SF: RKZ’s Round Up #1

The following is an extract of my article for Sampleface:

“What’s happening, beautiful people?

I’ve been inundated with requests to cover new releases this year, to the point where they were beginning to outnumber hours in the day. With that in mind, I thought I’d start a new piece: RKZ’s Round Up! A collection of records I’ve heard that are incredible: whether they’ve been submitted, stumbled upon or Soundcloud-ed. So, let’s get straight into it!

1. Anjelihs – Beneath The Grapevine

The Massachusetts-native has dropped this absolute gem of a record called Beneath The Grapevine, which was recently featured as Pigeons & Planes’ Daily Discovery. And with good reason, too. The raw, soul-bearing R&B joint resonates beautifully around reflective mind-states, and I’ve added this record to near enough every new playlist I’ve created. If You’re A Fan Of: Blues, Frank Ocean, Sad Songs that make for good Soundtracks.”

Read the article in full, here: http://sampleface.co.uk/rkzs-round-up-1/

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Star-Crossed

Your colour can’t really be expressed,
but I’m reminded of you,
every time I find stars painted against nothingness.

You are the sky’s Soul,
and though your feet stay well grounded,
the infinite above yearns for your presence.

You’re the shining glimmer of hope that,
became lost against my world’s past.
A world without you,
leaves me colour blind.

My energy can’t find purpose,
but you surprise me.
You made me stop searching,
and start trusting.

Your colour can’t be described,
because I see you in colours that don’t exist.

Inspired by I See You In Colors by Paul Matsumoto

Values

“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”

We value the opinions of others above our own; the same way we give advice but can’t take it. We’re confined by the walls we’ve built. Change your external focus to an internal one, and do whatever’s good for you. Build the ability to appreciate yourself.

Create your Peace.

#MP9 – Validation

We stopped loving ourselves a long time ago.

You might disagree. If anything, our generation is the most narcissistic yet, no? We’re obsessed with ourselves: we take endless selfies; we want to be the first to tweet about a story; we place retweets over morality; we feel entitled to success without earning it; we need to be successful at anyone and everyone’s expense. Surely, we love ourselves TOO much? We place ourselves on pedestals.

But here lies the problem: pedestals often come crashing down. Especially when the foundation is hollow. We don’t do these things because we love ourselves. We do them because we don’t.

When was the last time you looked at yourself in a mirror, felt incredible, smiled, and walked out of the house knowing that you felt completely content with yourself? Chances are the process went more along the lines of: I look great, I’ll take a picture and post it, in hope that it’ll get likes. Then I’ll feel great. THEN I can have a great day, because people like me, people think I look good. This #NoMakeUpSelfie thing for example, I refused to get drawn into whether it was a just cause or narcissistic game (or rather, it was a just cause which turned into narcissistic game) but reading this article opened my eyes to the mentality behind the viral campaign and particularly, our generational values.

“Since the term ‘selfie’ entered our vernacular, it’s come to characterise the narcissism of the internet age. Every social network cultivates the self and in many ways, selfies grasp at our hero worship of celebrities – the modern day messiahs. Getting lots of likes on a picture offers a dizzying taste of this reverence, validating our physical appearance and so validating the carefully constructed image of who we want to be.”

We’ve placed too much importance on the opinions of others. We’ve let outsider appreciation replace self-love. We’re obsessed with validation from others: feeling good ONLY when we get over a hundred likes; doing good ONLY when we get co-signed. Hell, even I’m guilty of feeling like this. I love it when people like my pictures, my music, what have you. But I woke up this morning asking myself how I managed to get here. I know what I’m worth, and it is so much more than views on my videos, or followers, or likes. Yet I find myself a slave to social media numbers, and I hate it. It’s destroying my art, my creativity, my focus.

Somewhere along the lines our magic, art, and passion were lost to pixels. We’re losing who we are to plug into a digital world, to become who we want to be. Who loses, here? Our hearts, our minds, our souls – everything that makes us who we are. And once we lose who we are, we’re stuck in a world of emptiness. We become shallow. We become our digital selves. A copy.

We become… who we’ve just become.

Living in a world where our attention spans have dropped ridiculously, our access to mediocrity infinite. A world where power plays from political figures have made the world blind, and where memes and satire websites will have you believing almost anything, because there’s absolutely nothing to believe in.

I don’t know who created us nor why we’re here, how the earth, stars and universe came to be – and I hate that since entering the digital world, I’ve almost been rid of my initial curiosity and wonder. I wake up to see stories on #KimYe deemed more important than Ukraine. I see people finding Bieber’s deposition video more important than well, pretty much everything else.

It’s insane. And I’m sick to death of it. I don’t quite know how to change and break out of this, but it is essential that we do. We can’t have our future generation grow up on a foundation of masks, façades and emptiness. We need to start loving ourselves, and appreciating that we are who we are. We were born into this world, we create our legacy, we die and go back to the Earth. One of my biggest fears is that people won’t remember me after I’m gone. What’s now challenging that fear though, is me valuing my worth via social media. I’m better than that. We are all better than that. Social Media is a tool for expression, networking and communication. It is NOT for validation.

You are who you are in the flesh. You are NOT your online profile. Please do not forget that. Let’s talk over the phone, let’s talk in person. Let’s travel, let’s go to places without reading online reviews. Let’s forget Google Maps and get lost for a little while. Let’s support something because we WANT to, not because everyone else is. Let’s spend time getting to know ourselves. Let’s start loving ourselves again, so that we can love others the way they deserve to be loved. None of this fake-ness that’ll ultimately be forgotten about the following day. (Can you remember every picture you’ve liked on Instagram this week?)

Positivity can only be spread if it’s within you to begin with. We need it back.

Rushing To First Place

Self-gain seems so much more important to people these days than collective growth = everyone wants to be on top, so no one is. There’s also SO much importance placed on being ‘the first’ that it’s seemingly okay to compromise craft for validation, for acceptance.

Hype is a fad, we can’t focus our attention on that. Focus on craft, to create. We need to start thinking long-term gain instead of short-term exposure or TALENT will ultimately become pointless.

SF: Miraa May

The following is an extract of my article for Sampleface:

“This time ’round I’m sat in the studio listening to The Beginning: an acoustic EP from the captivating singer and guitarist, Miraa May. Jhené has been known to purr over records because of her sultry tone, runs and melodies; Miraa pretty much does the same. (Do you understand how massive a compliment that is, though?)

The EP kicks off with ‘Are You Down’ and her falsetto during the hook is breathtaking. Jesus. There’s no doubt that this girl can sing. At times it’s hard to believe that Miraa’s British. The song ends with an abruptly cute, ‘wakey, wakey, sunshine’ and a coy giggle. Now, this will either make you a) smile your ass off or b) melt. If it does neither, something is seriously wrong with you and you need to see a doctor.

I genuinely didn’t intend for that.

Track two is called ‘Doctor’. I think I just won at life.”

Read the article in full, here: http://sampleface.co.uk/miraa-may-the-beginning-ep/

SF: Negash Ali

The following is an extract of my article for Sampleface:

“The 4-track record from Denmark-native Negash emphatically kicks off with title song, ‘African Dream’. Hard-hitting lyrics touch on his disillusion with life, being African in a notably caucasian Denmark, “and I know I don’t belong here / I got an afro, they got that blonde hair.” The brashness of Negash’s tone and lyrical content (which, ironically, draws slight comparison to Yelawolf sans country twang) is balanced perfectly with Shakka-esqe vocals from Temu.

The next two records are assisted by Siff, who teases their collaborative potential with ‘Fire In The Sky’ before knocking it out of the park with ‘Outlaw’. It’s a great head-nodder with an incredibly engaging hook. However, Negash really saved the best until last. The production, flow, emotion and lyrics of ‘What You Got’ had me screw-facing from start to finish. It’s a record you would listen to before going to war (or a rave). I mean, try and listen to the second verse without pulling it up several times.”

Read the article in full, here: http://sampleface.co.uk/hip-hop/negash-ali-african-dream-ep/

SF: Alfa & Emmavie

The following is an extract of my article for Sampleface:

“My love for Soundcloud continued to grow after I uncovered another beauty of a song: this rendition of Laura Mvula’s Sing To The Moon by Alfa & Emmavie. After being obsessed with Emmavie’s vocal (her harmony game is subtlety glorious), I was excited when she announced a collaborative project with London-based producer Alfamist, titled Epoch.

An amalgamation of head bopping hip hop beats, sensuous jazz tones and sultry neo-soul melodies, Epoch is a smooth-as-fuck EP that has kept my iTunes occupied for a hot minute. (This is how I imagined Robert Glasper jamming with Floetry would sound). Released on 2nd February, the pair have been working closely together for years, having joined forces to create original music by drawing on their individual styles and the influences of taste.”

Read the article in full, here: http://sampleface.co.uk/free-download/alfa-emmavie-epoch-ep/

SF: The Soul Diaries

The following is an extract of my latest review for Sampleface:

The Soul Diaries – an alternative Soul radio show on Westside 89.6FM – has been steadily gaining momentum since the first episode a couple of months ago. Providing alternative soul, hip hop, break beat and jazz squeezed into two wonderful hours of listening, TSD presenter Nikita Chauhan has really got an ear for music everyone needs to tap in to.

SoulDiariesCh9

When we spoke to Nikita, she explained the reason behind creating the show:

“I love the raw emotion you can feel and hear in soul music, and how it’s relatable to moods. It’s something that I find is missing in the commercial music you hear today. The Soul Diaries is about the bringing together of soul, jazz, funk and even hip-hop… The Soul Diaries aims to bring great musicians to the forefront.”

Read the article in full, here: http://sampleface.co.uk/one-to-watch/the-soul-diaries/

Spoken Sessions #1: Break You

Following the 2011 YouTube series Cover Sessions, I have decided to start up a brand new 2014 series called the Spoken Sessions. The twelve-part Spoken Word series will focus on a range of different topics similar to those I’ve previously expressed on this blog! January’s video is called Break You, which touches on domestic abuse, emotional state and mentality. The video is filmed, directed and produced by myself, and stars Pia Sarkar.

You can watch the video here, lyrics given below:

Our minds wander on flecks of dust.
Shattered glass often finds peace on your floorboards,
because you’re light-footed, and soft spoken.
So words float through moments of hardship, whereas mine usually break you.

At times I wonder if your fragility is your biggest weakness.
But maybe it’s not you being too fragile. Perhaps, I’m too angry.
Perhaps my words come across harsher than you’re used to, but it was all I was used to.
You don’t fight, or raise your voice because you’re level-headed.
Whereas I escalate to insane, you stay maintained,
leaving me thinking that bad thoughts shouldn’t be festering in my brain.
Am I to blame?

Because when you broke, I tried to put your pieces back together and made things worse.
My hands bled and you lay there. Broken.
It was only when I left, did you mould yourself back together.
Even better. You had me wondering how he managed to break you in the first place.
I can’t move mountains though Lord knows I broke my back trying to.
And I’d continue until I broke too, so I could stop him from breaking you.
His God-forsaken presence, makes me wish I was present for that moment,
where he took his presence, and made his presence felt.

But that’s all in the past. And today, I’m your present.
And I’ll ensure that your presence is safe.

Our minds wander on flecks of dust.
Shattered glass often finds peace on your floorboards
because you’re light-footed., and soft spoken.
So words flow through moments of hardship,
and mine will never break you.