Sunday, January 28, 2018

NeuFutur Introduces Drew Stroik

When music is done right, it has the ability to alter moods, inspire thoughts and catalyze creativity. That's the type of feeling conveyed in Drew Stroik's intriguing sonic catalog. This 23-yr-old producer/singer/songwriter specializes in dreamy soundscapes of lush, lo-fi, extremely melodic tunes Drew Stroik lovingly characterizes as “generic pop.” The lyrics are sometimes literal, often oblique, but always honest. Some songs will evoke an immediate visceral emotion, while others are more slow-creeping, gradually embedding themselves in the listener's psyche. Let's put it this way; Stroik's songs could provide the perfect soundtrack for a long road trip through desolate or resplendent terrain, or they could even serve as the musical backdrop for a plush, debauchery-drenched, nightclub setting. That's how you know the music is good. It adapts itself amorphously to anyone or anything around it.
Prying into the young musician's past, one begins to get a better idea of how he's able to make such sublime and textured music. There is a lot Drew Stroik has been through in his short 23 years, and that's putting it mildly. Drew Stroik was born in Chicago, where Drew Stroik actually lived with his young single mother in a funeral home with the bassist and drummer of alt-rock group, Veruca Salt. From the Windy City, Drew Stroik moved to Miami where his mother briefly dated the owner of Al Pacino's palatial drug mansion in the gangster flick, Scarface - no lie. Drew Stroik spent some time in Los Angeles, transplanted to Las Vegas for about five years, and finally settled in North Carolina with his mom and new stepdad. His first introduction to music came at the age of seven when Drew Stroik was given a bunch of movie soundtracks as a Christmas present. “One of them was the Lion King CD,” he recalls, “I was a normal kid at that time - or so my parents thought, I became obsessed.” In North Carolina, he was given a guitar as a gift at the age of 14, and he self-taught himself until he got “really good.” Drew Stroik was kicked out of high school prior to his senior year (the details surrounding said expulsion remain fuzzy), and thus he was forced to find a full-time job to make ends meet. During this turbulent period, it was his music that kept him afloat. He saved enough cash to get himself a cheap computer and a Yamaha keyboard and started laying down his own tracks at home.
The next major progression in his musical journey was when he sent some music to Andy Chase of Unfiltered Records. Andy saw immediate promise in his raw, esoteric and mesmerizing tracks, and asked Drew Stroik for the master files to polish the songs further. However, the masters had been destroyed to save hard-drive space, so with no other options available, he began flying Drew Stroik up to NYC on the weekends to record new material. Andy later introduced the young artist to his longtime friend and musical collaborator Bruce Driscoll (Astaire, Blondfire, Brookville) and the creative cipher was complete. Over the subsequent frigid winter months in Bruce’s Upper East Side apartment, the three musicians crafted Drew Stroik’s beautiful, impending debut LP, In the Fresh.
When asked about the album's major building blocks, Drew Stroik clarifies that in his world, the music and instrumentation, above everything else, reign supreme. “I can hear ten seconds of music, and be moved more powerfully by that than any of Bob Dylan's most poignant lines,” Drew Stroik emphatically declares. The inspiration came straight from his heart.
Lyrically, his approach was just taking whatever emotion he was feeling at the time, whether it was humor, indifference, melancholy or love and putting it to words. The bottom line he says was the music “just needed to sound right.” There are many standouts on the album's 12 cuts: the subtle and breezy title track, the sincere “Number One Blind,” the easy bounce of “Wash and Repeat,” and the rousing “La La La” - but perhaps the most endearing factor is that overall, it's a well-composed and cohesive listen from beginning to end.
Ultimately when it comes down to it, the music reflects its maker. Speaking to Drew Stroik is a whirlwind experience of human awareness and curiosity. One frenzied minute, he'll be extolling the vibrant, dance-heavy video for the song “Cat Daddy” (featuring Chris Brown) by The Rej3ctz, and the next, he'll be explaining the many duties (including forklift operation) he executes at his 9-to-5 factory job. It's the same urgency, honesty and transparency you see in his music. “Basically what I try to address in my music is the fact that people think they have all the answers but they really don't,” he emotes. “I'm just tired of all the facades and smoke screens that exist everywhere, so I just make music that's real to me.” Well said.
The album In the Fresh will be dropping in 2012, and rest assured, this is a musical experience you don't want to let pass you by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SONIA - Lucky Stars EP

Time to Run is a powerful cross-over track that touches upon R&B, dubstep, indie-rock, and industrial genres. The supersonic vocals laid down here by SONIA stand out, ensuring that the track can stand up to high rotation on radio. The titular effort on the Lucky Stars EP tells a tremendous story, further bolstered by bold synths and picture-perfect percussion. Hints of Morcheeba, Massive Attack, AWOLNATION, and Christina Aguilera; the distinct sides of the track struggle for dominance. The resulting effort showcases both elements giving their all. SONIA is able to capture listeners with the slinkiness and allure of her vocals. One can easily imagine the effort on a Bond soundtrack, while having delectable instrumentation in the background. The pageantry espoused in this single will draw listeners in, ensuring that they give the remaining tracks on the EP a good amount of their attention.

Give It All To Me creates a darkly emotive backdrop for SONIA to build upon. Hints of ambient and synth-pop rise to dominance on Give It All To Me, meshing perfectly with bits of modern rock and EDM. The production of the Lucky Stars EP ensures that each part of SONIA’s music is able to shine.  Blue is a brooding masterpiece that showcases stellar vocals as well as instrumental arrangements that give further gravitas to SONIA’s voice. Few artists are able to create a cogent statement with their EPs, but the tracks on SONIA’s latest showcase a performer that is not afraid to adopt other approaches, genres, and sounds to make something that is uniquely her own. Check out her SoundCloud for samples of her music or her Facebook for the latest in information about this up and coming performer.

Top Tracks: Give It All To Me, Lucky Stars

Rating: 8.2/10

SONIA – Lucky Stars EP / 2016 Self-Released / 4 Tracks / /


SONIA - Lucky Stars EP

Sunday, August 14, 2016

C.U.L.T.U.R.E. Interview

Today, we are speaking with Baltimore’s C.U.L.T.U.R.E.. How did you get into hip-hop?Pause 4 A Break Final Art

Hey James first and foremost thank you for taking the time to sit down and speak with me in regards to my artistry and brand.

Man the road to this journey, this destiny has been a long one. I originally was just a fan of the music the scene. You know that whole Yo Mtv Raps, Rap City era once I was able to get the visuals of what was being said I was hooked. But directly to answer you my elder bro John and older cousin John yeah that’s both their governments hahaha, they are the reasons I wanted to be more than just a fan. Because of those two creative forces in my young life I decided I wanted to rhyme. Notice I said rhyme, as a young cat around 10-12 I thought Hip-Hop was just putting together words, you only needed to sound cool. But around 12 or 13 my brother John had a rap group going on at my childhood church. I liked the energy so I wanted to be apart of that. Naturally I thought just being his brother was good enough to get in the group but it wasn’t. He pulled me to the side one day after a performance and let me know that this is art, more than a melody more than just rhymes. So I shut myself in my room after that and just started listening to Nas and Wu-Tang mainly and started learning the foundation of rhyming with a purpose. Yup, I had a brother in a christian rap group, a cousin that was a well known b-boy, secular music from The GZA, Nasir all all of  my mom’s and dad’s words influencing me. And thus the start of C.U.L.T.U.R.E.

Can you give us a little background information about yourself, your music, and your multi-media activities?Still Down For Y'all

Well I am a dreamer, man of faith, shy at times artist. A son of a Pastor, yeah one of those mischievous preacher’s kid’s. I originally thought being a Hip-Hop artist was out of reach. So after graduating High School I pursued a career in the crazy Automotive Industry. A factory trained GM technician on paper. Yes I am a certified car nut, anything with wheels on it I am intrigued. The faster, the better it handles with 2 seats a race car for the streets than you got my number. Caution don’t ask if I like Rarri’s or Lambo’s I will definitely walk out of your face with no answer. An ex street racer and street race enthusiast. Before the Fast and the Furious started a false culture amongst me and my peers. But being in the shop was cool somehow though I still felt empty. At the time I thought I could be complacent with obtaining my second dream.

Weird right, most people pursue their first love and if that doesn’t pan out then they move onto plan B. I guess doing things in reverse is the curse of us left handed people hahaha. So my music comes from the life experiences good bad and the ugly. From failed relationships, to trying to wrap my mind around the violence plagued cities to me connecting on a soul crying personal reflection track. Or just offering advice from my perspective. Because I grew up in a very diverse region within Baltimore Maryland my music is for all people, men, women and children. It’s not gutter, not degrading. It uplifts because that’s what art has taught me to do. Shed light on topics kept underground. I come from a blue collar city, so I make music for the working people with dreams and aspirations.

My multi-media reach has been more focused on Youtube because that’s how I connected with music. So personally as an artist I feel every project should have a visual to accompany it. That philosophy is more feasible now because of platforms like Youtube, Vimeo and the cost of doing film work is not to high now. It just fits me better. I actually can’t wait to release my next single project on my Youtube channel. So readers definitely check out my official Youtube channel like, share and subscribe!!


You just released a video for “Pause 4 A Break” in June. What do the visuals add to the song? How’s the overall experience different from your February single, $trings?

To me the visual impact is letting the viewer know this is what Hip-hop is all about. This is how it started the graff, the dancing, emceeing. These all tie into this artform that is now more of a business than a neighborhood past time. I intentionally wanted this filmed in a park because in the birthplace of Hip-hop these events were held there. There was no club willing to allow this culture in, no formal promoters to sell tickets. In a sense this was a way to connect back to the essence . The lyrics and instrumental I wanted to have that old east coast vibe, like the message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, I wanted people to see the beat. Lastly I brought these different elements to film young and old in to to let people know change in the life does not start with one group, but change in the hood, cities and burbs is a task for all.

The main contrast between “$trings” and “Pause 4 A Break” is me as an artist reflecting on heartbreak to me speaking on and also adding my voice to call for awareness for people to wake up. We must stop hurting each other and began the process of rebuilding community. So “$trings” is more personal and self centered were as “Pause 4 A Break” is focused on the world outside my window.

How has Baltimore helped and hindered your career?

Yeah that’s a touchy subject hahaha. I will say the Baltimore scene has made me a hard worker. Kind of natural because of the blue collar atmosphere here. It has caused me to grow, made me want to stand out in my brand and art at the same time never losing sight of who I am as a man. I have really embraced Daring to Be Different, not by image because image can be put on and taking off. A lifestyle in contrary because this is a reflection of one’s soul. My only hindrance really is I am not a Baltimore focused artist, I mean I love and respect my soil, but this plant has roots for a worldwide outreach. So I care for the community, but I know as an artist my calling is past this city’s and county’s borders. Hence the importance of creating visuals and music that can reach people across the world.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?

I have always wanted to answer this question, I don’t think there is enough space. I will say the artist that has made an impact on my art and life Common or Common Sense depending on how far you back, my uncle Jimmy Waller,  Mos Def, Nas, Kanye, Andre 3000, and Black Thought all of these artists also I admire and look up to. On the rock side it would be Incubus, Korn, Rage. Neo soul Eric Roberson, Anthony David, Erykah Badu, Ledisi. Soul and Funk Bootsy, Parliament, U2 and Curtis Mayfield. Yeah I told ya hahaha.

Dream lineup, Common, The Roots, Incubus, J.Cole, Audio Push, Kindred Family Soul, P.O.D., Yuna, Joss Stone, U2 and KEM.

How has your style evolved and changed over the time since you first started performing?

Yes, funny thing is I only have been performing live going on two years now. I love it, the preparation the performance meeting and networking. But I started recording an album in 2014 finished it by the summer of 2015 and the song formatting and confidence is evident in later recordings.

Two plugs I wanna put in while the door is open. On August 27th I will be the main feature of a show here in Baltimore. Readers can contact me for more info or just checkout my social media accounts for the details. Second plug late November early December I will be releasing my first full length studio album. Don’t want to disclose too much but it will be a healthy collection of material.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

The best so far has been Facebook, I am slowly grasping Twitter. The main difference for me has been at this point I cannot meet an Hip-hop fan face to face in Chicago, Cleveland, LA, Germany, Brussels or Korea just yet, so these sites help me connect across the globe thru post.

What are your plans for 2016 and beyond? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?

My major plan for the remainder of 2016 is to continue to establish my brand, continue to grow as an artist and provide consistent quality work. Release this completed album with backing visuals and connect with the fan that matters to me the most, everyday people. And stay grounded with life.

Beyond go on tour one day would be a dream, I love to travel.

Readers and the world can check my work on Youtube, Amazon, thru my official website and Google Play. But other outlets are being found everyday.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

Yes sir thank you again. Yeah two things to remember young world “The vision takes no labor to create, the work begins with the execution of the dream”. And “Although LIFE changes the DREAM never should alter” Because the race isn’t given to the swiftest but to those that endure. Peace and one L. C.U.L.T.U.R.E.

C.U.L.T.U.R.E. Interview

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hieroglyphic (Barrel Aged Imperial Saison)

The overall saison style is something I can get behind. There is typically a good amount of wheat, hay, and pepper that can be discerned. We received Hieroglyphic from Raleigh, North Carolina’s Gizmo BrewWorks a little bit ago and finally had a second to test it out. Hieroglyphic is the first barrel-aged imperial saison we’ve reviewed; the brew needs a few seconds in a glass to properly breathe. When one takes their first quaff of Hieroglyphic, there is a good amount of bubble gum and citrus elements that come forth immediately. There is a small amount of sharpness that comes through, contributed by the time spent in the barrels. There is a crispness to this beer that ensures individuals will finish the bottle with as much gusto as they began the beer.

Gizmo’s Hieroglyphic is an 8.0% ABV affair, meaning that one 22 ounce bottle should be enough to begin a night spectacularly. The boosted ABV (when compared to a normal saison) ensures that the flavor profile of Hieroglyphic is constant from the beginning to the end of a bottle. Saisons have a tendency to lose some of their sharper elements and become muddled into something that is overly sweet, while Hieroglyphic continues to expand into something delectable each second it sits out and creeps closer to room temperature.

For more information about the entirety of the year-round and seasonal offerings that Gizmo BrewWorks offers, visit their main domain. The brewery’s social media profiles are a great source of information concerning their latest new products and events. Hieroglyphic is one of the best Belgian-inspired beers we’ve received for review so far in 2016, and the desire to change up things and come forth with something that is incredibly different from standard fare is a major strong mark for Gizmo.

Hieroglyphic (Barrel Aged Imperial Saison) / Gizmo BrewWorks / 8.0% ABV / / /

Hieroglyphic (Barrel Aged Imperial Saison)

of Montreal “it’s different for girls”

of Montreal create a track that looks back to Emotional Rescue-era Rolling Stones, linking the sound with hints of Franz Ferdinand and Momus. The twinkling instrumentation, shuffling beat, and echo is used to great impact. The guitar / drum dynamic pushes the track to a higher plateau, with an eclectic sound corralled by a deft set of hands. An otherworldly sound towards the three-fourths mark of the single provides a brief detour before of Montreal can hammer home the catchy chorus one final time. The track’s catchy demeanor and depth of composition makes this into a must-listen.

of Montreal “it’s different for girls” / 2016 / /

of Montreal “it’s different for girls”

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Jonah Cruzz “Multiply”

Jonah Cruzz creates a street-smart, intricate style of rap that builds off of the work of Big K.R.I.T., Kendrick Lamar and Lil’ Wayne. The blend of haunting strings and speedy delivery make this into a perfect smoking song. The punchiness of the backdrop provides ample highlighting to Cruzz’s flow. Multiply is given further replay value through a depth to the composition that will take listeners a number of spins before hearing everything going on. A delicious hook and a lyrical complexity make this into one of the hottest efforts we’ve heard this August.

Jonah Cruzz “Multiply” / 2016 / /

Rating: 8.3/10

Jonah Cruzz “Multiply”

What makes a good motivational speaker?


A motivational speaker can add something to all sorts of events, whether it’s a graduation ball, a sporting awards evening or some kind of corporate event – but the place that they really come into their own is at events targeted towards employees or colleagues in your business.


By sharing their own stories of success and the struggles that they have faced in achieving their goals, motivational speakers can encourage workers. Not only can this result in a workforce which is more positive and motivated to achieve their own goals, but it can also help to boost productivity and potentially even help make your company money.


A top talent agency will have plenty of celebrity speakers on the books from all walks of life and who will appeal to all sorts of different audiences. Just what are the qualities then, which make a truly great public speaker?




To truly inspire an audience it’s crucial that the motivational speaker you choose for your event is someone who is relatable. Sports stars are often good examples because of the truly meritocratic way in which the sporting world works.


Few people succeed because of their background, their parents or their economic status – it’s about who can run the fastest, jump the highest or throw the furthest, and that means that many sports stars are normal people who’ve done exceptional things and are very relatable for it.


Audience members find it easier to relate to motivational speakers they can see qualities in common with – relatable motivational speakers motivate more effectively!




It’s also key that any motivational speaker you book has a good story – a rocky road to the top whether because of a tough childhood, being beset by injuries or having a dramatic comeback after an initial flush of stardom is always good – as long as there’s a happy ending!


It’s not just a good story, however, that a motivational speaker needs; they also need the charisma and wit to tell their story well. An engaging speaker will make all the difference, and if they can get the audience eating out of their hand with light hearted anecdotes, their message will come across all the more strongly.




If you want your speaker to resonate with your audience for long after the event is over, you’ve got to make sure that they are memorable. The bigger the name that you choose, the more they’ll stick in your guests’ minds – and the take-away from the motivational speech should do too!


It’s always easier to remember something you have engaged with than it is a talk or lecture; why not build in a Q&A session to your event to help audience members cement your speaker firmly in their minds?


Talent agency London


If you’re looking for celebrity speakers then check out the talent roster at London celebrity agents MN2S. They’ve got people from all walks of life on their books, so there’s sure to be someone available to suit whatever kind of event you’re organising.

What makes a good motivational speaker?