Event on 2016-04-01 20:00:00
"I want to speak for people who don't have microphones," Jacob Hemphill says. "Our goal as a band is to stick up for the human race. We see the world and we try to make it better in the limited time we have here."
This is the philosophy behind SOJA's music, a simple statement that has driven the Grammy Nominated D.C. area band, who blend reggae, go-go, D.C. hardcore, Latin, rock and hip-hop. Originally formed by a group of friends while still in middle school and has built a massive, dedicated fanbase around the world since. In the years following, SOJA has sold more than 200,000 albums, headlined shows in nearly 30 countries around the world, generated over 4 million Facebook fans, and over 120 million YouTube views. The band has toured with Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, 311 and appeared at major festivals including Bonnaroo where they attract an almost Grateful Dead-like international fan base along the way, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city. After the release of their 2012 album Strength To Survive, the musicians started writing material for what would become their fifth full-length album, "Amid the Noise and Haste."
For Hemphill, who pens the lyrics, chords and melody, each song starts with an experience: meeting someone, reading something, experiencing something that seems pertinent to the human condition. On this album, the songwriter is suggesting that "all of life's problems, and all of life's answers are within us. We've been conditioned to accumulate, compete and break others down around ourselves — not inherent to the human condition, but rather taught. Those things can be untaught. The real us is in there, somewhere." All of this is translated into short, sweet packages of music.
The writing and recording process for Amid the Noise and Haste stretched out over a year and a half, mostly because the musicians kept finding new collaborators and new ideas along the way. The aim was to engage as many guest artists as possible, with each working on a song that had a legitimate connection to them. The album was produced by Supa Dups (Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, John Legend) and recorded at Circle House Studios in Miami and Lion & Fox Studios in Washington D.C. throughout 2013. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley appears on "Your Song," a buoyant, hopeful number that asks fans to remind the band why they got into music by singing along, while "I Believe" brings Michael Franti and Nahko together to offer thoughts on how to control your own destiny. Collie Buddz, J Boog and Anuhea are also featured on various tracks. "We wanted to bring together people who would help demonstrate each song," Jacob says. "We wanted people who could either relate to or convey the message. The whole album is about the human race relating to itself and connecting with itself."
For SOJA, whose live show is an explosion of energy and positivity, music is a means of helping people relate in a more affirmative way. It also asks people to look inside themselves and really ask what it is they want to do with their life and how they can be happy. SOJA's music is about finding that happiness and peace we all deserve and helping others do the same, something Amid the Noise and Haste aptly conveys in its songs.
"I put words in my songs that I believe to be true," Jacob says. "The point of the album is reconnecting people to the power inside themselves, getting them to fall back in love with life again. Look around, take a deep breath. All the answers are there."
New Kingston is a young vocalist/instrumentalist group, that consists of three brothers. Tahir a.k.a. SLIM, the youngest member on keyboards/vocals. Courtney on drums/vocals and Stephen a.k.a SUKI, the oldest on guitar/vocals. This group fuses their reggae sound with modern [op, jazz and R&B music, to create their sound, which they term, "Reggae Crossover." New Kingston has been in the industry for some time now and some might call them, "young veterans"! The group is led by its founder/manager and father Courtney LJ Panton. New Kingston started off working with many artists such as, Collie Buddz, Mr.Vegas, Morgan Heritage, Sister Carol, Shabba Ranks, and many more. But, while working with all of these artists, manager Courtney LJ Panton had another vision. He had an ulterior motive for New Kingston, which was for them to rise to the top as a solo act and stand alone, capturing the love of the people. This helped to create their sound, dubbed, "Reggae Crossover". A blend of sounds, to everyone's liking, while still sticking to their heritage. Reggae! Now this group is sharing the stage with many artists around the world from Europe, to the Americas and beyond. New Kingston is currently set to release their second album, "In The Streets". The album features two of their singles that are gaining radio recognition globally. "In The Streets", the title track of the album and "Pon Di Wall", which is on the Ting-ah-Ling riddim revamped and remade by New Kingston!
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