Thursday, 24 July 2014

Miss Radcliffe Meets......Black Stax

Hip Hop Emcees Silas Blak and Jace ECAj teamed up with vocalist Felicia Loud and together became 'Black Stax'
The Seattle based trio have gained many fans (including myself) with their eclectic sound of Blues, Jazz, R&B, and Hip-Hop. Check out their live performance of 'They Want Me' which is the single from their Debut album 'Talking Buildings'

Silas Blak left the group to focus on his own musical creativity...but I had the opportunity to chat with Jace and Felicia.

Miss R: So..Jace, You and Silas came together to form 'Silent Lambs Project' Tell me how that came about? 

Jace: 'Silent Lambs Project' was created in 1996 when we combined both of our crews, 4th Party and Blind Council. This was a time in Seattle when things were very challenging. You had to be Dope. Whatever your style was to even be 'allowed' on the M I C. It was a real competitive time...good times! No mediocre allowed!  
But, we were doing our own thing and we saw strength and challenge in the combination 'cause most katz in the town were a lil' nervous about that union I think.

Miss R: How did 'Black Stax' get together?

Felicia: Jace, Blak and I have always had a respect for one another as performers. In watching each other and listening to the messages in our music. The brotha's approached me one day and asked what I thought about collaborating with them to form a Hip-Hop group that utilizes a vocalist. Not a vocalist that would perform  purely as a "hook" for the MC's but one who would be an extension of a sound they already had. Of course any new instrument will change a sound of any original sound and we knew that going in, but we all knew the genre would remain Hip-Hop.

Jace: Watching and Listening to a true songbird that the world needs to hear, while standing next to the dopest MC you've come across..It kinda made sense.
It was like being in a room with all your favourites and ya'll don't at least have a jam session!? 
So, we sat, ate, had communion and decided to challenge one another and our comfort zones and createed 'Black Stax'

Combine raw ass vocals with raw ass raps with live instruments to accent, and you get the roots of 'Black Stax'! 'Black Stax' is stacking all forms of Black Music to create the best music...with messages no doubt.

Miss R: Do you each have your own process when coming together to write a song?
Felicia: For me, once there is an idea I want to convey, I start writing whatever thoughts come to mind.

Jace: I Love vibing with a cut for a minute. Get the theme, vibe with my comrades...take in the energy. When the concept hits me, let it go! From street talk, to politics, the music biz, to community concerns, questions/suggestions, to experiences  and the empowerment of my People!
Also, getting in a creative space and seeing where everyone is on the cut and seeing if you need to step your game up. We are always challenging each other to be the Best.
We tell each other when entering the booth or the stage "Be Great"

Miss R: I love the album 'Talking Buildings'  My top tracks are I Love My Life, No Ordinary & They Want Me. Do you have  any favourite tracks off the album?

Felicia: 'Songs Like These'  'Mama Out The Kitchen'  and 'You Don't Want to F..k With This' are a few of my favourites.

Jace:  Whoa...That's a Haaaard One!! I think the whole album has an essence...seriously,  but' Mama Be'  'Runaway'  'Warrior Spirit'  'Chasin Words' 'The Hardest'  and 'I Love my Life'..
I like a few of those joints just based on the pure form the album was created in. I'll stop there.

Miss R: What are you working on right now?

Felicia: Jace and I are continuing to pin point Black Stax's sound with the assistance of a very talented group of musicians. Their name is Klyentel.

Jace: We are working with producers outside the region and releasing new music outside of the US. Things are busy...which we like. Also we are sharing that LIVE album with the World! Have you heard it??

 I always hear how Hip Hop needs to do this and do that. But, sometimes to find the jewels you step out of the Popular and go with the Pugilist...The Raw!
There are so many jewels with GREAT Art that don't always use the same lane to be as exposed as others. But, if you're truly in it for the art that's part of the fun...finding new ill Sh*t!

Miss R:  Has your life changed at all since being in the music industry?

Felicia: My life has changed but I would not contribute that to the music industry. Music has been a part of my life from childhood. I will say the music industry has changed my outlook on the difference between a working artist and a starving artist. A working artist works. A starving artist works at being a great artist regardless if they eat a feast or a snack.

Jace: Changed?? Nah, not really. This industry does allow for certain things to happen or get certain experiences, be exposed to things that don't happen everyday. But, the People in my Life are Real people who do Real things..So  I gotta keep up.

Miss R: Are there any other creative avenues you wish to explore? Felicia, is it true you are also an actress?

Jace: My real passion is the Youth. So, I'm working on a few things surrounding that. I don't like to talk about that, just do the work. Cause that's what they need...stop All this Talking and Sh*t! I've met some real genuine and skilled People who have the same, there Movement.
Felicia: Yes I am an actress. I would like to direct a theatrical play. I would also love to direct a tour show for 'Black Stax' outside the U.S.

Miss R: Which artist/producer would you like to work with in the future?
Felicia: Too many to name. I will start with Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kanye, India Arie, The Roots, Eryka Badu, Ledisi, Nomad da Nomadic. This list goes on. However I will say this, I would like to continue working with the producers and the musicians here in Seattle but on the highest level. All the producers on our album are very talented artists and it would be wonderful to keep building with them.

Jace: That's a tricky question cause as time goes, you get to meet so many talented artists, known and unknown. We just finished a show with two artists that I want to work with, Naomi Wamboe and Maimouna is already done! But, when getting a chance to experience some of these artists, you get a chance to see where it could or couldn't work regardless of what your preconceived idea was. I'm a Vibe kat, so, if I wanted to do a cut with you or never thought about doing a cut with you. Then, I experience you and you're the Truth...I wanna Work! Especially, if we can be in the room together longer than 2 hours -:)

So, without doing that..I'll say, let's have the experience and do work!

Miss R: Looking back from when you first started to now, how have you each developed as an artist?

Felicia: I would say I communicate with the audience better. I also communicate with other artists better than I before.

Jace: I've been Blessed to work with some of the best that do my I feel more skilled and prepared to present the craft.


Miss R: Do you enjoy performing live? Do you ever get nervous before a show?
Felicia: To be honest I always perform Live, even when in the studio. I find it very stressful when I perform in the studio. In the studio the producer, the engineer, the artists, and musicians are listening for flaws, that is our job to recreate digitally what we want people to feel naturally. If I had the choice to use the studio to practice what we create but perform live and record live for every album I would be that artist. At some point and time before every show I get a little nervous.
Jace: Love LIVE shows, think it removes any disguises...Energy is Real, from person to person, mic to audience. Love the feel of a LIVE audience...nothing like it!! Always give Thanks for being able to share my instrument, so there's always an awareness... A touch of excitement!

Miss R: Do you have any shows/Tours planned? and do you plan on coming to the UK?
Felicia: We have one more show coming up in August. No tours as of yet. I have never been to the UK and would love to perform there. However, traveling outside of the country on our own dime is not an option. We will travel to those who can affords to send for us.  :)
Jace: Always prepared to leave but when doing things as a independent you have to be smart with the moves you make. Regardless how great your team is..and, ours is!!
Looking to get a booking agent or connection that can find the right avenues to help us proceed in our mission to travel the World playing Black Stax Music!!
Would love to get to UK!! 

Miss R: Is there anyone in the Seattle music scene I should be looking out for?

Felicia: Piece Laura Kelly, Reggie Lefluer, Latonya Horace, Josie Howell, Tiffany Willison, Darrius Willrich, Soul Senate,
Thadilac, Cascadia 10, Brassmatics, klyentel, Christa bell, Oteyeno, Floyd Barnes & Shontina

Silas Blak
Yirim Seck                                        Nacho Picaso
Sax G                                                Flavor Blue
Raz Simone                                       RoyceDa Choice
Fleeta Partee                                      JMAR da Sic
Delton Son                                         Heather Gin
Lady Tasz                                           Parker Brothaz
Mad Lines                                          The Physics
Klyntel                                                Soul Senate
LaTanya "Sista Luv" Horace              Moor Gang
Queen MaryDean                                Gift da Gab
Dice                                                     Infamous
Chokalate                                            Gabriel Teadros
Tiffany Wilson                                    Suntionio Bandanaz
Darrius Wilrich                                   Tomeka Williams
Wojack                                                Edawg
Shabazz Palaces                                 Thee Satisfaction
XP                                                       Afrok
The Goodsin 
We also have some young katz that's killing the game right now...Koha and his comrades at Brave New Voices (spoken word artists)
Some of these are doing the work, some are skilled...shift thru the Art to Figure it Out!!
'City of Jewels' SEA
Miss R: Thank you Black Stax. Much love.
Check out "I love My Life" the first single from 'Talking Buildings'

Follow Black Stax on Twitter and check out their website!

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