ECCO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – A#KEEM

ahkeem3What initially began as an intimate mode of communication—poetry, bars, lyrics and song to express to his love the way she made him fell—soon became his means of life. As A#keem allowed his passion to spill onto paper; his smooth expressive voice resonating in the air around him; more and more, the feeling that this was his destiny began to set in.

Yet the Grenadian born songwriter, artiste and performer says it wasn’t until his three-year stint in Trinidad and Tobago, from 2012 to 2015, to pursue his studies that he knew for sure that his calling was a musical one.

“During that period, being away from home and family, I spent a lot time observing, thinking and soul searching,” A#keem recalls. “It was then, after having learnt a great deal about recording and the music industry that I decided there was no other path for me, but the path to this musical mission.”

He describes his music as “Urban-Reggae,” and says what drives him musically is sharing messages which induce happiness, boosts self-esteem and encourages greater self-worth and individuality. A#Keem is determined to use his talent to affect permanent and positive change the world over. He’s easily inspired by his surroundings; adventures, people, sight, experiences and his observation serve as his musical muse.

Ambitious, resilient and adventurous, A#keem attributes his music success to hard-work and dedication. Sharing the stage with renowned artists like Ashanti, Sizzla, and Ja Rule, are a few of his most treasured memories and by his account, amazing accomplishments to date.

Life in music, seeking to establish a success career, has not come without its challenges for A#Keem.  As Eastern Caribbean-based artiste, A#Keem says rallying support from the general public is perhaps one of the greatest challenges.

“Eastern Caribbean music should be a lot further than it is today, and that can only be possible with the help of the people being proud, acclaiming and sharing their culture, and not just left to the artiste themselves,” he states. Wistfully he adds, “In the region and in my country I hope to see the music industry explode in becoming so great that it brings all the focus to us, to our culture, to our story, to our Caribbean, let the world see our true value.”

Finding a team of dedicated individuals who believe in the mission has been another noteworthy challenge for the Urban-Reggae artist. Yet A#Keem believes that with determination one can find a way around every challenge. He therefore seeks to continuously educate himself in all aspects of the music industry, while taking advantage of the internet and technology find opportunities to grow his career.

“Self-sufficiency is very useful and sometimes necessary in the journey to success,” he advises We certainly agree!

A#keem Tidbits:

ahkeem

ECCO: When you’re not doing music, what are you doing?

A#Keem: When I am not doing music I spend time searching for adventures, knowledge and inspiration so that I can better equip my music for the battle ahead.

ECCO: What are your other passions?

A#Keem: Besides music, I am also very passionate about the current state of the world, the lack of values and the drastic increase in focus on materialistic and cosmetic things, hence the reason why I fuse music with a positively influential message.

ECCO: What makes you laugh?

A#Keem: Almost anything, both good and bad makes me laugh. I’ll laugh at a funny movie, or at someone telling me I “can’t” make it in the music industry.

ECCO: Name one thing about yourself that most people won’t know

A#Keem: One thing about myself that most people won’t know is that I have accomplished 2 out of the 3 life goals I set for myself many years ago, namely;
1. To work as a bartender
2. To sing in with a live band

 

—Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne

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ECCO Member Spotlight: Sabrina Francis

IMG_3914Soul resonates from her core. With each melodic line, Sabrina Francis’ raspy emotive voice envelopes your entire being, gently transporting you, through the sheer passion which she emanates, to a beautiful euphoric world of love, beauty and light.

Born in Grenada to a music-loving family Sabrina says for her, music and songs have always been a way of life. Her mother an avid Calypsonian and songwriter; Lady Empress, while her father a music enthusiast with an ongoing love affair with his brown box guitar affectionately named, Betsy; Sabrina says she and her sibling were taught from early to appreciate music. With a laugh she reminisced that growing up, she and her family would often have impromptu singing sessions, with her dad strumming music from his guitar Betsy.

Their impromptu family singing sessions soon opened up the door for Sabrina to share her voice with Grenada on a small but memorable scale, as she and her sisters excitedly performed every opportunity they got. But Sabrina says it wasn’t until she met, Dieter Burkhalter; former owner of a music school and store in Switzerland; that she decided to pursue music as a career. Sabrina recalls that on a November 2013 evening, after performing a few songs with a gospel band at Burkhalter’s hotel, so captivated was he by her sound and voice, that he approached her to create music together.

“He believes in my music and has a very convincing way with words,” Sabrina offered. Noting that it was this meeting which lead he devote serious time and energy into improving her talent and to pursue her music passion.

It’s evident that since that November 2013 Day, Sabrina’s musical journey has been a whirlwind one. Allowing herself to dive in, in pursuit of her passion, earlier this year Sabrina released her debut album titled “Think In Colour.” An album which she says reflects some of her own personal experiences and observations about life which had a direct, strong impact on her emotions.

“When I start writing a song, a lot of the times it’s simply to express what I’m feeling in that moment,” Sabrina offers. “So the message can vary, from anger, to hurt, to simple observations, to frustrations and back to anger again. In any case, I am generally of the opinion that positive things can come out of negative situations once you keep positive people and have positive thoughts and I trust that this is reflected in my music.”IMG_8610

Sabrina, who became a member of ECCO earlier in 2016 year, considers her biggest accomplishment the fact that a song which she wrote as a love song to her home island Grenada, has been used to launch the island’s re-branding to “Pure Grenada,” and it now used to promote her beautiful island home.

Further in April 2016, Sabrina wowed not just the audience, but also celebrated soul recording artist, Joss Stone, with her performance at the Pure Grenada Music Festival. This lead to a jam session with the two artists at the festival’s culminating show.

Joss & Sabrina

Sabrina Jams with Joss Stone during Pure Grenada Music Festival 2016

Get to know Sabrina Better with the following Sabrina Bites! 

ECCO: How would you describe yourself?

Sabrina: This is always a funny question because the way I see myself is often not the way I’m seen by others. I would say I’m a calm, decisive, serious young lady while persons closest to me would say I’m everything but. However there are some factors of my personality that stands out and cannot be denied. I am very passionate about my interests and the people in my life. Laughing is one of my favourite hobbies, right up there with singing, and my life’s goal has so far been to find a healthy balance between leading a full and exciting life and keeping it as simple, as realistic and relate-able as possible.

ECCO: How would you describe your music and your sound?

Sabrina: We call it “Acoustic soul from the West Indies.” It’s my soul on paper. It has an intimate feel because we value the sound of real instruments, so as a rule we limit our use of computer loops and sample drum grooves. We try to keep the overall sound as real and as raw as possible

ECCO: Name one thing about yourself that most people won’t know

Sabrina: I listen to the sound of rain to fall asleep or when I’m having a hard time writing.

ECCO: What is your ultimate music goal?

Sabrina: To be able to make a comfortable living with my music.

ECCO: When you’re not doing music, what are you doing?

Sabrina: I dress up as an Administrative Assistant during the day to pass time until I’m on a stage again.

ECCO: What makes you laugh?

Sabrina: I can laugh at anything. Including myself sometimes.

Stay  Connected with Sabrina via Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Sabrina473

—Feature Article Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne