Album Review: For My Artist Child – Arsena Shroeder

Arsena Schroeder Photo

Photo By Kevin Currie

Independent artist Arsena Schroeder, a Charlotte, North Carolina singer, songwriter and acoustic guitar player, released her first full-length album, For My Artist Child, today. This, her second release, features twelve “original songs about awakening your inner creativity in essence of truth, light and love all soaked in singer-songwriter and pop-soul genres, issues of empowerment, love, and cryptic faith that lyrically intertwined a mix meant to free and fuel the soul.” Abundantly, her first EP, was released back in January 2013 on BandCamp.

On November 1st, members from Charlotte Community Radio attended the For My Artist Child Album Listening Party. Melvin Nix dug into the album a little deeper and focuses his review on three songs that paint a vivid picture of Arsena’s journey.

For My Artist Child
All songs written, performed & arranged by Arsena Schroeder.
Produced, engineered & mixed by Pattrick McKenna.
Mastered by Jason Carter &  Album Artwork by Julio Gonzalez & Arsena Schroeder.

A Graceful Exchange
When you think of the word grace what does it mean to you? Grace is actually an extension of favor and goodwill based upon relationship. It involves an exchange of weakness for strength, forgiveness for failure and comfort for insufficiency.

For My Artist Child By Arsena Schroeder

Album Artwork by Jodi-Renee Uzoh

For My Artist Child, recorded at Rock University in Concord, is an eclectic and elegant mix of beautiful acoustic melodies intermingled with spiritual undertones that touch the heart and reveal a beautiful graceful exchange between a daughter and her father, an artist and her creator. The cry from a heart of gratitude and awe envelope each song in this work.

While listening to the songs she crafted for this album, you become familiar with the daughter who is growing and finding her way in the world on her own and making mistakes along the way, and then you see the graceful intervention of a loving Father and creator bringing restoration and support to her journey.

Glimpses of grace are revealed in the first track, “Tell Me It Was Love”, when Arsena sings “It’s not about what I can do for you, but what you’ve done for me. …I’ve been changed from a slave to a daughter.”

Unconditional love and forgiveness is expressed in track six, “In Awe”, as she sings about “Integrity is fidelity to a dream…but if I say one thing and then do another, what exactly does that mean? I’m in awe of You and what You’ve given to me, and to hide behind my insecurities, I refuse because all I have, all I am is yours!”.

Poster of Arsena Schroeder

Photo By Kevin Currie

A genuine sense of remorse and regret can be felt as you listen to track eight, “Elephant in the Room”. This song details the disappointment of a daughter from the shortcomings of her father. It’s a very heartfelt but sobering unfolding of emotions as Arsena says, “I love you daddy, but the truth is that you were never here!”

For My Artist Child, by Arsena Schroeder, is a compilation of twelve songs that warms your heart, heals your soul and offers inspiration as you listen, visualize and absorb the beautiful music she has interwoven with words of encouragement.

Here’s a free sample of the grace you will come to know from listening to her music.

Physical copy of For My Artist Child can be found here: ArsenaMusic – StoreEnvy
Downloadable copy can be found here: CDBaby
Learn more about Arsena Schroeder here: ArsenaMusic

Concert Review: Daley – March 25 – Visulite Theatre

#Day 8 of Daley’s Days + Nights Tour @ Visulite Theatre:

Daley's Photo from Band Of The Day App landing page

Daley – via

How does one calm their nerves before a performance? I’d imagine a few tequila shots at the bar and a couple calming mantras, but apparently Daley is just too well-versed. During his very first visit to the Queen City, the Whole Foods Market devotee opted for Bo Time! and stopped by V101.9 for a sit-down with ChirlGirl.

As cliche as “There’s something in the water” may sound, it conveys a message: the UK is a hotbed for talent (e.g. Lianne La Havas, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Estelle,Sampha, Kwes, Laura Mvula, Jesse Ware and etc…). I was surprised that of all places, The Visulite Theatre would snag such an artist to perform in their establishment. I’ve been there once before and always saw them as more keen to the Rock/Bluegrass scene. Visulite weren’t the only ones testing the waters that night. This show was definitely intended for the Grown and Sexy, so naturally I got the jitters. All I could think of was: Will I be the youngest one there? and Am I really about to show up alone and “Baeless” (as my generation likes to style it) to a R&B show?

I knew the atmosphere would be completely different from all my prior shows (Hip-Hop/ Pop-Rock) and that’s exactly why I wanted to go. Waiting for the festivities to begin, you couldn’t help but groove to the chosen song selection: All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do) by Joe, “Apple Tree” by Erykah Badu and “Superstar“ by Lauryn Hill; all foreshadowing what we could expect to hear later on in his set.

Equipped with a drummer, guitarist (Charlie) and keyboardist; the lights dim to blue as the audience chants “Daley!”

Daley on stage at Visulite Theatre

Daley – Visulite Theatre, Charlotte, NC, Photo by: Shawnice Stratford

Appearing on stage draped in an all-black ensemble, he began to serenade us with “Time Travel“. Nurtured by US and UK musical stylings: Prince, D’Angelo, Sade, Radiohead and Imogen Heap, he’s blended a unique sound all his own — ‘future-throwback- soul’ to be exact. Getting into the more up-tempo songs on his latest album, DAYS + NIGHTS, he hit us with “Good News” and merged “Game Over” into Rufus and Chaka Khan’s soulful jam “Sweet Thing“, it surely got the crowd and myself singing right along.

He spoke a bit and thanked us for being apart of his very first show in Charlotte, NC. While I was stuck in awe by how British singers turn their accents on and off; he kept the show rockin’ with performances of “Blame The World” and “Love & Affection” showcasing his amazing falsetto. After giving brief history about a troubled friend who wouldn’t accept his help, my favorite performance of the night took place. I have to admit, I wasn’t all that sonically impressed by my first listen of Days & Nights; but sometimes “Seeing is Believing”. After witnessing the life he breathed into “She Fades“, I couldn’t help but give the album another listen. I found this song so relatable and incredibly touching. We all have our favorites and his happens to be the title track, “Days & Nights“.

Daley Behind The Piano

Daley – Visulite Theatre, Charlotte, NC
Photo by: Shawnice Stratford

Everyone must have been in a “try new things” mood that night. An amateur to playing keyboard live, Daley gracefully melted into the chords of Jill Scott’s “He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)”, how much my face lit up when I heard that? you can only imagine. Amazed by the evident vocal control Daley displayed over his riffs and runs during “Smoking Gun”, a guy near by hollered “He ran over that, He ran right through it!”. I couldn’t help but laugh. “Be” had people finger snappin’ to the rhythm, “Those Who Wait” had Daley reminiscing about his journey as an artist and “Songs That Remind Me Of You” had me droppin’ that NaeNae; making it my second favorite performance of the night. I can be the biggest skeptic when it comes to song renditions. In Daley’s case, justice was served. Frank Ocean’s “Thinking Bout You” never sounded better. I mean, how could it? when you have Usher’s “Climax”, “Nice and Slow” and Mint Condition’s “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)” trailing not too far behind. By this time, R&B fans were loving every damn second and he was now in the presence of a very pleased crowd.

As things cooled down a bit he invited everyone to the merchandise table after the show for a little meet & greet. Prior to this night, I knew one song by Daley — surely, you know which one I speak of — and barely knew how to pronounce the man’s name correctly. This didn’t stop me and it didn’t stop a woman who admitted to not knowing all the words to his songs. As trivial as that sounds, it happens. It’s not about you hanging onto every single word nor having known the musician beforehand, it’s all about experiencing live music and expanding the audience. Redefining the way heartfelt music and songwriting looks, sounds and feels, Daley fuses both past and present so seamlessly. A quick run-through “Look Up” (produced by Pharrell Williams) and he had dashed off stage. I couldn’t believe he would end the show on such a note and thankfully the couple next to me couldn’t either. The woman handed me the set list lying on the ground and assured that there would be an encore. Certain enough, Daley rushed right back on stage and ended the night proper with “Pass It On” and of course! “Alone Together”, which the crowd served as a stand-in for Marsha Ambrosius. I even captured some footage, but due to the intimacy of the venue and how close I was to the speakers, the bass can be a bit much. Apologies for the crick in your neck also, Enjoy!


Daley’s upcoming Days + Nights Tour dates here.

Special Thanks to Ebony Fernandez.

Dizzy Wright & Mark Battles Mar 8 – Chop Shop – Charlotte, NC

Dizzy Wright & Mark Battles Concert Flyer

Fly America Concert Flyer

It’s been awhile since I’ve attended a concert solo dolo. No complaints, I made acquaintances and thoroughly enjoyed my night with a tireless fist-pumpin’ fan by the name of London and a beautiful drunk Moroccan chick named Helen who traveled from Chapel Hill, NC. Waiting for entry, I observed the line of diverse looking individuals. One was sporting a self-made #FlyAmerica tie-dye tee. It seems to me that people who work the doors at shows love to be a hassle, then again, maybe it’s just me. Either way, karma made her way around when dude wasn’t even able to get into the doors himself, amused concert attendees jokingly stated “this is their way of letting you know, you’re fired!

Relieved from my wait, I walked-in to find Mark Battles & Derek Luh (pronounced Lou) during sound check. Running through small portions of their upcoming set on the venue’s sound system, it was apparent that an ordinary rap show just wasn’t what they had in mind for us. They all flew out to Charlotte, NC to turn it up.

Performers exited stage left and the audience was admitted. I quickly made my way to the bar for my usual buy at The Chop Shop, a long island iced tea, which I financially regretted once sober. Taking center stage first was DJ Fame, with an invitation into his world of Electronic Dance Music:

JT DESIST T Shirt Back

#FlyAmerica Twitter pic

Next up, Charlotte’s own T Malicious took the stage with assistance from a few of his ‘Young Kingz’ comrades: Reason and A Fresh. Let me not forget to mention, I went to high school with A Fresh ( he’ll always be Alex to me ) and seeing a bunch of girls screaming for him was just testament that not much has changed since our days at Myers Park. They appeared full of confidence and ready to show us just why they deserved their spots as openers.

Rockin’ a really dope “DESIST” shirt, Jay Terriani was one artist I felt got looked over. Even during the meet-n-greet, he just kind of stayed in the cut. however, the energy of his set picked back up once joined on stage by Mark Battles & Derek Luh for their performance of the “Fly America” theme song.

Derek Luh Photo

Derek Luh
Photo Courtesy of T. Curt

King F.A.M.E. might’ve been onto something when he referred to Derek Luh as “the hip-hop Justin Beiber”. I mean, he’s easy on the eyes and…he’s easy on the eyes. I felt like his set was too short; the only song I recall was his piano driven smokers joint “Blow It Out”.

Devvon Terrell Photo

Devvon Terrell Facebook Photo

Can’t stress enough how important it is for performers to say their name at least once during the performance, I had no idea who I was enjoying until I sat down to write this. Hailing straight out of Brooklyn was R&B singer, Devvon Terrell. Despite this particular song not being performed, “I Don’t Like Your Friends”, has to be one of my favorite tracks of his and it’s accompanied by some equally as impressive visuals:

“Best performance of the night” award would have to go to Futuristic. Alongside DJ Kode Break, He came out hype as fuck, told us a little bit about himself and his whereabouts, in brief: He’s from arizona and apparently, it’s illegal to have “Swag” there, they have “Sauce!” instead. The one thing that struck a chord in me during his set was the usage of the word: Nigga and his approval of the audiences cooperation. Who could forget the uproar surrounding Gwyneth Paltrow when she dropped the N-word on twitter? As African Americans, we feel entitled to use the word in everyday language amongst each other, but what happens when it’s in the music..Do we expect people outside of the culture to not say it? To me, it tells a lot about this current generation, the power of words, who can say them, and how much intent matters when they’re said.

Futuristic's Crowd Surfing Photo

Futuristic’s Crowd Surfing
Photo Courtesy of T. Curt

Taking precautions became imperative once they pulled out super soaker water guns, cans of silly string and began to stage dive. Bringing his hyperactive set to an end, dimmed lights set the tone for his intimate rendition of Frank Ocean’s “Pink Matter”, which Futuristic titles “Listen To Me” which in my opinion is reminiscent of Childish Gambino. There’s always a first time for everything, Demrick managed to get kicked out of his first concert for smoking on stage. I suppose he took “I Guess, I’ll Smoke” too literally:

After a few crowd flicks with the fans, Derek Luh returned once more and got us all hyped up again with the “Battles Chant”, which brought Mark Battles presence to the stage. The night before the show, I dabbled into some of Mark’s music — Black Einstein. For someone who doesn’t feel he needs a co-sign, I’d say the notable list of guest features: Curren$y, Joe Budden, Wale, and King Los doesn’t hurt his reputation one bit. Leading into “Wake Up”, Mark was determined to get the crowd moving at all costs. Even if that meant flying home without his retro Patrick Ewing basketball sneakers.

Dizzy, Mark & Shawnice Photo

Dizzy Wright, Sativa Jones & Mark Battles, Mar 8th, Chop Shop
Charlotte, NC – Photo Courtesy of T. Curt

Am I the only one who thinks Theotis Beasley and Dizzy Wright share an uncanny resemblance to each other? It’s probably because they smile so much, haha. Anyhow, around this time I was getting a bit antsy and took a trip to the ladies room where I got caught up in conversation with Helen about the importance of diversity. Random? Right. Therefore, I didn’t catch much of the Sin City representative’s performance. From what I gathered, he performed “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, “Step Yo Game Up” and I can only hope “World Peace” from his latest tape, The Golden Age, was amongst those few. At the end of the show, most of the performers functioned with fans who purchased VIP tickets. This included a few cyphers, autographs, photographs and a humorous conversation with them about my recent Dom Kennedy review. Although, this is only my second reviewed show, rest assured, these guys currently hold the title for the hypest show I’ve been to this year. ‘Sound Travels’ is just an attempt at bringing you all along on my concert escapades, but more often than not, you would’ve had to been there to reciprocate this amount of energy. No word on when Fly America will be back in the Queen City, but they do plan on re-visiting. If you weren’t at this show, you definitely missed out. Let us hope another show in Charlotte, NC sees fruition and when that time comes, we support and leave them feeling even more loved than before.

I miss Charlotte already!
Mark Battles

Dom Kennedy Feb 9th – The Fillmore – Charlotte, NC

Dom Kennedy June 2013

Dom Kennedy June 2013 – Photo

In 2008, you couldn’t keep me away from I was the type to stay up until wee hours of the morning for a delayed mixtape release and then skip school the next day because I was too tired. Simply put: Meka and Shake were my ears guide to a lot of artists, especially from the West Coast. It’s not hard to miss Dom Kennedy’s charismatic flow nor the influence inner city LA has on his music. He has the ability to make every single day in LA sound like the best day of summer vacation and if I remember correctly, it was “Watermelon Sundae” off his debut, 25th Hour, which first caught my ear.

Despite releasing Get Home Safely—his sophomore LP in October, Dom is known for smooth summer soundtracks that elevate everyday events. With 6 solo mixtapes and 2 albums under his belt, he’s made quite a living off Other People’s Money (his label imprint) and many would say his first appearance in Charlotte, NC has been long overdue.

If you follow me on twitter (@its_Shae) then you might’ve seen my less than impressed remark about the crowd and the invisible stick up their asses. Yes! I know everyone came to see Leimert Park’s Finest, but opening acts are nothing new, so I couldn’t understand why people grew so impatient and close minded to new emerging sounds. I continuously must remind myself that this type of behavior isn’t just subjected to hip-hop; I heard Angélique Kidjo dealt with a similar situation at her recent show in Charlotte as well.

Opening acts are there to fill time while people shuffle in. No shame in that though, because it’s all about working your way up, gaining exposure, building audiences in different areas and putting yourself in a better position for future gigs. It’s a great opportunity, but sometimes (for whatever reason) the performance may not be reflective of the sound. First to take the stage were Charlotte, NC artists: Nevermind, Elevator Jay, Shome, and Senior collectively known as Hornet’s N.E.S.S. If you’re somewhat into the hip-hop scene here then you’ve surely heard about at least one of these individuals. If not, better late than never:

MasterMinds feat Lotta & BanksontheBeat (Prod x BanksontheBeat)

Though there were few technical difficulties, the guys kept it together the best they could. Keeping their energy alive, Banks brought out fellow Yachts member Frais for some assistance during the performance of their collaboration: Magic Johnson. Fayetteville, NC native Lotta rocked the stage for a bit until Shome re-appeared with a solo of his own, performing the Wister D!ce produced cut “Bourbon and Canal”.

Nick Nando

Nick Nando Photo

Next up was DMV representative, Nike Nando. I was floored when I got word that he’d be in attendance because I’ve been a listener of Nando for quite some time (since TheCarryOut2). He commanded the crowd’s attention as soon as he stepped on stage. Drawing us in one-by-one, everyone became all ears once he began spitting an undeniable freestyle over no instrumental; just him and a few slick metaphors. After a few oohs & aahs, his self-titled track “Super Nike Nando” blasted through the speakers, which I don’t feel was the best song to perform. However, he hit the nail on the head with “World Domination” from his latest release #SPRDLV.

Skeme Photo from article

Skeme – Photo

Not having heard Skeme’s latest album “Ingleworld”, I’m unsure as to what songs were performed and will go do my homework on the matter. I had high hopes that he would join Dom at a later time to perform “Play On”, but instead they blessed us with “If It Don’t Make Money”. With great delivery, tight production and involvement with the audience more than any of the other performers, he easily created a solid performance that I spent the whole time dancing to.

While everyone awaited the arrival of Leimert Parks Legend, DJ Ngenius kept the fresh West Coast tunes slappin’. You couldn’t help but notice the huge blue, green and red stripped OPM flag that draped over his set up. Before we knew it, it was showtime!

DomK8 Photo Taken by Frank 151 at Irving Plaza January 28th

DomK8 @ Irving Plaza, Photo By: Frank151 on January 28th

For a moment I started to imagine the crowd and what it might look like through the eyes of Dom Kennedy. I mean, it must be one hell of a sight to see hundreds of people packed under one roof and chanting your lyrics word for word. He opened the show the same way he opened the album, with “Let’s Be Friends”. He’s mentioned before that this was the first song he recorded for Get Home Safely and was in fact the foundation for the project. His set was around a hour long and he flew through tracks like: my type of party, south central love, still calling, gold alpinas, the crowds favorite “17”, and even went as far back as “1997” and “When I Come Around”. Would I recommend attending a Dom Kennedy show? Well, if you don’t mind all the songs being performed similar to recorded versions in a live setting or feeling detached from the whole experience then yeah, go ahead. Again, he might’ve excited the fans but I’m just a casual listener and I appreciate when a musician can give me something different than what I can experience on a CD. That being said, his performances of “Black Bentley” and an acapella rendition of “5 Yr. Theory” that wrapped up his set were the two tracks that stuck out to me the most.

Many thanks to the organizers: Nameus, MindBonics, AlexxKGray and F4mily Matters; The Fillmore and Dom himself for gracing the queen city during this tour. In a sit-down with ABlackTV, Dom even mentions Charlotte on his list of “ top 10 shows OF ALL TIME”. You check out that interview + the remainder of Get Home Safely’s tour stops after the jump:

2/25 Santa Cruz CA @ The Catalyst
2/26 Sacramento CA @ Ace of Spades
2/27 San Francisco CA @ Regency
3/1 Vancouver, Canada @ Fortune Sound Club
3/2 Seattle WA @ Showbox at the Market
3/3 Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
3/6 Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
3/7 Tuscon, AZ @ the Rialto Theatre
3/15 Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues