Keeping it real with UK R&B Singer Cherri V

Unafraid and eloquent in her ability to discuss the truths of her life and her battles, London R&B singer Cherri V is back with a brand new track keeping true to her roots. She recently released a playful love song dubbed ‘Without You’ which is a teaser to her upcoming album. The track explores the difficulty with everyday tribal issues. 

We chat to Cherri V about what ‘Without You’ is all about, her secret addiction to watching Big Brother, and her thoughts on not wanting to be boxed in. Margaret Tra writes. 

You just released ‘Without You,’ could you tell us about it?

My single 'Without you' explores the difficulty of dealing with everyday trivial issues that occur with a live in spouse, husband or wife. The main focus of the song is realising in due time that although the issues and habits are highly annoying lol living without the one you love isn't the solution. I think for the first time on a song, I was able to capture my goofy, playful side. The visual also brings that to life. I wrote the song with my brother in spirit Jermaine Riley who I've collaborated with for many years and our writing process is very natural and conversational. To be able to create in a space of authenticity and comfort is priceless.

Last time we remember you were in a duo, so you're back to being a solo artist?

Dora Martin is a separate project/entity to Cherri V. I've always been a solo artist and love to collaborate. I don't like the thought of having to box myself in. Jermaine and I have performed solo before, during and after Dora Martin projects were released. An artist is an artist in true entirety and I believe myself to be just that. There aren't limits to creativity. So yes Cherri V is back but Dora still lives (laughs). 

What was the concept behind the video?

The story board was very befitting to the lyrics. We captured my lead guy burning bread/toast, absolutely destroying the white wash with a pair of red socks and generally being a nuisance at home. The concept was centred around the lyrics in order for them to come to life! I was well pleased with the outcome.

What's next for you?

I'm planning to release a few singles before my album is released. We have just shot the video for my next single "Leave me Be" so I cannot wait to unleash that.

What was it like working with Harmony Samuels?

We have worked together so much when he was in the U.K so we are like family! So much of my growth as an artist and vocalist was experienced with him at the beginning of my journey as 'Cherri V' so it was great to connect with someone who was present from the beginning of my journey.

What is your favourite television show that you are addicted to now, and why?

I actually have a few  mostly U.S shows I watch online or one Netflix - anything juicy (laughs). I’m loving Empire, Scandal and Power! I love the writing and the plot twists and it's a great escape for me while I'm having downtime. I'm trying my hardest not to get sucked into big brother but I'm slowly failing (laughs). 

What stimulates your soul?

Love, loyalty and laughter! 


Storytelling into Haven with NYC MC Des Brennan 

Emerging NYC MC Des Brennan is on the cusp of breaking into the hip hop scene for real. Des’s reliability and lyrical skills make him not only someone you have to stop and listen to, but also someone you can depend on. Using rapping as therapy has become a normal outlet for Des, and he continues to do it with his latest EP ‘Haven.’ ‘Haven’ beautifully draws into the light when things were getting dark for Des. 

We chat to Des about his thought process when writing lyrics, other forms of therapy he uses to fight depression and why listening to beats is his favourite thing in the world. 

Does production or lyrics come first?

Production always comes first. 

What's your thought process when you write lyrics?

My thought process usually revolves around the type of song I am trying to make, and the mood that I get from the beat I am listening to.

What got you into rap in the first place?

I just loved the way hip hop songs sounded as a kid. I knew right away that it was the genre I would be most drawn to. I listened to it non-stop. The more I did, the more I loved it. 

You use rap as therapy, do you find you need to do other stuff to keep your mind occupied?

Yes. Rap isn't my only release and therapeutic outlet. It's my favourite and most important one, but I definitely have others such as weightlifting/working out, flag football and basketball, reading books and watching TV series, doing craft beer research and hanging out with friends, etc. 

You just released an EP, how did you come up with the concept?

I came up with the concept when I was sitting in my car at the park. I was feeling pretty gloomy, so I knew I had to make something to make myself feel happier and more motivated.

What stimulates your soul? 

Writing and recording songs. Also listening to new beats. It's the best feeling in the world. There is nothing like making music. Not only do I love it but I also need it.


Fusing styles with MC/Producer Kolade Olamide Ayodeji

Multi-talented Kolade Olamide Ayodeji is a prolific story teller and a razor sharp producer. Everything he touches turns into a hit. He recently released a killer album dubbed ‘Hit List’ and whist hip hop is his forte, Kolade’s latest album effortlessly fuses electro, R&B, pop and hip hop. 

We sit down with Kolade and chat about what does it take to make a hit, what it’s like to produce different genres, and why his single ‘Lonely but not lonely’ was his most challenging track.

What does it take to make a hit?

I can say it depends on the song because each song has a separate tune and identity. I do not do cover song or work on other people’s song so I cannot really say this song I am producing now will be a hit, but when you get the feedback from the fans or listeners that is when one can justify but as a producer I always ensure I want to produce a hit song but this depends on the song from lyrics, structure and the tune but I have to be original and creative. I cannot sacrifice my originality and creativity under the disguise that I want to make a hit song.

What do you prefer making hip hop beats or other genres?

Hip hop beats is very easy to make because it is basically sampling and anything goes but other genres need rhythm, melody and tune so other genres are more challenging to me than hip hop.  

You just dropped your album, what was the most challenging track you made? 

“Lonely but not Lonely” was the most challenging track for me on that album because I came up with four different versions while mixing and hard to select the one that would be included in the album. It took me more than a week, mixing and coming up with multiple versions because the style was a bit different.

Who are your influences?

Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and Dr Dre 

What stimulates your soul? 

Creativity and faith in God.


UK Rapper Patch fights mental illness with a collection of spoken word pieces 

Best known for his UK-centric lo-fi hip hop, Patch returns with a collection of spoken word poems as he explores a different approach to creativity. London rapper Patch’s message is clear, it’s a message of positivity and well being with his new video ‘Prison.’ In the video Patch openly talks about mental illness and the taboo that still sticks around it today. 

We sit down with Patch to talk about his latest release ‘Prison,’ how mental illness has affected him and how creating awareness around the issue is his first priority. Margaret Tra writes. 

You just released a video for Prison, could you tell us more about that?

‘Prison’ is a piece I wrote as a metaphor for the mind. I wanted to talk about how our thoughts can either imprison us or free us as they influence our perspectives. I also wanted to hopefully provide comfort for anyone who can relate and give them something to think about.

Rapping and spoken word goes hand in hand, but why did you decide to release these as spoken word and not a rap song?

I decided to release ‘Prison’ as spoken word because the topic and the way I've written about it are both intricate. I wanted people to focus purely on the words and the message. 

You speak about mental illness, could you tell us how this affects you and people around you?

I've sent myself to dark places simply by keeping a destructive pattern of thoughts on loop in my and head I've seen others do the same. The social taboo around mental health is a problem because it means a lot of the time people suffer with these things in silence.

What message are you trying to put across?

My message within the poem is 3 things. 1. You're not alone if you feel like this. 2 It is ok if you feel like this, in fact it's normal and to be expected at least at some point in your life and 3. You have the power within you to transcend the prison that the mind can sometimes by redirecting the energy of your thoughts. My overall message however is to encourage people to 'Embrace Your Contradictions', all elements of who you are.

You seem quite spiritual, are there any mantras you live by?

I just try to maintain a high and positive vibration. One of the ways to do this is to take time each day to focus on things I'm grateful for, every morning I write down 3 things.

What would be your advice to help people clear their minds and be free?

Practice meditation, exercise daily and stop doing things only because you think it will impress others, do things that you love and stop comparing yourself to people.

What's next for you?

I will be releasing an E.P in the summer, there will be more poems and I will keep spreading the message 'Embrace Your Contradictions'. 

What stimulates your soul?

Writing songs and poems, making up puns and bad Dad jokes , developing my spiritually and getting drunk with people I love.

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No Suits Explores the Fluidity of Genre


LA-based sound-evolving group sensation, No Suits maintains an important philosophy within their creative process. The No Suits name evolved from band member Max, addressing the corporate world when he was merely in the first grade and realised that the “suit-life” is not for him. The concept has has brought together fellow band members, Sajan, Reed, and Ed, who uphold the same core value. This transcends deeply into the music that the four create, going against the grain and ensuring that creativity is at the forefront of everyday life. 

We sit down with Sajan, Max, and Reed from No Suits and chat about their latest EP Virgin, how Tame Impala has been a major influence in their style, and the state of the music scene in Los Angeles. Ayla Dhyani writes.

What can listeners expect from your upcoming Virgin EP?

Sajan: The unreleased tracks definitely have some elements of “I’m Good.” So, the project has a similar style to the single.

What influenced you the most when you were writing these tracks?

Sajan: Definitely Tame Impala. We’re not trying to sound like Tame Impala, but we definitely love the Tame Impala sound. I’d say if you could mash it into two, it would be like smashing hip hop and Tame Impala together and coming out on the other side. That’s what to expect on the upcoming tracks.

Was it an enjoyable experience for you all? What was the creative process like putting it all together as a group?

Max: It was pretty good. It took us a long time to make all of these tracks. Some took over a year (all laugh). So, we know we’ve put in the hours and we hope everyone enjoys listening as much as we enjoyed making them.

Tell us about ‘No Suits’ as a philosophy. It seems like a pretty important concept for you all.

Sajan: Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been going to school with Max over here since kindergarten and one of the things he told me when we were in only first grade was “when we grow up, we have to be entrepreneurs and never have to wear a suit to work.” That kind of philosophy really resonated with us throughout our lives. Not wanting to do something corporate. So, when we started making music in high school, we maintained that philosophy. It doesn’t just apply to not wearing a suit to work obviously, but also with the music and not following suit; not tying ourselves to any genre or style or formula at all, and just doing what we love.

Absolutely, that’s how the greatest music is made. So, obviously Sajan and Max, you both met quite young, how did the rest of you come together as group?

Max: I met our fourth member, Ed, who couldn’t make it today, in freshman year of college and then we started working together on a bunch of stuff. We have very similar influences. He definitely vibed with the whole “no suits” thing and eventually it just evolved into a very logical collaboration. We met Reed around sophomore year of college, then one day after class we sat down and had a jam in a way where were escaping reality. In that session, Reed just came up with these lead guitar licks and we were just “woah, this guy is pretty darn good” (laughs). So we talked about him joining up, but, he was going to China in the next semester and the semester after that, I was going to France. So we couldn’t really link up until this year.

Reed: Yeah, we just met up and grabbed a beer and it all came together (all laugh).

So, what’s your main jam? Do you all play a few instruments?

Sajan: Well, Reed is the ax-man. I play guitar and keys, Ed plays drums and bass, and Max is basically the visionary (laughs) and plays a bit of everything. He’s the ‘No Suits’ visionary. He’s the one who said “yo, let’s not wear a suit to work” and he’s known that since first grade.

Reed: He’s also our primary songwriter.

If you could collaborate with anyone at this point in time, who would it be?

Sajan: That’s crazy. We literally had this conversation two days ago. I said Jimi Hendrix.

Reed: Tame Impala (all laugh).

Max: I went with Outkast.

And why those artists in particular?

Sajan: I think for both Jimi Hendrix and Tame Impala, they both just have the sound that is completely timeless. So, just being able to make a record that has that voice or guitar riff, it can’t really be matched by anything else. Tame Impala with the drums and the structuring of the tracks, there’s no one else who can really do something like that.

How do you find the music scene in LA?

Reed: The music scene here is kind of non-existent. A lot of great artists come out of here, but as far as a “popping music scene” goes, there aren’t many place to go. But we’ve met some crazy musicians at our school and in that area.

Sajan: Yeah, they’re both [Max and Reed] Music Production majors, so they’re surrounded by a lot of great talent.

Max: Then the scene in Los Angeles is obviously a different story. It’s pretty quiet.

What do you guys anticipate for the future? What’s your next step?

Max: Definitely shows. That’s one area that we haven’t explored completely. We’ve only done one show really, but we have something lined up and that’s something that we’re really going to be honing in on. Especially with the EP release, to make that more of an experience.

Sajan: Yeah, we’ve been really focused on making our sound different according to the ‘No Suits philosophy,’ and we want to do the same thing with our live performances. Make an experience that people haven’t really seen before. So we expect a lot of our presence to be in the live show.

What stimulates your soul?

Sajan: I would say what stimulates me is the emotions that I get through life experiences, and that’s what I reflect in the music I make. The emotion that I get everyday from my friends and my family, I think is what drives the music.

Reed: Have you read The Little Prince? That’s my favourite book because it’s about taming and human connection. Music has opened up so many doors that I never would have gone through. The music is just integral to human connection.

Max: For me, it’s the combination of the emotions and the human connection in music. Just when I hear or see someone genuinely and authentically doing something to the highest degree and going into that true space. To see them close their eyes and do what they love, that’s what stimulates my soul.