Photo Credit: Dean Bernard



Kerry James Rogers Jr. aka Kerry James or “KJ” is a 28 year old R&B/Soul artist, singer-songwriter and musician born in Chicago and raised in Gary, IN. KJ began singing at the age of 19 when his mother (and #1 fan!)) gave him his first acoustic guitar for Christmas, in 2012.

When born, KJ was a premature infant and has suffered from seizures, COPD and even strokes throughout his life. He has also a speech impairment. But, this has never stopped him from reaching for the highest heights in music and in life!

In the Spring of 2013, KJ began to attract fans while singing on the steps at City Hall in Gary, IN. He also started performing at many local open mic venues and other events, where he broke bread with fans and fellow musicians alike. Very soon, KJ started to earn much media attention for his life story, talent and charm.

KJ was recently featured on the cover of Chicago Bridge Magazine with Brigette Wiley and other popular artists. He continuously appears regularly in newspapers and magazine articles. He’s a popular guest performer on radio and television programs throughout Northwest Indiana and the
Chicagoland area.

KJ is an inspirational figure, as well as a natural music talent. He welcomes the opportunity to lift the spirits of all those around him through his story and song!

“I wanna inspires others through my gift and talent efforts to overcome, and to make a difference in
others lives.” – KJ

 

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: When you were born, you entered this world with many complications and hurdles that could have stopped you from reaching your goals.  What is it in you that allowed you to strive and reach your goals?

KJ:  My mother always motivates me to follow my heart and dreams and to never let my complications, nor disability define who I am as a person.   Also, in order to reach my goals, there will be challenges, but those challenges allow me to be strong and tough. 

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: You were raised in Gary, IN, the hometown of Michael Jackson.  What was your child life like growing up in Gary?

KJ:  My childhood was a little rocky, but I had fun along the way growing up with my other siblings.  I’ve grown up most of my childhood and adult life in Gary, Michael Jackson home town.  I even learned music and dancing from watching him as well.  In addition to gaining an authentic, original autograph from Prince Jackson early in my career in 2014.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: In 2012, when you were 19, your mom gave you a guitar for Christmas. Did you ask for the guitar or was it a surprise and how did you learn to play it?

KJ:   I had asked my mother for a guitar for Christmas and surprisingly it was granted.  I learned how to play off of YouTube on my own time, playing cover songs for Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: Who or what is your inspiration and tell our readers why they inspire you?

KJ: Well my mother inspires me.   She knows my potential to do great things and has always been by my side, through the good and the bad.   She’s the reason why I love doing my thing and striving to continue my career.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: For GO BANG! Magazine readers that may not be familiar with you, how would you describe the KJ sound?

KJ: My sound is different.  It’s very humbling, relaxing and so heart throbbing.   The sound gets you very emotional.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: In addition to playing the guitar, you also sing and write all of your songs. When did you realize that you had musical talent?

KJ: Well after high school, I noticed that I had a gift and discovered my vocal talent and songwriting ability.  I got my writing ability from my mom., who wrote poems.   I’ve learned how to perfect my vocal skills through daily, self- training.   My song “Mother & I” was inspired from the way I feel towards what my mother experienced  raising me, my other brother and sisters.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: Over the years you’ve been interviewed on various radio stations and featured in several newspapers and magazines. Now that you’re been featured in GO BANG! Magazine, you’re being exposed to an international audience that’s worldwide. What would you like to say to our readers in Africa, London, China, Australia and elsewhere, that aren’t familiar with you?

KJ: I would like to say that the sky is the limit!  Just go with the flow. Follow your heart to where it takes you and never doubt yourself.  Believe in yourself, as others believe in you to conquer all of the odds ahead.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: I’m sure you have a large following of fans, which you lovingly refer to as #kjayerfans #kjarmy. They been supporting you since the beginning of your career. How would you describe your fans when they meet you and hear you perform?

KJ: My fans support me and motivate me to keep on going.  They give me that extra push to high five the sky.  I truly love them #kjayersfans #kjarmy .

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: Are there any artists that you would love to perform with, or any artist that you would love to write for?

KJ:  My idol and the artist that I would love to sing with is Justin Timberlake.  He’s an awesome icon, businessman, actor, dancer and humanitarian.  Also Chris Brown, who is the same way. I would love to write songs for others someday.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: What projects are you currently promoting or working on? 

KJ:  Yes my single “Mother & I” is streaming on all music platforms.  I’m currently working on a small EP titled “My Journey.”  It’s gonna be dedicated to my musical family Underground Hittas out of Chicago, IL.  I love them.  My fans will hear my true voice.

 

Watch: The Boom Bap Hour chops it up with Gary Indiana’s own KJ James, who is premiering his new single, “Single Mother and I.” He talks about how his mother was a great inspiration to him and his musical journey.

You can follow KJ on Facebook  and Instagram  (click)

Listen toMother & I (click)

 

LEAVE COMMENTS BELOW!!!

 

 


Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current
Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com,
EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model,
poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the
Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter
@Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Bari Gee aka BIMPGOD, a Hyde Park, Chicago native, has always been into music since his third-grade teacher put him in the school talent show to RAP and he won. Since then, Bari has been developing his rap and fashion style and has stayed active and relevant in the Chicago music scene.

BIMPGOD is the stage name that you can find all of his latest music on. He chose that name because it stands out and people wouldn’t confuse him with anyone else. BIMP which rhymes with PIMP, is an acronym that means “Beautiful Individual Making Progress” added with GOD. BIMPGOD was created in 2012 when he linked up with Smokebooth, Los and Fist. Since then, Bari has dropped videos on YouTube under the name.

Bari developed his musical sound over the years. He’s known for rapping over soul samples with heavy bass matching, with a smooth voice and witty lyrics. He collabed with another high school friend / producer Jremy, now known as DJ Audio 808s. DJ Audio 808s has hooked up with Bari and created a signature sound for BIMPGOD music. They collabed on “Champagne Campaign” which appears on their early 2000s album and contains a sample from SWVs song “Rain.” The two created a real vibe and have more songs planned for BIMPGODs new music.

Bari continues to spread his music throughout the United States and abroad. While networking and connecting, Bari has done collabs in and out of town. He has collabed with Dallas rapper “Rickey P Flair” on more than five tracks and dropped a video for “Light Up Life” which appears on Bari’s “early 2000s” album. BIMPGOD and FLAIR have a track called “City Lights” which appears on the original motion picture soundtrack titled “Rental.” Its predicted that they’ll drop a joint mixtape in the very near future.

Bari has always networked and connected with all parts of the music scene. Bari is known for connecting with artist, producers, engineers and even DJs. In 2013 Bari linked with “DJ Milehigh” a well know Chicago based club and radio DJ. They became friends and Milehigh helped push BIMPGOD’s music on the radio and in the hottest clubs. Bari was now in the Chicago nightlife scene alongside MileHigh, showing up at all of the hottest parties and music events. Bari’s songs even played on Chicago’s 107.5 WGCI radio station during the “Milehigh Midday mix” show from 2016 until present.

Bari, has been dropping albums since before 2015. Bari has dropped seven downloadable albums/mixtapes. His latest being the “ONE WORD” album that dropped January 2021. Bari has been working with his main producer “Dini” since his days at Kenwood Academy high school and he appears on “ONEWORD” and the first album “KEY TO THE CITY”.

Bari Gee has always been grinding, but hasn’t always been solo. The group The Chosen Ones (TCO) was created along with other members Malik Carter, Bob Marlo, ID and Gino East. During the time of TCO’S run, Bari performed and hosted over 50 shows. Bari and TCO produced their own shows in Chicago at venues such as Subterranean and Bassline, as well as other places. Bari and TCO also hosted shows on the road nationally, like in Austin Texas at SXSW (South by Southwest) Music Festival. They didn’t stop there with the traveling show. St. Louis and Atlanta also were also blessed with the groups shows. Bari linked with Racheal at Luckie One Entertainment and continued hosting and performing. Bari hosted and performed at over 10 shows with Racheal and Luckie One Entertainment at various Chicago venues, even hosting a show in Las Vegas in 2019.

Other notables collabs are with BOO (from BOO and Gotti), Jinonthem Boards (engineer), Kevin Hues (engineer, artist), Get ‘em Louie (engineer / producer), Rossey Lamont (artist/producer), Lovely Hustle (artist), Fendi Frost (artist), Twenty (artist), Dilla (artist), SC (producer), Matt Monsta (producer), and many more.

Bari Gee aka BIMPGOD plans to drop new music and his album “A LOT TO OFFER” late 2021 or early 2022.


GO BANG! Magazine: What is it about performing that attracts you to do it?

BimpGod:  Wow, I love performing! It gives people a chance to see my style.  I bring a lot of energy to the stage.  You can hear my voice, my words, and watch me in action. I love to perform. Even more, it’s what get me paid and I give my all to the fans watching. 

GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe the BIMPGOD sound?

BimpGod:  BIMPGOD sound is professional.  I like to rap over soul beats and heavy bass.  I like to use my natural voice.  I don’t use a lot of autotune.  I like for my records to have dope choruses and I always lace them with a verse or two.  A lot of my bars have double meanings too, so you have to listen closely. 

GO BANG! Magazine: You are a multi-talented individual. Besides rapping, do you have any other talents in the music industry.

BimpGod:  Nowadays, you have to be multi-talented. Executive producing is something I’ve been doing, helping other artist and producers pick the right sound. I also am a host of major events.  I get on stage and give people their props too.  I can’t forget about the fashion.  I’ve been designing for 10yrs.  I also worked with The Print Lounge Chicago over the years. 

GO BANG! Magazine: The rap game has changed drastically over the years, and so has the sound. The old school rap told stories. Then rap got gansta, then party rap, on up to mumble rap. How do you feel about the state of the rap game currently?

BimpGod:  I think the game used to be closed off in the early 2000s and before.  You would only see New York or LA rappers.  With the advance of technology, everybody with a computer has a chance to network.  With YouTube and other streaming channels being available, it gives local artist in cities and suburbs a chance to put their music and videos out to the public.  I’ve taking advantage of YouTube as well.  I got videos too. I put my music out on mixtape sites\earlier in my career.  Now it can be streamed easily on the phone with iTunes and Spotify.  The rap game is wide open.  Anybody can eat.  Just have catchy song and a video and boom! 

GO BANG! Magazine: If you had the opportunity to work with or perform with any artist or group from the past or present, who would be that be and why?

BimpGod:  It’s a lot of artists I’d work with, so many.  I would link with ladies in the industry.  They be looking good and they’re talented.  If I had to choose, probably Rihanna and Beyonce.  They’re at the top. Ye, he from Chicago, and groups… probably Dipset or The Lox.  But all artist would get a chance to create with me

GO BANG! Magazine: Being from Chicago, you must have grown up supporting artist like Twista, Common, Kanye West and Chance. They’ve all gone on and became successful in the entertainment industry. What do you think is the key to success, and what are you doing to achieve that goal?

BimpGod:  In Chicago, you gotta stand out a lot of competition out here.  For upcoming artist, you gotta travel and do collabs.  I’ve seen all these guys in action and they always take the rap game to the next level.  I’m a networking king.  I bring people together, but the ultimate goal for any artist is to create.  I want to stay in the studio.  Any studio time available, I’m there!  They got labels, but I’m independent.  I pay for everything out my pocket. 


GO BANG! Magazine: Chicago has its own style of Rap. How would you describe the sound of Chicago Hip Hop / Rap?

BimpGod:  Chicago Rap is filled with a lot of stories about growing up in the city dealing with struggles, gangs and cops.  A lot Chicagoans went into the industry, but now we have some big names.  People here put their all in their flow.  We represent a lot of people here.  Me growing up on the eastside (Stony Island, South Shore and Hyde Park), I put all my stories in my rhymes.  These some tough neighborhoods to grow up in. 


GO BANG! Magazine: Many people think that the Hip Hop music industry is promoting the wrong things to our youth. For example, many think that the industry is feminizing the black male, by some artists wearing dresses and sagging their pants, exposing their butts. Also, by promoting drug use, showing women as only sexual objects and as always, promoting violence. What do you think about these images and how are you dealing with them?

BimpGod:  You have big music labels that push a negative narrative and you have some artist that have no limits to what they say or do. I can’t speak for why, but I understand being creative for money. They gotta feed their family, even if they might be sending mixed messages. 

For me, I don’t be too negative in my raps.  But I am aggressive at times on the track, and the streets like to hear that.  My image is clean, business man style.  But I am from the streets of Chicago… drugs, guns and gangbanging are what we grew up with.  I dress nice and rap smooth.  I want the ladies to like it, not scare ‘em. 

GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe your stage performance to someone that may not have witnessed you live, but would like to. What would you tell them to expect?

BimpGod:  Great stage presence is what’s needed for a great show.  You can book me by just hitting my email.  I bring the MC back to the stage… breath control, crowd control and stage control.  I keep the hottest Chicago DJs with me.  We also bring a dope show.  I want to rock stadiums in the near future.  I’m taking bookings all year round. 


GO BANG! Magazine: Lastly, October 19th is your birthday BIMPGOD! This is your birthday weekend! GO BANG! Magazine would like to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, as well as ALL of our international readers across the world. GO BANG! Magazine is presenting this interview to you, as a birthday gift. Please tell our worldwide audience how you feel on this special day, what you plan to do, and how it feels to have your interview published across the world on your birthday weekend?

BimpGod: 

This is a big surprise and a long time coming!  Shout out Pierre and GO BANG! for the BDAY wishes.  Man 0ctober 19th… Libra season!  I turn up.  I have parties and like to celebrate.   

Follow me on social media and come out to my parties and events.  Everybody tuned in from out the country, I can book something there too.  I have a passport, and thank you for tuning in.  

I’m dropping “A LOT TO OFFER” soon!!!   

 

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND WISH BIMPGOD A HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

 

You can follow BIMPGOD on all social media platforms including: 

(click links) Facebook, Instagram  and Twitter 

TAKE A LISTEN:   You can find his music on (click) YouTube and listen, purchase and download all BIMPGOD music at (click) iTunes, (click) Spotify , (click) SoundCloud and (click) Tidal. 




Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Photo credit:  Clayton DeLa Chappelle

 

Nigel Ridgeway aka TREW has a love for DJing that began in grade school when using two tape decks to spin basement parties. TREW’s main aim is to weave a common thread through seemingly disparate genres. Drawing inspiration from the early 1980s NYC art/music world, he believes no genre is off limits and no collaboration too outlandish. Honing his chops with the east-coast Rave & Hip-Hop scenes (Baltimore/DC), it was Chicago’s wealth of musical and architectural history that pulled him westward. “Like most kids back then, I thought ‘Percolator’ was a Baltimore club track. Once I found out the truth, I knew this is where I was meant to be!” he exclaims. Soon after, he quit his corporate job, cashed in the 401k, and invested his life into music.

Since landing in the “Windy City”, TREW has performed or held residencies all across Chicagoland. He’s played stages at West Fest, Spring Awakening, Do Division, Taste of Randolph, and North Coast Music Festival. He has been lucky enough to perform with artists like Snoop Dogg, Mayer Hawthorne, People Under The Stairs, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Mint Condition, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Jeremiah Jae, Bobbito, House of Pain, Van Hunt, Jneiro Jarel, Devin the Dude, Bonobo, Cut Chemist, Quantic, Currensy, Afrika Bambaataa, MF Doom, Mos Def and dozens more.

When not DJing, he co-owns Ground Lift Media – a digital marketing company, he’s 1/2 of the DJ/Production duo Altered Tapes, owns and operates Heat Rock Records, and is deep into vinyl excavation, having amassed thousands of rare Soul, Funk, Disco, and Jazz records. This is a hobby/obsession he shares with the world via his Miyagi Records Shop.

GO BANG! Magazine: Where did you grow up and where do you call home?

Trew: I grew up on the east coast, in and around the Baltimore/DC area. But, I’ve lived in Chicago for 23 years (Jordan!) and for a while now, Chicago has felt very much like home.

GO BANG! Magazine: When did you first become interested in the music industry?

Trew: Well, I don’t know that I’ve ever been interested in the ‘industry’ per se, navigating the business and politics side of things, but I’m a 100% fan of making a living from my craft(s)! How I first became interested in music itself is an entirely different story though. The way my Mom tells it, I was heavily into anything musical from a very young age, toddler style. What I remember however, is my first electronic instruments and getting into cassette tapes.

Once I learned you could record onto cassettes, it was over! My debut ‘mix’ was made using songs from the radio. I was a huge fan of ElectroPop 80s and Freestyle – Nu Shooz, Taylor Dayne, The Miami Vice theme (lol), Expose, Giorgio Moroder, Newcleus, Shannon – so that was the vibe for those early mixes. At some point, it wasn’t enough to just listen to the music, or make a mix… I had to do the thing I loved so much.

On that first keyboard, I was a beast playing “Greensleeves” and making weird tracks with the ‘Rhumba’ drum accompaniment. Or replaying the simplest melodies I could figure out from songs like “I Need Love” by LL, and “Lean On Me” by Club Noveau. What really changed the game though was getting my first drum machine…a little Yamaha four-pad electronic thing. I was and am still, a percussion guy and have owned mannnyy different drum machines. That, along with a set of 1200s has been the most consistently present pieces of gear in my studio over the years.

GO BANG! Magazine: Growing up, you liked the sounds of House music and realized that it originated in Chicago. Soon after learning this, you relocated to Chicago. What is it about the sound of House music that attracted you?

Trew: It was good dance music, plain and simple. “Perculator” was my gateway drug because it was constantly played by Baltimore club and Rave DJs. At that point in my music discovering journey, everything was informed by what I was hearing from Rave DJs and on the late shows/college radio. Honestly, I hadn’t even really discovered the depth of Disco yet, so once I got here House started to make much more sense. What I definitely understood is Chicago is a music town. Not as in, everyone enjoys music (although that’s probably true!), but genres are created here. Movements are created here. So, between the allure of House music / DJ culture, and visiting a few times a year for Jazz & Blues Fests, I knew I wanted to be here more than I wanted to be there.

GO BANG! Magazine: As a DJ/Producer, what type of events have you worked and what type of production do you do?

Trew: My production style is as varied as my musical tastes. I’m currently making a lot of Dancehall / Reggaeton influenced remixes of classic Hip-Hop and 90s RnB, and some Steppers too. If there’s a common thread through it all, it’s that I love to use samples.

As far as performing, I’ve worked with artists in most all genres I enjoy. Definitely grateful to be able to perform / produce multi-genre and not be pigeon-holed! To even have the opportunities to be on stage with these folks, I’ve worked my way onto lineups. Let’s see… Bone Thugs. I earned my stripes that night I think. It was at House of Blues, and I was supposed to only be the opening DJ, but the lead-in band decided they wanted to go on early. This boggles my mind to this day. What an opportunity lost! Anyhow, I ended up being direct support for BTNH. Everyone at HoB was already salty about the high drink prices, and was getting impatient… So when the curtains came up and they realize it’s me and not Bone, I knew from that moment I had my work cut out.

Quick side note, if anyone reading this was at the Doom / Mos Def concert at Congress many years ago, you know what the vibe was like before Doom appeared. I remember we were awaiting his truck at the stage door inside the green-rooms. We were hoping he’d show, but also wondering if maybe he’d be the supervillain that night. A local MC had to take the stage next. I’ll always respect Qwel for how he handled himself, getting 4,000 angry Doom fans to come to an almost complete silence and put their focus back on the music. So that night at HoB, I like to think I was able to channel a bit of that Qwel energy.

Everytime the crowd erupted, chanting ‘Bone, Bone Bone!’ I hit them with a track as a reminder of who was on stage. I’ll never forget that night and lesson. My nerves are wrecked, no matter who I’m performing with. The exception was probably People Under the Stairs (RIP Double K). These guys were so utterly genuine about feel-good music and wanting to rock an old-school-vibe Hip-Hop show. It was tough to feel anything but excited about wanting to do the same. Plus, their crowd is easy. They come ready to GO.

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to being a DJ/Producer, you are also a businessman and an entrepreneur. Can you please tell our readers a little more about your businesses Ground Lift Media, Altered Tapes, Heat Rock Records and Miyagi Record Shop?

Trew: Short version, they’re all related to music. When I moved here, I was the weekend resident at SubT for a good six years. But, as soon as I lost that gig due to the changing neighborhood, I realized I hadn’t put in the proper work building myself, the TREW brand. I should have been putting a value on the party I’d created and the dollars I was bringing in. Most importantly, I hadn’t built strong enough connections with the patrons I’d met during that time. I forgot to make an email list, which is now why that’s the first thing I do whenever beginning a new endeavor. Definitely won’t make that mistake twice.

But anyhow, lesson learned. I dove into marketing and design, because as most DJs know, DJs aren’t just DJs. They’re a 10-person team all-in-one. By working in any one of these roles – promoter, designer, website builder, street team manager, etc – I was able to bring together a decent resume and rep that allowed me to branch off as Ground Lift Media. This is currently my event marketing and brand strategy company. We focus on contracted Street Level marketing these days, but there was a time when we mainly did concert production. Along with my production partner and friend Patrick Grumley (Cold Grums), we produced dozens of large-scale concerts and events over the years. I’m proud to say we did Mayer Hawthorne’s first-ever show in Chicago, which was a sold-out heater of a night at Darkroom.

All my other projects focus around the tangible aspect of music. I release remixes as Altered Tapes with my buddy Marco Jacobo (Maker). Just two years ago, we began an all-remix 45rpm vinyl label which is distributed globally as Heat Rock Records. Most recently, I launched a record shop, Miyagi Records, in the summer of 2020. That’s my baby at the moment and I spend much of my time now digging for vinyl, making road trips, and slapping ads wherever it makes sense. (haha)

GO BANG! Magazine: Recently, you had an event at The Silver Room in the eclectic and trendy Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. Please recap that event for our readers and explain why it is important to you to support local small businesses.

Trew: This event series was attached to Miyagi Records and came about via a conversation I had with Eric (Williams) at The Silver Room. I recently set roots on the south side with my beautiful and brilliant partner. Part of the reason for moving here was to bring everything that I do culturally, to the south side. Miyagi is still in startup mode and we setup shop at our pop-up and wherever else that will host us.

I’d always admired Eric’s work as a community business. He was the first person I’d hoped to work with in Hyde Park. The Record Store Day series ended up being a happy coincidence since we both wanted to produce something cool for the celebration. So over the course of two events, we hosted 10 DJs, two live performances, and eight local, indie record dealers. The overall goal was to bring some light to these sellers and give people live music again! I’d say it worked.

Well enough that we’ve expanded the event into the Chicago Vinyl Connection. This is technically a record show, but it’s more about bringing together the vinyl-loving community in Chicago. My production partner on this one is Grant Crusor of South Rhodes Records. This was another happy coincidence. We both wanted to fill a void in the world of record shows. To give businesses help they need, while also bringing a community together.

To finally answer your question, I support local and small because that’s who need it and that’s also who I am. What Miyagi is. Chicago is a big city, and the south side is whole world. We need all the help we can get!

GO BANG! Magazine: GO BANG! Magazine see’s that you like a wide variety of music genres including Rave, Hip Hop, Soul, Funk, Disco, Jazz and House. On an average night, when you’re trying to chill, what songs would most likely be found on your playlist?

Trew: When I’m at home just listening to records, it’s all about Jazz. I’m a big fan of 60s Soul Jazz stuff and 70s Fusion. I was introduced to Jazz via reading cassette tape liner notes, looking at which songs were sampled. Then a good friend gave me Herbie Hancock’s ‘Headhunters’ album. Things just got out of hand from that point. 70s Spiritual Jazz is my all-time chill soundtrack though. Stuff like Alice Coltrane, Nathan Davis, Phil Cohran, or The Awakening. But most importantly, New Jack Swing & 80s/90s Slow Jams will always make an appearance at some point!

GO BANG! Magazine: Being a DJ/Producer, you have a musical style / sound that identifies you. How would you describe your sound, as far as a DJ and producer?

Trew: As I mentioned before, I’m big into sampling. So that definitely influences my sound. But if I had to describe it as a whole, I’m just trying to make soulful music with dope drum programming, except when I make Drum and Bass. That’s 100% me trying to work out some feelings. Most everything I made last year was Drum and Bass or related.

Nowadays, I’m channeling Island vibes because my band Guayabera Unlimited has been on hiatus since Covid, and the Islands are where I’d rather be this winter.

GO BANG! Magazine: If you were not involved in music, what would you be doing?

Trew: I’ve thought about this in depth many times over the years. I even thought about it this weekend. The answer is always: I have no idea. This is it. I’ve tried working in my other passions (Engineering, Architecture, and Interior Design) but they all felt like jobs. And without fail, while working these jobs, I constantly had music on my mind. It’s the one thing I’m able to do, day in day out. No question, and so far, it’s been great. I’ve seen the world, met and worked with some amazing talents, and have found a way to make feeding my record collecting addiction a full time thing 🙂

GO BANG! Magazine: COVID 19 has hit the world hard. How has it affected you and how are you dealing with it.

Trew: Well, outside of the bigger lessons about humanity I’ve learned, it basically killed my performance schedule and tour plans for 2020. But on the flip, it finally gave me the time and space to focus on launching Miyagi Records and doing more A&R work for Heat Rock Records. That’s where I’m seeing my future. I still love to perform, but I’m more particular now and only do it when the gig is right. I don’t see that changing once things actually return to a state of normalcy.

I feel that Arts & Culture has helped and is still helping save the world during the pandemic, when they are one of the most affected industries. Also, I think this is only one of many trials to come for the world. I want to be prepared to do all I can to help where I can. So overall, I’d say Covid has made me more focused and ready for action.

You can follow Trew on ALL social media platforms @trew3000



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Phote credit: Power Quevedo 

 

Julius the Mad Thinker (JtMT) is a dynamic producer and must-see international DJ talent. Since the age of 17, Julius has worn many hats while distinguishing himself in the dance music industry. He is a true visionary with infectious energy and amazing music.

In 2009, Julius and business partner Jenn Hurst bridged DJ entertainment with unique travel concepts to co-found MCH (Mi Casa Holiday – www.micasaholiday.com).

In 2012, MCH achieved sold-out status, and since has evolved into the most exciting travel and music community in the US.

In 2017, Julius produced his debut album “Perspective.” It has been described as “an album of epic tunes for the dance floor, ranging from soulful vocals, deep to the classic Chicago sound. A wide array of variety and substance”- Osunlade”

Julius’ reputation for uniting music communities and launching premiere DJ music events has attracted worldwide acceptance and respect as well. His most recent event production to gain international awareness is Mi Casa Holiday (MCH).

He is also affiliated with YourPassion1st. It is an international coaching & mentorship platform focused on helping under-resourced young adults overcome adversity and earn money in the area of their passion.

Through art, music, entertainment, sports, and culinary, YourPassion1st envisions a world where all young adults are inspired to find, define, and follow their passion into the workforce. Young adults in under-resourced communities are challenged in achieving their dreams due to a lack of resources, support, and inspiration. We help young adults succeed through project-based learning, as they learn their value, build their confidence and recognize their innovative instincts and hidden talents.

Our Workforce Readiness Workshops, Festivals, & Events are transformative, collaborative, and entertaining, while our podcast series captivates listeners. You’ll hear a cross-pollination of fresh perspectives, layered with empowering stories from industry leaders and everyday people who have overcome adversity to follow their passion. Ultimately, we believe that inspiring young adults will cause a ripple effect, transforming families and improving communities, while influencing the next generation of youth. Your support helps create life-changing experiences.

Stay tuned and be ready to experience the next wave of JtMT!

GO BANG! Magazine: Where were you born and raised and call home?

JtMT: Elgin, IL, but I consider Chicago my home, as I’ve lived in the city since 1993.

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you first get involved in music and when did you know that you wanted to be a DJ / Producer?

JtMT: My music Journey started as a kid helping my mom clean the house every Saturday listening to soul music on a big stereo/record system with disco lights in the speakers (lol).

However, the broader story is that I was bored in the suburbs, so I bet my cousin that I could get 500 people to go to a party at my house. I figured that there were at least 500 people in a town of 80,000 that were bored like me.  So after pleading with my mom, she finally let me throw a party under two conditions.  One, I had to write a business plan and two, if I were to make any money, I promised to give spending money to my sister for her (high school) senior trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  So, I wrote the business plan, was able to get 605 people to the party, and was able to give my sister $500 for her trip to Mexico.

My sister went to Mexico, had the time of her life, then came back and eventually convinced the company who set up her trip (IS Tours formerly USA Student Travel) to hire her on as the youngest student organizer in that company’s history at the time. I went on throwing parties, and along the way started to disagree with the order of songs that our DJ (DJ Beauty) was playing. I became persistent and kept asking him to try, (DJing) until August of ‘94 when I was finally able to sync the beats successfully. The record was Joey Bertram’s “Energy Flash” and I’ll never forget that feeling, and how it inspired me to want more.

So, my sister had 20 + years of travel and hospitality and I had 20 + years of DJing and event production, when in October of 2009, we merged both concepts to create Mi Casa Holiday Travel and Music’s Community & Boutique Events Service.  Along the way I always tried to stay ahead of the curve which led me to start producing music and music videos and then eventually an album in 2017. (Perspective)

GO BANG! Magazine: Why did you name yourself “The Mad Thinker” and how would you describe your sound?

JtMT: Actually, I didn’t name myself. I was a creative director and executive producer of a local hip-hop group named the Rec Center, and we were deciding on producing our first music video for our album “Lonely People”. There were 10 MC’s, our main producer, my brother from another mother, DJ Emmaculate, and I. Everyone described their ideas about what the video should be, and I was the last person to speak. After I laid out my vision, it was total silence when “Luck” (MC Bad Luck) in a soft spoken voice said, “the Mad Thinker” (www.themadthinker.com). It felt right, so I embraced it!

I refer to my sound as Global Soul House music. Afro Cuban rhythms meet Electronic sounds through a rollercoaster of emotions.

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to being an international producer/DJ, you are also a businessman. Please tell our readers about your music & travel event known as Mi Casa Holiday (MCH).

JtMT: Family, Music, Paradise…We curate, and you celebrate! Ultimately, MCH (https://www.instagram.com/micasaholiday) is your personal holiday with the best music, entertainment and the coolest, most inspiring people from around the world. The name Mi Casa Es Su Casa (My house is your house) was a reflection of my sister and I’s diverse upbringing, and holiday is a reminder that taking time for yourself is mandatory, hence…Mi Casa Holiday. The MCH concept was an extension of 3Degrees Global, a previous groundbreaking event and promotional network founded in Chicago (1999). If the world was supposedly separated by 6 people, then we believed that like-minded individuals had to be separated by only 3 people. 3Degrees was Friendster, Myspace, Facebook before their time and we used the concept to bridge the Chicago House music scene each Wednesday from October of 1999 -2007, and we still produce special events to this day.

That event grew so fast that in addition to our weekly Wednesdays, we started producing monthly events in San Francisco, New York & DC, and also big holiday tour events. However, there was one 3Degrees event concept l that we never executed, and it was called the Global House Project. The idea was to take our community to an exotic location. After years of frustration with the unwillingness of nightclubs to invest in new talent, decorations, to sound, to renovations, the fragmentation of the winter music conference, friends and I traveling around the world to hang out, meeting other artists and promoters who were looking to do something new and fresh, and my sister’s annual plead to do a travel event, it all led to producing a weekend in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico in October 2009. Since then, we’ve produced MCH events in Costa Rica, Cuba, US & Mexico. Everyone should experience MCH and Rediscover Amazing!

GO BANG! Magazine: You are also part of an international coaching & mentoring platform known as YourPassion1st. Explain what it is and why you are a part of it.

JtMT: YourPassion1st is an international coaching and mentoring program that inspires young adults to overcome adversity and through art, music, entertainment, sports, and culinary, empowers them to follow their passion as an entrepreneur or leverage their skills to excel in the marketplace.

During the pandemic we decided to produce a live virtual event like many others. However, I will never just do something for the sake of doing it. Therefore, we took our event production hats off and put our tv network hats on and envisioned a week long, 24hr/day cable channel where Mi Casa Holidayers from across the world could display their passions, talents, and most importantly connect at such an important time. I was incredibly excited about this idea because we were essentially building a new product, but something was holding us back. We realized that we had yet to identify a cause that resonated with our idea, when one day, a post came across my Instagram feed that read YourPassion1st. Instantly I was like wow, there is a nonprofit based on passion. This can’t be real. It touched me for a few reasons.

First, the one rule in our household growing up was that we had to have passion for whatever we decided to do. Second, their approach made so much sense. As opposed to force feeding young adults a specific path, instead meet them where they are most interested and equip them with the tools to develop their skill set and inspire them to follow their passion. Third, through MCH, we created an event called Exprésate (express yourself), which targeted young adults to showcase their talents, from Dance, Art, music, skateboarding, murals, fire dancers whatever…. Lastly, through entertainment, young adults have shown us how they’ve influenced the older generations, and through my involvement I’ve learned quite a bit about near peer influence which is about young adults impacting the next generation.

So, after meeting the founder Chris Thomas, we seamlessly integrated his workforce readiness music festival vision into our MCH virtual event, and the MCH community helped to raise over 10k for the YourPassion1st organization. I was incredibly inspired after the live event, where there were 150 content contributors from 19 countries where we generated over 25,000 streams. After the event, I got involved and helped redesign the program, along with the addition of integrating young adults from Brazil and South Africa. This year, our program participants are producing 5 events that will air during the 2nd annual MCH Virtual Weekend + Workforce Readiness Music Festival November 10-17. (https://www.yourpassion1st.com/)

GO BANG! Magazine: Over the years, you have had the opportunity to perform with numerous well-known DJs and talent. Is there anyone or any event in particular that stands out as one of your most memorable?

JtMT: There are so many, however, I’ll never forget Keven Saunderson booking me to play the main stage at Detroit Electronic Music Festival thanks to my friend Monica Lockett.  Or when my friends Priti, Monna, the 3Degrees crew & the late great Frankie Knuckles surprised me and he played with me on my birthday.  Or when Lil Louis personally called me to book me for his CPR event in Chicago, the first time that I ever played in New York through Body & Soul’s John Davis, and Blaze’s (Josh Milan & Kevin Hedge) came to hear me and were dancing all night.  Playing all night with one of my favorite DJ’s of all time, Louie Vega at Cielo, all of the late night Mi Casa Holiday Mexico sets (starting at 4:20am).  Sharing the bill with legends like the last Paul Johnson, Terry Hunter, Tony Touch, Joe Claussell, Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, Dixon, and Heather.  The time I played the same club in the Philippines as Tiesto, but more interesting than that, playing on this insane sound system for my good friend Christopher Andrew’s destination wedding, and the first person on the dance floor was Tiesto.  Or the event that really catapulted my name around the world, when Large Music’s Jeff Craven asked me to open the main room for Large Music’s first ever Winter Music Conference event in Miami with Dennis Ferrer, Kerri Chandler, Jask & Roy Davis Jr, and asked me to also wanted me to close the back room which ended up getting me to New York and then later around the world.

I’ve been blessed and I feel like my schedule is about to get hectic as I still get the same responses that I was getting 20 years ago, which is people asking me “how do I not know about you, and where can I get more?!”

GO BANG! Magazine: Just recently in August, 2021, we have lost a few prominent DJs due to Covid and other health issues. Many of us haven’t had the time to even grieve. Did you know any of these DJs and how has their deaths affected you.

JtMT: I’m still processing all of them, especially my friend’s DJ Paul Johnson (Chicago), and my friend Reese (Miami). They both had so much spirit, it’s hard to believe. Unfortunately, there have been many amazing friends who were taken too soon like my friends Voodoo Ray (NYC) & Kweston (Chicago) pre-pandemic.  I’m less affected about how they all passed, rather the fact that they’re no longer physically here. I think when someone has impacted you, it’s your responsibility to help live out their legacy in the way that they inspired you, so that is what I am doing. I believe that It’s important to understand that no day is promised. Therefore, live your life to the fullest, open your heart and open your mind in a world that thrives off of friction.

GO BANG! Magazine: How are you dealing with the Covid pandemic, pre-vaccine time and post-vaccine times, and how has it affected you or your business?

JtMT: I’ve vowed to not lose any friends regardless of where they stand. It’s disheartening to see so many people pointing their fingers at others when they don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. Especially when they are pointing fingers at people who have previously and consistently brought joy into their lives. It’s sad. The world is made up of complicated issues, and I hope the dance, music, and arts community will be strong enough to respect one another’s journeys and conclusions versus pointing fingers or worse, supporting segregation. Yes segregation, because that is exactly what’s coming if people don’t get their acts together. Art, Dance, music, comedy, it’s up to us to be strong and open. If we can’t come together, then it’s a wrap.

GO BANG! Magazine: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

JtMT: Traveling around the world inspiring people.

GO BANG! Magazine: If you weren’t a DJ/Producer/Businessman, what would you be doing?

JtMT: Probably a consultant and/or motivational speaker.

You an follow Julius The Mad Thinker on ALL social media;

@juliustmt

@micasaholiday

@yourpassion1st

 

 


Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Photo credit:  Kevin Corbett

 

Songwriter, Producer, Vocal Arranger/Producer, Recording/Mixing Engineer, Videographer, and Visionary are a few of the hats Tyrone Corbett wears to accomplish his goals in the entertainment industry.

He studied Commercial Music at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va. and has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years.

Tyrone has worked with artists from DK Khaled and Diddy’s TV show, The Four, ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice’; artists signed to Wyclef Jean, Kay Gee (Naughty by Nature) and Diddy’s ‘Making the Band’, as well as artists signed to Clive Davis’ J Records, Bad Boy and Def Jam. His work has attracted the attention of record executive, Vince Herbert; producer, Daryl Simmons; legendary songwriter, Carole Bayer Sager; and super producer, David Foster.

In 2020, Mr. Corbett pitched songs to a variety of well-known artists including Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Brandy, Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, Stevie Wonder, Charlie Wilson, Kem and Joe.

“As a singer, I’ve had the great opportunity to work with some of the industry’s top Jazz and R&B artists”, says Tyrone. The list of esteemed artists includes Will Downing, Gerald Albright, Lalah Hathaway, Onaje Allan Gumbs and many others. With these veteran artists, he’s toured nationally and internationally.
Additionally, Tyron has developed a unique ability to work in all genres of music and has a diverse catalog of songs, including releases in R&B, Pop, Gospel, Jazz and Country. His discography includes having worked on a #1 Billboard R&B/Hip Hop album as an engineer, while also providing background vocals on a Grammy winning Folk album.

“I am passionate about music and the artists I work with.” “Music is my life!”

GO BANG! Magazine: Where were you born and raised?

Tyrone Corbett: Richmond, VA

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you first get started in the entertainment industry?

Tyrone Corbett: My father use to take my brother and I out and stand us on a shoebox to sing as an opening for his community work in activism.

GO BANG! Magazine: When did you get that first “big break” in the industry, where you had an opportunity unlike any other before, up until that point? Please describe it and how you felt.

Tyrone Corbett: My first professional break started during my collegiate tenure as I had a band that opened for artists like MTUME, Miles Jaye, The SOS Band and others. It was an exciting time to be able to share the stage with those I had revered.

Several other big breaks came along my musical journey. As a background singer, working alongside Gerald Albright, Lalah Hathaway, Norman Brown, Will Downing, Phil Perry and others was another milestone for me.

Later on, being invited to LA to meet songwriting legend, Carole Bayer Sager (Burt Bacharach, Marvin Hamlisch) and super producer, David Foster (Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Toni Braxton) was an incredible milestone as well. As a result of my relationship with Carole and David, I was introduced to Babyface and Daryl Simmons.

As a songwriter, having Lady Gaga record one of my songs has been the absolute highlight of my career, but getting a song recorded is still not the same as getting a placement. There are many factors that are out of the songwriter’s hands, but cutting through circles that big is still an incredible achievement. My fingers remain crossed that the song gets released as I’m not looking for the moral victory. 😉

GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve worked with several famous artists over the years. Is there any artist that you would love to work with, that you haven’t as of yet?

Tyrone Corbett: I’ve worked artists signed to Clive Davis, Wyclef Jean, Kay Gee (Naught by Nature), as well as artists who were on American Idol, The Voice and Diddy & DJ Kaled’s tv show, The Four, Ali Caldwell, Anwar Robinson and “Big” Mike Lynche are a few of the artists I’ve worked with.

As a songwriter with an eclectic body of work and large catalog of music, I have songs I’m shopping for artists like Arianna Grande, Beyonce, as well as Andrea Boccelli, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber and others. My work covers R&B, Pop, Gospel, Country and Jazz. I’m always swinging for the fences, so any (and all) of those above are on my radar for song placement.

GO BANG! Magazine: Being a multi-talented artist, you are a songwriter, producer, vocal arranger/producer, recording/mixing engineer, videographer and visionary. Of all of the talents and skills that you possess, which do you enjoy doing the most, and why?

Tyrone Corbett: I really enjoy everything about creative process as a whole, so wearing all of those hats are actually exciting and enticing to me, but I think songwriting still sits atop the list as I love telling a story and seeing how it is related to by the listener. I love taking the listener on a journey.

GO BANG! Magazine: The music industry is totally different now, as far as the type of music that is popular and the stars that are doing the performing, in comparison to the “good old days” of music. How would you describe the difference in the industry now, in comparison to let’s say the 90’s or 2000’s?

Tyrone Corbett: The music industry as a whole has evolved…in some ways good, and in others not so much. Recognizing that having a great song or even having a great team can have staggering limitations is sobering, but understanding that evolution can’t be fought is the key to forward movement. There was a time when a great song got you in the door and further, now it’s “How many views do you have?” Networking is still a constant though and a necessity.

Lastly, there is also something to be said about the “good old days” sometimes just being “old days with good memories”.

GO BANG! Magazine: What advice would you give to someone that is trying to get into the “behind the scenes” part of the entertainment industry, the technical or creative side, not the performance side?

Tyrone Corbett: Learning your craft remains high atop any list of advice offerings I have. Obviously though, for someone just starting out, ones skills will be lacking. The advice I give is to pair yourself with someone who can take your game to the next level. Never be afraid to acknowledge your short-comings, as that is the key to overcoming them.

GO BANG! Magazine: You are capable and talented in several genres of music including R&B, Pop, Gospel, Jazz and Country. Who are your favorite artists in each genre?

Tyrone Corbett: Here they are, in the order of genres listed:

R&B: Chris Brown
Pop: Arianna Grande
Gospel: Yolanda Adams
Jazz: Lalah Hathaway
Country: Dan and Shay/Rascal Flatts

GO BANG! Magazine: Who is your overall favorite entertainer, producer, and songwriter? It can be one person or several people.

Tyrone Corbett: This is a difficult question to answer as I love different things about different artists and genres of music. Having said that, I tend to stay with older songwriter / producers because of the longevity of success they have had in the entertainment industry. Considering that, LA, Babyface, Daryl Simmons, as well as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are amongst my favs.

GO BANG! Magazine: Carrying on the legacy is something that parents want their children to do. I’ve seen you work with your son during the interview that you had with me. Your son seems to have great knowledge of the videography industry. Tell our readers why it is important for you to teach your son the business.

Tyrone Corbett: Having my son work alongside me is the best part of my day. He is talented in music and videography. Teaching him a skillset(s), while also spending that additional quality time, is truly invaluable in my opinion. I remain open and supportive to whatever choices he decides to make career wise, but providing a hands-on experience will prove useful with whichever direction he decides to go.

GO BANG! Magazine: On a personal level, I can tell that family is important to you and you include your son in your business operations. Can you tell us a little about your son, who is somewhat a miracle?

Tyrone Corbett: We found out at birth that my son has a catastrophic brain illness called Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). He is considered both the worst case in the world and the most successful case on record. The ongoing procedures to cure him have as much of a detrimental consequence as the illness itself, as leaving him untreated will cause an aneurysm/stroke, but the repeated treatment to sustain him can cause blindness, mental retardation, paralysis and or death. We were told to anticipate 10 years to life of brain procedures and 25 years later we are still on that course. Saying it’s been difficult is beyond an understatement, but I am grateful that he continues to flourish despite this devastating illness.

Go Bang! Magazine: Looking towards the future, what do you hope to accomplish businesswise, and what would you like your legacy to be?

Tyrone Corbett: I continue to be vibrant in the creative space and have a number of projects at hand…songs and music video releases, I am working on a video interview series, as well as a documentary of my life in music while contending with my sons’ catastrophic brain illness.

In terms of legacy, I’m a southern boy, so I continue to do the work so that my family is proud of me. That’s all there is for me.

You can follow Tyrone by logging on to his website




Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

#20yearslater


WHERE WERE YOU ON THE MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 11TH?

The September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States of America on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

I was at work at URS, the construction management company that oversaw the building of Millennium Park. It was located right across the street from City Hall in downtown Chicago. After it happened, downtown was evacuated and it was like a ghost town. People were horrified that maybe City Hall or the Sears Tower would be next. People were running through the streets of downtown looking up in the air, fearing airplanes flying overhead. I didn’t feel safe until I was HOME!

WHERE WERE YOU ON THAT FATEFUL DAY?
Place your response in the COMMENTS section below this article.

Thank you!

Pierre

Photo credit: Katrina Monea

 

As a native Chicagoan, Djedi was born Kenneth Russell. He is the second child to be born out of four siblings. Djedi, has been involved in the performing arts since he was eight years old. He started out in tumbling class at Mayfair Academy. But after two years of repetitive routines, his enthusiasm faded. Soon after, his mother introduced him to tap dance. After all, his mother, brother, and sister were all taking up tap. So, he finally gave it a shot. After his first performance, Kenn fell in love with the art form and sought after it more as years passed.

Kenn studied dance at Columbia College Chicago. He has taken master tap dance classes from some of the greatest tap dancers in the world, including Jason Samuels Smith, Bril Barrett, Martin “Tre” Dumas III, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Derrick Grant, Reggio McLaughlin and the late great Ernest “Brownie” Brown, to name a few.

Now, more than 20 years in his craft, he’s teaching children to pursue their dreams. He leads by example with his own style of the art form of tap dance, amongst other rhythmic dance genres that were picked up along the way. Djedi has been using tap dance as an outlet for healing.


GO BANG! Magazine: Where in Chicago were you born and raised?

Djedi: I was born on the west side, but raised on the south side.

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you first get involved in the performing arts, particularly in tap?

Djedi: Well, I was in a junior bowling league for as long as I could remember and my mother didn’t want that being the only activity for me (especially as active and aggressive as I was). So she first enrolled me at Mayfair Academy for tumbling lessons. Two years later, I got bored, so I took up tap dance instead. After my first recital, I knew that I’d be doing it for a while, but not like this and I’m so grateful for it!

GO BANG! Magazine: What was is about tap dancing that attracted you to pursue it?

Djedi: The unique sound, the rhythm and the freedom of creating my own music, while I dance. I love the simple regalness of tap.

GO BANG! Magazine: There is a long history of great African-American tap dancers. You have had to chance to train under some of the greatest tap dancers in the world. Please describe some of the highlights of your training.

Djedi: The takeover of “Hoofers” of Chicago and New York is what I mostly remember. Sweaty rooms, foggy mirrors…you’d think you just entered a sauna. Training is no joke with those cats and others from other states and countries. “Shedding” (another is term in tap which means to train intensely) with some of the dopest tap dancers in the world is a privilege that I don’t take lightly. Without those experiences with such light-beings as Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Cartier Williams, Nico Rubio, and Martin Tre’ Dumas to name a very few, I most certainly wouldn’t be the same Djedi.

GO BANG! Magazine: After 20 years in tap, you’ve graduated to the level where you are now the trainer. Please tell our readers about your training classes and why you chose to teach the youth.

Djedi: I like to think of myself as a master student. I take the training that was given to me and I utilize it. Then, whatever I like and has helped me the most, I give to my students. The way I teach is strict discipline, but structured fun. I teach because I would like to see more light and love in the world. Tap dance is so much more than just rhythms and footwork. It’s language and dance, treble and bass, aspiration and inspiration. It’s historical and futuristic. It’s the first American dance and with that knowledge, I’d like to make sure that knowledge is being carried on and flourishing properly. That’s just one of my ways of improving the art form while it progresses, warps and moves with and around time.

GO BANG! Magazine readers already understand that music can be used to heal the soul. How do you use tap dancing as an outlet for healing?

Djedi: I think about my frustrations and I dive deep into steps and rhythms of expression. Instead of fighting or doing harm to anyone or anything, I go create something very aggressive, yet harmless, to filter out how I’m feeling.

GO BANG! Magazine: Besides tap dancing, what other types of dancing do you do?

Djedi: I have a little training in ballet, but I loved taking Jazz and West African dance. I’ve also done dances such as Ballroom for a cotillion.

GO BANG! Magazine: Please explain to our readers exactly what the other gifts are that you have been blessed with, including Reiki Practitioner and Oracle Reading. Can you please go into detail about what those are?

Djedi: Reiki is light work or universal life force. It’s basically God’s (or Divine Source’s) energy and I draw it in while giving a reiki session to allow the client to heal him or herself. I use crystals, five elements of the earth and breath. I like to ground myself, and the person, before and after the sessions. It’s pretty “magickal!”

Oracle readings are like in-depth prayers or conversations with God about your next moves in life like tarot, but less structured.
For both, I’m a conduit. God is the one doing the work. I’m just the plug for the connection.

GO BANG! Magazine: You are so multi-talented, being an artist, jewelry maker, as well as a music performer. Why do you think that God gifted you all of these talents and what do you feel is your responsibility, having these gifts?

Djedi: It’s like the lyrics in a song a good friend of mine wrote, “Cause I know what to do with it!” God bestowed these gifts upon me because I ask for it daily. I stayed as humble as I could, yet consistent and persistent. I showed I can handle these responsibilities by sending affirmations to people, healing people through shows by gracing their eyes and ears with educated feet and percussive sound. I am responsible for teaching tap dance with my own flare so that something else can blossom from it. This is the seed of a deeply rooted tree. It’s going to set its foundation and at the same time, create more seeds.

GO BANG! Magazine: Tap dancing is a dying talent. Looking to the future, where do you see tap?

Djedi: Tap dancing is dying? Really?!? Well, how can that be when it’s been around for nearly two centuries and cats still hitting. I mean, it may not be as many as it used to be, but there’s still a plethora of folk hitting strong and carrying their legacy. It’s the past present, and future.

Where I see it going is in many different directions for many different reasons. It’s such a broad subject in itself, I believe that with the right frequency, nurture, and discipline, it (tap dance) can ground and heal the world.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Lastly, what current projects have you been working on?

Djedi:  The most current project I released was a song called “Stars” featuring Sam Trump. You can find it on all musical platforms.

“Stars” Youtube link: https://youtu.be/jDvEDs0LOEc


You can follow Djedi on:
Instagram: @Djediisart and @Djedtasticgems
Facebook: Djedi Ohm
Latest Single: https://youtu.be/jDvEDs0LOEc

 



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Reprinted from pbsupdates@pbs.org


FRONTLINE
America After 9/11
From veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker and chronicler of U.S. politics Michael Kirk and his team, this documentary traces the U.S. response to the September 11 terrorist attacks and the devastating consequences that unfolded across three presidencies. This two-hour special offers an epic re-examination of the decisions that changed the world and transformed America.

VIDEO LINK: https://www.pbs.org/video/america-after-911-sxarls/?utm_source=whattowatchnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=secondarypromo3&utm_content=20210909&utm_campaign=fron_2021

Reprinted from pbsupdates@pbs.org

“Generation 9/11” is an intimate film driven by the stories and personalities of its protagonists, who were born in the wake of a global tragedy which, for them, was also deeply personal. But it is also the story an entire generation that has been shaped by the attacks and their aftermath.

VIDEO LINK: https://www.pbs.org/video/generation-911-9pozv4/?utm_source=whattowatchnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=mainpromo1&utm_content=20210903&utm_campaign=generation911_2021

We are excited to announce our latest addition to the winner’s panel: producer and exec, Liza Glucoft (FX Network, Ridley Scott’s company, AwesomenessTV).

The NexTV WRITING & PITCH COMPETITION is for those extraordinary writers who are looking to get their material in front of top industry professionals.

Regular Deadline on OCT. 1

Submit Your Work:
Features, Pilots, Books, Pitches…& Video Teasers

Welcome to our PANEL:
Liza Glucoft is a seasoned producer and executive who has been the VP of Dev at Ridley Scott’s company (Scott Free TV), AwesomenessTV, Conde Nast Entertainment, and FX Network. She is currently EP’ing the feature CURS>R (starring Asa Butterfield).

We are all excited to read your great work!

Click HERE for more information . . .