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Saturday, 01 March 2014 15:09

Box Mann - Thinking Outside The Box

Jeffrey Meyers, AKA Box Mann always enjoyed writing poetry but in 2005 at 15, poetry evolved into rap music. However, it wasn't until 2008 that he began to take it seriously. Today, he is not only serious about his own music; he has a passion for all music. With an ambitious go-getter attitude, a distinct voice and an infectious laugh, Box Mann plans to establish himself as a successful rap artist and savvy businessman.

It's actually the day after his 24th birthday celebration at Prive Nightclub in Atlanta and Box Mann has taken some time out to chat with timothedavis.com. Although he's admittedly still a little groggy from the previous evening events, Box Mann is more than clear about his vision for himself in the music industry.

Okay so I have to ask you about your stage name. Can you explain Box Mann and how you came up with it? It could be misunderstood...if you know what I mean?

(Chuckling) You know I let people come to their own conclusions about my name. But the truth is, it's not what you think. It's a childhood nickname. I used to box when I was younger and people started calling me Box Mann and it stuck. I've been Box Mann ever since.

So you are originally from New Jersey, but grew up in Connecticut. Now you reside in Atlanta. Yet, you had an extremely loyal following in Connecticut, so what made you leave?

I felt like I had maxed out in CT. I had done everything that I could do there, and it was time for me to move on if I wanted to get to the next level. I moved to Tennessee for a little bit, which was kind of a pit stop on the way to ATL. I've been in ATL for about a year and a half now.

How has being in ATL impacted your music, what makes the ATL music scene different from the CT music scene?

There are just more opportunities in ATL for rap artists. Again, I've only been here for about a year and a half, so it's been like starting from scratch. Not many people know who you are. Of course, the Internet helps a lot in getting connections, building a fan base and staying relevant. But down south music is a lot different because of all the independent artists. Also people down south bang out singles while people up north focus on making albums. That isn't a bad thing, but these days' people don't listen to albums anymore. Singles are a good push and sometimes people get deals from putting out singles. The downside is sometimes those people come and go very quickly.

Are you working towards a record deal or do you want to remain independent?

At first I craved a music deal with a major label. As time went on and after attending music conferences I started learning more and more that being attached to a label is like a slave deal with a whip and a chain (laughing). Seriously, it's like a slave deal. I'm all about being independent and not being a part of the machine, but to be independent you have to have a plan; a blueprint. The record labels are the machine, but I'm about building a team and building my own machine. You see there are a lot of people out here who have fame and no fortune. I want both and one way to ensure you have the fortune is by owning your music, publishing rights etc. It's a big deal because think about it, if you put all your time and passion into your music, you should fully reap the benefits and rewards. It's a great feeling to live off your own music. Think about it like this, if you sell 50,000 units independently that's great, because you are making money. If you sell 50,000 under a record label that's horrible and you definitely aren't making any money.

For me being independent is more than creating my own music. I'm just a very hands-on artist. I managed myself from the beginning. If you can't do something for me that I can do for myself then I don't need you. I have my own record label Smash House Studios which was started in 2010. We provide artist development services. An artist can get promoted, make records, do video shoots the whole nine yards.

What would you say sets you apart from other rappers?

I think me just being me sets me apart from other rappers. If I don't like something, I don't like it. I mean I just enjoy making music that I like. That kind of goes back to what I was saying about creating my own machine you know? Under a label it can be easy to lose yourself trying to please others. I like to be diverse and do all types of music. I don't want to be categorized or put into a box. I want my range to be crazy. I like to do the unexpected. I can go from gangsta, to showing a more easygoing metaphorical side. I understand that certain songs aren't for everyone. For example, if you listen to my song "Jello" it's pretty clear that song is made for the club/strip club. Then I have a song "Goodbye CT" that is more metaphorical and telling a story; going into detail about why I left Connecticut. I really enjoy wordplay and putting metaphors together. But then I also have another song called "Dumb it Down" that's one of those songs where you are getting a point across without going overboard metaphorically. So, I just like to be versatile and I want my music to reach a larger and diverse audience.

Who are you rap influences? What artists do you listen to?

I listen to all kinds of music and just have a general love for music. Some of the artists who have influenced me are Jay-Z, T.I., and Joe Budden. I definitely have respect for Joe Budden in particular. I like the realness about him and the way he is real with himself. You have to have a lot of balls to put stuff out about yourself and your personal demons. When it comes to being an independent artist I most definitely have respect for Tech N9NE. I just really respect his grind. I also listen to some local music. You know in ATL you can go to a club and there are a lot of different rappers giving out their music. I mean I don't listen to all of them, but I do think it's important to listen to and support other artists. How can you not support someone, but want them to support you. We are all trying to do the same thing.

You're debut album/mixtape dropped in 2012 called Bacon and Leggz. It's an interesting title, what was thought behind the title?

Well, the bacon symbolizes money and leggz symbolizes females – it's what the world revolves around right? (Laughing) I usually try to make sure my album titles have some meaning. I actually have plans to release an album towards the end of the summer called Frustration Hallucination. The meaning behind that is, as an artist sometimes you are frustrated because you may not be where you want to be in your career. Also, sometimes as an artist you see a dream of making it but everyone else around you can't see it, so it's like you are hallucinating. So that is the thought behind Frustration Hallucination.

What keeps you motivated to do what you do? What keeps you grinding?

Quite simply, what keeps me grinding is the passion and love for music. Even if there was no money made from it, I would still rap. That's real talk.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 01:52

"The Hopeless Pastures" Keith Soares

The Oasis of Filth – Part 2
The Hopeless Pastures

"The Oasis of Filth" delivered a sudden and shocking conclusion. In "The Hopeless Pastures," part two of the trilogoy, Keith Soares provides an impressive follow up that picks up where "Oasis" ends.

The doctor now lives outside the city walls, in a shack hidden deep in the woods. His companion is Addy, a rugged but loyal dog. They eek out their existence as the doctor, a man in his 60's, grapples with feelings of futility and hopelessness – what does he have to live for? This changes, though, when Alain, another refugee, discovers them.

Alain is a welcome addition to their family and having another human presence seems to reinvigorate the doctor's spirit and outlook. They eventually settle into living a "comfortable" but cautious existence, acutely aware that their world is filled with blood lusting zombies infected with the highly contagious RL2013 virus, as well as other refugees fighting for their own survival.

With "The Hopeless Pastures", it's as if Soares knew the reader would need a moment to exhale, digest, and come to terms with what happened at the end of Part 1. Although the story slows down a little, it doesn't become monotonous or boring. Like the characters in the book, as a reader, you can't let your guard down for too long. Before you know it, you are smacked in the face with a twist and the pace picks up like a runaway train. All aboard for the book number three!

You can check out the cover art for the third and final installment in the series, "From Blood Reborn" Part 3 at www.keithsoares.com.

Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:14

"The Oasis of Filth" Part 1 - Keith Soares

The Oasis of Filth by Keith Soares is a story narrated by a family doctor 10 years after the outbreak of a rare disease RL2013; a hybrid of rabies and leprosy. RL2013 changes normal people into violent, raging, blood thirsty zombies.

The government seals off cities in order to keep the infected away from the non-infected. However, life within the walls isn't what it used to be. With no cure imminent, the government believes that keeping the environment within the walls sanitized will help to one day overcome the disease. "Stay clean. Stay alive," becomes the mantra for those not infected and living in fear has become the norm - fear of the disease and fear of the government.

When the doctor meets Rosa, they become fast friends. Rosa is intrigued by the possibility the rumored Oasis exists. The Oasis is a safe place free of zombies and free of the disease; a myth and legend to most, but something people don't talk about. Unfortunately, her fascination with the Oasis gets back to the government and she is taken away.

This story is at times unsettling because it's so believable, which is a testament to the author. Keith Soares has written a fast-paced, extremely clever and witty, story. One of my favorite lines was, "These days there were only two types of people infected and not infected. I imagine racism was finally conquered." This speaks to what is truly at the heart of the story. It's not so much about the zombies, as it is about people, and how we choose to unite under extreme adversity.

Keith Soares manages to fit in plenty of action and just enough character development for a short story. It's like riding a rollercoaster through twists and turns and then comes to an abrupt end with a jolt. This leaves the reader not only stunned, but wanting to know more...thank goodness there is a sequel!

Reviewed by Brandi Harrington



Tuesday, 26 November 2013 15:17

Love In Translation - Sara Palacios

Emily’s love life is a mess. She recently discovered that her boyfriend has been cheating, and she can’t get herself together, despite the support of her two best friends Sophie and Deana.

Too many shots of vodka can blur your vision, and give you a hangover. But as Emily’s vision clears, she realizes that she can’t settle; that she has to be strong.

Will Emily’s broken heart mend? It looks like it will when handsome chef Andres walks into her life.

But then good-looking Steven – who’s always been there – proclaims his love.

What’s a girl to do? And who is she to choose?

“Love in Translation,” the debut novel by Sara Palacios is an easy-read, and any woman who has suffered a heartbreak will be able to relate to Emily’s sorrow. She’s had a tough break and is looking for a new love.

Sara P. does an impressive job of making the reader feel connected to Emily within the first few pages. It’s that investment in Emily that will keep the reader interested until the end. It kept me wanting to see Emily's "happily ever after."

I would like to have seen some greater development of the secondary characters. Emily is surrounded by some fun and interesting people that could have added another dynamic to the story. Nevertheless, the book reminded me of a movie “rom-com.” It’s sweet, light-hearted, and feel-good. The added bonus: You might learn a little Spanish when you read it!

Reviewed by Brandi Sawyer

Brandi is a former Kansas City Chief cheerleader, a newlywed, an avid reader, and isn’t afraid to drop the word “bitches” when appropriate.

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