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Interview: Producer Yonatan Watts talks early inspirations, working Ariana Grande & Eric Bellinger, and more

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Yonatan Watts has already had an impeccable 2021, working with high-profile artists and defining himself in the music industry. Yonatan will be someone to keep an eye out for with his incredible producing capabilities; it is only a matter of time before he becomes a household name.

He has co-produced records like “Main Thing” by American singer Ariana Grande, “GLE” by American rapper Desiigner, “Weak all Week” by American singer Eric Bellinger — which says a lot about his reach and what he’s capable of.

His production style is unique and distinct. In a recent interview, Watts said that artists such as Stevie Wonder, Usher, B2k, Tank, Justin Timberlake, Tyrese, played a major role in his musical influences.

As someone who has a lot more dope projects on the way, he can’t wait to show people what he’s capable of. Keep reading to learn more about his journey and how he got started in music.

What city are you from/ Where are you based now?
I’m from Toronto, Canada but now based out of Los Angeles, CA.

What is your producer name? What is your real name? How did you get your producer name?
My producer name is actually “Yonatan Watts” which is my birth name, I felt as if it was unique enough to standout and be my stage name so I kept it as that.

At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music?
Believe it or not, I started music really early in my life and it came from a love of Japanese/ anime culture mixed with black culture soul and R&B. I used to listen to the these songs of my favorite manga/anime and used to sing them and make my own versions. Eventually people kept telling me that I had a natural gift for singing.

Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
My parents having such a rich pallet when it came to music, inspired me to define my sounds based off of what I was hearing in the household on a regular basis. It shaped my taste and when it came to singing, I would eventually make better decisions based from the music I was hearing and mimicking.

How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
My sound would best be described as the perfect fusion between generations. I’m born between 1989-1995, which was the time in which you were perfectly between two different generations and saw technology when it emerging, to what it is today. That being said, I’ve always aimed to blend the old with the new.

What ultimately inspired you to dedicate yourself to a music career?
Based off my success at a young age, I knew that singing was going to be something that stayed with me for a long time. When I was 18, I was in the national TV show “Canadian Idol” in which i made it past the Top 100 all the way to duets, at this point I knew that I was meant to do music.

What’s one reason you are passionate about music and what inspires you?
To me, it’s the feeling and the transformative nature of music that can shift moods and can make people feel. When I used to listen to old CD’s and vinyls, the music touched me in a way that nothing else could. This feeling I knew I had to continue feeling for the rest of my life.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
My hobbies outside of music involve culinary and outdoor activity and travel. Anyone that knows me, knows I love to eat great food from some of the best restaurants, wherever I can find them.

Who are some of your main musical influences?
Stevie Wonder, Usher, B2k, Tank, Justin Timberlake, Tyrese, the list goes on. (This list is my list from when I first started making music).

What are some of your music career goals for the future?
To work with Beyonce, Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, and a few other individuals who inspire me. In the future, I will also be creating a label and signing new acts and developing them.

Tell us about your most recent project?
The project I’m currently promoting is my production input on a Billboard No. 1 album, Ariana Grande’s positions (deluxe) album. The song is called “main thing.” And I’m proud and honored to be apart of the production on this song. It’s currently out so please go stream it!

What has the response been like to that project?
The response has been phenomenal, my inbox has been filling up and my phone has been ringing; I’m blessed.

What are some projects you’ve done in the past that you are most proud of and why?
One of the biggest breakthrough’s of my career to date, has been the record I just co-produced for Ariana Grande called “Main Thing.” This was released on Feb 19, 2021 and has already garnered millions of streams worldwide in short amount of time. We expect the album to go platinum sometime this year. I recently co-produced Desiigner’s latest single “GLE” with Akeel Henry, this came out January 2021 and is already an instant classic for Desiigner fans worldwide. Also produced a single for Eric Bellinger called “Weak all week” with Xeryus (guitarist) in which also recently dropped in December of 2020. Eric dropped visuals for the song almost immediately creating a depth and longevity to the song. I also did “Material“ with Eric Bellinger and Hitmaka, later last year. Also did two records from a recent Def Jam records artist “Saint Bodhi” on her album “Mad world” and I co-produced the title track “Mad World” and also one of her singles “Zombie” in which she created visuals to accompany the song. Another notable song I had a hand in production with was “Bestie” with Dame Dolla and Lil Durk with Omar Grand and Marley Waters.

What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
I have some pretty amazing things coming out soon, we have a song with Jordin Sparks that’s going to be amazing, music from Tamar Braxton coming out soon; and some massive projects that I can’t mention but will be phenomenal.

What message do you hope fans take away from your production skills?
One thing I want fans to take away is that I’m a real producer/singer/songwriter … I’m diverse and can’t fit in a box because I was always surprise people with what I can do. I’ve always had a motto which is “no limitations.” I can’t wait for everyone to hear what’s coming next. 

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Sovereign Brands Launches The Deacon Scotch Whisky!

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Renowned wine and spirits company Sovereign Brands has launched a new Scotch Whisky in collaboration with Pernod Ricard, THE DEACON. 

THE DEACON is a premium blended Scotch Whisky made from hand selected whiskies, including those from Scotland’s historic Islay and Speyside regions, and is set to disrupt the whisky category, following in the footsteps of Sovereign’s smash-hit portfolio of wine and spirits. THE DEACON marks Sovereign’s first foray into whisky with a masterful blend that includes smoky mainland and peaty Islay malt whiskies, making THE DEACON a complex, rich and smoky dram.

Charred orange, sweet malty biscuits and woodsmoke on the nose give way to juicy orange, delicate spice and tangy peat. Single malts from Islay give THE DEACON its peaty smoke flavor, while single malts from the mainland of Scotland give the Scotch its bonfire-like smoky character. The result is a smoky, sweet, and peaty flavor with a long and smooth finish, making THE DEACON a delectable choice to drink neat or in your favorite cocktail. The final bottling strength is 40% ABV.

Traditional copper pot stills used in the distillation process lend their iconic shine to THE DEACON’s stunning vessel, an elegant, embossed bottle with an eye-catching illustrated label which looks like nothing else on the shelf or back-bar. This is a whisky that stands out in both appearance and taste. Depicted on the label is a curious masked and be-goggled character. Is it The Deacon? In Scots, the title refers to an adept and proficient master tradesman — a “Deacon” is a master of their craft. The expert distillers behind THE DEACON fit the name perfectly. To be a “Deacon” is to be the best, a quality that Sovereign Brands owners Brett and Brian Berish imbue in each and every one of their brands.

We’re not competing. We’re innovating,” Brett Berish, CEO and co-founder of Sovereign Brands explains. “We’ve lent our disruptive style to our first Scotch Whisky, creating a premium and compelling product that is like nothing else on the market. We’ve moved away from traditional labeling and bottle design with a metallic copper package and an unorthodox label. Most importantly, this is the most well-balanced, complex but drinkable taste profile. It is layered but smooth, making THE DEACON a whisky that is made to be enjoyed.”

THE DEACON joins a portfolio of notable and established wines and spirits: Luc Belaire Sparkling Wine, Bumbu Rum, McQueen and the Violet Fog Gin and Villon Liqueur–– in addition to a star-studded roster of celebrity brand ambassadors and influential supporters, including artists Rick RossLil WayneWiz KhalifaDJ Khaled and others.

Interested consumers can sign up for news on local availability HERE. SRP: $39.99

For more updates, launch announcements and brand news, visit our website, DeaconWhisky.com and follow @DeaconWhisky on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Interactive Exhibit Featuring Black Achievements in Music and Television Opens at The Paley Center for Media

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The Paley Center for Media announces today its celebration of Black History Month, Paley Center’s Salute to Black Achievements in Music on Television presented by CitiThis multimedia exhibit Wednesday, February 1 to Sunday, February 26 at The Paley Museum in New York City will celebrate the intersection of legendary musical icons and unforgettable television moments that have made an impact on culture and society.

This year’s interactive experience features a curated selection of significant musical moments on television that convey how the medium showcased Black musical artists, introduced audiences to genres and styles of music that they might not have discovered otherwise, and served as a catalyst for cultural change throughout television’s nine decades. The immersive experience highlights pioneering musicians and towering talents such as Little Richard, Tina Turner, Queen Latifah, Ella Fitzgerald, The Supremes, Chuck Berry, Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Louis Armstrong, and more.

“We are excited to celebrate Black History Month by honoring the legacy of some of music’s most iconic and influential individuals, and their significant contributions to culture and society over the years, ” said Maureen J. Reidy, President and CEO of the Paley Center. “We thank Citi for their generous support as we continue our commitment to raising awareness and educating the public on the importance of diversity and representation within the entertainment industry.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Paley Center will present The Storytellers: Preserving the Legacy of Iconic Black Musicians, a conversation with some of the storytellers who have helped preserve the legacy of Black musical icons, including Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. On February 16 at 7:00 pm, the cultural institution will welcome Julie Anderson, Film Executive and Producer, Louis Armstrong: Black & Blues, The Jazz Ambassadors, God Is the Bigger ElvisRalph McDaniels, VJ, Music Video Director, Host of Video Music BoxLisa Cortés, Director, Little Richard: I Am Everything, and moderator Touré, Journalist, Author, and Podcast Host of Touré Show and Who Was Prince? to discuss their motivations, creative journeys, and video excerpts of their work. 

Paley Center’s Salute to Black Achievements in Music on Television presented by Citi is part of the Paley Center’s long tradition of honoring diversity in media and entertainment. Over the years, the Paley Center has hosted tributes and exhibitions honoring Black and Hispanic achievements in television, the enormous contributions of women, the impact and importance of LGBTQ+ representation in television, among others.

Each genre or style of music will illustrate how several bold artists strayed from the norms, created new sounds, and reflected a changing society on television by crossing cultural borders and by uniting people during some of the most tumultuous periods in American history. 

The Paley Museum in Midtown Manhattan will offer an immersive gallery experience, bringing together diverse artifacts and content to create a one-of-a-kind exhibition featuring:

·       Original costumesincluding suits worn by Louis Armstrong and James Brown, the “Orange Freeze” outfits worn by The Supremes, and gowns worn by Roberta Flack and Vanessa Williams.

·       Artifacts on display including original scripts, authentic photographs, a trumpet used by Louis Armstrong, a Chuck Berry Signature Gibson Guitar, Roberta Flack’s Grammy and Platinum album, and others.

·       Curated screenings from the Paley Archive including Seven Lively Arts: The Sound of Jazz; Chuck Berry: Brown Eyed Handsome Man; VH1 Rock Docs: Soul Train The Hippest Trip in America; TCB Motown Special; Video Music Box; Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever; Beyoncé – I Am…Yours; The Hollywood Palace (ABC); Fresh Prince of Bel Air (NBC/Warner Bros. Television); In Living Color (Twentieth Television/Disney); Soul Train (Don Cornelius Productions / Tribune); and Soul! (WNET).

·       Family fun and educational programming including arts & crafts, interactive trivia, a scavenger hunt, and more.

The Paley Center is grateful to Citi for their ongoing support. The Paley Center also thanks The Louis Armstrong House and the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, The Mary Wilson Estate, the GRAMMY Museum, Roberta Flack, Vanessa Williams, Gibson Brands Inc., and Black Entertainment Television (BET) for their contribution to this event.

The Black History Month celebration is curated with the assistance and counsel of special advisors Martha Diaz, Archivist and Curator, Universal Hip Hop Museum; Trey Ellis, Professor, Columbia University; and Melanie McFarland, Critic and Senior Culture Writer, Salon.

Schedule

The Paley Center for Media is open 12 pm – 6 pm on Wednesdays – Sundays. For the detailed schedule, visit https://www.paleycenter.org/events/black-history-month-2023/

Admission

Tickets are free for Members; $20 for nonmembers; $16 for students, teachers, seniors, veterans, and first responders; free for children 12 and under; Corporate Members will receive free admission for themselves and a guest when they present their current employee ID upon entrance at the Paley Center. Advance ticketing is encouraged but not required. All proceeds support The Paley Center for Media’s mission.

Location

The Paley Center for Media

25 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019, USA

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RIAA CELEBRATES 100th DIAMOND SINGLE CERTIFICATION

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Since 1958, the Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) has celebrated remarkable achievements from artists and their label teams through the prestigious Gold & Platinum program. The Diamond level was subsequently introduced to recognize over 10 million certified units with the inaugural milestone awarded for Elton John‘s “Something About The Way You Look Tonight / Candle In The Wind 1997″ via Rocket. And now, award-winning, genre blending artist Halsey‘s “Without Me” officially marks the 100th Diamond single in RIAA history, and Halsey’s second overall Diamond single including features. See the full timeline here representing a variety of genres throughout the years.

RIAA COO Michele Ballantyne said, “for decades RIAA’s Gold & Platinum program has proven a pinnacle of success and true reflection of artists’ and labels’ ability to connect with fans. We are encouraged as each generation creates songs that impact culture, shape careers and are thrilled to celebrate with milestone certifications.

RIAA Chairman & CEO Mitch Glazier and Ballantyne presented Halsey with their first solo Diamond award during the Capitol Music Group Town Hall. One of the top artists of the streaming era, Halsey has 75x combined Platinum and 15x Gold certifications across 42 titles.

“It is not only special, but awe-inspiring, when we can celebrate the craft of artists like Halsey whose music has reached millions. We are thrilled to acknowledge “Without Me” as their first solo Diamond single and the 100th certified in RIAA history!” said Glazier. “Your success in the streaming era is remarkable, and on behalf of the RIAA, congratulations Halsey, Capitol Records and your voracious fans on this new Diamond single!”

Evolving with the incorporation of streaming equivalents and physical sales, RIAA’s Gold & Platinum program has honored some of the last six decade’s biggest hits, artists’ creative expression, label collaboration and fan engagement. Explore all RIAA certifications here.

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