INTERVIEW: Aubrey Banks aka The Fresh Prince – Lifestyle Engineer, Brand Architect, Style Composer, and A&R of Musicheads

Based in Atlanta and Los Angeles, Aubrey Banks aka The Fresh Prince, is a Lifestyle Engineer, Brand Architect, Style Composer, and the A&R of Musicheads. How did you get into the music industry? Aubrey Banks: Honestly by accident, I was a celebrity stylist and was styling a lot of major musicians, then decided to venture into music production and it worked. So how long have you been in the music industry? Aubrey Banks: I have been in the music industry for almost 16 years to date! Can you explain more about what you do with music production? Aubrey Banks: I

Aneessa – “Just to Be with You” – a silky edge and warm-blooded intimacy

I’m not the type to defend everything any of my favorite artists’ release, nor am I inclined to adore what does not impress, inspire or initiate emotional responses, but that simply does not apply to the latest release by Aneessa. Here she presents a smooth and colorful blend of instruments and voice, the jazz backdrop taking a soft but edgy and effective backseat to Aneessa’s vocals – sweet, soft, yet powerful and lyrically impressive. One of seven children with a wide range of musical tastes all around her, Aneessa was born in Saint-Étienne in eastern central France. Initially, she made

INTERVIEW: Rz Shahid – An Alternative Hip-Hop artist based out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota!

Rz Shahid is an Alternative Hip-Hop artist based out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota! Known for providing smooth flows with ear catching and even catchy lyrics over unique production. Being Vulnerable and being free is what’s provided into the groovy tunes. Rz is also one of the seven founders of the people’s protection coalition that runs a mutual aid service in Minneapolis. Plus his company Art Of Xanadu where he releases his music under and has his AOX clothing line. Rz has a hand in many creations, whether it’s his day job as a personal trainer or working on

THE JOHNSON PARTY DELIVER A SONG AND VIDEO FOR “CAN’T LET THE BASTARDS WIN”

AS MANY PEOPLE GRAPPLE WITH THE UPCOMING US ELECTION AND POLITICAL MOTIVATIONS THE JOHNSON PARTY DELIVER A SONG AND VIDEO FOR “CAN’T LET THE BASTARDS WIN” A SINGALONG ANTHEM FOR ALL While protest songs never went away, a worldwide awakening has created a need for more voices to rise, enter The Johnson Party a musical collective based out of the mountain ski town of Truckee, CA. At the height of the 2020 global pandemic and social unrest, while millions of people are risking their health and safety by waiting in long lines to cast their vote. The Johnson Party are

7 Lord – “Drop” – a melody-driven banger with a very good verses

7 Lord’s single, “Drop”, has everything to do with his wordplay and storytelling prowess. And even more to do with his flow and his voice: a deep, swollen and smooth resonance that quietly rumbles over the piano-driven and bubbling bass influenced soundtrack, with mellifluous grace, stringing together vowels and consonants until any one word can rhyme with any other word. 7 Lord’s baritone voice is perfectly fit for the sleek music that he came up with on “Drop”, and that is what makes this release much more than your average rap track. And also why 7 Lord’s name will soon

The Amatory Murder are proud to release ‘Room 208​’, the third single off their upcoming record ‘Singularity Complex’

The Amatory Murder are proud to release Room 208​, the third single off their upcoming record Singularity Complex.​ ​Room 208​ is shot by director Jonathan Rivera — who is no stranger to working with the band on their visual endeavors (Rivera attended high school with singer Christian Peppas aka Xian Murder and has been a go-to filmmaker over the years). This fun, sexy, short “horror-esque” film has Rivera taking an initial gritty, abstract idea and bringing it to life — this time pushing some boundaries. Really looking to think outside the box, the band also enlisted the services of longtime

YAGI – “How You Do That” – Turn up the volume and the roof will be levitating off your house!

The legendary city of Houston has produced a number of artists that will go down in history as hip hop pioneers, who helped expand rap music within the south. Currently coming out of Houston (TX), YAGI is an emerging artist born in New York, and who moved to Houston to play football at U of H. The production on YAGI’s latest single “How You Do That” consists of the same dramatic, emotional, somewhat dark, and banging sonic backdrop, fans have come to expect of rap’s new wave of artists. YAGI has a deep and resonant voice ready for hard-edged gangsta

Lokye – “Color Coated 2” – the sound of an artist evolving directly on record

Brian H Newman is an abstract artist from NYC who has been living and creating in Detroit since 2009. Graduated from CCS with BFA, he is the owner of Art Gallery Granny’s Chandelier in Hamtramck M.I. Primarily a mixed Media artist with a focus on figurative abstraction, and surrealist philosophy, when he switches his artistic gaze towards blending lyrics and instrumentals he takes on the moniker of Lokye. His album, “Color Coated 2”, pushes the genre forward musically, by looking back stylistically. The beats are extremely alternative and jazzy. It is not a hook-heavy record, instead this is hip hop

The 4PACK Ent. Music Group Presents MACKronyms – “Take Me Away” Video

The 4PACK Ent. Music Group Presents MACKronyms “Take Me Away” ft. Johnny Blk Reese as Heckle and Racci AK Ashy Knuckles as Jeckle. By and large, “Take Me Away” has the classic MACKronyms sound: a warm and crisp confluence of cinematic hip-hop, old school lyrical flows, and a modern soulful hook, all mixed and mastered impeccably. Here MACKronyms have once again captured the energy and depth that has made them such an important and inimitable act in the first place. Johnny Blk Reese and Racci AK Ashy Knuckles come with a sense of urgency, deep introspective thought, and camaraderie. It

PlantBassed – “Lambo” (Original Mix) – a banging combination of percussion, synths, and voices!

In most cases, EDM producers are reacting to what’s going on around them. On a basic level, some produce in line with trends, while others produce in contrast to them. Sometimes though it is possible that an artist as singular as PlantBassed is able to blend everything that’s going on in the electronic environment. And he can do it in one single project. Put another way, if you listen to the track “Lambo” (Original Mix), you’ll notice that there aren’t many producers out there making PlantBassed music – a rhythmic and frenzied banging combination of percussion, synths, and voices. The

Universal You: “Obsession”

‘Universal You’ are Paul FinnieGulzhan Ibraveya and Mark Grant, the band hail from Scotland, via Kazakhstan. Paul and Gulzhan first met in Kazakhstan when both were working in the oil business where they started writing songs together and performing for their co-workers and the locals. They have since recruited Mark Grant as the lead guitarist in the band and “Obsession ” is their latest album from which has been lifted the first single ‘Your Sin City’.

Paul wrote ‘Your Sin City’ in a hotel room in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, a city filled with beggars, prostitutes, oil tycoons, religion and sin; you have to go there to fully understand the meaning behind the song; but you may not want to. The single is a powerful, dark and brooding rock number and exhibits similarities with some of the music world’s most notorious and powerful female vocalists, from Garbage’s Shirley Manson through to Beth Ditto and PJ Harvey with a number of stops in between. The similarities are not limited to the recordings with the band’s notoriously explosive live shows showing that Gulzhan, augmented by Mark’s jaw dropping guitar work, can hold a crowd as well as any of her contemporaries.

One of the first gigs the band ever played was headlining a free outdoor concert in Kazakhstan, which was attended by more than 12,000 people; highlighting the cultural differences between Kazakhstan, where no bands ever play and the UK, where we are often spoiled for choice. Upon their return to Scotland, ‘Universal You’ (named after a song by ‘The Cult’) began to record some of the material they had written and performed a number of gigs across Scotland.

The 12 track album, “Obsession”, opens with “Find A Way” and the first band that came to my mind was Roxette. Maybe grittier and rougher around the edges, but Gulzhan’s voice and diction is uncannily similar to that of Marie Fredriksson, the Roxette singer. The song arrangement, of catchy choruses and guitar driven bridges, convinced me even further. Considering that Roxette knew exactly how to compose successful pop songs, having sold over 60 million copies. This is a damn good way to start off an album.

“Iskala” is the third track, and comes straight after the first single release “Your Sin City”. I fell in love almost instantly with this mid tempo track. I’m not sure if it was because of the intriguing Russian(?) language phrases, tastefully inserted into the verses, the insistant chorus line:”…you, you’re just like a dream..”, or the distintive reverberating guitar riffs provided by Mark Grant and Paul Finnie, which add a brilliant touch to the musical arrangement. This is how to produce a hit melody, and would have been my absloute first choice for a single and radio release!

“Obsession” passes by effortlessly without disturbing the rest of the album and brings you to “Mona Lisa”, with it’s sparkling guitar flourishes and hypnotic chorus line. Gulzhan drives the song along powerfully with her excellent vocals.

The electric-piano and synth dominated ballad “Cry Me A River” is Universal You’s version of the famous song by Justin Timberlake. Apparently Justin wrote this song about Britney Spears. In the song, the relationship goes bad because the girl cheated, and to get even, the boy makes sure that the girl finds out he’s moved on with his life. The girl gets upset, and “cries a river” because she screwed up and lost the boy forever…sound familiar anyone?

“The Answer” once again testifies that this band know how to compose catchy pop songs. Pleasant quieter verses and potent melodic choruses, wrapped-up with jangling guitars, handclaps and harmonies.

 

“The Things” rhythmically move the album along nicely towards the piano ballad“Colours” which promised so much on the opening notes, but never quite delivers what I’d been expecting from Gulzhan’s beautiful booming voice.

This partly depends on the famed production team headed by Michael Brennan, who on the whole, has done a splendid job producing this album. As a personal observation and nothing more, I would however, have expected the lead vocals on this specific track to be ‘drier’ and more upfront in the mix. Giving “Colours” and Gulzhan, an immediate intimacy with the listener instead of sounding corridors away. I would imagine that the choice of mix had deliberate intentions which I may be unable to interpret correctly. Maybe one day I’ll get the band’s opinion on this. This , however, in no way detracts from the general appeal of the album, which remains extremely high.

“Perfect” gets straight back onto the rock n’ roll track, with sassy guitar solos, driving rhythms and the typical Gulzhan vocal to get temperatures rising. This is the way I like myUniversal You. Straight. On the rock. Shaken, and not stirred.

Track 11 is an elaborate dance remix of “Your Sin City” while the album closes with“Coming Back For More”, another one of my favourites along with “Iskala”. It has an incessant rhythm riff which will keep you pinned to the dance floor. This powerfully modern mix could sit comfortably on the Billboard Top 100 charts, alongside Lady Gaga and the rest of the million-dollar sellers.

“Obsession” is an album that crosses many genres, from rock to pop and dance to electronica. Universal You are not only universal in their member line-up but in the sounds they produce as well.

Their songwriting is pinpoint accurate and catchy, while Gulzhan’s vocals are authentically delectable on the ear. The rest of the magic is conjured up by the wall-to-wall guitar sounds of Paul Finnie and Mark Grant, plus the straight down the line crunchy rhythmic arrangements. A great band beyond doubt.

VISIT UNIVERSAL YOU’S HOMEPAGE HERE

JOIN UNIVERSAL YOU ON FACEBOOK HERE

GRAB UNIVERSAL YOU SONGS ON ITUNES HERE

About The Author

Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.