By Rich Monetti On Saturday night, July 8th, at the Aspen Social Club, approximately 75 artists from the tri-state area put their talents on display for the Industry News Prolific Artist Showcase. At Stake, in first prize, was a distribution deal with Island Def Jam Records.
“They get a one on one interview on my show Industry News,” says Tonya Proffitt, CEO of Le Proefete Entertainment and founder of the showcase. And only optimum exposure can follow with the high profile label, she added of her collaboration with Def Jam.
Nonetheless, one Perry H of New York City expressed a prevailing attitude hanging over the evening that would leave it free of any losers. “I’m shooting to be remembered for what I love to do, and if I can do that,” he said, “I’m already a winner.”
He would do so under duress. Feeling a bit under the weather, he shook off his fever and used the excess heat to advantage. “I’m going to turn down the sickness and turn up the swagger,” he said.
On the other hand, Sasha Samantha of White Plains showed no ill effect and strutted a “swag” of her own – which needed no introduction. “Just look at me,” she said with a dose of confidence that definitely did not put off.
Conversely, her music, which is laced with a Reggae and R&B sound, is the put on that keeps her going. “It’s my passion and fuels everything,” she said.
That’s exactly the kind of talk Robert Tranchina of Talented Actors in America is looking for at an event like this. Managing actors such as Ms. Proffitt, he says, “I’m always on the lookout for up and coming artists to represent because I want to do my best to guide people to a place where they can achieve their dreams,” he said.
Mia Williams and Mr. Commodore hope they can have an impact like that for the artists they were introducing off their online radio show, SsG Booth. Live streaming in Queens at http://www.stickam.com/ssg_weonit, she said, “We have a few artists performing and they can use all the exposure they can get.”
Second and Third prizes of a video shoot and Industry News mixed tape respectively would certainly quality, but with Perry H already having his say, the radio hosts were prepared to talk up their other find – TubRock. As a Rapper, she said, “His flow is not what we normally hear in the mainstream.
Otherwise, his message and beat is more on the uplifting side. “We all have struggles but his party sound shows that life is about the happy times as well,” she said.
Still, making ones way up the ladder – regardless of talent – can be a “dirty game,” according to Mr. Commodore, and an evening like this, is one step in the learning process. They have to be prepared to present themselves and taking part in the showcase is an opportunity that moves them in the right direction, he said.
Nonetheless, the 22 year old rapper from the Bronx seemed to have his future on firm footing. “You can do it,” he said, “just follow your dream and put your mind to it.”
In turn, heroes such as Tupac and Biggie provide inspiration and get him onto a writing mode that he can jump off from. “I listen to them before and so my music can sound similar, but you can still hear my own swag,” he says.
Otherwise, TubRock wouldn’t mind following in the footsteps of Digitman from L.A. “That was my first label deal,” says Proffitt.
Either way, Anna Simpson of Brooklyn holds her own and doesn’t leave herself blowing in the wind among so many of today’s performers. A breath of fresh air, says her manager Rhammel Heard, “She is a category all herself.”
Embodying the struggle, the joy and the happiness in my work, she said, “I just try to be myself.”
And there’s nothing simply black and white in what she brings. “Being an artist doesn’t mean I have to paint with one color and the many shades of me paints the whole picture,” she said.
Ohene Cornelius of New York City doesn’t tie himself down to one shade either. Schooled enough for his own good in pop music, boredom sent him in search of other sounds.
AfroPop, derived from a drum based Afrocentric style, gives him a genre he can call his own. “Pop rhythm tends to layer itself around the chords,” he says, “while my sound emanates from the drums.”
He feels the personal category gives him a leg up as Cornelius was a featured artist for the showcase along with Air is Out radio host Staxx Cordiero and Raleigh Durham, North Carolina Rapper, Life the Legend. But the top prize would go to Le Proefete artist Melron. “He won two song distribution deals,” says Proffitt, who also produces the reality TV show, The Real Producers.
As for showcase judges like Broadway ticket distributor Debbie McIntyre, the excitement definitely fit her bill as a talent evaluator. “Finding the new it person,” she concluded is what it’s all about.
The next of the monthly showcases, which Ms. Proffitt hopes to find a syndication deal, will be held in August. Site to be announced.
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