To bring awareness to the heartened subject matter, I recently teamed up with Ashley Shante' (writer, actor, producer), to produce a Public Service Announcement (PSA)- "64".
Justiin Davis (Boardwalk Empire), Osas Ighodaro (Miss Black USA 2010), Lawrence Saint Victor (Remy of Guiding Light), and Roz Coleman( Frankie and Alice, with Halle Berry), are just some of the noted actors that are involved in the PSA. The PSA drives on the sad, but large percentile of children who grow up fatherless, with an emphasis on the 64 percentile who are African American .
Our stories about growing up fatherless are similar, yet different. But the passion we share to get the message of it's affects out are the same!
Check out the video and tell me what you think. Support us too! We need your help to get our message out.
Who’s Got Next: Alexis Nicole By Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine Online Posted on 07 Mar 2011 at 11:29am
Listening to music while enduring heartbreak can turn the soul every which way but loose. You can listen to Mary J Blige and gain enough strength to stay awayfrom the person who has emotionally abused you. You can listen to Jill Scott’s music, and she can make you reminisce on the good times to the extent that it drives you right back into the arms of the person you walked away from, no matter how good or bad they were to you. You can listen to Beyonce and premeditate a way to kick your partner out of your home, escort him out to make sure he does not ride away with anything you bought him, and arrange it just so that your old man sees your new guy coming to visit. The reason we connect to the stories within the music and are lead emotionally by the music, is because we share a similar hurt, pain, or joy. We share a similar experience. It is the reality of the experience the artist writes about that makes their music come alive in and through us- making their reality, our reality. When an artist creates from this stand point-that is, from their experiences, their music becomes an impression on the history of your mind. It becomes timeless.
This is exactly the approach Alexis Nicole says she took when she wrote her sophomore album, Loves Last Stand. “It involves a lot of heartache, [that] was the fuel for writing the album,” says Alexis Nicole. “When I write, I write from experience, so anything I have put pen to pad [to create], I lived it. I think that any music that your listeners or the consumer can relate to is timeless music. There are but so many subjects you can write about, but if you can find away to touch the listeners and fans in the way they feel like ‘oh this song is exactly what I’m going through right now,’ or ‘this is exactly how I felt when this happened to me,’ your music will be timeless, because it’s not about what’s trending right now.”
For Alexis Nicole, her second album is about the ups and downs of relationships and all that
comes with it. “So my creative process was just living life!” When I asked her to elaborate on how she came up with the title, she said, “The Cd in itself is about love, the ups the downs, the heartaches and heartbreaks, and the overall concept of being in love and falling in love.” She named it Loves Last Stand, because she felt that no matter what the decision is, when you love someone, you have to stand for something. “Either you’re going to take a stand and say, ‘even though I love you, I know we are not suppose to be together,’ or you take the stand, ‘I love you, and you are the last person on this earth that I want to be with.’ No matter what, you have to take a stand.”
Alexis Nicoles’ music on both her freshman, and sophomore album stem from her experiences, but what distinguishes her recent album from the first is its commercial appeal. “This album was a big step up from the last. The first album was acoustic, there really weren’t many elaborate tracks, and it used more piano and drums—just natural sounds. Whereas the second album takes on those sounds and adds a level of commercial approach, which is radio friendly.”
Though she wrote all the songs on both albums, she feels Loves Last Stand“is an album with something for everybody.” Native of Richmond, Virginia, (home of Chris Brown and Trey Songz), Alexis Nicole began singing at 3 years old in the church choir, and overtime, what began as a hobby became a pursuit. “It didn’t hit me until middle school, ‘I’m kind of good at this!’ And then, in high school is when I made up my mind that this is the career I wanted, instead of it being a hobby.” Though she started in Gospel, “it was a smooth transition into R & B,” says the soulful singer. “I started singing in the church choir, but I always had a love for soul music. I was always an Anita Baker, Gladys Knight, and Debra Cox fan when I was younger. I love God, but I don’t think that Gospel music is where I fit. When I initially branched off, I started doing Neo Soul Gospel and eventually I switched all the way.”
Eventually, Alexis Nicole made the move to Atlanta to pursue her dream, grow her music and to attain a stronger fan base. “Since I have been in Atlanta, my song writing has really picked up. I have been doing some collaborations and really big stuff down here that I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do in Richmond. I asked her to describe the music market in Richmond, VA, to get a sense of why she chose to leave and why she chose Atlanta over other cities to pursue her dream.
“I don’t want to call Atlanta the land of opportunity, because you still have to work at whatever you are doing, but it is certainly a lot more open to fresh music, new artists, and there are many opportunities to perform, to go out and to mix and mingle here than there was in Richmond. The market in Richmond is weird. Like in Atlanta, the artists have a distinct sound, or perhaps, D.C., Baltimore area artists there have a distinct sound. Richmond is influenced by many different states. It’s not as southernly influenced, as it is northern. Still, there is not really a particular sound per se, so the market in Richmond is kind of weird because whatever filters through other markets is kind of how it is picked up in the city. They are starting to do a lot better, the local artists, in creating their own sound.”
Needless to say, Pop and R & B Stars Chris Brown and Trey Songz were stars that rose from the trenches of Richmond, VA. They have unique voices and commericially, trendy music. Because of their success, I wondered if they inspired Alexis Nicole’s creativity. “I respect both Chris and Treys’ music. We actually share acquaintances. I wouldn’t say they inspire me, because we are in different boxes musically.”
She says artist like Lauren Hill, who came in, and paved the way and changed the game, inspires her. “Lauren changed the game as far as ‘image’ is concerned. What it, [image], has to be and needs to be, and she’s even changed the game regarding what is considered radio music now. She definitely is my inspiration.” Alexis Nicole also says she’s inspired by people like Monica and Brandy, “those are the artists who inspire me. I wouldn’t say they, [Chris Brown and Trey Songz] are inspirations to me, but they are motivation. Knowing that we came from the same proximity and location and seeing the work they put in and where they are now, helps me to keep going and work hard, because I can see that success comes from that.”
Alexis Nicole is certainly no stranger to working hard. In fact, as an independent artist, every day is a grind. She says that her process as an independent artist is a feat. “It’s very tough. Because when you don’t have a label backing you, there are many things you have to do on your own and you’re stuck with having to get it done because you don’t have the label’s connections. So it’s a lot of groundwork. It is really hands on.” However, the upside of being an independent artist is “having complete creative control over my music and where it goes.”
Alexis Nicole does it all, even creating her own treatments for her videos. “It is helping me to develop a strong, business mind.” Taking advantage of social medias and social networks has been a win for her on her journey to fame as well. “I can post something and reach more people than I ever could on foot, so it has definitely helped with getting my music out. It can be a great tool if used properly. I just utilize them all when I’m doing a video or dropping a mix tape or a new song. It’s like instant feedback, so I’m definitely grateful for the Internet.”
After conversing with Alexis Nicole, I learn that she is a straightforward, no-nonsense, well thought out chick. She certainly knows what she wants out of life and is willing to pound the pavement to get it. I respect her grind and I strongly believe it will pay off soon.
Check her out for yourselves citiXIns and tell me what you think of the up and coming R & B Soul Sister! Click on the links to hear a few of her tracks. You can also follow Alexis Nicole on Twitter, check out her Youtube, Myspace and of course hit up her website.
So, I am beginning principal photography for the film "Do You Like My Basement," and I am quite excited about this production. It is a suspense, horror, thriller and my first-I'm a virgin to this type of acting. Never saw myself doing this type of work before now. The auditions proved intense. I spent 3 hours prior prepping for the auditions, going so deep into my hurt, my pain that I had a head ache from crying! I gave myself a 30 minute break before auditioning so that I wouldn't look like Mike Tyson before going into the audition. So the prep worked well. A couple of weeks ago, the director brought me in to do some shoots in preparation for this weeks shoots. And I had to dig deep all over again. I tell you what- you can't "call in" this type of work. You really have to be living in the moment. I had to appear desperate, frightened, tired and more...it will pay off in the end, I think, I did a great job. We'll shall soon see.
Since, I was mentioned in my Director's Blog, (about the pre-shoot), thought I'd add his to mine. Read if you want...and Stay tuned for shooting day, blogs. I believe they will go well.