A collection of beats.
I've been compiling songs for GT Nomad for quite some time now and haven't released anything.
While listening to The Lost Tapes, I decided to make my own soundtrack. This is my happy place, thanks for listening.
So, I can't tell you what I was on set for.
But I can say that I was on set for a major TV show and it was amazing. Not the kind of amazing that happens when your like "Oh my god I'm working with such and such celebrity and they gave me this and that tidbit of amazing advice and we exchanged numbers after we shared a burger, the same burger, and we're doing it again tomorrow!"
Nope. I don't even have many pictures.
You see... there are times in ones life an actor lives for, and being on the set of major TV show is one of those days.
Its work. Its not glamorous. The days are long because you start early to catch the sun's light, and many things go wrong, schedules get messed up, there are a ton of people involved, budget to fit all these people into, transportation to figure out, locations to find etc etc etc
Its madness. Then you, as the actor, read the script, and have to figure out how you serve the story, even if it is one line.
Then you do the one line, over and over, in the context of the scene, for 5 hours, in bright lights, while the public watches, while horns honk, and alarms go off, and all the other hoopla of the city tries to throw you off your focus.
Then you have a scene with the person who is the "star", and you realize he is the real champ. He's been there since 530.
The PA who is making sure you're ok (even though you got there way later) has also been there since 530. But she's worried about YOUR well being.
The DP has a ridiculous tarantula looking attachment strapped to his body that somehow has a camera (this is a steadicam). By midday, he looks like his legs might buckle. He's doing this ALL day long, from 530 to 7pm.
Even in the middle of takes, random people would walk up to the "star" and attempt to give him a card. Meanwhile, the director is yelling, "Rolling!" and all the other things that let you know the random people should leave the "star" alone. He's used to it though.
Somehow, in the end, it turns into a beautiful, seamless piece of work. Its mind boggling. It takes 1-2 weeks to shoot ONE episode, by the way.
Its an experience I won't forget. Treat every webseries, student film, and Instagram sketch with the same importance until you get the chance to be in a trailer and do it every day, for real.
I came across this guy some months ago when I was doing some musical soul searching. I don't know where he's from, but I can't get enough. I see a collab in the future.
Y.E. has been releasing music pretty consistently, at about one-two tracks per month. I enjoy his thoughtful, self-conscious, eclectic flows. I've posted a nice array here. Inner Monologue is the latest- his depth and facility of language/topics remind me a bit of Shakespeare.
In a time when hip-hop is all over the place, I'm thankful for guys like this. Thanks Y.E. for doing your thing!
So, y'all know I'm an actor. I take great pride in being one and have doing it for a while.
I first knew I wanted to be an actor when a family friend invited me to have a small part in a show she was doing for her company, The Living Museum Company. I was 13, and I had a chance to be amongst older black male actors portraying folks from history. Not only did I get to be an actor, I also worked with professionals who looked like me, who could tell me things about history I didn't know.
It was a wonderful start.
Fast forward to last Friday, everything came full circle and I was officially part of the resurrected Living Museum Company portraying Malcolm X. I freaked out a bit when my friend asked me to do it, because who am I to impart my knowledge about the honorable El Hajj Malik Shabazz? Of course, you have no idea how much you actually know about a subject until its put to the test. They asked me ALL KINDS of questions as Malcolm, from questions about jail life to ones about his siblings, and I successfully answered them all.
You try fitting the story of a legendary man into 8-10 minutes... then speak to 18 different groups of about 40-50 children. Insane.
So, now to contrast that rewarding/nostalgic/proud moment with going to this EPA today. For those of you who aren't actors, EPA stands for Equity Principal Auditions. They could either be viewed as your worst nightmare or as the golden gate of opportunity. The doors open at 10 AM, but some folks get there at 430 AM to solidify a spot, and even when you get there "early", sometimes there are so many people you don't get to audition. Its hot, its sweaty, its noisy because actors are going over lines, and there isn't enough space for anyone. Complete (organized) pandemonium.
Talk about things coming full circle, I managed to get a nifty little thing for participating in my first tour in a historical musical for kids about Harriet Tubman about 2 years ago. Black history (or rather the need to teach and spread it) has been good to me.
I've never used this card before. I don't actually know what the benefits of having it are, I just know the Union has some cool services, like healthcare. If you are resourceful, its cool to knock about and figure out what they do for actors. But don't ask me- I've been looking at this damn thing for 2 years and have no clue.
Except till today, when my shirt wasn't ironed enough, and my (non-existent) hair needed an extra meticulous brushing. "I'll be there at 10" turned into a cool "1030 is aight". 1030 IS NOT ALRIGHT. If you're an actor, you know very well that showing up to the super packed EPA 30 minutes after auditions start equals garbage. No.
So I get there, am directed to another building, and there's SWARMS of people.
Kids, adults, people my age, everyone. Let's not forget to mention no one there looks like me. 1 of maybe 5 black males. Being there made me recognize the passion that arises from wanting to do the thing we do so bad. It reminded me that I'm here for a reason, and I immediately was proud to be a part of a community that would show up for a play even when hundreds and thousands of others show up. The odds are crazy. That is the stuff of real passion, real faith, tenacity, drive, whatever you may call it.
I took out the pink card. The equity card. The lady put me on an "alternative" list. In my brain I was like: "I'm the 35th to be seen out of all these people even though I came at 1030?!" Not an alternative facts list.... a tried and true alternative, skip the line list.
Lawd. It was so hot in that room, I ran out of there when they called my name.
And just like that, my first pretty good audition for a Broadway show by going to an EPA.
I know the odds are sooooo small, but who knows? I'm glad I went.
I thought about doing an introductory post or something for the blog, but f**k it.
Beats, eats, art, Gemini musings, blah, blah... you get it.
Honestly, this is best way for me to be brutally honest and talk about things I care about while sharing it with the world. Between living in NYC and being from Westchester, meeting all kinds of people, being in the ever exciting music and acting industries, working a "day job", and traveling, I have a lot to say. A lot of people know me, but they have no idea who I really am. This is the common plight of the Gemini.
Now onto more important things: WHERE'S SHAKE070?
I'm not sure how I came across the young artist from Jersey, but about a year ago, I was browsing Soundcloud and stumbled across the song above. They recently just posted it again (as a way to keep momentum going probably), but I find this often doesn't matter, as a large number of people have probably never even heard it...
Let's point out a number of things:
- The stream of consciousness flow: of course, Drake made it popular, back when we listened to joints like Marvin's Room and said things like, "This guy just gets drunk and sad and slits his wrists while he records, ugh". I feel the influence here, and she definitely put her style on it: the melodies catch you, the words don't always rhyme, mixture of short and long notes... she reminds me a bit of Roy Woods in this regard
- Boss ass lady voice: That alto though. It has weight. You feel it in your soul. I have no idea how old she might be, even though she clearly has a baby face. Every once in a while, she throws a grungy quality onto voice to add some drama
- Content: Relationships. The World. The Good. The Bad. Different Production and Genres. Shake does it all
- (I believe Shake is openly gay as well, not that it matters, but lets stop playing like you didn't ask when you saw her picture) I'm just always happy for self expression. Its nice when people have opportunities they haven't had before, break open doors, change norms, all that. With Young M.A. back on top 10 with "OOOUUU", the first person I thought of was Shake070. Clearly she has a body of work- maybe all she needs is a hit? The fans clearly know she's up next... I'm just wondering why it hasn't happened yet
oh yea, that's important-
- BODY OF WORK- How many times have you come across somebody with two dope hits and you look for the rest, and because it doesn't exist you decide you can't be a FAN yet?
Artist has a hit record, goes on tour for 2 years off of the one record, builds up maaaaaaaaaad hype off of an album, album gets pushed into next decade. Album comes out and is trash. (won't name names lol)... there are many variations to this story, but you feel me at this point
SHAKE070 clearly has a body of work. For days
so, Shake... where you at? Music needs you.