In My Own Lane ft. Von Vargas, Carolyn Malachi and Japhia Life
In My Own Lane, a Concert Experience ft. Von Vargas, Carolyn Malachi and Japhia Life
"The things that we consider popular always change."--Carolyn Malachi
This month has been pretty hectic yet exciting for me. If you read some of my previous posts, you will see that I have had several opportunities to cover/attend events and do things that I would have never imagined myself doing only a year ago. I started this blog because I needed to finally just do it. I hemmed and hawed over it for a long time. I questioned my abilities, whether it was be my writing ability or my technical expertise (which I am still debating whether or not I have the later). Finally, I decided to just go for it and try. No amount of planning could have prepared me for the opportunities and the shear luck I've had this month. So I am grateful to pay it forward by posting as often as the Lord wills. I say this because although I am knee-deep in allergy season, kindergarten and preschooler problems, trying to make a living and dog sitting, I am grateful to every and anyone that has come across my blog. I appreciate the support!
Back to the business!
I was honored to receive an invitation to the In My Own Lane Concert this past Friday at the Motor House in Baltimore. The invitation read:
You are invited to the In My Own Lane Concert, October 21, 2016 at the Motor House in Baltimore! An official meet and greet (sponsored by Applebees) for Media, Performers, and VIPs will begin at 7 p.m. This is a LIVE curated concert experience hosted by recording artist, Von Vargas. This premier concert will showcase music from Von Vargas, GRAMMY-nominated artist, Carolyn Malachi, and Philadelphia's own Japhia Life, former recording artist with Sony Music. Prior to the concert, three dynamic creative professionals, will be honored for their creativity in the music industry. Honorees include producer, Mr. Wendel Patrick, entertainment public relations extraordinaire, Ms. Candice Mackel, and musician, Mr. Rufus Roundtree. As a guest, you will also receive food, beverages and any additional goodies from our amazing sponsors
Look at God. I had the opportunity to cover the Press Play event in August, so I was more than pleased to attend this time around. And I was not disappointed. If you ever have the chance to attend an event at the Motor House, don't miss out--the space is gorgeous.
As the title suggests, the overarching theme of the event was that being true to yourself and a master of your own lane can create success and inspire others. Each artist and honoree exemplifies this notion in their own unique way.
The In My Own Lane award recipients were honored for the careers and ability to inspire others. Candice Mackel of Candice Nicole PR and Women Who Hustle is not only a PR maven 10+ years, she is also a motivational speaker who uses her platform to uplift and inspire other men and women in the entertainment industry. Rufus Roundtree is an award-winning musician. From the trombone to singing to DJing, Rufus is a man who wears many hats (literally) and all the while fulfilling his "mission given by God to inspire people. For more on Rufus Roundtree, check out this great article here.
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Japhia Life (pronounced jah-fye-yah) has been in the game for a minute (like-6 albums-deep-minute). Not the quintessential gospel artist to say the least, Japhia has a knack for honoring his home town sound while layering it with stories of pain, struggle and faith. He said it all started from trying to find different ways to express himself. While in his own lane, he made a decision to "do what he could do", since he'd always been a writer. Tonight we were treated to his organic brand of hip-hop which allows his gospel roots to shine at the forefront.
With lyrics like "Before they put me where Biggie at, I put my life with God" (Poison) to "They ain't have to kill him they coulda just took Jermaine check" (Jermaine Chain) and "Look a little closer at a dollar bill/it's looking back at you, kinda ill" (Water) Japhia Life gives us his unique perspective and insight by telling stories that so many in Philly and around the world, including myself, can relate to. I also related to the t-shirt he had on: I have one in my possession and I love it. To read a review on his latest project The Profit click here.
Washington, DC's own Carolyn Malachi graced our presence with her command of the stage and sultry vocals. Reminiscent of Neo Soul, this GRAMMY Nominated songstress has paved her own way through life's up and downs. Perhaps that is why it is so fitting that her upcoming album is called "Rise " (due out December 16)
Carolyn Malachi’s unique approach to music combines Jazz, Hip Hop, Spoken Word, and lots of imagination. Dubbed “sweet songstress” by BET, the independent, Grammy nominated artist and great-granddaughter of pianist John Malachi counts Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Radiohead, and Sarah Vaughan among her greatest influences.
She released Revenge of the Smart Chicks in 2008 and Revenge of the Smart Chicks II in 2009. Both albums reveal the inner workings of Smart Chicks which Carolyn Malachi defines as “decidedly authentic women.” Her 2010 release, the “Lions, Fires & Squares” EP, earned a 2011 Best Urban / Alternative Performance GRAMMY Award nomination for the single, “Orion.”
“Sunshine”, a childhood sobriquet, seeds the artist’s philosophy: “My aunt often says, ‘Sunshine, remember your power’", the power of the mind to give life to infinite possibilities. --MTV.com
Carolyn effortlessly transitions from songs of love and empowerment to speaking about the issues of domestic violence she sees women face all over the world. As she sways her body to the mood of the beat, Carolyn Malachi has remained in her own lane by staying true to herself while pushing the boundaries of traditional R&B. With lyrics like "Believe little girl/Believe in sunlight/believe in limelight/believe in love" to "I've been living a double life/plantation days and paparazzi nights" (Blowing Smoke) to a mellow groove, her aesthetic is pleasing, aspirational and empowering.
Stay on the look out for her next release "Rise" (December 16). Her music is available on most platforms.
Carolyn Malachi-Blowing Smoke
Carolyn Malachi-Alright (Live at the GRAMMYs)
I've written about this incredible artist before. This time it was a treat to revisit his music but this time with the help of a full band. First we rocked to "Good Day" off of the Metropolis Binocular LP with an appearance from Dre Thompson. He also performed "Mirror" all while holding an actual mirror stating that "If I could only change one thing/it'll be that I could change one thing." My personal favorite "Fit Out" cranked with the help of the band.
There two points of note for me. When Von said "all these things we been through, they still trying to hold us back. Can't hold us back, like a rose we rise through the concrete" he then performed "Concrete (Still I Rise)" which is currently up for GRAMMY consideration.
He also spoke on issues of domestic violence. Being that Von Vargas sees himself as someone who wants to inspire and speak up for the overlooked as an advocate for justice, he does a good job speaking again abuse with the single "Red Lips" (a nod to the Red Lips Campaign).
Von Vargas-Red Lips
It was indeed a Good Day. I am inspired to see so many stories of success from the lens of individuality. Sometimes we don't feel like we will ever fit in, and that is the moment to discover your "Own Lane" and ride it.