Here are the job opportunities (or as we like to call them, Grind Opps) from this week's show.
GRIND OPP #1
Location: Anaheim, CA
Event company in Anaheim seeks Audio Tech for live event production.
GRIND OPP #2
Location: Nashville, TN
Music software company seeks Audio Engineer to assist in recording and mixing audio for their software.
GRIND OPP #3
Location: Dallas, TX
Live music venue needs experienced Stage Hand.
GRIND OPP #4
Boom Mic Operator / Audio Mixer
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
TV Production Studio Field Audio Engineer to record audio on set.
GRIND OPP #5
Location: Memphis, TN
Production company seeks Production Technician/Operator for Newscasts and in-studio programming.
GRIND OPP #6
Location: New York, NY
GRIND OPP #7
Location: Los Angeles, CA
GRIND OPP #8
Assistant Program Director
Location: San Diego, CA
GRIND OPP #9
Producer / Announcer
Location: Austin, TX
GRIND OPP #10
Location: Waikiki Beach, HI
IZ: Welcome to CONNECTED. I’m your host, DJ Iz. I got my lovely co-host Miss Cloie. Say what’s up, Cloie.
Cloie: Hi, guys, happy Monday, all.
IZ: All, yes.
IZ: So I’m excited today because again in the House of Roland. And today is Monday Takeover and we got my man to the left of me none other than my man, Kevin Ross. Man, say what’s up, bro.
Kevin: What’s going on, man? Thank you for having, guys.
Cloie: Oh, please. Thank you.
IZ: We were itching to have you, dude. I hit up Ezekiel like, “Man, I need to get Kevin if we’re gonna be on Roland, man, what’s he doing? He’s got a tour coming out, man. Let’s get him on the show, man.” So thank you for coming to hang with us, man.
Kevin: Oh, man, my honor, truly, truly.
IZ: And it’s actually been a minute since I seen you but I been following a lot of what you have been going on and I mean you’ve been a favorite of mine since the day I heard your dream record.
Kevin: Wow. Thank you.
IZ: And got a chance to sit with Zek and, you know, see some visuals on you and everything we’re doing. Especially, from a musician standpoint which got me instantly, you know? I mean I think for me as a creator I always look for artists like yourself who are extremely authentic and great when it comes to the actual skill level. And I mean the fact that you know, you sing the way you do, man.
Kevin: Ah, thank you, man.
Cloie: Let’s talk about your vocals.
IZ: Talk about it, Cloie. Dive in here.
Cloie: They’re like butter. His vocals are like butter, like baby butter in your throat. It is a wonderful thing to listen to you.
Kevin: Thank you. I really am humbled by that.
IZ: Yeah, so you know, I wanna kind of, you know, usually on our show we usually dive into our jobs and what we’re bringing to creators and people who are aspiring to do things in film, radio, and other things but I wanna make this show really about you and your craft and what it is you love and how you got from point A to point B because a lot of our viewers just…we’ve had a lot of viewers or have a lot of viewers who are musicians, songwriters, producers. And so for them to always, you know, be able to have an opportunity here, an artist like yourself kinda tell that story and kinda just lay out the framework of what that process is, is always beneficial to our viewers. So man, we’re just…why not?
Cloie: Just wanna hear and learn.
IZ: Yeah, just wanna hear and learn, man.
Kevin: I mean, where should I start? I mean I’m from Washington DC.
Cloie: Yes you are.
Kevin: Yes, DC.
Cloie: Yes, you are. For the record, for our viewers, we’re from rival high schools.
Kevin: Yeah, we are.
Cloie: Just by the by, [inaudible 00:3:38]. Sorry, I get…
Kevin: Yes. Shout out to the whole town, man, whoever’s listening and watching right now from home. But I’m from Washington DC, my whole dad side of the family they sing or play instruments and so, you know, there was nothing but music around the house. I’m a big like ’70s fan so I’m really into like the Joni Mitchell’s, the Normal Connors, the Patrice Rushen, the Earth, Wind, and Fire, you know groups like…
IZ: The meat and potatoes?
Kevin: Yeah, so that’s what I really fell in love with because of the format that’s in DC called Quiet Storm. Yeah, Quiet Storm, WHUR founded.
IZ: So let me guess is there a deep voice that goes with that program?
Cloie: Quiet Storm.
IZ: Quiet Storm.
Kevin: Of course, of course. So you know, that was really kind of the soundtrack to my childhood and so growing up there I fell in love with Stevie Wonder and I fell in love with Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye and so that really kinda started me of singing in school, singing, you know, for my arts high school, and then I went to Berklee College in music up in Boston.
Cloie: Which is real, y’all. It’s a real music school.
Kevin: So I went there and that’s actually when I started playing keys. I started playing keys just for and even now still, it’s just for songwriting purposes. And so, you know, just asking about like, “What is this cord and how do I, you know, hold my fingers and what is this?” And so then I really started to go into like practice modules and really start to like hatch out and understand what those cords were and the progressions and understanding what that meant and how I can put it inside my music. I wouldn’t understand that until later on but I have an interesting story as far with Berklee I remember my last year being there and my momma gave me a call and she was just like, “Kev, listen, we ain’t got no money. We’ve ran out of all kinds of loans.”
Cloie: Everything because it’s a real school.
Kevin: Absolutely, but one thing that I always did at Berklee is I always made sure that I was connected, always made sure that I was active within the musical community, that I was always on shows. My face I was always present and I was always visible. It wasn’t about the gift, it wasn’t about the talent but just making sure that I made connections, made the network, made the effort in order to, you know, build up this rapport and this repertoire and I was like, “You know what, ma? I’ma figure it out.” So I prayed about it, I asked a couple of people. I said, “Who’s the guy who is responsible for making sure that I can stay in school?” You know because I would meet with all of these people throughout the years that were within the scholarship office but I would never meet the big honcho. So they gave me a name, his name was Damien Bracken. So Damien Bracken had an intense and busy schedule so I said, “Cool, I’ma wait. I’ma find this guy and we gonna hatch this thing out.”
So man, I probably waited at his office every day maybe like for two hours at a time waiting for him. Damien Bracken. I was like, “Is Damien Bracken available? And so you know they’ll say, “Just wait here, kid.” And so I’m waiting and so they say, “He’s not available today.” So this happened for about a month and a half and so when I actually got the chance to meet him you know I’m introducing myself, I’ve got this big notebook and portfolio of all of this stuff. And he was just like, “I already know who you are.” He’s like, “How much do you need?” And so with that being said, that was my first lesson in patience and diligence and making sure that like if it’s something that you want, you gotta go out there and get it because sometimes God has to make you wait for it, you know? And even within that waiting process, you know, “Are you willing to wait? Are you gonna let it go?” And so you know that was worth it to me. So after I graduated, thank God. I moved out to Atlanta and I started writing.
And so I had kinda played with the idea of artistry prior. In college, I did 106 [inaudible 00:07:36] Wednesday and so that was really cool but it wasn’t a serious thing for me. So I said, “You know what? Let’s put that to the side. Let me focus on the writing. How good can I be as a writer?” And so I really honed my skills, I was like in the studio every day. I mean to the point where I just felt exalted and depleted by year one just because I wasn’t living life. You know I’m a 20, 21-year-old young man that’s out in Atlanta and I’m not experiencing anything. I’m not using my youth and my vitality in order to gain…
Cloie: Create, yeah.
Kevin: …this knowledge and this energy that’s within Atlanta. Especially, doing [inaudible 00:08:16] All I’m doing is just [inaudible 00:08:18]. Now, the cool thing is I did land a place with Jamie Fox within my first year so that was really awesome but I did need to retaliate and I did need to experience what it was like to live in Atlanta and so I took that time. I was still writing but I was writing from a different perspective because at that point I felt like, “You know what? The sound right now is cool.” But I was like, “I want something else and I want something more.” But I was like, “But I have to live, I have to go back to the things that I love and fuse it together. And so I started to create, which I didn’t know at the time would be my demo for Motown Records. So once I created the demo I actually met Zek at a studio so Ezekiel Louis for those who don’t know he is an amazing writer.
IZ: He is.
Kevin: He is a master.
IZ: He is.
Kevin: He is a master at his pen and so what I was doing was a stupid, you know, person I was using his room within a studio house. He had the nicest room, like the dopest setup and I wasn’t saving my sessions on a hard drive, so I was putting them on the desktop on his computer so of course, as anybody would do, you know, he was looking inside of the sessions and he was hearing the songs that were being created and so he was like, “Who is this guy? Who is he?” And so we actually sat down and, you know, we built the bar music group with Ezekiel Louis, Shawn Taylor. And you know we took it to Motown Records and Ethiopia had just got into her position and the rest is…
Kevin: But, I mean, you know there’s…
IZ: But it’s not over yet.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
IZ: And you know, man like listening to that story which is a very intricate story you know is incredibly great for us, man because so much of our viewers here with CONNECTED man they hear it from us every Monday, right? Just the grind, the sacrifice, the work that goes into the craft. Finding yourselves, also living amongst all of that and then getting to a point where all of that kinda comes together at the right time and then you get opportunity. And you know for them to see and hear that story is incredible, man because it’s a commitment, man. This is what you do like this ain’t sport, you know what I’m saying? This ain’t for fun. Although you love it and you enjoy it, you know, everybody’s got a path, man and I think those crucial details of your path is really inspiring, you know, and even in, you know, Cloie’s world, in the film world and her day-to-day you know this is Monday for us, this is a Monday Takeover Monday movement. But we got Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Cloie: Right, you gotta take over those days, they don’t go away. Like, “I don’t wanna do Wednesday’s this week. I can skip it.” No, it’s real.
IZ: And I think too you know just because you’re like you’re a musicians musician, you know? And for me even as a creator, as a songwriter, I think one of the things that I gravitated towards instantly was not only your vocal ability but the fact that you’re a songwriter and then you’re playing the songs. You know what I’m saying? And I think that’s something that’s very rare these days. You know it’s like usually, you go through that assembly line process where you get an artist, you get in the studio, you say, “Here’s the song. Here’s the music. And let’s try to get a good vocal.” You know versus you get in a room with an artist like yourself and it’s like, “Kevin, it starts with you.”
Kevin: Yeah, yes.
IZ: You know what I’m saying? Like, man…
Cloie: And you can feel that in just speaking to you. We were joking earlier behind the scenes about the word organic, like it’s just a fun word. But talking to you, the idea of how the music literally comes through you. You can feel, you can see that you’re thinking and feeling the music, and all of the words that you say, every experience that you have probably translates into your music and that’s what you feel.
IZ: I mean it’s been a journey. I mean like that’s the thing I don’t want for people that are watching, for those who are inspired to do music or anything within the entertainment realm to think that it’s just like, “Oh, well, you know, this person started here.” And then, “Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot.”
Kevin: Yeah, right.
IZ: And now they’re, they’re a success.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, right.
IZ: It’s so much time in-between that.
Cloie: So much. Say that one more time just slower.
IZ: It’s a lot.
Cloie: For the cheat sheets in the back.
IZ: It’s a lot of time.
Cloie: It takes a long time to become an overnight success.
IZ: And in this business, there is no cheat sheet. You can’t cheat your way to success, you cannot. Even if you get one opportunity where you think that you cheated, you know, the goal here is longevity, the goal here is to understand the theory of [inaudible 00:13:01], right? So let’s just say even if you do get lucky and have something, at the end of the day, can you follow up?
Kevin: Yeah, can you do it over and then over and over again?
IZ: And can you keep your form?
Kevin: And it’s great you say that, man because I always talk about, you know, for me in my journey me and my brother never got lucky, you know, and when you get to the end of that stretch you realize, “Man, I don’t wanna ever be the dude that got lucky.” Because what’s the value in being lucky? I know I’m sitting in this chair because I made it here, you know what I’m saying?
IZ: That’s right.
Kevin: You know what I’m saying? Everything I was able to knock down and make happen through hard work and sacrifice is like, “This wasn’t by accident. This is intentional.”
Cloie: Well, and then we also talk about sometimes, and I know the idea…we say that the hustle is real, get your grind on. And I think that it’s also valid to chronicle and to talk about the hard times and stuff that happens in-between. What you’re saying right now, like if it takes you years and years and years to become an overnight success, let’s talk about everything that happened in-between when you started and when you arrived because that’s the real part, too.
Kevin: No, absolutely.
Cloie: You say that you guys never got lucky, right? We’ve all had and are having our hard times, you know?
Kevin: Yeah, absolutely.
IZ: Man, it’s real out there, Cloie, just tell him, man. It’s real out there. It’s real out there. So man, you know, with all that being said and fast forwarding to now, you know, one of the things I wanted to make sure we also talked about is your tour coming op.
Kevin: Yes, yes. the tour.
IZ: And all those exciting things.
Kevin: Yes. It starts May 24th. I’m super excited about it. You can go and get tickets online. That’s at kevinrossmusic.net. We are in 18 cities starting May 24 so I’m really excited. So make sure that you guys come out and show love.
IZ: Yeah, show love, definitely. And just kinda like just real quick, you know the experiences can be intimate kinda setting, you got your band, I mean…
Kevin: We are going to have a band but we’re doing very, very intimate locations.
Kevin: It’s gonna be a very, very dope show.
IZ: I already know, dude.
Kevin: I will say that.
IZ: I saw you rock out at a hotel. I wanna say almost over a year ago it was like rooftops.
Kevin: Yeah, the Red Berry.
IZ: Yeah, right across from Motown.
IZ: Yeah, Capital. And that was dope, man.
IZ: And that’s the thing. I think for me like I’ve been spoiled with seeing so many of the greats do their thing live. So when you get a chance to get, you know, to see artists like Kevin and him on his keyboard just singing his songs it’s like that’s where you get the goosebumps, you know what I’m saying like…
Cloie: It’s not just the air conditioner.
Cloie: An air conditioner is real.
IZ: Because it is popping right now.
Cloie: It’s real, you guys. And the other thing when you talked about your influences you can feel that. That’s what you said about being a musician’s musician listening to your music it feels like things I’ve never heard before. Do you know what I’m saying? We talk about sometimes how music today can have this like originality and individuality. And you feel that in your music in such a way that is refreshing and it does have a throwback kind of quality but it’s completely your own style.
IZ: Yeah, and I think that’s one of the things that I gravitate towards the most is that as youthful and as young as you are, you’re able to pull from those influences and those inspirations but it’s still very much fresh and unique. And I think that’s always…that’s the fine line with creators right now like me who have come from both sides of the spectrum meaning, listen to all the ’70s music, the ’80s, and the ’90s and then the struggle of being irrelevant. And there’s very few people that can put that concoction together without sounding too much one or the other. So when I listen to Kevin Ross record it’s like I identify with it because it makes me feel something but it’s also still very much fresh, you know, and that’s hard thing to pull off. You’re either like I said, you’re either super like reminiscent of some Stevie or Donny to where the young folks are like, “That sounds like the stuff my mom bangs in her car.” You know? Because you weren’t into that, man. So like I say when I hear a Kevin record I know it’s gonna give me that feeling and make me feel something but I can still be cool like rolling down the street with my windows down without like, “[inaudible 00:17:24].”
Cloie: “Let me just have this moment and then go back to…” Yeah, it’s not that at all.
Kevin: I mean it’s about being intentional. I go in with the intent of understanding that truth doesn’t change with trend, right?
Cloie: Wait a minute. Where’s my pen?
IZ: She’s gonna make this a CONNECTED hashtag.
Cloie: Say that one more time.
Kevin: Truth doesn’t change with trend.
Cloie: Okay, as you were.
IZ: As you were.
Kevin: And so I always stick to that so my truth will never grow old and no one’s truth will ever grow old. You gotta find your truth though and you have to stay true to it because truth is ageless, truth is timeless. That’s how you have people like the Stevie’s and the Babyfaces that can have a run for decades and decades at a time where like you said, I mean we do get challenged with the sound sonically, where do we fit?
IZ: Where do we fit?
Kevin: Where does it go?
IZ: [inaudible 00:18:24] see, pop.
Kevin: But the truth is, man like when it’s truth it can transcend.
Kevin: You know, beyond anything. And so you know, I have a record out it’s called “Long Song Away.”
IZ: By the way. My girl put me onto the song and we played that song I don’t know how many times, like you know what I’m saying? And it was like it was cool to see her like find that because then it was like I instantly had a connection to it because I was a huge fan of the dream you know what I’m saying? So I was like when that song I was like… damn, we play that all the time. You know it’s one of our favorites, man. Go ahead.
Cloie: Keep looking that way because nobody’s here right now. He’s over there. Don’t tell [inaudible 00:19:09] over there.
Kevin: Even with the song like that I think the cool thing is that I wanted it to be a bridge, you know, I wanted to write subject matter that felt very current, you know what I mean? So I took a very like social media perspective of saying like, “City girls want it all but they never can wait.” It’s just that, listen, everything’s going to take time whether that’s in a relationship, whether that’s in love, whether that’s in your career. Nothing’s gonna happen tomorrow.
IZ: And that’s such a great concept, man.
Cloie: It is.
IZ: Like “City girls want it fast but it’s gonna take time.”
Kevin: It’s gonna take time.
Cloie: City boys too, though. City girls and city boys.
Kevin: I mean listen, I’m only writing from my perspective.
IZ: But you know one of the things we talked about prior to the show with a person who’s on the CONNECTED team which is Lea and we briefly covered just the word integrity when it pertains who you are as Kevin Ross and, you know, it’s a lot man because you know, we’ve had people ask us questions, “You know I wanna do this but I know I need to probably do this because maybe it’ll open other doors.” That’s a tough battle for a career, you know, just integrity, knowing when to keep everything in tact and when to, “Okay, let me just try again.”
Cloie: Give a little.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah.
IZ: But, you know when I listen your music, man, I can always, you know, acknowledge the fact that integrity is a huge piece for you as a creator, as what you love. See it’s different to do something that’s reminiscent of what you love and kinda commit to it but it’s a whole another thing to take those inspirations and keep everything in tact so that, you know, in 10 years from now, Kevin when you go to look at your discography you’re gonna look through your records and say, “Man, see that one record right there I know I did that because…” You know?
IZ: You know, “…Hot 100 needed this kind of a…” You know what I’m saying? And even for me and my brother when I look at our catalog and music there’s not one record in there that I cringe over. Now that came with weather in the storm, you know, it came with saying, “Okay, while everybody was jumping on the EDM Pulse, we didn’t but we still did these.” You know? I’m still proud of that, you know what I’m saying? And I think too just to hear you talk about the process of longevity, you know, I’ve seen so many writers come in the game that had a hot record and I always say, “Man, that’s great. But be here five… Man, make it past two years.”
IZ: “Five years, 10 years.” Because that’s really where even as a culture of creators that’s why we kind of start…we gotta get back into that driver’s seat of making timeless music that transcends. Like you said, you know, truth I mean it has a lifespan of years, years, years, years. It never gets old.
Kevin: Even when you bring up integrity, integrity comes with suffering, right?
Kevin: And so you have to…
IZ: See, I didn’t wanna say it Kev, I’ll tell you…
Cloie: Let’s talk about it because it’s real.
Kevin: Yeah, integrity involved a lot of suffering and I think that a lot of people don’t understand but suffering is necessary, you know what I mean? It’s a part of…
Cloie: And it’s not bad.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s not. The word is…
Cloie: It’s not comfortable.
Kevin: Yeah, the word is, you know, used in a bad way but it’s necessary for us to grow, it’s necessary for us to evolve.
Cloie: And for balance.
Cloie: You don’t know what good is until you…and unless you have had the bad.
Cloie: You know?
Cloie: It’s real. I feel like I might have brought something back.
Kevin; No, you didn’t. You didn’t. You didn’t. You didn’t.
Cloie: My Oscar winning moment? But no, but it’s real. I think that it’s the thing that people don’t wanna necessarily talk about and it’s maybe a very Buddhist or more of a Buddhist practice about accepting the suffering and the pain and moving through it because the other side is more important than to stick in the suffering but I do feel like we, as people, want to ignore or cover up or try to as opposed to experiencing it in a way cherishing it for what it is.
IZ: I’m with ya, Cloie. I’m so with ya, honey.
Cloie: Oh, I just feel like we went to another level.
IZ: So man you know, with that being said, you know, our show is about providing opportunities for those who are aspiring to do what we do one day. So we got this thing man where we do grind ops where we actually provide job opportunities in our fields. So we’re gonna kick off our first grind opp for the day but Cloie, you know before we go on our grind ops we like to tell them to have what?
Cloie: Pens, papers, and a good attitude.
IZ: Ma, you’re always sharp on the draw, Cloie.
Cloie: There’s some things I can do, guys, other things I can’t.
IZ: So here we go, first grind opp of the day is in the field of audio tech. This is in Anaheim, California. Event company in Anaheim seeks audio tech for live event production. Run an Allen & Heath QU Series Board. Set up and tear down speakers on a daily basis, run XLR Cables, Snake Runs, Clearcom Runs, Digital Snake Runs, “Sound out” a room and EQ a system to prevent feedback. Again, this is in Anaheim, California. It’s a very technical job so I would suggest anybody who’s looking to apply for that job make sure you got your ducks in a row as far as some real-time experience. If you’ve engineered events, live events, make sure all of that is a part of your presentation and your resume, okay?
Cloie: Boom. So now before we go into our next grind opp we have this thing that we like to do. We like to celebrate our student success stories.
Kevin: Oh, nice.
Cloie: Because I mean like these are people that are in the world doing the thing making it happen.
Cloie: So recording connection, [inaudible 00:24:51] and what have you. And this week we’re highlighting Adam Howell, who if you were watching the last time we were in Roland he was moved…
IZ: Look at sexy Adam, big sexy.
Cloie: …from Boston to LA. He’s been here for I think when we met him he’d been here for like a week so now he’s been here for maybe three. And he is redefining the horror genre because you know how generally in horror films, historically the black guy dies first?
IZ: What about the Mexican? Come on, man, the Mexican dude doesn’t last long either.
Cloie: Well, but see now, you’ve gone on a curve ball. No, but you don’t die before the black guy. You don’t die before the black guy. And then there’s a movie, “Get Out” which is…right?
IZ: Love “Get Out”.
Cloie: Which is crazy but yeah, he is redefining the horror genre and to check out more about Adam and to hear about how he’s doing that you can see more on his student’s success story that’ll be coming out in our newsletter later on today and that’s that graphic because our team is really good like that.
IZ: Shop on the draw. So there’s a leak. One thing I loved about Adam and his story coming from Boston is that he came out here with really just an appetite man to like press, make things happen, no matter what time a day he’s on it, man.
Cloie: He’s just on it.
IZ: And it’s great to be able to like, you know, kinda put him under our CONNECTED spotlight because he’s out there doing it in real-time so shout out to Adam.
Cloie: And we met him. We got a chance to meet him when he hit the ground. He was probably stunned by the sunshine still. Sunshine is real out here. And you haven’t been here that long either.
Kevin: No, just a couple of months, yeah.
IZ: He knows where some Cali sunlight is. Probably knows where some Cali taco trucks are, too.
Cloie: Cali girls are real.
IZ: So cool. We’re gonna move onto grind opp number two. Cloie, I’m gonna let you knock this one down.
Cloie: Oh, goody. So this isn’t a field of audio. This is for an audio engineer in Nashville, Tennessee. A music software company seeks an audio engineer to assist in recording and mixing audio for their software. They’re going to be engineering and assisting vocals and instruments for audio sessions. Editing, mixing, master, and music and voice recordings. Record on-set audio for video and syncing music and sound effects in post-production. And engineer live webcasts are webinars. And again, that’s coming to you out of Nashville, Tennessee. Shout out to Nashville. I think that’s pretty straightforward.
IZ: Absolutely, especially for all our audio engineers, man. And think to have like how dope would it have been to like get out of school and be able to access jobs in the field.
Kevin: Listen, I was just thinking I was like, “Yo, where was this at when that came out?”
IZ: It’s funny you say that because I was just having a conversation with Brian and it’s surprisingly everybody that gets to experience this platform that’s the first thing they say, man. “I wish this was around when I was here.” Because honestly, this doesn’t require you to have four years of college under your belt as long as you’ve had some bit of experience whether you were like making records or making beats in your room or doing some engineering at the church, you can access jobs like these, man.
Cloie: That’s crazy.
IZ: And we just keep ’em coming man so we’re gonna move onto grind opp number three. Grind opp number three is in the field of?
Cloie: Roll that graphic.
IZ: Stage Hand. This is actually a great grind opp for you, Cloie. So this is Stage Hand in Dallas, Texas.
Cloie: Love it.
IZ: Live music venue needs experienced stage hand, assist audio and lighting crew as directed. Responsible for coordinating the food trays for artists in the music hall. Responsible for preparing guest lists and securing required passes and tickets. I think we should definitely apply for this job because we could be handling the food trays.
Cloie: That’s all I’m saying.
Cloie: We were talking about this earlier you will always find me because I started shooting this week on the feature film that I’m working on and whenever they lost me they found me by craft services, and for those of you that don’t know what craft services is, it’s simply where the food is. It’s just where the food is.
IZ: It’s where the food is.
Cloie: And before we move into anything else we should also announce our Facebook app.
Cloie: Right? Can we roll that graphic, please about our Facebook app and how it’s connecting artists and closing the gaps between the technical and the artistry side of it?
IZ: Absolutely, and this is a graphic that I really want like you guys to really get this logged into your brains because this is an app that we’ve created that really makes it easy, super easy for our creators. You know, people who are looking to be in film, radio, you know, this is an app that allows you to actually find that within miles of where you’re at.
Cloie: Geo based.
IZ: Geo based. You can list your job, you know what your work goes for, your experience, and really connect with other folks. And as one of the things even Kevin Ross mentioned early on in the show was the need to connect and build with people. And this an app that can really provide that experience for you guys. So make sure you get it. It’s in Facebook, message us, the Iz CONNECTED app. And hey, we can’t make it any easier, you know? Every Monday we’re at 10 jobs now, okay? We’re bringing you 10 jobs along with in addition of our CONNECTED apps so make sure you utilize that. Without any further ado… I don’t wanna do too much talking Cloie, but I wanna let my man Kevin get up here and do what he say loves to do and what we love to see him do. So without any further ado, I’m gonna let my crew get my man Kevin Ross dawg [SP] in so you guys check this out.
Kevin: Do you wanna be great
Do you wanna be
Do you wanna be
Do you wanna be great, oooh
Do you wanna be
Wanna be great
It’s time to shift the culture
Move with focus
Rise above, and lose the vultures
It’s hard to fly when those that’s close to you
Keep pulling you down, yeah
Off my chest
No more excuses
I’m scared to death, but I can’t lose grip
I’m scared to jump, I’m scared to fail
I’m scared of you, I’m scared of myself
But what is life if I can’t be, great, great, yeah.
And if I fall on my knees
Let it be ’cause I’m praying
And God’s saying
Well done, well done
Cause I’m gonna be great oooh
I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be great, oooh
Gonna be, gonna be great
Your gonna be great
Cloie: Woo! Woo!
IZ: He just took over, man. That’s what my man does. My man takes over, man. Thank you so much for that, Kevin. You just made me wanna like wanna put my feet up, man and….
Cloie: I know, right? I need to learn. I need to learn. I wanna be great with someone. I wanna be great one.
IZ: I’m gonna have him give us one more treat before the show’s out, so.
IZ: Man, that felt so good, man, so. It’s hard for me to even go into our next grind opp, man, but…
Cloie: Grind opp four. I mean let’s just do it.
IZ: Let’s just do it, man.
Cloie: Let’s just rip the band aid off and go. I’m tried now. That was wonderful.
IZ: Here we go, grind opp four. This is in the field of boom mic operator/audio mixer, St. Petersburg, Florida. TV productions studio field audio engineer to record audio onset, collaborate with producers and performers to determine and achieve the designed sound for a production. Regulate volume levels and sound quality during recording sessions. Use advanced audio mastering equipment to create highest possible quality stereo recordings. Man, you know if you’re viewing that right, if you’re reviewing that grind opp detail, man, I probably would’ve screenshot that joint because it was so much like detail…
IZ: Information. I had to be like, “Hold on. I don’t wanna miss a beat.”
Cloie: I wasn’t even listening, I’m still caught up in your vocals.
IZ: I know, I know, I know. I am, too.
Cloie: I’ve lost my way for the rest of the show. I don’t need to say anything. I’m just gonna look at ya, that’s what I’m gonna do.
IZ: Go ahead and look at him. I’ll keep the show moving. So again, folks, that was Grind Opp four. Cloie, do we have anything prior to going in… Man, I think Cloie’s going home with you, man.
Cloie: What happened? Oh, I have something to do?
IZ: Yeah, I think Cloie’s expecting lunch today.
IZ: So we’re now moving into grind opp five.
Cloie: Before we do, guys, get your Q&A ready.
IZ: Absolutely, get your questions ready.
Cloie: Get your Q&A ready. You got questions for Kevin? I know we do. You know? So get ’em ready because we’re gonna move, we’re gonna move.
IZ: We’re moving fast.
Kevin: Nothing is off limits. Nothing is off limits.
Cloie: Those are big words.
Kevin: No, I’m serious.
IZ: Cloie, be careful now, all right?
Cloie: I’m just saying he’s opened the box of Pandora. I didn’t do it. So without any further ado, moving to grind opp number five.
IZ: Let’s do it. I’m gonna let you tackle that one down.
Cloie: Love it. Hit it. Grind Opp number five comes to you as a production technician out of Memphis, Tennessee. A production company is seeking a production technician/operator for newscasts and in-studio programming. Job details are to operate studio handheld and jib camera, operate the studio robotic cameras, control the teleprompter, operate the audio during newscasts and production. And again, that’s coming to you out of Memphis, Tennessee. And if it’s anything that I can tell you about teleprompter, it’s do not mess it up. Do not. That job description know what you’re doing because you could really hurt somebody. It’s like driving while under the influence if you’re operating a teleprompter and don’t know how to.
IZ: So what are the some of the things that can go wrong with that process?
Cloie: Well you figure that as an actor or when you’re hosting if you’re going off a teleprompter, like if there are words going across the screen I’m literally you could put anything in there I’m gonna say it, and I will probably get started before… You can laugh, it’s okay, it’s real. You can put anything in that teleprompter and the words are gonna escape the lips before you can really grasp what’s happening. So that could go wrong.
IZ: So let me ask you this. Now have you seen this happen in that type of scenario where you know, you get something on the teleprompter but it’s like it’s written in today’s cultural language?
Cloie: Meaning like there’s slang in it?
IZ: I didn’t wanna say slang, but yeah.
Cloie: I have not personally seen it.
IZ: Like, are they doing that yet? Like is that happening or does that happen?
Cloie: I’m sure especially if somebody does not think off of the cuff or can’t remember a line and it needs to relate or something and throw in some colloquialisms. I’m sure that it happens. Like if you were to throw in I don’t know, give me something.
Kevin: Like, you know, “Today’s high’s 75 and…”
Cloie: Today’s high is…
Kevin: “It seems like today’s gonna be lit, guys.”
Cloie: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
IZ: That’s a good one, man.
Cloie: “Today is gonna be lit. to the God’s like she ran him for filth.”
IZ: Like, “Morning to God, y’all have a great day.” That’s insane. That’s insane.
Cloie: We have a high of 75, [inaudible 00:37:29] butter baby.” What?
IZ: “Peace out.” Oh yeah, so that’s another thing like, “We out.” Versus, “We are out.”
Cloie: They would probably put…it could go either way but also it depends on who’s reading it.
IZ: Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say. And who’s typing it.
Cloie: Who’s typing it, who’s reading it, and if the person typing it likes the person reading it. That’s why it pays to be nice.
IZ: So that is our five grind opps of the day but keep in mind we do have an additional five that you can find on our website, connectedrrfedu.com. Cloie, go ahead and read these off.
Cloie: Boom, 6 to 10 jobs on a website. In film we have a production coordinator in New York, New York. In radio we have a commercial editor in LA, shout out LA. For radio we have an assistant program director in San Diego and another radio, a producer and an announcer in Austin, Texast. Did I just put a T on Texas? Texast. And then in the field of culinary we have a sous chef and that is in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii.
IZ: Now that sounds fun. So guys, keep in mind that when you do apply for these jobs we do have an in-house team that will actually look at your resumes and if they see anything that can improve it and make it better, they will do those type of build outs with you guys, so make sure you take advantage of what we offer here and yeah, do apply because what we do here is also about getting you guys hired, it’s not just, you know, the bells and whistles or the creativity aspect or our opinions. It’s about getting you guys dialed into what it is you love and get you going the best way we can. Now we usually do a school of hard knocks but we’re gonna bypass that because I feel like today is a great day for our viewers to really dive in and extract as much information as they possibly can with Kevin about, you know, you got questions about how he got from point A to point B, you know, how much hours did it require of practice. All those things so make sure that you got those in because we’re getting ready to move to our Q&A right now which we do by means of our phone because we’re high tech here, bro, you know what I’m saying?
Cloie: We are not rude. Also for for the people watching…
IZ: Yeah, yeah. I’m not texting or you know, looking at emails.
Cloie: Like it is all business on the phone right now.
Kevin: It’s all good.
Cloie: So we have a question from Kats. Shout out, Kats. He’s one of our CONNECTED faithfuls.
Kevin: Okay, nice.
IZ: Like when we say face pools like they been here since day…
Cloie: Day one.
IZ: We started a year ago. Man, that dude has been here like before the show even was got going like god going.
Cloie: Before there was time [inaudible 00:40:00] Kats.
Cloie: Yeah okay he wants to know…and he’s from Highland Park, California. Is there an artist out today that you listen to and who is it?
Kevin: Anderson Paak.
IZ: Paak, yeah.
Kevin: Anderson Paak, I listen to him. I listen to Golink [SP] he’s from DC as well. Of course, BJ the Chicago Kid. It just depends on my mood, you know? But it’s a lot of like up and coming artists, established artists that I listen to today, so.
IZ: Okay, now I’m gonna ask you a real question. Is there an artist out here did you see and you say, “Man, okay, that’s my competitor.”
Kevin: No, I could never look at it like that. I could never look at it like that. I mean it’s all good as far as healthy competition when you’re like on tour or when you’re doing something like that and it’s like, “Okay I like what he did but I think I could take the crowd here.” You know? But as far as like holistically as an artist, nah, nah. I celebrate artist moreso than try to be in competition with them. You know one is great in this lane or this avenue or in this aspect of their artistry and I’ll give ’em hella props for it, yeah.
IZ: Man, that’s dope, man. So I’m gonna put you into the hella nice category. Now, Let me tell you, I’ve been in rooms where, you know, I’ve had these conversations and I remember Prince saying when Brig James was out he was like, “Man, I try to have my foot on his neck.” Collaboration?
IZ: Hell no. But you know, times change. it’s a different thing now where…and I do feel you on that as far as like, you know, even in performance where you’re on road with somebody and “Okay, cool, they got that going okay. They’re rocking. Oh, that’s where…” And those kind of things where…because you always wanna, you know, improve and you only really improve by being around others that are better.
Kevin: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Cloie: And living life, too.
IZ: And living life, yeah.
Cloie: Which is valid to what you were saying earlier about how you weren’t living. It’s hard to create when you’re not filling yourself up with experiences in life it’s hard to put that out.
IZ: So next question we have Pete from Indio, California. Has writing songs for others helped you wrote your own stuff?
Kevin: Yes, it has. It’s given me great perspective understanding that you have to respect where an artist is at in their career and where they want their album to go. Especially for writers when you, you know, starting to come into the game like you just really making shots in the dark because it’s like, “Oh, you know, this opening’s for Usher’s album and yada-yada-yada.” So if I’m a new writer all I’m doing is taking shots. I don’t know Usher, I don’t know what he’s going through right now.
IZ: That is so true. That is so true.
Kevin: You know what I’m saying? Like I don’t know where his head is. With that being said it’s like…
Cloie: I don’t know where he grocery shops.
Kevin: No, just saying like you really don’t know. Like you could actually have a legitimate great song or a good song it’s just the fact that he’s not at that place. So when you listen to the album you be like, “Dang, I was way off.” But as writer’s you’re like, “Man, he shoulda took that song. It was a smash.”
IZ: No, but that’s so valid man and I’m glad you brought that up because I’ve been in those situations where, you know, doing records with him and then, you know, like you said, you go through that phase whereas as writer you’re driven by the placement, right, so it’s like, “Oh yeah, man, I got songs.” And then these artists actually sing them songs and you be like, “Man, that don’t connect with anything or anywhere he’s at in his life.” And it happens, you know, so. It’s cool, man, I’m glad your perspective is what is, man because that’s so true.
Cloie: We have Richie from Pasadena, California. He says, “I hear you about technique. I started music late but have some talent. What’s the best way to grow fast? I’m a singer/songwriter and I’m learning the piano now.” He’s 23 FYI.
Kevin: There is no fast route I’m sorry to say. There is no fast route.
Cloie: It’s not overnight, anything.
Kevin: It’s trial and error. Twenty-three you’re at a great place that is…listen, time has no factor as far as in this music game or in entertainment within itself. They would like for you to believe that but the…
Cloie: Because if 23 is late then the rest of us are just…
Kevin: So with that being said I say, man, listen just hone in on your craft, make sure that you take time out to live but make sure you take out time, you know, hours of time every day to work on your craft, you know, to work on whether you play keys, whether you play guitar. Whether you’re trying to, you know, whatever you’re trying to do as far as in your profession man. Like really just hone in and focus.
IZ: Dorothy from Myrtle Beach, what’s your favorite instrument and why?
Kevin: I only play two.
Cloie: So which one of the two? Piano?
Kevin: Piano but I mean I’m definitely growing to love guitar.
IZ: Guitar, yeah.
Kevin: Just because of the fact that how open it is. I’m not great, I’m not great at it but I’m starting to learn the chords, the progression, structure of it. I mean I haven’t started soloing on it yet but I think the process of discovery, you know because somebody will say, “Man, well you already play keys. You don’t need to play guitar, man.”
IZ: Yeah, and what I was gonna say is that, you know, a lot of people say that piano is pretty much like…
IZ: …unlocked, how you unlock all the other instruments. So I’m sure in no time you’ll be soloing.
Kevin: Yeah, let’s hope so.
IZ: Kevin Ross on guitar.
Cloie: Right. You’re gonna do just fine.
IZ: Mike from Rochester, Michigan. “Cool Beat” and “Don’t Forget About Me.” Is there any story behind that?
Kevin: Wow. Well, “Don’t Forget About Me” is all based on not being forgotten. Not just about, you know, the love of your life forgetting you, just the fact of like what you do here on this earth. Will it really matter at the end of the day? And so that was a question that I was going back and forth about is like, “Is all this that I’m doing in vain? Is all this hard work that I’m putting into the music industry, what is it for at the end of the day?” But I always had to remember why and how I fell in love with music. So back when I was at Ellington I used to like, you know, hear all of this music and sing all of these songs that was like 200 or 300 years old and I wasn’t necessarily fascinated with the song but I was fascinated with the composure. So I was fascinated with the fact that these songs that they created lived longer than them. And so I chased after that feeling so I always want for my music to have the quality that’s able to live longer than me, you know, the longevity aspect of it.
Kevin: Yeah, so “Don’t Forget About Me” is clearly that statement to say, you know, even though I’m not here in the physical, don’t forget about me as far as musically.
IZ: Let me ask you, and this is a personal question from me. As far as like your ability, you know, to play piano and infuse that as part of your songwriting, does the majority of your songs start with you sitting on your piano and kinda just diving through melodies or whatever’s inspiring or sometimes maybe not on the piano just melody? Because I know you’re a melody dude so you could be just walking around like, “Oh!”
IZ: So what’s your more or less your creative process?
Kevin: Melody’s king for me. You know, it starts with melody for me and then I go and hash it out on keys and sometimes I hash it out on the guitar.
Kevin: So it just depends and then I’ll make sure that it feels right and then I’ll go into logic and, you know, make kind of a skeleton of a beat. You know, it’s fast enough to make sure that the ideas there because once my brain starts churning and I have a melody and I have a concept, then I’m literally going through the whole song and just saying, “Okay, cool. I have the beat. Now it’s time to go onto ProTools. let me record this to do a rough demo.” Then I’ll go back and I’ll fine tune the beat, I’ll fine tune whatever I need to. And if I can’t do it, if I feel like I’ve taken this track as far as I can go I always send it to one of my homies.
IZ: Oh, dope. That’s dope, man.
Cloie: We’ve got Chantelle from Phoenix, Arizona, says congrats on the album.
Kevin: Thank you.
Cloie: In Rolling Stone, you talked about songs having to be bigger than the trend or current time. Please tell me why.
Kevin: I think just for the sake of culture and where we’re at right now. Everything is so instantaneous, everything is now, now, now, now, now, but then thing is that when you start thinking of now, just imagine how much time it takes to produce a quality album, right? So you were blessed enough to be on confessions, right? But that was a process, it took time. Nobody did know that confessions were being made when it was being created. We only knew it when it was actually out. So now with social media being at the helm and there’s nothing wrong with it, people have a higher expectation and they want it faster, right? So it’s hard for you to kinda create these great quality songs at a faster rate because you don’t have time to live with it as they’re created, you know? If I make a song and, you know, my fan base is like, “We want it now.” And I’ve only lived with it for a day, that’s not fair to me and that’s not fair to them to actually really get an honest opinion to say, “This song sucks,” or, “This song shouldn’t see the light of day.” And that’s honest.
IZ: Yeah, absolutely.
Kevin: Because I mean you could be feeling something for a week and then you play it for somebody and they like, “Not this one.” And you’ll say, “Why?” And they’ll give you all the reasons and then you’ll actually think about and say, “Damn, they were right.” You know? So it saves the hassle. So you’re really trying to get the best product out of yourself within a certain amount of time. So for me, it’s all about sticking to your truth, always being honest with yourself to say, “Okay, am I resonating with this?” This isn’t about Top 40, this isn’t about Hot 100, this is about my truth. I always promised myself I said, “Listen, if I’m gonna be an artist, I’m going to be an artist my way. I didn’t know what that entailed, you know? When you’re doing it your way you have people, well not people but just forces that will try to hinder you and try to block your blessing, you know? But what you have to learn as an artist and as a human being is that no one can block your blessing, you know, what’s for you is for you, it’s within your purpose. If you allow for someone to do that then that’s so on you but I’m only living my truth and my truth is to spread the truth that nothing is impossible, that who would’ve known that a little kid from Washington DC will be sitting here with legends like yourselves and to have this platform to say anything.
IZ: No doubt, man. You gave me a dope.
Cloie: Right? Where’s my fans?
IZ: That’s so true, you know and anything you reference great I mean there was time put into it and when you come from a songwriting aspect, you know, that’s moments in time in your lief that inspires those words and those topics and whatever that song is addressing. You know you’d be treating yourself or doing yourself a disservice if you had an idea and because it was a good idea and you flush it out and you were like, “Here you go, folks.” Like, that’s not, you know, our craft is our everything and our songs are most importantly our hearts.
IZ: You know, so by the time you do present it you wanna make sure that you’ve exhausted all your creativity and you can now part with this baby of yours and say, “Here you go my fans or world.” And hand it off in a way where you know as an artist you can stand on that and, “This is my creation and I want you to have it.”
Kevin: And it’s a relationship that you’re building between you and your audience, you know, you’re building a trust factor. You know what I mean? Especially as an artist when people don’t know you and they’re discovering you they don’t know anything about and they don’t care.
Cloie: They don’t.
Kevin: So when they actually take the time to listen to a record, they’re gambling. You know what I mean?
IZ: That’s true, they’re gambling.
Kevin: Fifty/fifty chance that they may not like it but if they do now you’re beginning this journey with them. They say, “Okay, cool, I like that song.” So now when they hear the next song it’s like, “I like this song, too.” You know, but you have to build a trust where there’s only a certain amount of artists within the industry right now where when they say, “Someone’s album is coming out.” And you just press buy the whole thing without saying, “Let me preview this.”
IZ: “Let me check out this song.”
Kevin: “Let me stream this really quick”. But when D’Angelo’s album came out and The Vanguard, guess what?
Kevin: I pressed buy because she won our trust throughout the years, you know?
IZ: Yeah, absolutely.
Kevin: Or Drake or anybody like that where it’s just like, “I don’t have to listen to a song. I just know that the fact that the relationship you’ve built between you and your audience including myself, I trust you.”
IZ: It’s instant, yeah.
Cloie: Hearts and minds, y’all, hearts and minds.
IZ: We have Darren from Chicago. How do you like being in the studio, what vibe do you want when you record? Aspiring producer here, would like to know straight from the source.
Kevin: Chi-Town, Chi-Town, I love Chi-Town. That’s actually the first date we’re gonna do for the tour. My bad, small plug.
Cloie: You hear that, David?
IZ: Hey, we gotta talk about your tour.
Cloie: Small plug, big plug. We can alternate.
Kevin: But no, I don’t really need much for the studio. I don’t need candles and red lights and dimness and that. I don’t need that. I mean I record from home.
IZ: You hear that folks? No vices, no vices. Let’s go straight to it.
Kevin: Yeah so that’s all I really…
Cloie: I’m so sorry. That’s my truth, that’s my truth. I snort.
Kevin: I don’t need much. Honestly, I just need my ProTool setup, I need my mic, I need a keyboard and that’s it, man. A lot of the songs I try to work with a lot of producers when they sing tracks and then I’ll write to ’em but it just seems like I have more success when it derives from…
IZ: It’s not who you are. It’s not part of your makeup, you know what I’m saying? You’re from the school of gotta feel it, gotta have something to do with it. You’re no assembly line artist, you know what I’m saying? That’s one of the things I loved earlier on and about you is like see you barebones, you know, dude on a guitar, you singing your song like…
Kevin: Yeah, very barebones.
IZ: I identify with that because that’s real artistry.
Kevin: But as far as for producers that are interested and linking with me, I would say this, please do not elaborate on your tracks, please send very, very raw and basic ideas because I work better with those so that we can actually build together.
Cloie: Sharing. We got Isabel from Canada. Oh, bonjour! Your voice is awesome. How do your maintain it? Maintain is the word.
Kevin: Yikes! Now it’s different when I actually just off the road versus on the road. On the road, I’m a little bit more meticulous about my voice so I take care of it by using Slippery Elm droplets, Echinacea, Goldenseal just for overall health. Multivitamins are very important. Licorice root is very important, ginger is very important. I drink honey like I’m Winnie The Pooh. It coats my throat. Making sure that your body is hydrated is very important when you’re singing. Making sure that you’re getting ample about of rest, making sure that you do not fall into any vices that you have. Smoking is not good no matter what condition it is. Some people do edibles, hey, whatever your thing is. That’s harmless, you know? But I’m saying smoking is a no-no. You know, Drinking can possibly dry you out when you have too much of it so you know, you just have to be very conscious of how you use your [inaudible].
IZ: Man, that’s a real list right there, bro. I will say if you’re a person who sings I hope you like put your list together because that’s a real list of how to maintain your voice, so.
Cloie: What are your vices? List those.
IZ: Jason from Los Angeles. Was being a solo artist always a plan? How many years did it take you to get to where you’re at now?
Kevin: Yikes, was being a solo artist always the plan? I think it was more so God’s plan than it was mine. Short story, I’m gonna try to keep it short, I’m gonna try to keep it short. When I was writing and I was down in Atlanta I was invited to do a Rihanna writing camp out in LA. So everybody stayed at the SLS, right? And so I’m new, I don’t know what’s going on. I’m seeing all these cool writers and all this stuff and I’m like, “Okay, dope.” So by like the third day I realize and I was like sitting in my bed and I was like, “I don’t think I wanna do this writing thing for the rest of my life.” I said, “I don’t know where I’ma go from here but I know that writing for other people for the rest of my life is not my bed, is not my thing.” So literally the same day as I put that out into the universe…that’s how funny God is. So I’m working with DJ Tom and so we are…I forget what studio we’re at but he’s running late. So there’s a piano there. So I’m just playing, I’m singing little songs, whatever, and I don’t realize that he came in.
So he’s listening so he’s like, “Oh, you an artist?” I was like, “I play and sing a little bit of whatever.” So we get to the session, we write a song. The song is decent enough for an A&R to come in and say, “Yo, we want LA to hear this.” LA Reid at the time. So LA comes in so DJ Tom stops him and he’s like, “Yo, before you listen to the song I want you to hear this kid.” Speaking about me. So we go into the piano room and I sing a couple of songs, LA sitting next to me and all this stuff and that was really kind of the spark God gave me that motivation to say, “You said it. I’ma present an opportunity to you.” You know, and that was kinda really the beginning. I always had the thought in the back of my mind as I was creating music but I didn’t think that, you know, it would be like this. I had to grow up, I had to suffer, and I had to understand that this is a platform and I’m held accountable for my platform. The things that I say, what I do, how I talk, what I act. That all means something at the end of the day, so.
Cloie: We got Dimerious [SP] from Baltimore, Marilyn. Shout out, Baltimore.
Kevin: Bmore, yeah.
Cloie: Right? Where do you get your inspiration, what do you do when the well runs dry? And this is a question that comes up a lot actually here. Yeah.
Kevin: Inspiration? Living, God, making sure that I stay humble and just always taking in information. I learnt this from Babyface. I worked with Babyface for two weeks and so one thing that I always noticed about him is that he’s never in the forefront of anything. Like it was his studio. He was like often like the shadows in the back somewhere. He is always like…
Kevin: He’s around, he’s not really. And I think that was one of his gifts is observation and taking in all of this knowledge and information about each and every artist or particular producers. And I was like, “I need to learn how to do that.” Because being an artist, you always want to be, “I’m here. This is me. Yes, in the building.” But I was like, “Face he’s able to take in as much information as he wants without being seen.” Without the thing of it being, “Oh, Babyface is here, let me…” So I think that’s a great thing. And as far as with the well running dry take the time out to re-calibrate, there’s nothing wrong with that even though people just say, “Man, you just need to keep working. Work through it.” It’s hard to work through it when you feel like you’re depleted, you know you have to take that time to say, “All right, cool. Let me go and read a couple of books, let me watch some movies, let me go and live life.” And really just whether you meditate, whether you’re praying to refocus and figure out why you fell in love with this, how you fell in love with this. Listen to the music that made you fall in love with it to listen to it from a different perspective, not just from the perspective that you listen to it before, but just say, “Okay, cool. Let me really just do some research on this. Let me read a biography on this or is there any kind of research on this particular artist or this particular decade that I can get into?” Things that you may not have wanted to dive deep into so that you can get restore within your inspiration.
IZ: Yeah, and that’s really dope man because you do have to, like you have to refill the tank even as a creator, you know, and you do run into those moments where not every day is a music day, you know?
IZ: Now everyday can be a music day in the sense of listening to music.
IZ: But as far as creating concepts and ideas you have to live and when you live you’re able to meet people maybe that, you know, are strangers but you have a conversation or you’re out living and you see something or you go watch a movie or like you said, some of the things you do is like that’s how you refill the tank because you do run out, you know, you run out and you gotta refill it.
Cloie: You can’t give forever. Thinking about it like a car, right, and if you can’t drive the car past empty, once you’re empty, what happens? It’s going to shut down.
IZ: Yep. So we have Jackie from Queens, New York. Artist, engineer, singer here.
IZ: Holding your ground as an artist, how do you do it?
Kevin: Suffering is necessary for holding your ground. You have to understand that when you’re holding your ground as an artist there’s so many people…well, I mean we’re here, we’re at Roland.
IZ: Hey, man, we keep it 100 here at Roland, bro. Yeah, we keep it 100, bro, it’s okay. People.
Kevin: The current music industry as I was saying or, yeah, the current music industry is based off of a deconstruction. The deconstruction of an artist. They want to pretty much strip away…they don’t want you to strip away your essence but they’ll try to strip away as much as they possibly can so that whatever vision that they have for you can come through. Unfortunately, sometimes that really takes a toll on artists as we’ve seen throughout the years especially from, you know, from the inside of it where you’ll meet a particular artist at a, you know, a certain time and then maybe two or three years later it’s like, “Something’s different about them like from the inside out.” You know, stuck in place different.
IZ: No doubt, yeah.
Cloie: As a woman in this industry it’s a very, very real thing. Not saying it’s not that way for men but I do feel like you can see it faster and in a more visible way oftentimes with women, you know?
Kevin: Absolutely, and so you have to be careful about that. If you’re gonna stand your ground, understand that you’re gonna hit hurdles, you’re gonna have obstacles, people are gonna try to tell you that it’s not possible for you to break through. I was one of those artists that held my ground, I stuck to my guns, I stuck to my sound. Even when I got signed at 22, 23 years old and people told me that I was making music that was too old for me and that I looked so young, it was impossible for me to break out with this kinda music. And I was like, “I’m 22, 23, how you gonna tell the young person how he can and cannot do? I am the voice of my youth.”
Kevin: But you have to go through that process to say, “Okay, cool, now let me show you one step at a time.” Thank God for social media as far as through Instagram and Facebook. I do these little A Capella vinylenes. I pay tribute to the ’90s, I pay tribute to the 2000s but it really gave away and it built a fanbase for me so that fanbase can champion the sound, they can champion to say, “We like him. We support him.” You know, that really matters to go out there and to let the people know so that the people can champion you because there will be energy and forces against it.
IZ: Yeah, absolutely. And another thing too just to tie into what you were saying. I think, you know, when you are a new artist I think that for the business side it’s always a pathway of least resistance so they always wanna say, “Okay, well what can we make familiar about you so it’s easier?” And then they extract all your…everything that’s pure about you as an artist and your own expression and everything. And that’s where those challenges begin and as you talk about suffering is because you’re gonna miss out on some opportunities.
IZ: You’re gonna miss out on that.
Cloie: [inaudible 01:04:40] gonna say no and that’s okay.
IZ: Yeah, and you know here’s what I love and history tells it the best way. When you look at Jimmy Hendrix, right, when you look at all these people that shifted culture, there was a whole bunch of idiots around that said, “No, we don’t get it. It’s never gonna be…” They laughed at Prince, okay, they laughed at Prince.
Kevin: They booed Prince.
IZ: They booed Prince. Luckily Rolling Stones they got it. They were like, “You don’t realize who you just booed. That guy right there…” And that’s the thing it comes with suffering but the reward at the end of the day is so much greater.
Cloie: It’s so sweet.
IZ: The value in who you are is so much greater. So I think those are the things to always keep in mind and you can only keep those in mind if you know the history of what it is you say you love. A lot of people like to say, “Man, I love such and such.” But when you go to find out how much they are a student of what they say they love, you find out they’re not much of a student. So a lot of this comes with being a student of what you love. You say you’re a singer? Man, know those that have come…
Cloie: Before you.
IZ: …way before you and understand what that roadmap looks like.
Kevin: And that’s… My bad, my bad.
IZ: No, you got it.
Kevin: But that’s the key to our survival you know within me being a student, you being a student, you being a student. We have to be students of the game, you know, so me being assigned to Motown I had to be a student of all of the artists that came before. I had to understand that when I thought like my album was behind held up. I remembered as a student to say, “Well, well Marvin Gaye created “What’s Going On” they held that album for a year.”
IZ: A year.
Kevin: So I’m like, “Okay, well I can’t feel too bad.” You know what I mean? Like one of the greatest vocalist that ever lived…
Cloie: They did it to Marvin.
Kevin: They didn’t take Marvin. I mean the album as is, “What’s going on.” You know, so that freaked me out. I mean even with a Stevie Wonder where he had…he had a point in his career where he say, “You know what? I’ma venture off. I’ma do my own thing but I’m not gonna tell nobody that I’m doing my own thing.”
Kevin: Yeah. So they sent for him. They sent for him to say, “Yo, what is he doing? What is he working on? Because we need to know, we need to figure this out. He needs to come back so that he can record what we have for him.” And they were just wigging out because it’s like, “All we hear is synthesizes these weird sounds that’s coming out.” And they got nervous, you know, but if it wasn’t for Stevie being the great artist that he is and just being so fearless, you know where we’d know that like you said, you know that very, very avant garde like very rare novelty of what you just said. You know, [inaudible] now album was, you know.
IZ: All harmonica?
Kevin Yeah. But even with the earlier, like, before music of my, you know, where I’m coming from and those kind of albums where you started to see, he started to…
IZ: He started to…yeah.
Kevin: …write his own stuff. And so we were on that journey with him as he was figuring it out. So by the time we were hearing, “You are the sunshine of my life.” So by the time you get to “Innervisions” and…
IZ: “Music of My Mind.”
Kevin: “Music of My Mind” and what’s the other?
IZ: “Bye For Now.”
Kevin: The next one that’s after that.
Cloie: [inaudible 01:07:53].
Kevin: “Innervisions” and then it’s “Songs in The Key of Life.”
IZ: “Songs in the Key of Life.”
Kevin: “Songs in The Key of Life.” So by that time Stevie’s in his stride.
IZ: Yeah, he’s going.
Kevin: He’s unstoppable. Like legitimately you knew he was unstoppable when he said, “Listen, I’ma do it.” It wasn’t even a disk yet so he did four…it was four albums worth of material where it was like constant hits. That’s crazy but you have to get to that point, you know what I mean? So it’s just about that discovery and being a student of it. Forever being curious.
Cloie: We got Trish from DC wants to know…
Cloie: Right. What was the first CD you bought and who was the first artist you saw in concert? And…there’s a third part to it.
IZ: And? She’s going in.
Cloie: If you could time travel, which decade would you want to create in.
Kevin: The first album that I purchased was Big Pun “Capital Punishment.” I know that sounds weird, right? I loved Big Pun, that’s what it is.
IZ: You can’t deny it, he was dope. You can’t deny it, he was dope.
Kevin: That’s what it is. What’s the second part?
Cloie: The second part is who was the first artist you saw in concert?
Kevin: The first artist that I saw in concert was…yikes, yikes. Dang, what was the first concert that I went to? That is a good question that I’m gonna have to get back to.
Cloie: So we’ll get back to it?
Cloie: Okay, first artist I saw in concert was Patti LaBelle.
Cloie: I was five. She was rolling across the stage and kicking over, she was amazing.
IZ: The first concert I went to was New Edition.
IZ: Bobby brown and Al B Sure in San Bernardino.
Kevin: If we’re talking about something I chose to go to? I’m not afraid to say it, whatever.
Cloie: Say it.
Kevin: You know what I’m saying? I went to a Nelly concert, you know what I’m saying and whatnot? And I went to see Destiny’s Child was on the bill too and all that. I think it was like a summer jam performance.
IZ: Oh dude makes sense. Absolutely, that’s credible.
Cloie: And which decade would you wanna create in?
Kevin: The decade that I would wanna create. The ’70s. I feel like the ’70s was one of the best.
IZ: Dude, I always say man if we were in the ’70s man, oh man we woulda been smashing.
Kevin: Yeah. I don’t know if I woulda been an artist of the ’70s but it was so…
IZ: Competition was fierce. Competition was fierce.
Kevin: I would have to give my album to somebody like [inaudible 01:10:10]
Cloie: Or have Prince stepping on your neck.
Kevin: Yeah, but I…
IZ: Gamble and Huff, any of them [inaudible 01:10:15].
Kevin: I think it was such a great time for music, you know, that was the explosion.
IZ: Those were the building blocks of what we love, you know?
Cloie: I think we have one more question.
IZ: Last question, yeah. Derek from Santa Monica. Do you like collaborating with other artists? How does it usually work? You guys just jam or what?
Kevin: I love collaborating with other artists. It just has to be organic.
Kevin: That’s been the word of the day, organic. It has to be organic. We do jams sometimes so like when I went into the studio with BJ that was really cool because it gave us the opportunity to talk, chop it up and…
IZ: Label mates.
Kevin: Yeah, we’re label mates. So I mean that’s a really, really cool opportunity for you to get the other side of it to see what they’re going through, what they’re experiencing. I said, “So what’s your journey been like? Oh, you been going through that too? Man, I thought I was the only one.”
IZ: Only one.
Kevin: Yeah, you build a bond, yeah, you build a bond.
IZ: That’s dope, man.
Cloie: That’s wonderful. You have been…
IZ: He’s been amazing. I feel like we’re hogging his day, man. And thank you so much for, you know, answering these questions, man and just hanging with us man but I do also wanna talk briefly about your album if you could tell them where they can find it, where they can grab it. Obviously, we know the digital platforms but I want you to talk about that also.
Kevin: Well most importantly, you guys can go and find “The Awakening” that is on iTunes, Amazon, every digital platform there is. Make sure that you follow me. That’s @KevinRossMusic. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it, I’m on it. Always remember to be great. Make sure that you go and buy the tickets for the Awakening tour that is Kevinrossmusic.net.
IZ: I’m going.
Cloie: I’m going too.
IZ: I’m going.
Kevin: There we go.
IZ: I’m going. We’re going.
Cloie: I mean, CONNECTED field trip to your concert.
IZ: And also too I wanna shout out my Motown family, that’s Ethiopia, Zek, Vivian. Thank you for making this happen and it’s always good to be around family and since the day I first heard ya, man, I was like, “That cat right there.” That cat, that dude. So thank you again, man, for blessing us with your presence. I think I ‘d be cheating myself if I didn’t get to hear you know the record I love. So you know “Long Song Away.” So I’m gonna let Cloie do her thing and let folks know where they can catch us as well on the social so I’m gonna go hand back here with you guys, so.
Cloie: Let’s roll those slides please. So for social media as always we are @IZCONNECTED. That’s I-Z-CONNECTED. You can email us at [email protected], that’s where we wanna get all your resume questions, all of your demos. Anything you wanna send us directly, get us there. To sign up and join the connection you can find us at www.rrfedu.com/connected. Our app, check it out it is www.rrfedu.com/connected/app. Next slide, please. Application for our jobs get www.rrfedu.com/connected/latest. That’s also where we’re going to find those five additional jobs because we’re now bringing you 10, not just 5 but 10 jobs per Monday. For all of our resources be sure to check out our vault, that’s www.rrfedu.com/connected/vault, and of course our news…what is that thing called? Our newsletter that’s just coming out later today which is featuring our friend Adam Howell, shout out to Adam. And that’s www.rrfedu.com/weekly/report. Are we ready, boys?
IZ: Yeah, we ready, man, we ready,
Cloie: I’m ready.
IZ: My favorite joint right here.
Kevin: You always got somewhere to go
Your life is filled with revolving doors
It’s not a race when it comes to love
Unless it’s me that you’re running from
City girls want it all, but they never can wait
Not so fast, you can lose control
I know we live in the now but we can set our own pace
Take my hand and we can slow dance, slow dance to the radio
‘Cause forever’s a long, it’s a long song away
‘Cause forever’s a long, it’s a long song away
So won’t you please, please let the record play?
Just let the record play, yeah
So won’t you please, please, let the record play?
IZ: Yeah! Kevin Ross, folks. Thank you for having us.
Kevin: Oh man, for sure, for sure.
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