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Producer .@kylestemberger talks process, Burna Boy collab, and more in exclusive interview

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Kyle Stemberger had an amazing year last year, and the crazy thing is that he’s just beginning. He practically lives in the studio, securing collaborations with artists like Jorja Smith, Burna Boy, and Flipp Dinero, and he’s quietly on the trek to becoming one of your favorite producers – you just don’t know it yet.

We caught up with the rising producer to learn a bit about what his process is like, how he got into

What’s your approach to making beats? Does it differ from artist to artist?

It depends on where I am. If I’m just at home making beats I usually just start messing around on the keyboard or guitar until I get something I like. Sometimes, use a melody that one of my homies created, then I just add whatever drums on top of it that fit the vibe of the melody.

If i’m in the studio with an artist it really depends on who i’m working with. For example, recently I was working with one of my good friends WHATUPRG for a while on some new music and I was just cranking idea after idea out and there were a lot of those moments where something just clicks or someone has that lightbulb moment when they hear an idea. Those moments are the best to me.

How did you get into producing?

I started off playing piano when I was extremely young, like 5 or 6, then I eventually got into guitar as well since I grew up on a lot of rock music. I got into electronic music a little bit when I was in middle school and I looked up how it was made because I was curious, then ended up downloading FL Studio and watching some tutorials. I got into rap music heavily around the same time and the rest is history.

What was it like working with Burna Boy?

Unfortunately I didn’t get to actually be in the studio with him for that single. I played the guitar and did a little vocal for that record. That song is probably my favorite that i’ve ever worked on. It’s crazy to have not only Burna Boy, but Jorja Smith on it as well. I think they meshed perfectly on it.

How do you manage to land such high profile replacements?

Collaboration. Through working at my craft, I’ve been able to catch the attention and send ideas/loops to some of the biggest producers ever. Big or small, collaborating with producers will get your beats heard by more people who you may not have direct access to. As soon as I get my foot in the door somewhere and see new opportunity, I try and kick the door down and really show them my potential.

What would you say that your favorite collaboration that you’ve ever worked on is? Why?

Jorja Smith’s “Be Honest” ft. Burna Boy or Flipp Dinero’s “How I Move” ft. Lil Baby are my favorites. “Be Honest” was my first placement outside of just rap music and I’m trying to branch off this year and get some more songs done with artists people wouldn’t expect me to work with. It was my first time hearing myself on the radio as well. “How I Move” because growing up in Georgia, everyone is a fan of Lil Baby and Flipp Dinero here. A lot of people were, and still are, playing that song. It feels like my first song where people actually know it and listen to it like that, locally at least.

What do you think makes a good hit? In terms of Sonics, is it replicable? Why or why not? 

I think every “hit” is unique in its own way, most of the time one hit is not like the other. In my opinion, it has to have just the right amount of repetition and a chord progression/melody that is very memorable as well. What comes to mind is “Ransom” by Lil Tecca. You don’t hear chord progressions like that a lot in rap music, so it’s pretty unique and i’m sure just about everybody reading this has the hook or at least part of it memorized. I think it can be replicable, but it’s never gonna be as big of a hit as the original is. I think it’s best off trying to do something new and fresh.

What are you looking to accomplish this year?

I want to grow more as a producer. I want to go back to my roots and focus back in on my piano & guitar skills, definitely a lot more live instrumentation. As far as achievements, I want to work on some big pop/dancehall records and some R & B stuff. I still haven’t got that #1 yet so that’s been my driving force recently. If I keep grinding for it, even if I’m not getting it, i’ll still be having a good chance of filling up the other hundred spots. I also want to develop a new artist, I haven’t found one yet and I’m not really actively searching, just want it to happen organically. And of course I want to work harder than I did last year and blow 2019 out of the water.

Interviews

Q&A w/ @MidnightCyphs: Talks Beginnings, Journalism, Inspirations + More

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It’s hard to find dope, genuine creatives in today’s industry, but one that we’ve grown to personally know and connect with is Michael DeBlasio out of Queens, NY. Michael currently writes for ITSBIZKIT.com — and formerly AllHipHop.com and MissInfo.TV. His organic and passionate approach to journalism is what separates him from others and has garnered him the attention of some legends in his field, such as Elliot Wilson, Rob Markman, Mikey Yi, and of course, the ‘Biggest Blogger In The World’ — ITSBIZKIT.

Mike also wears two other important hats. Publicist and studio manager. In 2020, he established his own PR company, deblazeo PR LLC. He then leveled up to his own office space in Studio 17, a recording studio based in Brooklyn, NY. A few months later, he found himself taking over the role as the studio’s official booking manager.
So of course you know we had to get an exclusive Q+A with Mike, where he speaks on his beginnings, what inspires him, his future endeavors, and much more! Check-in below!

Q: How did you start your career in journalism?
– In 2014, I had a friend who was rapping and we were brainstorming ways to get his music more traction. At the time, blogs / sites were still the #1 source of people getting their music. So I thought, how do we get him on these sites? So I started my own, [which I shall not name because I plan to revamp it somewhere down the line] and from there I started blogging heavily. Unfortunately I was new to the WordPress game and my site got shut down for too many copyright infringements. I then connected with ITSBIZKIT in 2015 because he was looking for writers and he took me under his wing. Biz God taught me almost everything I know and connected me with a lot of people. Because of his referral I started to write for AllHipHop.com — where I learned more about journalism and not just blogging. At the time, this was my 9-5, so I took the craft very seriously and learned all that I could, connected with whoever I could, and attended as many events that I could. With my work ethic being recognized, and a lot of help from networking on Twitter, my name started buzzing and around 2017 is when I felt I actually have my foot in the door and my work is starting to pay off. I have a lot more to learn and accomplish, but where I envisioned myself to be when I first started in 2014 is where I am now. But the real work has just started for me!

Q: How do you define “journalism”?

Obviously journalism is different depending on the field, but to me in Hip-Hop, it’s the journalist’s job to bring light to up-and-coming artists on their respective platforms. With many publications fully focused on mainstream artists and their news, I like to go in a different direction and write about those who people may not know about alongside the big names. Helping unsigned artists get recognized was the reason I even started in the first place and will always be my main reason for writing.

Q: What / who inspires you?

Everything about Hip-Hop. It’s more than just music. It’s a culture. There’s a certain cloth you have to be cut from to make it, which I can relate to being a self-starting journalist. Many artists I listen to also inspire me. Mainstream and unsigned. I may not relate to their exact struggles but I can relate to the struggle of wanting to make it on your own and doing anything possible to guarantee your dreams. A perfect example is Nipsey Hussle (RIP). Everyone that knows me, knows he is my #1, and was long before his tragic passing. Him as a man and artist gave me that motive to take that leap and begin my career. His words and music have been my hussle and motivation since I started, and forever will be.

I am also inspired by my fellow writers. I am blessed to be a part of a circuit of writers that genuinely help each other, and keep one another afloat. These are people I can say are really like my family that honestly care for one another’s well-being and work. And I am forever grateful for that.

Q: What are you currently working on?

I have a few things in the works but what I can speak on is my upcoming, fourth “Midnight Cyphs” compilation. These are projects I put together with artists I like and personally know, with original fresh songs from them. My first three were successful, but with this next one, I plan to do things differently. This time around I plan to create with the artists in actual studio sessions and organically cook up. I also hope to do 2-3 visuals, and ultimately a show with the featured artists. It’s still in the beginning stages but I hope to drop in the fourth quarter of this year.
I also have a few more podcast appearances secured, so be on the look-out for that as well!

Q: Drop a gem for anyone who is aspiring to succeed in your field.

Man, just be real and transparent. Don’t come off as a writer who is doing it for clicks / clout but because you really care for what / who you’re writing about. Also build genuine relationships with fellow people in the industry; artists, managers, writers, etc. A lot of the music world is who you know, not what you know. However, with that being said, learn as much as you can about your craft! There’s always more to learn.

I also pride myself in being a writer that is not just “behind a computer” — so I attend events, studio sessions, industry parties, etc. as much as you can! NETWORK! — You never know who you will meet and how they can put you in position to win! Which will ultimately put you in a position to help your people win! We’re all in this together!

Be sure to connect with Mike on all social media platforms: deblazeo (IG) / @MidnightCyphs (Twitter).

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Artist To Watch

Meet bilingual HipHop Artist HULKSICKO!

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HULKSICKO!’s interest in music began during his high school in his hometown of Bronx, NY. After an injury and surgey led him to put a pause on a promising basketball career, the Bronx native decided to dedicate his training towards music. HULKSICKO! recorded his first song in the summer of 2017. He recalls watching videos on how to use auto-tune for an hour and by the end of the night he had created a very rudimentary track. He chuckles stating, “It was trash.” The independent artist stayed the course and persisted to create for 3 more years before finally finding his sound. His musical style and sound is very unique in that it is inspired by a combination of the trials and triumphs of an East Coast upbringing. “Most of my music is melodic and uptempo, which I think is dictated by the beats I choose. In terms of lyrics they can go right or left depending on how I’m feeling, and where I’m at. I like to tell people about parts of my life even if they can’t relate to it, because the real fans are going to relate. Those are the types of fans I want around my music.”


Find out more about HULKSICKO! In the interview below:

Q: What inspired your artist name?
A: My name was something that I was given/came up with. It’s two words, the first part HULK comes from a joke my teammates would make cause I would still lift even after basketball practice was over. The second part SICKO I came up with my bro Noah, and I just ran with it. I had to add the exclamation so that people could feel me.

Q: Do you have any other special talents?
A: Another talent I have is that I speak Chinese. I visited China twice and went to 10 different cities while there and lived there for a whole month at one point. The fact that I speak Chinese influences some of the harmonies that I think of while making music. A lot of my early fans thought I used to live in China because of the fact that I spoke it so wel!

Q: What impacted your decision to pursue music?
A: I chose music cause it allowed me to express myself. I didnt’t necessarily know how to voice what I felt because I didn’t have people to talk to about it. Same way when I was young and angry, I would listen to music to help get me out of certain moods. It aint always work and sometimes the lyrics in the songs made it worse but that’s how I knew music was impactful.


Q: What got you noticed?
A: I don’t think that I got noticed for my music right away but for what I was trying to do with it at first. I was heavily pushing the idea that I wanted to live in China and make music there and a lot of people who didn’t understand music gravitated towards it because it was something they had never seen before.

You can check out his music on Spotify, Apple Music and all the major platforms. You can check out his music videos on Youtube!

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Features

June Poole Is Young, Swaggy, And Sexy

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When it comes to music June Poole is definitely the next artist up! Originally from the Bay Area June has a swag unlike any other artist and there is no denying that this young man has major sex appeal! He is young, swaggy, and sexy! All the ladies love him! Recently, he decided to move to Los Angeles to where he feels he needs to be to further his career. Many of us have been paitiently waiting and the wait is almost over, June finally announced that he will be releasing the music video to his latest single titled ‘Red Flags’. Stay Tuned!

Stay connected with June Poole on his social media linked below to be up to date on upcoming projects and events! Learn more about him and his journey with the QA below!

Instagram: @jpooole

Youtube: June Poole

Q: Who or what inspires your music? 

A: Drake, PND and Chris Brown because of their music and I also look up to them as well. I’ve actually been compared to Chris Brown before, as well as Jeremiah. 

Q: What made you start taking your music career more seriously? 

A: It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I started putting my all into my music. I just decided to stop playing around and go for it! It just hit me one day that life is too short so why not spend it doing and going after something you love, which is music for me. 

Q: What is one of your biggest accomplishments so far? 

A: Opening for the migos back in October at a homecoming event!

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: The music video for my latest single “Red Flags” and getting adjusted to my recent move to Los Angeles. I moved here for more opportunities in the music industry. I’m currently taking dance lessons, vocal lessons and working on my overall stage performance as well. 

Stream “Red Flags” NOW!

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