It's a hot summer night in New York City. Not the 100 degree weather we've been facing but humidity barely does me justice. Tonight, a blessed select few of us (photographers, videographers, bloggers, DJs) was allowed to be the guest one of the young up and comers in the game who hitting a true milestone in his career: an album listening party for the people. And to top it all of, its at the Godfather of Hip-Hop P. Diddy's Daddy's House Recording Studio in Midtown Manhattan.
That he is Velous, who graced us with his presence in a very Michael Jackson-esque shirt with a bold black V so you don't forgot who he is. He walks across the room admiring the turnout but making sure us media types get to snap some pictures. For me, it was like watching Tyson walking in the ring for the first time: he was here, you knew he was a star, you had to pay attention.
In the beginning of the event, we were blessed with Amanda (Diva) Seales, who personally I have not seen in awhile but has not aged a day in her life. Amanda gives us a run down as she tells a story of a YouTube video she received from someone and was taken aback at Velous' talent. And as always, she was on point like we loved in her early days. Amanda re-iterates that Velous is "humble... talented... And on his way up" but the key in her speech was these words: what attracted her to his music is he's a artist who "is not an asshole". Which says a lot especially when there is many up and coming talent who tend to feel as if there suppose to be stars already.
The next speaker was Gabriel, of the famous StuffFlyPeopleLike.com, who retells the story of hearing Velous music and automatically "linked and retweeted his music, which I don't do for just anybody". For you independent artist, this is key. It takes 1 in probably a million for someone in this industry to draw themselves to you. As he's telling the story, you feel as if your watching a proud father taking his son to the first say of school. Even more so when Gabe stated he A&R on his project, "my first ever time doing that" which is pretty big for a new artist. He finished with "I already knew his talents it's time the world heard".
Finally, we get the star of the show, Velous. I cannot state how much this guy's personality comes out in just a speech. My personal opinion: he's one of us, a unsigned, independent artist who finally got his big break. He's glad to be here. He's welcomed the attention and is taking it in stride. The one important part I noticed was in a industry filled with music stars who constantly forget where they came from, Velous had his mom here with him for his album listening party. To me, that speaks volumes to his humility.
Through Amanda, Gabe and Velous himself, we are informed of the multi-talented feat of his album, but the point here is it works. A rarity how we have so very few artist (including Goodswag Milano, Siano) who sing, rap and produce and actually be very good at it.
"What Chu Call That", the subsequent single off his album has the club feel we all look for that avoids the heavy use of beat vets such as Mike Will. His voice on this was infectious similar when we all first Jeremih and Miguel but vocally different
compared to the two.
compared to the two.
Another standout was "Pretty Girls", and as Spynfo states to the crowd we need if we are DJs and he's exactly right. This isn't your typical Molly popping track that floods the radio today. This is Friday night, Saturday night for you ladies who are about to hit the club hard but know you got it. Sorry fellas, but trust me this song will be the one you'll be dancing to with those same ladies.
As I skimmed the crowd, I got opinions of several guests. The reoccurring theme here is "he's different", with even one gentlemen saying, "he's new R&B".
Overall, the production is solid. Very powerful bass, light 808 use but very mellow dramatic beat patters which makes you want to put certain songs on repeat. However, the brilliance behind Velous is not in his music but in speaking with him; he's very down to earth. In my short conversation with him, he stated he's been "signing all his life and wanted this all his life" which is exactly all we want.
Velous is truly a bright light in a industry of broken and half lit bulbs. Salute to you, young man.