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 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.

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.