Archive for March 6th, 2013

March 6, 2013

Introducing Jim Beanz The US Producer Everyone Wants A Piece Of [Interview]

A lot of US artists have Jim Beanz to be thankful for giving them hit records including Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Shakira, Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Nelly Furtado, Keri Hilson, Jamie Fox, Jennifer Hudson, Ciara, Justin Timberlake, P Diddy and The Pussycat Dolls. Timberland’s protégée is now working his magic on some UK artists including Cheryl Cole who he produced ‘Sexy Den A Mutha’ for and is now in the studio with JLS, Little Mix and Dionne Bromfield.  Shireen had a chat with him about being a 5 star threat, Timbaland and being a producer/vocal producer.

What was it about you and your style that led Timbaland to notice you?

Timbaland noticed me from my vocal production skills but also because I started doing vocals myself on a few of his songs, and a few vocal arrangements I did for Nelly Furtado and things I did for Justin Timberlake. From there he also started to notice that I could produce.

Timbaland invited you to work on Nelly Furtado’s ‘Loose’ album with him. Were you just thrown in or did he give you any pointers?

The first song that we worked on was ‘Man Eater’. I was thrown in (laughs). I guess there are so many people that come in the Timbaland camp that are there one day and gone tomorrow. That was my big shot to show I had the ability and stay in the camp and grow from there.

How was the chemistry between you and Nelly Furtado when you first worked together?

The chemistry was magnetic it was amazing because she was very artisty, and she noticed I was very similar in terms of my ideas when it came to vocal arrangements and doing weird sounds with our voices.

You have been called a ‘5 star threat’, because of the five separate talents you can bring to any project you are working on. Which of the 5 would you class as your main forte?

I would say production, writing and vocal production. Those are the three top. As far as being an artist and a musician, I kind of stray away from the artist side. One day I think I’ll go in the artist direction, but right now I’m enjoying building music from scratch and working with different artists.

For those out there who are unfamiliar with the term, can you break down what a ‘vocal producer’ is, and in what ways does your voice play such an important part in your music productions?

A vocal producer is basically a person who guides the artist. A lot of people think the artist just goes in the booth and sings whatever and they keep that. The vocal producer is the person who directs them and tells them how to sing a song. For example on of the first songs I produced with Timberland where I didn’t have any keyboards or anything. We went in the booth and I did the whole song from scratch with just my voice.

You recently worked on Cheryl Cole’s ‘A Millions Lights’ album. How did you meet and what made you decide to work with her?

I took a train to New York to meet Cheryl, and it was just meant to be a session to see if she liked the vibe, and if she didn’t we wouldn’t go any further. She loved working with me so we went from New York to Los Angeles and finished off in London.

Your over in London for the summer working with some UK acts such as JLS, Dionne Bromfield and Little Mix. Can you give us an insight into what you’re working on with them?

I’ve come in at the end of each artist’s projects except Dionne. They all had their albums pretty much strapped up, much like the Cheryl Cole album was, and they called me down because they were looking for a lead single, a clubby single, that smash song that people just want to hear on the radio and in clubs. I came in and I delivered and we had some great sessions.

Have you noticed any UK artists you would want to work with?

I’m meant to be going in the studio with Professor Green in September. They were telling me that wanted me to go in with an artist called Dappy but I haven’t had a chance to yet. I love Emeli Sande I think she’s amazing. There’s another artist I met years ago, but I lost contact with and I thought she was amazing is Paloma Faith.

You wrote the 2008 winning Eurovision song ‘Believe’ – a great achievement in the eyes of the world, but what would you say has been the crowning pinnacle of your career to date?

‘Sexy Den A Mutha’ song I did with Cheryl Cole. It was sort of like my bridge over to work with more UK acts, because of her a lot of other UK acts have heard my talent and want to work with me.

What made you decide to come over here to work with UK acts?

I’ve been coming over here for a while; I’ve always loved the music in the UK. I was a fan of Jessie J before she even reached this stage and Taio Cruz. Everyone’s sense of enjoyment of music is a lot broader over here, and there so much more open to hearing different sounds.

You have your own label, Millennium Kid Music, and are signing new talent yourself. Is there anyone you have come across that we should look out for?

I just signed two writers in the States, and one producer in the UK his name is Troy Boi. He’s an amazing producer, but even now I’m still looking for writers and producers to add, were constantly growing and getting bigger projects, and I would love to share the success and the ability to get peoples music out there to the world.

What’s next for you?

There’s a guy called Dot JR I’m working with he’s great. Right after I leave him I’ll be back in the States finishing up on Shock Value III with Timbaland, and also helping out on the Missy Elliot album. Justin Timberlake is also in the studio, so I’ll also be helping him out.

 

 

 

March 6, 2013

Magician Von Majik [Interview]

Von Majik is a young magician who begun at the early age of 12, being inspired by watching David Blaine on TV. He begun to watch his shows over and over again, studying and learning his techniques. Seeing his son’s potential, his dad joined him up to the Magic Circles Youth Initiative, where his skill developed. Before the age of 18, he had already won two awards, and had begun to get booking for events and TV work. Now he is working on a TV pilot for his own show, and has attracted many brands and celebrities.

 

You first developed a taste for magic at the age of 12 with David Blaine being your inspiration. What was the initial fascination with it for you?

When you see magic for the first time, its just like wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’d maybe seen Paul Daniels and big stage stuff on TV, but you think its camera tricks or something. Him doing it on the street and seeing people’s reaction was like wow, and being a spectator myself on the screen was amazing. I took the extra step to learn how to do it, by watching his tape over and over again. My dad hooked me up with a magic club that was in London called the ‘Magic Circle’, I just thought it was amazing and wanted to do the same thing.

When you were studying and learning his techniques, did it come naturally to you, or was it hard, and what was your favourite trick that you first learnt?

My favourite trick was called ‘The rising card’’, David Blaine actually did it on his show; it was my favourite trick out of the whole series. Someone chooses a card, they sign it and he puts it back in the box, and gives the box back to the person to hold. He says just think about your card, the person holds the box, and as their thinking about their card it rises out of the pack. Their reactions are mad, like they’ve seen someone get killed. When you watch magic over and over again, you know what to look for after a while. I guess it came naturally, because I’m still doing it now. You have to be really patient, sometimes you wont get stuff straight away.

How did your parents help and encourage you to make a hobby into a career?

My dad purchased a lot of the effects, because magic is a big market to buy stuff to teach things to each other. The more advanced you get you can come up with your own stuff. My dad and my stepdad brought me a lot of magic, my mum was like ‘what’s all this nonsense your doing, you need to get a real job’. I just kept doing what I wanted to do.

How did being in the Magic Circles youth initiative develop and enhance your skills?

Magic’s all about presentation so without presentation the magic’s not really effective, that goes for 90% of what you do. They taught a lot about presentation to make the magic your own, don’t do stuff that doesn’t look right, do stuff that suits you. I wouldn’t be like pulling rabbits out of hats because it’s not my style; I do something that’s organic to me and true to me. Originality, and just to practice performing, because that’s the only way your going to get better.

At the age of 15 you won the ‘Young Close-Up Magician of the Year’ after only 3 years from starting to learn magic, which seems a very short time! How focused were you on magic at this time, and did it ever interfere with your school and social life?

When I was young I didn’t have much of a social life really. I met my friends at school, so when I got home that was my time to do my homework and watch TV. I’d just be at home doing magic, and it didn’t feel like I was losing out, because it was something that I enjoyed. I would practice for hours. I would get home at 4pm, and then before I knew it, it was 9, I’d just be doing it for hours.

Which of your magic tricks are of your own creation and totally unique to you?

All my presentations are unique to me, with magic it’s hard to come up with something that hasn’t been released already. You can buy magic as a magician, but you can apply it to things that you already do. One effect that I can say is mine, but the method isn’t mine, but the whole trick itself is pretty much mine, is when I have a coin inside a card.

 

A lot of your magic relies on misdirection but your skill and manual dexterity is also a huge part. How have you trained your dexterity to the level you have right now?

I think the dexterity comes with time. Once you have practiced anything over and over again it just becomes second nature. Sometimes I might present something in one way, and it might not go as well if I did it the other way, so I’ll do it the other way and tweak that. Everything’s just experimenting, but the dexterity will always be there, I could not touch any sort of magic for a year, come back to it and it will still be the same.

Which trick of yours has stunned or freaked someone out the most, and can you remember a particular time?

I’ve had people screaming, I’ve had one person kiss me. I was just doing a routine in Covent Garden for a few people, I just changed an object in this women’s hand, she didn’t know what to do so she ran up to me and kissed me on the cheek. Everyone reactions are different, recently I did a wedding and this guy was silent then said ‘mate that was the most amazing thing’. Some people don’t react at all, they’re dead serious.

Have you ever messed up a trick before and how did you salvage it?

You would never know if I messed up because I’m always one step ahead. I would never give away if I’d messed up, I’d sort of link it onto something else, and you would think that was part of the effect, so you would never know.

Which celebrities have you enjoyed performing for the most and why?

James Corden is really nice, I was doing this charity dinner and he was like ‘yeah show me some magic’. I showed him a little thing and he was like ‘Wow that’s amazing’. It makes you feel good a celebrity saying your good. Recently I did Marvin and his family from JLS, at this restaurant, and it was Father’s Day. David Haye was pretty cool as well. I did a show with Tinchy Stryder that came out on ITV2, he’s really cool and down to earth, and I taught him magic for the show. I taught him how to get out of a straight jacket and a few card effects.

What’s the best event or place you have performed at?

HTC Party that was good. I did a gig for Louis Vuitton and the setting was just like WOW, they went all out. I did Lovebox music festival a few years ago that was really good.

Where do you see your magic taking you?

As far as it can. With this TV thing that I’m doing, I was performing at the restaurant where I met Marvin and the person I met was the CEO of Zig Zag productions and he was like ‘yeah your really good’. Because of the success of Dynamo, magic’s more popular on TV now, so they wanted a different image, but the quality of magic to be the same still, and they really liked me. Were taking it further everyday, the sky’s the limit with it.

Von Majik is currently using the HTC One X to capture his journey as an Urban Magician. Follow his journey at #MyHTCUrbanAdventure

March 6, 2013

Mem Ferda [Interview]

Mem Ferda is a London actor born in Chelsea who became intrigued by acting from a young age. After completing two degrees in BSc Honors Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (M.B.A.) he then went on to pursue acting professionally. He has played many ‘baddie’ roles such as Kamel Hannah (The Devils Double), Vladimir (Ill Manors), Hakeem (The Veteran) and more. In recent film ‘Pusher’ Mem portrays the character of Hakan, though capable of extreme violence he is warm and friendly with aspirations of getting out of the drug game to follow his dreams of owning his own business. 

From a young age you were fascinated by the art of acting, where did the fascination stem from, and what led 

you to take it seriously?

As far back as I can remember I have always been curious and intrigued by other people. I would frequently watch TV, then, mimic what I had just seen the actor do.

At college I studied ‘A’ Level Film Study, which added to my fascination and thirst for Film and Acting. In my teenage years, I worked as a male model part time whilst studying, which eventually resulted in a London Agent signing me up for Television and Film work.

I went on to pursue and fulfill my passion for Acting by doing a Post-Graduate Diploma in Classical acting at LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). After LAMDA, I was snapped up by a mainstream Acting Agent and many doors opened for me and my career really began.

What led you to have two degrees unrelated to acting even though you knew you wanted to purse acting?

 Both my parents encouraged me to pursue a more ‘stable’ profession. My eldest sister was a solicitor and hence they wanted me to follow in her footsteps. My father was devastated to learn that I had been studying Psychology instead of Law. His influence was overwhelming; I felt I had let him down; he wanted me to take over his businesses, so I decided to do a Masters degree in Business Administration (M.B.A.)

 You’ve had a colorful past being held at gunpoint, being suspected as a drug smuggler at the Serbian border and narrowly avoiding being 

a getaway driver in a real life heist. Were you a bad boy when you were growing up? 

I was rebellious in my teens, hanging out with some unsavory characters and often in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. I never set out to be a ‘bad boy’ as such, but I seemed to be awestruck by such characters and found their way of life extremely exciting.

Did all these things and witnessing an assassination attempt on your father toughens you up, and helps you understand the roles you played?

These happenings would certainly of had an effect, without a doubt. When developing a character one does draw upon personal experiences, so yes, it has helped me formulate an understanding, having had first hand experience of these situations.

Is it hard being from the UK to get into acting, especially in American films?

It used to be, because there was a clear divide between what constituted as an American production and what is clearly a British production. However, it is now more a collaborative arrangement and the line is now significantly blurred. I do well being based in the UK and working in both ‘British’ and ‘American’ productions.

Do you feel as an actor you can get stereotyped easily into certain roles?

Yes, you can. In fact a vast majority of actors get stereotyped. It’s actually a good thing, as it gives you a voice, an established identity and a niche to grow from. It is exhaustively competitive out there, so to establish yourself an identity to later develop from is vital. Once this is set, you then battle to change industry professional’s perceptions of you, to expand and show your real range and versatility. This is what I’m doing now. I’m being very cautious about every new role I am being offered. Its time to break the chain and make the film-world sit up and take notice!  

How different is acting in TV to film?

In terms of acting technique, or creation of a character, there isn’t any difference for me. However, given the choice of which I prefer as a medium, I’d choose Film over TV. Television is much quicker in terms of the speed at which each scene is shot   and the whole production process in general. It reaches out to a wider audience much quicker. Film however is a lot more controlled, slower, process. Budgets are bigger, and subject matter for films tend to be more creative, which is what I like. Also, films tend to tell a story through the journey of a single strong protagonist with supporting cast, which I prefer, compared to television which tends to have stories consisting of a few lead characters and is more an ensemble cast set up.

To date which role have you enjoyed the most, and which one suited your real character the most?

It is hard for me to single out one specific role as being the one I enjoyed most of all. I find most parts I undertake, do give me a gratifying sense of achievement. The role of Kamel Hannah in ‘The Devil’s Double’ is one, which comes to mind, as it was very challenging and I love a challenge. It was demanding both physically and mentally, I had to go from being euphorically drunk to confused and terrified in an instant.

None of the roles I’ve played to date would be a true refection of my real character. But each role I do play has elements and pockets of my true character embedded within them.

Tell us about the recent film you have been involved in ‘Pusher’?

PUSHER is an English language remake of the original Danish cult movie by Nicholas Winding Refn, which he wrote and directed back in 1996. Set in London instead of Copenhagen, it is about a week in the life of a drug pusher named Frank.

The film is a no-holds-barred, gritty and real, journey into the underworld of the drug pusher. It will be extremely entertaining with flashes of humor, hard-core action, violence and a twisted plot.

What advice would you give to up and coming actors?

They need to be aware that acting requires total unrelenting dedication 24/7. Determination, sacrifice and focus are at the top my list. It is a way of life, not an occupation. There are no guarantees of success, but when it knocks at the door, it is as if you’ve been invigorated by a new life force. Hardest of all is rejection. After 16 years in the industry it is still hard to take, it doesn’t get easier. Also, it is good to have some prior Drama school training. Ultimately, I don’t believe they can teach you how to act. But their usefulness is in helping you channel the talent you may have, to act effectively.

 What’s next for you in the world of acting?

I can next be seen in supernatural horror, feature film, ‘Parallel Hell’, in which    I play a lead role. Other features I have coming up are Gridiron UK, A Place Between, and The Unbeliever.

Anyone who’d like to keep updated on future projects can do so via website www.memferda.com

March 6, 2013

Friction & Skream – Kingpin (Ft. Scrufizzer, P Money & Riko Dan) [Music Video]

Croydon’s legendary producer Skream hooks up with Brighton’s award winning producer Friction who are joined by a stellar line up of MC’s Scrufizzer, P Money and Riko Dan. This tune is just a pure banger.

March 6, 2013

Scorcher feat. Fekky – One Time [Music Video]

Scorcher drops the video to One Time featuring Fekky and produced by Slic Vic off his Simply The Best Vol 3 mixtape.

March 6, 2013

Wretch 32 ft Shakka – Blackout [Official Audio]

Wretch 32 drops the first single from his forthcoming album due for release at the end of 2013. Blackout features the popular singer Shakka who is also doing incredibly well and this is just a little of taster of what to expect from Wretch’s album. Looks like were in for a treat…

March 6, 2013

Mic Righteous – The Pen – A64 [Video]

Mic Righteous drops an acoustic version of The Pen a track off his latest EP Open Mic

March 6, 2013

Shystie ft. Azealia Banks – Control It [Music Video]

Azealia’s label took the video down after it was premiered on Billboard on March 3rd, now it’s up again for our viewing pleasure. Sorry major label you haven’t won this battle! Props to Shystie for handling this with class you go lady…

March 6, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: UK Rap Rundown [News]

Last week saw two of I Records artists going to Tim Westwood’s crib for a session and one of them releasing a track. Young Mad B’s video ‘Come So Far’ showed the rappers emotion and depth; he also laid down some bars for Westwood. Dru Blu also had a lot he wanted to say, passionately dropping some reality lyrics in the crib. We also saw another Westwood crib session, this time from North London rappers SqueeksJoe Black and Kaz who showcased their effortless bars. I wonder who Westwood will be bringing in next…

Yesterday (March 3), Shystie released the video to ‘Control It’ featuring ‘212’ rapper Azealia Banks. The video sees the femcee holding men on a leash as she asks if they can ‘control it, work it, show me you deserve this’ – it’s an interesting watch.

Disturbing London’s G FrSH called on DVS and Scorcher to lay down verses and Loick Essien the hook for the new track ‘Welcome To My Life’.  They all work well together on this track.

Sneakbo gave a free track away last week, refixing his ‘Zim Zimma’ track over various popular electro and bass instrumentals, giving it an extra party vibe.

Big Tobz released the ‘Behind The Music’ EP last week, and he also delivered the visuals to the track ‘Line Em Up’ with Jobey, courtesy of Link-Up TVYou can download the EP for free now.

Political Peak starts to pick things back up again this year by dropping this hot new freestyle for the streets and impressing with his wordplay. He also dropped the video to ‘My Moment’ off his latest mixtape ‘Dreams 2 Reality 2’.

Mr Mitchell begins 2013 with the new track ‘The Give And Go’ with a dubstep inspired instrumental and the main character in the video played by Mic Righteous.

Rap Up UK released another mini biography documentary last week; this time the spotlight was on South London rapper’s Ard Adz and Sho Shallow, who had previously been on the series talking about other artists. The documentary shows their journey and called them the ‘most exciting rap duo in the urban underground’.

Sway joined GRM Daily for their Black and White series to discuss a few topics last week. He spoke on matters to do with his own career, elevation and how he perceives the music industry. Interestingly, he explained that record labels do not buy you respect and credibility – you have to earn that yourself.

*published on Monday 4th March