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Artist Spotlight

Chart-topping artist Chel Strong keeps breaking barriers in the music industry

Today, we are thrilled to introduce Chel Strong, a rising star in the music industry who has been making waves with his empowering music and heartfelt lyrics. Hailing from Detroit and now residing in Los Angeles, Chel Strong is not just an artist; he’s a storyteller who weaves tales of strength, self-confidence, and resilience through his music.

Born and raised in Detroit, Chel Strong now resides in Los Angeles, where he began his journey in songwriting and hip-hop at the young age of 14, inspired by his father, the legendary Motown Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Barrett Strong Jr. Growing up in a musical household surrounded by musical talents, Chel Strong was immersed in the world of melodies and rhythms, which laid the foundation for his own artistic path. Chel has consistently showcased his passion and innovative spirit, leading to a successful career in the industry.

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“My father’s love for music was infectious,” says Chel Strong. “He always shared his ideas and passion for music with me, and that same spirit has guided me throughout my journey.”

Chel Strong recently sat down with HONK Magazine for an intimate interview, giving fans a deeper insight into his background, musical influences, and upcoming projects. The interview delves into Chel’s early start in music, his significant achievements, and the message he aims to convey through his music.

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HONK: Let’s kick things off by getting to know each other a bit better. Tell us your name, age, and where you’re from—as much or as little as you’re comfortable sharing.

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Chel Strong: Originally from Detroit, I reside in Los Angeles.

HONK: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in music?

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Chel Strong: I started my journey in songwriting and hip-hop as a young teen. 14, to be exact, so quite some time ago. I got started in music back in high school, rapping and freestyling with friends in school. My father, Barrett Strong Jr., was a Motown Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter, so I have consistently grown up around the industry. He had seven kids and made sure at least one was musically gifted. That one was me.

HONK: What are some of your major musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound?

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Chel Strong: My most significant influence was my father. Growing up under him, I’ve always admired his love for music. Since I was just a young boy, my dad always recited rhymes around the house or songs he would come up with and shared ideas with me. That same innovative spirit carried over to me, and it’s been with me ever since. Thanks to my mother, I am also influenced by a wide variety of different kinds of musical styles. I grew up listening to everything from Reggae to Rap, R&B (classic and modern), Gospel, Jazz, you name it. Jay Z was always my favorite, though. 

HONK: What message or emotion do you aim to convey through your music? My music is always geared toward self-confidence.

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Chel Strong: When writing, I always try to give my listeners the confidence they need to kick asses in life. As a kid, I was always the one who would take in or befriend the ones who got left behind or misunderstood. I’ve always taken pride in being the voice for the unheard, so that same trait carries over to my music. When you listen to Chel Strong’s music, you will get out of that slump and feel strong!

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HONK: Can you talk about any significant milestones or achievements you’ve had in your music career so far?

Chel Strong: I’ve placed hundreds of my songs in TV, Film, Video Games, Commercials, Ads, Streaming networks, and many more! In 2022, I won the Best Hip Hop Rap Production track at the Production Music Awards for my record, “Win Or Loose,” produced by the Grammy Award-winning, diamond-selling producer duo “The Midi Mafia.” Some of my favorite song placements have been for MLB The Show 21, The 2024 Acura Integra S-Type Reveal, Bel-Aire, All American, Flatbush-Misdemeanors, White Elephant, and Shorsy, to name a few. 

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HONK: How do you navigate the challenges and setbacks that come with being an artist in the music industry? 

Chel Strong: I keep pushing. It’s as simple as that. When taking on the life of a musician, you learn fast that it’s hardly always glitter and gold, but it’s the passion and love for what you do that keep the gears going. Also, While the grind remains a priority, you MUST take the time needed to give your mental health the reset it needs. 

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As upcoming artists, we often have this “No sleep, just work” mentality as if there is some race against time we are in, and that’s never the case. Sometimes success comes fast, comes slowly, or never comes at all, but you must focus on yourself so you can always keep doing what you are doing and loving what you love. I sometimes take breaks where I don’t write anything and focus on family. This may or may not be the best approach for every artist, but for me, it’s what has kept me sane and given me the satisfaction and drive to keep pushing for the long haul. 

HONK: How do you connect with your audience? Do you engage with them through social media or live performances? 

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Chel Strong: I’m constantly engaging via social media with my fans, new and old. I’m not the guy who will leave your comments or messages unseen to appear necessary, haha. I embrace and genuinely appreciate every bit of love and interaction I get. No spam comments, Not so much, haha. Shows are also great for connecting eye-to-eye with my audience.

HONK: What do you hope listeners take away from your music? 

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Chel Strong: Strength, confidence, a solid message, and a good time.

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HONK: What are you currently focusing your time and energy on? 

Chel Strong: My family always comes first. I have my wife, two amazing sons, and a beautiful newborn daughter. My oldest son is a stellar soccer talent, and I love spending my time on the pitch and watching him grow! I hope my second boy is on his way in the same direction, and my baby girl will be great no matter what she chooses! After my family, it’s constantly creating, creating, creating! I have a few albums in the pipeline coming out very soon!

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HONK: How do you see your music evolving in the future? 

Chel Strong: My music evolves every time I create. I always challenge myself creatively by digging deeper into my thoughts and perceptions of life. I’m also a huge music fan, which helps me stay informed about what the world is talking about and feeling. 

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HONK: Are there any specific themes or topics that you find yourself drawn to when writing songs? 

Chel Strong: Lately, I’ve been really into sports themes. Those are always so fun to create! Being the dad of athletes, I’m bombarded by inspiration for them almost daily! I also keep a lot of self-reflection records. I’m very vulnerable with my lyrics and never afraid to be myself. 

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HONK: Could you describe your songwriting process? How do you develop and turn ideas into completed songs? 

Chel Strong: Im almost always influenced by the production first. Most times, I just go right into the hook first. I never write it down, as it kills the vibe for me, so even if it’s just humming the melody and filling in the words later, I prefer to do that to keep the energy I felt when I first thought of it. Most of my verses were created the same way. I write as well, usually when I’m not focusing on a vibe or, more so, the message; I tend to open my iPhone notes and jot away.

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HONK: What genre or style of music do you consider your work to be, and what drew you to that particular style? 

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Chel Strong: Hip Hop/Rap. I was always a fan of hip-hop culture, from the music to the fashion and lifestyle. I have always admired hip-hop icons, so it was always a part of me on and off the mic. 

HONK: Are there any upcoming projects or releases you’re particularly excited about? 

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Chel Strong: I recently dropped two albums, Wild and Dangerous and Prodigy Of Greatness, which I am very excited about! Both are doing very well in sync being used in multiple shows! I am also working on a new solo album I hope to release in the fall.

HONK: Are there any new directions or experiments you’d like to explore? 

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Chel Strong: I’d like to write for more artists. I had a chance to write a record for Faith Evans back in 2020 called “Keep Holding On,” featuring Fonzworth Bentley. That was pretty fun to be a part of. I would like to do more of this. My father, Barrett Strong, wrote a lot of records for artists such as Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, the Pips, Al Green, and many more. I’ve always wanted to walk in his shoes someday, even though they are Huge shoes to walk in. 

HONK: We all need good advice from time to time. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about music? 

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Chel Strong: Stay relevant. The best advice I’ve ever received was from my father. 

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HONK: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently based on what you know now? 

Chel Strong: Nothing. Every experience, good and bad, made me who I am and taught me what I know today. 

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HONK: We all struggle with productivity and scheduling at times. How do you tackle these issues and stay on top of things? 

Chel Strong: Utilize my calendar and learn to say no, even if it stinks.

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HONK: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your music or your artistic journey? 

Chel Strong: Thank you all for the continued support and love shown!

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HONK: Lastly, how can our readers follow you online?

Chel Strong: Instagram: @ChelStrong 

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Digital Streaming Platforms: Spotify | SoundCloud | YouTube

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Artist Spotlight

Going For Positive: DPB’s “I Feel So Good Today (Happy Mix)” Brings The Goods

DPB’s latest single, “I Feel So Good Today (Happy Mix),” is a vibrant testament to his unwavering commitment to positivity and anti-bullying advocacy. The track, imbued with an infectious energy, is both an anthem of joy and a didactic tool aimed at fostering a healthier, more empathetic community among listeners

The song opens with an upbeat tempo and a bright instrumental arrangement that immediately sets a jubilant tone. The production, handled by DPB Muzik Inc., uses a blend of pop and rap elements that are accessible and uplifting, perfectly aligning with the song’s message. The beat, characterized by a steady kick drum and rhythmic claps, provides a buoyant backdrop for DPB’s optimistic flow.

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Lyrically, DPB’s verses are peppered with motivational affirmations and Christian references, reflecting his personal faith and positive outlook. Lines like “Welcome to the good life” and “I got the king in my hand and I’m staying” showcase his commitment to spreading happiness and resilience. The chorus, with its repetitive and catchy hook “I feel so happy, I feel so good today,” is designed to linger in the listener’s mind, reinforcing the song’s core message of joy and positivity.

The lyrics are an uplifting mantra filled with affirmations and encouragement. DPB employs vivid metaphors, such as “thumbs up like a hitchhike” and “circle of life like a cheerio,” to convey positivity. The verses emphasize resilience, faith, and the transformative power of a joyful mindset. The repetition of the phrase “I feel so happy” in the chorus reinforces the song’s joyous theme, making it a powerful anthem for overcoming negativity and spreading happiness.

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The accompanying music video, premiering on YouTube, serves as a visual extension of the song’s message. Directed with a keen focus on storytelling, the video portrays a poignant bullying scenario that resolves with empathy and understanding. This narrative is not only relevant but crucial in today’s social climate, providing viewers with a tangible example of positive conflict resolution.

The inclusion of ‘THE HAPPY DANCE’ in the video, a simple yet engaging routine, invites audience participation, further cementing the song’s aim to spread happiness and encourage community involvement. The animations and effects by Ouiwey Collins add a playful and dynamic touch, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

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“I Feel So Good Today (Happy Mix)” is more than just a song; it’s part of a broader movement titled “Share Some Love Give Someone a Hug.” The video mentions vital anti-bullying resources, such as stopbullying.gov and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, making it a valuable tool for educators and advocates alike. By integrating these resources, DPB not only entertains but educates, reinforcing his role as an artist who uses his platform for social good.

DPB’s track record of community involvement shines through in this release. Known for his uplifting performances and advocacy, he continues to inspire through initiatives that address critical issues like peer pressure and bullying. His music, which has graced platforms like BET’s Teen Summit Gospel Special and Sirius/XM radio’s Holy Culture Radio, serves as a beacon of hope and positivity.

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Final Thoughts

“I Feel So Good Today (Happy Mix)” stands out as a jubilant and purposeful track that resonates with listeners on multiple levels. It’s an example of how music can transcend mere entertainment to become a powerful tool for social change and personal upliftment. DPB’s ability to blend a catchy, feel-good melody with a significant message is a testament to his artistry and commitment to making the world a better place through music.

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The song’s vibrant energy, coupled with its powerful visual storytelling, positions it as a cornerstone in the fight against bullying, inviting everyone to join the movement and share some love.

For those seeking to explore more of DPB’s work, his previous hits and collaborations with renowned artists like Bootsy Collins and D.O.C.  are worth a listen. His official website https://worldofdpb.com offers more insights into his music and ongoing projects.

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Artist Spotlight

Elena Matei Delivers Heartfelt New Single and Video “Here For You”

Elena Matei

Elena Matei’s latest single, “Here For You,” stands out as a heartfelt anthem of unwavering support and profound connection. Released alongside a visually stunning music video, this track is bound to resonate deeply with anyone who has ever felt the enduring power of love.

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“Here For You” is a powerful testament to Matei’s vocal prowess and lyrical depth. Co-written and produced with Greg Shilling and Stephen Santa Teresa, the song explores the theme of unconditional love and the lengths one will go to alleviate a loved one’s pain. With poignant lines like, “I’m here for you, Cry on my shoulder, I’ll take your pain, Until it’s all over,” Matei encapsulates the essence of emotional support and devotion. Her delivery is both soothing and stirring, a blend that showcases her wide-ranging talent.

The accompanying music video, directed by Justin Thorne, is a visual feast that complements the song’s emotive core. Set against the backdrop of a vast, open field, Matei’s different outfits and expressive movements bring the song’s lyrics to life, creating a cinematic experience that is both beautiful and introspective. The simplicity of the setting allows the raw emotion in Matei’s voice to take center stage, making the video a perfect visual partner to the song.

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Elena Matei’s journey from international supermodel to burgeoning music star is as fascinating as her art. Discovered by Elite Models at 16, Matei graced the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle before diving into her first passion—music. Her unique blend of pop and operatic influences, honed in her native Romania, sets her apart in the crowded pop landscape.

With “Here For You,” Matei reaffirms her status as a multifaceted artist with a profound message.

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