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August 31, 2012

"On the Come Up" - August Edition



Songwriter Vegas talks to “On the Come Up” about his sweet love for music.

Where are you originally from?

Vegas: Houston, TX.

How did you get the opportunity to work with Chris Brown on “Sweet Love?” How has your experience been working with him?

V: I was presented with the opportunity to work with Chris Brown by Polow Da Don and Jason Perry. The experience was a great one. His professionalism is extremely high and I learned how to complete a record and get it ready for radio.

What do you think sets you apart from other songwriters?

V: I think my experience sets me apart from others. I started out working with the late Dino Carter, who was a member of the group, H-Town. After that, I began working with Bryan Michael-Cox for about six years. I consider Bryan to be one of the best writers of our time. Working with them taught me a lot and I was able to take what I learned from those experiences and use it to my advantage.

What are you currently working on?

V: I am currently working on music for an artist named Kenny Cole, as well as additional records with Chris Brown. I am always writing and moving records around.

What inspires you to compose music?

V: I think what inspires me to compose music are the things that have occurred in my life. Of course, I embellish the story for the artist, but my life experiences and those of others are what inspire me.

Who is your musical mentor and why?

V: My musical mentor would definitely be Dino Carter of H-Town, God rest his soul. He gave me my first opportunity to be in the studio and he taught me everything that he knew.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming producers?

V: My advice would be to never give up. You’re just one record away from your big break and I say that for two reasons. One, it’s going to get better and, two, it’s just like the Georgia lottery: you just may write that smash.

For more information on Vegas, follow him on Twitter at @iamtherealvegas.

Y'Anna Crawley

Y'Anna Crawley

Songwriter Y’Anna Crawley talks to “On the Come Up” about fulfilling her purpose.

Where are you originally from?

Y’Anna: I was born and raised on the southeast side of Washington, D.C.

What was your inspiration for "Do What You Gotta Do" by Angie Stone?

Y: I was at a place in my life where I was torn and I had so many talents. I didn’t just have one focus. So, I just came to the conclusion that I got to do what I got to do to do everything that I want to do. That song basically says that you should just compile all of your talents and do what you got to do to fulfill your purpose.

How did you get the opportunity to work with Angie Stone? How was your experience working with her?

Y: The experience was amazing. She is like a big sister to me. We met through a show on BET called Lyric Café. We just kind of kept in touch and built a relationship from there. I also got acquainted with Chrisette Michele and Ledisi from that show as well.

You are the season two winner of BET’s Sunday Best television series. What did you enjoy the most about competing on the show? If you could alter any part of your experience on the show, what would you change?

Y: I wouldn’t change a thing. What I enjoyed most about the show was realizing that singing was what I was created to do. It comes natural to me. Through that experience, God gave me the assurance that this is what I was created for.

What are you currently working on?

Y: I am in the mode of writing, so I’ve been doing a lot of that. Funny thing is, I wrote “Do What You Gotta Do” and “Rich Girl” for Angie Stone, over ten years ago. There is an album [of mine] coming though. There are so many things inside of me that I want to accomplish. I am an artist, a single mom, an advocate for the youth and single moms. I’ve started a non-profit organization called The Promise. I am an advocate for health, wellness and fitness. I’ve lost over 42 pounds. I also want to do a one-woman stage play. I just want to give women that push and show people that you may see me on TV, but Y’anna is still human. I just want to be able to fulfill God’s purpose.

Who is your musical mentor and why?

Y: My Aunt Genovia Jeter-Jones and Uncle Glenn Jones were my first musical mentors as a child. They took me in as a young child and just showed me a lot. As I got older, Aretha Franklin became my mentor, indirectly. I just love her. She is just a classic artist. She’s done pop, gospel, classical and so many other genres. She didn’t allow people to box her into one genre even though she came from the church and her father was a pastor. I feel that my life is mimicking hers in a way. I also consider Donald Lawrence to be a mentor. I worked with him on Sunday Best and I have always admired how he can turn a song into gold. He’s given me so much insight on the industry and how things should be done.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming songwriters?

Y: My advice would be to stay focused and know that every door that is opened won’t be a door of opportunity, but you have to keep at it. You must stay relevant and most importantly, don’t give up. Everybody has a time and season.

For more information on Y’Anna, follow her on Twitter at @yannac_soulsing.



Producer Elite chats with “On the Come Up” about his first-class sound.

Where are you originally from?

Elite: Byram, CT - right on the border of Connecticut and New York.

What was your first introduction to the music industry?

E: When I was 17 I took my first college course at SUNY Purchase to study music abroad in Spain. Part of the course entailed putting on shows in local night clubs. We had a bunch of live musicians just play old hip-hop beats and I would just kick verses. On the trip was Alimah Deen, the sister of Dee and Wah (CEOs of Ruff Ryders). She saw me perform and took me to her brothers when we got back home. At first I was interning at Powerhouse Studios, but then I would play the beats I had been making for myself for people. My first placement ended up being for Drag-On on the Cradle 2 The Grave soundtrack - a song called, “Fireman.”

You have worked extensively with J. Cole. How did you get the opportunity to work with J. Cole? How was your experience working with him?

E: Me and Cole have been friends since we were young, and [have] been working together for a long time. I always believed in his talent since he was like, 15 or 16. He would send me songs that were way ahead of his time. It’s been a privilege to get to witness and be a part of his growth over the years. Working with Cole is great. We speak the same language, musically. I always have full confidence in him bringing out the full potential of my production. That’s rare. Plus, we get to work together in the studio hands-on instead of just emailing tracks back and forth. If I can get in the studio with an artist, I feel like it’s impossible to fail. The vibe will create the music itself.

What are you currently working on?

E: I just released my first mixtape as an artist titled, Awaken. I’m working on my follow-up along with Cole’s second album. I have an artist that I’m about to sign too. He is an incredible songwriter and singer. It’s a whole new challenge working with him because it’s a different genre - like an indie rock/pop thing, but I’m really excited about it.

How is your production style different from other producers?

E: I think one of the main things that stands out in my production is my use of dynamics. I’m big on crescendos, ups, downs, soft, loud, simple to big, build-ups, dramatics, etc. I think I got that from listening to nothing but Michael Jackson as a kid.

Who is your musical mentor and why?

E: I don’t know if I necessarily have a “mentor,” but I have a lot of people that I have a learned a lot from - Cole, Voli, and Omen are three artists/producers that I have learned a great deal from. We all learn from each other, but I’m a student of this, so I like to think that I learn from everybody I meet and every situation I’m in. I’m always trying to be a sponge.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming producers?

E: Just take your craft seriously. Study and spend time on it, but before anything, make sure you enjoy it and that your heart is in it. If you find yourself trying to please others, you’re heading down the wrong path. Make what you love and wait for everyone else to catch up.

For more information on Elite, follow him on Twitter at @EliteThatsMe.

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