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Artist Spotlight

EMBRACING RECOGNITION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY—Stratøs

Short and sweet interview with Los Angeles’s rising star, Stratøs! He shares his favorite aspects of making music, working with veterans in the game, and more upcoming fresh music.

Let’s start off by introducing yourself, you know the basics like name, age, where you’re from. As much or little as you’re comfortable sharing.

My name is Stratøs, I’ll be 26 this October 1st, and I’m from Ann Arbor Michigan. I currently live in Los Angeles, California.

What’s the best advice you ever received concerning music?

That the learning process Is cyclical. I don’t need to (and in fact, can’t) learn a concept perfectly before moving on. I’m supposed to come back to concepts again and again. It can be years before I revisit something I’m practicing. This helped me get over the paralysis of trying to get something “perfect” before moving onto the next thing.

What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?

Practice, write, produce, photograph more when I was younger and had more time!

What is still your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge would probably be just navigating the music industry as a whole. It’s a tough industry that’s currently not equipped to sustain actual musicians, and that’s a struggle every day.

What keeps you going when things get tough in the music industry?

The music does. No matter how tough things get, the art is still here. I’ll never stop making art because I simply cannot – it is my purpose in life. Taking a step back from your art is something stigmatized, but is perfectly okay, and healthy, and normal. This industry is grueling. It’s important to take a step back sometimes to gain perspective and preserve your sanity. It’s okay to step away for a bit and come back.

Talk me through your creative process.

There’s a lot that goes into my creative process. I’m a saxophonist, composer, producer, and film photographer, and each discipline takes a different set of skills. These days I’m doing a lot more composing because I’m working on my third album. My composition usually involves taking unrelated elements and try to make them relate. My tunes usually have some sort of concept at the core of them that I’m trying to work out.

How do you currently feel about the state of “Your genre” in general?

The state of “jazz” has always been interesting. Firstly because this style of music isn’t even really called “jazz,” because that was a name originally given to the music intending for it to be derogatory. This music falls under the “Black American Music” umbrella and from its inception it’s always been about progress and pushing boundaries. There’s a lot of amazing “jazz” these days because people from all walks of life and backgrounds are adding to it and making it more and more unique. It’s great!

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

I’d love to open for Flying Lotus some day!

How do you solve productivity/scheduling problems and reduce overwhelming situations?

I keep an organized calendar, and I try to write things down.

What are you focusing your time on now?

As I kinda touched on before, I’m currently working on my third album. I don’t wanna say too much, but I’m using all of the resources and knowledge I’ve learned from all parts of the album making process and putting them into this record. Also, since I just moved to LA, I’m focussing on getting connected in the music scene here and just getting settled down.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on all social media platforms @stratostones, as well as my website www.stratostones.com. I also have a print shop where you can buy prints of my film photographs here: https://stratos.darkroom.tech/. You can buy my first album Planets here: https://stratosmusic.bandcamp.com/album/planets and my second album Hohenheim Suites here: https://stratosmusic.bandcamp.com/album/hohenheim-suites. I’m also on all of the streaming platforms like spotify and apple music, just search “Stratøs.”

Artist Spotlight

Forsaken delivers a vibrant new EP, “For The Hell Of It”

Forsaken

Orlando, Florida-based rapper Forsaken, aka Donnie Sproat, has recently shared a new EP, For The Hell Of It, with various themes featuring Gawdzy, available to stream everywhere. The track follows the previously released “No Time” and “Air It Out.”

The emerging singer and songwriter Forsaken delivers a wonder EP titled For The Hell Of It, a 6-track body of work. His newest release, “For The Hell Of It,” is themed around living in the moment and making the best of every situation. Forsaken found passion in making music as a creative outlet to express his emotions and lifestyle that are responsible for who he is today. With his impressive vocals and a sharp ear for sonics, Forsaken has proven he is ready for the mainstream. So, stream the EP below and vibe out!

Stream Forsaken’s For The Hell Of It on Spotify. 

Connect with Forsaken: Instagram 

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Artist Spotlight

Los Angeles Producer ArjayOnTheBeat Is Pushing the Perimeters of the Music Industry

To stand out in music, especially a genre like Hip Hop, an artist has to have a presence not only the presence but commanding energy to them that makes you invest in their artistry, which they present for us to buy into. That separates an artist who you only give one listen to and who you start to keep up with. ArjayOnTheBeat brings that confident swagger to his approach that makes you want to stay connected, as he has been unfailing when connecting with his audience and executing vibrant and unique records from a career standpoint.

Arjayonthebeat discussed with us and answered our uncommon 11 Questions. Check it out below.

 

HONK: Let’s start by introducing ourselves. You know the basics, like name, age, and where you’re from, as much or little as you’re comfortable sharing.

ArjayOnTheBeat: Artist Name: Arjayonthebeat /Arjayonthebeat3x

Legal Name: Robert Dickson Jr 

Hometown: Los Angeles, California 

 

HONK: What’s the best advice you ever received concerning music?

ArjayOnTheBeat: The best advice I’ve ever received concerning music was about mixing. I was honored to have had a one-on-one session with a Grammy-awarded engineer, Leslie Brathwaite, who engineered Pharrell’s “Happy,” which headlined Despicable Me 2. He listened to my beats and told me, “everything was great, but one thing, your mixing.” He then said when it comes to mixing your beats, nothing should be panned to the center but vocals”. In other words, every sound in your beat should be panned between the left and right, never down the middle. 

The best advice of my life…

 

HONK: What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?

ArjayOnTheBeat: One thing I would have done differently is take more of the presented opportunities rather than rejecting them due to being overly cautious.

 

HONK: What is still your biggest challenge?

ArjayOnTheBeat: My biggest challenge is finding an artist with the potential/ talent to take them to the top and team up. Until then, the search continues. Most artists don’t take it as seriously as I do. I instead get plaques/awards with one artist repeatedly than try to get one plaque out of multiple artists… if that makes sense.

 

HONK: What keeps you going when things get tough in the music industry?

ArjayOnTheBeat: My daughters (Indiyah & Xia) and my family are the ones I need to be successful. My goal is to leave generational wealth /money behind for them. 

 

HONK: If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be?

ArjayOnTheBeat: Lil Uzi Vert, Chris Brown, or DJ Khaled

 

HONK: Could you talk me through your creative process?

ArjayOnTheBeat: When it comes to my productions, I never force them. I only make beats when I feel like it, so I don’t burn out my creative juices. 

If I’m not working, I typically listen to various genres to get ideas on enhancing my sound daily. Every genre has something you can learn from…

 

HONK: How do you solve productivity/scheduling problems and reduce overwhelming situations?

ArjayOnTheBeat: I always try to keep the customer/ clients happy, mistakes can occur, so I’ll always offer something in exchange for the mishap to reach a positive conclusion.

 

HONK: What are you focusing your time on now?

ArjayOnTheBeat: I’m focusing my time on executive producing more projects rather than singles & building my artist (once they’ve been found).

 

HONK: How do you currently feel about the state of “Your genre” in general?

ArjayOnTheBeat: We need more substance in the hip-hop community and a different topic to rap about rather than hoes, guns, apps & negativity. I feel it’s time to switch it up, or else we won’t get as successful as other genres like folk rock & country music.

 

HONK: How can our readers follow you online?

ArjayOnTheBeatInstagram | Twitter | YouTube 

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