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Sitting Down

with

Cyrille Aimee

Cyrille Aimee

As a musician, every now and then I run into a person that inspires me by his or her approach to what they do. I met Cyrille Aimee on the subway one Saturday night while hanging out with my high school b-ball teammate, Steve. She was very friendly and we talked about music and life. She said modestly, “We will be playing a Birdland next week; you should come check out the show.” Although I didn’t make that show, I did get a chance to check the show out about a year later. Cyrille turned out be one of the most authentic musicians I have met in my life. Her personality is as genuine on stage as it is off stage. So when I got the opportunity to interview Ms. Aimee for my blog, I naturally kicked it with her like an old friend, a new ally, and a fellow musician. Check out what Cyrille had to say about her music, and how she approaches this stage of her career.

Jeffrey C. Suttles: When did you start singing?

Cyrille Aimee: Hmmm, I started when I was around 13 or 14 years old.

Jeff: Did your parents inspire you to sing?

Cyrille: Well my parents always loved music and musicians. My mother is from the Dominican Republic, so she loves to dance. I actually started singing when I met these gypsies.

Jeff: What school did you attend?

Cyrille: I came here to study at Suny Purchase College in Westchester, New York. I loved going to school in that area of New York, they have a great music program.

Jeff: Your new project, Let’s Get Lost, did you do the writing and production or did you collaborate with other musicians?

Cyrille: A little bit of both, some of the songs I wrote by myself. Some of the songs I collaborated with the guitar player in the band. There are some songs I did in French and I also did some covers. It’s a mix!

Jeff: How much are you touring these days?

Cyrille: I just got back from France two days ago, and I’m headed to Japan next week. So I’m pretty busy.

Jeff: How often do you get back to France, to visit your family?

Cyrille: Well I was there last week, and I’m going back in June. I try to get back as much as I can, I usually go when I have a concert. I try to stay a little longer to spend time with my family and friends.

Jeff: How does your family feel about you success? Are they happy for you?

Cyrille: Yeah, of course they are.

Jeff: Who would you say influenced you the most, as a musician or an artist? Who inspired you to do what you do?

Cyrille: Hmmm, many artists have inspired me. Ella Scott Fitzgerald heavily influenced me when I begin my career. But I’m also crazy about Michael Jackson. It’s so many artists that influence me. The list is very long!

Jeff: How about Sade, some of you vocal work reminds me of Sade.

Cyrille: Yeah, I love Sade.

Jeff: What do you feeling is missing right now in jazz culture?

Cyrille: I would like to see jazz become available to wider audiences. Jazz has an old connotation to it, and it’s not that at all. Jazz is a very evolving music and the only thing is people don’t know they like it because they are not exposed to it. If they were exposed to it more, they would discover more about it. I would like to see more jazz on TV and on the radio.

Jeff: Yeah, it would be nice to see commercial radio and TV embrace the jazz culture. Okay last question, what words of wisdom or suggestions do you have for young artist aspiring to do what you do?

Cyrille: Hmmm, do be afraid to get back on the horse when you fall off. You are going fall many times, and basically the job of an artist is to use the times that you fall as constructive criticism and learn from it.

Jeff: Hmmm-great advice Cyrille, every young artist should apply that concept. It’s always a pleasure to kick it with you. Have a safe trip to Japan; we’ll talk when you get back. Peace.

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Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

 

 

 

With Dick Gregory

On

Easter Day

Dick Gregory

On March 27, 2016, I was blessed with the opportunity to witness a veteran, who has made his mark in activism as well as comedy, do his thing! Mr. Richard Claxton, known to the world as Dick Gregory, gave the audience at Caroline’s, in New York’s Times Square, the treat of a lifetime. As a long time supporter of the messages that Brother Gregory endorses, I felt honored to spend 2016 Easter Day with the man who has literally lived through it all.

As Mr. Gregory hit the stage in his pink hat and long white beard it was obvious to the audience that he was ready to work. Gregory, full of jokes and observations, blended serious content with the state of mankind. He gave the audience several examples of how human nature continues to be our greatest obstacle as we labor to obtain true liberation. Gregory called his oldest daughter on stage, as he shared stories about his wife, Michael Jackson, and O.J. Simpson. Brother Gregory, no stranger to “keeping it real,” let the audience know that it’s okay to laugh, but life is a serious game. His message to the people was simple to pay attention and train your mind to think for itself. At times he used unorthodox techniques to get his point across, but it is safe to say all who attended will remember what this veteran shared with us, as we celebrated resurrection day together.

I really recommend that if you are allotted the opportunity to check out this 83-year-old man go to work, you do so. He remains sharp, compassionate, and in tune with the people. His ability to speak from a wide range of topics gives him insight that only a grandfather may possess. I truly enjoyed Mr. Dick Gregory, his life is an example, of what we as black men should aspire to do. Love your family, stand up for what is right, and give unconditionally. Ultimately, I hope he goes on to do his thing forever; this brother exemplifies the term SHINING STAR!

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Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

Shinobi Ninja Rocks Hood

Kookin Sol

When you talk about funk, rock, and hip-hop, laced in the form of indie fire, one group comes to mind. Yes, Shinobi Ninja continues to pave the way for a new musical revolution.  In a world were genre defines your audience and how much success you should expect, Shinobi Ninja quickly reminds us that it’s never about that crap.  Duke Sims (D.A.), Baby G, Maniac Mike, Alien Lex, Dj Axis Powers, and Terminator Dave continue to create without boundaries, refusing to be marginalized by the constraints imposed by the music industry.  Fresh off performances at SXSW, these guys continue to mesmerize crowds through out the world.

The party mix below of Shinobi Ninja’s classic anthem, “Rock Hood,” is a blend of beats by Jeff and flows from the ninjas.  We sat down in the studio with Shinobi Ninja’s bass man Alien Lex and laid down these tracks last summer, ironically this was one of the last sessions we would collab on in  Shinobi headquarters located on 23rd St., in the heart of The Flatiron District.  The studio is no longer on 23rd, but the music we created continues to generate a buzz. This version is available for Deejay’s looking to add ‘Rock Hood’ (Party Mix) to their collection.  Please send your request for an mp3 to JMSBookings@icloud.com.

The future looks bright for Shinobi Ninja, for more dates on upcoming performances check out the website at http://www.shinobininja.com/.  Also, I have a beat tape that will be available this summer called, ‘Beet Juice,’ be sure to check it out as well.  Always remember that true music is from the heart, it can’t be defined by words because it’s marinated in authentic feelings and energy.  With that being said, it’s important to support groups like Shinobi Ninja because the work that they are putting in will eventually define new standards in the recording industry.

 

 

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

 Artist Spotlight with Skematics

This semester we added a different element to ‘Kookin Sol,’ if you were tuned in last semester, we dealt with true music and great production. We also dealt with social justice and the power of our voices in the community. Although these issues still plague our inner cities, we decided to embrace some of the creative voices that are coming together to form a new music community. As a music maker, I see the undeniable dedication that these artists display on a daily basis; therefore we hope to present new music from new artists as we continue to work for equality and justice for all. I sincerely hope that you don’t sleep on this artist series; these artists are the voices of the future.

Our first artist hails from Washington Heights, NYC. He entered the game a few years ago with the single, “Hit Them Hard,” which was ironically produced by yours truly. Skematics went on to write music with industry notables like R.I.P. Sean Price and Saigon. He continues to shine as an underground artist that made the decision to represent good lyrics and quality music. Skematics recently completed his new EP titled, “Somewhere In The Gray” scheduled to be released early this spring. This project is sure to define Skematics voice and should solidify his ability to produce records in a climate where true music is fading quickly. Be sure to support this new project from my guy, the Dominican Dynamite, Skematics, he is no stranger to the kitchen, and is ready to serve the world that recipe he has just created through music.

Featured below is his new song titled, “Feels So Right.” Skematics takes us down a narrative path of a man who wants what he is not supposed to have. With a smooth hook featuring his home girl CrestaStarr, this track displays his maturity as an MC. Self produced; Skematics takes us on a journey reminiscent of the soul classics we grew up on! Also be sure to check out his first single featuring Saigon entitled, “4 Elements,” produced by PF Cuttin. This track lets us know that true hip-hop is still alive!  As a musician, I have witnessed the evolution of Skematics, on this project we got a chance to work together again on a track called “Understand Me.” Of course the creative process was exceptional, but more importantly we both continue to represent music, life, and equality. Do yourself a favor, download this guys new project, “Somewhere In The Gray,” be apart of history in the making. Peace.

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Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

Million Man Movement

Million Man March, October 2015

On October 10, 2015 the people spoke to the injustice that we have been forced to endure. Millions of us came together to awaken the feeling for solidarity among our clergymen, organizers, and the everyday working class people. We stood together to represent the fact that, “enough is enough.” As the buses entered Washington D.C., we were blessed with exceptional weather, and although the Nation of Islam served as a most gracious host, we all felt at home, as we refreshed our spirits and minds.

I was blessed to attend the march with The Universal Zulu Nation. We rode into the nations capital to reinforce the desire for peace in our New York communities. Afrika Bambaataa, a true legend of hip hop, explained, “it’s about taking ourselves home, doing the knowledge, waking up our communities, to get up and do something for ourselves.” The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered the message in a monumental way, and we all returned home enriched in substance through love.

View the full message here.

Be sure to checkout the 42nd Universal Zula Nation Anniversary, November 12-15.

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Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

Jeff’s Top 5

Crafting music for artists has changed tremendously within the last 40 years. From the days of Gamble and Huff laying down rhythms and melodies for the Ojay’s, to will.i.am generating new music for the Black Eye Peas, technology has taken on a whole new meaning as we continue to create music. Nowadays one man has the ability to lay down numerous tracks, without an engineer, or additional musicians through music programs like Pro Tools and Reason.

As a musician, I decided to name the top five beat makers that influenced me to continue to make music. As technology continues to be a driving force in the creation of music, these guys have found a way to stay innovative. Also featured are a great list of honorable mentions, I feel that they are equally gifted and remain rooted in the art of creating music. In hindsight I left out Pete Rock, The Neptunes, Da Beatminerz, and D.I.T.C who also were very influential in the music industry and set a high standard when it came to making beats. Check out the video and let me know what you think, these are obviously my opinions and solely mint to inspire and encourage the next generation of music makers.

Jeff’s Top 5 Beat Makers:

  1. Dr. Dre
  2. DJ Premier
  3. Timbaland
  4. Erick Sermon
  5. RZA

***** This Blog is dedicated to the families and friends that lost a loved one on October 1, 2015 at Umpqua Community College.

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York.  He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.