I just got back from styling an out of State photoshoot for one of my clients! Upon my return I met with The Fusion King’s Producer Jorge Milliano before he flew back to his new home Miami! We talked about all things fashion and my exciting moment Meeting Fashion Icon Dapper Dan! Over our celebration he gave myself and our private party a quick rundown of The Fusion King’s and other new album/EP concepts! You will be surprised by the homage that he pays by recruiting Reggaeton Pioneers and adding the new school artists! He is also fusing up and coming artists from Panama and Cuba together on a track with artists from Puerto Rico into an explosive dancehall sound!
Open letter to BenjiRich Here is why Creatives like us need to own this album!
Saturday, November 11th, after a long few weeks of meetings and ups and downs, my husband who was born and raised in the “D” switched our Sirius radio from talk radio to music per my request! I hated much of what I heard so he continued to skim until we landed on Shade 45. That moment while I was venting about a situation something magical happened! A song called True came on and I freaked out because I saw the name DJ ASSAULT (Huge fan of his music) then I read the other names Royce Da 5’9” (Detroit rap legend), RSXGLD, and JMSN. Hubby and I immediately stopped talking and focused more on the Detroit catch phrases in the song. Royce Da 5’9” comes on and we both were geeked (Excited) because we do not hear many Detroit artist on the airwaves, or in the clubs aside from Big Sean and Dej Loaf we immediately wondered who was RSXGLD, when did this song come out and why are we just hearing their song TRUE!
Just as the song was coming to an end my husband said, “Nat,” I wish they would have added some Jit to this song, as soon as my husband said, “Jit” the rhythm switched to 808’s and Detroit techno/Jit, we both were shouting as if our favorite athlete made a score! The moment that rhythm changed it reminded me of when I lived in Toronto and had a girls weekend July 1st Canada Day and July 4th Independence Day with Ernestine to visit Nicole (Carlos Rogers cousin In-Law). That was the weekend Destiny’s Child had a concert and the Club was packed to see Beyoncé, Kelly, Latavia Roberson and Letoya Luckett.
It also brought me back to the days when I worked in Fairlane Mall at Coach with Tanya, Nakisha, Adriana, Deon, Kimica and Cyntara. I enjoyed my days living in Detroit and Farmington Hills driving Downtown Detroit on the Jefferson Freeway in the tunnel during 4th of July Weekend with my best friend Nicole. After hours on the East Side where you can only get in with secret knocks on the door! 8 mile, 7 mile and SouthField Freeway, Lodge 10 Freeway, Northland Mall, Wing Dings at Crystals, Fish Fry’s with our family, 2 for $60.00 Moët and Chandon, Better Made hot chips, and getting my hair done by Otha White. While the visuals rapidly went through my mind of my time living in Detroit I quickly searched for the song on iTunes and tweeted about it before I started my shift at work! Thank you Ro Spit and 14KT for painting beautiful memories with your words and for sharing your art with the world!
Here I am today Sunday, November 12th
Listening to the entire album for the first time this morning and I realize why I am so drawn to it! This album is the soundtrack to my current mood! It’s a reminder to creatives like us to focus on what’s important, do not get distracted by negativity and that steadfastness is key! Spectators watch what you are doing, get inspired by it and create it for themselves without acknowledgment. The spectators don’t realize that when you finally reach your peak it’s because of all of the sweat, tears and endurance that it took. BenjiRich the formula that we create remains silent, many won’t celebrate you when you get there and get uptight while they watch you accomplish your dreams. Check these songs out and let me know what you think!
My favorite songs were selected based on how it related to me and what I am going through on my path to greatness and dodging B.S
RSXGLD album are:
“I laced them boot straps and got my ass up! I ain’t never going back”
Days and Nights of hard work and sacrifice!
“You reminisce I remember”
“N a product of Reganomics slaving for dollars”
The mentality that was forced on many and they were lost and turnt out! In my current situation when people try to keep up with the Jones’s and do wicked things to take money away from some of us honest hard workers to pay the bills of what they tried to keep up with!
Quotes that sound like Benji Rich and my conversation
“Like, (blank) think, (Blank) think we doing ish just to be doing it, like we ain’t got a method to it you feel?” I will explain this to you via phone but I think that you already know how we get down like Voltron Phase 2 almost complete!
“For real this ain’t got nothing to do with us! This coming from a higher place, that means there’s more at stake, so it’s more to hate! This ‘ish more than great!” God bless us
Belief in our visions and crushing our goals!
What’s Happenin’ Brutha
Anyone who lost a loved one will relate to this! I remember calling insurance companies, the government and lawyers December 2007 when the tragedy in our family happened.
“We live next to the demons and heathens”
“The thoughts in my mind flying like a car with a drift”
Buy RSXGLD album now on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/rsxgld/1274207602
Follow them on Instagram and Twitter @RSXGLD
@Rbenbanks on twitter and @BenjiRichDesigns on Instagram
I am very selective with who I use this platform for, but the conversation that I had with this young star made me actually listen to his music! His song Busy But My Bills Paid peaked my interest when I saw several people making youtube videos rapping along to it! I also relate to this song as I work a full-time job, I collaborate with other creatives and internationally promoted a few tours for my Luxshop4u community members one of whom I styled for.
Natalie: What caught my ear was your use of words! Busy But My Bills Paid represents many of my fellow creatives and I who work around the clock!
CNOTES: Yea, when I wrote busy but my bills paid, I already knew it related to everyone! The single mother, the nine to fivers the hustlers, the women who own their own businesses and each one of us who know they have responsibilities and having our bills paid are always on top of the list!
Natalie: When I spoke to you earlier in the week you mentioned the Crab in a barrel syndrome!
CNOTES: Yea especially out here in NY we don’t collaborate much down here! Look at Atlanta, even the producers are making beats together. So when u say crab in the barrel if u ever see them in a barrel they are all pulling each other down so the other can get to the top. That’s what I meant.
Natalie: How did you get a viral Busy But My Bills Paid challenge going? That’s a great marketing tool!
CNOTES: Again the song is undeniable so I just figured it would be a cool idea for people to really join in on this I wanted to see who is busy and who’s bills were paid. Lol, I appreciate everyone who’s joining in on the fun.
Natalie: “Close mouths don’t get fed, that”what mom’s said” What else did she teach you that stands out?
CNOTES: That’s exactly what she taught me to stand out, lol. I get so much from my mom and grandma who’s no longer with me in the physical. I mean even down to my swag my cadence. I miss them man!
Natalie: My condolences for your loss! Aside from them most likely being your number one fan who else would you say is your number one fan?
CNOTES: I believe I’m my number one fan and worst critic at the same time. Sometimes I rewind a song I did and I be like damn are they not hearing what I said! Lol
Natalie: Congratulations on shooting your Bet freestyle last week Friday! Do you have a team that connects you with media outlets or do you contact them?
CNOTES: Yea another marketing tool, my team and I thought of you know! I just network, if I see something that looks authentic and interesting then I inquire, but if it’s not gonna push my career or push the culture I won’t bother. “Busy But My Bills Paid is a hit record but it’s more to get you moving than me just showing you how lyrical I am. So I just wanted to give them bars on this freestyle, shout out to all of the legends that I named.
Natalie: What’s your favorite spot in Brooklyn?
CNOTES: Uhhh, too many to name and a few I can’t name gotta keep ’em low lol. But for the recently it’s been the Barclay center I still be excited like there’s really a stadium in Brooklyn!
Natalie: Do you think that you would ever partner with a Brooklyn Legend like Lil Cease, Lil Kim, Fabulous for a “Busy But My Bills Paid Remix?”
CNOTES: All bets are on the table! I just want us to unite and help each other, follow BIG’s advice and keep Brooklyn moving.
Natalie: Any plans to somehow perform during The Do Over outdoor party on October 1st in Brooklyn?
CNOTES: Yea that would be great, sign me up! Lol, if it’s BROOKLYN it’s me
Keep up with CNotes on
Everyone loves Missy Elliott’s “Sock It To Me!” We also loved it when Lauryn Hill was singing “Walk right out to the sun hand in hand” on Nas’ If I Ruled The World! What if I told you that I spoke with the man who was a member of Legendary Classical R&B groups The Moments, The Manhattans, The Delfonics and currently The Stylistics? These groups are sampled by our favorite artist’s.
Harold Eban Brown is Decorated with awards from 98.7 Kiss FM Hall of Fame, and NAACP Award for his accomplishments as lead vocalist of The Delfonics. This accomplished multi-talented artist, is a world-renowned guitarist, composer and singer who has a huge celebrity fan base. During this Interview Eban was on vacation in Florida relaxing in between tours.
Natalie: Hi Eban, it is so good to speak with you again! Thank you for taking the time out of you vacation to conduct a Q and A with me. When did The Moments realize that their new guitarist was a singer?
Eban: Well, a drummer named Bubbles Jerry Kinchen Jr’., introduced me to Billy Brown, my father and Bubble’s father sang together in the 1960s. Billy Brown was from Ray Goodman and Brown (The Moments) and when Billy Brown heard me sing, “All I Have” he was floored! I was 18 yrs old, “All I Have” was one of my favorite songs! That’s how I became a singer.
Natalie: Wow! How did you learn how to hit those notes if you were focused on playing the guitar?
Eban: My family had a quartet so I easily picked it up. I never wanted to sing! I concentrated on my craft and then I looked at George Benson as an example, George Benson sings and plays the guitar.
Natalie: How would you describe your vocal range?
Eban: First tenor, I sing all of the notes in a harmonious structure. I hear those notes and I stack my vocals one by one Sam Cooke started it then Marvin Gaye revolutionized it!
Natalie: Sexy Mama by The Moments is on heavy rotation on my iTunes! Music Mogul Sylvia Robinson was a genius.
Eban: I have to humbly thank you!
Natalie: What was it like being a lead singer with not one but two legendary groups?
Eban: It’s a blessing, I do this everyday we don’t take into stock how we help people in their own lives, we think about the gig and getting to our next stop! Thank you for telling me this you are keeping me encouraged and I honor you for that!
Natalie: Wow, you have me stumped! Thank you!
Eban: I was in school idolizing the Moments when the teacher asked everyone what career path they wanted to take. Some students wanted to be Fireman, Dr’s. etc, I said that I wanted to be the lead singer of The Moments. I dressed like The Moments, and I lived in that mode! You have to believe what you pray for!
Natalie: I don’t share most of my work because people don’t appreciate it, they have stolen ideas and don’t support it! I share my work with a select group!
Evan: I am doing this to leave something behind and build my legacy! In order to do that you, need top media attention! Be unique as possible and humbly claim it! You should watch the movie The Founders where they talk about McDonalds.
Eban: It’s messed up, but it’s business the brothers did not take it to the next level. You need to stop hiding your work!
Natalie: When you were with The Moments did you ever sing the “Girls” or “Look at Me” song in French?
Eban: No, I never had to sing it in French! We performed the songs in English when I re recorded it, they were supposed to bring in a French translator so I hope to do it one day for the best of The Moments with Billy Brown and myself. Billy is singing the first five songs and I sing on the last five songs!
Natalie: You have a long list of Celebrity fans. What memory sticks out the most when you met Nas?
Eban: Nas is one of my all time favorites, the way that we met was when Kelis flew us in for his surprise Birthday Party at the Venetian in Vegas I had to restrict myself so no one could see me. Chris Webber and I were there and Nas said that he was working on a new album and that he wanted me to record a song with him. The party was on Saturday and I was in the studio on Tuesday in NYC recording “You Can’t Stop Us Now.
Natalie: That fast?
Eban: Yes, I would like to work with him again for my own project. I am hoping to get a hold of him.
Natalie: When I post this Q and A I will to tag him to everything! I will also make an Instagram post that says Nas contact Eban we need another collaboration! By the way my husband and I are going to Nas’ concert here in Boston on 9.12.2017!
Eban: That’s great! The both of you will have a great time!
Natalie: Let’s talk about your debut album Master Suite and your current album Summer Time In Tokyo!
Eban: Master Suite was my very first solo album when I built my own record label Stardom Records. It is an acoustic album and I was getting my feet wet as a solo artist. My current album Summer Time In Tokyo has original songs as well as remade classics by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.
Natalie: When do you start your promotion tour for Summer Time In Tokyo?
Eban: Once I have songs on the radio, I should be up and running late September, early October. Then I have to get charted (Have songs on the charts) You get charted by getting spins and competing with other artist’s! Once that’s complete then my media tour will kick in!
Natalie: Do you have any special markets that you would like me to promote this in?
Eban: Everywhere! To the ends of the earth! Several great records are not getting played because it was not publicized! “You cannot sell a secret” Eban Brown’s Grandfather’s quote.
Natalie: I forgot to ask you what you thought about my website? Especially my Q and A’s?
Eban: I wished that I could write the way you wrote! It takes a certain insight to write that way!
Natalie: I am so honored that you enjoyed it! Thank you!
Eban: Your welcome!
Natalie: What is your favorite Stylistics song?
Eban: That’s an unfair question! We have great music but if I had to pick it would be “ People Make The World Go Round.” It was recorded in 1971 but the same social issues are still prevalent today! Everyone is trying to make a dollar, Spike Lee even used it in one of his movies that’s how young folks caught onto it.
Natalie: When will you perform your solo and group act in Boston?
Eban: I am hoping to make the connection with Scullards. I am self managed and once you get a record you don’t have to call anyone anymore! You need good people in your corner. I thank God for that!
Natalie: I cannot wait to post this on my website thank you and enjoy the rest of your vacation.
Eban: Your welcome I fly back to New Jersey in the morning and then I am off to Chicago and the United Kingdom.
1991 The Moments Classic Soul
1993 The Manhattans Classic Soul
2000 Lead vocalists of The Stylistics Classic
2002 “Master Suite”, a Jazz/Pop masterpiece with an amazing acoustic guitar feel. 1st solo album
2004 Restless Soul Jazz and Pop II solo album
2006 Exit 15 Third solo album
2008 Can’t Stop Us Now single with Nas
2009 Determinism an Instrumental album
Will Hart and The Delfonics live in Chattanooga
Rob Base, on the Album “Break of Dawn”, which featured the Delfonics, the two songs were “Are You With Me”, and “Chillin”
Natalie’s favorite songs by various by The Manhattans, The Delfonics, The Moments and Stylistics are:
La- La Means I Love You
Break Your Promise
I Don’t Want to Make You Wait
Somebody Loves You
*Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love) sampled by song Sock it To Me Missy Elliott and The Fugees
Sampled by Notorious B.I.G
Walk Right Up to the Sun sampled Nas and Lauryn Hill If I ruled the World
You Make Me Feel Brand New
Your a Big Girl Now
I’m Stone In Love With You
*You Are Everything sampled by Mary J. Blige for You are Everything
*People Make The World Go Round sampled by West Side Connection Ice Cube, Mack 10 and Dub C song Gangsta’s Make The World Go ‘Round
Look At Me
Eban’s star power can be witnessed on stage with the following dates listed below.
Eban’s solo act tour dates:
September 8th, 2017 The Stoke Bar and Grille, Plymouth, UK
September 9th, 2017 The Concorde Club Eastleigh, UK
For solo act tour dates and to purchase his music visit https://www.ebanbrownmusic.net/shows
Japan Tour dates for The Stylistics are:
December 11-25 Japan Tour Billboard Live
October 26, Gateshead
October 27, Redditch Palace Theatre
October 28, Worthington Pavilion
Please visit The Stylistics http://www.thestylistics.org/tour-schedule for a complete list of their tour date!
Purchase Ebans music on itunes now!
The Vincent Gardner Quartet and Belinda Munro Australian Tour is receiving rave reviews! The people have spoken and the sold out shows prove that Good Music continues to reign!
Vincent Gardner is the Lead Trombonist and Director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra. The Grammy nominated musician “performed with The Count Basie Orchestra, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet, The Saturday Night Live Band, Matchbox 20, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, and Frank Foster. From 1998 through 2000, Gardner toured with Lauryn Hill, in support of her (5) time Grammy-award winning album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.Later in 2000 Gardner joined The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, with which he continues to perform. ” Vincent Gardner website
“Belinda Munro is a multi-talented singer, song writer and actress and her many talents have seen her perform alongside mega-stars Luciano Pavarotti, Celine Dion and Mary J Blige.” Wollongong Conservatorium of Music Australia
Make sure to follow them on:
Follow Belinda Munro fanpage on Facebook https://m.facebook.com/iambebesings
Download Vincent Gardner music on iTunes and Amazon
Download Belinda Munro music on iTunes
I wanted to create what I did not see. I remember uttering these words in 2015 while dining in the Blue Bangkok restaurant on Boylston Street in Boston. My friend Dean Nights and I discussed my busy life of pulling clothes for VIP’s and creating a total lifestyle experience that included fine dining and clubbing for the VIP’s all while I attended my full time job. During this time I needed and refered services to some of the people in this post for nails, hair, and graphics. I told Dean that I wanted a place where my talented friends like him and myself could be highlighted. So here we are with this mega post for the month of August. (Dean Knights is a tailor to the stars and aristocrats.)
I present to you the talented professionals in my circle with experience that ranges from music, graphic design, fashion and beauty who are making a difference in their respective fields.
Art Director BenjiRichDesigns
BenjiRich’s Graphic Design degree, and illustration (logo and branding) speciality afforded him the opportunity to perfectly marry with his motion graphics, videography, and 3D design background. During his tenure with an undisclosed agency his clients included the NBA, New Balance, and Reebok. Aside from being my personal web designer Richard also designed the backdrop for a live text to screen background during the Kevin Hart NBA Allstar 2016 after party in Toronto. BenjiRichDesigns was also the Art director for VIP jewelry in Toronto, created logo/branding, and marketing videos for an indie record label by the name of globe trotta records in Los Angeles. Upcoming projects for this media expert are, vinyl toys, a clothing line and his uppermidsole blog that I will expand on when it launches.
*Fun Fact did you know that a BenjiRichDesigns t-shirt was custom made and expedited for a movie star while he was filming in Boston?
Contact BenjiRichDesigns Creative via email: email@example.com
Luxury Personal Shopper, Stylist, Lifestyle Expert and CEO of Luxshop4u
In my world, we the community are on international tours styled by me, receiving life time achievement awards, walking red carpets, nominated for Grammys, charting music billboards and getting inducted into the Music Hall of Fame! My fashion expertise is put to use and my music ear is called. Jorge Milliano and Benji Rich told me to add myself on here! I prefer to be behind the scenes!
Different phases of my website will be introduced in many capsules, I am not one thing I have been trained in many areas and will exercise my talents. Read more about me in my bio!
This is an exciting year for International singer and song writer Belinda Munro! She married her soul mate Vincent Gardner and their love story was featured in the Munaluchi Bride Magazine. Belinda and Vincent are about to embark upon their August 2017 Australian Tour. When Belinda is not on stage backing up Grammy award winning artists or singing at private charity functions and galas she is working on her long awaited album and building Jazz Houston the Arts organization that she and her husband founded.
“Belinda’s voice is angelic. Her sultry and uplifting vocals are enough to feed your soul”
To learn more about Belinda Munro visit www.BelindaMunro.com
Follow Belinda on Instagram @Iambelindamunro
Shellee Mendes Salon Monet
Hard work should never go unnoticed! Salon Monet owner Shellee Mendes’ photo was recently inducted into the African American Museum on Joy Street, Boston Ma. Shortly after celebrating this occasion she had a once in a lifetime experience of meeting Media Mogul Oprah Winfrey. When she is not working on movie sets or in Salon Monet you will find Shellee volunteering or attending fundraisers.
The Salon Monet staff are one of the most sought after hair stylists in Back Bay. Services that they provide are highlights, blow dry, hair extensions, hair cut, eyelash extensions and many more.
To book an appointment at this award winning salon please visit www.SalonMonet.com or 176 Newbury St, Boston, Ma
Follow salon Monet on Instagram @SalonMonet @ShelleeMendes
To read more about Shellee Mendes visit
*Boston Globe’s article with Oprah Winfrey https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2017/07/20/newbury-street-salon-owner-sets-sail-with-oprah/
Reasons that you may not know him, is because he prefers to remain behind the scenes. A former contributor to XXL Magazine, you can now find Alec’s work on The Compound and Luxshop4u.
To read his work visit
Follow Alec on Instagram @TheLegendReal and read his current post on www.thecompoundblog.com
Glam Expressway Lindsay Stuart
Business Mogul Lindsay Stuart is taking the world by storm!
This busy wife and mother of two girls, is a host on HSN and has a record for selling over $12,000 Tortuga Rum Cakes during a short period of time.
You should get to know her because she is also a talented makeup artist and founder of Glam Expressway accessories/clothing boutique in Dumbo Brooklyn. With her celebrity following you may never know who you will see shopping in Glam Expressway. When Lindsay is not jet setting for work, with girlfriends or family you will see Glam Expressway featured in Cosmo, Latina, Huffington Post, The A-List, Celebuzz, ET, OK and In Touch Magazine.
To order Lyndsay’s Tortuga Rum Cakes visit www.HSN.com
To shop Glam Expressway visit 145 Jay Street, Brooklyn, New York. www.shopglamexpressway.com
Christine Designs by André Millinery
André creates handmade couture fascinators and hats. His Atelier hat making approach has his clients flocking to him like bees on honey. Andre’s work was most recently photographed during our dear friends Belinda Munro and Vincent Gardner’s wedding.
For inquiries visit André on https://m.facebook.com/DesignsbyAndre/
Super Nova John Golden
Shoe Specialist and Stylist for a luxury retailer
John is an international socialite known for his eclectic fashion and Basquiat dreadlocks. I first met him at a Gucci Ghost party in Boston. His approach to fashion is to break down gender specific clothing. When John is not in London or Japan you can find him inside the most coveted invitation only Fashion parties.
How to contact him? John prefers not to have a social media account however you will find him photographed in local magazines. This supernova makes his appearance everywhere and slowly hides into obscurity until he is ready to resurge. In the above photo I decided to photograph his aesthetics from behind to get a candid view of him on the go!
Reggaeton Artist, Song Writer and Music Producer Mr. Phillips
Mr. Phillips is a highly sought after song writer, artist and music producer. Raised in Santurce Puerto Rico, and born in Rio Piedras to a Puerto Rican mother and Trinidadian father. Alvin better known as Mr.Phillips’ melodic yet raspy voice captured the hearts of millions with his “Spatoanglish” fusion of Jamaican patois and Spanish in his lyrics. Working with Francisco Saldaña (Luny) from Luny Tunes allowed his work to be featured on a CD compilation called Mas Flow2 with Frankie J for the hit song Obsession (No Es Amor). Chart topping artists that received Mr. Phillips magic touch are Angel López, Alexis Y Fido, Mr. Vegas, Dmanti, Notch, Baby Ranks, Cobra, Jay Sean, Tito El Bambino, Tony Dize, Wisin y Yandel, Don Omar, El Rookie, Cynthia Antigua, Eddy Lover, Flex, Kevin Little, Yaga and Mackie. Mega producers who worked with Mr.Phillips are Nely “The secret weapon,” Tainy, Nesty, Bones, Eliel, Luny Tunes, Preacher, Anx and Jorge Milliano. We look forward to the completion of his new Album and the Vertigo album by Jorge Milliano.
Visit Mr. Phillips on www.soundcloud.com/Mr-Phillips
To hear the new song that he wrote for J Balvin Featuring Jowell Y Randy visit https://m.soundcloud.com/jorgemilliano/j-balvin-feat-jowell-randy-bonita-jorge-milliano-remix
Follow Mr. Phillips on Instagram @officialmrphillips
You know his chart topping hits and the star studded artists who he’s worked with. Since our last post (read La Musica Part 2) Jorge flew back to Miami to produce a song for J Balvin Featuring Jowell Y Randy. Spring 2017 Jorge and I kept on telling each other that it is going to be a cruel summer because our schedules were booked. My schedule consisted of styling, consultations, scouting locations for designers and clothes for the talent that I work with and for Jorge it was a back to back summer of producing. Just last week one of his dreams came true recently by working with Jamaican reggae legend General Degree. Expect to hear new music from General Degree, Mr. Phillip’s EPK and Jorge’s Vertigo Album later on this year.
Jenn & Big Papi
Jennifer owns Jennifer Nails on 161 and 224 Newbury Street. Services provided range from waxing, manicure and pedicure, hosting celebratory events (weddings, birthdays). Giving back to her community by supporting her favorite charities is very dear to her as shown above. Visit Jennifer’s Nails this summer. Tell her that Natalie from Luxshop4u referred you!
Follow Jennifer on Instagram @Jen_nguyen224
Vivian Sessoms is an accomplished recording artist, song writer and music producer who worked with everyone’s favorite artists including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Patti Austin, Cher and Whitney Houston to name a few.
I was very lucky to have an opportunity to personally meet her and talk about music, fashion and life lessons. This Interview was conducted while Vivian Sessoms was overseas on her European tour. Her highly acclaimed album Life will be available this fall.
Natalie: Congratulations on your tour! I had a seat at the table when I met you! My husband and I arrived from Boston to New York City on a Friday night which happened to be the opening night for Vincent Gardner’s performance with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Belinda Munro-Gardner planned a lovely dinner at Cafeteria and I can still remember the decadent mac and cheese trio and rosè that I had.
Vivian Sessoms: I know, it was a great night wasn’t it? That mac & cheese trio at cafeteria is deadly!
Natalie: What goes into preparing for a world tour?
Vivian Sessoms: Quite a lot actually, it takes months and months of planning and sourcing. There are a few people who help me pull it all together, publicist, booking agents, club owners, musicians, my hubby who is also the musical director. It is a ton of work, but in the end it usually ends up being a lot of fun and very rewarding which is the reason why I think people do it, although I can really only speak for myself. But it allows you to get in touch with the people who love music and support you and you able to connect with new friends and supporters in such an incredible way. When all goes well it’s a real high, being able to get your music and message to people.
Natalie: I see the love that your fans give you, they are eager to post videos of your performance. A lot of work goes into to keep the worldwide buzz going. How do you do it?
Vivian Sessoms: To be honest I’m still kind of figuring that part out, lol! Every day, I have a list of things I plan to do which is to post videos of the previous nights performance or post a live video of me just singing in my hotel room or videos of past shows, but sadly I’m not always successful in my plan! As an indie artist, you wind up doing a lot of things yourself, and actually, I am lucky because I have a small team of people who help me get the word out about things what’s going on with me and keeping things moving. Sometimes, just getting info to them is a job in itself. It’s a constant juggling act trying to keep all the things you need to have happening, going all at once.
Natalie: What habits do you practice or prepare your mind, body and soul for while on tour.
Vivian Sessoms: I try to work out consistently, not every day but a few times a week. I also try to really watch what I eat because I realize that eating badly, makes me feel bad. I don’t really drink a lot and I don’t smoke. I try to just take it easy and stay peaceful, and you know, do things that make me happy and that make me feel good. I try to see friends often in other countries, or visit places of interest.
Natalie: You love fashion and beauty and have a great sense of style. Who are your favorite designers and what looks do you like to wear on stage?
Vivian Sessoms: Right now I’m into a lot of African designers. There are some really fabulous young designers out of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and several other African countries. As for my favorite American designers that’s kind of a long list, although I’m very into mixing pieces from stores like COS and Zara and Top Shop with high end stuff, or combined with thrift store finds. I would say my personal style is a hodgepodge of things. I like a lot of color, and texture. I really love deconstructed pieces.
On stage I might go from jeans and sneakers with the funky T-shirt to a tailored suit and heels to a pretty or a flow-y type of dress. Lately I seem to be opting more for real comfort.
Natalie: “Trying to work through shit we go through sometimes losing my way I’m walking through clouds looking for my sunny”. This is something that everyone goes through weather it be work, personal relationships, friendships, developing your personal business. What were you going through when you wrote those words?
Vivian Sessoms: I wrote that song with two really good friends Wondress Hutchinson and Jenny Douglas Foote and at the time I had just lost my mom, but I think that each of us were dealing with life situations and, I don’t know, I just remembered that my heart was really broken and so. That’s what came out..
Vivian Sessoms: Absolutely and positively.. I asked an audience during the show in Melbourne if they could see the aura that we had created at the end of a show. I was saying to them that coming out to see a show, even though you may feel like you’re not doing much besides listening and watching, is a form of active participation and what the audience gives to you definitely feeds you as an artist, and in some instances can inform or drive you or what have you. So I was saying to them that they had participated so much and so beautifully that the energy swirling back-and-forth between us was colorful and bright and had a lot of love it. I really mean it when I say that music is healing, and that it can change the world.
Natalie: I recently visited the Past is Present exhibit at the MFA Boston. Knowing that the past is present please tell the Luxhop4u audience who you shared the stage with including writing credits/ producing credits and what you have in store for them this year.
Vivian Sessoms: I’ve shared the stage with Joe Cocker, Patti,Austin and Cher, P!nk and numerous others. I’ve had a wonderful journey before deciding to strike out on my own. This year I’ll be releasing my third studio recording entitled Life which I’m really excited about.
Vivian and Bruno Mars
Natalie: I have a lot of friends in the entertainment industry who work on major projects and do not receive credit/publishing for their work. What should artists do to ensure that they receive credit for their work?
Vivian Sessoms: Try as best you can to get everything in writing, contracts are important.. Then get a good lawyer.
Natalie: I want to thank you for your personal advice and mentorship!
Vivian Sessoms: I adore you!
Be sure to purchase Vivian’s music on her website www.VivianSessoms.com
Follow Vivian on Instagram @VivianSessoms
*Luxshop4u will be in NYC for the Life album release party working behind the scenes. This website will be updated with playlist details from the Life album. This website will have a release date for Vivian’s Life album.
Photos were provided by Vivian Sessoms.
Music to help me write
Today I was writing my Q and A for a music icon and I had writers block! I quickly put on my super hero music to get me going! Listed below in no particular order is my writers block playlist.
I wrote an essay that received an A in college. I had Knowledge Of Self (Determintation) on repeat!
Maybach Music III (featuring T.I, Jadakiss & Erykah Badu) “I came alive like a month in the summer time” This quote re energizes me each and every time!
“He said travel anywhere your life takes you, he said chase your visions over the rainbow, your free to go.” This quote explains itself.
Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes said it best! “Expand your mind, to understand we all must live in peace…” this song has an upbeat jazz rhythm that reminds me to relax! Not to mention that it is timeless!
“When Im down I just draw some roses, on a pretty piece of paper.” Mos Def & Georgia Anne Muldrow
“I don’t hate players, I’m from the crown rhyme sayers.. I play my cards shark style kings and aces. Welcome to New York the illest of all places.” This line gives me a boost of energy reminding me of who I am and to snap out of my writers block!
Comment below and let me know what your go to songs are!
Two music enthusiasts talk about their love for music while Natalie from Luxshop4u plays her favorite songs from her iTunes selection. In the past Natalie’s love for music has afforded her the opportunity to suggest her favorite 1970s songs to a Grammy nominated artist for his show. Producer Extraordinaire Jorgie Milliano worked with several chart topping latin artist.
Billy Paul’s song Let the Dollar Circulate is playing in the background the horn and drum section sparks curiosity.
Natalie: Que Pasa mi amigo? What is this sound that I am hearing? This drum pattern is bananas! Diga me, Analog vs Digital?
Jorge: Analog, the benefit of using analog is the pure sound that you hear. There are several takes in today’s market, Music Executives want music produced rapido. The negative side to this is that digital is pre recorded and the drum kits sound the same. I would not recommend it.
Natalie: Ok, listen to this Foundation Roots by Patrick Kelly! What is this echo that I am hearing? I have heard it on many of my dads foundation 45 albums. *Foundation is a term that we use for classic older reggae music.
Jorge: It’s called dub platting analog delay. Dub delays do not necessarily need to be on the keys or instrument, it can also be on the vocals.
We are currently listening to Funky Kingston by Toots & The Maytals
Natalie: Tell me about this guitar technique!
Jorge: The technique is Called guitar skin it is prevalent in ska music.
Natalie: Danny Woods formerly of The Chairmen of The Board and The Showmen is a Cammy awards recipient. During his time performing over 40 years with the Chairmen of the Board they enjoyed success on the Billboard Music charts and they were also inducted to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Give me just a little more time was sampled by Kylie Minogue. On his solo album Aries the song Two can be Lonely is one of my favorite songs by him. How can we turn this into a club banger? My husband is from Detroit and we listened to a lot of Jit music. There is a song that samples Godzilla with the Detroit Techno I think that the beginning of the Godzilla rhythem the songs horn section would sound amazing on Two can be lonely if it is looped the right way! What do you think?
Jorge: Nat, thats awesome! EDM’s can be created its called sampling! How do you even know this terminology?
Natalie: I just know what I like and it makes sense to me.
Mary J.Blige Be Happy is now playing
Natalie: Man I am obsessed with the flutes I think Chuckie Booker was on the flutes!
Jorge: You are listening to Pan flutes! Flutes can also be simulated on a keyboard. Nat, this is great we need to do this again!
Natalie: Let’s reconvene but this time we will focus on your music!
Jorge: Let’s do it!
*Download these artists on iTunes
Visit Jorgie Milliano’s website for collaborations on www.JorgeMilliano.com
Click on the link below to read part 2