Saturday, May 23, 2015

Indie Ville TV #42 The Incredible Flawless Pursuit

Written by Nikki B.                                                       

Flawless pursuit is the Indie Ville TV 2015 Rock Band of the Year! Congratulations guys. You all are so very inspiring and possess a mission that is motivated not only by the music but also by a power that is beyond all of us. I had the opportunity to speak with Ryan (vocalist) and Dustin (Drummer) to  talk about  where they came from and how they channel their positive messages and translates them so seamlessly into vibrations that touch and inspire so many.

Nikki B: Where did you all get your start? Where do you call home?

Ryan: I grew up in New Hampshire and actually started playing the saxophone in Junior high. I always dreamed about being on stage but it seemed far­fetched to me but it was always in the back of my mind. I did however tryout for an a cappella group early on while in school in New York but I still always dreamt of the performing live on stage. It wasn't until 2011 when I actually joined a band as a vocalist and I have loved it ever since.

Dustin: Well I grew up in Tupelo, MS which is a really small town but it is the home of Elvis. I remember being inspired early on while I was in church and a rock band came out and performed. All I can remember is the drums and how the music moved me. It was so much passion. I used to be the kid banging on the drums and playing air guitar ya know. So, it was in me. I begin playing the drums at 14 years old and I actually moved to Nashville when I was 18 to join a band...and the rest is history.

Nikki B: So inspiring! So, What were your influences? What is your mission with your music?

Ryan: In some cases, I will get up and speak a message or Dustin will stand and speak a message during a performance and we try to relay the message by showing people that there is a God and there is love out there. Many times we have 3 to 4 people approach us after a show, wanting to pray with us or talk to us about what is going on with them. This is what is important to us. This is what we do it all for.

Dustin: My mission for the music is to respect Christ and show everyone that there is a purpose in life. We want to show that there is love and we want to help as many people as we can as much as we can.

Nikki B: Tell me about your original songs...Are they collaborations?

Ryan: Usually it starts with Trey or Jordan…they may have a guitar riff they want to use or our producer has something that he thinks would fit us..but sometimes its organic because we may unintentionally play something and it will work for us. That is why we can still play with metal bands and other bands while still remaining true to our messages.

Nikki B: Give me some examples of musicians that inspired you?

Ryan: My musical inspirations are very wide. When I was younger I was a huge Michael Jackson fan. I loved the way he entertained people. I love to entertain because I love to see people smile. Then it was a time that all I listened to was rap music and Eminem was an inspiration because I felt that if this guy could do something so out of the norm for his genre and make it work, then anyone could do anything. But then I look at people like Taylor Swift and I look at how she is as a person. If someone is going to make me their role model, I want them to look up to the real me…the person that knows that there is peace and love in the world. I don’t want to be a part of the evil and hatred and I want that to be apparent in the way I act, the way I treat others, and apparent through my music.

Nikki B: In your opinion, what makes a musician a legend?

Ryan:  Well I believe that it goes beyond their craft or how well they do something. Its how much passion they can put into what they are doing. To have the ability to use that raw emotion they have inside, that passion, and to be able to convey it in a way so that everyone can understand what they are saying or what they are doing. It is that passion, that fire within them, that makes them a legend. Learning something from someone through their music.

Nikki B: What advice would you give to an upcoming musician that wants to know how to make it in a genre going against what is considered to be the norm...How would you inspire them?

Ryan: Being able to go onstage and put your entire heart into what you are doing no matter what negatives you encounter, if you put your heart into it you can achieve your goals. You will start somewhere. I used to have terrible stage fright but my passion, drive, and love for what I do and for God just keeps me going back onto that stage wanting to deliver that message. Believe in what you are doing because if you don’t, then no one will.

Thank you Ryan and Dustin of Flawless Pursuit for a wonderful and very inspiring interview.  To find out more information about Flawless Pursuit and support them please click, like, and share the following links!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Indie Ville TV #41 Mark Allee: The Drum Leviathan

Written by Nikki B

The title says it all and more because, Drummer Mark Allee's talent and performance ability is nothing short of the most enjoyable and explosive of its kind. His exuberance and versatility in his craft is obvious, but the less obvious character attribute is his selflessness and understanding of the way that he does his business...and it is paying off big time for him so far! Mr. Mark Allee is an extremely accomplished musician, graduating from the Musician's Institute in California and has traveled around the nation working with many different celebrities across genres, and yet he still finds time to be a music instructor to rising musicians of all ages ranging from 5 to 85. Mark found some time to explain his story, where he started, where he is today, and where he expects to be in the near future.

Nikki B: So to get this started, Where do you call home? When did you begin playing the drums?

Mark Allee: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I led a pretty normal childhood and stayed there until around 2006 then I moved to L.A. I started out playing the guitar but moved over to the drums when I was about 19 years old.

Nikki B: What would you say is the key to growth in the music business? Personally, what has caused the greatest growth in your career thus far?

Mark Allee: Ok so soon after I moved to Los Angeles, I noticed some trends, took part in them, and I decided that the Musicians Institute was my next step. I had the unique opportunity to dedicate all my time to attending music school and because of that, I found out that the key to growth in this business was through networking and uplifting others. This was life changing for me because of all the wonderful people I was able to meet, and I felt myself grow as a musician as well. I found out that the art of networking is the most important tool...besides learning and mastering your instrument, of course.

Nikki B: Of course. So, Tell me about some of your affiliations? What companies or other musicians have you had the chance to work with?

Mark Allee: Well I got the chance to work as a representative for Soultone Cymbals and have been affiliated with them since 2010. I have worked with many different companies and other artists as well. After I graduated, I went to New York city to work with the Blue Man group. After that I came back to California and got the chance to take part in the children's television project in a band named The Shushybye's. I got the chance to meet and display my talents to a variety of different well known celebrities during that process. Soon after that though, I got a chance to be a contestant on a reality show called 'The Next Great Drummer' and then had the awesome opportunity to be the co-producer of the show and I am still affiliated with it to this day. But currently, I am dedicated wholeheartedly and actively on the road promoting and performing with this awesome band called, Trig County.

Nikki B: You mentioned being an instructor...What led you down that course?

Mark Allee:  Well the experience of giving back in that way is great, first. I have taught kids as young as 5 years old on up to adults. I got the opportunity to teach special needs children, which really helped mold me further as an artist and instructor, but the experience was awesome. I also provided lessons for celebrity's kids, so I've had a variety of teaching experiences, all the while, I was growing as a musician myself.

Nikki B: What musician(s) influenced you the most so far?

Mark Allee: Early on it was classic rock like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, RUSH... My styles range. My country influences are The Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, and Brad Paisley. I've been influenced by bands and musicians like Tower of Power, Michael Jackson, Huey Lewis and the news, and the Meters as well.

Nikki B: If an up and coming musician approached you and asked for real life music business advice that will surely take them far, what would you tell them?

Mark Allee: Learn your craft. Be creative. You're a bad azz until proven otherwise in my book!  Your success will be with thinking about others. Stop thinking only about me, me, me...rather, think about what you can do for your project and what you can do for others. Know what you offer and be confident with it. Meet as many musicians and people as possible. Then nurture each relationship. That is exactly what it is all about. I did get the opportunity to watch Mr. Mark Allee perform and he is a very passionate, expressive, and a highly talented musician. He looks like he feels the music and becomes apart of it. His movement and sound grabs hold of you and you can't take your eyes off of him throughout the performance. Thank you Mark for the interview! To get more information on Mark Allee and his upcoming endeavors and projects check out the links below. Do not forget to

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Indie Ville TV #40 The Fantastic Erisa Rei

 Written by Curtis Gardner                                          

What was your first introduction to music? What about it made you wanna pursue this art?

As far as doing music myself, the public school I went to from K-3 had a choir. From 4th grade on I went to a private Christian school, where I played trumpet for one year and then percussion from 5th grade on.  There also was a yearly school musical.  I didn’t think I was a good singer until I was 16.  I started singing at church teen meetings.  Once I reached college, I received a scholarship for music and did music groups there.  I think it was there that I really developed a love for singing.  Previously I had been focused on making a career in dance.
How long have you been doing music?
I’ve been doing music professionally since 2004. 
Who were your inspirations growing up and who inspires you now?
Growing up, I would watch Crystal Gayle on the TV screen and wish I had her long, beautiful hair.  Then when I was in grade school, Amy Grant, came out with her Unguarded album.  We had a tape of it.  I wore the insert out reading the lyrics.  I also would create dances to the songs! 
As I grew older, I listened to a lot of Celtic & Classical music, as well as Mariah Carey.  I’m a big fan of Yolanda Adams, and Sarah Kelly.  Now, I’m inspired by U2, Queen, & JJ Grey.  I really like Taylor Swift’s new album.  I’m kind of everywhere in my tastes.
How would you describe your music to a potential new fan?
My lyrics are always heartfelt and honest.  My sound varies sometimes, but there is always a bit of blues influence.  My voice has a lot of soul in it.
Where do you draw the most motivation from when writing your music? Is it your personal life or others around you?
I’m not the type of writer who can usually just sit down and decide that I’m going to write a song.  I have to be inspired by something.  I wish it were the other way, as I’d be a more prolific writer.  As far as inspirations go, I don’t normally take one specific instance and write about it.  I will usually correlate a few different instances that have a connecting theme and write about it.  This way my writing is more general and not about one specific person in general.  There is one person I write about specifically, and that is my husband…. Love songs!
You hosted the Indie Ville awards on Sunday. What was that like for you?
That was a lot of fun!  I enjoyed dressing up, as I don’t get to do that very often being a mother of 5 kids. It was also nice to be able to present with the CEO of the label I’m signed to, Creative & Dreams. 
What can Nashville expect from you for the year of 2015?
I’m in the creating mode, so I won’t be playing very often this year.  With such a large family, and doing so much of my own booking, promotion, etc., I have to separate it in order to create. 
Any new project(s) in the works?
There is always something in the works! I would love to release something soon, but nothing I’ve created feels quite right or at least not complete.  I have portions of projects.  Things are becoming clearer though, so hopefully something in 2016.
What other endeavors would you like to pursue outside of music?
I want to live in the country again on some acreage, have an orchard, berry bushes, a barn and some chickens and goats.  I’m very much a country girl at heart.
How can fans find you online?
I’m on most social networks. 

Any last words or shout outs? 
I would like to thank my family for putting up with my crazy schedule, and the label, Creative & Dreams Music Network, for teaching me so much.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Indie Ville TV #39 The Remarkable Ashley Ledrick

Written by Curtis Gardner

When did you begin writing music?                                 

I began writing music my freshman year in high school. My first few songs were pretty terrible, but I feel I started to improve on my songwriting abilities as I wrote more and more.

Was there a songwriter or performer you looked up to growing up? Who and Why?

Colbie Caillat was always a huge influence of mine. She's very quiet, peaceful, and pure sounding. I always looked up to the fact that she had the ability to not just sing great songs, but she poured her heart out to any song she performed, despite if she wrote it or not.

Do you remember first song writing  and/or performing in front of a crowd?

Most artists start out in a group. If so we're you in one?

My freshman year I actually started out in a pop-punk cover band. The first song we ever played live was 1985 by Bowling for Soup. Six months later, I played my first solo show as the opening act for Olivia Henken in Louisville, KY and my first song I played was an acoustic, stripped down ballad that I created of 1985 by Bowling for Soup.

When did you begin to take your talents seriously and pursue your goals and dreams as a music artist?

Again, I'll go back to Freshman year. Before that, my musical outlets consisted of school choirs and karaoke bars. (The ones that allowed all ages in). Although my band did not work out, I knew from the few shows I did with them, that performing was something I really enjoyed, and I would figure out a way to continue it. Now I couldn't imagine doing anything with my life that isn’t music related.

What's your lowest and highest moment thus far as an artist?

My lowest moment as an artist was the time period of when I was getting started. Leaving a band to become a solo artist, a lot of people in my area told me I would never be able to be successful without a band behind me, because there’s not a platform in Louisville for solo artists. My highest moment, has been these past few weeks, and then these next few weeks to come. I attended the National Country Music Awards as a guest, I’ll play CMA Fest in June and of course, having my song be nominated for Song of the Year at the IndieVilleTV Awards is without a doubt my highest moment to this day.

How does it feel to be nominated for Indieville TV song of the year?

The only word I could think to even slightly describe the feeling is: speechless. “I Miss” was written my sophomore year of high school, that was two years ago, and it was written about my first “real boyfriend” breaking up with me. I thought the song was just going to be a way for me to cope with the breakup and get over him, I never imagined it’d land a nomination for Song of the Year. It absolutely blows my mind every day that  I think about it.

Are you working on any new music? We can we expect an exclusive release from you?

There is TONS of new music in the works. As far as recording and putting together another EP, or even a full length CD, I’ve tried to wait until I graduate high school to release another since so much travel and time goes into the release itself. However, I graduate in June, so I have full intentions to start recording a new CD in the Summer of 2015. As for a release date though, I won’t have a better idea of when that will be until I get into the studio.

Outside of music, what other avenues do you wanna explore?

I’m very into the business side of music, so I’m looking forward to continuing my education in college as a major in Music Business and also studying Entertainment Law. I would also like to explore radio broadcasting and maybe even intern with a radio station one day.

Where do you see your music 3-5 years from now?

In 3-5 years I hope to have more than just the CD I’ll be working on this summer out, so that’s a start. I also see myself being able to successfully support myself by not just the music business jobs I could acquire after college, but I’d like to still play shows as well. Ideally, in 3-5 years, my fan base and music would be large enough that I could tour and support myself fully from the shows I play, however if that’s not the case, I’d still enjoy playing weekly shows in different cities.

How can the public find Ashley Ledrick online?

I’m literally everywhere. is a start. It has the EP, pictures, and I try to keep all of the shows updated. is also another way to stream the EP, or you can purchase the EP or single tracks on Google Play, Amazon and iTunes.

Or now, we’ve recently set up a PO Box for people that want to send items to be signed and returned, purchase autographed EP/Pictures, or just want to communicate and keep in contact via letters, instead of social media. The address is:

Ashley Ledrick Fan Club

P.O. Box 1920

New Albany, IN 47151-1920

Any last words or shout outs?

I would like to include a huge shout out to everybody that has bought an EP, bought tickets for a show, visited one of my sites, took the time out of their day to send me a message, or letter, or tweet to tell me about their day, or talk to me about how my music helped them. Also, a huge shout out to everybody that voted to nominate me for Song of the Year, and also to everybody that voted for me in this category. My final shout out, is to my dad. Being the father of a teenage daughter is probably hard enough, but being the manager of a teenage performer on top of that I’m sure has not been easy at times, and he’s always gone above and beyond to help support me and my career in any way that I needed. My music wouldn’t go far without the fans, but my music wouldn’t even be possible without the help from my dadanager. (Get it? Dad + Manager. Haha)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Indie Ville TV #38 Astonishing Ras empress

Written Curtis Gardner                                        

What were your early memories of music growing up?  Listening to several old school artists - Anita Baker, Motown, jazz artists like Pia Zadora and Harry Connick Jr. - positive, uplifting music was what we were surrounded by.

Who were your musical influences? Our musical influences growing up were primarily the artists we listened to above.  Any black artist from the 60s and 70s were who we emulated as children growing up and also led to us wanting to spread positivity through our music.

When did u first discover that you had musical talent? Did I run in the family?  We both discovered our musical talent as children.  Jasira's mom is an excellent singer; and with Sah being a professional African dancer - singing naturally came with the territory as well.

What was it about reggae that grabbed u out attention? Reggae music has a way of grabbing and moving you....speaking to your innermost being and touching you in a way that secular music may not.  The bass line, the rhythmic beat of the drum...on top of the positive vibrations and stand up lyrics that roots reggae typically displays.

When did you first begin to develop your talents and take it seriously?  Sah began singing at age 6, ballet at age 15, and her career as a professional African dancer at age 19.  Jasira didn't begin fulfilling her musical/poetic talents until her move to Memphis in 2006.

Was there any fear or nervousness about doing music for an audience?  There's a natural inner-g shift when preparing to do music for an audience.  Not necessarily fear or nervousness, but anxiousness to share our craft, our music with the world and hopes that it will be received just as positively as we give it.

Is their a certain moment in time where u looked on the mirror and realized how good you were? We think we do an awesome job of representing the feminine principle in roots reggae music.  We've had several "that performance was dope" moments; but it's typically a group we complement each other vocally and how well the band locks in with our "instruments" as well.  We're always striving for more, to be better!

How has family and/or friends supported your music along the way?  Our friends and family are always at our shows, are always pushing us to keep on going, and are always asking us "what's next?"  Their support and constant motivation are amazing!
How does it feel to be nominated for an Indie Ville TV Award?  It feels awesome!  This is our first time being nominated for any such reward, so for that recognition and for that recognition to come outside of Memphis definitely makes us feel as if things are starting to unfold, that we're being noticed, and that our music and our message can extend beyond "local."

What are your current project(s) that you are working on right now?  We're currently working on writing a full-length CD or original music, which we hope to debut within the year.  We're also exploring additional areas of collaboration with our local Memphis brethren, Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, and with our Nashville brethren (Joshua O'dine & Roots of a Rebellion).  We're also hoping to link with Dez Irie out of St. Louis to put on a "Women in Reggae" mini-tour.

What can people expect from you for the 2015 year and beyond? People can expect a shift into more original music and more collaborations with our sistren and brethren in reggae here in Memphis and beyond.

What advice would you give an artist wanting to create music? Do you.  Don't try to be anyone else or do anything else but.  When that inner voice speaks to you, listen to it because it's not yours - it's the Creator's and the ancestors.  Words are powerful.  So make music that uplifts, that speaks to the God and Goddesses in all of us.

How can people find you and your movement online?  Watch our videos on YouTube:  Visit our website: Like us on FaceBook:
Any final words or shout outs?  Be Peace. Live Life. Love Music.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Until we see you....Be Peace, Love Life, Live Music!

- Ras Empress

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