Connect with us


Feature: IzyBeats On Producing Jorja Smith’s “Be Honest” and Koffee’s “Toast” + New Music

IzyBeats and Konshens

Andron Cross, commonly known as IzyBeats, is a Grammy-winning music producer, songwriter and artist. The Jamaican hit maker is renowned for his work with international acts including Koffee, Jorja Smith, Burna Boy, Masego, Vybz Kartel, Alicia Keys and more. His infectious tagline, “Yo Izy, Are You Kidding Me?!” can be heard at the top of dancehall, R&B, afrobeats, hip-hop, reggae and reggaeton hits across the world, including on the 2018 breakout hits “Toast” and “W” from Koffee’s Grammy award-winning debut EP, Rapture.

Following the success of “Toast,” IzyBeats went on to create the chart-topping single “Be Honest” alongside Jorja Smith and Burna Boy in 2019. His most recent Grammy nod was for his work on Masego’s Studying Abroad: Extended Stay, which was recognized in the Best Progressive R&B Album category. His new first single as an artist, “Up Deh” featuring Konshens debuted today (11/11).

Terzel Ron caught up with IzyBeats to discuss his forthcoming debut project, Edgehill, working with the biggest artists in the world, and transitioning from working 9-5 jobs to winning Grammys.

The first thing I have to say is, I see the plaques on the wall, man. Congratulations! Your hard work is paying off every single day, and I love what I’m seeing in the back. You want to just walk me through some of those real quick?

Appreciate that, man. It was a Billboard number one. 
That’s the Koffee album, the Rapture EP. The other one is Jorja Smith. Platinum. I went platinum with Jorja and Burna’s song, “Be Honest.” And then that one over there is “Toast” by Koffee. 

“Toast” was Koffee’s breakthrough single, right? Was that the song that changed everything?

Yes, definitely. Absolutely. That was the one that changed the game and opened the gate. A lot of blessings.

Wow. What was life like before that? 

Regular lifestyle, nine to five, but still putting in the extra, extra hours afterwards. You know, from five to five in the morning again, you know what I’m saying? 

That’s how I was doing it. For real? For real. Like going to work at 09:00 a.m.. after reaching back from the studio at 05:00 a.m. Putting in time. 

Tell me about that nine to five. What was the job? 

Man, I had so many jobs, man. I was a real Jamaican! I used to work at a Chinese restaurant. And then the last job before the song took off, I was working at my mom’s office. 
She’s a medical physician. So I was working at her private practice, and that’s how I was doing her billing for her. 

Wow. Shout out to mom. Shout out to mom, man. 

She was like, ‘you know what? You need to put more time into the music.’ 
She was like, ‘working with me is a little easier. So I’m going to give you a little bit more time.’ I’m going to bust your ass, but when you need to leave the bold decisions, I’m going to let you go.

You went from helping mom with billing to, ‘mom, don’t worry – I got all the bills.’
 What’s that feeling like?

That’s the ultimate goal. Once [family] is out the way and they’re good, you can worry about everybody else around you. I mean, I’ve helped everybody else around me even before that, so it’s just something natural, you know what I mean? 

Do you remember what that feeling was when you were able to say, mom, we made it. We did it. There’s no need to work? 

Absolutely. I mean, my mom still does work because she’s a doctor. She’s a physician. She has her practice, which she loves doing – taking care of patients, that’s her passion. So it was more so her saying, ‘go take care of your business now. Go take care of your business. Go handle that right now. This is the once in a lifetime opportunity.’ You know what I mean? 

Talk to me about the family part of your music career, because when you have a dream, it’s your dream. Your family members may not get it, your friends may not get it. But what was it when you initially realized that you wanted to do this with your career? Was your family receptive to that? 

For the most part, both sides – my dad, when he was still here, and my mom, everybody around me always knew it was going to happen. They just didn’t know when. Because of the dedication and the consistency I had when it came to music, everybody around me was like, just waiting for the time for something to kick off. 

They believed in you because they saw your work ethic. 

Exactly. I recommend that for anybody pursuing whatever, you should always just be dedicated to it. 
Be dedicated and consistent because, you know, you’ve got to let people see how serious you are.

I like to go back to the beginning when I interview, because I just figured there’s so many people who want to be artists. There’s so many people who want to be producers who look up to you. They have you as a poster on their walls and you may not even know it. 

I wouldn’t even know. I don’t even see myself like that, honestly. I feel like the same guy to the corner store and go grab, like, a bottle of water. The regular dude, you know what I’m saying? 

That’s why I like to always go back and see what the upgrade was like. Maybe the kids who idolize you are like 15, 16 right now. At what age did you know that this is what you wanted to do with your life? 

Probably like 11, 12. I was always listening to music, but mainly I was listening to the instrumentals. I was trying to listen to the music, but I listened to the beat in the background. I always wanted to figure out, ‘how did they do that?’ It was just a natural curiosity. I would listen to Timbaland, and I was always studying. Like, ‘how did you incorporate a baby’s voice into the beat with Aaliyah? How did you put that baby sound in there?’ You know what I’m saying? How did he make it twist? Like, it was just amazing to me. I used to study instrumentals. That was my thing. I was listening to beats all night, listening to drums and listening to how the producers put stuff together.

Was Timbaland your main inspiration?

Growing up in Jamaica, when Timbaland was dominating, I was 11, 12 years old. He was like the highest level American producer for sure. 

Were you looking at any Jamaican producers? 

Snow Cone was one of the dopest. Snow Cone and Sly & Robbie were some legendary dance producers. 
I used to look up to them War 21 super. Like, them guys were crazy with drones and go crazy, that stuff they were doing. 

At what age did you start to teach yourself production of the music? 

I got my first computer in Jamaica, and then I came to Miami on a holiday trip after school. And that’s when my homeboy Desi told me there’s a program called Fruity Loops. I was like, ‘what the hell is that?’ 

And he showed it to me. And he opened it up. He started doing drums there. I was like, ‘oh, this is what they use.’ And that’s when I started, you know, digging deep to try to figure out how I can get this program. 
And I got it, and I went back to Jamaica. When I put it on my own PC, I installed it. And I was just messing around with it, man. I just started teaching myself. 

So you had the new program. Were you a kid in a candy store at that point?

I was a kid in a candy store. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was just pressing everything and see what everything does. If it was a button that was going to blow up the whole house, I’m still going to end up pressing it because I wanted to know what it all did. Everything in the program, I was just pressing just to try. And that’s how I figured it out, because YouTube wasn’t around. YouTube was there, but it wasn’t something where you could find anything on it. You know what I mean? Tutorials or nothing like that. 

So at this point, you’re hammering away at this new software, Fruity Loops and having fun making beats. But at what point did you ever start to believe, ‘hey, one day I want to win a Grammy. One day I want to work with the biggest artists in the world.’

You know what’s crazy? I never had the Grammys on my mind. 
I was never looking forward to winning Grammys or something like that. My thing was, I want to know how they did this. I want to know how Timberland did that. That’s all I care about. How did they do it? 
How do they make it sound this way? But I wasn’t really looking at it like, ‘oh, man. From this. I want to be rich, I want to have a Grammy.’ I was just loving the music. 

I was just loving the sound. And that was it for wow, you know? And it just led to me just wanting to do music forever. 

How many years was that when you first started to take music very seriously to when you got your first big placement? 

I started working on music very early. From when I was like 14, 15 is when I really was just going crazy. Like, I really want to do this. And I started making my brother sing when he was, when he was like eleven, I was twelve. 
That was the only artist I could use. I didn’t know if he could sing yet. We were just like, let’s try it. 

And he just started singing, and I was just making beats and I was just recording him, and that was me practicing. So I would say 15 to probably 20. I was taking it super seriously, trying to get on. And then my brother, I told you that was singing. He started singing and took music seriously too, which is dancing. We were going and he produced everything. 
From that time until about late 2018 is when “Toast” took off. So just do the math. That’s when I really got on, man. But before that, we were releasing our own big stage, releasing our own albums, just doing that on our own. 

Back when you was Yaddman Izzy, huh?

Yes! Exactly. And then when “Toast” took off in 2018, that’s when everything took a heavy run. It was crazy. 

Tell me about your new single with Konshens, “Up Deh.” How did that record come about? 

We would always see each other. Like every now and then I see him say ‘let’s link,’ you know? But we officially said, ‘alright, let’s do it.’ We booked a studio in Miami, more Play Studio, which is in the Winwood area. And we booked that studio and we just linked up on it. I started making a beat from nowhere, like from zero. 

And then from there we just came up with the idea of and actually documented the whole session. 

Those videos could be history one day. 

I documented most of the sessions that I had for the album that I did. Right now I’m actually working on a YouTube concept. It’s called “beats on a boat.” I’m just doing sessions on a boat. I invite other producers, other artists, other writers, and they come and we just make records. 

You’re dropping your debut album early next year. Why now?

I would say early this year, is when I started thinking like, I need to do this before I get to the point where I’m going to look back and say, ‘damn, I should have tried, I should have done more.’ 
I don’t want to live with that regret. And then my manager started finding opportunities or situations where I could get certain opportunities, and we started working from there. I didn’t even know that I already had the album done, had so many records done with so many people sitting there, just sitting there, and then the computer waiting. I already had the whole album on my computer. 
Now is the time because I’ve successfully been producing from early 2019 to now, and I feel like over the years of just being in the room, networking, building relationships in the business, and meeting up with labels, knowing execs, knowing A&R’s everybody I need, getting all the plugs I need, I have all the connects. 
When you get all the connections and everything that you want, you got to put them together and make it happen. You only get one chance to do certain things. And I feel like now is the time because I have everything behind that I need to make it happen. 
I have all the pieces of the puzzle that’s required, so why not? 

There’s a lot of artists that started as producers and then became legends by being artists. We can go from Kanye, we could go to The Dream, we could go to Ne-yo.

Yeah, I wanted to do it, man, because over the years, I’ve been developing everybody else, giving everybody else a soft, showing them the way, like, helping them with their project. 

Over the years, everybody keep telling me, ‘you’re better than so many people.’ I keep hearing that. I was like, ‘you know what? Let me try this.’ Ever since “Toast,” I’m in more rooms. I tend to control the room now. And I just kept getting better at it. 

Your debut project, Edgehill, is coming in early 2023. What made you think about that name for the project? 

Speaker 1 21:45
Well, I call it Edgehill because that’s the street where I was raised in Jamaica, on the beach. That’s my street name, where my house is. That’s where my father raised us. And with his passing a couple of years back, you know, I had to find a way to try to incorporate him into the project. 

That was my best way to do it, being that he’s not here to see all this crazy success, because he was already looking at me crazy before I even got on. He was like, oh, you’re good at music. He was proud of me for just being good. 
And now that I’ve achieved all of this and he’s not here to see it, it’s like I had to find a way to add him to my project. You know what I’m saying? 

You’ve touched pretty much every part of the globe at this point with the artists that you work with. 

It’s amazing. Just traveling opens my mind to so much more. 
Every part that I’ve been to has different vibes, different inspiration, different things that you learn that you had no clue about. 

Paris has a whole different vibe. And just being there, you learn so much, and you just take from all of these places. 

What is your favorite place that you’ve been to, outside of Jamaica?

I would say. I’d say London. London is special.

You’ve worked with Vybz Kartel, Alicia Keys, Burna Boy, H.E.R. Who are your top 3 favorite artists that you would love to work with?

Kodak Black! I love Kodak, man. Kodak is one of the best artists out right now. Rihanna is up there. Drake, of course, Chris Brown. That’s my top four. And of course I would say Burna Boy, but I did a song with him already. But I want to really link with Burna on some real music levels. 

Is there any song on the new album that you are most excited to let people hear? 

There’s one on there that I sing the whole song. 
I’m really excited to see how people are going to react to that because nobody expects me to be blowing like that. 

Do you have a five year plan that you have in terms of really taking over the industry as the main artist rather than behind the scenes? 


I want to be one of the greatest artists, producers on that list, you know what I’m saying? I’m trying to make it to the hall of Fame, you know what I’m saying? Yeah. So definitely in five years, I hope to be one of the main artists that people talk about that respect. 
And I see myself being there. If I keep my mind clear and just keep focus, I think it’s going to happen. Another question is, we’re wrapping up, too. 

Your tag, “Izzy are you kidding me?” How did that happen? 

It was my nephew’s son. He brought him to the studio when he was like, three years old at the time. And that was the only way for him to get to the studio that did it, because he had his son. 

He was like, ‘yeah, I’m bringing him because I need to be in the studio. And he brought him, but he was just sitting here quiet, taking in everything we’re doing. And just to entertain him, I said, ‘do in the booth. Go ahead, go say something. Enjoy.’ And I didn’t know it was recording. I just put him in there and put the mic down to his level and say, say something. And the first thing he said was, Yo, Izzy, are you kidding me? I was like, ‘that sounds good, say that again!’ But he was shy after that because he was frightened. I was like, Yo, I need him to sit exactly like that. But I ran into booths and realized it was recording. I was, like, ‘perfect. ‘

What are your top three favorite things in the world? Three things that you are always near and dear to your heart that could always make you laugh. Smile. That you can’t really live without. 

My kids, my family. 
Music, for sure. And the ocean. Being on the water. I love fishing. I love boats. I love the ocean. I love that. Yeah, man. I love that. That’s therapy for me. 

Is there anybody that you could always count on to bring you back down to earth? 

Oh, definitely. All my relatives, close family, everybody around me. 

Speaker 1 35:16
That’s close. Friends, my manager and you’ll check anybody at any given time. My pups, my mom, my pop is my. My stepdad to my brother. I was telling you about these huge father figures to me, as well. 
Those people, man, those people in your corner have been around from before you got in. You know, those people check you out, man. You know? 

Last question. You’ve been all over the world. 
What is your favorite food?

There’s nothing like home fried fish festival Jamaican style food? Yes. There’s nothing that touches all, like, Jamaican food. Aki and saltfish.

Continue Reading


Feature: Devon Thompson

Devon Thompson

What  are  you  looking  forward  to  the  most  in  2024? 

No  bullshit.  No  bullshit  2024.  That’s  what  I’m  looking  forward  to. I’m  gonna  like  leave  all  the  negative  stuff  behind  and  like  try  and  change  my  mindset  about  certain  things.  So  I  feel  like  that’s,  and  also  work  harder  and  practice  more. Just  be  more  disciplined  within  myself,  I  think. 

Can  we  say  what  those  certain  things  are? 

Yeah,  practice  sitting  down  and  practicing  my  guitar  every  single  day  more. Because,  it  gets  hard  like  when  you  play  shows  it’s  easy  to  just  like  only  play  when  you’re  at  shows  or  during  band  practice  for  me  I  want  to  sit  down  and  be  disciplined  also  not  beat  myself  up  over  stuff  that  I  can’t  control.

A  lot  of  people  are  really  upset  with  themselves  when  they  like  especially  living  here  when  you  feel  like  and  you’re  an  artist  and  you  feel  like,  ‘God,  I  wish  I  was  doing  more.  I  wish I  could.  Why  don’t  I  have  this,  why  don’t  I  have  this,’  like  you  can’t  control  that  the  only  thing  you  can  control  is  your  personal  growth  and  what  you  put  into  it  and  like  you  know  if  if  you  got  something like  it  you’ll  get  it  out  if  you  really  work  hard.  You  can’t  just  sit  around,  you  can’t  expect  it  to  come  to  you.  You  have  to  work  for  it.  I  think  that’s  a  really  good  piece  of  advice  to  give  artists  in  general  because  you  know  we’re  in  a  new  game  social  media,  and  a  lot  of  it  is  like  creating  content  yourself,  and  I  know artists are making  a  lot  more  of  their  own  music  videos in  a  way  that  I’ve  never  seen  before,  have  you  noticed  that?  – I  have  noticed  that  because,  you  know,  TikTok  did  that.  TikTok  made  like  making  your  own  mini  music  video  a  thing.  So  I  actually  think  it’s  amazing  because  it  allows  artists  to  have  more  freedom  with  what  you  do.

I  think  that’s  really  special  and  it’s  really,  but  it’s  also  really,  really  hard to  do  that,  because  this  is  what  you  have  to  do. Every  day,  I’ve  struggled  with  that.  I  used  to  hate  it  and  now  I’ve  like  changed  my  mindset  we’re  like  no  I’m  gonna  like  do  this  and  embrace  it  and  really  show  people  like  what  I’m  about.

 I  think  everything  is  easier  when  you  have  a  team  of  people  and  people  who  just  really  like  add  to  your  circle  as  time  goes  on.  They  see  your  mission  and  your  vision.

Has  it  been  easy  for  you  to  find  your  team?

It,  surprisingly,  has  been  easy.  It’s  because  I’ve  been  putting  myself  out  there.  It’s  been  easier.  And  I  have  a  wonderful  team  that  I’m  working  with  right  now  already.

But  I’m  always  looking  for,  like,  expansion.  We  need  more  people  involved.  We  need  all  the  people  involved.  You  know,  your  fans  are  your  team.  You  know,  you  are  your  team.  Like,  everyone  a  part  of  it  is  important.

So,  like,  that  being  said,  I’m  always  looking  for  new  kingdom.  to  work  with  and  being  over  minded  So  like  I  feel  like  it’s  easier  now.

What  other  goals  do  you  have  for  the  year? 

My  goals  are  to  be  be  more  social.  I  can  easily  double  down  and  just  just  be  by  myself  and  working  on  stuff,  but  my  plan  this  year  is  to  make  more  friends  and  to  be  more  social with  my  family,  friends  and  with  new  people.  I  push  myself  further  this  year. My music  breaks  down  barriers  and  standards  for  female  guitar  players.  It’s  a  big  one,  because  we’re  still  it’s  still  really  stigmatized.

Talk  to  me  about  that  stigma  that female guitar  players  face.

So  many  women  are  scared  to  play  guitar,  and  a  lot  of  them  tell  me  they’re  like  I  am  too  scared  to  get  up  there  and  play  it  or  even  if  they  do  play  if  they’re  like,  um, ‘I’m  the  rhythm  guitar  player,’  or  whatever. You  don’t  see  a  lot  of  female  guitar  players  out  there  because  it’s  so  stigmatized.  If  they’re  not  like  an  insane  shredder  people  are  like  you  got  them  stuck  it  happens  so  much  and  i’m  a  Gibson  sponsored  artist,  so  i  they  saw  something  in  me  that  gave  me  hope  to  keep  pushing  myself  so  now  i  tend  to only  play  in  three  pieces. I’m  the  lead  guitar  player  and  lead  vocalist  this  year. That’s  what  I’m  going  to  push  on  people  because  I  have  some  really  not  that  good  like  okay  like  that’s  fine.

 It  used  to  get  to  me  and  now  I’m  like  just  use  that  to  practice  practice  and  be  disciplined  and  safe  off  it  just  do  it  you  know  that’s  what  I’m  doing. 

Do  you  think  that  female  artists  in  general  also  get  that  sort  of  stigma  and  is  it  coming  from  the  butthurt  men?
Absolutely.  Yeah,  no  totally.  It’s  the  main  the  main  thing  like  I  get  comments  online  that  are  like,  you  know  They  can  be  really  really  derogatory  and  and  it’s  you  know  what  it’s  Generally  men  or  very  jealous  women  who  don’t  like  themselves  and  hate  their  lives. And  I’m  like,  ‘why  do  girls  girls  hate  me?  Why  do  certain  men  hate  me?’

And  it’s  nothing  that  you’ve  done.  It’s  just  you  have  to  remember  that  there  are  people  that  just  love  to  hate  you  out  there.

They  love  it,  especially  because  you’re  doing  what  they  want  to  do.  They  want  to  do  what  you’re  doing.  And  you  just  have  to,  like,  you  literally  just  have  to  understand  and  recognize  the  personality  traits.  They’re  like,  no, that  is  not  a  person  who  is  cool  or,  like,  wants  to  help  or  even  knows  what  they’re  talking  about.  about,  you  know  what  I  mean?  Tell  us  a  bit  about  the  music  that  you  have  dropping  this  year  though.  Do  we  have  anything  to  look  forward  to  in  the  first  few  months?  Actually,  I  have  a  new  single  coming  out  in  like  a  week  and  a  half. And  my  goal  for  this  year  is  to  have  a  songwriter  and  I  want  to  be  a  part  of  it.  really,  really  creative  with  what  I’m  doing  this  year.  All  my  music  videos  are  like  mini  movies  type  situations, like  the  Twilight  Zone  kind  of,  and  I  like  creating…  I  really  just  want  to  pay  homage  to  the  universe  and  a  whole…  I  mean,  to  put  it  simply,  a  sort  of  vibe  on  everything.

 Like  with  my  branding,  with  my  merch,  like  this  is…  is  I  don’t  know  if  you  can  see  it  – oh  I  have  a  lot  of  teeth  in  in  like  my  merch  stuff  like  that  and  in  my  songs  just  like  really  Really  visceral  and  really  guttural, but  also  have  been  also  with  an  imperial  edge  And  I  want  my  music  videos  to  translate  that  it’s  gonna  mean  soon  So  I  want  to  be  cohesive  so  new  singles  out  and  then  we’re  gonna  have  and  I  have  a  lot  of  music  dropping  this  year.  And  I’m  playing  a  lot  of  shows  shows  and  that’s  what’s  been  happening  this  year  So  yeah  in  January  17th.

 What’s are you releasing?

It’s  called  I  love  you,  but  it  hurts  like  hell.

Who  are  some  of  your  favorite  musical  inspirations  from  Los  Angeles?

 Well,  I  don’t  don’t  sound  anything  like  her,  but  I  love  Phoebe  Bridger’s  ability  to  be  anti.  So  like  what  LA  is  not,  and  I  think  that’s  really  cool.

 So  I  like  that  she  can  do  that.  How  about  some  of  your  most  influential  artists  that  you  listen  to  growing  up  that  have  really  kicked  yourself?  Yeah,  growing  up.  Blondie  is  a  big  one  for  me.

 I  have  a  lot  of  80s  music  and  70s  music.  has  really  shaped  what  I  do.  So  Blondie  and  then  a  big  big  goth  like  inspiration  to  me,  Suzy  and  the  band  she’s  really  big  and  then  some  newer  stuff  like  or  kind  of  newer  some  like  some  deftome  stuff  some  my  bloody  Valentine  stuff  and  it’s  harder  for  me  to  find  newer  inspirations  just  because  like  I  don’t  know  it’s  just  it’s  it’s  hard  it’s  hard  for  me  and  then  uh  yeah  so

 those  are  some  of  my  inspirations  for  sure.  Dice  was  there  anything  else  that  you  want  to  grab  about  before  being  grabbed?  Yeah  I  think  that  a  lot  of  people  don’t  talk  about  again  what  I  said  before  about  how  disparaging  this  can  be  and  how  how  much  self -doubt  can  be  involved  with  this  um  and  I  have  been  my  worst  enemy  base  in  doing  this  and  um  you  know  my  I  think  a  lot  of  that  has  to  do  with  people  you surround  yourself  with.  You  can  tell  who  really  supports  you  and  who  doesn’t  and  who  are  out  to  get  you,  who  poses  your  friends,  but  they’re  not.  Make  sure  you  surround  yourself  with  loving  people  and  people  who  value  you  really.

 Some  talk  about  it  enough  here,  especially  with  people  who  aren’t  from  here  and  who  are  from  here.  It’s  just  like  both.  So  find  the  right  people  who  lift  you  up.  Both  of  you  guys  are in  a  relationship  sort  of  thing.  And  also,  just  walk  out  of  the  bullshit.  It’s  what  I’m  going  to  do  this  year  and  I’m  going  to  work  on  it.

 So  for  everyone  who’s  struggling  out  there  with,  you  know,  artist  identity,  sort  of  the  like,  “What  am  I  doing?”  You’re  here  for  a  reason,  you’re  here  for  a  reason.  And  just  believe  in  yourself.  Believe  in  yourself.

 Don’t  talk  but  thank  you  for  your  time.  Thank  you  so  much.

Continue Reading


Feature: Leonte


Leonte here! Tell us a little bit about the different things that you do. 

Yeah, so I mean, first and  foremost, I’m a person. And I like to be that way. I come with a lot of emotions and a lot of  ideas and feelings that I bring into my art and my work. I’m a model. I love to create very vivid images and stuff with posing and stuff like that. I’m also a creative director for a magazine called Lex Style Mag. It’s about creating a vibe between fashion and music, and really creating a home for that to collaborate and become real is something important for us.

But I also make music. I’m a singer. I make like alternative R&B, pop and rock vibes. I’m really just taking all of those and really just adding my own spice into it, adding a little bit of me and really my goal with that music is to create an environment and create an  environment where people can feel emotions that they may not you know be privy to or may not  have understanding of but you know they can empathize with the pain, empathize  with  the  joy,  empathize with the yearning, love, right? I want to create an environment that you  can experience those things safely amazing so how long have you been doing modeling yeah  so I’ve been modeling for 10 years I’ve been singing all my life I started off in my church choir  shout  out  yeah  so  for  like  most  people  that  started  off  in  the  church  like  singing  was  a big part of my life it was a big  part of my life I expressed myself. I started making my own  music physically about a year and a half, two years ago, is when I actually started that.

How has your journey in fashion really impacted your journey into music? 

Honestly, I think the fashion in the music industry is so interwoven that it was like a seamless  transition. I went from, you know, trying to figure out how to… create very vivid pictures and, you know,  how to do really crazy poses to, like, saying, “Well, how do I create a vivid sound with my voice?

If I do this type of movement while I’m singing, will the sound come out differently from this?”  Right? So everything just kind of translated differently, right? Saying like, “Okay, well, when I  do this performance, I want to wear this type of outfit  so  that  it  conveys  this  message while I’m performing this  song.”  Right?  Really  aligning  the  fashion  with  the  music  and  the  tone  with  the  environment  to  create  a  full  image  and  a  full  picture  is  kind  of  where  that  fashion  piece  really  really  locked  me  in.

As you said, you are now involved in the magazine. What has it been like going from  being the model to being the subject and actually having that creative control?

Honestly, becoming  the  creative  director  of  Lex  Style  magazine  is  one  of  my  biggest  accomplishments  today.  I  think  being  in  charge  of  the  visual  outlook  of  a  project  such  as  Lex Style  Mag has  put  a  huge  weight  on  my  shoulders  that  I’d  love  to  take  on. It’s really  giving  me  the  opportunity  to  take  my  wildest  dreams  and  put  it  out  into  a  visual  medium  and  share  it  with  the  world  is  something  that I  don’t  take  lightly.  I  think  it’s  something  that  takes  a  lot  of  time  and  effort,  it  takes  a  lot  of  attention  and  I  think  because  of  that  I’ve  been  able  to  take  all  of  my  years  of  modeling  and  understanding  what  poses  look  good  and  what  poses  don’t.

Kind  of  the  energy  behind  the  photo  and  what  clothes  will  look  good  and  what  poses.  I’ve  been  really  able  to  create  really  detailed  outlines  of  like  this  that  I  want  to  create  and  I  think  that’s  something  that  you  know  I’m  looking  to  bring  out  the  best  in  myself  for  this  magazine  and  for  others. I  also  do  freelance creative direction  for  other  brands, so  it’s  like  always  fun  to  be  able  to  express  myself  in  this  place. 

All  of  the  work  that  you  do  is  truly  so  inspirational  and  incredible. What  do  you  think  is  the  hardest  part  about  continuing  that?

Thank  you  so  much  for  joining  me.  Being  a  artist  and  how  you  feel.  I  think  the  hardest  part  about  consistently  releasing  creative  pieces  is  understanding  your  value  but  also  understanding  the  value  of  the  people  around  you.

I  think  as,  when  you’re  the  model,  everything’s  centered  around  you  and  how  you’re  feeling  and  what  you’re  getting  paid,  like  you’re,  you  know, the  experience.  you’re  getting,  but  when  you’re  really  the  creative  director,  when  you’re  really  at  the  top  of  that  situation,  it’s  more  about,  okay,  how  do  I  make  sure  these  people  that  are  helping  me  create  this  vision  that  I  have  feel  valued  and  feel, you  know,  I  see  the  best  of  our  abilities  and  feel  comforted  in  these  aspects.  I  think  that’s  one  of  the  hardest  things  because,  you  know,  obviously  in  this  world,  you  live  in  and  you  want  to  cut  down  on  costs  as  much  as  possible, but  also  it’s  like,  you  want  to  pay.  people  what  they’re  worth,  so  they  pay  for  what  they’re  worth.  I  like  saw  that,  it’s  like  trying  to  get  people  with  disabilities. 

What  has  been  like  your  biggest  inspiration,  both  in  fashion  and  music? 

I  played  football  in  college.  And  so  a  big  inspiration  in  my  fashion  sense  was  Odell Beckham  Jr.  Like,  he  was  getting  big  and  popular  in  football. His  outfits  on  and  off  the  field  were  always  the  same.  The  field  outfits  were  always  icy  and  dripped  out  with  the  signed  sneakers,  the custom likeness, you know,  how  he  used  to  do  it.

But  then  off  the  field,  it  was  also  him  showing  up  to  events drippy,  showing  his  style  off.  I  think  things  like  that  really  pushed  me  to  actually  work  towards  being  more  creative  with  my  outfits  on  and  off  the  field. In  terms  of  music,  I  think  somebody  that  really  inspired me was  Juice  Wrld,  I  think  I  will  say  “Lucid  Dreams”  came  at  a  time  that  I  needed  it.

And  I  think,  you  know,  just  that  being  his  day…  debut,  like,  hit  that  popped  off  for  him  and  that  was  the  one  that  caught  me  and  then  ever  since,  like,  I  listened  to  every  single  song  that  he  put  out  like,  that  was  someone  that  really  inspired  me  to  be  more  of  a  leader,  but  he  also  inspired  me  to  just  be  creative, I  don’t  think you  could  ever  say,  “Oh,  Juice  Wrld’s  gonna  rap  like  this  on  this  flow.”  It  was  always  something  completely  different  than  his  last  song,  something  completely,  you  know, new  but  it  had  the  same  feel,  the  same  environment  around  him,  right?  And,  you  know,  he  had  a  way  of  talking  about  like  really  hard  subjects  with  a  light  tone  that  made  him  want  to  party  while  you’re  listening  to  it, right?  Which  is  something  that  I  want  to  create,  but  also  different.  So  for  mine,  like,  I  definitely  don’t  take  as  much  of  the  drug  abuse  and  alcoholism  into  my  music. It’s complex  idealist,  you  know, abandonment. Heartfelt  pain.  The  concept  of, like,  where  you’re  supposed  to  be  and,   you  know,  like  flirting. I  want  to  do,  like,  really,  like,  take  those  archetypes  and  really  create  stories  in  my  music.  I  think  that’s  really  what  I’m  focusing  on  right  now.

I  think  that’s  really  the  beauty  of  music.  You’re  able  to  take  inspiration, and  take  ideas, while  also  interacting  with  your  own  personality,  your  own  blood, which is so  incredible  and  great  to  see  from  you. 

And  what  are  we? 

So  what  I’ll  say  right  now  is  there’s  going  to  be  an  influx  of  art, an  influx  of  modeling  and  an  influx  of  music.  Right  now  my  goal  is  in  this  2023.  year  are  to  get  three  good  releases  and  build  up  a  catalog  behind  them  so  that  I  have  a  lot  to  push  out  for  everybody, as  well  as  create  four  really  good  covers  and  magazines  to  release  out  to  the  public  and  to  collaborate  with  as  many  talented  artists  as  I  can.  Like  my  goal  is  not  to  get  up  there  by  myself, my  goal  is  to  bring  everybody  out  here  at  50  and  I  think  that  when  we  create  a  community  of  people  that  support  each  other  and  uplift  each  other  in  this  fashion  and  music  space,  that’s  when  we  really  drive, right?  Because  you’re  only  as  good  as  your  network,  and  it’s  only  as  good  as  how  many  people  you  have  with  you  in  your  team,  right?  And,  you  know,  what  they  like  to  say  is  network  federally,  don’t  network  forward.

Because  you  never  know  who  in  your  circle  is  going  to  be  the  next  one  up,  and  you’re  all  riding  together.  So  that’s  going  to  be  good.  there.  So,  it  just  supports  people  around  you,  it  supports  the  day  one,  it’s  going  to  come  the  day  zero, it’s  going  to  rock.  Well,  I  am  so  very  excited  to  see  what’s  next  for  Beyonce.  Everybody  should  be  on  the  watch  for  what’s  coming  next.  He’s  going  to  be  hitting  us  with  new  music,  have  sure  new  books, new  shoots.  So  please  be  on  the  lookout  for  him!

Continue Reading


Feature: Alivia Wraith

Alivia Wraith

Miss Girl. How are you doing today, love?
I’m doing wonderful. It’s a gorgeous day for being the peak of winter.

So where does your inspiration for fashion come from? Because, you know, as an artist, I feel like fashion is a really great medium to express yourself.
That’s true. You know, I, in the fifth grade, on Halloween, I spent like a month making a milk carton costume from scratch out of a water heater box. I painted the whole thing by hand. So I’ve been designing my own things, just kind of making things up since I was very little. And then my hairstyles, I kind of just get created with it the same way I do with like music, painting, and I just make stuff up. And along the way, I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t like. It really helped me formulate my style. And I do get inspiration from like, inspirations that inspire me in music, also inspire my style. I like a girl that can do both, so I’m either dressed like this, or like big t -shirt baggy jeans. Yeah, I just kind of go with whatever I’m feeling in the mirror. I just make it up. I love that. No, I think, you know, it’s good to be able to do both, to do everything, you know?

You mentioned you get a lot of inspiration from your fashion and from music. So who are your top inspirations for music right now?
Totally. I want to say for right now, because it’s always evolving. changing. My main inspiration, the girl that’s like speaking to me right now, is Melanie Martinez. Just to see how far she’s got, she’s come from the get -go. She started performing on like Hollywood Boulevard and now she’s just evolved into this whole character. Her visuals go crazy. So definitely Melanie Martinez, Billie Eilish totally. I used to get told that I sounded like her when I did more of my airy, whispery vocals. So I started listening to her music and I found that she’s definitely, she speaks to me too. It goes all the way back to the 90s. I grew up listening to like Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine. So I have like a little grungy side to me too. Mazzy Star. She was like one of the first artists that I learned how to play her music on piano. So I have like, I pull from all genres. I love music and it just, in general, like I said, it’s always, it’s always changing. But if I could pick one person that’s inspiring to the most right now would be Melanie Martinez.
I can definitely see that. I also grew up listening to Melanie Martinez and just like seeing her music videos. She was very like expressive about herself the way she dressed and like I can very much that and what you give up too so and I love that.

I love you! So you mentioned, you know, learning how to play the piano and so I know back in November you had your first performance where you did piano live. How was that experience for you? I’m sure there was some nerves. Like how did you deal with that? What was that like? Tell us about it.
Thank you so much for like… recognizing that. It was amazing because I remember like one of my first memories back I wasn’t even walking it. I don’t know how old I was. My dad got me like a one-octave toy piano. I just remember the feeling I had when I touched it and and then I got keyboards but I’ve always played in my bedroom so there’s definitely a lot of nerves involved playing live through a live session on logic on stage with my interface plugged in. It was all new to me but it felt invigorating. My hands were shaking but it was really cool. I could feel the energy gravitating towards me that people were really like kind of stunned that wow like the sounds that we’re hearing she actually plays these on the keys in her room and like really does produce this music. It was it was exhilarating and I’m excited to do it more. I have a lot more songs that I’m gonna be playing live on keyboard. I have a guitarist so I’m coming back to like the live instrumentation. I think it’s really important to keep that alive. Yeah it felt amazing. I just I remember just like my hands shaking and I had like these nails on the other day and I realized like I can’t even have my nails done because otherwise it gets in way of the keys yeah but I’m excited to be able to do that and sing at the same time. It’s a great experience.

How do you unwind after your performances? I’m sure you know they can give an adrenaline rush.
I will say I started a sober journey not long ago I’m not counting the days because it’s too much pressure but that performance you spoke of where I played the keys live was actually my first show that I’ve ever performed 100% sober and although it was nerve-wracking I didn’t feel hungover the next day so my new my new sort of ritual before the show lots of tea I enjoy throat coat room temperature water no dairy I just really take care of my vocal cords about a week before and after I am so like how do I describe this I’m answering the phone the day after I know the fucking thank you okay we get it you have a car I’m I’m a big little bear the day after my show I don’t like answering the phone even though there’s like videos being sent to me I do enjoy hibernating a lot I isolate just to like recharge my social and energetic battery I listen to more sound frequencies than like actual music of lyrics I mean I really take care of my soul after I give it on stage the night before and it used to take me like four days to do that hibernation ritual but now that I’m not drinking or doing anything before my shows that’s gonna damage me it only takes like a day and a half for me to hibernate but I definitely like to keep to myself and hide a little bit after I perform now

That’s cool and you mentioned something about me listening to frequencies and stuff so I kind of like what is that about I know music I mean frequencies can be healing you know certain decibels and things like that so what is that for you how did you get into that?
A while back, I went to this music festival in 2015 called Lightning in a Bottle and there was a portion of the festival that provided you with sound healing and you would lay down and you would close your eyes and people would have sound bowls, all different types of musical instruments that gave you vibration, no lyrics, no sort of arrangement or production, just sounds from things and it was so healing that I looked into it and there’s frequencies in everything. Music is a vibration so a sound frequency is essentially just like a vibration in a certain tone. There’s brown noise, white noise. I like the 5-8 frequency. It supposedly, I don’t know a whole lot about it, but supposedly it does bring you peace and I, it might be placebo but I know that it’s worked for me personally. Just sound frequencies help you to stay calm, collect yourself. It also works for my dogs. When I leave the house, I’ll turn on sound frequencies and they will behave. So I know there’s something in that. I really enjoy listening to it. There’s some for abundance, negative energy, leaving the room. So it’s essentially like sound vibration like the way that Sage does to a room is the same way but with sound.

I think EDM is kind of the same way. There are not many lyrics, but the bass, you feel the vibrations and it really does something to you.
I’m getting goosebumps just like when you speak about it like that. Yes, absolutely.

It really sounds like you’ve been in performing for a really long time so how long have you been performing for?
I’m still a baby. It was towards the end of 2022 but it was really inconsistent. I was still trying to figure out my sound, my image, consistency. And then just last fall, I started getting booked left and right, still going on. I’ve had to turn down shows and I’m just like, it’s amazing to see how fast you can go from one way to another. I really haven’t been performing for that long but I know that it’s in me to continue to perform consistently for honestly the rest of my life, even if it’s in my own bedroom.

In just a few words, how would you describe your sound to someone who’s never listened to you before?
Emotionally driven frequency. I’m just thinking about if someone has never heard my music and it’s something that they were basing it off of those three words, they’re able to connect to emotion and they know about sound frequency. I feel that that really captivates my music a lot. I am like coming out with newer sounds and a lot of it is more instrument since my keyboards, ever since I got a new keyboard, it’s become more about the sound and the lyrics don’t need to be all throughout the sound. And emotionally driven being when you’re most inspired, like the strongest records I have out came from a very hurt place or a very happy place or I was inspired by somebody that I know and always the strongest records for me at least come from a very, very, very, heartfelt place. So emotionally driven is, I mean that’s how I moved too. I love to, I always tell this to people like who come to me like stressed out or come by to me like always move with love and that’s one of my mottoes and I feel like my music really captivates that too. Emotionally driven frequency. I’m just thinking about if someone has never heard my music and it’s something that they were basing it off of those three words, they’re able to connect to emotion and they know about sound frequency. I feel that that really captivates my music a lot. I am like coming out with newer sounds and a lot of it is more instrument since my keyboards, ever since I got a new keyboard, it’s become more about the sound and the lyrics don’t need to be all throughout the sound. And emotionally driven being when you’re most inspired, like the strongest records I have out came from a very hurt place or a very happy place or I was inspired by somebody that I know and always the strongest records for me at least come from a very, very heartfelt place. So emotionally driven is, I mean that’s how I moved too. I love to, I always tell this to people like who come to me like stressed out or come by to me like always move with love and that’s one of my mottoes and I feel like my music really captivates that too.

What does 2024 have in store for you?
That’s a loaded question, but like a really good one. I have a guitarist now. I have a sound engineer, a stage person that will like set up my aesthetic. I have a manager. So with that, there’s a lot of groundwork that I’ve been doing behind closed doors and there’s a lot of new sounds coming. I don’t want to say too much, but what’s in store is bigger than life. It’s bigger than me. And I just, my goal with everything that’s gonna happen for me and that’s gonna come out and be released into the world is, it’s not that I’m here, it’s how I made you feel. And all I want to do is just touch people with my music the same way that I was touched or the same way that I felt when I wrote it. I just want to make sure that, people, it’s how they feel when I’m in the room. I have a couple singles coming out and some pretty big shows coming up too. And I’m just gonna continue to create honestly all along the way.

Where is the next performance? Where should we go see you live?
It’s actually four days away. So I don’t know, like if that’s too soon or whatever it’s just to talk about it, but it’s adult only on sunset. The aesthetic is like 80s, 90s, soft core porn. It’s very sensual. Oh, like neon lighting. Yeah, it’s like really fun. And I’m on at 9 .30 PM. So it’s nice to have like a decent hour set time. Yeah, four days away, presale tickets available. And it’s also going to be my birthday performance. So it just happened to fall two days before my birthday. So I figured, well, I’m gonna play a show and then hibernate. This might as well be my birthday party too.

Where can we find you on social media platforms and to listen to your music?
Totally. So it’s Alivia Wraith is my name. Olivia with an A. It’s gonna be A -L -I -V -I -A and then W -R -A -I -T -H.

Amazing. Y ‘all better go check her out. Thank you so much for coming to speak with us today. I’m so excited to see what 2024 has in store for you.
Thank you. I’m honored to be in your presence. I’m honored to be here. Thank you guys for listening to me!

Continue Reading