In The Spotlight w/ Jamie Triller

As I sit here with my questions, I contemplate and reflect on the imagery that America is displaying today. I can’t help, but see that we struggle with exposing artists of the lifestyle and culture of the blue collars and the farmers in the heartland that carry the agriculture industry on their backs for this complex nation. Even though it seems more common to throw the city life in the spotlight, social media and a specific music evolution is making it easier for us to find artists beyond metropolitan areas like New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.

One state that has a multiple talented artists that are getting discovered is Iowa. A lot of talented rappers resides or are from Iowa. Some names are Torrian Ball (who now resides in LA to further his career), Random Tanner, Luka Duffie, Klazik, and also the artist I have the privilege to feature on this In The Spotlight! post. Even if you haven’t heard of them yet, certainly you will. I sit down and get an inside scoop on where Jamie Triller’s life has been and where its going on his current path.

If you were a Webster dictionary definition, how would you define Jamie Triller?? 

There are a lot of things that come to my mind when trying to define oneself. Putting thirty years of life into a definition seems unreal, but I would say Jamie Triller symbolizes love, pain, humility, and struggle if I were to give my best swing at it.

Your first single, “Heat Treatment,” was released in 2018… what is the story of your music and becoming a rapper/artist?  

The 1992 album by Dr. Dre, The Chronic, inspired me to be a hip-hop artist. I was about 13 years old, and something inside me just knew that I wanted to be involved in hip-hop. So when I was 16 years old, I did my first record with Mister Mercenary of Wasted ENT under Chronic. I continued to make music with him and the Wasted ENT crew up until I went to prison for five years. Once I got out in 2015, me and Mister Mercenary came together for a collaboration album called the Blazin’ Aces

After that album, I took some time to re-evaluate who I was as an artist and a person. I stayed involved in the music community, sharing and promoting other artists but quit actively making music. In 2018, I hooked up with Random Tanner and started helping him with his merchandise table. We had a lot of discussions about the music and imagery, and we both re-branded ourselves. Once I found my brand, I took things seriously, and in 2018 I debuted myself as a Jamie Triller with my first single, “Heat Treatment.” That song pretty much wraps up that whole story in four minutes. I try to keep my music as relevant as possible and true to my life without putting too much glitter into it.

You just dropped another song collaboration with Random Tanner called “Born and Raised.” This isn’t your first collaboration with Tanner. What is the story that created this talented collaboration team? 

Well, like I said, I started off helping Random Tanner with merchandise, and then he let me be on a few of his shows. Since then, we have been rocking with each other pretty tough. I believe that the country aspect of it all came when we did a photo shoot with Joe Gibbs, and we were joking around about how it looks like it could’ve been a country-style photo shoot. Don’t quote me on this, but then a post went out to see what people would think about us doing a collaborative country rap album, and the people responded well. I had a song concept called “Fire Jack Beam,” and we collaborated to make it the fantastic song it is today. So here we are, with two country-rap songs later with a third one on the way, and the people have responded so well that we decided to keep it going. We also did more of a pop-rock type song called crashing down; I feel like anything that Tanner and I work on together is exceptional, and we make fantastic music together. When we are on stage, we complement each other really well. I know his songs. He knows mine, and we bring a lot of energy when we hit the scene, so it works really well.

What is the essence of your collaboration with Random Tanner, and what are y’all trying to bring to life with your music? Is there an album in the works for the songs you do together? 

Our collaborations start with an idea/concept or even sometimes just the instrumental. With “Born and Raised,” Tanner had already made a concept, and Aaron Isaacson had created this fantastic instrumental; we decided that we needed to make a Song all about the Iowa lifestyle through our eyes. At first, I didn’t think we were creating an anthem, but after we finished the song and shot the video, it became clear that this was definitely our own anthem for our state. I really believe that we will be dropping an album with all of our country-rap collaborations. Nothing is set in stone as far as dates. We try to bring to life a story that you can visualize with every song, even if there isn’t a video for it. I know we both want music that people can relate to, and we try to put our hearts into every song to let people better understand who we are as people.

Why was “Born and Raised” such an important song to bring to life? What’s the significance of the single?  

The significance of “Born and Raised” is a look into our opinion of what the fun side of Iowa can look like. We wanted to do a song for Iowa and give it justice by making a video which we initially invested in an animated video. Still, after some time and discussion with our people, we decided that we needed to go all out and make an actual music video. Keep in mind country rap in Iowa is something that neither of us could find anybody else doing, so I feel like that was the sole purpose of us doing country rap.

Wisconsin has Lil Wayne for our Cheesehead anthems. Iowa has you and Tanner. Do you think every state should have its own anthem?  

I think it’s essential that each person has their own identity, so should each state and a person who is willing to put it into a song, they should do just that. There shouldn’t be any limitation on creativity, but yeah, I think that each state should represent itself proudly and if it’s in a song, then go for it.

Do you feel anthems are significant to our identities? Why or why not?  

I feel like this anthem is definitely substantial to our identity, especially putting a visual out there. I think the point is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company to build each other and stay young. Also, an anthem that has to be restricted to one state could be a party anthem, a sad anthem, and a happy anthem. It just depends on what you’re feeling. Music touches a lot of different emotions and feelings within people. I feel like everybody should have their own song they consider their anthem. I know that music has gotten me through some really rough times, and it’s also helped me celebrate good times.

Do you feel you and Tanner succeeded with “Born and Raised” and how it speaks for all Iowans? Do you see it being remixed with adding another Iowan artist?  

I feel like Tanner, and I did justice on “Born and Raised’. It’s one of my favorite songs, for sure. Just looking at the numbers that we did within the first week I’m born and raised, we blew many of our other stuff out of the water. The video went semi-viral on my TickTock, and we had every corner of Iowa showing love in the comments. I feel like we definitely succeeded in our goal. I can see other Iowa artists jumping in and remixing it. That would actually be pretty cool. As far as speaking for all Iowans, I know that’s an over generalization, and we can’t speak for everybody. We can only hope that people listen to the message and take something from it, and if they don’t like it, that’s OK; not everybody will enjoy what we do.

Other than “Born and Raised,” my favorite single of yours is “Don’t Be Mad.” It makes me wonder, which song or music video was the most fun for you to record or create?  

My top favorite songs/videos to create are definitely “Born and Raised” and then “Crashing Down.” Without the help of business owners and friends, we couldn’t make this happen, so shout out to everybody who has let us use their properties or businesses to let us film these fantastic videos.

What is next for Jamie Triller? Are you planning to release your own album with your own stories? 

I’m currently working on more singles right now. I am restricted to how much I can do with quality being my budget isn’t the greatest. I have a six-month-old, and my son is my main priority; slowly but surely, I will drop a debut album. I don’t wanna rush it; I definitely want to take my time and make sure that it is what I absolutely want to put out there for everybody to listen to from front to back. I’m pretty picky about what I put out there. I don’t wanna just put out music just to put out music; I wanna make sure that it’s quality and well rounded all the way through. I got a new single that’ll be coming out soon called “Bandz.” The song is produced by Nicholas Beats By Trill.

Until the single, “Bandz” is released, here is the music video for “Born and Raised.”

In The Spotlight w/ Marcus Porter

As I sit here sunk into this black leather couch surrounded by anthem beats and blue saturated walls writing these questions, I am witnessing and studying Marcus Porter in his own process. Honestly, it’s the usual vibe of productivity, we are just missing two of our team members. The show must still go on, while I marinate in Marcus Porter’s lyrics and story.

The pandemic really was tough on everyone. How were you able to keep yourself afloat, mentally and physically,  during our lock-down?

During the pandemic, I was able to sit back & create without having to feel rushed. But, of course, I also did a lot of reading and anime watching

Anything you discovered about yourself during the pandemic? 

 I discovered my love for all types of art again. I had lost it because I wasn’t focused on it or trying to seek it out. But once I did, I fell in love again.

I have had the privilege to sit in the studio with you recently. You have a very intriguing writing process when it  comes to your songs. Can you tell the audience how that process goes? Which comes first for you, the hook, the  verse, or the beat?  

 The beat is usually the first thing that comes, and sometimes it’s just a simple four or eight bar loop. Then I typically start humming to myself until I find something that sticks. Sometimes it’s the hook first, but lately, it’s been the verses to come then the hook. But I always write from my heart.

You just dropped the single, “Born Black”, how did that come about? What influenced the song?  

“Born Black” came about during quarantine when George Floyd was murdered. So the song is a reflection of my own life experience. It was also influenced by many others who’ve dealt with racism, mistreatment, & death simply due to their skin pigment and social injustice. I was born black. Along with others, we’ve been seeking, fighting for, and addressing our shortcomings when it comes to black women & protecting them from the nonsense we deal with.

What do you want your audience/listeners to take with them after listening to “Born Black?” or any other song  you create?  

I am fighting for everyone and know the struggles we face, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I just try to be relatable and give them good content and sound to vibe to no matter what the scenario. My music represents my experiences and who I am as an individual.

Performing in Portage, WI. 6.19.2021

“Born Black” isn’t the only song you have with a feature on your upcoming album. Who else is featured on this  upcoming album? 

I have a few different features for the project. They are Chakari, K.I.L.O., 1neofMani, Juciee Monroe, Jay B Coolin, The King, so it’s pretty stacked on it. Each one came through and did their things; I appreciate them all.

You’re not just a musician. You engineer first many, many local artists. What came first for you as an artist? The  producer or the musician? 

The musician was always first, but I engineer because there weren’t many around, and I had an interest in it and wanted to create the best-sounding project I could. So I went to school to really learn the skills that have made me a better musician, from producing to the final master.

How and when did you discover that music is what you wanted to do with your life? What’s your story? 

I’ve known music was my calling since I was about 7 or 8, but I really knew right before I went to high school. I was interested in sports, but it was fading because all I wanted to do was write and make music. So my story is… Dad is a DJ, and mom did some drumming in drum core, and they made this young man who loves to create music and help others however he can.

What type of story are you trying to convey in your music? What do you want your audience to take with them  after experiencing your music?

The story is my story, but also everyone else’s too. I write music to have self-reflection. If you feel what I’m saying, then you’ve been there or are there, and I’m on the journey with you of this thing called life. I want to be as relatable as I can while still giving you a vibe.

If you want a taste of Marcus Porter’s story, make sure you check out his new single “Born Black”

Q&A Feature: KEEM HEAVY

57393178_2192747854102026_7287135466250305536_nFresh off of 61st and Pine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we sit and spend some time and get to know the 18 year old, up and coming artist, KEEM HEAVY.

With his dedicated mother, Lynnette, a.k.a. Da Goodsister, by his side as his number one fan and motivator, greatness is surely coming for this young artist.

Tell us your story. In your own words, who is KEEM HEAVY? Give us a small biography of who you are as an individual and as an artist.

KEEM HEAVY: I’m a person that always loved music since I was six years old. The person that inspired me too start doing music and dancing was Chris Brown. My family use too call me Lil’ Breezy, because I always had my shirt off dancing And singing to the girls . When I was nine or ten that’s when I started writing music, because that was the only way to express myself . Since I didn’t ’t tell people about what I’m going through. I always stayed on my own grinding , trying to turn my dreams to reality. I was always a positive person. No matter how many negative things come my way. I always found a way to ignore it by listening or writing music.

Where did your stage name, KEEM HEAVY, originate from?

KH: KEEM HEAVY was given to me actually. I use to just go by KEEM, but my friend Akhen heard me rap for the first time in a studio and told me that I have swag, my songs are hot, and I’m always where the money’s at. In result, he came up with KEEM HEAVY. I’ve stuck with it ever since.

Let’s throw a quick sell point for your name and music. How would you describe, in your own words, the style of the music you create?
KH: I would describe my music as different . For example, I know I be going through a lot and done a lot, but I don’t always want to talk about the negative things about me. I want the world to hear positive real music. Music that can cheer you up. Music that can actually touch people by words.
How did you get into the entertainment industry initially? Were you always drawn towards music or the entertainment industry your whole life?
KH: Yes, since I was six years old, I’ve been in love with music. I got into the entertainment industry initially from my family help working as a team.
When and how did you discover that music was the route for you?
KH: I always thought music was for me. But when I was young people use to say I couldn’t make it or I’m corny. But that didn’t stop me it just made me grind harder.
Even though you are an up and coming artist, I’d like to know about your vision a bit more. What’s your ultimate mission with your lyrics and music?
KH: My ultimate mission with my lyrics is to show The world to be There self . Don’t portrait something that you are not . Then , to always be real, because being fake will catch up to you one day.
What influences the lyrics you create for your music?

KH: My family influences the lyrics I create because they the ones that’s making me go harder with this music . Helping me follow my passion and make it come true

What artists have had the biggest influence for you in life and in music and why?

KH: Chris Brown, because I like his style. His music is always evolving, and his imagination for his videos are creative, and Lil’ Durk, because he’s always grinding for his family and taking care of his city . Which, that is my goal. I want to do that for my folks and city.

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“SEASON ONE” IS AVAILABLE ON SPOTIFY & ITUNES

You just released your EP, Season One, that you just released in 2018. Describe your EP and how you came up with the name, Season One, for the EP?

KH: I came up with Season One, because I wanted it to be like a movie. I want to get the world’s attention. Tell them my story of what I been through and show them that dedication and hard work can always get you to your goals .

Should we expect new music from you soon?

KH: Yes, very soon.

Do you want to get involved in other entertainment avenues like film, television, fashion, etc… or are you planning to stick to just music for your career?

KH: Yes, my other passions and interests are fashion and acting. I will work towards those avenues, as well, in the near future.

We are still in the first quarter for the year of 2019, what kind of goals have or are you setting for yourself this year?

KH: The goals I’ve set for myself this year is to keep grinding and staying focus. No matter what I go through, I always express it into music, because any day you can become rich and any one of them songs can get you famous.

Q&A Feature: To Your Last Death

TYLD horizontal widerI’ve became friends and a supporter for producer and filmmaker, Jim Cirile, when I discovered his project Liberator, which featured heavy hitters like Lou Ferrigno (Hulk), Michael Dorn (Star Trek), Don “The Dragon” Wilson (Bloodfist), and last, but certainly not least in my book, one of my favorite actresses, Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita).

A few years down the road, the creation for To Your Last Death would come to life, and I would again, support this project for Jim and his wife and business partner, Tanya Klein. Two projects later, I am confident to say that this won’t be the last project that these two amazing human beings will create that I will support and promote for.

Y’all have an astounding cast including William Shatner (Star Trek), Morena Baccarin (Gotham, Deadpool), Ray Wise (Robocop, Twin Peaks). Did you already have these actors envisioned in your mind for your characters when creating the project, or was there an audition for these actors and actress?

Tanya Klein: No, we didn’t write those parts with anyone in mind. During the pre-production process, we sat around with our producers and director and made lists of actors who would be great for these parts. Our producers called their agents and then it hinged on their interest and availability and cost.

To Your Last Death, formally known as Malevolent, has been in production for a few years now. How does it feel to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for this project for the both of you?

Jim Cirile: I guess the best way to describe it is simply “wow.” There were times during the production process when we weren’t sure we’d be able to finish it. Animated movies are pricey and sometimes there are unforeseen hiccups. So at times it was pretty stressful. Getting it done felt great. We recently had our first cast/crew/friends/family screening to celebrate the fact that we had climbed the mountain. To show it on a big screen in front of many people was, of course, nerve-wrecking and we were thrilled to discover that it went over really well. Everyone got it. They laughed at the right places and they were scared at the right places. It was awesome. So “wow.”

How long have y’all been working in the film industry?

TK: I have been in the entertainment industry for all of my adult life starting out in theater as a playwright, director, actor and producer in New York as well as Artistic Director of a theater company before switching over to film about 15 years ago.

JC: I started out as an assistant at a small production company in New York right after college. After that, I worked my way up to writer/producer at that company before coming out to Los Angeles. All in all, I have been working in the industry for 30 years.

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Actor William Shatner and the To Your Last Death crew. Jim & Tanya to your far left. 🙂

Producing isn’t the only expertise you both have on your resumes, is it? Can you give the readers an outline of your accomplishments over the years in the industry?

TK: We’re both writers, as well as, story analysts. I am also an actor/director.  I has a slew of NY stage productions, as well as, several short films under my belt.

JC: I am an artist/musician. I also have written on many features including having a three-movie deal with Lionsgate.

Y’all are just co-producers for film projects, you both are married to each other. 😊 When did you two decide to take your relationship to the next level, as not just husband and wife, but as business partners?

JC: That happened quite organically because when you’re around someone a lot you naturally get involved in their projects. So I’d say pretty much from the start.

What’s the best thing about working together?

TK: Firstly, it’s efficient. If you need to discuss something you can simply walk into the other room. Secondly, you know each other well and can develop a kind of shorthand.

TYLD 11You’re been behind two successful crowd funding projects with Liberator and now To Your Last Death. What are some of the advice can you can share with other aspiring filmmakers to accomplish this aspect of success for raising money to budget your film projects?

JC: Oh, many! First of all, if you can avoid crowdfunding your movie AVOID IT! This might sound flippant, but I’m absolutely serious. Crowdfunding isn’t a walk in the park. A few things to keep in mind: 1. you need a strong online presence months before you start your crowdfund (so plan accordingly). 2. When deciding how much money to ask for you must keep fulfillment of perks (which costs money) as well as taxes in mind. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you lose money or barely break even when you do a crowdfund 3.  On average one crowdfund team member can raise $6K (some a bit less and some a bit more depending on their social media footprint, but that’s what it averages out to). So if you want to raise $60K, you’ll need 10 committed team members.

What inspired to bring To Your Last Death to life? How was the story created?

TK: Often horror films end up in the same place: Final Girl, exhausted and blood-smeared, claws her way out of the wreckage after a time of absolute horror where she had to watch everyone else die only to finally best the bad guy. We thought: “what if that was our starting point? Final Girl crawls out into the light… and then we send her back to do it all again. Wouldn’t that be cool… and cruel? ”

Are any of the characters based on anyone you know in real life? How much did the TYLD 8actors end up relating to the characters they played in the film?

TK: No, thankfully not! (laughs) However, we do like to call Cyrus our Dick Cheney character. Similar bio and similar personality. (Yeah, he’s the bad guy.) The actors seemed to enjoy themselves a lot especially since some of them got to play against type.

How does this film stand out from the rest of the anime films? How does this film stand out from the rest of the films in America?

JC: Animation is only now in the process of “growing up” in the US. For many, many years animation was something for kids (and on the feature film front it still very much is). TV has led the march towards adult-themed animation and, slowly, this is opening up the feature film sphere. An animated horror film was pretty much unheard of when we first started this project and still is in many ways. It differs from anime films in the sense that we’re going for more gritty realism in character design and color-work as well as animation.

This is the very first American Anime here in the states, so that’s an accomplishment. Do you see yourself trendsetting for future anime films in this country, or even worldwide?

TK: That’d be cool! However, an animated movie is very difficult to produce when one has to do it on a small budget. Hence, the next animated movie we make has to be with a deep-pocketed investor or studio on board.

Are there any other projects in the works from Coverage, Ink you two can hint at for the near future?

JC: We actually have several scripts we’d like to make…

TK: …However, the first step is selling To Your Last Death and possibly a vacation. (Smiles!)

Film Review: Life Itself

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Life Itself is one of the most beautiful performances I’ve seen in film today. In my opinion, Oscar Wilde and Antonio Banderas did wonders carrying this film and bringing the beauty of the stories to life. This is one of Banderas’ best performances in his whole career, in my opinion.

It’s a sophisticated story-line that you have to pay attention to find how two worlds end up colliding. It has a lot of similarities to the approach and direction as the films Babel and Crash does. So if you are not a fan of those directives, this will not be a film for you.

Unfortunately, there were also a few failures to this film. I felt for this film was that it was a bit uneven in the delivery, as the first half of the story being more of an unfiltered dramedy and the second half more of a heartfelt drama. I feel the setup at the beginning with the opening scene and Samuel L. Jackson narrating failed. I feel the film itself could be balanced more to bring a more smoother transition rather than hoping for the narrations to do the transition for you. Unfortunately, this film could have done without the narrators.

Overall, the message and the performances itself was beautiful and meaningful to the point of the necessity of Kleenex.