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.
“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.
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].”
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.
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.
Gibson Showroom, an event space perfect for intimate performances with a full suite of instruments and equipment.
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.
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:
- Track 9 | Concrete (Still I Rise) Ft. Michael J.R. and Fairin Moon
- Track 10 | Fit Out
- Track 11 | Good Day Ft. Dre Thompson
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.