Woman Crush Wednesday: J. Solaye

Whether you are looking for the ONE romantically, want to feel ONE with yourself spiritually, need to take that ONE step towards ONE project. The loneliest number can hold much significance, in many ways! J. Solaye knows this very well as she hits a milestone releasing her first EP entitled ONE. This soulful artist, singer and songwriter has been on the rise in Chicago and she has been making her name mainly with single releases up until now, with her first about 3 years ago.

Introduced to music at a young age through her parents, as many of us have, she was lucky enough to be brought up around good music taste. With enough Hip Hop, R&B and Chicago House to influence her she decided become one with the music. At just the age of six, she starts practicing singing and songwriting seriously. Piano and choir practice in grade school will lead her to perfect her craft till High School, where she starts performing confidently. Fast forward to today and J. Solaye has grown into a seasoned artist, with countless performances in various venues around Chicago.

With the release of ONE, J. Solaye notes to her fans that it was a proud piece representing herself as one whole human being spiritually. Confident in her music journey as inseparable from her identity, she has the freedom to express herself without hesitation. ONE is certainly a project for the lovers, with her personal inspirations being artists like Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill and Mariah Carey, she does not drift far from her influences as her sensual voice stands up to match up with legendary artists. In the 6 track EP, from Light Me Up to Cold World, we get a idea of the the very personal experiences of J. Solaye’s mind. Experience her romantic world vicariously with ONE.

J. Solaye | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Woman Crush Wednesday: Gaby Rose.

Powerful: The word that comes to mind most often when thinking about Gaby Rose, her debut single OPEN LETTER and the launch of her music career. Introduced to Gaby Rose while at one of Ever Evolved Midnight Marauders Open Mics hosted at InnJoy in Wicker Park, she signed up and went on towards the latter end of the night. Her voice is soothing, sultry, low-alto with a whispered intonation. Her sense of rhythm and lyrical acumen is impeccable. Every single line flows well with the instrumentation and every lyric hits you emotionally to the core.

Her songwriting paints a story overall but you have to listen through to the end to make sense of it. Only available to hear her music outside her live performance, until now, her one song set was remarkable to say the least. Her singing had people cheering, clapping and getting up out of their seats. Upon finally hearing her debut single on record, it was just as impactful.

Gaby Rose came through to another Ever Evolved event, Delirium IX, this past Monday hosted at Subterranean in Wicker Park. Not only is she an incredible songwriter, vocalist, and performer but she is also a down to earth person that comes out to support local music! She might be newer to the scene, but her talent and character is undeniable. Highly recommend you all to go bump Gaby Rose’s debut song OPEN LETTER. Without going into detail on much of the content on her single, know it represents selflessness, maternity, womanhood and yes, even manhood.

Gaby Rose | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Woman Crush Wednesday: Livia Gazzolo

Always dressing fashionably quaint, in the middle of a crowd she appears as art, observing with wide eyes and a shy smile. She is not making any kind of fashion statement however, Livia Gazzolo patiently waits her position on stage and behind the mic. As violin and piano by her supporting artists fill the air she walks up to her personalized microphone. A vintage styled mic similar to that of Elvis Presleys studio mic, comparable to a Shure Deluxe. As soon as she starts singing softly, through a soft smile, to a classical jazzy style tune, her appearance and flow makes sense; perhaps she is an old soul unfiltered?

A woman of many talents and ambitions she is one of many to take note of in Chicago’s growing local music industry. Primarily a vocalist she uses that talent exotically and seemingly effortlessly, welcoming ears to a fresh novel sound. Stationed in Chicago’s Wicker Park area, popular for its vibrant local music and busy nightlife, Livia found the perfect spot to grow her talents and expand her influence. Working two events a month, one self produced and coordinating with her band mates, Stefen Hess, Mr. Eugene, Will McGing and Jake Gordon, she is definitely making her mark known; supporting the local industry as a rising artist herself.

Photo By Scott Anderson: IG @ScottyRocks

Not just any new up and comer, Livia is a seasoned vocalist putting in hours, dedication, education and practice into her craft. You cannot just wake up and possess her experience and knowledge simply put! Making it a serious commitment by the age of 15, Livia has studied and performed with David Lahm, a pianist from New york, since then. Now she is currently finishing her Bachelors in Professional Music, taking her talent and knowledge to a whole different level.

Adding some mystique to her image you can really only hear Livia’s music through live performances at one of her events or other shows. She produces her own in Wicker Park’s Flat Iron Arts Building called the Mouse House “When The Cats Away”. Appropriate to her chique, it is a cabaret styled variety show featuring local artists from Chicago and other artists she has connected with. She hosts, coordinates and performs at the Mouse House monthly, every 2nd Saturday from 8p to 10pm. It is the best way to catch her in action doing her thing!

You can also catch her performing at the Atwood Cafe with her band. This event is on the 3rd Saturday every month. She will be booked for random other events like her special featured performance for Empower Herstory at HVAC Pub in Wrigleyville. The more ears get on this unique spectacle and the more artists Livia connects with through supporting local on her own shows and others, you can bet there will be more opportunities to see her live looking ahead. Maybe you will catch her at your local cabaret music parlor, give her a follow on her social media links below.

Photo by Scott Anderson: IG @ScottyRocks

Livia Gazzolo | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Talkin So Deep With Mohawk Johnson

Connecting with Mohawk Johnson we got to talking about his music and his mission for a brief period of time. Getting into some history and details into his music intent and thought process. Painting a picture of human being going through his woes within his skin and his culture. Alleviating the pressure by fighting for noble causes and ideas through his music and empathetically connecting with listeners in mutual situations.

Within a short period of time from his starting point Mohawk gathered a collection of songs aimed to disseminate social and political constructs and to place awareness on ones mental state. Armed with an EP and music videos he does it again with the release of So Deep. With his words he mocks the typical hotep, breaking down and patronizing their behavior. Over a jazzy and vibrant hip hop beat produced by Shhh, Mohawk’s turns his heckling into a catchy, raw song calling out contradictory artists in his culture.

In our interview Mohawk Johnson breaks it down in a bit more detail with what he means with this song. We also go over his start in music and what motivated him into the industry and how that quickly grew into something different. You will get the idea that he is more ordinary than most artists claim to be, and he speaks it how it is. Connecting effortlessly with and giving voice to the unconnected and the voiceless. Whether it be through his music or social media Johnson fights for his mind and fights for better social conditions with his level and style of awareness.

When did you start rapping/handling the mic?

February 2018

Do you write and/or freestyle?

I write. I can’t freestyle for shit.

What got you to start releasing music?

I wanted my ex girlfriend to notice me and take me back. It didn’t work.

But you have new songs coming in. Did you figure forget it keep goin, did the music grow on you? What were you thinking then?

After I dropped the first EP some people I knew came out and talked to me about being suicidal and that my music inspired them to get help. So I kept making music. There have been people who didn’t care what I had to say but when I say it in songs they hear me. I have a lot to say and music seems to be the only thing that allows people to hear me.

Your profile on bandcamp says you are black and traumatized and you want to put that on display to help other similar people. Would you say your new inspiration is mental health advocacy through your music?

That and other things

Other things like?

Ending racism, tackling poverty, fighting homophobia, etc…

Your newest release so deep takes on a different persona than your other earlier darker tracks.Any particular inspiration or what are u goin for?

I am critiquing hoteps who pretend to be problack but then engage in respectability politics.

Hoteps are?

Black men who pretend to be pro black but engage in respectability politics, homophobia, sexism, able-ism, etc… They don’t want freedom from white supremacy. They want the power to oppress black women.

Do you see alot of this in todays hip hop scene?

Yeah, it’s everywhere. Anytime someone critiques racism and then turns around and calls women hoes for having the same sex we been having

How would you say your music is helping combat this?

I attack it directly through satire. I embody the style like I did in so deep but then I rip their ideology apart.

Can we expect a more socially and politically motivated project similar to how your relapse EP is about the mind?

Absolutely.

Alot of your work is produced by Shhh. How’d you two meet?

My roommate is friends with him. They came to my first show. Shhh volunteered to work with me after that.

Can we be expecting more funk and jazz influenced beats like So Deep as well?

Maybe a few, I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t do the genre justice.

I have to disagree! I really liked the new track and I think you flowed good in that genre with your style.

If you say so.

Tellin’ it how it is man appreciate you sharing the new music.

Mohawk Johnson | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Back Up, Watch Out, Leave Her Alone, Dont Bother!

I stumbled upon Ridley Victoria and her gorgeous alto voice due to her witty online presence where she frequently comments on the state of the modern dating world. I decided to sift through a lot of her music and was instantly attentive due to her unique and savory sound. Ill refrain from comparing her to other female recording artists to stop the disservice of placing women in music and hip hop all within the same monolithic framed box. The point being you should just bump her music because she is dope and you will relate to her and what she has to say.

Long As You’re Here has a sultry vibe and down scaling melody at the end of every phrasing that is extremely catchy and makes a listener want to start chiming along. The engineering of the song is particularly exceptional because the tonality from the mixing of the frequencies added to her voice in post production is perfect for radio play, in my opinion. At the end of her second verse when she hits the top pitch perfectly off a falsetto run going up in the scale,”I don’t want for you to stay, ay, ayy!”. She hits it is when you think to yourself, yeah she can sing!

The song has very soulful vocals yet powerful in its composition and feeling. If you are looking for some new music and something you can relax and catch a vibe to? Put on some Ridley Victoria records and you’ll feel better afterwards; it is therapy.

Ridley Victoria | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Rich Jones is The Should You Lean On

Radiating a vibe through his music that is so disarming The Should You Lean On is a fitting title for Rich Jones latest project. “No coin to toss won’t chance my love to game“, he repeats in his first track and I know I can trust this man and his playlist, he has been around. Dipping back into a hip hop flow with the next couple of tracks, bouncing between Soul, R&B & Hip Hop these 7 tracks Jones really shows his colors off. A refreshing LP following Light Work EP and Dangerous Rainy Days releases.

Always working with prominent names in the local scene he brings on some really talented individuals once again to help with the project. J. Kelr from Rellek Studio did work on recording and Joel Gutman at Fat Tongue Studios, Kenny Keys doing some production as well. On vocals joins Kiara Lanier and the super duper secret Nnamdi Ogbonnayya. All put in good work on the LP and Rich Jones talks more in-depth in an interview with These Days to really putting it in a broader perspective. Adding the cherry on top Jones puts up a release party at the Sleeping Village, but if you want to catch him before 2018 ends check out his calendar or start replaying his music!

Rich Jones | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Stay Right Here with Saba

Saba Pivot is back with a  single and he brought some friends to contribute to the beat. Lookin’ at all the love around him, Saba puts together a feel good song that blends R&B with positive Hip Hop lyricism. Who better to match lyrical ability than Mick Jenkins with Xaviar Omar to lock in the vibes with a smooth hook.

Stay Right Here is similar in energy to Care For Me, Sabas most recent full length project release that came out earlier in the year. That album would include notable Chicago creatives such as theMind, Kaina and Chance the Rapper. It seems to follow the idea of self care, expression, the ebb n flow of life and Stay Right Here is the appreciation of it all. He sings “Coming up from nothin but drugs and the crime.. Oh yes I came out of alive”. Saba’s momentum and energy continues to stay strong like he has Heaven All Around him!  

Saba | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

CJ Run Is In A League of Their Own


Coming from the UK,  we are graced by the mind of a queer non binary artist with a style coming from multiple genre influences. Expressing them self through the perspective experiences of a black human of their chosen identity in mainstream society through a manifold of styles; UK RnB, Grime, Brit-Pop, Indie rock and more. CJ Run poses a unique brand of hip hop that is unmatched by mainstream culture and even challenges any alternative narrative. Going on a spree this month releasing a few singles, each a different breed of character.

Representing U of I in Urbana – Champaign, IL CJ got connected with a few artists for the journey. Producer yourbeautifulruin works on the two of the three tracks released recently; Indigo and 747. Going over a heart ache in one track while the other boasts future success, not letting their emotions hold them back! You can hear and feel the confidence and energy CJ is emitting in League Of My Own with Glassic. At it for quite a while and giving people hell before they had a CD on the shelf, you can expect more from CJ Run following these releases! Excited to see what is next for this artist.

editors note: CJ Run is not a “chosen idenity” but rather who they are in blood from birth, aside from extremely talented.

CJ Run | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram`

Ever Evolved Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

 

Ever Evolved Synergy

Reminiscing back to Show N Love at Sub T in Wicker Park you have to be reminded of the talent brewing in Ever Evolved Studio. Plenty of recent releases and events coming and going. A couple of independent singles and a wild collab track. We also had our buddy and talented videographer Brandon Holmes put together a highlight video of some successful events and celebrations, holding only a little bit of an idea of whats to come!

The video would be covering bits of footage from up to three events, recorded by Brandon and Canon Montana, showing the vibrant crowds that come to support. Background music is produced and recorded in house as well with the producers and hip hop artists and Ever Evolved members on stage and on screen, Rhymster and Radcliff. Engineers Gridlock Andy and Frekwenzy showing love at the studio with amazing produciton.

Most recently a project packed with Ever Evolved artists and affiliates release a single Check A Bagg produced by DJ Marskiss. Rhymster, Radcliff, Terry Tertiary, Candy Irene, Mike Booth, Safe G and Essse with the huge collaboration and a mouthful ofwords onto a 3 minute beat. A unique blend of styles between all these creatives. Interesting enough all these artists are scheduled to release more independent singles and collaboration projects and singles heading into the warmer seasons so follow for updates!

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Sun Showers Over Burn Twins, Elton & Bedows

Keeping their names separate as a way to isolate their unique talents as indivdual artists the Burn Twins, Elton & Bedows form this band of creatives. They do not commit to a singular brand or name, which can make it interesting keeping track of their work.  Coming in with fresh sound and energy altogether they have pulled off many collabs as a whole or paired off, freely performing with who ever works with eachother best. Artist like theMIND, Nafet, Akenya, KAINA, Thelonious Martin, Omar Apollo and more and worked with one of more of this collaborative group.

All of them are multi talented at some level they all bring their own unique sound together, and work within each other. Finding a perfect balance between their musical influences, instrumentation and vocal work. Never overpowering one another, each individuals talent emphasized to give credit where credit is due, as the collaboration intended. The Burns Twins (Eddie and IZ) and Bedows share music production and instrumentation talent. Elton Aura works the mic as a writer and rapper and there is much jazz and soul influence between them all. The producers are also adding backup vocals to their resume as they cover ins and outs for Elton as they adapt to each other.

Talking to DJ Booth in an interview following their Sun Showers release they highlight some of the ideas that was put into this project. Creating something that personified their feeling for the year in Chicago. “It is the duty of the artist to reflect the times”, Elton explains paraphrasing Nina Simone. Sun Showers is a metaphor reflecting Chicago’s turbulence. “It looks happy, It looks nice, it looks sunny, but its still raining”. A sentiment that can stand the test of time with these songs.

Burns Twins | Soundcloud | Elton Aura | Soundcloud
Bedows | Soundcloud

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram