Adam Botsford is a man better known around Minneapolis as Botzy, the fun-loving rapper whom also happens to be 1/6th of the local beloved band Culture Cry Wolf. He has made his presence known around the city both as a solo artist, and with the band. It seems to be that anything Botzy gets his hands on becomes infected with his artistry, which is nothing short of ingenious. He holds true to the lifestyle of a creative musician and embodies it in an appealing, friendly and honest way. Many times in the music industry artists tend to believe they’re larger than life, but I am confident Botzy will never be one of them. He’s humble, he’s original, he’s quick-witted and here’s what he had to say:
Tairy Hesticles, aka William Hinrichsen has been a quiet force, dominating the world of underground hip-hop via youtube. Not only does he have a hand in creating lyrically deep and smooth music, he plucks the even deeper underground unknown nuggets of rap gold from the mines that are the internet and shares them with hip-hop heads across the nation. If you’re a fan of the raw, realistic, emotional and passionate subgrene of hip-hop there’s guranteed to be something for you within his prolific youtube channel. While writing this, there are currently 1,988 uploaded videos on his page and I’d be willing to bet he’ll hit 2,000 before the week is over. Within those videos are a few of his own, you’ll notice they’re some of the higher viewed videos which is a testament to his musical capabilites. Tairy Hesticles himself provides a deep, self-depreciating, emotion filled side of his inner-workings towards his newest project which is due out this August. This is the interview with Tairy Hesticles, the hip-hop hedonist and the man who knows more about rap music than your local record store clerk.
UG: So you’ve got this pretty cool alias, Tairy Hesticles aka Uncle Tairy. When and how did these come about?:
TH: When I was 18 I was living in an appartment at the Heartland Ridge, right across from the college I was attending. I lived in an upstairs unit, and a guy we called Beigman lived below me. Beigman was a funny dude and had an X-Box live account named TairyHesticles. He got booted from this account and ended up using the name JesusEatsBabies, which never got deleted. JesusEatsBabies being a more acceptable name to Microsoft was supposed to be the funny part of the story, but I laughed harder at the name TairyHesticles because I have the sense of humor of a farting 12 year old. When I started my Youtube page I couldn’t think of an interesting name, so I just went with TairyHesticles.
I had a similar loss for creativity when I started making music last year. I tried to make music when I was 15 or 16 and I went by the name Kinetix on an old website called HHS…and that’s just fucking stupid. I knew I needed a name that incorporated the Tairy page, so I chose Uncle Tairy. People had posted some comments calling me Uncle Tairy on some MF DOOM videos and it just stuck with me. I liked the idea of being this creepy, old uncle to a group of misfit hip hop fans. I’m a strange guy, so it fit me.
UG: Being from Minnesota, I stay pretty engulfed in the hip-hop scene here but haven’t been able to see much other cities have to offer for local music. How’s the scene down in San Antonio, TX?
TH: I’m actually from a tiny, working class town in Illinois called Minonk. I’ve only been in San Antonio since May 10th and I’ll be leaving to the Great Lakes as soon as my Hospital Corpsman training with the Navy is finished. I don’t know much about the scene here, but I did get to see Sage Francis and B. Dolan on my birthday, which was incredible because, come on, its Sage Francis. Also, he knew about the TairyHesticles page, which was surreal to me. That’s about all I know of the music scene. Well, that and old smooth shit from UGK, 8 Ball & MJG, Swisha House, etc…
Peoria, IL and Chicago both have vibrant music scenes though. Minonk is about 45 minutes from Peoria and that’s where I met Blaise B. I think he’s responsible for a lot of the dope stuff going on around Peoria. There’s a lot of good hip hop there and a ton of good dubstep. I’m not a big fan of dubstep, but Peoria has been a haven for that dirty, unfiltered dub for years. Chicago is pretty self-explanatory. There’s bound to be a lot of thoughtful musicians in an area so rich with history and culture.
UG: I’ve been following your youtube channel for a couple years now, and you consistently post great new underground hip-hop frequently (almost 2,000 videos worth of songs), a majority of which this hip-hop head had never heard of before then. How do you find this music? Do you know these dudes?
TH: Almost everything up until late 2009 was music taken right from my collection of CD’s. Like I said before, I lived in a very small town and most of the fun I had consisted of getting high and finding new music. Once I ran out of CD’s to post, I started searching online. As generic as it is, a ton of the new music I’d check out would be from Listmania on Amazon.com. I’d look up a CD I knew I liked and then poke around at albums that were similar. Last.fm helped a lot with finding new music as well. The vast majority of music I posted before 2011 were from people that I had no contact with. When I met DKat and Airospace I started changing the philosophy of the page from posting underground hip hop that, while obscure to the mainstream, had made their rounds through the internet to more of a promotional tool for those that had just started their musical careers or had little help getting their music out. Right now I’m trying to blend the two together, but the page is still much more of a haven for up and coming artists than a place to find music you can buy in stores.
UG: As a fellow hip-hop connoisseur, what are your top 5 favorite hip-hop albums of all time?
TH: That’s a question I’ve been frequently asked and I can only answer for my favorite album. Hands down, First Born by Eyedea & Abilities is the best CD I’ve ever heard. Its just so lyrically groundbreaking. I remember first hearing that CD when I was 18, which was an exciting time in my life as far as musical discovery is concerned. I bought First Born along with Godlovesugly and I was so blown away with the way Micheal could put together thoughts. This CD alone pushed me into an obsession with hip hop and also kick started the beginning of writing thoughtful poetry. Before that I was writing more structured songs with a predictable pace and basic hook, just tinkering with punch lines and still trying to find ways to get my thoughts onto paper. After hearing First Born my writing process started to click. I can’t put an order to my other top five favorites but they are probably Madvillainy, El-P’s Fantastic Damage, Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein and Eyedea’s Oliver Hart album. There are so many more that are right up there though, including Aesop Rock’s Labor Days, Sage Francis’ A Healthy Distrust, The Roots’ Illdelph Halflife, Dr. Octagonecologyst, Deltron 3030, Souls of Mischief’s ’93 Til Infinity, A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Mauraders, Nas’ Illmatic, Kool Keith/Motion Man/Kutmasta Kurt’s Masters of Illusion, Binary Star’s Masters of the Universe, Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientelle, Atmosphere’s Lucy Ford, Mr. Lif’s I Phantom, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s E.1999 Eternal, Canibus’ Rip the Jacker, Del the Funkee Homosapien’s Both Sides of the Brain, Group Home’s Livin’ Proof, Wuf Tix’s Scumbag Delerium….there are just so many amazing albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.
UG: Your lyrics are intricate and woven finely. You’ve got an honesty about yourself that most artists would be afraid to show. You definitely need more recognition. When did you start writing and rapping?
TH: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My grandma was a great writer and she passed it on to my dad, who got me into creative writing at a very young age. I remember writing this awful song in fifth grade, the chorus was something like “I just wanna be with you today, tomorrow, tonight and I just wish for once everything would be alright” and my dad found it in the printer. He was surprised at how I could structure a song with bridges and hooks and everything, but the track was so depressing for a fifth grader to write. He wasn’t quite sure what to think, but he encouraged my writing even more after that and its just something that stuck with me. I briefly tried making rap music when I was 15 with this cheap little handheld beat maker. My best friend Froelich and I went by the name Coconut Joe’s and wrote almost exclusively about weed, the government, and how unfair it is that the government won’t just legalize weed. I ended up giving that beat maker to a buddy of mine that left town and didn’t try making music again until DKat invited me to his place in Indiana. We made a track called Tame the Time and I’ve been addicted ever since.
UG: What music influenced you most in growing up as a kid?
TH: For anyone that’s heard even a snippet of any of my songs, this is going to sound ridiculous, but up until about 5th grade I listened to only Christian music. Not necessarily by choice, but that’s all my mom would buy me. DC Talk and Jars of Clay I remember most of all. My dad was working third shift and wasn’t home much, but he’d have us listen to classics like Bob Dylan and the Doobie Brothers. In middle school I listened to a lot of pop/punk music like Blink 182 and Sum-41. If you would have met me during my childhood you would have thought I’d be more likely to be a pastor than an emcee. The Kottonmouth Kings were the first group that really got me into anything hip hop and I didn’t start listening to them until I was 15.
On a quick side note, its a real shame that the 1995 self-titled Jars of Clay CD was only marketed to Christians. That’s probably the only Christian album that I could still throw in and vibe to. Its a pretty beautiful album until you realize that the love songs are all about a guy that’s been dead for two thousand years.
UG: How did the project DRYTUNCL with you and DRTYDRDZ begin?
TH: Pretty much the same way that every good thing that has happened to me over the last year did: The Tairy page. Right around when I started making music with Ponce under the Cuple Powks name DRTY sent me a comment to check out his page. I very rarely check my comments on the page and most of the time when someone says “check out my page” it usually means “come listen to my terrible music”. I checked out his page though and really like what he was doing, especially on a beat he had called Spasmo. I never ended up using that beat, but I made Rusty Chain to one of his beats. He sent me more beats shortly after that and I connected with almost every one of them. There are good beats and then there are beats that grab you at your innermost core and make you need to write to them. Almost every one of his beats hit me like that, so I did more work with his beats and by the time I left for boot camp in January I was working almost exclusively to his production. After I got out of boot camp he had a full three albums worth of new beats and the next logical step seemed to be to make an album together.
UG: The tracks you’ve released for the DRYTUNCL album Dextromethorphan and Dog Tags are amazing so far, can’t wait for the full thing. You recently announced that you’d be sending free physical copies to those who want them. That’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen an artist do to market themselves in a long time. I know you made a video about this, but for interviews sake why did you decide to do this?
TH: The best thing to happen in my life has been discovering recording. The second best thing to happen in my life has been talking to the people that listen and give feedback to the music that I record. For this reason I want to do something for everyone that have not only been listening to my music, but also those who have been supporters of the Tairy page itself. Its not for marketing purposes, its strictly because I want to show my gratitude in any way that I can. The best part about finding out that I can rap this comparatively late to most emcees is that I already have somewhat of an established life and income outside of music, even if I am pretty broke and my life is a hilarious mess. I plan on attending graduate school for my MBA at my first duty station and the Navy pays me well enough to live, so I don’t have to worry about eating off my music, which allows me to do literally whatever I want to with it. If I want to put out an entire song based around Chris Benoit putting the Crippler Crossface on his underdeveloped son before murdering his family, I can, and the people that listen to the Tairy page are so cool that they would probably listen and laugh right along with me…as long as it wasn’t autotuned.
UG: If you could do an album full of dream collaborations who would you work with and why?
TH: Great question. Blaise B. has been my mentor in hip hop since far before I actually started recording and I’ve always wanted to do a CD with him, which we just may do now that we’ll be in the same area. Edan would be great to work with, although I get the feeling that he procrastinates a bit too much for me. I could use a perfectionist though, as I tend to just pump out tracks an hour after making them. Slug and I could make some pretty great self-deprecating material together. Sage Francis tears shit on any track he makes, so that would be amazing. Canibus, but I’m certain he would make me look like a simpleton. I always wanted to get on an Algorythms track. Aesop Rock for obvious reasons. A pure hip hop track with One-Be-Lo would be incredible. I think a track with Too Short would be one of the funniest things music has seen. Me shitting on myself for 2 minutes and Too Short being a confident pussy magnet doing what he does. I think Tyler the Creator and I could make one hell of an offensive track. Ces Cru. Type. DJ Abilities. Black Thought. Kool Keith. There are more.
UG: Who are some of the favorite people you’ve worked with and why?
TH: As far as making music, I’ve only worked with Blaise B., DRTYDRDZ, DJ Ellis (my buddy Ponce) and DJ [Sum] Asshole (my friend Anthony). My guy Punx in MN gave me some contact info to Ces Cru though, and I really enjoyed talking to them. They really appreciate their fans.
UG: How can all the fans stay updated with your new music and announcements?
TH: I’m constantly updating my Youtube page, so any new music and announcements I have will be posted up there. Once I get this album finished I’ll post links up on the page as well. I want to start a legitimate webpage in the future where you can download/purchase my music as well as others like JayKubes, Samuri Outlaw, DKat and others. The best way to get ahold of me is to e-mail me at email@example.com. I’m always looking for new music to post on the page as well, so if you’re reading this and want to introduce your music to the weirdos on the TairyHesticles page, send something to my inbox.
UG: What is one piece of advice you have for the kids trying to breakout into the underground music scene?
TH: I haven’t really broken out anywhere myself, so I don’t feel comfortable giving anyone advice about how to do that; however, I do have some advice for any of the kids looking to start or just starting out making hip hop music. I would tell them to make what they feel inside and not emulate anyone else, regardless of how indie or underground they may be. I know that this is much easier said than done, since everyone making music is influence by the others that came before them, but if you can get your actual feelings onto the page and make music for your own sanity, its so much more satisfying than framing your music around something you’ve heard. It may come out odd, sensitive, angry, or even confident if that’s what’s really inside of you, but at the end of the day if you do gain some recognition you’re going to have to live the music you’ve been making.
And if all else fails, grow a complete disdain for everyone else and masturbate a lot…that seems to have worked for me so far.
Last Triumph is a Minneapolis based crew making successful and creative marketing moves. The sky is the limit for the man behind the scenes, JR. His hard work, smart career moves and carefully executed strategies are proving to pay-off. Learn a thing or two on stepping your business game up from a man living his dream.
JR: Music and art was something that organically found me early on in life at about age 10. It was love at first sight, aww. I started being involved in the Twin Cities music scene at age 13. I was in a punk band called Cx18 with some neighborhood friends and started playing shows in different basements since we were too young to play at venues. I got into the business side and started printing T-shirts, stickers, CDs, etc. for our band and we started to generate some income.
Once I had a taste, there was no going back. I was addicted, obsessed and hooked…we’re still talking about music.
From there I started to meet some industry people working in the scene. One of those people was Ben Obi of Savannah Street Music. He brought me in to do mixing and editing work on some big projects for a record label such as Universal.
I worked for free for many years until I started to get some good paying gigs. I hooked up with Zivix a small music innovation company in Minneapolis in 2009 and am still working there today. We nerd out everyday, its awesome. You can find our products on Nintendo Wii, PC, Xbox360, PS3, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Last Triumph is my crew. Together, we’ve done some amazing things and I’m excited for the future to see what we can do.
UG: TV licensing is an interesting line of work to get into, how did you decide upon that as a career?
JR: Obviously times have changed and the music industry is in a different place today. As an indie artist I’ve had to find ways to do music while still having food on the table. Records aren’t selling like they used to, so TV and video game licensing have been a good source of income. There is a lot you can do with a song besides selling it on iTunes.
UG: You also are a master at video game developing, what was the first one you ever helped create? Which one remains your favorite?
JR: Not a master just yet, but we are learning everyday. The first game I helped develop was called “JamParty –Be The Music” for PC, which then became “JamParty –Remixed” retail boxed version also for PC, and then finally our flagship version “JAM –Live Music Arcade” which we just released on Xbox360 and PS3. It all started in the back room at Zivix in downtown Minneapolis with different midi controllers and us basically geeking out with code and music stems. I’m really excited about our recent version of JAM, as it features many local and mainstream artists and it has an amazing experience at a great price point, (ONLY $9.99!). We’ve also created several mobile apps and an awesome music game on the Nintendo Wii called “Just Jam”. My favorite has to be JAM –Live Music Arcade, as it was a huge challenge to submit to Microsoft (Xbox) and Playstation, and we did it!
UG: I understand that Last Triumph is your brainchild, how did you start it up and become involved in the local music scene?
JR: I just happened to be surrounded by a ton of extremely talented people, its extreme. I saw everyone trying to do everything themselves and so I thought why don’t we start a crew? This way we can all do our part individually to create something bigger. We call it Last Triumph.
UG: You’ve worked with a lot of cool people I’d imagine, who were some of your favorites and why?
JR: This is a tough question. It’s been awesome working with everyone over the years but I have 2 sessions that come to mind. Last year, I teamed up with one of my favorite producers of all time, Lance Conrad of Humans Win Recording studio in NE. We recorded with RCA artist Cory Chisel. We covered a Beatles song “Fixin a Hole” for the Minnesota Beatles project. It was a fun challenge to try to cover a Beatles song, and then mix it to sound modern yet true to the Beatles old school tape sound. Cory Chisel is an amazing musician you should check out. The other session was Steve Greenberg of Lipps, Inc. who produced and wrote the famous hit Funkytown. Him and I were working on the stems from Funkytown to port over to the video game JAM. It was cool to hear his stories of having a major hit song. The video game really exposed me to some great artists. It’s been awesome getting stems from Universal and Sony engineers and then hearing things like Big Boi of Outkast before a vocal take saying, “(yawn), just another day in the dungeon” before laying down lyrics to a multiplatinum hit.
UG: What are a few things on your bucket list?
JR: Writing a book
Continue the food garden in my yard
Producing a Last Triumph vinyl
More mobile apps coming
Community, bringing people together always.
UG: You’re one of the few promoters left to embody the entire hip-hop culture at live shows, what can people expect from a Last Triumph event?
JR: Whether it’s a Last Triumph or affiliated hiphop, indie rock, electronic, rave or acoustic event, you can expect vibrant energy, organized and fairly traded transactions between artists and promoters, live art, video game booths, anything to provide good times for people who come out.
UG: Do you have a fan club, or street team type of group where the fans can do more hands on promotion?
JR: Yes, with social networking it’s nothing for someone to click “share” to a new LT release and share it with hundreds of their friends or followers. Pretty much every person in our crew is a street teamer, you can’t just sit on Facebook and promote.
UG: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
JR: I am going to continue this path and see what happens. As long as I work hard enough to sustain, eat good food, create my art, and show it to some people…I am happy.
UG: How can people keep up with your label for releases and tour dates, or to contact you?
UG: Last but not least, what is your advice for young kids out there, looking for their big creative break?
JR: Set goals and dream about your destination, but have fun along the way, the journey. Do what you do naturally by working hard and making good honest decisions, it will come.
Orikal Uno (whom has been voted Saint Paul’s best kept secret for the TCHHA/Twin Cities Hip-Hop Awards in previous years) has remained somewhat a local secret but is beginning to earn the cred he has been deserving of. He is one of the few rappers I know in constant “grind-mode”, whether it be painting murals, performing at local venues, or recording some new track, with some other local geniuses. The man is busy and has a lot to show for his hard work. An artist who you should put, and keep on your radar for years to come. Ladies and gents’ met Orikal Uno, the man with the plan to bring hip-hop back to its true roots with passion and determination.
UG: What is your first memory of the Twin Cities hip-hop scene?
O: Probably the first time I painted a train. I was a pre-teen and surrounded by hip-hop heads. As far as the music goes, my homies were the first Rhymesayers street team, and a Micranots show is one of my memories at the 7th street entry. I was probably 12 years old at the time and it was an all ages show.
UG: How did you get your start as an artist?
O: I had this little karaoke machine that took cassette tapes. I’d put on my favorite songs and record my raps on that thing. From there, I got a keyboard that would play pre-recorded drum-loops, and we’d do songs over that. I got my first digital microphone from a game I got at the dollar store. I used that mic and Magix Music Studio for my first 2 albums haha. One channel would record as nothing but noise, and one channel was vocals. So I learned how to copy and paste the “voice” channel over the “noise” channel when I was like 13 for clearer vocals.
UG: Tell me a little about your label, Graff Roots Media.
O: I established Graff Roots in 2006. The name comes from how I got involved in hip-hop music, which was via graffiti. I treat music like graff, get your name everywhere, paint/write with different artists, and do the best work you possibly can with what you got at the most high-profile spots.
I don’t really consider us a “record label” – more like a collective of artists that represent Music, Art, Culture and Style. We got some plans up our sleeve for the next year, and if executed properly it’ll do very good things for hip-hop here in Minnesota. We’re more of a movement than a label. We’re B-Boys and B-Girls progressing/preserving the culture and keeping that true hip-hop relevant. I like to consider us the last of a dying breed, that we’re hoping to revive.
UG: What projects do you currently have in the works?
O: My debut studio album “Uno” dropped last year. I teamed up with Dispute One and we go by “OnePlusOne” – We have a mixtape done and recorded, we’re just waiting for the final mix/blend from our DJ. Once we get that, we’ll be releasing that free. Orikal&Ganzobean have had a complete album recorded and in the vault for a while now. I also have albums almost complete with Chris Goodwin and West End Productions. Besides that, I’m working on a project with Adbeatz out of Chicago. As well as a mixtape with Tully Stockton. I stay busy in the studio.
UG: If you had to sell yourself in 3 songs or less, which 3 songs would you chose to represent your style?
O: “On This Day” – “Get Away (So Stressed Out)” – “Rumfaced”
UG: Who do you consider and inspiration, and why?
O: In life, my Mom. She flipped her life around with very limited resources to raise me. Did it all on her own. I’m very proud of her. In music, a lot of great musicians from a lot of different genres have influenced me. Good music is my inspiration. As far as making dreams a reality, Rhymesayers are very inspirational with how they came up. Especially as a Minnesota kid. I watched them go from local to worldwide every step of the way.
UG: You’ve worked with a ton of amazing people, who were some of your favorites?
UG: Who do you dream of someday working with?
O: Prince. Quincy Jones. DJ Premiere. Twista. Dr. Dre. Devin The Dude. Slug and Ant.
UG: What is your biggest accomplishment?
O: Being the first of my family to get a college degree.
UG:Tell me about your thoughts on hip-hop today, vs the scene 10 years ago
O: It’s different in various ways. The internet is a major factor. Too many people have easy access to making music. I remember when studio time actually cost something, and people who were dead serious about music would practice for days on end for those couple of hours in the studio. Now it’s like anybody with a computer program can be comfortable with half-assing a song and wonder why they don’t have a fan base. I also feel like a lot of the values of the hip-hop I grew up in are fading away… Too many rappers rapping about nothing, not enough breakdancers honing their skills on the floor. I could ramble about this for days…
UG: What barriers are you most proud for overcoming?
O: Being able to freestyle, and having my own style in graffiti. 2 barriers i’d like to overcome are my stutter in interpersonal conversation, and my type-one diabetes. lol.
UG: What are your goals for your self and your music?
O: World domination. Comfortable income for me and those I care about. And never-ending progression in my music. Never bottoming out.
UG: What’s your advice for younger kids who want to get involved?
O: Study whatever culture you wish to be involved with. Learn who’s responsible for what you want to do and why they made it great. Be yourself and be proud of who you are. Respect your elders, but don’t be afraid or intimidated to surpass them, respectfully. Talk less and work more. If it’s rap, freestyle more. If it’s art, sketch/paint more. Stay humble. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, just make sure you’re asking the right people. PAY YOUR DUES.
Tavonte Woods is a talented rapper from Minneapolis who is balancing a life of high school, and becoming a buzz building artist. His youtube videos have been growing more and more popular and his first mixtape featured Tyga. He’s got the mentality of an artist, and the skill to back it up. Read the interview with Minnesota’s next up here:
UG: When did you first get involved in making music?
TW: It was around like 7th grade when I actually started writing rhymes, it was nothing serious just fun. But my freshmen year I actually started recording at professional studios after I joined the dance/music group called the Backpack Kidz.
UG: Who has been your biggest inspiration as an artist?
TW: Kanye, Big Motivator, & im a huge fan of his music
UG: Your first mixtape “Tatted with my mic” was just released a few months ago, what songs are you most proud of from it?
TW: That mixtape was threw together quick, it was really just me showing people I can spit. I wrote & recorded those songs to other artists in the industrys beats. I like Dedication, When I’m Gone, Headlines, & House Party.
UG: Who is your dream collaboration?
TW: I’ll have to say Nas, that dude’s a legend! Still killin’ shit!
UG: What is it like trying to balance life as a musician, and life as a high schooler?
TW: Its kind of hard, I’d rather do some kind of home school or something, because I stay up late writing! It makes it hard for me to keep up with school…
UG: As an artist, what do you want to accomplish before you’re 18?
TW: I want to build the biggest fan base an unsigned artist ever had, keep making songs & videos that keep the fans satisfied.
UG: Being a young dude doing his thing, what is your advice to younger kids trying to breakout on the rap scene?
TW: You just gotta be yourself man, speak what you’re living, just let it out truthfully keep it REAL!
UG: Do you have any sponsorships you wanna give a shout out to?
TW: Middle child, Victims of Culture, SpaceHeads, & Miami Social Club
UG: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
TW: I just wanna show how real life is man. Speak what real people go through now a days, those out there grinding through the struggle, and dreaming BIG are the ones that will relate to my kind of music. I want people to get inspired by my music to push theirselves to achieve whatever their dreaming to do to make their life LUXURY.
UG: Do you have any new projects in the works we can look out for soon?
TW: Yes, I have a lot of stuff I’ve been working on. I’m going to be doing a few new videos this month!
UG: How can the fans stay updated on your releases and concert dates?
TW: @TavonteWoods on twitter!
Follow @TavonteWoods on twitter to keep up with him for new music and concert dates!
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K.Raydio is a soulful breath of fresh air to the hip-hop scene. She upstages Kanye West on his own songs. She has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, and it only sounds better live. Along with being everything but short of talented, she’s extremely smart and extremely witty. She is a woman, who is without a doubt going places, so you should probably get informed about her now.
UG: When did you realize you had a passion for music?
K.Raydio: My parents told me that they used to play music next to my mom’s belly when she was pregnant with me, and I can honestly say that I’ve been passionate for music ever since. The best gifts I ever received as a kid were (1) a Playskool tape recorder, and (2) a karaoke machine for my 7th birthday because they allowed me to listen to music all of the time — and begin to create it. I was always the kid with the headphones on and I don’t remember many days when I didn’t listen to music to cope with my emotions growing up. Music was everywhere and its influence made me who I am today, without a doubt.
UG: Who were your favorite artists as a kid?
K.Raydio: I grew up in a house where artists from Joni Mitchell to Bill Withers to Paul Simon were celebrated. As a kid, I loved listening to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, the soundtrack to “The Wiz” and the Beach Boys (believe it or not). And I’ll confess that I was obsessed with Hanson during my pre-teen days. Don’t judge me. They wrote and produced their own music that had amazing melodies. This is a huge confession for me. But I was also in love with film scores and soundtracks. I kept that a secret growing up. No other kids around me were listening to the score to The Godfather on the bus home from school.
UG: What has been the most encouraging force to keep you pursuing your music?
K.Raydio: My “kids”. My day job is working as a special education paraprofessional, so I work with students with special needs in a really amazing public school district. I have been blessed to work with some truly amazing youth both this year and last year at a previous school, and when my students find out that I’m a singer and a songwriter, they give me all of the encouragement I need to keep going because they place me on a pedestal. To them, I’m already a celebrity and more importantly, a positive role model in their lives and when days are tough and I don’t feel like my music career is moving as progressively as I want it to, they are always a constant reminder to keep pushing. I love them.
UG: You seem very well educated, you must have got some college learning under your belt. Where did you go and what did you study?
K.Raydio: Well, thank you. Education has always been a huge component in my life because I was fortunate enough to be raised in a family that strived for higher education in every sense. I am a graduate of the best school in the world, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’m a proud Badger! I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts with a Radio, TV & Film emphasis, so I took a lot of coursework incorporating race relations, media, education, politics, the entertainment industry, etc.
UG: What opportunities has music brought to your life?
K.Raydio: Music has helped me be a better writer, a better educator, and a better person overall. I’ve been able to perform at some amazing venues in the Twin Cities such as the Varsity, 7th Street Entry, the Cabooze, Honey, etc. And I’ve been able to share the stage with amazing local artists as well. I’ve learned about the music business in a very non-traditional, hands-on fashion and from the perspective of a soul singer in a hip-hop community. And I’ve also been blessed with mentors, such as M.anifest, Ashanti Abdullah and Susan Campion, who have opened my eyes (and ears) to how to make it in this industry.
UG: What was your inspiration for your first 2 solo debuts, Significant Other parts 1 and 2?
K.Raydio: The title “Significant (Other)” was so dope to me because it seemed very natural. I have always felt like the “other” in every social and socio-economic context possible due to my identity, and in a lot of ways being the “Significant (Other)” is the anti-thesis of the “Tragic Mulatto.” I wanted to show that I’m proud of who I am and love the fact that I was born to stand out. I wanted to inspire people to “dare to be different”.
UG: How did you get involved with the “Not Enough Mics” collaborative group? How was it working with them?
K.Raydio: Not Enough Mics Collaborative is a brilliant community founded by good friends Blaire White and Sofia Snow, beautiful womyn that I attended UW-Madison with. They are both hip-hop enthusiasts, educators, and graduates of the First Wave program, an amazing hip-hop and spoken word scholarship program at UW that brings artistic students from across the country to thrive at the university. Blaire and Sofia recognized that there is a huge void of a platform for womyn (yes, with a y) in hip-hop and wanted to establish a collaborative that would serve as a supportive structure for artists such as myself to have resources to depend on with the guidance of other womyn, instead of relying on men in the “industry”. It is not a gender-exclusive group by any means, but it has really taken off. I love N.E.M. I was one of the first affiliate artists and they have been nothing short of supportive. More artists need to know about them. They can check out the website here and learn more: notenoughmics.com
UG: You recently received the highest regarded reward (an awesome teacher award) from one of your students, how does that feel and what do you think makes a teacher “awesome”?
K.Raydio: That was definitely a highlight of this year thus far. I was asked to read a book about the legendary opera singer Marion Anderson for the elementary school kids at Story Time this past week and was awarded the Awesome Teacher Award the next day. I think being patient, empathetic, encouraging and positive makes a teacher “awesome”. When I think back to teachers that meant a lot in my life, like my music teacher Donald Washington in grade school, those attributes really stick out.
UG: What’s one hidden talent it’d be surprising to learn you have?
K.Raydio: I can actually impersonate a baby’s voice surprisingly — and creepily — well. I don’t know how I learned it, but I say “girl” and cup my lips to make songs in a baby-tone. It has been proven to make the crabbiest of babies immediately stop crying. I hope it works on my future kids someday or I’m screwed.
UG: What can we look out for in the future from K.Raydio and where can people be directed to stay up to date with your releases and concert information?
K.Raydio: 2012 will be a very exciting year. I’m planning on releasing four new songs with music videos in the next few months in preparation for my full-length album, which I’m hoping to release in late spring/early summer. I will be doing more performances in February and March and shooting a video for my new single “The Way It Goes” in February as well. I’m also lining up shows in other parts of the country as well. I have an official website that is currently under construction, but until it’s launched, all of my news and information can be found at on my Bandcamp page (kraydio.bandcamp.com) and my official K.Raydio Facebook page. Stay tuned . . . a lot of fun stuff will be headed your way soon.