3 More Reasons to Love the Baltimore Scene in 2014

#1 Where We Are Going – There are so many people, including you and I, that are doing great work in our communities. The best part about 2014, is knowing that even though I am lonely on the West Coast, I am not without the support of my network. That network is growing and I am learning to appreciate different types of bonds and relationships. I hope that people realize the balance that we need in our connections, most importantly, we must know ourselves. The greatest artists are self aware, because they make time to take their minds into unexplored regions. Some people get there geographically, finding themselves in the wilderness and unplugged from technology, able to ponder their existence. We make connections with our online friends via social media. I’m learning to really dig through my online followers and check out their websites and projects. From one word on a page in my journal, to the projects that were created with friends, I am so thankful for the work that we have done. I am proposing that we take the QueenEarth & Friends movement to a new level with some FREE online classes. Check out QueenEarth & Friends: The Classroom. https://www.facebook.com/events/783677391660488/?ref=br_tf Let’s learn together!

Strangers are friends you haven't met yet :)

Strangers are friends you haven’t met yet :)

#2 Where We’ve Been – I’ve been wanting to share a song with folks for a while. This is the original, uncut, unmixed, acapella-ish version of “How Do You Know.” This song features my good friend Serena. Our relationship started as student/administrator, as she was enrolled at my last full-time employer. We met one week and discussed guitar lessons. Six months later, we started lessons. She handed me The Artist’s Way, and my life was never the same. I learned about my artistic journey because there were other artists who were telling their stories the way I wanted to tell my own. Serena left for a semester and traveled to Italy. She and I continued with lessons for almost 2 years. We sang together. We wrote. We cried. We became friends, and instead of lessons, we spoke about creativity and after school learning, music and mentoring. Serena joined a band, and now I’m reading her newsfeed and watching her grow her own wings, making a living doing the things that we chased. I just left for California, but distance is relative. I still feel our connection. We learned so much, together. Here’s to evolution! www.queenearth.com/music Enjoy the original.

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#3 The Things We Create! Music makes my friends circle. I meet other artists at open mics, and those interactions build my professional network. My producer leads a Gospel Choir at a local university, my alma mater. My favorite emcees are teachers and leaders for after school workshops and healthy food movements. My best friends filled our basement when we came home from San Jose, over Winter Break, without my music gear and my speaker. At 2am, and no one knows until this very utterance, I stepped outside and stood in my driveway to listen to the music. It wasn’t loud enough for the neighbors to complain, but perfectly set at a volume that allowed the laughter to seep through between bass drum kicks and the high hat. I stood in my driveway and walked to the middle of our street. I cried. THIS is what I missed in California.

The last time I felt lost . . . No, the last time I found myself was when I wrote my song “What If” in 2010. I am so lonely out here in California, but without this song, without what it meant to Baltimore, I would not have found a friend in Janice B. She would not have been moved to write this verse. In the walls of Mo Rece‘s studio, I have built friends and family. David Ross, another Stinkiface artist, wrote a great poetic introductory verse for this Queen B. version of the song. MosNo, (ask somebody) plays beautiful djembe. It is without ego that I say that this song embodies the Baltimore music scene, as I know it. I did not make it so. We did. We could also argue that BrownFish “FishBowl” has that title. Jahiti, the guitar playing vocalist of BrownFish, is also releasing a project from Stinkiface Music in 2014. We must be doing something right. The result of this growing music community, the end result of collaboration and intentional community lifting and building, is a wonderful music scene that crosses boundaries of genres and disciplines, closing the gap between music, poetry, hip hop, and instrumentation at our favorite open mic venues.

QueenEarth & Friends 2013. Now, Janice and I are collaborating as Queen B. Get ready for new music.

QueenEarth & Friends 2013. Now, Janice and I are collaborating as Queen B. Get ready for new music.

My network, QueenEarth & Friends, is the result of making intentional connections with the people in my community. I used to write alone. Then I made friends at the open mics. I met Axiom (aka BlackRoot Wordslave) at at a College of Notre Dame open mic. They took me to the studio to sing on a track. It was my first time in a real studio with a sound engineer. I kept going to open mics and growing my network, our network. I wanted business cards, like the veterans so that folks would know who I was and we could build the community together. Months later, that same engineer/producer needed a guitarist for a song with a female vocalist. That artist released her project and was ready to perform her songs in front of a live audience. We started learning each others songs, singing backup vocals, tightening our arrangements. Before I knew it, I had a great friend, someone who knows me intimately because of the art that we make together. If you’ve been following me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/themsqueenearth), you know that I have joined forces with my partner in crime, Janice B. Together we are Queen B. https://www.facebook.com/queenBstinkiface In honor of togetherness, here is a single. Check out “What If” – Queen B.

QueenEarth + Janice B = Queen B :) Photo: Aisha Butler Design: Carlos Avina

QueenEarth + Janice B = Queen B :)
Photo: Aisha Butler
Design: Carlos Avina

I hope that I am strong enough to find this kind of network in California. I’m learning San Jose, making my way up to Oakland, and touching down in San Francisco in 2014. Stay tuned!

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