Interview – Mali Osage

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Mail Osage, check out our interview with the talented rapper below.  

First things first, tell us about yourself? 

I’m a very determined person. I try to live my life like God is involved in all I do. I’m not really concerned with what people think of me, at the end of the day I need to be proud of anything I’m apart of, musically of just living in general. I feel like I’m at my creative best when I had tunnel vision.

What is your songwriting process? 

I like to listen to tracks before creating a song, it’s more about creating the vibe versus trying to make a sound.

Tell us about your latest release? 

Working on a Paper World. We can’t escape materialism but we should never compromise artistry for money. It’s a combination of personal things I’ve been dealing with but staying true to my goals.

What has been your funniest gig moment?

I was invited to perform at a spot with a live band. I wanted to do a freestyle of a Cold Play instrumental, the band which catered to Hip Hop primarily had no sides what the song was. Even when performing it, I knew my lyrics resonated with the crowd but it was an out of the box collaboration. Both the band and I received a lot of feedback but when they were initially hesitant I thought the set was going to backfire.

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans? 

If you have a different point of view, don’t be afraid to be different. Creativity happens when we block out any pressure to meet other people’s expectations.

Who are your musical influences? 

Jay Z, Kanye, Black Thought, Drake, Fabolous by name and for different reasons.  When I hear these guys it pushes me.

Who are your non-musical influences? 

I admire LeBron James’ story and growth. TD Jakes, Les Brown, Andy Wilcox (my barber when I was coming up) Robert Kiyosaki. Again, maybe a strange mixture but spirituality is just as important as success.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for artists today? 

Understanding the business of music and the business of people. It’s a lot of sharks in this water.

What advice would you give to other artists starting out? 

Create, critique and don’t be afraid to be innovative. Secondly, surround yourself with people who are going to keep it brutally honest with you, don’t settle for “yes men”.

What are your hopes for next 2 years?

Continued peace and health. If I maintain those there’s nothing I can’t do. I might hope for a sunny day or whatever but my achievements rest in my drive. I believe success hinges on taking advantages of opportunities, big or small.

To find out more about Mali Osage, check out the links below!

Interviewed by FVReviews April 2019

The Don Kap interview

We were lucky enough to catch up with the artist, The Don Kap. Find our interview to read below.

Tell us about yourself?

My name is The Don Kap and I have Hawk Eyes and a Dog’s Nose (I see and sniff fake people out instantly and from afar)

What is your songwriting process?

I create subject matter and/or lists of content I’d Like to speak about. Then I find and lease a fire beat that is to my liking (I have golden ears) Then it takes me about an hour to come up with the hook and then finally the verses.

What is the best gig you have ever played?

I don’t perform live. I do stand up and speeches.

Tell us about your latest release?

‘Cannot Listen (Fake People Diss)’ is a song I wrote during a breakup with a best friend of over 20 years. He ended up being the fakest person ever and I saw right through him. He was jealous of me, he was always trying to one-up me, he was always playing ego games. Just a terrible friend. I don’t know why I put up with it so long, I guess because I was insecure. Now I see the light! Bye Bye Fakes. 

Funniest gig moment?

Performing at a club in NYC with my grandparents there. My grandfather got an eye infection from the excitement I believe. 

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?

Bye Bye Fakes! The Don Kap is here to bring Justice and substance back to rap. 

Who are your musical influences?

The Lonely Island and Future.

Who are your non-musical influences?

Donald Trump, Howard Stern, Jerry Seinfeld

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?

Being p******. 

What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?

Focus on an income first. 

What are your hopes for the next 2 years?

Perform in space. 

If you’d like to catch up further with The Don Kap, either on earth or in space, you can check him out here:

@thedonkap insta

@trustthedon twitter

Interviewed by FVReviews April 2019

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Interview – Paul Middleton

We were lucky enough to catch up with the UK based artist Paul Middleton. Please find our insightful interview with this mesmerising talent below.

Hi Paul, Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. For those who don’t know you, please tell us about yourself?

I was born in the U.K but I grew up in different parts of the world: Egypt, Nigeria, and the Caribbean. Mainly through my mother and sister, I learnt about music. I had my first experience of singing at the age of 8 whilst singing in the school choir in Nigeria. We were asked to record a charity song and we were taken to a recording studio. I remember it being really dark with lots of cables and very exciting. The producer reduced the choir to the final 6 and I was part of that 6. A few years later I joined the church choir at a school and loved singing hymns. 

At 21 I joined a tribute group but also did solo work. I did my first gigs in a restaurant in Essex which had two floors and I was expected to go up and down to entertain everyone which was really difficult – but I learnt quickly how to grab a crowd. It was like an apprenticeship. Since then I have grown as a singer, performer and artist. I have been so lucky to: sing and travel all around the world, write my own song called ‘Hanging In There’ for an independent film and meet so many incredible people. I still pinch myself.

Brilliant. What has your best gig been?

Recently, I sang at a festival in front of 4,000 people and I had the best time. They were up for it and so was I it was such a buzz. A career highlight. Another favourite was in Belgium in front of 40 people in a pub. Intimate gigs are a lot of fun. I go out into the audience and despite the language barrier we all had a blast and I loved connecting with them.

You are releasing your latest album ‘Covers 3’ soon, tell us about this latest release? 

‘Covers 3’ is a lot more diverse in that it has uptempo, fun pop to dance to a little folk to ballads compared to my previous two which were more ballad driven. I started this album with the Fleetwood Mac song ‘Everywhere’. If I look at my top 25 most played songs- it was number 1 for a long time. I love their music and this song is so uplifting. With ‘Careless Whisper’, I came out of a difficult time with someone I was heavily in love with and it wasn’t to be. I listened to the lyrics of ‘Carless Whisper’ and just connected whereas before I hadn’t. I loved recording it and I hope I have given the song a new feel while being respectful to the original. The lyrics ‘I’m never gonna dance again’, ‘I feel so unsure’ and ‘we could have been so good together’, just drew me in. It was a great chance to let out some pain I went through. On the other hand, there are lots of happy moments like ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’- such a great pop song. Generally, this album has been very autobiographical about the last 4 years. Each song connects to a time in my life. Some great times and some sad times.

What has been your funniest gig moment?

Trousers ripping on stage. Another time, and it doesn’t happen a lot but I got the lyrics wrong to ‘Wake me up before you go go’. Instead of singing ‘ Cause you’re my lady, I’m your fool’ I looked directly into a guys eyes whilst on one knee and said ‘cause I’m your lady’- his reaction was priceless. 

Who are your musical influences?

Eric Clapton, Abba, Justin Timberlake, Adele, Eva Cassidy, Daft Punk, Take That, The Lighthouse Family, George Michael and Queen.

Who are your non-musical influences?

My mother died of cancer when I was 15. She loved to sing and dance. It wasn’t until 5 years ago with my first album that I decided to do something in her memory. All the profits from my first two albums (mostly CD sales) went to Cancer Research and I did a lot of charity gigs to raise awareness and support the charity. I never thought about why I got into singing and performing until recently and I think it is one of the ways I carry my mum in my heart. Another influence is the people that support me because I want to do the best I can do for them. I still can’t get over that people are so supportive. I wake up in the morning and I look like a zombie and I think if only they could see me in this state. 

What would you say are the biggest obstacles in the way for artists today?

The download and streaming industry has crippled artists. They have everyone by the neck. You can’t make a living off streaming and downloads from an album and considering that is the heart and soul of an artist, I think that is really sad and disgusting from the digital companies. You put blood, sweat and tears into a piece of art and the return is ridiculous. 

Also, be prepared for a lot of knock-backs. I was the lead singer in a group and took some time off as my life was all over the place and I needed to get better. They replaced me. I just felt really let down. I help set up this group and invested heavily in them. Two of us carried the group and as the lead, I would say a lot fell on my shoulders. There were a lot of egos and the band moaned about each other and the management. That massively affected my confidence. 

What would your main advice be for bands and artists who are starting out?

Work hard. Don’t expect it to land on a plate for you. Be an artist because you love the process and journey, not for the destination.

Very true. Finally, what are your plans for the next two years?

It is time for an original album. The last 5 years I have been thinking about who I am and what I can offer to the world. I have a lot to say, lived and experienced a lot but it’s deciding what direction to take my music. I also hope I will continue to gig and sing on stage and meet more amazing people.

Having been privileged to hear Paul’s latest release ‘Covers 3’ We can not wait to hear what will come next from such an exciting talent. You can find out more about Paul Middleton from the links below. 

Interviewed by FVReviews October 2018


Interview​ – Ron Hamrick

We were lucky enough to catch up with the supremely talented singer/songwriter Ron Hamrick. Read his wonderful, insightful interview below. 

Hi Ron, Thank you for sparing some time for us today. For those who not know about you, tell us about yourself?

I have been a musician for many years. I grew up in Michigan, and I started taking classical music lessons on the piano when I was five years old. By the time I became a teenager though, I was very into the popular music of the time, and I formed my first band at 14 years old, performing at local teen dance venues. In 1964, along with millions of other people in the U.S., I watched The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, and when I saw the audience reaction to their songs, I decided to also become a songwriter and began reading everything I could find on songwriting. In 1966, I became a founding member of a band called The Sixth Generation, and we became very popular very quickly in the local region. In 1967, we recorded a song I co-wrote that got picked up by some major radio stations in Chicago, Detroit, and Windsor, Canada, and it became a #1 hit. The song was eventually named a Legendary Song by the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. The band’s fame spread rapidly, and we performed at popular teen venues across the Upper Midwest of the U.S. until 1970 when it became too much to do along with university studies.

Forty years later, after raising families and having careers, the members of The Sixth Generation decided to get together for a private weekend reunion of reminiscing and playing old songs. Although it wasn’t advertised, we were very surprised when about 50 or so old fans showed up at the reunion. A great time was had by all, and we were encouraged to reform the band and start recording and performing again.

So we did, and over the next seven years we released many new songs I wrote, and we performed at many major venues across the U.S., including multiple performances at prestigious venues such as the National Mall in Washington, DC and Grant Park in Chicago. We also did a tour in the U.K., including a performance at the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool. Among the songs I had written for the band was one that made it to #2 on Billboard (only behind the 50-year anniversary re-release of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”) and another that was considered for a Grammy nomination. The Sixth Generation continued performing and releasing songs I had written until the summer of 2017 when all the traveling became too much for the other members. At that point, I continued releasing songs and performing as a singer/songwriter, and I have been doing so since then. I’ve released more than 30 songs as a singer/songwriter, and have enjoyed substantial streaming of them on music sources such as Spotify. In fact, my songs recently exceeded 200,000 total streams, and I have gained avid listeners on all seven continents.

What is your songwriting process?

I write almost every day. As I go through each day (and sometimes even in the middle of the night), whenever an idea for a song occurs to me from my thoughts and experiences, I jot them down into my phone. When I sit down to write, I do it at a piano. I start by fleshing-out one of the ideas and then start forming lyric lines. As I write the lyrics, I hear the melody in my head, so the lyrics and music happen basically at the same time.

What is the best gig ever played?

I have performed at thousands of gigs and in front of tens of thousands of people at some of them. I think the most exciting though was at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, simply because of the history and world fame associated with it.

Wow! Tell us about your latest release?

My latest release is a song called “Time” (just released 25 September). It’s an easy-flowing song with a gentle melody and a bit of nostalgia in the lyrics, reflecting how time seemed to go a lot slower as a youngster. Prior to release, it was played by several radio stations in the U.S. and U.K., and the response has been phenomenal. It’s a universal theme to which almost everyone can relate. One listener in England summed up the general sentiments of listeners everywhere very well, “It’s a masterpiece. It immediately captured my attention with the pretty melody and the imagery of childhood, and it really had me thinking about the different perceptions of time by the end of the song. Brilliant lyrics!”
And what is your funniest gig moment?

Although there have been many over the years, I think the one that sticks in my mind the most is from The Cavern Club performance. As I was setting up my equipment for the performance, the stage manager mentioned to me that I could get a mic stand from a bin just off the stage. But, when I grabbed one from the bin he very urgently said, “Oh no, no, no, you can’t use that one! It belongs to Ringo.”

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?

My songs are all about everyday life experiences that a broad audience can relate to, however, I do not write songs about negative things in life, like breaking up, heartache, or other depressing topics. My songs all have a positive vibe to them and are geared toward feeling good.

Who are your musical influences?

I have studied the techniques and nuances of many great songwriters from all genres of music, including classical music composers, so my influences are many and varied. I think the biggest influence though was the songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They are the ones who originally inspired me to become a songwriter.

Who are your non-musical influences?

My parents and my wife and kids are at the top of the list, although both of my grown kids are also very musically gifted, so their particular influence also stretches to the musical side. Other than them, I have been fortunate to travel the world many times over, and as a result I have many friends from varied cultures, and they have certainly had an influence on me. I am also an avid reader about famous people throughout history, and some of them have definitely had an influence on me.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?

I think the biggest obstacle in the music industry are the gatekeepers who determine those who “make it” in the industry. It’s not necessarily about talent, and it’s certainly not about the quality of a song because there are some really bad songs that become mainstream. It’s more about money; who can bring it to the table, and that’s very unfortunate. There are some amazing, very talented independent artists and songwriters who don’t become mainstream simply because they don’t bring money to the table. Without the gatekeepers and their marketing machines, it’s very difficult for a band/artist to get their music into the ears of listeners. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are the only inexpensive means of marketing a song, but they have limited reach, and most people who do see posts or tweets about a new song are apathetic about sharing it because they don’t understand the importance to an independent artist.

What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?

Speaking as a senior business executive with many years of experience (albeit from another industry), it’s very important to understand music is a very large and very complex industry. As such, it’s extremely important to learn about the business side of music, not just about writing songs and performing.

What are your hopes for the next 2 years?

I plan to keep writing and releasing new songs and trying to reach as broad of an audience as possible. It would be very nice to have another song chart on Billboard, but mainly I want to have people across the world continue to enjoy my music.

If you would like to read more or listen to his music please check out:

Interview: Mr Jack

We were lucky to catch up with Mr Jack preceding his forthcoming release, ‘Songs for Introverts’. Read our 2018 interview below: 

Hi Mr Jack, Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the US about 18 years ago. Although surrounded by music all my life, I never understood it was a passion: I discovered the guitar around 2003, and began recording with a 4-track cassette recorder a few years later. The “Mr Jack” brand was created in 2007 to indicate my varied interests. (Ironically, those interests did not mention music at the time.) I began recording my own songs from 2008, though often composing with specific musicians/voices in mind.

Your latest album ‘Songs For Introverts’ is brilliant, what is your songwriting process?

Rarely, an idea can occur as a complete song with instrument parts and some lyrics. Most of the time they begin with a drum rhythm, or a melody that appears and gets stuck in my head. In those cases, I record and build on what occurs. As I work alone, I will look into some mixing and balancing issues early, which means frequent listening breaks until the track is arranged to a suitable point. If suitable for the composition, lyric syllables or inspired imagery will start to emerge over the listening breaks, if they didn’t precede the melody.

What is the best gig you have ever played?

Years ago, I was briefly a founding member of a Portland, OR band called “Waiting On Jane.” We played two gigs, and the last one is a cheerful memory of a small bar with maybe 15 smiling faces in it.

Tell us about your latest release ‘Songs For Introverts’

“Songs for Introverts” is primarily an introduction to my musical style, itself a hodge-podge of influences. The songs feature a driving bass melody and kick rhythm, with accents inspired by rock, Jazz, and Afrobeat. The title is both a nod to my personality and an indication that the songs are little experiences in which the listener can revel. All the songs were recorded this year, though the oldest lyrics (Yucatan Man and Coffee Mornings) are between 9 and 10 years old.

What is a memorable, funniest gig moment?

That would likely be the first “Waiting on Jane” gig, where we realized we’d mainly be playing to a running track. And perhaps, occasionally, to the runners who would pass by us. Pretty sweet first gig though.

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?

I would “want” it to make them feel great — happier, refreshed, inspired, brave — so that they can listen to it again. But the beauty of creating art is that one never knows how it affects the beholder: I am often delightfully surprised (and always humbled) by my fans’ reactions.

Who are your musical influences?

As a child, I was exposed to my dad’s unusual collection of vinyl LPs, many of which were just collections of hits from stars like Eric Clapton, Shirley Bassey and The Beatles. This might be why, in later life, my musical influences were often songs and not musicians. As I grew older, Afrobeat (pioneered by the late Fela Kuti) influenced my rhythmic sense; I also have great admiration for John Mayer, Steely Dan, Hall and Oates and … well, you can see where this is going.

Who are your non-musical influences?

Here I hesitate, because there’s that concern of leaving out something/someone important. I admire the work of Isaac Asimov and Alan Watts, whose influences precede my sojourn into the music industry. But since beginning that, I feel compelled to express gratitude to the countless people — producers, artists, even lawyers — out there who have freely shared their experiences, and from whom I have been learning continuously in recent times. (Rick Beato and Warren Huart, I’m looking at you.)

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?

I cannot pretend to be an authority on this, but I’m aware that entering the industry is, shall we say, more competitive than it once was. Streaming industries have altered that landscape in ways that are still being litigated, and this all influences a musician’s ability to earn a living off music. In my experience, the biggest obstacle was accepting that I might never make a living off my songs. Once I made peace with that, it became easier to make music!

What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?

Ask yourself: if your music career ended next year with nothing to show except your repertoire, would it have been worth it for you? If the answer is yes, you’re as ready as I am.

Thank you for joining us today and giving such an honest and in-depth insight into yourself. ‘Songs for Introverts’ will be released on 11/11/18, check it out!

If you would like to hear more from Mr Jack please check out:

‘Instagram: @1mrjackdaw


Facebook: Jack

Interview – Rob Kayes

We were lucky enough to catch up with the American Musician Rob Kayes following his 2018 release, ‘The Long Shot’. Read our in-depth interview with this talented artist below.

Thank you for taking time our for us today Rob. Tell our readers all about yourself?

I was born in New Jersey into a family of seven. My parents decided on one more and that gave us a tribe of eight. My Dad was in the US Army so we changed addresses quite a bit..All in all life was good. I first picked up a guitar when I was 11. It was an off brand model that my father brought for me. I would listen to and mimic a lot of the bands from those days like The Who, Alice Cooper, Stones, CSNY, and others. I joined a few different bands and played cover songs like everyone else. I never settled down enough to take proper lessons and only played by ear. That would come back to haunt me in later years when I would need more knowledge for writing. During High School I took Carpentry classes and learn how to construct homes and remodel them. that would give me income while I worked on song writing. It has always been my first love of life to come up with a melody and figure out words for it. I moved to Florida with only my bike and what I could carry on it. Started life again and enjoyed the South Florida scene, which when I got down here was in full swing with all of the bands that I loved. Thru all of the craziness it some how managed to all work out and I continue to pursue my dreams of writing music that I hope will make someones day a little better after they listen to it.

What is your songwriting process?

I think songs can come from a lot of different places. Most often a melody will pop up in your head and you grab your guitar and keep fooling around until it takes some kind of shape that has the feel you are looking for. Then you can use vocal noises to start to find words that fit that mood and make sense as a short story or poem. Other times you might see an event on TV or in a Magazine and it gives you an idea as something you would like to write about. For me it seems like most songs come late at night when Im listening to the night.

What’s the best gig you have ever played?

Thats an easy one for that, I will have to tell you a story:

So I’m gonna tell you a story about a night that took place 3 years ago. There was a bar up in Ft Lauderdale called Brick House that I had played at several times during the year whenever they had an open mic. One night when I finished playing this brother comes up to me and asks If I would like to come and play at a music competition that was taking place next month in north Miami.  He said that he really liked my set and thought that the last song was very interesting in it’s emotion. I told him yeah it probably was as I was pissed off in general that night over just about everything. Sometimes that translates into your music and you can come back from what’s bothering you when you let that happen. I then asked him who was putting it on and what type of music would most likely be played.. He said a radio station from north Miami was behind it and that all types of music would be played. He also mentioned that the winning song would be featured on local radio as well as an interview with the winner. Well maybe because I was feeling crazy or maybe because it was a full moon but I felt it might just be the thing to do at the moment. So I took one of his flyers and told him I would come. He said don’t let me down cause I think it would be cool to have ya play. I said thanks I’ll do the best that I can. So a few weeks go by and I don’t really think about it and I go to play at the Books and Books book store and there he is again. He comes up to me after my set and tells me “ Hey don’t forget to come to the comp, Ya told me you were coming. I told him yeah I will do my best. Two weeks go by and I’m sitting at home just playing around a little on my guitar and I look out my window and it’s a full moon again, and by coincidence I’m feeling a little pissed about some life issues that are going on. Then I realised that it is the night for the music competition and that I had told someone I would do my best. I sat and thought for a minute and decided that I should at least go and check it out. I called a few music friends that I know and asked if they would like to go with. No one was available to go on the spur of the moment. What else could I do but drive up and check it out. I picked up the card put the address in my phone and headed out the door.

I don’t know what it is about some nights from others. Some nights you feel kind of drawn back and unsure of your self. Other nights it just feels like crickets are under your skin and you can’t wait to do something. Tonight was falling into the latter of those feelings. There was also this big high in the sky full moon that was putting a spark out all it’s own. Now ya gotta understand that at this juncture of my life I am still driving a white pick up as I am still doing renovation jobs here and there. I throw my 12 string Taylor in the back and I’m off to North Miami’s VFW Hall for what ever this is gonna bring. I headed out of Coconut Grove and hoped on 95 North for the short drive to North Miami and got off on an exit that took me to the north west side of the expressway. Of all the years living in Miami this part of town was totally new to me. It was mainly a trucking and warehouse shipping industrial type of scene. I drove a few blocks past this industrial section into the next part of town which was lower end housing along with vacant land. It really seemed almost surreal bathed in the light of the full moon. 

I finally got to the street where the VFW was located and noticed quite a scene of cars and vans, that looked like a mixture of tail gate party meets hip hop cars. What I did not realise, because I was so absorbed in trying to figure out all the different characters that were in view from the cab of my truck. was that once you made the turn to cruise by and check out the front of the VFW  the road went into a dead end about 20 yards past the entrance. I was not going to be able to just cruise by I would have to turn around in all of this may hem that was going on. You may thinking, Why didn’t I just park and go in. After all I was in a mood to do just about anything that night to get out of the funk I was feeling. That was my original intent but now with this drive by I now knew that this was a total rap, hip hop scene. I just did’t feel like I was going to fit in with my music. I pulled past the entrance and made it to the chain link fence that came with the end of the road. I put my truck into reverse and backed up to swing around and head out. When I turned around from looking back I could not believe who was standing in front of my truck. None other that the brother who gave me the flyer. In my mind I’m thinking WTF. He steps around to my window and says” Man I’m so glad you made it” I kind of stuttered a little and said “ Yeah I thought I should check it out” So then he opens my door gives me a fist bump and says “ Com’n I got some friends you should know”. You really gotta imagine this picture. Me getting out of my white pickup with a 12 string acoustic guitar in my lumber jack shirt walking into a VFW that is totally surrounded by funky gangster cars and one large DJ radio van pumping out rap music. The other thing you gotta know is I am the only white guy there. It took me a moment to notice this but there it was In my life I have always prided myself in being as far from racist as a human could be. So the only reason I mention this is that it was so obvious in this setting.

On the way in as I’m walking behind this guy it suddenly dawns on me that I don’t even know his name. I reach forward and tap him on the shoulder “Hey man I don’t know your name” He kind of glances back and says with out really looking  “Me I’m Champ, I’m one of the sponcers here from the radio station and this is our van.” pointing to the mega rap machine vehicle. He proceeds to introduce me to several people who all ask the same thing, What kinda guitar you got there and what are you gonna play. I tell them all the same, This is my Taylor 12 string and I think I got a song that will work here. They all say how much they like acoustic guitar and they like how some people mix it into their raps. I make my way inside and take a seat off to the side of the room and take notice that there are about three to four hundred people in the hall. It felt a little more that crowded in there. A few guys come and ask me questions about my music and then the MC gets up on stage to start the show. The first thing I notice is that everything is set up for rappers. There are turn tables on stands and what looks like mixing boards. The MC introduces the judges they are from New York, Chicago, Ft Lauderdale, all are DJ’s and they stand and take a little fist pump. At this point I’m really starting to wonder if this might be a mistake and I look for reasons to back out. I see Champ and I wave at him to come over and point out the fact that there are no mic stands and that the boards don’t look like they will accept my type of guitar cable jack. He tells me not to worry he has a stand in his car and the sound guy will hook me up. All I could think to say was alright I’m hang’n. In my mind though I’m thinking I could head for the bathroom and then just slip out, but during all this the MC points over to me and says we wanna thank you for showing up and bring on some change tonight. I gave a little half wave and looked down. WTF there is no way for me to get out now I’m gonna do this. Champ comes back and has a beat up looking mic stand and says ‘Will this work for ya?” I take it an put it on the table say “Yeah thats cool”. 

The show starts and three rappers that make up this group do their thing and are strong about there message and delivery, A few more groups follow some complete with dancers in sparkly short shorts and put on a good show. Champ comes over after the last group and says “Hey man the MC wants you next” I tell him thats cool and start to get out my guitar. The last group finishes and I make my way to the stage squeezing my way up the edge of the room. I get the the stage and things start to fall apart from the start. The sound guy has no idea where to try and plug in my guitar he is only set up for mic’s. I then try to set up the mic stand and it has a leg that is broken and it won’t stand up. There I am standing there with everyone looking wondering what the hold up is. Champ comes up and says “Hey let me help you out”. He gets a girl to sit on the front of the stage and hold a mic in front of my guitar, He then takes the straight part of the mic stand and has another girl hold it up to get the vocal. All of this is not taking a lot of time but enough time to start to piss off the judges. We are just about there and the judge from Chicago looks and me and says “Hey are you a performer”, I say yes, yes I am, and he follows with “Well fucking perform” I knew it was now or never, I quickly asked for only the red lights on stage please and they obliged me. 

The song I had in my head was either going to come out or not. I let myself fall into the sounds of the starting notes of my guitar. The song was called “Whats it gonna take” I wrote it and it struck a message in me but I had set it aside because it had the same changes in the chorus of an Eminem song. I felt that tonight was the night for this song. The mood the feeling the connection that I was going to make had to be honest and felt from the heart. I never play with my eyes closed. Don’t know why but I just don’t. That was not the case tonight though. For some reason, my mood, the moon, the relief of the moment. After I had struck the first chords I let my eyes close and got lost in my music. I sang and played the song as if I was in some void of my mind in which I felt complete compassion for what I was playing. I really felt like I had a heart , mind, instrument connection that felt like the warmest of meditations. The song is around three and a half minutes long, I might have stretched it four. In that time I was free of all things and present in my music. When I finished and opened my eyes there was a hush silence over the room. I looked out and came back into this world from where I had gone not really knowing how it had sounded to them. It only lasted about three seconds and then the crowed stood up and gave me a really good ovation and the MC jumped onto the stage and started yelling” Thats what I’m talking about “Thats what I’m talking about!” I was still a little stunned and started to walk off the stage and a lot of people started handing me their cards. 

The MC called me back and said “Hey you gotta come get your score” I walked back on stage and the DJ’s all gave me very high score along with some praise for the song. As for me I still just felt relieved and calm. The night proceeded on with three more acts left. I had lots of people give me their cards and told me to get in touch to work on some music together. I really did’t pay a lot attention to it because I thought to myself , It’s only that one song. I hung around for one more group and then slipped out the side door. The next day I get a call from Champ and he asks me” Where did you go? You didn’t wait for the judging.” I told him it was late and I had my kids to get back to. He said “Well you should have stayed because you took second place and they want you to come and do and interview for some station in Ft Lauderdale. I said that’s cool and I’ll be in touch. Now I don’t know why maybe I figured it was just a one time thing. I never did call Champ back and I never called the people who gave me cards. I think in my mind I did not want to change the memory of that night by not being able to collaborate on anything decent. One of the main things I do think of is that no one was with me that night and what happened was only known by the people there and me and I guess that is where it will always stay.

It goes to show you never know! Tell us about your latest release?

‘The Long Shot’, Thats the title of my latest release. I have always wanted to get together with a few really good musicians and do a live recording ..  With the help of one of my best friends William Montgomery  this time I was able to get the sound that I feel really reflects what I am trying to convey thru my music. It was such a really enjoyable process I can’t wait to do it again… There are a lot of different subjects covered on this release, Of course there are songs about Love, but I also go into life events like War, loss of my son, life ending for a friend, and a good old bar dance…. so there is a pretty wide spectrum here. So much credit needs to be given to the session musicians for their great interpretation of my songs. I could not have done it with out these guys.

Brilliant and what is your funniest gig moment?

Hmm the funnest moment. Well since the session musicians that I used are in Dallas and I am in Florida I use backing tracks off of my phone when I play out sometimes. So there was playing this song off of my latest release and I forgot to turn off the phone part of my phone. So my wife who thought I was finished calls me and it cuts in and she starts going on about how I need to get home because she is wanting me right now. Then I had to let her know I was still playing and everyone was listen. She just said hi everyone and hurry home, everybody cracked up…. and let me finish early.

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?

It is nice to me when you can perform a song that can give a person there own personal message that they take from that song. Of course it is nice if someone thinks you wrote it for them, because in a sense you are. If the message of your song connects you can suspend time for that person for just a few minutes into there own little world and thats a great feeling. When you connect with a big room its great when it gets so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Then you know everyone is all the way in. Its alway nice to cover love, hope and happiness.

Who are your musical influences?

As I said earlier I grew up during my High School years with, The Who, Alice Cooper, Rolling Stones, CSNY, Beatles. More current are Ed Sheeran, Panic at the Disco, Willie Nelson, Green Day, Tom Petty, Jack Johnson and the like….. More that any one artist to me it’s the feel of the song and how it makes for a change of day.

Who are your non-musical influences?

In my life I have always been influenced by some great story tellers like Hemingway, Mark Twain, Poe. I also really like stories where someone goes against the odds like Jackie Robinson, JK Rowling, Bethany Hamilton, Steven Speilberg and make life a real adventure. On the spiritual side I like the teaching of the Budda and the Meditative practices of Dharma Singh Khalsa and of course love taught to me by my family.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?

9. There is an old saying “ I have suffered many a catastrophe many of which never happened” So I think worrying about how it can all come together to make something happen can stifle ones ambition to put themselves out there to the public. In actuality there are more avenues than ever to present your music but at the same time the shear amount of music available to the listeners is astounding. There does not seem to be the same R&D money available from labels either, and radio stations are controlled by fewer and fewer major corporations that have their agendas pretty well set. They only play the money makers.

What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?

When do we ever really stop starting out? Even the biggest name entertainers have to reinvent them selves to stay current. First you have to love singing, playing, writing, you cannot go into it for the money. You can only be yourself and if it works out great if not you enjoyed what you were doing any way. I cannot think of anything better than connection with yourself thru your music. When a song falls out of the sky into you lap there is nothing better. If you create a great song if will find it’s way to the person who should hear it. So just take it as a never ending adventure that you can create you whole life because music is forever.

Finally, what are your hopes for next 2 years?

Finishing this live recording was a big one for me. We recorded 14 songs in 4 days. I just don’t know how it gets better than that but it will. Getting a couple of my tunes placed in a movie or show would be great as well as some airtime on the radio. Playing live with the guys I recorded with would be a super night. Have to work on that one because that is totally possible. Peace, Health and Happiness to all the people who desire it. Always have your best day ever…..

For more information on Rob Hayes please visit:

The Sun King interview

We were lucky enough to meet with the Sun King to talk about Music, the new ‘Sun King Eternal Peace’ album and more!

Tell us about yourself?

My name is The Sun King; I represent the Conscience in the XXXIX Empire & I love to sing!

What is your songwriting process?

Usually, I come up with melodies & words, randomly, memorize them + add/subtract to them, then create the song from scratch.

What is the best gig you have ever played?

I haven’t played it yet but so far its my Album release in NYC; The Delancey. But the first day I played there, it was my FIRST GIG EVER and it was the day David Bowie passed away. Now today I have all his Albums!

Tell us about your latest release?

Sun King Eternal Peace is my second Album, all self produced. I play the bongos on every track as well as harmonize my voice 9 tracks over on ever song. Here and there I add pieces from musicians to spice up the track but for the most part, this Album is a cappella/ Acoustic Music, but I confirm it as “Experimental Vocal Music”.  This LP is 27 songs long, displaying themes of love, happiness, heartbreak, sadness, political viewpoints & suggestions; there are plenty of cover songs on this from Vocalists that inspire me. This is basically a guide through my minds Conscience; a psychedelic tour through one side of my mind before you get the to the second part of the project: Jimmy, the Ego.

What is your funniest gig moment?

My first gig I mentioned: I went over my time and the head was yelling at me! Its on record, it made the Live Album I put together years ago.

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?

The message that I am aware of myself as I display myself. I am a gentle lover and not an aggressive person. I am a seeker and speaker of truth and justice. I conduct myself with the utmost respect as I do for others. I want to help, therefore the Music I create will speak such context.
Who are your musical influences?

My top Vocalist are, in no order:

Michael Jackson

The Weeknd


Stevie Wonder


Robert Plant

Paul McCartney 

David Bowie

Fka Twigs


Who are your non-musical influences?

The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega of the Bullet Club; I want to sell the amount of Tee Shirts and get over like these guys do. Great question.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?

Too many rules and boundaries + too many expectations. I cee artists to who sulk about putting out Music and such; these same artist make up these rules about when you can put the music out and what you have to do to put it out. For me, I abide by my own rules, because it’s my Art and my Legacy. So basically it’s like this: I don’t want any of my Music to touch mainstream streaming services or commerce services. The only way you can get my Album(s) is though my websites or ceeing me live; I will ALWAYS have Albums on me (like a drug dealer has drugs). I want the experience to be special & I want to control how much I can sell it for. Plus I put as much Music out as I cee fit at the times I cee fitting as well. So Peace to all, do what ye may however, I will stick to my efforts and timing, thank you.

What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?

Practice & plan. Master & focus. 
What are your hopes for next 2 years?

I am striving to grow the XXXIX Empire & make more music. Thank you! Peace. King.

Interviewed by FVReviews June 2018