Jasmine’s Juice – Manchester’s Children Of Zeus – The Freshest Kids!

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When the world looks to the UK music scene it usually knows of numerous London based pop star names and then of course there are those four lads, you know the ones, The Beatles from Liverpool. Aside from that there have been numerous pop and rock acts from another one of the UK’s next biggest cities – Manchester. Manchester more than punches above it’s weight in the musical ring!

The obvious names? Happy Monday’s, Elbow, Oasis,Take That, The Verve, Chemical Brothers, Badley Drawn Boy, Doves, Joy Division, M People and many more.

However, don’t get it twisted, the genre’s of hip hop and grime have also throughout the years been prominent in the city and it seems like 2016 is the time that they are breaking through.
It’s taken five years of solid work by grime MC Bugzy Malone to break through nationally, and now all eyes are on Konny Kon and Tyler Daley, otherwise known to all their fans over the years as ‘Children Of Zeus’.

‘Still Standing’ is the debut single from the latest signings to First Word Records, Children of Zeus. COZ is a soul project from two of Manchester’s most respected artists Konny Kon and Tyler Daley.

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Konny Kon and Tyler Daley. Photo Courtesy Benji B.

Konny Kon is a DJ, MC and beatmaker best known as one third of Broke’N’English alongside fellow Mancunians DRS and Strategy. Tyler Daley, also known as Hoodman, went from being a respected MC and actor to one of the most in demand soul singers of recent times, lending his vocals and writing talents to music from Soul II Soul’s Caron Wheeler, 50 Cent, Lisa Mafia, Bugsy Malone and more. As a duo they have also supposed acts like The Pharcyde in concert live.

Listen here;

Whilst the likes of Dub Phizix, Chimpo, Zed Bias and Levelz are making waves in D&B, Bass Music and Grime, Children of Zeus came to break the trend and bring a soulful side that is much needed to continue Manchester’s rich musical history. Over the last few years the duo have been releasing tracks through their Soundcloud, generating daytime radio play and legions of devoted fans. They are now finally ready to commit some of these recordings to wax with two tracks that represent the sound that they describe as ‘future classic soul for sophisticated hoodrats’.

‘Still Standing’ is a Bilal-esque slice of neo-soul, a love-letter to the mother’s that raised them, whilst on the flip ‘No Strings Attached’ blends dusty soul samples with a tale of life on the road and the temptations it brings. Look out for COZ’s debut live show in London later this month and more new music very soon.
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1.If you had to make a playlist that your music would fit into, which others artists would compliment your sound?

Not to compare us at all but I think our music sits nicely with artists such as Raphael Saadiq, Anderson Paak, Slum Village, Madlib, Maxwell, Native Tongues etc

2.Do you consider your music to be uk hip hop?

We both come from hip hop backgrounds, and obviously are from the UK, but the sound associated with ‘UK Hip Hop” doesn’t really resonate with us. There’s hiphop elements to our music and there’s rhyming on some of the tracks, but I think it leans more towards soul music that hip hop heads would appreciate.

3.Which artists do you listen to in your car?
Konny Kon-Westside Gunn & Conway, Loose Ends, Anderson Paak, anything Alchemist produces, Garnett Silk, Mobb Deep.

Tyler- my stereo is broke haha but if it wasn’t I’d probably be listening to the same shit

4.Who does what in Children Of Zeus?
There’s two of us. Tyler Daley who handles most of the vocals (singing and MCing) and Konny Kon who MC’s.
We both make all the beats.

5.How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?

We make classic soul for hip hop heads. There’s no lovey dovey dancing over polished R&B involved. It’s soul music with samples or something we’ve played with, a lot of bass or some dusty sounding breaks involved. Some of the tracks are straight hip hop but it’s all Is pretty chill.

6.Who are your musical influences?
We both love the same music. We came up on 80′s/90′s hiphop but pirate radio in Manchester raised us to love soul, dancehall, roots reggae and lots of UK street soul from dons like Soul2Soul, Loose Ends, Omar etc.

7. What’s next for Children Of Zeus?
Working on more music and touring. We have some pretty huge collaborations with some legends from NYC on the way which may have dropped by the time you read this. We just want to continue making music for your headphones or car that still translates to rocking a live show.

8. Where can people go to find your music?
Best place is www.soundcloud.com/children-of-zeus but if you search for us online there’s more music and videos out there!

9. If you could sum up your vibe in one sentence, how would your describe it?
Soul music for listeners, bluntheads, fly ladies and prisoners!

10. How has your home town (Manchester) helped shape you as people and artists?

We live in city where it never stops raining. All we can do is sit inside and make music. Manchester is also home to the highest concentration of MC’’s for its size in the UK. It’s competitive but everyone is cool with everyone no matter what genre. The grime MC’s work with the hip hop guys. The Drum n bass MC’s jump on hip hop tracks. It’s all one big collective that seems to dominate the UK at the moment. It’s always been very London-centric but I think ears are starting to point in our direction now and one after another we are all breaking through.

Jasmine’s Juice – Meet Jodie Abacus – Fire in the charts, Fire in the kitchen!

South London singer Jodie Abacus is performing at this years Glastonbury Festival and this past fortnight also performed across the pond at The Roots Picnic.
Jodie’s songs are classic, feel-good, two-step hits in the vein of Kool and the Gang, The Temptations, The O’Jays with hints of a certain hat wearing Virginia lad called Pharrell.

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PIC SARAH MCCOLGAN.

Jodie is hot onstage and in the kitchen. Just go to YouTube and see Jodie Abacus Hot Kitchen recipes. He talks us through how to make musical macaroni (where he throws in Aretha Franklin as well as his Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson impressions), space buffalo wings (to go with his track Space Buffalo- complete with fire emoticons), and soul slaw (where he sings to his cabbage – yes really). Whilst Jodie’s Hot Kitchen video recipes are slightly tongue in cheek, mix master Armand Van Helden has actually remixed a version of Hot Kitchen.
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Heres Jodie on THAT Roots Picnic, his pre-stage rituals, where he sits on the Rock & Roll scale and what he’d like to school Americans on.

1-The Roots Picnic is an annual event that is huge on the American calendar. How did you get onto the bill and how does this rate alongside all the gigs you’ve done so far?

The Roots festival was a fantastic experience for me, to share the stage with an R&B KING like Usher – even to sound check JUST after usher was absolutely surreal.
I don’t exactly know how I got on. I guess you have to be kind of special to be put on. Humbly, so I’m still working on ‘being special’ by the way lol.

2-Playing live is something you clearly love with all the European festivals under your belt too this past year, but what’s your worst ever live gig memory?

There’s no best or worst gig to me. My thing is to always learn from the last show, and forget about how good the last show was and respect the new audience, so my mind state is always on reset. I’m singing my stories and I want the audience to leave nourished!
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PIC COURTESY ROOTS PICNIC.

3-Where were you on the Roots Picnic line-up, at the start? Repping the UK? – Tell us about that?

I was the only one repping the UK as far as I know, and I opened the festival. The response afterwards was amazing, I didn’t want to let myself down so I was pretty focused.

4-You did your sound check after The Roots and Usher’s sound checks. Did you manage a quick chat with any of them?

I was mostly pretty hype and just wanted to perform. I did have a degree of nerves in general but they were at the usual normal level.
I spoke to Usher and Quest Love very briefly whilst taking a picture. Quest Love asked me where I was from and tried to do a London accent…it wasn’t bad …nice try haaa

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Jodie with Questlove and Usher.
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5-How did your set go? Were the audience at all acquainted with your material or was it playing to a brand new audience unfamiliar with your music?

It’s funny thing because as I go onstage, I’m singing and people were mouthing the words to the songs …I can’t tell you how much of an amazing feeling that is, you wrote it once in the past and now they’re singing it. The set was amazing judging by the way the responses were after the show on social media and through the duration of the day.

6-Once upon a time, live music, musicians and sex, drugs and rock & roll used to all go together, but in 2016 musicians seem a much cleaner, healthy eating, juicing, detoxing, vegan loving bunch. Where do you sit on the scale between totally rock & roll and clean living music nerd.

Between me and my band The Neutronics, there’s a fair amount of beer drinking, swearing and unprovoked insults. Pringle-eating, tequila-shooting and mostly laughter …we laugh A LOT!!
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Jodie with DJ Jazzy Jeff.
PIC KWAME KWATEN.

7- I’ve been on tour with music stars that do all sorts from praying, honey, rum and lemon concoctions to full yoga session…. What are your pre-stage rituals?

I like to gather everyone together to have a prayer before I go on, it’s to remind us to respect the stage and why we’re here. It’s a long hard road. I’ve been praying all the way.

8-What’s the one standout song in your repertoire that new listeners should be sure to check out and why does it represent what Jodie Abacus is about?

Either “I’ll be that friend” or “Halfway to Mexico”
One talks about my bout of pneumonia, going through a bad year and needing a hug, the other is about the part of the journey to get to this point. Part of what’s happened in my past experiences and what it takes to progress.
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Jodie with Anderson Paak.
PIC KWAME KWATEN.

9-What’s the best thing about hip hop culture and how it’s changed the world?

I love hip hop, good or bad it’s the Rock & Roll of this generation. It’s very accessible in a way. It’s like crushing a tin can to play football without the ball and scoring goals through two pieces of clothing acting like goal posts. And if that makes absolutely noooo sense to you it makes total sense to me and that’s all that matters.. Sorry but it’s tangent time and my mind goes off on one sometimes visualizing things. Hip hop is worldwide now and in a very big way.
If you catch me in the right place at the right time you’ll see me rock out to hip hop like a nutter!

10-Americans always seem to have quite an affinity with all things British from our accents to our slanguage. What one British thing from South London in 2016 would you like to skool them on?

1. That we don’t all speak like Dick Van Dyke from the film “Mary Poppins”

2. That some, perhaps most of us haven’t tasted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Tell an American that you haven’t and they lose their sh**. (LA accent) “What do you mean you’ve never tasted a peanut & jelly sandwich?.. Are you insane???” It’s a great conversation piece you should try it if you’re a Brit at a table filled will Americans.

3. We Brits can jaywalk whenever we want. .. Dangerous yeah!… But we can.

Nick Cannon’s London Takeover Addresses Racist Nightclubs.

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Nick Cannon onstage in London.

Last week American rapper, actor, comedian, entrepreneur, record producer, radio and television personality Nick Cannon came to London for the weekend and true to form, didn’t spend a minute of it sleeping. Across a three-day period he performed to a packed out O2 Brixton Academy where he recorded a UK version of his infamous Wild N Out show, made appearances at two nightclubs and threw an all day rooftop pool party.

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Nick was child prodigy who excelled in acting as well as music and played the lead role in movies like Drumline, and in 2005 created, produced, and hosted the MTV improvisation comedy series WILD’N Out, which not only airs in the USA but in numerous countries globally including the UK.

In the UK, Wild’N Out inspired a whole raft of its own comedy talent and brands including Kojo’s Comedy Fun House, Harvey’s Young Gods Of Comedy and more. Nicks own production company – NCredible – produces his Wild ‘N Out show for MTV2 in the states – and sit up and pay attention… this is a big deal. We always talk about ownership; well this is what it looks like.
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Alongside his own comedy series Nick has hosted around seven seasons of Americas Got Talent alongside his peers like Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and more proving that American households love him too.

As well as all this on-screen creative arts skill, his talent as a businessman mustn’t be overlooked. For a young black man to be simultaneously connected to and respected by the streets, as well as being engaged and embraced by TV and film industry bosses is a rare thing. Nick is the chairman of TeenNick for Nickelodeon too, which …YEP, YOU GUESSED IT..is a big deal.

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Proving the hip hop generation are in demand and his personal genus is sought after by mainstream money, the Radioshack brand named Nick ‘’Chief Creative Officer’’ in hopes of catering to a younger audience.

At one point in time, Nick was juggling hosting TV shows, a regular daily radio show and all this business. A big deal. He eventually stepped down from his radio show due to lupus health issues, but it hasn’t stopped him continuing to support numerous charitable causes.

For this London trip Nick brought a full squad of talent to the capital, to record a show from here, for his Wild ‘N Out series. UK comic White Yardie opened the show which consisted mostly of his comics each taking a 10-15 minute stand up slot each and then the performance ended with a couple of regular games from the main show.

One of these was the ‘Family reunion game’, where comics scan the audience and bring up celebrity lookalikes from the audience onstage. This was hilarious and in London they found T Pain, Akon and a poor girl who had her weave ripped off her head to the crowds hysteria! (A thing that I hate with my Girl Power gene freaking out, but hey, that’s for another article).

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BBC Radio’s Dj Ace provided the musical set for the full show in between acts, including a spot where there was a ‘UK Wild ‘N Out Girls search’ where around 15 hot, young fillies were paraded onstage, with Nick teasing ‘’I’m going to take one back to the States with me’’. The NCredible team played their latest song – ‘Snapchat (GettinFreaky) – which went down well with the hyper audience.

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Nick with the UK Wild ‘N Out girls at his Sunday rooftop pool party.

At the end of the show the general consensus from the audience was a great night had been had by all, and whilst they knew and expected Nick to be a very efficient host, it was as a stand-up comic himself that he really surprised and excelled.

Remember we mentioned eatlier how much of a great multi tasker he is? As he left British shores he posted his #LondonNights poem that he had managed to shoot whilst in town. And to our delight it showed him addressing the issue of racist nightclubs in London, (specifically DSTRKT!).

WATCH NICK CANNON’S #LONDONNIGHTS POEM HERE;

Carry on speaking Nick. We appreciate you.

‪#‎SpokenSundays‬ ‪#‎LondonNights‬ ‪#‎poetry‬

London Nights

As I wander through each chartered street
I’m not from around these Ends
But we strut through the alleyways like real top bosses
Holding our bollocks
Searching for gully live
Yo, Cheerio! Where my niggas at?
Ride or Die!
We arrive. Trafalgar Square lights.
I swear this motherfucking city is fly.
I first met her in 2005.
It was Piccadilly Circus, green eyes, ass so fat, curves had a nigga nervous
Perfect etiquette,refine like a horse and carriage.
She was a little hip hop but a whole lot of garridge
She was fucking with my trainers, Red Doernbechers
I rocked them joints with skinny jeans but she called them knickers or trousers
Either way I was trying to get her out of hers.
I heard the West End was a hotbed for mayhem
But I ain’t give a damn
I’m trying to see what that fanny like
My girls from Brixton was throwing so many drawers I thought it was a panty strike
Dotiwala told me I should leave them alone
She know my ex
And she know how I like’em
Baited and Beautiful
Nothing but the best
Model chicks smelling like cigarettes
Ready for sex
But the mash man run up in the spot
So we hopped up on The Tube trying not to get shot
Dipped to a low key rooftop somewhere off Oxford Street
Where I met a red bone joint with 110s on her feet.
But the Council was tripping like this was the Dstrkt
Yo, I’m wearing too many colors to be bothered with racism
So I slipped them some bees and honey
Grully hand to let me and my mans them in
And the bouncers still flexin’ on the Bruvs
With them dumb ass door policies
Shit was mad rubbish
Fuck this!
Niggas stay getting fucked with
Trojan Magnums
Stuck outside even on this side of the planet
But we gone sneak in on the horse
In the distance I hear how the youthful harlots curse
Screaming “Come test me”
Might get sliced up tonight
What would Lonesome do?
Damn I miss my Pops
This shit is getting on top
The rude boy in the ski mask just got tackled by the cops
As they grab his knife, he just spit in they face
Bloody wicked
You don’t gotta believe my tale
I ain’t gotta lie to kick it
I’m sticking to my story
The new pimpin’ Charles Dickens with an Oliver Twist
The Tale of Two Cities
Getting that pick wit paper
Hot chicks
Massive music
Rampaging fights
I can’t wait to go back and feel them London Nights

Jasmine’s Juice – Reasons to LOVE Swan Lake, by the English National Ballet, at the Royal Albert Hall.

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This is the most diverse ballet company that I’ve ever seen. Prince Siegfried was performed by black male Cuban dancer Osiel Gouneo, on further inspection of the cast list I noted that in the 120 dancers list, there are an abundance of Asian and black dancers and many eastern European names in the programme too. #Very EU

Every single dancer was technically strong and not a wobble or alignment was out of place. You could see that the 150 plus hours of rehearsals had been well worth it. As a former dancer and ballet teacher, I always look out for teeny imperfections and found none.

There were more swans onstage than I’ve ever seen- 60! Their movement in unison across the stage is mesmerising akin to a kaleidoscope. Magical!

Derek Deane’s choreography is breathtakingly fluid. From long, elongated beautiful dancer lines to full on, ariel visuals of Busby Barclay patterns, to simple head tilts by the dancers, every movement felt swan-like and you couldn’t tear your eyes away for a second.

The cast of young dancers from the Tring Park School For The Performing Arts were just as proficient as the adults. Very impressive.

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As the performance was in the round there wasn’t a bad seat in the huge venue, just different angles. I was sat in the stalls – my favourite location – close enough to the dancers to see their faces, feel their muscles twitch and hear every tap of their pointe shoe slide, leap and glide across the floor. Having the audience sat 360 degrees around the action makes it really intimate and thrilling!

Nothing beats the dreamlike, magical sheet of white mist of the lake at night through which the dancers step.

The musical score composed in 1875, is just so beautiful, I decided there and then it should be played during every ground breaking milestone in my life; giving birth, weddings, and more importantly in my dying hours.

Swan lake is the simplest story and so relatable. Who hasn’t been bugged by their parents to get married? Fallen for the wrong person then had their squad protect them from the douchebag?

Going to a ballet in a great venue like this is an exciting occasion. You should have great respect for the culture and tradition of theatre and get dressed, and be on time! I don’t want my swan dream state to be broken by latecomers asking me to get up to let them in their seats.

Some wonder if they would like the art of ballet. If you love sport, athleticism, competition, music, spectacle and a good emotional narrative, you’ll love Swan Lake. If you liked movie Face Off, you’ll love Swan Lake with its duel switched role love and action narrative. Nicolas Cage and John Travolta couldn’t even try a grand jete!

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The live music orchestra of 80 members of the English National Philharmonic does visually play second fiddle to the main dance attraction, but by no means is less important. The full orchestra is made up of some of the country’s top musicians, and the acoustics in the legendary venue with its mushroom acoustic buttons hanging from the ceiling make this one huge 360 experience for your senses!

You can always tell past and present dancers who are sat in the audience in the same way you can tell musicians watching their peers perform. We sit in our seats and twitch or elongate our spines to match the swan’s choreography. It’s a dancer thing.

With Swan Lake there are a couple of need to know facts. The parts of both the good swan (Odette) and the evil black swan (Odile) are both played by the same dancer. This dual role of our heroine was very impressively done by lead dancer, Romanian Aline Cojocaru who was playing this role for her first time ever, and what a grand job she did!

The other big thing is there is a big moment that every Swan Lake lover knows is coming. As a child it was one of the first things to grip me. The swan would perform the nigh impossible feat of performing 32 fouettes on one leg spinning at speed on her toes not just to dazzle the audience, but also to seduce Prince Siegfried. I must try that, this Friday night down at the Red Lion.

The black swan pas de deux was spectacular. She performed 32 fouettes spins on one leg on pointe, he performed 11 grand jetes. Look it up. It’s a big deal. That’s all.

Anyone can go to the ballet and they do. The audience was simultaneously full of very elegantly dressed up dance fans in dresses and suits, as well as casual dance lovers in jeans and trainers. There is no judgement. We’re all there for our mutual appreciation society for the dance. Well, until the very end, when you leave and see policemen cordoning off a huge, VIP car with a police escort that was transporting former governor of Hong Kong and the BBC Trust Chris Patten, and you’re battling hundreds of excited ballet leaping fans along High Street Kensington to rush to the tube.

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Like most ballets (and pantomimes), there’s a baddie. The evil character that brings the heat and drama. In Swan Lake its Rothbart who was performed by James Streeter, Every time he’s onstage there’s more drama, feathery outfits and evils than in an episode of Empire.

Like many old ballets, a few scenes tend to be set in the olde worlde Royal Courts where entertainers performed for the king and queen. I couldn’t help chuckle to myself as I realised that back when Tchaikovsky wrote this score entertainment was ballet, acrobats, jugglers and dances from other nations. The modern day version today would be The Royal Variety Show with Kylie and a long forgotten, random member of Spandau Ballet.

As much as you want to ‘’whoop!’’ after every virtuosic spectacle, you have to hold down this urge until the end. Once over though, you can join the audience in cheering and whopping loudly!

Swan Lake is the worlds most popular ballet, the Royal Albert Hall is one of the worlds most beautiful venues – it’s my favourite hands down. This English National Ballet performance is a beautiful production.
A truly once in a lifetime opportunity for date night, family outings, friends or simply solo. Catch it while you can!

Jasmine’s Juice- Jesse Owens RACE movie, Samm Henshaw Live, Preeya Kalidas Radio Show.

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BRITISH ATHLETES INCLUDING DEISE LEWIS AND LINFORD CHRISTIE JOIN JESSE OWNS TWO DAUGHTERS FOR THE ”RACE” VIP SCREENING.

When my friend MOBO CEP Kanya King invited me to a weeknight film date with her it wasn’t just an old film. No, like M&S would say, it was much, much more…

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JASMINE AND KANYA KING WITH TWO OF JESSE OWENS THREE DAUGHTERS AT THE ”RACE” MOVIE VIP SCREENING.

This past few years has seen a rise in the number of biographical films documenting the life stories or a particular infamous moment of various black legends lives. From Mandela, 12 years a slave, the help, (SELMA) martin Luther king, Miles (Davis), Nina (Simone),
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DENISE LEWIS AT THE ”RACE” MOVIE SCREENING.

This fortnight see’s a new release in the UK about Olympic champ runner and long jumper Jesse Owens moment of clarity, a film titled RACE, when for the Berlin Olympics, during Hitler’s reign when the black and Jewish communities were discriminated against by German leaders. The film is an emotional yet euphoric look at Jesse Owens story of his rise and the sudden catapult to sporting fame whilst juggling personal, family and career issues.
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KRIS AKABUSI AT THE ”RACE” MOVIE SCREENING.

The film deals very sensitively with the storyline around anti Semitism and race and is a must see for cinemagoers.
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DUNCUN GOODHEW AT THE ”RACE” MOVIE SCREENING.

We were very blessed to have the presence of two out of three of Jesse Owens daughters with us on the screening night. They spoke about the fact that however many times they watched this movie it was still painful viewing but that they were thankful that this part of his story had been told leaving a powerful family legacy.

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PIC – Paul Hampartsoumian.
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JASMINE WITH SAMM HENSHAW.

Next it was off to Oslo (the Hackney nightclub not the Norwegian city!) for singer, songwriter Samm Henshaw’s sold out gig. Many are predicting that Samm is the latest that will blow up in the same vein and scale as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. A true musically gifted lover and performer of a unique musical sound with a very British feel.
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SAMM AND HIS SOUND EXPERIMENT BAND- PIC Paul Hampartsoumian.

What an experience his live show was! A young very mixed, stylish crowd were all singing Samm’s hits word for word. British born but with Nigerian ancestry, Samm and his The Sound Experiment band were exciting engaging and rehearsed to perfection. With songs from blues, soul, indie, rock, ballads and more they held the crowd captivated for an hour that just sped by.

One of the biggest Samm Henshaw live brand elements is call and response with the crowd and they sang back strong and happy.

One ‘’time to play a musical game’’ moment where Samm had us singing classic riffs alongside him even saw us all singing Backstreet Boys hits alongside Michael Jackson.
His band- all fellow black males – played their various instruments with zealous passion and their onstage synergy altogether was electric to watch.

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PIC – Paul Hampartsoumian.

I caught up with Samm post show where he told me ” I’m influenced by so many genres of music and you can’t always express that on a recording, so when me and the band get together we let it all come out! i’m lucky enough to have an audience that responds to me so even for that i’m grateful, i think growing up in church has played a massive part in this, seeing the worship leader in tune with the congregation the connection between the two is just astonishing. I’m also not a huge fan of being sung at for hours, as an audience member i want to feel like i’m apart of what’s going on on stage & so i try to give the audience a bit of that myself.
My live band The Sound Experiment are all my mates, furthermore they’re all my brothers. I grew up with them so we’ve been around each other a long time and i think it shows on the stage too, i’m just fortunate that most of my closest friends are such amazing musicians”.

I congratulated him on representing for the British Nigerian community.

”I just think it’s one of those moments in history where a certain population or nation finds their niche, the brit invasion in the 60s, or the EDM movement that has dominated the charts recently! i guess its just Africa’s time!”

Samm is playing numerous live festival dates this summer – catch him while you can.

PREEYA KALIDAS KUPIDKALIDAS

Finally I popped into BBC starship enterprise New Broadcasting House to appear on BBC Asian Network presenter (actress) Preeya Kalidas radio show in her segment titled Kupid Kalidas where listeners send in their love issues for us to advise on. This week we helped lovers who needed to tell their partner they had bad breath, refused to watch romantic films and were slow in making the first move after a few dates.
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JASMINE VISITS BBC ASIAN NETWORK TO APPEAR ON HOST PREEYA KALIDAS’ ”KUPID KALIDAS” PANEL.

Our panel was kept in check by show host Preeya, who is multi talented (She is a singer, TV, film and stage actress) and the former EastEnders actress, who played Amira Masood in the soap, is also currently starring as Pinky in the West End theatre production of Bend it like Beckham and played Monica in the original 2002 film version. Preeya has also had roles in films including East is East, Bollywood Queen and Bombay Dreams. Her show features a variety of names like Reggie and Bollie, Ray Panthaki, Jay Sean and more.

My fave person on Kupid Kalidas is the very elderly ‘’auntie-gee’’ who also sits on her love panel Kupid Kalidas. She was the perfect wise foil to my frivolous diva love demands. After all, she has been happily wed for 57 years compared to my zero. She is total gold!

The results were hilarious. Catch Preeya’s show every Saturday from 1-3pm on BBC ASIAN NETWORK.

Sony Music Sign 2nd African Star – ALIKIBA – To Global Music Deal.

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Tanzania music star Alikiba signs global record deal with Sony Music on May 19th.

Today Sony Music Entertainment announced their 2nd major Artist signing in Africa with East African act Alikiba.

There was much excitement in African and European afrobeats music circles last year, by their first major signing to the major label who was West African act Davido, from Nigeria.

This is a big story in the afrobeats genre expanding internationally story and was announced today from the Sony Music Entertainment African Headquarters in South Africa. Several of the major pan African media attended to capture the announcement including the major Pan African Broadcasters —MTV, SoundCity, Trace TV, Channel O, EATV, Clouds, etc.

Alikiba flew in from Tanzania to South Africa and was followed by a dedicated film crew who are documenting his story as frenzied fans and reporters captured the moment.

Alikiba talked to a very exclusive intimate audience through his beginnings, his life, his inspirations as an artist, his successes, and introduced a video about the ‘Making of and Behind the Scenes’ of his new single and music video, building up to a personal listening session of his latest single ‘AJE’ and the new music video that premiered on MTV.

Alikiba is a superstar across East Africa and vast parts of the African continent as ‘The King of Bongo Flava’ and his hashtag #KingKiba is a weekly trend across various African countries and has been for the past few years without any signs of slowing down. Alikiba is the only artist in East Africa that has maintained a top 10 media trend profile over the past 2 years and he has a vast army of extremely passionate and loyal fans base ranging from every day people to the Ministers and Presidents of countries.

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Sean Watson, Managing Director of Sony Music Entertainment Africa says of the development: “Sony Music Entertainment recently announced several key strategic steps that we’d taken in Africa including new operations in Nigeria and the signing of high profile West African artists. We also mentioned that we’d be making similar inroads in East Africa. Well here we are, at the dawn of our East African journey and who better to start it with than an artist of the stature of Alikiba. We’re very proud of being able to partner with such a talented individual and can’t wait to get started on sharing his music with his fans all over the world.”

“My partnership with Sony Music in addition to my already very successful partnership with my management team at ROCKSTAR4000 now completes the team, and solidifies the most powerful proposition and team to take my music to even greater heights, to new audiences and fans across borders and across the world. I’m really excited in the future of music from the African continent as its now the time for the amazing music and sounds from Africa to take over the world, and I’m excited on where this amazing partnership will be able to take my music now to fans across the continent and across the planet. Alikiba commented.

Paul Thackwray, Marketing Director for Sony Music Entertainment Africa added, “Amplifying Alikiba’s already significant digital footprint, extending the reputation and impact of this great East African artist career via his music content across the continent and into the world, is a truly exciting opportunity for us”.

“We are very passionate and close to Alikiba and his amazing talent, we are very excited about his future and there is no stopping his chart success, his music, his commitment and passion and without doubt no better partner that mirrors these values and objectives than the amazing team at Sony Music” added Christine ‘Seven’ Mosha, Head of Talent and Music at ROCKSTAR4000.

His first single, “AJE”, will be released through Sony Music Entertainment Africa.

Follow Alikiba at:
Instagram — @OfficialAlikiba
Twitter — @OfficialAlikiba
Facebook — @OfficialAlikiba
SnapChat — OfficialAlikiba
Official Hashtag:
#KingKiba

Afrobeats and African music acts are being A Listed on radio playlists all across the UK and the genre is seeing huge growth with British DJ’s like Abrantee and Neptizzle who are championing the music genre via afrobeats karaoke’s , afrobeats concerts and more.

7 Things You Need To Know About Journalists (Via MyNewsDesk)

Journalists face many frustrations in their working lives, which can affect the way they work with PR and communication professionals. In February 2016, Mynewsdesk surveyed more than 2,000 journalists in nine countries and found seven key facts that could help you to better understand your press contacts. Here are the seven things you need to know in order to work well with journalists:

1. Journalists never have enough time
The biggest frustration facing today’s journalists is a lack of time. Almost half of the respondents to the Mynewsdesk survey said that time pressures are their biggest frustration. Publications want to get news out as quickly as possible, which means that journalists have to work fast. Therefore, you need to be ready to respond rapidly to journalists’ questions and requests for more information.

2. They’re frustrated by stories that aren’t relevant
Every time you pitch a story to one of your press contacts that isn’t relevant to their publication, you cause frustration. Around a quarter of the journalists who responded to Mynewsdesk’s survey feel more irritated by irrelevant story pitches than any other aspect of their job. When you pitch a story to your press contacts, try to include an angle that makes it relevant for their publications.

3. Their publications want in-depth reporting
Although journalists are constantly under pressure from deadlines, the biggest priority for publications is in-depth reporting that generates interest among readers. To create this kind of report, journalists must seek out supporting information to strengthen their stories. They may need to ask you for information beyond the initial press release, so have extra details and documentation at the ready!

4. Journalists publish on numerous channels
The average journalist publishes content across three channels, which can be time-consuming. The three most common channels are print media, online-news websites and Facebook, with Twitter as a close fourth medium for publishing. Some journalists also publicise through YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat. This multi-channel approach means that both journalists and PR personnel have to carefully consider the readership on each platform and tailor their stories accordingly.

5. They’re creating more content than ever on tight deadlines
Three quarters of the journalists in the 2016 Mynewsdesk survey have tighter deadlines and more demands for content compared to five years ago. This fact presents an opportunity for PR and communication professionals, who can respond to journalists’ need for a constant stream of new stories. However, it also means that journalists you’re contacting must be able to communicate quickly with their sources in order to meet their deadlines.

6. Journalists are shifting toward shorter stories
It’s true; 59% of journalists say their stories have become shorter during the last five years. In 2014, the Associated Press advised journalists to keep all but the top news stories between 300 and 500 words. Modern readers, particularly those reading on mobile devices, are turned off by longer stories. This trend for keeping it brief means that journalists must write efficiently, trimming away extra words to maintain the quality of their stories without going over the word count. That’s why your publicists should embrace brevity to make stories more appealing to journalists.

7. They face greater demand for visual content
An overwhelming 85% of journalists claim that demand for visual content is growing. Journalists must source images and videos to support their stories. The shift from print media to online news allows journalists to use video footage in their reporting, creating a richer media experience for their readers. Consider providing video content to journalists along with typical text-based press releases.

It is vital for communicators and PR professionals to understand the challenges journalists face so they can work effectively together to create and publish better stories.

Jasmine’s Juice – Namibian Annual Music Awards 2016 – meet the stars!

The hip-hop monster has spread its tentacles all around the world and the African continent is ready to explode with talent. Many African countries now have their own big annual music awards and Namibia is one of the continents leading nations for about-to-blow rap and R&B artists as well as local stars.

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The 6th Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMA”s) took place this past fortnight in Namibia’s capital city Windhoek at the Ramatex Arena. Put on by the incredible Rockstar4000 publishing and production team with their sponsors NBC and MTC, the staging at the NAMA’s, blue carpet pre-show, and digital streaming across the African continent to 400 MILLION VIEWERS and shows Africa is in many ways ahead of the entertainment game.
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THE NAMA BLUE CARPET.

Namibia is a country in the south west of the African continent next to South Africa and a dream location for safari, nature, wildlife, majestic filmic landscapes (that Star Wars shoots have happened in)….but its also much more than that.

It’s a country with an array of immense music talent, and its young hip-hop inspired artists who have grownup on a diet of American rap, are now representing their culture via hip-hop pizzazz with a truly unique Namibian twist. The Namibian annual music awards exist to recognise accomplishments in the Namibian recording industry by celebrating those groups and individuals who have excelled in the past year and boy do they excel!

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JASMINE ON THE BLUE CARPET FASHION PANEL PRE NAMA SHOW!

I’ve been attending for the past three years as an international judge and award presenter and as ever, the sheer world-class standard of both the show and performers blew me away. With a huge stage, striking set, incredible graphics and lighting as well as huge screens and camera cranes, this was one expensive, well-organized event, and one that surpassed expectations. I’ve been to many award shows around Africa and I have never seen one being delivered like this years’ NAMA’s.

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JASMINE CO PRESENTING THE BEST ALBUM AWARD AT THE 2016 NAMA AWARDS.

With an industry awards on the Friday night to recognize DJ’s, pluggers, journalists and more, and the main event happening on Saturday night, both nights of the ‘blue carpet’ event were televised live on Namibian TV on main broadcast sponsor NBC who had a buzzing red carpet crew, which streamed online throughout.

Hundreds of music lovers both local and regional flew in for the NAMAs. It was also attended by Ministers and political leaders, who spoke about how proud they were that Namibian music was starting to get a wider regional recognition around the continent.
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Many of the songs were sung in local dialect, which made the show feel authentic, and kept their heritage, culture and traditional elements strong. The costumes, language and fashion showed no compromise to western pressure and customs.

The infectious beats pumping out of Africa in 2016 are something that the world cannot ignore. A sound so popular and specifically African conjures up the term Afrobeats. The Afrobeats genre is getting steady airplay in the UK, and with acts like Beyonce and more including African nods within their art, its only a matter of time before African names are as household as the rest.

Way back in 2014 we were seeing more Western superstars seeking out African talent and wanting to become a part of this addictive music phenomenon. This movement was internationally recognised when Kanye West signed Nigerian acts Dbanj and Don Jazzy to his G.O.O.D music label in 2011. Big brand names like BET and MTV include international African music categories in their awards too, so we should really sit up and take notice.

Just look at a few of the names you know who are collaborating with African acts;

Fuse and Sean Paul:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfCa82j0h_E -

Dbanj and Kanye West:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuyxLYeoVqk -

P Square and Rick Ross:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY2H2ZP56K4 -

Timaya ft Sean Paul:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4tWUJKiT1MNigeria/Jamaica link up.

The Executive Chairman of the Namibian Annual Music Awards Tim Ekandjo told me “Namibia is rich with musical talent and the Namibian Annual Music Awards has become the medium to once a year provide a world class platform for the amazing Namibian talent across genres to come together on and to shine and showcase the best in music entertainment from Namibia to audiences across the world. NAMA provides Namibian artists not only with a world class stage but also as a window wrapped in world class production to showcase and bring their music alive in the best way possible to TV and digital media audience from all corners of the continent and the rest of the world, providing these artists with a platform that can take them as far as their music can take them. We are incredibly proud of our artists and the time has now come for them to travel to the far corners of the globe, as far as their music can take them, through NAMA as a catalyst and window to opportunity.”

So lets not sleep on this talent. You’ll blink one day soon and they’ll be taking over our parties, charts and hearts. Check out this years NAMA winners below and hear what they have to say about whether you can
rap in any of Namibia’s 11 plus languages and still be relevant to all your listeners? Why they feel zealously protective of their heritage and how much can they rely on American hip-hop before losing their own identity.

Quick ‘’get to know Namibia’s top music acts’ / winners 2016 ;

1-Gazza — ‘Radio Song of the Year’
2-The Dogg — ‘Song of the Year’, ‘Best House’, ‘Best Kwaito’
3-Chikune — ‘Best Female Artist of the Year’
4-Ann Singer — ‘Best Newcomer of the Year’, ‘Best Album of the Year’, ‘Best Afro Pop inclusive of Township Disco’, ‘Best R&B’
5-N.I.A. — ‘Best Gospel’, ‘Best Rap / Hip-Hop’
6-LMPC — Nominated for ‘Best Male Artist of the Year’, ‘Best Newcomer’, ‘Best R&B’
7-Big Ben — ‘Best Traditional’, ‘Best Male Artist of the Year’
8-HILIFA94- ‘Nominee for Best Rap Hip-Hop’

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GAZZA
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GAZZA PERFORMS AT THE 2016 NAMA AWARDS.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make. 

My name is Gazza and my music is a fusion between afro-house, dancehall, hip-hop and kwaito.

How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
I feel I represent Namibia hip-hop culture cos I spit bars and as long as you spit more that 16 bars that becomes hip hop (lol), and in my own way I’ve created my own style and that’s how I represent my culture and my upbringing that is Namibian hip hop.

How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music? 

My African heritage and Namibian heritage is everything that makes my music and me real. Its important – especially within the hip-hop culture – to stay real and authentic and then build a following and so our African heritage is what makes us niche and unique and that’s why its important that we stick to it.

What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out? 


Namibia is a very unique place with unique talents, it’s a small country but I believe that the talent that we produce in Namibia I believe is big enough to conquer the world so you better watch out.
My other favourite African artists are Davido and Whizzkid- these guys believe and have the passion of music in them strongly, and they have been pushing over the years and they strongly believe in putting their countries on the map so they inspire me a lot.

The world is a global village now and we all draw inspiration from each other, so you now are finding that American artists are coming back to their roots of African rhythms. Also, obviously hip-hop is a global movement and the culture and movement comes with certain responsibilities and claims of territories, so yes, in a way, we as African artists feel like we have to strike a balance between staying African but also being relevant to an international audience to consume your product, so it’s a tricky balance. People do complain if you sound too American and sometimes the local markets don’t really consume your product. So you have to strike a balance for local and international markets, this is why we sometimes mix our languages to have 50% local vernacular and 50% English.

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THE DOGG:
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THE DOGG PERFORMS AT NAMA 2016.

• Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make.

• The DOGG and I do kwaito
• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian hip-hop culture because it is unique and what I make is a brand New sound.
• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music? 

• It is important because it identifies who we are and by do so it keeps the culture alive for the young generation who should know where we came from.
• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind? 


• It was in 97 when I moved to Windhoek from the village, I got introduced to Tupac’s music and his message was real.
• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out? 


• Namibian musicians are talented and have something fresh to offer the world. My favourite that you should check out In Africa Is Willis and in Namibia it is Young-T.

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CHIKUNE:
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CHIKUNE ACCEPTS HER 2016 NAMA AWARD.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make.

My name is Colleen Hedwig Leitner. My Stage Name is Chikune. My music is a fusion of Urban, Pop and R&B.
• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian hip hop culture because, as a culture of self-expression and in another context a lifestyle that requires serious talent, I have managed to embody the very essence it so deserves, my music is for the masses and like the efforts of the original hip hop movement it breaks the barriers of social class in my era. RnB has also shaped my art greatly inspired by Mary J Blige. This very same culture provides for the likes of me, the under represented an outlet and possible exposure globally.
• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• No music is understood or accepted by society without thorough acknowledgement or understanding of its heritage. Keeping my African heritage strong within my music makes my music real and honest, it is an aspect that defines who I am and if withheld is dishonest to myself and to the rest of the world. My home country forms the basis of my fans. Their support is pivotal to my growth. I will be their ambassador out there in the world so to speak and I want to make them proud.
• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind?
• I grew up with peers who shared similar musical fads and we would meet up to compare lyrics we had jotted from songs we all loved and listened to over and over. Memorably are punishments my parents would direct at me. According to them I was messing the walls in my room from pasting up hip-hop memorabilia on my walls that I would cut up from magazines. Little did they know that I had a date with destiny and a future in music (lol)! Artist that have left an historical impression are the likes of Tupac Shakur, MC Lyte, Mary J Blige and Eminem. An event that will remain etched in my mind is the Tupac Shakur-Notorious B.I.G rivalry and feud, which led to the deaths of two very powerful musical icons.
• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• Namibian musicians embrace their strong cultural values and use their music and artistry as a conduit to express the same and as a tool of communication. I can also say that the musical talents in Namibia can be equaled to many acts across our borders. We have an immeasurable collection of talent. Locally I immensely appreciate Ann Singer and Gazza.

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ANN SINGER:
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ANN SINGER ACCEPTS HER AWARD AT THE 2016 NAMA’S

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make?
My name is Ann Singer and I do Afro Pop, R&b and a little bit of jazz
• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• “I represent Namibian hip hop culture because I try to make music that Namibian people understand and relate to with a beautiful Namibian feel….”
• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• It is very important to me because I want the Namibian music feel that has been created to stay alive and for the people to adapt to it.
• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American?
• There is always a lot of tension because when you try to make music that sounds too American people feel you are trying too hard and you are not original enough.
• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Hip-Hop?
• Growing up I listened to a lot of music on radio. The likes of 2pac and the likes of Backstreet Boys and Westlife
• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• The Namibian music scene is growing at a very fast pace with a lot of very talented musicians and entertainers. My favorite African act will have to be Mtukuzi from Zimbabwe and I think the world should really check him out.

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N.I.A.:
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N.I.A ACCEPTS HIS 2016 NAMA AWARD.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make?
• My name is N.I.A it stands for nonchalant in action basically meaning cool under pressure, not too much fazes me. I make socially conscience music that touches on our everyday struggles and relays a strong message of hope

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian hip hop by having very unique Namibian sounds or any instruments that are commonly use in our local music added to our beats plus I also use hip hop to tackle issues which are effecting our nation.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• It is very important for me to keep my Namibian/African heritage strong in my music because I represent Namibia, I represent Africa, I want the world to notice our unique sounds, cultures and to enjoy our amazing talents.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American?
• I don’t believe that there is a tension, I believe hip-hop is universal the culture, the music and the movement. Once u have the love for it, it’s relatable in any language or culture.

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Hip-Hop?
• My earliest memories are listening to Tupac albums (Thug Life, Tupacalipse and Me against the World); these albums completely changed the way I listened to music and gave me the undying love I have for hip hop music. I saw the power and influence hip-hop has if used in the way it was intended which is to spread positive messages and give hope.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• Namibian musicians work very hard and have a passion that’s unmatched for music; music is a very big part of our cultures. We have so many genres of music, which completely influence each other. We study music and understand the history of music…. Artist I think you should look out for are DESMOND and CHIKUNE

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LMPC:
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LMPC.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make?
My name is LMPC. The music I make is a blend of Rap, RnB and Afro-pop. Sometimes I make songs that include all 3 genres and other time I make songs with these genres respectively. It’s a new sound, it’s my sound.

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian Hip Hop culture because the content in my music is based on my experiences as a Namibian and a Namibian artist. Also I’m bringing a new style of Hip Hop, a more emotional and personal one. A new wave of hip hop culture to represent in Namibia.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• Very important, but it’s hard. I’ve somewhat lost my Namibian heritage and I need to bring it back. But first I need to find and embrace it in my personal life and then it will reflect in my music, so that I have a more informed perspective and way of presenting it to the world.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American?
• Not really, I’ve created this balance between the two. I have these alter egos in my music. For example, “Brownskincoco”. Brownskincoco is the African voice in my music that uses African tones and accents when singing and rapping. Whereas LMPC is more American with African content, like instead of saying the N-word, I would say jita(s), which means guy(s).

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Hip-Hop?
• For me it was Tupac, my dad would play his music when I was younger and what really got my attention was how he was a gangster rapper but he still showed so much emotion. That’s the main reason I started rapping, to talk about my feelings because there was no one to listen to them, and through music there was/is more people to listen to my feelings.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• The world needs to know that we are coming. Coming to tell our stories, we’re coming to showcase all the hidden talent that we have. My other favorite African acts are Kalux, Jaleel and Stxzo to name a few.

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BIG BEN:
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BIG BEN ACCEPTS HS 2016 NAMA AWARD.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make. 

Big Ben was born Venaune Ben Kandukira. His music is a blend of ethnic rhythms and melodies fused with popular sounds from the rest of the African continent and the world. He draws not just inspiration but makes an effort to directly interpret traditional music of various Namibia tribal sounds to create a unique Namibian form of Afro-Fusion and Afro-Pop.

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian urban culture because I integrate urban popular music with tribal chants, forms of praise singing and uses local languages to provide the world with a unique blend that stays true to a Namibian identity while blending in with urban popular trends.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• Every other sound in the world right now has been done and recycled already. As an African musician I believe that our ethnic rhythms and poetry is the only forms of music that has not fully been explored yet and would therefore be the freshest sound for the world. Music is a language used to communicate a people’s ideas, fears and aspirations and therefore only your own original sound can transmit those ideas accurately. I do not believe anybody would respect what you do if you have no clear identity to present.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American? 


• There is no tension between African and American musical culture. It is clearly evident that both cultures borrow from each other and this fusion has produced some of the most successful music in history. What we are experiencing is distance and space, and event that is slowly disappearing as musicians try to breakdown artificial borders to join in one song. What looks like tension is an energy pushing and fusing all cultures into one to eventually create a harmony.

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind?
• My generation grew up in a lucky world of music from all corners of the world on radio, television and now the Internet. I grew up the music of African singers such as the Kutis in Nigeria, Salif Keita, Stimela, Bob Marley, Ray Charles, Jackson Kauyeua, Johny Clegg, James Brown, Cesária Évora and many more. Even at that point it was clear that music was a tool to transmit ideas for a loving and caring society. I remember music being used to plead for peace, for the independence of nations from other cruel nations, for a crime free society and for the rights of those robbed of the most basic needs. I remember music as the language of the gods.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?


• Namibia might be only known to be a scenic paradise and the last animal kingdom but it is also the last frontier in musical and cultural expressions. With over 11 tribes with strongly diverse musical expressions it certainly should draw the eye for any musician looking for an injection of fresh ideas. Namibian musicians strongly emphasize their own rhythms and language and this presents the world with a unique type of entertainment. Without much help, they have gone on to compete and collaborate with musicians from the African, Europe the Americas and the Caribbean Islands.

• Namibian stars such Erna Chimu, Gazza, Elemotho, The Dogg, Ras Sheehama, Big Ben and many more have graced international events and have gotten accolades where ever they appeared. Look deeper and you will realize that many stars are already invading airwaves across Africa and the world such as JBlack, Ann Singer, Chikune, Exit, Paradox, KK, Desmond and many others are just ready to shine when the window opens. They are hard working people who simply need an opportunity to show what they have to offer.

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HILIFA94: — Nominee for Best Rap Hip-Hop
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• Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make. 

• The name is Hilifa 94, born Hilifa-Vali Lisias Uusiku on 9 Jan, 1994. I make hip hop/rap and conscious trap.

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian Hip hop culture because I’m a son of the soil and I rap about topics that the average modern African person can relate to. When I rap, I reflect a picture of freedom, which is the base on which our fore fathers built this country.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music? 

• It is very important as it keeps me close to my identity. However, sometimes it is also important to adopt a variety of universal sounds in order to give your sound a diverse personality, this will also help to broaden your audience.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American? 


• The tension is definitely there. But personally, my influence has always been from America hip-hop. My music has always been a reflection of my everyday life, the way i grew up, what I observed growing up, the sounds I grew up to and the character’s that inspired me to start rapping. Even thou I incorporate African sounds and slang in some of My songs, My music will always have a more American influence because that was the sound that molded me into Hilifa94.

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind? 


• I started listening to Hip hop in an era where the original boom-bap sound together with that gangster feel was still relevant. I remember bumping my older brothers’ hip hop album collection, with albums such as Tupacs’ All eyes on me, Dr Dre’s Chronic 2000, D12′s Devils night and Eminem’s Marshal Mathers Lp, I just fell in love with Hip hop. The beats were crazy and the style was just fresh.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out? 


• Namibian music has so much potential; our musicians are diamonds in the rough. There is so much raw talents that need to be refined. Sometimes I feel like most of the world is still sleeping on Namibian music because we haven’t really proved ourselves on an international level yet. But I feel like we have reached a point where we are ready to take on the international scene and it’s only a matter of time before we finally blow up. My favourite African musicians that I think the world should watch out for are Aka, Gazza, Nasty-C and Patoranking, These musicians have the Juice.

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Jasmine’s Juice – Jodie Abacus, a big, about-to-blow, refreshing London Soul Sound.

It’s a breath of fresh air to hear south Londoner Jodie Abacus’ new music.
jodie abacus
JASMINE WITH JODIE ABACUS.

We’ve been bombarded with some amazing raw grime and hip hop this past few years from the London music scene but where has the R&B and soul gone? Did it really die?
How refreshing it is to hear new R&B coming out of south London. With so much focus on grime and rap in recent years it’s nice to see happy, dancey, classic, soul music back on the forefront of youth culture…after all, we cant all be serious all the time or we’ll be really depressed.

Well Jodie Abacus music reminds me of all my fave acts rolled into one….Pharrell, Stevie Wonder, Kool and the gang and more.
His Singles – She’s in love with the weekend and Good Feeling are big jams!
His infectious, melodic song hooks are real feel-good music that just makes me wanna dance and smile.
jodie a pic

I caught up with him at BBC Radio 1 studios this week and he revealed that his album’s coming out around September this year, so keep a listen out for that and check him out on the usual soundcloud and spotify platforms. He’s got a few really exciting live summer dates coming up (that I’ve been forbidden to mention), and although he’s been touring solidly for months is still loving it and misses being on a road!

His first big break was his song ‘’I’ll be that friend’’, which had musical tastemakers and key influencers all buzzing about him had me hooked.

I spotted him on soundcloud and spotify early, and then checked out his videos on YouTube. I loved his Roundhouse gig! He clearly loves paying musical instruments, I can see Alicia keys and John Legend in their with old classic sounds with a modern London twist.

Jodie released his debut single ‘Good Feeling’ on Household in June. Less than a year later, South London’s fastest rising talent announced that he’s currently working with Bristol house legend, Julio Bashmore, as well as preparing to embark on a European support tour with fellow neo-soul icon Jamie Woon this spring. With a recent sold-out London show and key support from the likes of Stereogum, Noisey, The Fader as well as Annie Mac, 6Music’s Lauren Laverne and 1xtra tastemaker MistaJam, Jodie has cemented his status as not just a key player in London’s bourgeoning “future funk” movement, but also as one of 2016’s most infectious new stars.

One of the most exciting new artists to emerge from the UK of late, South-London based singer Jodie is a complete breath of fresh air. With a penchant for marrying up-tempo funk rhythms with a twist of modern soul, the singer has been hailed by the likes of i-D, SPIN, Stereogum, Complex, Noisey and more as one of the leading new voices in London’s “future soul scene”. With only a handful of tracks released so far, Jodie has managed to not only top the likes of Hype Machine, but has already won wide-spread support at radio from BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra, with single ‘Good Feeling’ winning the latter’s illustrious ‘Record of the Week”.

Also, I Love that he’s called Jodie ‘’Abacus’’- I can already see journalists writing hundreds of cheesy, fun headlines about ‘’adding up the chart hits’’, ‘’counting on him to bring back soul’’.
We’re counting on you son!

Jasmine’s Juice – Jay Sean – The Comeback King!


Jay Sean is the comeback king.
I’ve known him for years, from way back when he started as a rapper in a duo called ‘’Compulsive Disorder’ in Southall- yes really- to his MTV solo R&B singer days, to his UK signing at a label, to his UK departure from his label, to his American international big signing, to that departure, but like a phoenix that roses from the flames you can never hold passion and ambition down.

JD JS
JASMINE WITH JAY SEAN.

This fortnight he flew back home to the UK with his gorgeous wife (who’s a power player in the fitness game herself!), and their young daughter, to see his family and reconnect with the UK’s media. For a whole week he was everywhere from Radio 1, Capital, TV, radio, print press, blogs, vlogs and more. This guy’s team has his media game tight.

His single MAKE MY LOVE GO , that’s all over the radio and online currently is a duet with Sean Paul, a cover of the old Maxi Priest classic ‘’close to you’’. We caught up with Jay to get the lowdown on new music.

‘’Make My Love Go is a song that I wrote probably about 8 months ago now and it was a song that came about because that day I happened to be listening to… I was just having a little party in my car on the way to the studio, I happened to listen to a lot of old bashment, reggae, dance hall records from here and I just felt some type of wave when I got into the studio: I was like man that music was so sick like, I would love to use like a little vibe like that in one of my songs so I went into the studio and I said: guys we’re doing a dancehall record today. They were like dance – ok. I was like: no lets make it sexy and lets make people move. So of course by the time it was finished, we were like oh man I should totally give this to Sean right now. So I called up Sean Paul and I was like: Sean, I think we got another one bro, I really got a good feeling about this one. And that’s it, he loved it, he hopped straight onto it and next thing you know its my next single!’’.

Of course over the last couple of years, I haven’t just been at home twiddeling my thumbs, I’ve been in the studio like a mad man, but just silently getting on with it. Just creating different vibes, different feelings, I’m trying to create songs that can be timeless so they are not based on something that is hot right now. And that’s really a hard thing to do so I’ve been writing songs like that and I have a tonne of stuff like that, so you can expect a lot more music from me.

Regards Jay’s upcoming new album he didn’t give much away ‘’You know I’m a fan of collaborations and so definitely some really cool names and maybe some unexpected names in there too and nothing sadly that I can tell you about now’’.

WITH ZAYN MALIK AND NAUGHTY BOY CONTINUEING TO FLY THE FLAG FOR ASIAN ACTS IN THE MAINSTREAM WORLDWIDE, HOW DOES THAT FEEL?

I’m so proud every time I see a brown faced do something in music right now and not because I’m trying to like, not on a racial thing, but more for a case of how hard it was for me to try and break down a few stereotypes and all those things that held me back from being an artist. We are in a day and age now where I think people look past a lot of that. Everybody knows what Asians are like, we know that Asians do more than just studying hard and we know Asians can go out on dates without having to get married to them. We know all of these things, we know Asians can be funny, we know Russel B. all these people, Aziz and Sari, we’ve seen a lot of people come forward and we know that Asians can see and produce music, they’ve seen me do it, they’ve seen Zayne Malik do it, they’ve seen Naughty Boy do it, Richie Rich, we all have had a lot of commercial success so every time I see them doing it, it just makes me proud, it makes me happy. The same way that Asians feel proud of me when I came up, is the same pride I feel for people like Zayn.

SO WHAT ABOUT THE ASIAN LADIES…?

I’ve been asked so many times why aren’t there more asian female artists in the music industry, in the mainstream music industry and I don’t think there is any one answer, you can’t say because their not good looking enough, that’s not true, Sonna Rele is gorgeous; it’s not because they can’t sing, she can sing her arse off more than anybody else can but she’s pretty much the only person I can name, that I know who’s off my radar and that’s because A I know her personally and B she got signed to Neyo but I don’t know why there’s not more. I don’t know why, I know that there’s girls out there who can sing amazingly, like I said, they look great, they can dance, they can do all of that, maybe it just really comes down to the song, honestly I’ve just said it comes down to the song. The reason why I’m back is because people like my new song, I could come back with a song that they don’t like that much and they’ll be like: oh I don’t know.
But I think you just have to connect.

ONE BIG MUSIC GENRE THAT’S BLOWN UP IN THE UK SINCE YOU’VE BEEN LIVING IN THE USA IS AFROBEATS…..

Afrobeats doesn’t exist in New York, Afrobeats doesn’t exist in America, it exists in certain parts of LA and certain parts of New York. The cool hipster places they know what’s up, just like they also know about the grime scene but on a mainstream level, it doesn’t. What I’m always trying to do to be honest with you is to push that forward. I have songs that if they pop off in America that will put England on the map on a whole other way and that’s what I’m trying to do, is moving a scene forward. That would be the biggest achievement for me if I could do that

RECENTLY THERES BEEN TALK OF MANY MUSIC ACTS OR CELEBRITIES CULTURALLY APPROPRIATING…..FOR EXAMPLE BEYONCE WEARING INDIAN COSTUME IN COLDPLAYS VIDEO, MILEY CYRUS SUPPOSEDLY INVENTING TWERKING AND THE KARDASHIANS INVENTING ‘’BOXER BRAIDS’’….IS IT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION OR CELEBRATING CULTURES?

I am all for anything that is entertaining, because at the end of the day the world that we live in right now is all about entertainment, it really is. And it used to be about talent first in this industry but it’s not that so much now because like I said if we have a got a 100 great singers, what sets them all apart? If there is some odd particular reason because he or she is quirky or they’ve got a good fashion sense or because they do this and they bring this culture into their thing, great I’m all for it. I’m all for expression, that’s it. Whatever, if you can pull that off and that’s really you, good luck to you.

SO MANY INTERNATIONAL MUSIC ACTS SEEM TO BE LOOKING TO THE UK FOR MUSICAL INSPIRATION THESE DAYS, HOW MUCH RESPECT DO YOU THINK BRITISH HIPHOP AND R&B GETS ABROAD?

Hip Hop and RnB scene grow and blossom. I can’t even tell you, when I started off in the music industry, I started off as a rapper when I was 14/15 years old, I started off as a rapper and people were like there is no scene man as a rapper. There was Black Twang, there was BB1, there was Funky DL, there weren’t hardly any acts, it didn’t exist and now all of the sudden we’ve got a whole scene it’s amazing, it’s incredible. And the thing about that scene, they’re not trying to be like Drake, they’re not trying to be like Future, they might listen to all of that. They do their own thing, that’s why it exists and that’s why it’s working because they stay true to themselves and that’s it. And that’s that is what I love about it.

ONE THING THAT WE ARE LAUGHING ABOUT NOW IS LYRICAL CONTENT AND UNDERSTANDING. WITH ACTS LIKE YG, FUTURE AND RIHANNA’S LATEST HIT ‘’WORK’’ ALL BEING CATCHY YET BARELY COMPREHENSIABLE IS IT ALL ABOUT THE HOOK AND MELODY- DO WE CARE ABOUT SONG WORDS ANY MORE?

I can tell you Michael Jackson is the perfect example, can anybody tell me what he says in: don’t stop till you get enough. Nobody knows. They don’t know but he’s just a vibe, he’s just singing, it’s a vibe. Nobody knows what he’s saying. Nobody knows what Future is saying ever! Nobody knows what Young Doug is saying ever! And until I covered work, none of my friends knew what Rihanna was saying either, but I heard work and immediately I was like that’s a smash, and I knew it because it’s a vibe and also it depends on the kind of song, all of those songs, what are they? They’re not ballads, they’re not songs you want to pay attention to and listen to the lyrics, they are tunes that you can dance to. So when you’re in a club and you’re drunk and the music coming on, you’re moving, you aint going like: oh my god, what a beautiful sentiment. You don’t go like: Oh did you hear what he said. You’re not thinking like that! You’re like aaeh yeah let’s go boom boom boom and that’s it, its just fun and you’re going with the vibe, so in those kind of songs, I don’t think lyrics matter. I’ve written songs with the most generic lyrics in the world but I did that intentionally because I knew that song didn’t need a deep sentiment, it just meant that people want to sing something and have fun, then I write other songs that are deep sentiments and ballads that will make you cry if you listen to the lyrics, that’s when its important.

Jay Sean is a big champion of his London hometown, so to end, we hit him with some quick faire London love questions.

WHERE IS THE FIRST PLACE YOU GO TO WHEN YOU FLY BACK TO LONDON?
First place I have to go back to when I land in London, standard is my mum and dad’s house, there is no way on earth I could land here and not go and see my mum and dad first. Because A I’m Indian and B that means (SLAP) around the face: How are you going to come to England and not see your mum?
So of course I have to go and see my mum and she will give me some nice Indian tea and make me a nice little omelette and do everything else I need to get done. Any clothes that I need. It’s beautiful. I miss them man, they are my only family.

TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP IN LONDON.
I was born in Hillingdon and I grew up in Southhall and then moved to Hounslow but I went to school in Hammersmith, Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, so it was very important that was being able to growing up in that area where it is very Asian in terms of its demographic but then going to school with non-Asians so that way, look you’re growing up with all walks of life that is very very important to me, to be able to get on with different people that it’s important.

THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE LONDON EATERIES?
Favourite restaurant or best meal, depends, I love going out, eating out in Knightsbridge, Kensington places like that, I’m actually going to Nobu tonight, so I do really like Nobu, Hakkassan, is also a big favourite of mine, Maroush, any Maroush restaurant I like.

FAVE LONDON SPOT TO RELAX IN WITH PALS?
In London definitely again I probably go down to Edgware Road, have some shisha, get a little drink and wine out over there.

IF YOU COULD LIVE IN ANY LONDON BUILDING WHICH WOULD IT BE?
Really now it would be number one Hyde park, you can’t get any better than that.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE MAYOR FOR THE DAY?
If I was Mayor of London for the day, I know I would let everybody ride around on quad bikes and I think imagine how fun that would be with one of those quad bikes or go-karts. I’d get all the cars of the road and everybody can go round in go karts, that would be amazing, that’s been a dream of mine to be able to do that to be honest.

WHY IS LONDON THE BEST CITY IN THE WORLD?
The reason why I think London is so special and no one can really mess with it like that, is that we definitely have our own little vibe that only Londoners understand. Even when it comes down to London sense of humour or fashion or anything like that, it’s just us, it’s very typically a London English thing, it’s very unique.