J Reads: Ayminor.com Featured on xoNecole

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I was inspired by my third trip to the WEEN Awards to write my first contributor piece for xoNecole.com with helpful tips for networking as an introvert. Please read, like, share — support!

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J Quote: 60 Seconds with Candice Nicole of Candice Nicole PR

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Candice Nicole, owner of pr boutique Candice Nicole Public Relations, poses with recording artist Von Vargas as she receives an award for her contributions to the music and entertainment space. Find a full recap of In My Own Lane here. Photo via @kelvinjstudios.

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J Events: Baltimore Recording Artist Hosts “In My Own Lane,” an Event for Creatives Who “Fit Out”

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On Friday, October 21, Baltimore recording artist and producer Von Vargas hosted an event for local creatives who are paving their own way in the music and arts space.

Ever since growing up on the Westside of Baltimore, Vargas (né Von Smith) has always felt he was in his own lane—choosing the arts over the pressure to conform to the conventions of his urban environment. As he has grown as an artist, producer, DJ, host, and creative services professional, he has looked to use his platform to inspire others to continue down their own creative path, whether it be in public relations, arts education, or music production.

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Von Vargas. Photo via @KelvinJStudios.

“Being in the industry for years, I’ve seen dope artists who don’t fit the ‘norm,’ so they may not get the same exposure given to the next artist…” Vargas said. “I feel it’s my duty to advocate for artists who create fearlessly, contrary to the norm.”

The 3-hour, curated event included performances from two artists personally selected by Vargas, “Philadelphia’s own” Japhia Life and “Grammy-Nominated” singer Carolyn Malachi.

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Japhia Life. Photo via @KelvinJStudios

Japhia Life, who continues to defy the label of “Christian rapper,” performed a short set featuring songs from his latest release “The Profit.”

Malachi, accompanied solely by a bassist, showed her range, fusing soul, R&B, jazz, spoken word, and hip-hop into her titillating set. She treated event attendees to her latest single “Blowing Smoke” which will be featured on her upcoming album “RISE [STORY 1].”

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Carolyn Malachi. Photo via @KelvinJStudios

Vargas ended the night with a live band performing songs from his 2016 release “Metropolis Binocular,” as well as a few other surprises from his catalog. Among them, the event anthem “Fit Out,” a testament to the importance of staying true to oneself, even if that means going against the grain.

At the event, three dynamic, creative professionals were honored for their contributions to the music, arts, and entertainment space: music producer Wendel Patrick, PR maven Candice Mackel of Candice Nicole Public Relations, and artist Rufus Roundtree. Mackel and Roundtree were in attendance to receive their awards and impart inspiring words.

The event, which was held at the Motor House in Baltimore, was sponsored by Applebees, Lobe’ Dangle, LTH Accounting Services, Liam Flynn’s Ale House, and Kelvin J Studios.

J Events: Serene Management Launch Party

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Serene Management co-founders, NiaEvents and MegThePlanner welcome guests to their launch party. Photo via @_royal_eye.

I had so much fun last Thursday at The MUSEUM attending the launch party for Serene Management. Serene co-founders NiaEvents and MegThePlanner brought out all the stops to make sure guests remember who to call for their event planning, management, and artists development needs.

I could get used to the red carpet life!

  The event kicked off with red carpet photos and interviews with Alexis Janai, followed by performances from indie artist C.ME, Instagram dancing sensation YvngSwag, R&B singer JusPaul and poet Nathan Tyrese.

 The icing on the cake – guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and an open bar featuring Julian Wines throughout the night as we mixed and mingled. Sounds were curated by 93.9’s DJ Gemini.

J Event: Press Play USA Featuring Von Vargas & Greenspan

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On Tuesday, I attended an exclusive media event for two Baltimore-based hip hop artists & producers – Von Vargas and Greenspan. One thing was clear, they know how to treat their guests. Attendees enjoyed light hors d’oeuvres from Love.Lust.Food, drinks, and a mix of old-school and new-school jams spun by DJ Trelly Trell to get the night started.

The Scene:

Gibson Showroom, an event space perfect for intimate performances with a full suite of instruments and equipment.

The Players:

Von Vargas, a man of many talents – not only does he rap, write, and produce his own tracks, he also owns his own studio, Creative Development Studios, serves as a member of the Grammys D.C. chapter, and was recently tapped to be the host of RAW: Baltimore.

Greenspan, also no stranger to the music game. Greenspan has performed at some of the biggest venues in Baltimore and beyond.

The Music:

Moderated by Tracey Lee, Von and Greenspan went track for track, sharing three songs off their respective albums before treating the crowd to live performances.

The tracks to check out on Von’s album, Metropolis Binocular, available now:

The tracks to look out for on Greenspan’s forthcoming album, Never Gon’ Die, available October 14:

  • In the Key of Green Ft. Carolyn Malachi
  • Cool or Whatever Ft. Ashley Alexander
  • Never Gon Die Ft. TT The Artist

VIDEO: Greenspan on the title track, Never Gon Die and the Baltimore sound.

J Photos: DMV Track Stars Presented by Made in the DMV

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My curiosity got the best of me. I’m “not a rapper,” but I had to check out my first Made in the DMV event this past Monday, Aug. 15 at the Blind Whino. DMV Track Stars is an event for artists and producers to gain exposure and feedback in front of a panel of music industry professionals and their peers. As the night progressed, the space filled with music-lovers, friends, and family to support the up and coming artists showcasing their latest material. Definitely a dope event, keep an eye out for the next one!

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.