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 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