J Photo: [Vocal Brunch + Navigation] with YahZarah

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Did you know there are certain brands of water that are better for vocalists than others? On Saturday, July 9, I attended a brunch with singer-songwriter YahZarah to talk all things vocals with an intimate group of music enthusiasts. Check out thecreativenomads.org to learn more about the events and resources Creative Nomads provides for arts professionals in the DMV area. You can find YahZarah on tour with Lenny Kravitz! Photo by Nocturnal Charm.

J Events: Andra Day Meet and Greet Hosted by Embassy Suites in Washington D.C.

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You know the saying, “When it rains it pours?” Well sometimes, a stranger is nice enough to open an umbrella — the gesture alone can get you through the storm.

A few weeks ago, I received a tweet from Homewood Suites. Because of my social media activity and blog coverage of Andra Day, I was chosen as a “surprise” social media winner of the #RiseUpRitual contest! As a winner, I was able to attend Andra’s concert at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, followed by an intimate meet and greet breakfast the next morning.

Embassy Suites staff, a few reporters, and, members of Andra’s team stood on the edges of the room as my fellow winners and I huddled at a table — all eyes on Andra. For almost an hour, she sat with us for an open, candid conversation about life, family and music.

I can’t fully articulate what an exciting and exhilarating experience it was — thank you again Embassy Suites for the opportunity!

__________________

Examiner | Andra Day tells her life story through music
Article includes photos from the event.

J Events: ColorComm Presents “How To Make It In the Entertainment Industry”

 

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My first ColorComm event did not disappoint. An estimated 40-50 eager young women, and a few young men, came to hear from an esteemed panel moderated by Mercy Chikowore, ColorComm’s D.C. Executive Director. The candid, thoughtful, and genuine dialogue ran for more than the allotted hour and a half, followed by lots of networking. Here are a few gems for those interested in breaking into the entertainment business:

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Photo via @lme_mktg.

One thing you should do…

Power Hour for Passion. Wendi Cherry suggested her own regime to attendees — dedicate one hour a day to work on your passion project. By setting a low threshold and finding a consistent time that works well, it will be easier to stick to the commitment.  

Two books you should read…

The Little Black Book by Jeffrey Gitomer

Hit Men by Fredric Dannen

Three fun facts you should know…

Maxwell, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Big Pun. Kuti Mack attributed the early success of these artists, in large part, to their ability to “break through” in the D.C. music market.

LA & NY are where it’s at. Though all of the panelists agreed it is possible to break into the media & entertainment industry in D.C., ultimately you should expect to spend some time in New York and L.A. to really establish yourself as an artist or industry professional.

$100. That is the cost of an annual Recording Academy membership with voting privileges. Although there are several requirements that must be met, and you have to apply and be accepted, there are many qualifying musicians and creatives of color who are not voting members of the academy. With the recent controversy surrounding diversity and opportunity in the industry, the Recording Academy continues to educate artists, students, and industry professional about the voting and membership rights available to them.

ColorComm is an organization founded in Washington, D.C., as an invite-only brunch series that has grown into a membership organization with chapters in cities across the country. In addition to members-only events, and the annual ColorComm conference, they also hold free events open to the public. Find more information at colorcommnetwork.com.

In-Stream Quote - Wendi Cherry - ColorComm

The Title Track to 2015: Unbreakable Smile

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Instead of my annual end-of-year reflection piece, I decided to let the music speak for me. I choose the track, “Unbreakable Smile” from Tori Kelly’s debut album because it perfectly personifies my year. There were many milestones — another year of ayminor.com, moving to a new city, my first apartment, a new job, 25 (!!) — but also the challenges in finding my true purpose in life.

That’s when I realized I wanna make a difference
Change other people’s lives, give hope, even for a moment
Use my name for good and change the game I could

Though everything hasn’t gone exactly according to plan, I am not discouraged — I am taking the lessons learned from my successes and failures to apply to my (new) master plan for 2016.

I can’t thank you all enough for your support, and I can’t wait to produce more (and better) content next year. Happy New Year’s Eve and cheers to changing the game in 2016!

J Events: Jojo Debuts New Song “I Am” at U Street Music Hall

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At the start of 2015, I had 6 goals. Seeing (and meeting) Jojo was one of them.

Two years ago that may have seemed impossible, but after a year of leg work under her new label Atlantic Records, Jojo has finally been able to get her career back on track. The artist formerly known as translucentbrownsugar went into full promo mode in August 2015 releasing new music, embarking on a international tour and prepping a new album for 2016.

I’ll be honest, when I first heard her three new singles (the #tringle III.), I was so distracted by the direction of her music I didn’t fully appreciate the EP for what it was. (I had hoped she’d maintain the urban/r&b influence from her early years, and I didn’t hear that in any of the singles.)

There was no greater confirmation than hearing the tracks live that musically Jojo is exactly where she needs to be. As she has evolved, so has the music and ultimately she is still serving transcendent messages that her fans can connect to — maybe more powerful than ever before.

If her near-perfect 45-minute set wasn’t enough (I sang EVERY word from the front row), it was her encore performance that was the nail in the coffin. Jojo performed “I Am,” a new record that may be the title track off her upcoming album. It blew me away and really struck a chord.

Though I wish I could teleport you all back to U Street Music Hall, we will have to settle for the footage below. Check it out, and support her album when they set the release date.

#TeamJojo Out.

When one of your favorite artists has an appreciation of a cappella music 😍. Jojo had a Ohio high school group join her for "Save My Soul," only wish the mics were working properly! If you can't get enough, check that out as well above.