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A few weeks ago, I sat down with local artist Lyric Nicole to discuss her new career in the business. This time around, I sat with Valenza, an up and coming Jazz artist from Central Florida (whom is also the label mate to Lyric) whom is on the cusp of releases his very first album. I had the honor to work with Valenza, real name Troy Harris, on a number of events including a music video and will have the pleasure to be working with him again very soon in the near future. Like a seasoned jazz artist, Valenza has the talent of picking up a jazz saxophone to play whatever comes to mind in an impromptu segment.

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Recently, I’ve been away in production on two music videos for local artists in the Orlando area. Not only was it my first time working semi-professionally, it was my first time directing a music video, let alone two. One of the artists that I directed was Lyric Nicole, a young neo-soul singer with a fantastic voice and beautiful music under the Me 2 Entertainment label. I may be biased in my choice of words but you should check her out yourself. I won’t go into more detail about my times directing since that would be another, much longer piece. After the hecticness of a rushed production, I sat down with Ms. Lyric Nicole about her inspirations and work ethic.

With MTV at the forefront of teaching a whole new generation on how to act socially, the do’s and don’ts of a relationship, and the no-goes of personal hygiene. Yes, Guy Code and Girl Code are not only ‘teaching’ a new generation about everything they ‘need’ to know about becoming a man/woman living the in the 21 century, but both shows are doing it in an entertaining way. I prefer to watch Girl Code; it’s like lifting the veil on the secrets of the opposite sex. It’s not a perfect representation of the new generation of girls into women, but does give a plethora of opinions and statements to entertain young viewers. A new show (online) has caught us here at So So Active by surprise with insight on a group of Americans untapped by most shows on television.

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Nicki Minaj has been buzzing all over television and the Internet all week after her third studio album “The Pinkprint” was released this Monday. She has been featured on several talk shows such as The Real and also hosted SNL with skits impersonating other celebrities like Beyonce and Kim Kardashian. Out of all these shows and interviews, one of them stood out. Legendary radio personality Angie Martinez got Nicki Minaj to open up and talk about her relationship and break-up with her long-time boyfriend.

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Indie Artist Dan Samuel. Photo from Reverb Nation.

Last week, I brought you the first part of the interview with up and coming artist Dan Samuel. You may not knew who he was prior to the interview but I know you’re interested in hearing more from him. In this second and final part, Dan Samuel talks about bringing together his EP, Follow You Home, the song choices, who he would sing a song with and how his songs have grown over the years with maturity. Without further ado, here’s part two of Dan Samuel’s artist profile.

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Indie Artist Dan Samuel. Photo from Reverb Nation.

Dan Samuel is an indie rock musician with a small following. You may not know who he is or what he sings but he is definitely an artist to keep on your radar. Not only is he a singer/songwriter and guitarist, but he also is a schoolteacher and is studying to get a masters in psychotherapy. While he’s quite the dabbler in eclectic career choices, one thing’s for sure; he’s a musician deep down in his bones. I had the chance to sit down with Dan Samuel, via Google Hangout, to discuss his musical beginnings, his current status with a newly released EP, and his musically charged future. 

Photo of Miesa taken from Miesamusic.com

You may not know who she is but if you do, you know she can sing her heart out.  She’s an up-and-coming music artist from New Jersey with a voice unmatched by most of her mainstream counterparts. Her name is Miesa and if you haven’t heard her sing, you’re truly missing out.  If you’re following So So Active on Twitter, you may have seen her cover of Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors.  Her album is currently in the works and has remained hush-hush about it but I had the opportunity to speak with the star in the making over the phone.

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I lit up when I was asked to write an article about Justin Timberlake. He has been in the public eye for a few decades now and I took notice early on. I was in awe of his musical talent and naturally I was and still this day am crushing on his good looks. If you thought he was a passing fad you’d be sorely mistaken.  His star is shining brighter than ever. 

He has long since erased the stigma attached with being a member of a boy band. Even guys can say they have a new found respect for the talent this guy has, my husband is among his admirers, he states “he can sing, dance, act and damn is he funny”. Justin Timberlake was meant to be on stage, he began performing as a young child and spent his preteens and early teenage years acting, singing and dancing in those infamous mouse ears. The next few years were spent in NSYNC where he perfected his craft and eventually decided to break out on his own. Embarking on a solo career was a smart decision on his part he has been extremely successful.

Justin Timberlake is now a young man, he recently married Jessica Beil, has become a budding entrepreneur while pursuing acting roles all while still doing his thing musically. If I seem to be out of breath in that last sentence it’s because Justin Timberlake is a busy man these days.

What other people have to say about Justin:

People’s Chuck Arnold reviews Justin’s new single, Suit and Tie:

“Although the track once again finds Timberlake collaborating with producer Timbaland, it represents a sonic departure from previous hits like “Cry Me a River,” “My Love” and “What Goes Around … Comes Around””

Chris Michaud of Reuters reports that the new Justin Timberlake album is on its way:

The 20/20 Experience, the former N’Sync boy band member’s follow-up to 2006’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds” and only his third album ever, would be released on March 19.”

Before the kickoff happens at this years’ Super Bowl Justin would like to show you how he intends to celebrate, Alex Rawls of Rolling Stone describes the scene at the Justin Timberlake’s Pre Super Bowl party:

“The show itself – presented Timberlake as somebody so comfortable with his art that he doesn’t have to take himself too seriously…On Super Bowl weekend, he danced with a bouncy grace that was all his own, but he could also play it old school and be assured the audience was with him.”

Justin has become the king of side projects these days. One of his many business ventures includes the recent purchase of the flailing website MySpace. Over the past year he has made some tweaks an implemented some changes in attempt to target a different audience and keep those who have remained loyal. Jason Notte of MSN tells us what the Justin Timberlake MySpace is all about:

“Visitors can now find new music in the Discover section, which right now features a lot of JT but also includes trending items like artists, users, videos and a music-specific section with new albums, artists, and recommended musicians. There’s also streaming radio with artist and genre stations similar to Spotify or Pandora — without the commercials. They key addition, however, is the mixes section that revives mixed tapes and cribs yet another Spotify feature by letting users swap playlists.”

Justin, in his own words:

Was the wedding everything you and your now wife, Jessica Beil envisioned?

“To hear all of our family and friends cheering at extremely loud, inappropriate decibel levels, that became the pinnacle of the ceremony,” Timberlake gushed. “It felt perfect. It felt like everything came together.”

Huffington Post-Justin Timberlake’s Wedding Song: Singer Says “Grown Men Cried” As He Sang Beil Down The Aisle

Tell us about your days with ‘Nsync?

“Everything that we did was based around a cappella harmonies. That’s what we wanted to be in the beginning — an a cappella group. So that is why we put five guys in the group. When we were forming the group, there wasn’t a boy-band phenomenon….I don’t think we thought it was going to be as big as it became.”

-NPR, Timberlake On ‘Nsync, Acting And Bringing Sexy Back

Some would say you’re a natural at making people laugh, were did the funny bone come from?

“I’ve always thought that there was humor everywhere. As a kid, I grew up an only child, and nothing made me happier than to make my parents laugh. … I had a Jackson 5 wig that I would wear around, and I would do the dances from the Jackson 5, and my mother thought that was hysterical. Of course, that seed got planted very early, the physicality of comedy. When I was a kid, I would impersonate anything that I would hear.”

-NPR, Timberlake On ‘Nsync, Acting And Bringing Sexy Back

What made you decide to pursue acting? Now that you are an established actor is there a process involved with choosing your roles?

“I’ve always admired the art of acting, and it’s no secret that I was trained as a very young kid on a television show with other extremely talented actors and singers. On top of that, I’m also extremely aware of the perception of me as an artist. I think that’s why I made the choices that I made for myself. That’s why I chose the smaller films that I’ve done. I thought that I’d rather have the experience of the process from people who are really respected and admired, and characters that I can really dive into, rather than cash in, so to speak. I’m not really interested in that. Having an experience like this, working with actors that I admire and respect, and obviously one of my favorite directors of all time, it’s a very humbling experience. It’s been something that I’ve always dreamed of.”

-Jeanne Wolf, Justin Timberlake on Acting and Music: “I’m Equally Insecure About All of It”-Interview

References:
http://www.parade.com/celebrity/celebrity-parade/2010/0928-justin-timberlake-the-social-network.html
http://www.npr.org/2010/10/06/130356030/timberlake-on-n-sync-acting-and-bringing-sexy-back
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/justin-timberlakes-wedding-song-grown-men-cried-jessica-biel_n_2039411.html
http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=f41625c6-1ae7-43d6-8892-5f799ce96234
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/justin-timberlake-pulls-off-an-easy-comeback-in-new-orleans-20130203
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/29/entertainment-us-justintimberlake-idUSBRE90S0ZN20130129
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20664669,00.html

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Here is an interview I had with with AS I Lay Dying lead singer Tim Lambesis at the 2012 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in Dallas, TX.

Kelland: How are you guys using social media and other forms of new media to build your brand?
Tim: A lot of our peers have a really big following n social media sites and some of the older and more established bands don’t have a big following, so Facebook likes aren’t always a good indication of how popular a band is. In our situation, we view social media and sites like Twitter as a public mailing list. We can easily notify our fans that we have a a new single out or if we are playing at a venue in their city. However, you have to be careful because fans are smart enough to know if the interaction is genuine or if you are only their to advertise your music.

Kelland:Out of all the different site available right now, is there anyone that works best for AS I LAy Dying?
Tim: Individually we all have our own Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We also have a central page for the band. From the bands perspective, our Facebook page gets the most traffic and from an individual perspective our Instagram pages gets the most interaction.

Kelland: After being in the biz for so long, what motivates you?
Tim: There are definitely time when I get burnt out, but what happens is we will be home for tour for a while to work on a record and the end of that vacation period I can’t wait to get back on the road. We have been on this tour for about two weeks with this tour, but I know by the end of next week I’ll probably be read to get back home again. It’s that’s constant change that keep me going.

Kelland: Why does San Diego have such a great live music scene now?
Tim: Growing up in San Diego there were a million things to do except play music. Certain parts of San Diego history is more entrenched in doing stuff like surfing and outdoor sports. For some reason in the last ten years the live music scene just really kicked off, but I honestly can’t explain it.

Kelland: What made you pick up an instrument for the first time?
Tim: I always was a fan of music, but when I saw some of my friends playing I thought I could contribute and make their ideas better. I wanted to learn an instrument only so I could be a better song writer.

Kelland: What would have to happen for you to be happy with your progress five years from now?
Tim: Just more genuine interaction with our fans which would give us more longevity. Just being sincere with the way I write music and the way I perform songs is enough for me.