Brooklyn Music Makers & Shakers: A Look Back & A Glance Forward
In “Artists On Our Radar”, Brooklyn Roads profiles performing artists who hail from or are deeply connected to Brooklyn. With 2016 just beginning, we thought it a perfect time to revisit three of these artists who have inspired and seduced the music scene in Brooklyn and beyond – and to give a glimpse of what to expect from them in the New Year.
First Look- April 7, 2010
“Serendipity is dense in Brooklyn,” Ellia Bisker told us. “It’s so easy to make things happen here.” The ukulele-playing Sweet Soubrette front woman continues her musical journey today, seemingly as dedicated as she was five years ago.
Several singles and two albums later, Sweet Soubrette is an eight-piece band. Ellia and her band mates were spotted with audio engineer Don Godwin at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus mere weeks ago. New songs and sounds from the self-described ‘ukulele-powered indie rock band with dark, poetic lyrics and lush instrumentation’ is definitely worth looking forward to in 2016.
First Look –September 14, 2015
Though the name implies Manhattan, the Soho Kings are one hundred percent Brooklyn. The hip-hop & pop duo is producer/singer Bryce Alvord of Crown Heights and rapper/DJ Celsius911 of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Their first album, The Climb, was released in early 2015. They had shared a few insights with us as to why this borough is the ideal place to create and make music:
“Brooklyn … is so competitive that if you are not good enough you will get weeded out very quickly,” Alvord said to Brooklyn Roads. “But there’s so much great art around [here] it’s easier to be inspired.”
Inspired is exactly what they must have been; Out My Mind, the Soho Kings new EP, is available on iTunes and The Climb, with featured verses by NYC standouts Troy Ave, Nitty Scott and Ransom can be downloaded free from the Soho Kings’ website.
First Look –September 5, 2014
If anybody needs proof that life never turns out as planned but always turns out for the better, one only needs to follow the career of José James. The Minneapolis-born musician has called Brooklyn home since 1999, a move he made to be in what he considered the epicenter of the rap world. “By that time Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Jay-Z and everyone was making Brooklyn seem like the culture center of the world, which it was. I felt like I was in the middle of something really special,” James had told Brooklyn Roads.
But music had a different plan for James; jazz was to be his calling. First exposed to the genre through samples in hip-hop songs, he cites Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and John Coltrane as strong influences. Not interested in echoing the sounds of yesteryear, James found a distinctive version of jazz that is clearly his own, which he expands on in this past summer’s Brooklyn Roads video interview .
Experience José James’ unique jazz style first hand at the 2016 Winter Jazzfest NYC and later in the year in Akasaka (Japan), Perth (Australia) and Los Angeles.