, Counting Crows, Fugees/L Boogie, Portis Head, Bjork, Digital Underground, Left Eye - Supernova, Eryka Badu and Talib Kweli.


My father calls me "The Torch of Sade" 

What inspires you to write?
I get this feeling like you know when your sleepy or hungry - I know when it is time to write. It's difficult to explain because it is such a natural feeling. 
 
What sets you apart from other artists?
I don't know how stars can compare themselves to other stars in galaxies, but the Sun is the largest star in our galaxy. So since I am not the largest star and don't have an answer to how stars compare themselves, I will have to say there is just something about me that shines so bright inside of me that I illuminate it's greatness. Therefore, I am only greater than those who have not recognized their own greatness

What other ventures do you involve yourself with other than music?
Periodically, I am invited to speak in front of high risk young adults about the importance of tapping into self and making choices. Between time, public schools and private organizations contract me to teach song writing techniques to their students. Most of the time, I make films, edit, and score them.

How are you helping to preserve the future of music?
I make music that specifically preserves the future of music. So I make sure my music does not leave anyone out. If there is something good to say, then there is something bad to say. I believe musical works/songs should promote balance. It is not fair to leave a listener trapped in an emotion. I believe a song should devote itself to relating and liberating the listener at all times. That way, the next songs to come have room to evolve.  
 
What are your thoughts about the Atlanta music community?
I think the Atlanta Music Community is very influential on all cultures around the world. ATL is where trendsetting is born. So if the ATL Music Community makes selling drugs, pimping, killing, getting high and stripping a trend, then the world will reflect its trend. If the ATL Music Community makes peace, love, and black economics a trend, then the world will reflect its trend as well. Therefore I believe the ATL Music Community has to be careful with how they use their power. For the most part, ATL is filled with so much talent and I have learned from soo many of them. I have nothing but love to give to the ATL Music Community.
 
When can we expect the release of your debut album?
The new album will be complete by Jan 1st. The listening party will be at Moods Music in Little 5 Points. I didn't want to rush my product because there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this project. Since this is my shot to be seen and heard, I want to prepared for that specific moment. 60% of this project is considered done. This project is going to be something really special.

My mother once asked me, "Do you know what the saddest thing would be?" And of course I said, "No." And she answered, "The saddest thing would be if the world never got a chance to hear you or see you perform." I weeped like a baby and vowed to never forget her words.

Listen to Red Maiden's, “Rom Confide” 

 
 

Rita J – "The Artist Workshop"

I was first introduced to Rita J by a close friend of mine, Dotnificent. We were talking about female emcees and I mentioned that I had finished writing an article about Stacy Epps. He replied that he had heard of Stacy and mentioned Rita J in the same breath. Due to his super slow internet connection (slower than dial-up), he was desparately trying to connect to her MySpace page to listen to her music. We had a sneak preview (I’m not talking about the album snippet) of her song, “Dreams & Aspirations”. I was instantly blown away by the cadence of her words. I began making a mental checklist. Delivery. Check. Wordplay. Check. Content. Check. She had me!  Female artist in the hip hop community are for the most part clones like their male counterparts. If it’s not violence, it’s sex, if it’s not sex, it’s disrespecting other artists for publicity. So to hear a female artist come along and bring something new to the table is always refreshing. However, if she has class, charisma, substance, wordplay and delivery like Rita J, she has my support as a commited fan. I have dreams and aspirations and as an artist myself, Rita J brings that much needed inspiration to fuel the fire for me to write (and only a few have the ability to do that). Below are what others are saying about Rita J. 

“Hip hop fans desperate for an intelligent, positive, and versatile female MC need to look no further than Rita J”

“In a hip-hop world where female MCs often put skin ahead of artistry, Rita J is a breath of fresh air, and is more than ready to join the ranks of elite female MCs.”

“Her father, who introduced her to a diverse collection of music including hip-hop, soul, disco, and rock, fostered in her a sense of self-knowledge and a love for the arts, which serve as the cornerstones for her work.”

Rita J Live @ Estrojam

Download Rita J – Mrs. Jackson Mixtape


Senor Kaos – "Swagger Is Nothing, Talent Is Everything"

I was first introduced to Senor Kaos a couple of months ago while surfing the net to see what was going on in the Atlanta music community. I stumbled upon The Kaos Effect and Vintage Imperial websites. I saw that Senor Kaos was the person behind the behind the efforts. So I began to search around to see what else Kid Kaos was doing for the community. I found his MySpace page, some press, reviews and watched a clip of him as a panelist at Music University, an event hosted by Patchwerk Studios and I dO Music. I said to myself, “This kid is everywhere!” Fast forward two months, while searching for an artist for this weeks feature, Senor Kaos name popped in my mind. I went back to his site to get some updates. To my surprise, there was a video called “Girls Rock Too”. To be honest, I was skeptic about the title. I said, “Is this a club record?” Well, a wise woman once told me, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I gave it a listen and I was stunned. In a world ruled by male chauvinism, “Girls Rock Too” is an ode to all of the women who have played an important role throughout history and Senor Kaos is acknowledging their worth. For his effort, he receives much respect. From blogging, promoting, being an entrepreneur, recording, performing, lecturing and so on and so on, Senor Kaos definitely deserves acknowledgement for his endeavors. Below are what others are saying about Senor Kaos.

“Content, Delivery, and Showmanship are the three core values for Atlanta emcee Señor Kaos, an emerging lyricist whos unique approach to hip hop has sent him around the Globe.”

“What you are all witnessing is the metamorphosis from a young hopeful to the leader of the new school. Señor Kaos is a true undergound monarch.” – Performer Magazine

“Maybe someday he’ll help lead a revolution of artistic integrity in Hip Hop, but for now he’s an explosive and eclectic force to be reckoned with.” – Southeast Performer Magazine

Senor Kaos – Girls Rock Too (Remix) Video

Download Senor Kaos - Swagger Is Nothing, Talent Is Everything Mixtape

 
 

Stacy Epps “The Awakening”

I was first introduced to Stacy Epps on Click Groove, the home of broken beat, future boogie, deep & soulful House and all that jazz, and I was fascinated by her song “Floatin”. I immediately added the song to my “wish list” for future purchase. A couple of months later I joined an online social networking group, Soul Commune, which is a community for lovers of soulful music. I setup my page and began befriending people in the Atlanta area. I stumbled upon Stacy’s page and didn’t recognize her at first. I saw that she was an artist and click a link to listen to her songs on MySpace. As the page loads, I hear the opening to the song “Floatin”. My first thoughts were, “I heard this before; but where?” I finally realized this is the same artist who I added to my “wish list” a couple of months prior on Click Groove. I chose Stacy Epps for the Music Artist’s section because I feel that her soulful and timeless voice; powerful messages of divine love, peace and happiness; and her ability to skillfully transition from singer to rapper is phenomenal. Below are what others are saying about Stacy Epps and her music.  

“She refuses to compromise her ideals to progress professionally. Stacy Epps represents her sistas well by reminding them of their natural glow, encouraging them to love one another, and to support their brothas in the struggle for wealth of character.”

“The spiritual essences of Alice Coltrane, mixed with the abstraction of Bjork, the spaciness of Radiohead and the drums of J-Dilla, her musical menagerie is packed with influences as diverse as her heritage.”

“With the mind to interpret, the heart to heal, and a culture to express, Stacy Epps is among the day’s brightest young innovators.”

Below is “Floatin” on YouTube

Click Here To Listen to the Full Album “The Awakening”

 

Jaspects “Double Consciousness”

I was first introduced to the group Jaspects, a sextuplet jazz group, a couple of months ago. I had just moved back to Atlanta from New York and I was searching to see what artists were making an impact on the music scene. In the midst of searching through endless profiles on MySpace, I stumbled upon their site. THROW YOUR J’S UP! The opening to their song, “Unifunk”, instantly caught my attention because it reminded me of the ending to the theme song for WKRP in Cincinnati. The fusion of hard hitting drums, futuristic instrumentation and fine auto tuning, the song catapulted me into a state of pure bliss. I chose Jaspects for the Music Artist’s section because they are a group that knows no boundaries when it comes to music. Their willingness to revitalize and fuse different genres of music with jazz despite the criticism from the jazz community, speaks volumes. Below are what others are saying about Jaspects.

“Jaspects’ goal is to produce an exhaustive musical experience that involves TRUE freedom of expression via musical and lyrical creativity.”

“…the "gateway drug" that will inevitably lead to a deeper appreciation for traditional jazz.”

“The band promotes the idea that the culture of hip-hop can support an entity that focuses on musical depth without ostracizing the mainstream fan of hip-hop.”

Below is “Unifunk” on YouTube.

Click Here To Listen to the Full Album “Double Consciousness”

 

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