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

ECCO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: BOMANI

DSC00068 - CopyIt all but consumed him. Day and night, sweet melodies replayed in his head. Over and over. Everything he saw, touched, felt and heard, evoked within him the need to craft his thoughts and feelings into beautiful lyrical masterpieces.  His fingers twitched to get it all out on paper. His lips buzzed to sing out loud the songs which radiated from his heart. As his need to create sweet music grew—to a point where it seemed to become even more important than the job he then held, and everything else in his life for that matter!—it became undoubtedly clear to Bomani that music was his true calling.

The Saint Vincent & the Grenadines born songwriter, performer and recording artiste describes himself an optimist and an adventurer who loves life and music to no end. He recalls this his love-affair with music began during his secondary school days, songwriting and singing. Upon his graduation he made a concerted effort to become aligned with musicians, composers and other songwriters in his home island.

Bomani describes his music and sound as “an eclectic Afro Caribbean Calypso/Ragga Soca blend with hints of broader music styles” which have influenced him on his journey. Truly his music reflects the essence of what it’s like to be a Caribbean native.

He draws his inspiration from the wonderful world around him—the universe, God, his environment, friends, family, the stranger he unexpectedly runs into, and even his dreams. Through his music he seeks to share a message of love and happiness for and among people.

Among his numerous music experiences to date, the Vincentian artiste says one of his most amazing moments centered around the release of his very first Album, “Deep” and the subsequent international tour. “Deep,” featured several of his earlier hits which led him to perform the world over. He adds his capturing of the St Vincent & the Grenadines 2004 Road March title and the OECS Soca Monarch title in St Lucia in 2005 as highly memorable accomplishments. A number of Bomani’s songs have also been signed to giant Caribbean music label, VP Records.

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He credits his successes to date to his dedication and willingness to work hard, a formidable team and support system and an ability to remain focused on music creation and promotion even in difficult times. And there certainly have been difficult times. As a professional artiste, Bomani notes that one of his biggest challenges in establishing his music career has been a struggle for adequate radio airplay throughout the year in St Vincent. This shortfall, he says, makes it difficult for the general public to become familiar with new material. Related to his challenge is lack of performance platforms for sustainable growth and development.

Yet Bomani and his team refuse to be limited by those challenges; so they are constantly seeking alternative means of music promotion and networking, while exploring performance opportunities regionally and internationally.

With his determined spirit, soulful voice and infectious melodies we have absolutely no doubt that Bomani will achieve his ultimate goal; his music transcending time and generations, touching  people across the world; inspiring aspiring artistes as those before him inspired him.

In fact if you listen to his music releases from over the years it’ll become evident to you that he’s already achieving his mission.

BOMANI Bites

DSC00034ECCO: When you’re not doing music, what are you doing?

Bomani: When I’m not doing music you can find me chillin’ with friends and family at home, watching movies, or at the beach, or at any of several of the hangout spots in SVG having a few drinks and eating great food.

ECCO: What are your passions besides music?

Bomani: Visual arts, helping with the development of young people and cricket.

ECCO: What makes you laugh?

Bomani: Great stand-up comedy and political and social satire make me laugh and good jokes generally.

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

Bomani: Most people probably won’t know that I’m a picky eater.

ECCO: Who are you music mentors? Music influences?

Bomani: There have been several individuals who have mentored me over the years here in SVG, Mr Lennox Bowman, Mr Franklyn Edwards who is also my manager. I’ve had great conversations with legendary Vincentian calypsonians like Winston Soso and Becket that I consider as great council. My musical influences over the years have been wide enough to include artistes from several genres such as Peter Tosh, Berres Hammond, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Gladys Knights, Whitney Houston, Luthor Vandross, Seal, David Rudder, the original Burning Flames, Krossfyah, Winston Soso and Becket.

Stay connected with Bomani on his Musical Journey! Follow him on Social Media 

Facebook ……………….  Bomani Charles (www.facebook.com/bomani.charles)

YouTube ………………..  BOMANI SONGS (www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-Fvd0kvluKyVMBi8v0lAg)

Soundcloud ……………  BomaniMusic (www.soundcloud.com/BomaniMusic)

Instagram ……………….  @bomani_live

Twitter …………………..   @bomani300

Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne

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

 

The Importance of Agreements between Collaborative Songwriters

 

For many songwriters and composers, music creation is fueled purely by their love of the art-form. No surprise then that many do not take the time after collaborating on musical works to iron out and agree to ownership rights, control rights and  revenue splits.

Perhaps it’s because most creatives tend to shy away from the business side of things; or maybe they think agreements between collaborative writers are too complex for them to handle. Whatever the reason or the thinking, if you’re a composer or songwriter, failing to set agreements about ownership and revenue splits could mean major trouble in the future!

According to Entertainment lawyer, Wallace E. J. Collins III, considering the myriad issues that can arise, devising and signing off a copyright and ownership agreement is highly recommended. Collins explains that in the absence of a written agreement, under current case law concerning both copyright and partnership law, two or more collaborators are generally deemed to share equally on a pro-rata basis. This he says, may be so, even if it is clear that the contributions of the authors were not equal, since the Courts generally prefer not to make decisions about the value of each author’s contribution to a copyright. Alternatively, music co-writers can divide copyright ownership in whatever portion they determine by establishing a written agreement.

Outside of a determination of the song’s copyright ownership and revenue share, Wallace adds that the written agreement can also be utilized to determine who will handle the administration rights of the work. He notes that generally most songwriters prefer that there is separate administration among the various writers and their respective publishing companies, whereby each author retains control over their respective share of the copyright. Wallace explains that in this way, each writer is able to retain some control over what happens with the song, the scope of the license and the amount charged.

As it relates to US copyright law, Wallace explains that each joint copyright owner can exploit the song and also grant non-exclusive licenses to third parties, subject to the duty to account to the co-writers for any money that is generated. Additionally he notes that each writer could transfer all or some of their respective share of the copyright to another party without affecting the ownership interests of other co-writers in the copyright. Further he states that unless this is expressed in a written agreement signed by all parties, no one writer can grant an exclusive license nor transfer copyright ownership in the entire song without the written permission of each co-writer.

These are the kind of issues which Wallace says can be addressed in a written collaboration agreement. He notes that there are endless variations depending on the circumstances, and that the written collaboration agreement can be tailored to suit the needs and wants of the parties involved.  For example, he notes that each author could retain his or her share of revenues and ownership, but grant the administration rights to one party, thereby rendering the synchronization licensing process more seamless, as it is usually more convenient for one party to have the right to grant license and to collect and divide all of the income.

And Wallace says, there is no need for the written agreement to be complex. It can be as simple as a pie chart drawing made on a napkin at a dinner after the writing session, signed by all parties he offers! Alternatively it could take the form of a more structured writer’s agreement. The main factors to consider is that the agreement speaks to copyright, revenue and control splits, and that it is signed by all parties.

 

Reference:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/songwriter-collaboration-co-writer-agreements-what-mean-collins-iii

 

—Post by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne

Using Twitter To Push Your Music Career

In her book Cyper PR For Musicians: Tools, Tricks & Tactics For Building Your Social Media House, author Ariel Hyatt presents the amazing story of artist Amanda Palmer who in 2011 managed to raise $11,000 by tweeting that she was alone on a Friday night, when her tweet “I hereby call THE LOSERS OF FRIDAY NIGHT ON THEIR COMPUTERS to ORDER …” generated huge buzz and a host of interaction which lead to her designing a shirt about it on the spot that night, which she then put for sale as was able to sell 400 shirts in two hours at $25.00 each.  Click HERE to read Amanda’s retell of that night here, who knows it just may inspire you.

This amazing scenario brings to life what we as independent songwriters, musicians, composers and artists hear over and over—but maybe never fully appreciated till reading Amanda’s story—there is insurmountable power in social media. The trick however is using it right!

Thankfully written resources like Ariel Hyatt’s Cyber PR for Musicians exist to help us independents devise tips, strategies and techniques to summon the power that lies in social media to our benefit.

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