Taste Of Music

Eileen Cruz – A Christian Artist Spreading Hope in the Midst of Pandemic

May 5th, 2020   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

Eileen Cruz

Eileen Cruz is a singer and recording artist who’s made music with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Fat Joe, but discovered a greater purpose for her talent early on and has been using her gifts ever since towards creating Christian music. I spoke with Eileen about her life journey, what this pandemic has meant for her and the importance of having good relationships.

In a nutshell, who is Eileen Cruz?

I was born in NY and came from a large Puerto Rican family. I’m originally from Bushwick but was raised in Long Island. When I say I come from a large Puerto Rican family, I mean that I’m one of 25 cousins – so I’m proud to have grown up around a lot of love.

I went to Lynbrook High School in Long Island, which was predominantly Jewish and Italian, and I was one of the few Puerto Ricans to attend. I also lived in Wilmington, NC for a short while when I was younger. My step-father was a respectable Cuban American and a federal agent who was in charge of Cape Fear which is what brought us there.

I was unique growing up in a sense. Being of Puerto Rican descent and tanned skin, I was often looked at as different and exotic, but I never once was treated with prejudice. I just thought, “Okay I’m just a little more tan than everyone else,” but really never paid attention to our differences. I firmly believe that my upbringing gave me a well-rounded mentality and perspective towards life.

How did your singing career start?

I was in high school when my mom and I decided to move back to NY to be closer to our family due to her getting divorced. As soon as I got settled I got word from friends that a local high school was doing recording sessions for songs and were in need of background singers. I started singing backup in many different recordings in the suburbs of Brooklyn and Queens and people began to realize that my voice recorded well. In addition to singing back-up I would sing solos in high school, but my parents always viewed singing as more of a school activity, not a career move.

How did you get over your parents’ views?

I became close with video director Jessy Terrero who helped evolve my talent for singing into more than just a school activity. It was helpful to receive affirmation that I could make a living out of my passion and develop my craft into a career. I was terrified at first but I did it. My mentality shifted from fear to, “Okay what do I do?”.

Before I knew it, I started doing projects with famous acts like The Beatnuts, Tony Touch, and Fat Joe during the launch of his career. I befriended John “Gungie” Rivera who was a big-time promoter, DJ, and producer and he became a life-long friend. I was also working with producer Daniel “Danny P” Pierre and wrote and sang on a famous band’s anniversary album performed in the Kompa style for the Haitian community. I was able to record in Paris so that was really amazing and lots of fun.

A few years later, Jessy did a movie called Soul Plane and gave me an opportunity to sing on the soundtrack. I recorded the parody “Survivor” for the movie in about 20 minutes and to this day I literally get a check. I’ve recently noticed more listens, probably because people are in quarantine. Keep ordering it please haha.

What happened after “Soul Plane”?

I relocated to LA and got together with a band doing corporate events, weddings and bar mitzvahs. I had experience performing live music since my time in NY performing with Italian-American bands. Playing with these bands gave me the ability to sing in multiple languages including Spanish and Italian. I think singing gives you more of an ear for language and so it became easy to pick up. Singing in other languages and performing live also helped me get over stage fright because I would continually practice non stop and I’d obsessively learn new songs.

I had a hunger and passion for singing live and would sing big songs like “Power of Love” by Celine Dion and “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. I’d learn them in detail and sing them to a T. Most times, I found that I succeeded in singing them well. I felt that I was able to really connect and I received really positive reactions from listeners which built up my confidence.

How did you get into singing Christian music?

The trials and errors of life and certain disappointments in general are what mainly took hold of my heart for most of my adult life. I wasn’t in great relationships, I came from a divorced family, and I was engaged to be married and ended up breaking it off for fear of divorce. I always had a lot of Christian friends in my life who consulted me, “You should marry a Christian man and sing for the Lord”. My response while laughing was, “I’m going to LA! What are you talking about? I’m gonna be the next JLO”. They were praying for my life and that I would sing for Jesus. Eventually my dad became a Christian. He told me, “The Lord placed all of these friends around you for a reason. It’s no coincidence baby girl. Take heed, because tomorrow is not promised”.

At the time while I was going through a life-altering breakup, I thought, “This is definitely a God thing”. My whole life changed and reversed. I didn’t even sing for a good year because I wanted to learn about who this God is and I say is because He’s the great I am, not the great I used to be haha. So I stayed idle and went to church and bible studies and began to gain new friends. Then my ex-fiancé started following me because of me following Jesus and asked me, “What’s happening to you?”. I told him, “I don’t know. I just know that I’ve been saved,”.

I’ve been a Christian for 11 years and not a perfect one at that. When you become a Christian, some people have an epiphany moment that changes their life immediately, for me, because I developed such a callused sense of disappointment it took more chiseling. I’ve always been a conservative girl, I occasionally hung out and partied, but I was never big on doing drugs. It was my experience with relationships that really took a hold of my life. At the end of the day, I realized if you’re not for God, then you’re against Him. It’s not about how good of a person you are. We all actually fall short of His glory. He’s perfect and we are not.

How has your quarantine been? What’s your outlook on our world’s current situation?

In the beginning when it all started I remember asking God to please give me the guidance to understand. I had known about stories in the Bible that talk about pestilence and plague, but I just didn’t imagine that I’d be living in these times. This has never happened in history, maybe an epidemic or a localized plague, but for something like this to be global it just has never happened before.

So I asked God, “How can you utilize me? Show me treasures in the darkness and show me how I can minister to other people.” Since then I’ve been on Zoom, I started doing Bible studies and an hour of worship every Monday online. It’s developing more and more and people are getting word about it. We sing 4 or 5 songs or however long it may take. So far that’s where I’ve been at. Finding ways that God wants to use me during this pandemic and with technology today, the sky’s the limit. I have a full studio at home that I’m putting together to livestream worship cover songs and whatever worship songs I write, I can launch on social media and share with a greater audience.

In addition to sharing your music and faith with others, what has quarantine given you the time to do?

I’ve never been a tech savvy person so I’ve been learning how to hook up a studio at home. I’ve also been doing a lot of Zoom online writing sessions. Once this pandemic ends I can record all that we wrote. Communication with my family is everything. We are very close and very comical to say the least. Although I have an outgoing personality, I’m also slightly introverted and private so I’ve been trying to push myself against that and get out of my own way.

Can we have a sneak peek on anything you’ve been working on?

Any future music prospects coming soon? I do have some songs recorded. I had an agreement in place for distribution but it’s still pending as I’m looking for a certain direction to be wholeheartedly Christian in my music. I want to talk about God. Call me a fanatic if you like, but that’s what He wants from me, unashamed. I suffered enough without Him. I know that He’s on my side, so my careful decisions are based on where He’s leading me.

What are you most grateful for during your music career?

I’m happy to have been surrounded by amazing and genuine people. There have always been people looking out for me. I worked with Snoop Dogg on a song that was never released and Snoop said, “You’re too good of a soul for this industry”. My longtime friend “Gungie” always looked out for me. It was just spirit-to-spirit, good people protecting their own. There were so many people out there who would tell me, “Little sister we want to protect you”. Tyrese was always like a good friend out in LA, always checking on me asking, “What’s going on? What are you doing?”. Tony Touch would help me tremendously on tracks. I sang for the U.S. troops in Japan and had my own 1 hour solo performance and he guided me. He wanted me to win like a big brother. I’ve been really blessed to have good people around me.

Getting the chance to speak with Eileen was a great reminder of how we need to search for hope during this pandemic and how we should constantly look around us for the good people in our lives. We may be separated, but in modern times there are so many ways for us to stay connected.

You can get connected with Eileen Cruz and her music by checking out her YouTube Channel here youtube.com/user/17ecruz

You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter

instagram.com/eileen.cruz/?hl=en @eileen.cruz

https://twitter.com/ecruz1717?lang=en @ecruz1717

By: Sarde Gumalo

BLACKPINK’s Lisa Brings Her Third Dance Performance Video Back on Lili’s Film!

April 27th, 2020   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

As the rapper of the girl group Blackpink, Lisa is well known for her rap and song but actually, singing is not what she is best at. On August 20 and November 21, 2019, Lisa’s two dance performance videos were updated by Lili’s film which was such a success that Lisa was remembered for her power dance and hip hop dance. Recently, on April 20, 2020, Lili’s film issued the third dance performance video of Lisa which until now has had 9,562,169 views and 1 million’s likes on Youtube! The style of this third video is quite different from the former two because it turns from a hip hop style to a new sexy style. In the video, we can also notice that Lisa had a new look with a change from her usual light brown hair and that she is trying to make a fresh impression of being not only cute and cool. This new change in Lisa may also imply the comeback of Blackpink in 2020. So after this surprise from Lisa, we may also expect the new looks and styles of other members Jisoo, Jennie, and Rose!

 

 

By Shengdan Jin

Sean Lew and Kaycee Rice – “False Confidence” (by Noah Kahan)

April 3rd, 2020   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

Sean and Kaycee are two wonderful dancers from the hit show “World of Dance” and in 2019 they released the video “False Confidence” by Noah Kahan which made another boom. The song “False Confidence” itself is looking to make people stop and have a true look at themselves instead of building themselves based on what other people want to see from them. About the idea of the song, Noah Kahan claims:

“I was seeing all these people on Instagram and online, these artists that were getting attention by looking the part and giving the world this processed version of themselves that fit the spectrum of what brings fans– dressing crazy, or having a vibe or a super crazy aesthetic and I just didn’t have that. I always struggle with social media and branding myself. I love writing songs and singing and I was always comparing myself to people who have great brands. It made me feel like I had to do the same thing to get success. So for a while, I felt like I was losing myself in trying to brand myself or trying to have an aesthetic and look a certain way instead of focusing on the music and what makes me, me. That idea planted the seed for the song.”

Absolutely, the idea has not only planted the seed of the song but also encouraged more people to thinking deeply about themselves. Sean is just one of them who considered “False Confidence” as a class for him and decided to choreograph the song. Under his video, he added the comment that:

“My greatest intention with this piece was creating an experience for two people that were pushed to act vulnerable and silly with each other to find a way to create a story based on their own relationship, either if they were close friends or strangers to each other. I started creating this piece in 2018 and kept changing ever since because it was mainly inspired by wanting to make people smile when they start dancing with each other. “false confidence” means to put on a mask that you’ve given yourself so that people can’t tell that you’re hurting inside. I wanted people to feel a certain way while watching this piece and understand that whenever you are trying to lift others up, always make sure that you take care of yourself as well and you never sacrifice your own emotions for the sake of other people. the right people will always come back to you and make you feel loved.”

In the creation of Sean, he moved the focus of “False Confidence” more towards “caring for yourself” and “do not ignore your own pain”. In the dance, Sean and Kaycee successfully showed how two people struggle and get through, at last, to make each other happy and laugh instead of just one. The idea of making funny faces in the dance is priceless since it may look stupid, but it shows us the simplest way to make the other one laugh which contributes to the idea that we don’t need to spend too much time on how to wrap ourselves as someone else to make other people care.

“False Confidence” is successful either as a song or as a dance. With Noah, Sean, and Kaycee making it impressive, it really encourages me to stop and relook at myself.  If you realize that you are not truly happy when you struggle so hard to be you according to other people’s desires, it is the time to get out of false confidence.

By Shengdan Jin

Bringing the Hits & the Culture

March 19th, 2020   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

One of Puerto Rico’s newest and most popular artists Bad Bunny has come out with his second Studio Album YHLQMDLG- “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana” and it’d be the biggest mistake for you to miss it! Streaming on all major streaming platforms like Spotify, Youtube, and Apple Music it is currently ranked #1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums list. The album captures Bad Bunny’s natural talent of making everyone want to dance while adding a new softer side to his beat filled songs. This album includes well-known artists like Daddy Yankee as well as some newer faces in the industry like Archangel. Bad Bunny’s unique style and blend of multiple genres like reggaeton, bachata, and rock, work together to make some amazing music. This album is sure to become one of this summer’s biggest hits perfect for beach trips!

By Jocelyn Colón

Chance the Rapper Set as 2020 Nickolodean Kid’s Choice Awards Host

February 14th, 2020   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

The Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards are quite famous for their slime, exciting performances, and hilarious atmosphere. The 2020 Kids choice awards should bring the same energy as years past. This year’s awards will be hosted by Chance the Rapper. Coming off a huge past year and a half, Chance the Rapper has been a busy man. Chance released his new album, “The Big Day ” on July 26th, 2019. In 2019 he was also selected as one of the judges for Rhythm and Flow which is a reality competition to find the next great hip-hop sensation. He followed that up with being named the host for the reboot of the MTV show in January of 2020. Also during the 2020 NBA All-Star game, Chance has been chosen as the halftime show performer along with a slew of other performers. He was also selected as a participant for the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. “I’m honored to host this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards,” said Chance the Rapper. “I watched Nickelodeon growing up and now I get to slime some of my favorite people on stage. This is going to be a party that you won’t want to miss!” This is sure to be an amazing Kids Choice Awards and I for one can not wait to see “Chano ” covered in the classic Nickelodeon slime on March 22nd, 2020 beginning at 7:30 pm ET.

By: Aman Jain

Grammys 2020

January 29th, 2020   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards was hosted on January 27 2020 by Alicia Keys. It was inevitably an emotional night for everyone in attendance as well as viewers at home as beloved Kobe Byrant and his daughter GiGi and seven other victims passed away due to a heart breaking helicopter accident earlier that day. Artists and celebrities came together to support one another and the life of Kobe Bryant throughout the evening, paying special tributes to his legacy and the other lives lost.  Despite the heartache, artists delivered remarkable performances throughout the night.

Highlighted Moments Include:

  • Lizzo opens the show with her performance of “Cuz I Love You” which she dedicated to Kobe Bryant. Her night didn’t end there, as she carried on to win Three Grammys for Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Traditional R&B Performance.
  • Alicia Keys paid her respect to Kobe Bryant and daughter GiGi alongside Boyz II Men with the song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye.”
  • Camila Cabello delivered a powerful and heartwarming performance dedicated to her father who was in attendance with her new song “First Man.”
  • Demi Lovato amazed the audience with the debut of “Anyone”, a song she wrote days before overdosing in 2018.
  • 18 year- old Billie Eilish swept the Grammys as she took home five awards for Song Of The Year, Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album. Billie and her brother/collaborator performed an acoustic version of mega hit “when the party’s over”.
  • Nipsey Hussle, an LA rapper who was shot and killed last year at only 33 years old was honored and remembered with two Grammys for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance. ArtistsDJ KhaledJohn LegendMeek MillKirk FranklinRoddy Ricch and YG paid a tribute to him with a new song “Letter to Nipsey”.
  • Ariana Grande took over the stage with a melody of her three hit songs, “Imagine”, “7 Rings” and “Thank U, Next.”

The Grammys, which is also known as Music’s Biggest Night is an unbelievable event as they have honored and continue to honor some of the biggest talent in the music industry. The incredibly talented Billie Eilish took home 5 Grammys for Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.

by Catherine Leone

UPCOMING MUSIC FESTIVALS YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS

January 24th, 2020   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

Music Festival Season will be here in the blink of an eye, don’t miss your chance to get in on the fun! Whether you gravitate towards country, pop, hip-hop, EDM there is a guaranteed summer festival made for you. Here’s a breakdown of some of the greatest upcoming festivals in 2020.

1) Coachella: Coachella has become one of the most notorious music festivals, not only

are they famous for their trendy instagram photo ops, but coachella is known for hosting the most talented, in demand artists.

Where: Indio, California

When: April 10-12 & April 17-19

2) New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: Not only is New Orleans home to some of

the greatest food, but they offer a range of musical talent which brings the city to life. Headliners include The Who, Stevie Nicks, Lizzo and Lionel Richie.

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: April 23- May 3

3) StageCoach: StageCoach is the perfect festival for the ultimate Country fan (or the

bachelor!). They host some of the most well- known country artists including Thomas Rett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church.

Where: Indio, California

When: April 24- April 26

4) Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas: EDC never disappoints an EDM fan, with nine

stages, 3-D glow in the dark structures and circus performers you’ll be sure to have a blast. At their 10th anniversary they will have headliners such as 4B, Alesso, A$AP Rocky, and Adam Beyer Presents Drumcode.

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

When: May 15- May 17

5) Governors Ball: NYC offers a perfect festival for all music lovers with a lineup of

popular and throwback artists. The headliners include Tame Impala, Missy Elliott, Flume and Vampire Weekend.

Where: Randall’s Island Park, New York

When: June 5- June 7

6) Bonnaroo: Bonnaroo offers a unique experience, with ten different themed camping

experiences and amazing artists. Headliners include Tool, Miley Cyrus, Lizzo, and Flume.

Where: Great Stage Park, Tennessee

When: June 11- June 14

 

by Catherine Leone

Del Caribe Latin Lazz All-Stars Featuring Emilio Morales

October 10th, 2019   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

Nelson Gonzalez

Album Producer/ Tres; Percussion

I got the chance to catch up with famous tres player and salsa musician, Nelson Gonzalez, about his new album Del Caribe and asked him how he felt about his latest project. I could’ve chosen any other album to review but Del Caribe immediately caught my attention after hearing that it was recorded entirely live. “There’s no overdubbing and it’s completely spontaneous…like a gig they would record in old times,” says Gonzalez. After performing in 5 Grammy Award winning albums and being dubbed the Best Tres Player of the Year by Latin New York Magazine, I was excited to hear that in addition to playing tres and percussion on its songs, Nelson is also the album’s producer. According to Nelson, no one in the band agreed at first on recording the album live, but he asked them to give it a shot and see what could happen. He told them, “Make believe we have an audience of the best people in the world watching us”. His pep talk definitely paid off because the energy and authenticity of the album’s sound is truly unreal and infectious. Del Caribe receives 5 huge thumbs up and is the best, most exciting Latin jazz album out this year.

One of the reasons why the album has such a unique sound is the diversity of the band’s members. From Cuba, Puerto Rico, Vegas, New York, and San Francisco – the band traveled from all different places to create this record and had the perfect collaboration of different people. Perhaps the most interesting element that makes Del Caribe stand out from regular Latin Jazz is its instruments. Nelson’s performance on The Cuban Tres has an ostentatious sound that really is one-of-a-kind. Ironically, the Tres is the national instrument of Cuba which Gonzalez always finds humorous because he’s Puerto Rican.

One can tell that Del Caribe was created with so much passion and Gonzalez is extremely proud of the all-star band that came together for this record. “Everyone should make music to enhance your ears”, he says.  In terms of future projects, Nelson plans to take music that’s already composed and give it another twist, but for now, he’d like to see where this recording takes him. “Everyone thinks they’re the greatest but this recording, I want it to be the best! I’ll let you decide if it’s the greatest.”

By Sarde Gumalo

Billboard Buzzing For Ariana Grande’s New Album, “Thank U, Next”

February 9th, 2019   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

Musical icon, Ariana Grande, come by way of Florida, USA, bringing a mix of emotions and sass to her new hit album, “Thank You, Next”. The album debuted on, Feb 2/8, with hit singles, “Thank u, next” and “7 Rings”. Ariana came in the new year buzzing. “Thank u, Next”, is catchy and relatable. Its hard not to sing along, making its mark on the billboard. Heartbreaks make great hits, as she mentions, ex-finance, Pete Davidson and the late Mac Miller. With her hard work and dedication in the studio, pop culture singer, Ariana Grande, was able to release two albums in 6 months. You can see the full track list below:

Who is the King of R&B?

December 19th, 2018   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

Jacquees is an American singer who signed a contract with Cash Money Records in 2014. His 2016 hit single “B.E.D” was on the Billboard charts for 7 weeks, peaking at number 69.    Recently, the Music Industry and Social Media has been in an uproar, when R&B artist Jacquees pronounced and crowned himself as the new King of R&B. Jacquees posted a video a few days ago on Instagram and Twitter, stating that in this generation right now, excluding those artists that came before him. “I just wanna let everybody know that I’m the King of R&B right now!” Music Industry leaders, social media observers, journalists, celebrities and fans over the world are reacting on social media.

“Jacquees ain’t even the R&B Employee of the Month!”, states one follower on Twitter.   “What the hell made him think he was the King of a generation?” Others were quick to mention and compare previous ‘Kings’, who personified the R&B genre over the decades, to the likes of James Brown, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Steve Wonder, and Luther Vandross. Ride or Die followers also mentioned the most recent R&B superstars on the scene like Usher, Chris Brown, and Trey Songz.

Diddy weighs in on remarks debate, “R&B’s not being made right now.” To have P. Diddy come out and comment on music is a big thing, because he knows real R&B. It’s not about who makes the best hit singles or album of the year, it’s about how consistent and relevant you stay throughout the music industry.. It’s too early to crown him ‘King of R&B’ when he has only recently been nominated for the first time. Jacquees was nominated earlier in 2018 for the R&B Song of the Year at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, and that was won by Bruno Mars.  Diddy has received awards for best Rap, best R&B Song, best Producer, best Group and much more, so his insight on music is held in high regard. R&B is about sexuality, sensuality, and vulnerability.  We’re talking about sharing your soul. We’re talking about making love through your music; Making the next generation of babies. From a males point of view, it is about adoring a woman; Not  putting her down.  Adoring and empowering women; Not just about sex.” You have to be able to affect your audiences in general in a positive way.  Important, that an artist should be able to sing and convey their message authentically.

TMZ spoke with R&B veteran Tank recently, and asked his reaction was towards the young singer for hyping himself. ‘Jacquees can handle the pressure that comes with this kind of controversial statement.  No one even comes close to Chris Brown in terms of talent and hardware.  You still got some work to do in the eyes of your peers.” One artist that everybody left out was R Kelly, although his accusations have make it tough for people to crown him “King”.  Tank believes that R Kelly could be considered the King of R&B and that his accusations don’t disqualify what he’s accomplished. “If you can’t sing it better live, then you’re not his King!” I believe that the word “King” has been used too loosely without taking into consideration all the work they have done and accomplished. Right now the two best R&B artists I would have to say is Chris Brown and Trey Songz. All current artists can compete for the title of King.  But only a true King deserves the Crown.

By: Luiscardy Santos