Double Portion Worship Interview

Tay and Tray pic

Photo courtesy of Tay and Tray Neely

We recently spoke with Tay and Tray Neely, twin gospel vocalists of Double Portion Worship, about music, faith, and using the internet for good.

TBYT: For people who are unfamiliar with you two and what you do, can you explain what Double Portion Worship is and how you got started?

Tay: We are twins, so that’s where we get the Double Portion, a double portion of God’s love. Most people call twins “double trouble,” but we say Double Portion. I started singing out more than my brother, but I always tried to get my brother to come out and sing because he wouldn’t want to come out and start singing. One day we were singing, and my brother started singing with me. And I told him that “wow, that sounds good, Tray”. And then, I guess as I started building his confidence up, he started coming out more with his singing. Then that’s when we came up with the name Double Portion because we figured out that when we worship, it’s so much better when we do it together. The worship is so much stronger. Then that’s when my mom came up with the name, and that’s pretty much how this whole thing got started.

TBYT: How long ago was that?

Tay: About five years ago.

TBYT: I know you also play the keyboard and the drums. How did you get started playing music?

Tray: I started music by playing the drums. My mom bought us a drum set when we were little. And I always liked to beat on things in school, like you would catch me in school just beating on the desk. I really had a passion, and I liked playing the drums for churches and stuff like that. I also was on the drum line in middle school. My brother and I were both drum line captains. So I just really had a passion for playing drums my entire life. That’s really how I started. I started young in school. Doing what God has called me to do.

Tay: I play keyboard. When I was little, I never thought I would be playing the keyboard. My passion at first was drums, but my dad bought a keyboard. He was in his music room trying to figure out how to play this keyboard, and I would always be in the music room with him because I just loved to be surrounded by music. So one day I was just playing on the keyboard, just playing around with different notes and stuff, but then as I was playing around, I was actually teaching myself different things. I pretty much learned how to play by ear. Me just playing around actually turned into something that I love to do. I actually love playing keyboard more now than playing drums.

TBYT: One of our main goals at Think Before You Type is to encourage young people, but also people of all ages, to use the internet in a positive way, and you both have really been able to do that. Can you talk a little bit about how your faith has affected the way that you go about using the internet and your online presence?

Tray: Everything that we do is all for the glory of God. We go on Facebook live and just worship because we know that a lot of people are needing healing and restoration. We just want to make sure that we are doing something positive because you see a whole bunch of negative things on the internet. You just want to be saturated in the presence of God sometimes.

Tay: When we go on live, we are not actually trying to be seen because a lot of people today put things on social media to try to get attention. Like you said, we are doing something positive through social media, and that is pretty much all we are doing. We are trying to reach youth, our generation, because our generation is lost. So that is how we reach our generation because they may not listen right then, but it is always going to stick with them in the long run. Like these twin boys that are doing the right thing, even though they struggle in life and are going through things in their life. They can still worship and know that everything is going to be alright. That’s what we do. We are just young, black, and positive.

TBYT: You’ve been talking about how you have seen the need for change online, and you are trying to do positive things to champion that. Can you talk about one specific way that you would like to see the internet change?

Tay: Just more positive things on there, not all bad news and not always just hearing or seeing people fighting. We just want to see the difference in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat, you know. We are just tired of seeing the same thing.

Tray: Yes, like stop the bullying. Learning to encourage one another when they are going through hard times.

TBYT: You have these incredible comments on some of your videos. I’ve seen the pictures people are sharing with your T-shirts on. You’ve really been able to reach people. Can you talk about how you have been able to see God work through your ministry?

Tray: When we went live one day [there was] a lady that wanted to commit suicide. She commented on the live, and my mom caught it. We got her on the live to just encourage her, and once we got done encouraging her, she did not want to kill herself anymore. That is just evidence of how she was encouraged and still believed that whatever she is going through, she can get through it by our worship. And that she is not alone in her situation.

People are also starting to confess and just reveal everything that they are dealing with, not even just her. We see people in the comments while we are worshiping on the lives saying that they dealt with the same thing. They tell us all the things that they dealt with, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and all these things that they dealt with in their childhood. They are not afraid to come out and say it because they see us doing it, and that’s what has encouraged us to do what we keep on doing.

TBYT: Can you talk about who some of your musical influences are?

Tray: Actually our whole family sings, so we cannot escape from escape from music. My dad is a worship leader. He worships at a church in Spartanburg, SC.

Tay: I love the way Travis Greene worships. I love when he’s not up there to be seen or to have fame. I love Chandler Moore, it’s just his style of worship. The anointing on their lives, I can feel it. You can feel when someone has the anointing. They are not just up there to make themselves sound good. They are actually up there singing for God. Travis Greene, Chandler Moore, Tye Tribbett, all of those people, we love them. Those are our inspiration.

Tray: And we also have diverse music. I have a favorite R&B singer, Tyrese Gibson, and I just like his tone, I like his music. He is mostly just talking about a love song and just like a relationship with someone. And it also flows into the worship side.

Tay: That is basically what worship is, having a relationship with God. It is like an intimate time with God.

TBYT: We are sisters who work together, and we always have to ask this question when we interview other siblings. What is it like to work so closely with your brother?

Tay: I love working with my brother. This is just an example, but when I am home by myself, I may go live and do a worship video. It is a little harder to go into worship when you don’t have your twin brother sitting right beside you. Because, as a twin, it is different when you don’t have each other right there beside you. We flow together. We worship so much better. I just love my brother. I love traveling with my brother.

Tray: Also we are connected. We were connected together in our mother’s womb. So it’s like everything that we do is together. It doesn’t matter what it is. So we worship together. It’s like, if one person is having a bad day, we are all having a bad day. Just because we are so close together, and we worship through it together.

TBYT: When you are looking to the future, what are some of the goals that you have for Double Portion Worship?

Tray: What we are looking for to happen is that we want to keep traveling the world, doing what God has called us to do. Traveling and ministering to the youth and all generations. We want to make music. We just want to spread the gospel, do what God has called us to do.

Tay: We are hoping to get our first EP released this summer. Our first EP is basically going to be a worship medley. That is the type of goal that we are hoping for Double Portion. And just like my brother said, travel the world, worship, minister to the brokenhearted, and change someone’s life. Let our worship heal somebody. Give somebody another chance at life, lead them back to Christ. Those are the goals for Double Portion.

TBYT: You’re mentioning this EP that you are working on. Are these going to be original songs, or are some of them covers? What’s the plan for that?

Tay: Some of them may be originals, and some of them may be cover songs. But you have to buy it to see!

You can find Double Portion Worship at: https://www.facebook.com/doubleportionworship/ and https://www.doubleportionworship.com/

Teddy Adhitya Interview

 

Teddy-1

Photo via Teddy Adhitya

 

Think Before You Type is excited to share our very first bilingual interview. One of our main goals is to have a global impact, and we’re excited to take this step. We recently caught up with Indonesian singer Teddy Adhitya to talk about music, cyberbullying, and the internet.

Think Before You Type (TBYT): How would you describe your music?

Teddy Adhitya: My music is a place where I can tell stories and express feelings. If by genre, it could be said that my music is R&B soul.

Bagaimana cara Kak Teddy mendeskripsikan musik Kak Teddy?

Teddy:  Musik gue adalah tempat gue cerita, mengekspresikan rasa. Kalo secara genre bisa dibilang secara general musik gue adalah R&B Soul.

 

TBYT: If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would it be? (Jika Kak Teddy dapat konser dimana saja, Kak Teddy ingin konser dimana?)

Teddy: Obviously, Madison Square Garden!

 

TBYT: What is your favorite part about having a career in music?

Teddy: The creative process! In the studio crafting music and lyrics to be heard by a lot of people. And people relate with what I make. When on stage, people enjoy it, and I also enjoy being on stage. It’s the best!

TBYT: Bagian mana yang Kak Teddy sukai dalam berkarir di dunia musik?

Teddy: Proses kreatif! Masuk studio crafting musik dan lirik untuk didenger banyak orang. Dan orang relate sama apa yang gue bikin. Ketika diatas panggung orang ikut menikmati apa yang juga gue nikmati di atas panggung. Itu the best!

 

TBYT: People often forget it, but a little bit of kindness can go a long way. When was the last time a stranger made you smile? 

Teddy: Often. They often smile back.

TBYT: Seringkali orang orang lupa bahwa sedikit kebaikan dapat berdampak sangat banyak. Kapan seseorang yang Kak Teddy tidak kenal memberikan senyum?

Teddy: Sering. Seringnya di senyumin balik sih. Hehe

 

TBYT: If you could speak to someone being cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?

Teddy: The freedom of expression on the internet is good if it is positive. Cyberbullying is often done by brave people who are hiding behind their accounts. Don’t take it seriously.

TBYT: Jika Kak Teddy dapat berbicara dengan orang yang terkena cyberbully, apa yang Ingin kak Teddy katakan?

Teddy: Kebebasan berexpresi melalu internet itu bagus, jika positive. Cyberbully dilakukan oleh orang2 yang berani karna mereka bersembunyi dibalik account masing2. Jadi, gausah dipeduliin juga.

 

TBYT: What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?

Teddy: Make it easier access to express oneself. For spreading creations without much cost. A place to explore creation more widely.

TBYT: Apa salah satu perubahan positif yang ingin Kak Teddy lihat di Internet?

Teddy: Makin mudah akses untuk berekspresi. Untuk menyebar luaskan karya tanpa biaya yang besar. Tempat explore kreasi lebih luas.

 

TBYT: How do you deal with negative comments online?

Teddy: I don’t care. Even though sometimes it can be a reference to improve ourselves, but there is no one who knows us better than ourselves. So the negative comments are just like the wind. They surely will pass and don’t impact anything.

TBYT: Bagaimana kak Teddy menghadapi komentar negatif di dunia maya?

Teddy: Ga peduli. Meskipun kadang bisa dijadikan acuan untuk memperbaiki diri. Tapi yang kenal diri kita adalah diri kita sendiri. Jadi komentar negative itu kaya angin aja. Lewat doang. Ga memberi impact apa apa.

 

TBYT: What do you have coming up for the rest of the year?
Teddy: There will be a “NOTHING IS REAL”  showcase at Salihara Theatre on June, 27 2018! So excited!

TBYT: Adakah hal-hal yang akan Kak Teddy bagikan di tahun 2018 ini?

Teddy: Akan ada “NOTHING IS REAL” Showcase di Teater Salihara tanggal 27 Juni 2018! So excited!

DYSN Interview

 

DYSN

Photo Credit: Connor Gould

DYSN took some time off from his busy tour schedule to talk with us about his decision to limit his social media use, the freedom he found in letting the audience create his setlist, new projects, and much more.

Think Before You Type (TBYT): How is tour going so far? Where are you right now?

DYSN:  We’re in Madison, Wisconsin, and it’s actually been great here. It’s one of our favorite cities so far. It’s very homey, and we’re all just relaxed here. It’s been great!

TBYT: You’re letting crowds decide your setlist for shows on tour, which is very unique. What made you decide to do that?

DYSN: To be completely honest, just not being prepared. I was rehearsing with tracks, and about a week before, I just decided that I didn’t have enough time to put something really cool together. I write everything on acoustic, so I was just like, “I’ll just ask people. I know them all, so it’ll be pretty easy.” It’s actually been working out. It’s a lot easier to do than the other way around.

TBYT: Does that make you nervous at all? Knowing that you’re putting your setlist in the crowd’s hands?

DYSN: It kind of takes the edge off in a weird way. I think the problem that I personally had with the last tour was that I didn’t know if people were enjoying the songs or if they were going to like what I did because it was only like five songs. It was pretty short and it was a lot of new stuff. So it gives them more of an opportunity to hear their songs that they want to hear. It’s actually less nerve-racking this time.

TBYT: How would you say that you’ve seen the internet play a role in your career?

DYSN: Pretty substantially. It’s where everything is at in my career thus far, so it’s kind of where it’s all invested into. I only use Instagram though. I don’t have any other platform.

TBYT: Why?

DYSN: I don’t know. I’m kind of weird with the social media stuff. I don’t really try to use it that much. It’s not that I don’t try. I’m just not really too drawn to it, to be honest. With the tour, I’m trying a lot more to be active and engage people to come to the shows and all that. But before the tour, I wasn’t really too active and it kind of like draws me away from the other ones because like if I’m barely posting on Instagram, I don’t even think about Twitter.

TBYT: Do you feel like that puts you at a disadvantage at all, or do you feel like you’re able to make that work?

DYSN: I haven’t really seen too much of an issue. I used to have Twitter and everything, and I kind of chopped it off recently. But yeah, it really hasn’t made too big of a difference because I kind of base everything off of the plays I’m getting, and I haven’t seen a change in that at all. If anything, it’s doing a little bit better just with the tour and everything.

TBYT: Do you feel like your life is different from that of other people in our generation because you get to experience more of the real world instead of being on social media all of the time?

DYSN:  Definitely, I’ve noticed compared to when I had everything going all of the time and I was constantly engaging, I’m definitely more of a happier person when I’m just living life. I don’t have my phone out. It’s awesome. So it’s yeah, definitely a noticeable difference. I’m pretty used to it now, but at first, I felt like I detoxed in a weird way.

TBYT: What’s one city on this tour that you’ve enjoyed a lot or are looking forward to going to?

DYSN: Definitely Billings, Montana. I’m looking forward to the scenery, and I’ve never been to that area.  I don’t know if I’ll be back for a while, so I think that’ll be cool. Toronto and New York are of course always amazing. They’re like my two favorite cities, so those are fun to go to. And surprisingly, Santa Fe as well. The New Mexico culture is so cool to me. And it’s not like something I’ve spent a lot of time around, so it’s always new to me.

TBYT: How would you describe your songwriting process?

DYSN: My writing process revolves around an acoustic guitar for the most part. It’s pretty rare that I’ll get an instrumental from someone and write to that. I’ll usually start with the guitar, and just build off of that.

TBYT: If you could collaborate with any artist in the world who would it be?

DYSN: It would be cool to do it with some bands. Maybe like The Walters or Beach House would be really cool. I really love their stuff. And MGMT because their new album was incredible.

TBYT: How did you get into music?

DYSN: It’s always been surrounding me. My grandparents all play, my parents both play, and my sisters all like sing and everything. So growing up I was always a part of a four-part harmony, just everyone singing. Then my dad bought a pawned super cheap drum kit when I was eight. That was when I kinda started understanding [music]. Then it kinda took off from there, off and on, and that’s pretty much where it started.

TBYT: So do you still play the drums now?

DYSN: I like to when I can. I still own a drum kit and everything, but I don’t ever really get to do it anymore because I’ve been taking this other part pretty seriously now. I don’t really have time, but I wish I did. I enjoy that more than anything.

TBYT: How would you describe your sound?

DYSN:  The new stuff is a lot more stripped down. It hasn’t come out yet, but it’s a lot more live instruments. I have strings, live pianos, every song is guitar based. It’s super broken down. I think one song has a drum kit playing live, and that’s it. That one is really me, I guess. You’ll see. The difference is pretty drastic.

TBYT: When is your new project going to be released?  

DYSN: Hopefully in the summertime. Obviously the tour kind of put it off, but I’ll have the full month of May to finish it. It’s kind of like my personal deadline. All of the songs are written. I’ve been playing a few on the road. It’s just a matter of me getting into a studio and knocking them out.

TBYT: What inspired you to move onto something different and shift from your previous sound?

DYSN: I guess the old stuff wasn’t really as “me” as I wanted it to be. I was influenced by things that really don’t influence me now. I guess it’s just a growth. The things I’m inspired by now are a lot different. This sounds really weird, but more theatrical type stuff is inspiring me at the moment. More like storytelling. Along with bands like Beach House with more interesting sounds.

TBYT: Are there any specific musicals that are inspiring you right now?

DYSN: The one that I watched and I was like “I need to step up my game” was The Sound of Music. I’ve always loved it.

TBYT: As someone who started their career young, what would you say to young people who are out there who want to get out of the norm and make their own mark on the world?

DYSN: It’s the most cliche thing, but it’s just about finding what really makes you happy. I think the thing that has changed my music the most was when I started making stuff that really made me happy, and I think that it has had an impact on the people around me. They’re way bigger fans of the new stuff, and everyone tells me “that’s much more you.” It’s about finding the thing that really makes you happy and inspired and excited and not trying to make stuff for other people to enjoy. I know people talk about it and say, “oh music is for other people”, but I think if you’re trying to have a stamp, then it’s finding your own happy place.

TBYT: You mentioned that you have this new project that you’re working on that’s coming up. Are there any other goals that you have set for yourself in the near future?  

DYSN: I definitely wanted to try to do two projects this year. I think that’s the only goal at the moment. I don’t look too far into the future. I try to be as present as possible. But I would say, yeah, have this project come out and make the other one as soon as I can. Maybe in the fall or winter with a completely different sound, which I already have the idea of. So I want to get them [out] pretty close together.

TBYT: What advice do you have for young people who are dealing with cyberbullying?

DYSN: Just try to stay away from whatever situation got you there. If you have to go private, block somebody, or if you’re engaging in comments that you don’t need to be. For me, it’s staying away. I guess my advice would be to stay away from whatever the situation is.

TBYT: You’re finishing up a tour and you have these new projects that you’re working on. Is there anything else that you’re looking forward to this year?

DYSN: Not anything for certain. Possibly more shows in the fall to start playing the new project and everything, but that’s a maybe of course.

Paul Vinson Interview

 

Paul Vinson

Photo Courtesy of Paul Vinson

 

We recently talked with singer-songwriter Paul Vinson about the power of the internet, advice for budding musicians, and much more!   

Think Before You Type: How would you describe your sound?

Paul Vinson: I think first and foremost I make pop music, but I would also say I use words like singer-songwriter, indie, soul, or blues.

TBYT: Who are your musical influences?

Paul: When I was younger, it was the Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix. Now it’s guys like John Mayer, James Bay, and Hozier. Hippo Campus, The 1975, people like that. Also Ben Rector. I grew up making music in church, so I take a lot of inspiration from that because I was embedded in it for so long.  

TBYT: How has the internet played a role in your career?

Paul: In Pensacola there are not many music connections, but I’ve found interesting ways to use the internet to spread my music and also to meet new people. Spotify has been huge. I can look at my stats right now, and I have over a thousand listeners in New York City, which is crazy. Then I have two thousand people spread throughout Canada that listen. And it’s like I’ve been to Canada once, but it had nothing to do with music. I’ve also used it to meet new friends. I’m moving to Nashville in May, which I’m very excited about. I made the drive once a month for the last 6 months of 2017, and I just went up to Nashville and hung out with people that were making music. And to do that and to meet those people, I used Instagram as a tool to find people that I thought were making music that I liked or that seemed like really cool dudes. We would all just go up, and I ended up meeting some incredible friends there because of that. Social media has been a huge tool for me.

TBYT: Did you make your own music in Nashville?

Paul: All the music was recorded here in Pensacola. We actually set up a DIY makeshift studio inside of a little, tiny church office, and I did it all in there. And then I sent it out to a friend in Nashville who mixed and mastered everything.

TBYT: What is the most inspiring thing you have seen happen or heard about on the internet?

Paul: To speak personally, I guess a way that I have found it to be inspirational for me, and more so encouraging, is when I did a tour right after I graduated high school where I played shows in college dorms for free. To do the tour, we raised money through GoFundMe, so via the internet, we raised $2,000 to travel the country to colleges I’d never been to and that I only had one friend at. And then using the internet and that friend, we pulled in 30-40 people, packing people tight into college dorms, to play shows. That to me clearly could not have been done without the internet, which shows how capable and how encouraging the internet can be. Where there is, of course, a very harsh side of it, a lot of good can be done. I think the YouTube community is another really cool one. Guys like Casey Neistat, that was a huge inspiration for me early on. 

TBYT: If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?

Paul: One thing you have to remember [is], even now (obviously I’m not a giant artist), but you get negative comments on videos. And it’s always like you take them with so much weight. It’s so strange. It’s like I don’t know who’s saying these things, and I don’t know anything about them. So for me, one thing to always realize is first and foremost that those are not even words. I think a lot of true words hold value, but in that state it’s just kinda dismal and so frustrating. I would say one, take a step back. I think when you first find yourself being affected by words being said on social media, it’s important to not distance yourself completely but to take a step back and remember that you are greater than all of the negative things that people like to spew on you.

TBYT: What advice do you have for young people who want to get into music but don’t really know where to begin?

Paul: The first thing to know is that if you are looking to get into music for fun or to do it as a hobby, I think it’s an incredible thing. Just pick up an instrument that interests you and run with it. It’s going to be hard. Sometimes you’re going to want to quit. That goes with anything. Devote yourself to it. It doesn’t really take much. 30 minutes a day on an instrument and you will progress incredibly. Get a teacher, go once a week, and learn the theory. Learn the language of music. And treat music like a language because that’s really what it is. I think another thing too is that I always want to encourage parents, when they can, to teach their kids at a younger age. Give younger kids an opportunity to be around that because you can develop it much better when you’re younger. But that doesn’t stop anyone from doing it when they’re older.

On the other side of that, if you want to pursue it as a career, it becomes a little tougher. I always encourage it, but when you pursue something as a career, especially something that is a craft like that, you have to be a little honest with yourself and know where you stand. Chris Stapleton was writing songs for almost 20  years before he blew up, and now he’s one of the biggest artists on the scene. So if you’re going to be in the music business, I would say persist. Be persistent, but also be honest with yourself. Sometimes there comes a time where it just makes sense and you need to draw the line and you need to move on. And that’s okay. Don’t let failure eat you up. Grow from it instead.

TBYT: Music means something different to everyone. What does it mean to you?

Paul: I grew up in a musical family, so it really has become like a language of mine. I never thought I was very emotional or addicted to music in any way until I went on a vacation without my guitar and without my headphones. Music to me is honestly like air. There is not much time that I am not streaming music during my day, in my car, in the shower. So what it means to me is hard to completely explain, but I would say that it is very therapeutic and such a way for me to communicate with myself, which I find really interesting. But it’s also such a great tool for communicating in general. One of the most powerful things about being a musician is getting off stage and going to talk to someone and them telling me about my song and how it has affected them in this way or done that for them. Or how they see it a totally different way than I do, but at the same time it means so much to them. It’s crazy how that works. That to me is the true value. The way that somehow underneath the fine details there is that underlying story that us as humans need, and music is such a great way to express that.  

TBYT: You mentioned earlier that you play guitar. Are you a self-taught musician?

Paul: Sort of. As far as singing goes, I’ve never had a singing lesson in my life. I just sang every week on stage at church for 8-9 years, so doing that for a while really adds up. I started playing guitar in the 5th grade, and I had a teacher for a while. Then come early high school, I stopped with my teacher, and I wish I wouldn’t have now. So now I am self-taught, but I wouldn’t completely call it self-taught.

TBYT: How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Paul: So this is actually one of my favorite stories to tell because I never thought I would. I was in high school, and I was looking into going to college. I’m very laid back, and I never really stress often about anything. But that idea of “what am I doing with the rest of my life?” started really freaking me out. I was doing YouTube covers for fun, and I got invited to Grammy Camp in Nashville. It turned out to be really cool.  All of my coaches were Grammy award winning producers and artists. It was unreal. It was just so inspiring for them to talk about the music business, which is a whole side of things that I never even thought about. And to realize that it was so real and tangible…I mean all the things I had dreamed in my head and wanted became something very realistic.

At that point, I decided that I could do this. And then my senior year, when I was looking at colleges to go to, I was going to go to Belmont in Nashville, which is one of the biggest music schools in the country, but it was so expensive. I just didn’t want to go $200,000 in debt for four years of school for a degree that doesn’t matter in that career path. So I kinda thought and prayed about it for a long time, and it just became clear to me that college was a bad idea. Communicating that to my family was very difficult, but they’re very on board now. My senior year, after I embraced it, it was tons of fun to just be the guy that was openly not going to college to pursue music. It was that decision, and that really also sprung from watching so much Casey Neistat at the time. He was always talking about doing what you love, and I was like “this is what I love, and I don’t want a job in the future that I’m going to hate.” You have these talents. You have these things that you are given to enhance the world, so give yourself the chance. I’m truly a believer that when you have decisions, the choices you make either bring the world closer to order or bring the world closer to chaos. If you can stay on the side of order, you are pulling your weight, and it is very fulfilling and peaceful as well.

TBYT: What do you have coming up for the rest of the year?

Paul: Very exciting things. I’ve been working on this idea for a while now, and we’re finally doing it as my final show in Pensacola. It’s called Sounds for the City. It was an idea that I had and pitched to one of our local philanthropists that I worked for. He’s an incredible guy. We are closing down a street in our downtown area. There are going to be food trucks, vendors, a kid zone, and then a giant stage. The three biggest local bands from Pensacola, my band, my friend, Ben Loftin’s, band, and a band called I’MAGENE. We’re having this huge music festival on April 20th, and it’s all a fundraiser. It all goes back into the city and funds these things called “Brain Bags,” which we hand out at our local hospital. They basically encourage early childhood learning to help develop children as the grow before school. Also, I’m technically working on an album, but that’s more in the writing phase still. It’s very early on.

Lostboycrow Interview

 

Lauren from Think Before You Type sat down with Lostboycrow to talk about his current tour, the completion of his album “Traveler”, changing the culture online, and much more.

Lostboycrow also told us about a new project that he has “really put his heart and soul into.” Watch until the end to get the scoop!

Find Lostboycrow at:

http://lostboycrow.la/

Thanks for watching 🙂

Ben Haenow Interview

Ben Haenow

Photo courtesy of Ben Haenow 

Ben Haenow is a singer-songwriter and the winner of the 11th series of the X Factor UK. He spoke with us about the joys and challenges of working closely with a sibling, perseverance, his plan for dealing with negativity online, and much more.

Think Before You Type: 
What is your favorite part about having a career in music?
 

Ben Haenow: It’s an honour to get to do something I love for a living. I’ve always loved writing and singing songs, and so having that as a job is the best thing ever. Getting to travel a lot and see different places while I do it is great.


TBYT: How would you describe your sound?

Ben: My inspirations come from all over, but  I’m a big fan of blues music and rock and roll. So I’d say probably a mix of those styles.

TBYT: We’re sisters who work together, so we know how fun (and challenging at times) it can be to work with a sibling. What is it like to work so closely with your brother? What have you learned from the experience?

Ben: Haha! Yeh even after over 30 years of knowing each other we still occasionally have our “Gallagher brothers” moments. But it’s great to have someone around who you trust implicitly. Someone who has your back and someone to help you out if/when things go wrong out on shows/tours and life in general. And someone who really knows me.
And also he’s great with songwriting, we wrote all the tracks on the new album together and as we have been writing together for years and working together we spend A LOT of time with each other… so  I guess I’ve learned that work well together… MOST of the time.

TBYT: If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Ben:
I’d tell myself, Don’t grow that stupid “goatee” beard thing in your teenage years lol! It was really not cool and actually a bit wonkyHindsight is a funny thing 

TBYT: How do you deal with negativity online? 

Ben:
To be fair I’m lucky in that I don’t seem to see much of it… I guess I just ignore it If I do see anything, and I don’t take any of it to heart for sure. I mean I don’t expect everyone to like me, or my music, or what I had for dinner on Instagram and stuff as in real life your opinions and the things you like won’t always match with everyone else.
There are a lot of people, particularly online who find it easy to just say nasty stuff for fun, because they can hide behind a screen and not really take any responsibility or because of their own insecurities and jealousy.

TBYT: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since winning the X Factor in 2014? 


Ben:
I’ve definitely learned to not give up and that persistence and hard work can pay off. The show really helped to give me back my confidence with singing and helped me achieve my dream. Over the years of playing pubs, clubs, and smaller local venues before the show, it was sometimes a struggle and you have to keep a bit of faith. It’s a tough industry to work in and nothing is certain but if you want something enough.. cheesy as it sounds.. go get it and don’t give up.

TBYT: You post a lot of fun covers online. How do you choose which songs you cover? 

Ben:
Generally I just pick songs I like. Sometimes people suggest stuff online if there’s something they’d like to hear but other than that it’s quite random really.

TBYT: If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?

Ben:
It’s a tough one. There is obviously a huge pressure and want to be on social media nowadays particularly for the younger generation. And to have everything you do, eat, watch or think online for everyone to see. Unfortunately, if you put things up online, it’s easy for anyone to voice an opinion on good or bad. As easy as it is for someone to Like something it’s just as quick to show dislike. I’d say to remember who your REAL friends are, people who actually KNOW YOU and speak to them. Remember that someone who follows a social media account is not always a “friend” and may just be there to troll or say nasty stuff. There are a lot of people out there who bully, it is usually jealousy or boredom, but these people who don’t actually know you or anything about you just choose to post rude or nasty things online. Speak to someone if it is affecting you.

TBYT: What is your favorite part about touring?

Ben:
I love the whole thing. Going to places you’ve never been, getting out and meeting people, playing to people, getting to see the reactions to the new material or at the shows singing the words back at us on stage. The traveling is all pretty full on and can be knackering but it’s all good fun!

TBYT: Do you have anything exciting coming up in 2018? 

Ben:
More shows and more new music! I got to collab on a song I wrote with a South African artist recently released through SONY which has done great so I hope to be heading out there at some point this year for some shows. My new single “Falling Down” is available April 2nd and my second album “ALIVE” is coming in March so I’m excited for what’s to come in 2018.

Bil Musa Interview

bil-musa-by-aimanness (10).jpg

Photo Credit: Aimanness

We recently spoke with Malaysian singer-songwriter Bil Musa about how her music has impacted people, advice she has for people being cyberbullied, and her goals for 2018.

Think Before You Type: How would you describe your music style?

Bil Musa: It’s very chill. The melodies are very simple but behind it’s easy listening façade, the songs are quite deep because I usually only write when I’m emotional.

TBYT: Who are your musical influences?

Bil: In terms of lyrics, I like straightforward, story-telling type songs and relatable
songs. So people like Sam Smith and Adele would be my influences for that. In
terms of song style, I like chill but meaningful types of songs, so I always look to
people like Lana Del Rey and Jhene Aiko. There are, however, times that I try to
be more abstract with my lyrics, and for this I look to people like Hozier or
Bahamas.

TBYT: If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what
would you say to encourage them?

Bil: I would say the same thing that I would say to someone who is bullied physically
– that the people who bully you have got some deep-rooted problems they can’t
deal with so they take it out on you. You should never take what they say
seriously and what they say to or about you, doesn’t define you.. it just reflects on
their character. Also, REPORT AND BLOCK are words to live by.

TBYT: How has your time in the music industry been for you? Has anything surprised you?

Bil: It’s been a rollercoaster ride but really, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
and I’ve learned so much and met so many interesting people. I think the only
thing that really surprised me is how a lot of things are manufactured and
planted. I knew these things happened but I guess I just didn’t know the extent of
it.

TBYT: You recently released your album “Young Adults”. What has the response been like so far?

Bil: The response has been great so far. Like really, really great. For me, what’s
important is how the individuals listening to it feel about the songs and how they
affect them. I would love for my songs to be played more on radio or get more
media coverage but only because for me, personally, when I listen to a song and I
can really vibe to it, I don’t think, “Oh, I found this song”. Instead, I think to
myself, “this song found me”. Radio and media coverage are just catalysts for
these songs to find their ‘owners’ but even without much of that, so many people
have given me such touching feedback – some practically essays, reviewing the album. I get essays almost every day. It’s really nice that people take the time to
write them. I really appreciate it.

TBYT: As someone who started their career young, what would you say to other young people who want to get out there and leave their mark on the world?

Bil: I want to say don’t listen to what other people say and don’t let people tell you
what to do but sometimes, you should, if they have experience – that’s something
valuable that young people don’t have much of. That being said, you’re young and
you have your own destiny to fulfill. People will tell you different things and give
you differing opinions but don’t get confused. You take certain actions and make
decisions based on a goal YOU want to reach. No one else will understand that
goal but YOU. So, just stand your ground, have a little faith, be honest and work
hard. Also, have REALLY thick skin – but that’s something you’ll develop in time.

TBYT: We’re really passionate about encouraging other young people to use the internet for good. What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?

Bil: I think one of the really big misconceptions that arose from the existence of the
internet and social media is that everyone else’s business is yours OR maybe
people always thought that and the internet and social media justified that
thought. I’d like to stop seeing hate on the internet. There’s a very simple solution
to not liking what you see or hear on the internet, switch it off, unfollow, block,
report. Nobody forced you to watch it. In your own free will, you saw it. In your
own free will, you can turn it off. I’d also like to see people stop spreading useless
videos or videos that violate human rights. I just don’t see the point of spreading
those types of videos unless you have a solution to stop whatever is going on in
the video.

TBYT: People often forget it, but a little bit of kindness can go a long way. When was the last time that a stranger made you smile?

Bil: Like I said, every day, a complete stranger messages me about my songs. Nothing
about my appearance or anything. Just purely about how my song made them
feel. I just got a message, in fact, on my Instagram about how this person didn’t
know who I was but they were so lucky to have found my songs. It’s very
heartwarming.

TBYT: What song have you written that you are the proudest of?

Bil: At this point, I think “4AM”. It’s the only song I wrote through a totally different
process. First of all, it’s the first song that I wrote lyrics first and then I visualized
everything from how it would sound, to the harmonies. It’s also one of the only
songs that has a different structure from most of my other songs and the lyrics
are not so straightforward. I also know when a song is going to be great, haha, because in the middle of writing, every two seconds it’s hard for me to go on
because it’s so good it hurts and I know it’s going to be a good song and I just
have to bang the keys or throw my guitar (on the bed) and pace the floor saying
“omg” a billion times and then calm myself down and try to continue writing. I
did that with this song. It’s an incredible feeling when it comes.

TBYT: What do you think 2018 has in store for you?

Bil: At this point, I don’t have expectations anymore. I learned that it’s important to
have a defined set of goals so you can figure out what you need to do to reach
them, that’s the hard part. My biggest goal right now is to cross borders with my
music. It’s not easy but I think this is the year I’m going to do it.