In The Spotlight w/ 1neofmani

I sit with LessWork Local Lifestyle’s owner, Breyon Sommerville aka 1neofmani, in Madison, Wisconsin. A brilliant mind that’s determined to make a way and not just be a wave with his street-wear, music, and business, as he continues to prosper under the LessWork brand.

For those who aren’t aware, share with the audience who 1neofmani is versus who Breyon is.

1neofmani is a local artist focused on motivating the self-starters who carry the weight of creating something sustainable. My goal is to create a template (using my career as an example) for local rap artists to follow by sustaining their lifestyle while remaining Local. That’s the first thing. Outside of everything I do, it all comes back to the music. 

“My music is the soundtrack to my real life.”

Breyon is the 1st and last. I am my father’s first and only child and the final of 4 (3 boys and 1 girl) children on my mother’s side. I am now a father myself, currently of two intelligent little girls whom I plan to incorporate in my work as they grow a more natural interest in the business. However, there isn’t much of a difference between myself and my moniker. I am still me regardless of the many hats I extend. 

You have multitudes of skill sets that are portrayed daily for the masses. What is it all that you do as an artist and an entrepreneur? 

That’s a great question because, as an artist, you are an entrepreneur without question. I do whatever it takes to sustain my lifestyle. I run a for-profit black-owned business that focuses on local artists that rap. Offering street-wear apparel, lifestyle photography, niche artist branding, and studio recording w/ Oddly Arranged Media, with who we share a roof, with their offices located down the hall from LessWork. As a local artist and company ambassador, my job is to create soundtracks to the lifestyles of local artists. No matter the genre. I want my message in music to be that transparent. #WeTheWayNotTheWave because our music and business contributions are directional. As to alert other artists on how to move locally in a global way.

You title yourself as “The Brains” of Lesswork Local Lifestyle. Still, you are also mostly the face throughout the social media platform, and the local artist known as K.I.L.O. What is the story behind how the Lesswork brand was born? 

That’s Undeniable. To convince others that #LessWork Way is the way. We must win big on our own terms and template our approach to assure it’s measurable and worth pursuing again and again. That’s the formula. I am the brains because I created the formula LessWork lives by today. If you looked at the music scene in Madison five years ago, local artists were focused solely on being affiliated with the talent side of the local industry. No other artists or companies created lanes for other artists to embrace being local when the music was turned off. Here we are today, more artists connecting themselves to some form of merchandise. We have more active L.G.B.T.Q. and female hip-hop artists than ever before. Black-owned businesses are hosting pop-up shops weekly. Artists are starting to see the end at the beginning of what they are doing. I am fully aware of the influence our ways have encouraged this saturated inspiration. Scroll down memory lane on LessWork (K.I.L.O. & 1neofmani) social media involvement and then come back to today. LessWork, in the representation of local artists, stands for collaborations without waiting for validation. We’ve always controlled our own narratives inside and outside of the musical spectrum.

What is the purpose of Lesswork Local Lifestyle? What are you hoping artists and/or supporters will get out of it? 

LessWork purpose is served daily. We operate on our own terms and created Madison’s first hub for local artists to engage and feel accepted as creatives. Currently, we’re hosting a GoFundMe page (LessWork Lifestyle 1-Stop Solution) with intentions to launch the world’s 1st subscription-based hip-hop production house in 2022, God-Willing. Once fully operational, LessWork will be modeled after companies with modern business models. Such as Planet Fitness and Netflix. Where users pay low dollar amounts monthly and receive maximum value as we plan to make our money based on the database of our users. To learn more about LessWork Local Lifestyle, the best thing to do is to visit our physical store or log in online. 

You just dropped a new single called “Another 1ne.” What inspired you to create this new song?  

That’s actually an unreleased single. We are currently testing responses from my immediate music supporters. The supporters who heard the single have all great answers thus far. I use that as confirmation that I can stay true to myself musically, no matter where I take it artistically. It will definitely get tweaked more if I tend to use it on any material. Which is dope because this is not a record my immediate supporters would even expect from me. “Another 1ne” is an upbeat motivational-chanting record layered in auto-tune to emphasize the melodic lyrics. I speak directly to myself within my music because I believe in writing about your real life. From constantly going back and forth with music, I am now preparing to release my first solo project. I’m still debating whether to release it on any other platforms besides LessWork for the first year, then maybe re-release it for online distributors. Still cooking that 1ne.

You have another single displayed throughout the streaming services called “Love Is Love” that you dropped in 2020. Are we expecting more music to be published by you? Any plans for an album/mixtape soon?

“Love Is Love” is the first of many solo releases from my upcoming project titled “1ne of 1ne,” which will feature 11 essential songs displaying who 1neofmani is as an artist and exposing listeners to my way of thinking. All my beats are provided in-house by my hometown teammate, 9 Got Hitz (9GH). My recording sessions are also completed by an in-house engineer and fellow recording artist Marcus Porter. 

By the way, you are correct. That record is available everywhere for purchase, including on the LessWork website. This record set the tone for me visually, allowing me to highlight LessWork and Oddly Arranged Media contributions to Madison. 

*Spoiler Alert: I plan to shoot all my videos from the office location to maximize the value of the entire building inside and out. In turn, this will make it easier for current and new supporters to follow and catch up to my career’s process. The next video we’re planning to shoot is titled: “Wittus,” which a snippet of it can be heard at the end of the “Love Is Love” video.

What inspires your lyricism and message within your music? What are you hoping fans get out of your music? 

I’m my biggest fan and critic, so I write to impress myself 1st. Then I include my environment as I view my music as the soundtrack to my real life. I hope my fans gain a perspective of my thought process and catch on to how I’ve positioned myself and the assets centered around me. #WeTheWayNotTheWave 

Which other artists influence your creativity, whether it’s music, fashion, etc.?

It’s a gang of people that influence my creativity. Most of them are not recording artists, though. I don’t limit my contributions to the realms of artistry. Music, in general, is a tool designed to play on human emotions. I am great with words, and I overstand the power they hold. I find influence within the risk-takers of the world who humbly accept positive recognition and hold themselves accountable without bias regarding their flaws. If this person or people happen to rap or make music, it makes it that much more inevitable for us to in some way connect. The contributions I’ve made and plan to make are not out of necessity. I want to be clear on that. All and everything that I do is based on survival mode in my life and career. 

Are you aware of the T-Pain rant that went viral about artists sounding the same? Do you believe in his outlook? 

I believe he and whoever else feels that way are entitled to their opinions. As an artist, I have created my best music while dealing with the highs and lows of this life. My advice is for any recording artist with an opinion about anything. Put it in words and make a record of it. Or simply, #WriteItDownOrYouPlaying.

What do you think is the best philosophy for artists to strive to be seen or heard without being seen as a copy of another artist? 

“When your goals and your heart are aligned, you are going to be successful.” So be yourself. I wanna’ look back on my life with no regrets. Living 100% of my truth and actively pursuing what is in my heart; eventually, I will be rewarded with the fruits of my labor. I really believe that. Trophies and cloud smoke. We Say, 🏆💨 – 1neofmani of LessWork. 

The Roots of My Passion: Hip-Hop Music

As my articulate works blossom, you will witness my passion within the music community, mainly hip-hop & rap genres. You are probably wondering how the hell some woman from the small-town USA demographics and mentality would turn out to have such an admiration and love for the hip-hop community and the black community.

We didn’t have a lot of diversity where I am from, but we had a very few biracial kids we grew up with and biracial cousins in our own family. So that in itself taught me the basics of acceptance. For my passion for the hip-hop community in general, I blame my brothers (laughing). As early as I can remember, specifically fourth grade, I remember Andy (the oldest) driving us to school half the time rather than riding on the bus. It all depended on his schedule, to be honest, but we would listen to different music, but preferably Hip-Hop and R&B, because that is what Jon (my other older brother) only listened to while growing up.

We would listen to The Lox, Boyz II Men, Da Brat, Will Smith, 2Pac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, etc. I was rapping along lyrics that my mom would probably have flipped about if she knew that was the type of music my brothers listened to around me. Can you imagine a ten-year-old white girl from an area where it’s so tiny that two towns had to join to be one school district? Let alone with only two biracial kids in the entire school at the time blasting “Gin & Juice” by Snoop Dogg in her big brother’s car? Yeah, that was me (laughing).

Three music albums would define my fandom and passion for Hip-Hop and other similar genres. The very first album and artist that would draw me into hip-hop would be Est. 1999 Eternal and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. My brothers introduced me to the next album, the Dr. Doolittle Soundtrack, released in 1998, produced by Timbaland. I was twelve at the time. Ginuwine’s song “Same Ol’ G” was my jam considering my last name started with a G, and I even had big dreams back as a kid. Aside from Ginuwine’s song, that album has fire after fire for each artist’s single put on that album. The second album would be Tupac’s two-disc Greatest Hits collection album released in 1998, only two years after his death. 

The rest is history, and the exposure of hip-hop culture through access to MTV, BET, etc… would open my heart and eyes when it came to enlisting. My experience with the military truly cultured me with diversity and various backgrounds that represented the melting pot of the United States of America. The fallacy that felt so real within our military community made me believe that as long as we carry the US Flag with pride (or whichever coalition forces worked with us in Iraq/Afghanistan), you were my brother and sisters in arms.

I never comprehended or understood the miseducation and various issues as a child, or even right away with the military. However, the music and entertainment that was presented to me never stopped me from enjoying the events that provided and supported each soldier’s, airmen, etc… with salsa nights and hip-hop nights. These events were meant as morale boosters for those homesick in a war zone. It was a different atmosphere that I didn’t know really existed before the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I sensed it, considering I was one of the few white folks going to every single hip-hop night throughout my tour in Taji, Iraq, back in 2006-2007.

My love for hip-hop would expand lyrically through artists like T.I., Kanye West, Eminem, Twista, etc. Of course, Mike Shinoda would release his album, “Rising Tied,” under his Fort Minor brand back right after I finished Advanced Individual Training, and I would play that album non-stop all through my deployment. The females would get so damn annoyed with me in the barracks, because “Where’d You Go” was my song during that deployment, and I would also have it as my ringtone for my phone at the time (laughing).

My battle buddies from Waco, Texas, whom I would bond with, would introduce me to artists like Tech N9ne as we pass the time with Spades on a nightly ritual working overnights at the dining facility. I would be more stoked when Bone Thugs, who are my all-time favorite hip-hop group, would release an album called “Strength & Loyalty” to help me get through the rest of my deployment in 2007.

Thank you for reading my blog. In return, I give you a playlist of Hip-Hop and R&B music that helped me through my deployment on Spotify!

Top 10 #BLM Films/Series:

Since May 30th, our global society has been transforming itself into a chaotic wake up call with the issue of police brutality and the continuous evidence of minorities not having the same equity of life as those who fall under white privilege.

I’ve had my share of unlearning the white man’s knowledge of American History, and growth over the years when it comes to American History, and I continue to put aside my own trauma and issues to sit and radically listen to my peers to hear their stories and allow them to provide me facts and evidence of their reality, while I proved my own radical listening, empathy, and understanding.

Right now they are tired. They are tired of talking without anyone listening. The are tired of the questions from those who simply have a hard time comprehending. They are tired of the “All Lives Matter” debacle that goes against the reality of blacks being 3x more likely to be shot and killed by police. They are simply tired.

I have a responsibility of a film maker and a film lover, to take the time to put together my top ten favorite strong black lead films and/or series that provide legitimate educational value for those who want a better understanding of the systematic oppression our fellow Americans have suffered through for the past 400 years, as well as, some of the greatest icons in black history that may or may have not been in your history textbooks growing up.

All I ask from this list is be aware of the fictional aspects of the films and take the time to dig into a deeper research of the events within the topics and figures provided with each film. I am asking, for those willing to listen and learn to do with empathy, while watching these stories, and don’t forget the Kleenex, because you will need them.

  1. Roots (Hulu): An adaptation of the 1977 mini-series, Roots chronicles the history of an African man sold to slavery in America, and his descendants. 

  2. Harriet (Rent/Vudu): The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman‘s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

  3. MalcolmX (Netflix): Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

  4. 13th (Netflix): An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

  5. I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime): Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.

  6. Selma (Amazon Prime): A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

  7. The Hate U Give (Rent/Vudu): Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.

  8. DETROIT (Hulu): A gripping story of one of the most terrifying moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ’67.

  9. Just Mercy (Rent/Vudu): World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

  10. When They See Us (Netflix): Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.

    Honorary mentions: Marshall (Netflix), LA92 (Netflix), Teach Us All (Netflix), Ali (Amazon Prime), 12 Years a Slave (Rent)…

Q&A Feature: Legendary A.T

Legendary A.T is a multi-talented artist who’s musical passion has brought her multitude strides of courage and unapologetic attitude towards her craft to tell her very own story. Now I sit here and spend some time with her as I present to her a platform to tell her story with us.  IMG_8609

In your own words, who is Legendary A.T?

Legendary A.T is a singer, songwriter, rapper & musician from Lonoke, Arkansas. I’m extremely passionate about music and creates it when I feel that I have something to say. I’m a real artist who only speaks on real life experiences that I’ve been through.

How did you come up with your stage name, Legendary A.T? What does the acronym or initials, A.T stand for in your name?

‘Legendary’ was inspired by Bob Marley’s Legend album. When I was introduced to his music, I began researching him and reading up about who he was. I was inspired by what he stood for as an artist. I wanted to choose a name that would represent who I am and what I want to achieve, which is someone who would stand out with a distinctive style of music that people can relate to. I want my music to live on forever. I want to always touch and motivate the people who listens to it, even if it’s 20 or 30 years from now.  A.T represents the first and last initials of my last name which is Angela Terry.

What’s the story of how you got into music? How long have you been working as an artist?

I’ve been a musician since I was 7 or 8. I started out playing the drums at church, and as I get older I’ve always knew that I wanted to sing and rap from being inspired by Lauryn Hill. I began writing poetry and song lyrics when I was 14. I started pursuing music and recording professionally in 2016 with Ferocious Production Studios here in Little Rock.

Were you also magnified towards music, or did you once gravitate to a different route in your life?

Music has always been apart of me for as long as I can remember. Saturday mornings, in the early 90s, I used to hear my mom listen to artist like Sade, Anita Baker, and Howard Hewitt when she would clean our home. I knew since I was a kid that I wanted to do music. It just felt right. I come from a family of musicians.

You just released your second album, S. Murray (A Different Side). How is this album different from your first? How did you come up with the title of your new album?

S.Murray (A Different Side) differs from my  Back To Me, album because the messages in my lyrics are a bit more in depth with what I’ve experienced and endured from me speaking about being molested. I’m able to show people my creative storytelling abilities. Also, my different styles of writing music I do without traditionally being categorized to just one genre. I’m able to create from all angles, hence the title, (A Different Side). The S.Murray portion of my album title was named after a close friend who inspired a few songs on the album. I began writing music for the album back in 2017.

You had the privilege of collaborating with Tray Chaney on a song on your new album. How did that come about and what was it like to work with a well-known artist like Tray Chaney?

I’ve followed Tray’s career since HBO’s The Wire series when he played ‘Poot’. Years later, he appeared on one of my favorite shows Saints and Sinners as Kendrick. I began following him on Instagram, and I started seeing him post about his music.  It was different, unique and positive. Tray has his own style, so I reached out and after a year of trying to get in contact with his people, we finally connected. I like his vibe. He’s a super humble and laid back individual.  I explained the concept of the song and that I wanted to feature him on, I sent it over, and the rest was history. I think he’s an amazing talented,  inspiring, motivational artist whom I’d like to work with again!

Do you have other artists on your bucket list that you would love to work with?

I would love to work with Lauryn Hill, Seal, Sade, Phil Collins, and Paul Hardcastle. I’m a huge fan of their crafts.

How does it personally feel to have your own billboard ad in your state to promote your new album?

It’s always felt surreal to me, because I’m not a mainstream artist, as of yet, and we mostly only see major artists on billboards. I had imagined seeing my face on different billboards within Arkansas and other places, and I’ve made that happen. It is amazing and I feel somewhat accomplished in a way.

For an artist in Arkansas, what would the audience not know of the career development compared to those that are artists in a metropolitan area like Atlanta, Los Angeles, or New York?

Nothing comes easily. Being from Arkansas, you have to work hard to be heard, because there’s not a big market for music here although Arkansas is filled with talent. If you’re not consistent and willing to go that extra mile by marketing yourself, you’ll never be heard in my opinion.

What is something about Arkansas, or even the people, that you would like to share that outsiders probably wouldn’t know about the state? What keeps you to stay, rather than taking your career to another city?

Arkansas has some of the best musical talents, actors, and  historical icons such as Civil Rights crusader Daisy Bates, Former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders (who was the first black woman to hold that post position in country), Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Poet/Actress Maya Angelou, Scottie Pippen, Al Green, Billy Bob Thornton, etc… all hail from Arkansas. I love the history here, plus most of my family is in Arkansas. It’s my home.

Do you feel the availability of social platforms and our modern tech world has helped those in more remote areas to be discovered?

Absolutely! I’ve heard so many artists have become overnight sensations with sites such as SoundCloud. You can upload your music and you never know who may hear it, and just like that an artist’s song could become a hit record.

In your album, S. Murray (A Different Side), the interlude “No Love for You” spoke out to me. Especially the line, “Told me, I shouldn’t have told people who molested me…” That’s a powerful interlude. What gives Legendary A.T her strength and her voice? What gave you the influence to speak out about that raw aspect of your story? Does it help that it gives others, who feel they don’t have a voice, something to relate to?

I get my strength from God and my supporters. Some people are  afraid to speak up about being abused. One of the main reasons people don’t speak out about being abused is, because they feel that no one will believe them, or they may receive backlash as I did when I outed my molester back in 2017. I did not have much support from my family. Some tried to make me feel as if I was bringing shame on my family.

Overcoming that hurt is why I write these type of raw lyrics, so that my supporters will know how I was treated, and I will use my voice and be support system to other victims out there. I never completely allowed certain family members to tear me down when I’m  a survivor of molestation. I felt as if they tried to regulate my healing process by saying things such as “I should let it go and forgive” or that “I shouldn’t have spoken openly about it”. I was even told by someone that me speaking about being molested could ruin me trying to to pursue music, but I never listened to them.

What other projects are you working on now? What’s next for Legendary A.T?
What should we expect from you in 2020?

I’m always constantly writing music, and I’ve been invited on a few projects as a featured artist, which you’ll be hearing soon. My goal by 2020 is to be known worldwide. A artist who touches people with my music. I will also like to have my 3rd released by fall of 2020. That’s the goal.

Your talents expand from singing, to playing the drums, to playing the acoustic guitar. Would you have a hidden talent that your fans may not know of?

I’ve always been an aspiring massage therapist. I’ve always been great with my hands, so yea, that’s one of my many talents. I enjoy relaxing people, because of the benefits your body gets  by getting massages. I used to make money in High School giving messages during class to my teachers and some classmates. I would give them shoulder massages or hand massages and they’d fall asleep (laughs). That’s when I knew I had a special gift.

We Can’t Heal Alone

2db2aa9b-ca54-43e2-8fe5-0bdf3df5cce6A special someone in my life told me last night that, “We can’t heal alone…” and that’s been sticking with me all day. He is right, so for those who sincerely been loving and supporting me, if it seems I am taking you for granted, I deeply apologize. I promise, I am not.

Survival mode is a pain to climb out of after decades of fighting demons alone. Figured I switch up and express my gratitude, instead of allowing my mind to resort to the worse case scenario in my position. You are appreciated beyond words.

…and for those who are trying to take efforts beyond measures to ensue my accomplishments and success, I am trying to open myself, but the leap of faith is my current biggest fear in my life, especially of having crashed and burned by someone I took a leap of faith on fairly recently. I’m still healing…