“I was born in Tokyo Japan, I started graphic design at an early age and this led me to do cover artworks and clothing designs, I was also in the big earthquake in Japan and that made me move to the US in 2012, my father is already American so I had a reason to live here”
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it? The artistic life is actually more sociable, I met many people through my art!
What superpower would you have and why? A super power I would love to have is teleportation, I will save so much Uber/gas/flight money and also I’m able to go to Japan (my homeland) a lot more frequently, not to mention I can also eat the food there which is really good.
What role does the artist have in society? Artists have a lot of role in society, architect creates the building we see in our everyday life, graphic designers create the designs we see in our everyday life, sound designers creates sounds we hear in cars, phones and so on.
Professionally, what’s your goal? My professional goal is to make graphic design my full occupation, and I’m planning on going to college for that get a degree, also I would love to have my own runway eventually in the future as well.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Best piece of advice given to me would be always take risk, because sometimes you may achieve something bigger taking risk.
Lord D continues to merge the genres from Nigeria to American trap. With his newest project out we see him execute a range of different vibes from R&B to “book bap rap”. The talent in his abilities shows. Lord D mentioned to me “You’ll be pressed to find a track that’s not high quality. From the production behind his music and glamorous art work. We agree!
Isis Lethal is a brand based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Established in 2016 they continue to expand their movement and grow the brands focus to give back to the community. The brand was created by Tye & $ell (Phoenix natives). @tyeisis is the one behind Isis Lethal’s graphics and garments while $ell is more into music but contributes to the brand just as much as Tye.
Tye is working on a new collection, we weren’t able to say much about it but we can assure you it’s one to lookout for!
Founded by Jebidiyah Ryder, Ryder Studios is a brand originally based in Atlanta, GA. Jebidiyah is nothing short of a mastermind creating functional garments, graphic tees, shoes, and even Juul skins.
May 11th, 2019 Jebidiyah revealed two color ways (Black/White) for his graphic tees supposedly releasing May 24th, 2019. The design features mickey mouse dwelling two revolvers with a rope star around the figure.
A recent personal favorite of ours is the “FADED SKELETON DENIM” releasing May 31st. This release can be found on GKLAN.COM
Lawrence Tailor debut collection includes the contrasting Pegasus logo on jersey fabric T-shirt accompanied by the velvet monarch bow tie. Unlike other luxury brands Lawrence Tailor focuses on building dialect that communicates elegance and aesthetics.
The company is a partnership between @Sheriidann and @_DonCarlito. Carlton Obidimma is the Chief Executive Officer of the company and Sheridan Bee is the Creative Director and curator of the designs. Based in Texas, the two created this ongoing collaboration because unlike other street wear start ups they provide high quality handmade garments. Assessing the youths need for more formal attire is certainly a company goal for the two.
“Myself being the Designer of Lawrence Tailor. I am able to express the changes in my personal closet rotation through each collection. Lawrence Tailor seeks to provide a “suitable” option for men and women who are looking for a state of comfort and extravagant lifestyle.”
Freeway Ferrari is a clothing designer born in Brooklyn, NY but around four years old he moved to Texas and eventually ended up in Arizona around the age of 12. Freeway wasn’t designing clothes since the start though. When Freeway was young he was really into sports then developed a passion for rapping. It wasn’t until the music when he found clothing design.
One day I wanted to work on some merch for myself and I just fell in love with the whole design process. I really sat down & taught myself photoshop and all that other stuff.
Freeway continues to tell me about how he got into designing stuff. He mentions how he’s trying to implement his most original ideas into his brand. We recently got a preview of his “Living Is Dying” blueprint…
The most essential tool or advice I can give is stay true to yourself. Don’t go out looking for the likes or trying to be the next biggest designer, be you and the people who like the things you have to bring will gravitate towards you. Never lose yourself or your brand trying to just make some quick cash.
Rankin’ Scroo is an International Reggae Artist whose riddim stylings started cutting across boundaries in his native Jamaica as a Dancehall Toaster while yet a youth. His musical inclinations began as a very young child singing in church.
His explorative nature has led him on an odyssey across the oceans, making his mark with significant Sound System stops in New York and Hawaii. It was in Hawaii that he met his partner Ginger. As they wrote and performed together, they became instrumental in the creation of the Jawaiian genre of music; a melding of Reggae and Hawaiian styles.
Their music continually finds airplay on radio stations all over the world.
Their collaborations have established a global fan base with strongholds in Jamaica, America, Europe, Japan and the Latin Reggaeton nations. After forming his Crucial Youth Productions Company, the pair moved to the S.F. Bay Area where their influence has helped shape the careers of many dominant artists locally and globally.
Scroo’s production and compositional techniques have helped the careers of an amazing A-list of artists and performers including Black Uhuru, Mikey Dread, Frankie Paul, Sister Carol, Foundation, Lutan Fyah, Too Short, Keak da Sneak, Rappin 4Tay, Yukmouth, Messy Marv, Tyquan and E-40.
Now known as the Godfather of Urban Reggae, Rankin Scroo continues his trend setting agenda. He has branched into the film industry having written and performed both as an actor and musician. He has composed Soundtracks for several films including Cop and a Badman, Men At Work (starring Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen)and Be Cool (starring John Travolta).
His latest releases feature former Commodores lead singer, Skyler Jett, (a Grammy recognized artist for his vocals with Celine Dion on the Titanic soundtrack). The track Love Zone continues to receive worldwide airplay, two years after its initial release. The film documentary Mothers With Murder has a theme song, Education, which is also a Rankin’ Scroo/Skyler Jett collaboration. Rankin’ Scroo’s massive discography can be found at the following link: Discography Or www.rankinscroo.com
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on 4th January 1941 and raised in Oakland, California from the age of seven, Carrie Cleveland’s upbringing was, as she notes, “typical for a household full of kids”. Raised as part of a close-knit family from the south and surrounded by nine brothers and sisters, her home was an environment of constant happenings and noise. Yet, as she recalled to me in January 2018, music was not in fact her main focus or ambition during her childhood or adolescent periods. Carrie’s musical aspirations only truly developed later after meeting her future husband Bill Cleveland in 1961. As she notes, “I always enjoyed music, but I didn’t really start until I met my husband Bill”. It is this tale of a musical partnership between a visionary husband and a talented wife with an extraordinary voice that it is our honour to divulge below.
Carrie and Bill met in 1961 by chance at a Christmas party hosted by a cousin of Carrie’s. It had been intended that he meet one of Carrie’s sisters, however, this was not to be. As Carrie recollects, her sister was ill and therefore her cousin “directed him towards me and we fell in love. It was love at first sight. We had a lot in common – he played music and I loved music and we worked from there”.
As well as being a probation officer during the day, Bill was a multi-disciplined musician, performing mostly on keyboard but also able to play the drums and arranging all of his compositions. He had started a local band, The Creative Set, before meeting Carrie, and she joined as the singer, which allowed them to use it as an avenue through which to showcase both of their musical talents. As she fondly remembers, Bill “always wanted to have a band and he liked the way that I sang so we started the group”. Sometimes it was just the two of them, and at other times they would invite other musicians such as Victor Green or local drummers or bass players to join them on stage. They toured the Oakland Bay and San Fransisco areas, “playing at all the local clubs” and small venues in the vicinity, such as Bancroft Street Lounge, Ruthie’s Inn and Pasand Lounge in Berkeley, and The Claremont Hotel in Beverley Hills. Carrie recalls that at the time they would mostly perform cover songs by contemporary soul and R&B artists such as Carla Thomas, BB King and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland. A setlist that Carrie has been able to locate shows how in 1981 they were performing both their original compositions such as ‘Love Will Set You Free’ and ‘Take A Moment’ with other popular songs such as Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘Let’s Groove’, Stephanie Mills’ ‘Never Knew Love Like This Before’ and Luther Vandross’ ‘Never Too Much’. However, performing in front of an audience did not come naturally to Carrie at first. Indeed, she recalls that “during my first show I was so nervous my knees were knocking as I was singing and I heard someone in the audience say she can sing but look at her legs shake”. This anxiety continued throughout her musical career, and as she candidly notes, “I never got over from being nervous. I just got used to it.” Nevertheless, the group was received positively, so much so that at one point they had even intended to tour internationally to Japan, but “at the time I had my son Heston and I didn’t want to leave him in the care of someone else”. Instead, they “decided to stay in the States and… ended up making the album”.
Carrie and Bill recorded ‘Looking Up’ in their backyard garage studio in the first half of 1978, with Bill writing, arranging and playing the instruments whilst Carrie provided the lead vocals. She recalls that she was influenced by various soul and disco heavyweights such as Dianne Warwick, Diana Ross and The Stylistics, however her music’s homegrown private-press nature truly stands it out from the rest. Indeed, the album’s left-of-centre offering, with Bill’s performance on the keyboard and his unusual arrangements working with Carrie’s distinctive voice marks it out as a truly great disco-soul masterpiece.
The singles were Bill’s idea to help promote Carrie as an artist and were used as a promotional drive for the local area. The most well-known and sought-after of her singles is the promotional release of ‘Make Love To Me’, also recorded in 1978, which lacks the organ that appears on the later issue copy and which also differs from the LP version. Carrie cannot recall why the alteration was made, only that “it was what Bill wanted to do [as]… he handled all the musical arrangements”. However, she can remember that in total five hundred copies of the singles were pressed, as well as one thousand copies of the album. Carrie cannot remember if the single ‘Take A Moment’, backed with ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, was ever actually released, but if it was, it seems to have been lost into total obscurity. Although the former song also appeared on ‘Getting Up’, here the single version is almost a minute longer. In addition, the latter track is a fantastic sweet soul single which was for an unknown reason never featured on the album.
Released in 1980, the album has since gained a cult following by record collectors and soul aficionados alike. Yet, at the time of release, it failed to make the headway that it arguably deserved to receive. Its private distribution channels paired with its more-esoteric offering inhibited its success, and it was soon forgotten into obscurity. Although Carrie’s music did receive some airtime such as on local Vallejo-based radio station KDIA, Carrie recalls that “unfortunately we didn’t get very far with it at the time. Only a few people heard and enjoyed it and we ended up putting it away”.
Sadly Bill soon after suffered from health complications and unexpectedly passed away on 25th March 1994. Yet, as they still had many dates left on the calendar Carrie decided to continue performing as The Creative Set and with other local musicians. However, after two more years of Carrie leading the band herself she eventually decided to wind down her performances and put an end to her musical ambitions. As she notes, ‘I became tired, and a lot of men didn’t respect a female band leader’. Thus, the end of Carrie’s musical career had sadly arrived.
Instead, Carrie chose to focus more of her time on her occupation as a housekeeper at Oakland’s local children’s hospital, where she later became an x-ray assistant, and settled down in the city, where she still resides today.
It has been a pleasure to work with Carrie and Heston in celebrating such a great piece of musical history, and an honour to offer here the definitive discography of Carrie and Bill Cleveland.
Carrie, Heston and Chris, 2018.
All tracks written, arranged and produced by Bill Cleveland
We are delighted to bring to you another storming release from Kalita – the first ever reissue of the complete recordings of West coast soul vocalist Carrie Cleveland with an expanded version of her ultra-rare privately pressed 1978 album ‘Looking Up’, featuring the fully released and promotional versions of the single ‘Make Love To Me’ and the previously unknown single ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’.
Recorded, arranged and produced by Carrie and her husband Bill Cleveland as a labour of love in their backyard studio in 1978, ‘Looking Up’ is one of the most sought-after of all soul/disco LPs, in particular for the track ‘Love Will Set You Free’ and the promotional version of ‘Make Love To Me’, one of the best and rarest sweet soul records to emerge out of the ’70s West coast scene. The single ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ is virtually unknown to the most seasoned of soul collectors; even Carrie herself is unsure whether it was ever released.
With the album originally pressed as a limited run of just 1000 with 500 copies of each single, original copies of Carrie’s records now fetch eye-watering sums on the second-hand market. Kalita now satisfy the thirst with the first ever international reissue of her full discography.