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

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Nicole Amine

AJ Abelman Photography

Detroit and Chicago have a lot in common when it comes to music, most significantly through techno and house music origins. Today we recognize our connection through the talents of an ambitious blues player residing in Chicago. Coming from our neighbors across Lake Michigan, Nicole Amine establishes her sound in Chicago after growing up on the sounds of Motown, Soul and Rock and Roll music. Originally studying at Columbia College to earn a degree in vocal performance, like the Rolling Stones, she began to explore her love for Chicago Blues music, which turns out to become a heavy influence in her own.

Starting out releasing cover tracks from artists like the Temptations and Amy Winehouse especially, giving justice to a very talented voice; Nicole’s voice is just as strong. Following up with a couple of demos, shortly after as she gets more comfortable as an artist. Working her way through solo performances Nicole organizes a band and really gets the fire starting, performing in random venues in Chicago. In a short period of time this student & listener of music establishes a foundation and presence in Chicago’s local music scene.

After finding her band and perfecting her sound she debuts with her single WINE SONG, giving us a real glimpse of Nicole’s creativity. Following WING SONG she comes up with NEED THAT SOUND and TRAPPED, both can stand on their own as well. Reaching further Nicole pursues bigger spotlights from the stage and enters in NPR Tiny Desk contest and had a performance on Sofar Chicago. Her ambition to be her best self through vocal education, challenging herself onto bigger stages with original singing, songwriting and guitar playing lands her at this weeks spotlight for Woman Crush Wednesday. You can expect more new music from her in 2020 so follow her progress in the links below!

Nicole Amine | Soudcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Header Photo AJ Abelman Photography

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

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‘All This Is’ Not So New To Manic Focus

Artists may tend to change up their original style and approach to their creative expression. It is how they survive, It is in an artists nature; they are not one single idea but many out of the box projections. Manic Focus, also known as Jmac, is known to change up styles constatantly. Between hip hop, bass, and some electro funk, even a mixture of all of em may occur, Jmac got plenty of room to express himself any which way he likes. His last two releases are a good example of experimentation between songs!

The older of the two, Never Grew Up, may be what you typically hear come out of Manic sets. Some live instrument samples followed by wonky bass lines, choppy synth work and a dynamic beat pattern to a slow bpm. All creating a groovy and tranquil energy as “we never grew up” echoes repeatedly reminding us, we are in this for the fun! A sound so familiar with Manic it can probably land under its own genre.

Fans of Manic might find his latest release All This Is hard to swallow, with an introduction throwing them off to more of a house bpm structure. Following the build up however Jmac brings it back with dark metallic bass lines and chops exuding a menacing energy that would throw a crowd into a frenzy. Living an industry surrounded by all types of genres it is only right for an artist like Manic Focus to experiment and inject his madness into it all.

Manic Focus | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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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

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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

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theMIND Wants To Rule The World

theMIND may be one of if not the more recognizable names out in the Chicago local music scene working within THEMPeople. He can be found just about every where you look, just about ruling his own world. Working with the likes of Pivot Gang, Zero Fatigue and SAVEMONEY  artists, NoNameStefan PonceMick Jenkins, Knox Fortune, Burns Twins; the influence is every where. When not workin with others his independent work is flawless and you can hear why he is such a pillar in the community. Recently with production by Matty Joynt, EW2RTW soothes with a calming guitar melody and vocals a great song to add to your playlist.

theMIND | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Ravyn Lenae’s New Song Sticks

Ravyn Lenae staying up and active. Making some noise around Chicago with her most recent release. Sticky follows her music video release of Unknownapart of the much bigger project Midnight Moonlight released in spring. Ravyn’s flow tends to stick to you like an contagious melody. You can bump her LP and it will still sound as fresh as its first release. Doing it again, turning another beat into a timeless piece.

Ravyn Lanae | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Ric Wilson the Human

Just cause he can, Ric Wilson releases two tracks randomly. Might mean more new music on the way, might not. This creative soul from the South Side of Chicago just released Negrow Disco EP earlier in the year and he is just following up. Also coming up with a music video for Hangloose from the EP and a collab track with Hurley Mower. Droppin music almost discreetly you just need to keep your eyes and ears open for info like marking down January 4 on your calender.

Every song is different so far as he jumps genres and molds them together, mixing in Hip Hop and Soul, Dance and other elements. You can hear the difference between the two recent releases. What If I Was White, a poem wrote for Sofar Chicago pointing out obvious moral and social injustices in our society compared to We Don’t KnowYou can expect his next project to have more hip hop lyrical influence. For now keep posted at the links below for new music and events.

Ric Wilson | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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In The Spotlight: Ravyn Lenae

Being honored as one of the many Chicago artists to be presented in Red Bulls 30 days in Chicago Ravyn Lenae is definitely a voice you have to recognize. So talented Chicago is still hooked on her latest album Midnight Moonlight released early in the year. With production handled by Monte Booker the two combined created a masterpiece.

Recently releasing a video for the single Unknown from her aforementioned album, directed by the talented Weird Life crew. A more somber video compared reminding you art varies across all spectrums of human emotion.  This follows her Spice video which is more lively, literally, performing the album single for Kinda Neat publishing. As she flirts with the camera naturally she makes singing seem effortless.

Following up on with an interview Kinda Neat reveals Ravyns lyrical abilities starting at an early age.  From outperforming at church choirs and high school she started touring at the age of fifteen. Realizing her potential early. Now apart of Zero Fatigue with Smino,  and Monte Booker respectively she has performed with other notable artists like Mick Jenkins and No Name and other popular locals. Be on the lookout for her next project and follow her before she takes off!

Ravyn Lanae | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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