Shwayze with KIDD RUSSELL, Cam Meekins, Carlton, and Nikko Gray at Reggie’s Rock Club (November 3, 2014)
Shwayze claims to have grown up in a comparatively tough trailer park in one of Malibu’s less prosperous neighborhoods. Born Aaron Smith in 1986, legend has it Shwayze was working as an assistant to his handyman grandfather in 2005 when he began an impromptu on-stage freestyle with a friend, drummer Alex Orbison, prior to a local gig by Orbison’s band Whitestarr. Adler, Whitestarr’s singer/songwriter, was impressed enough with the young rapper that he started collaborating with him. Co-writing the songs with Adler producing, the duo came up with a mellow, largely acoustic sound akin to a hip-hop Jack Johnson, far removed from the glammy Southern rock revivalism of Adler’s own band. Shwayze signed to Geffen Records in 2007 and his self-titled debut album was released the following year, preceded by the single “Don’t Be Shy” and followed by a stint on the 2008 Vans Warped Tour. A year later they returned with the electro-influenced album Let It Beat along with the single “Get U Home.” ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi
Kidd Russell wrote a rap song about today’s holiday honoring Casimir Pulaski, the Polish freedom fighter who came to fight in the American Revolutionary War. Russell’s “Pulaski Day” is pretty much the opposite of Sufjan Steven’s “Casimir Pulaski Day” that every one else will be playing.
According to Russell’s website, he used to freestyle with professional wrestler Colt Cabana, who got Russell his first gig. Cabana also promoted the “Pulaski” video on his Twitter. The video has some sweet skyline shots. As for the lyrics, we agree it’s good to be in Chicago any day, but we’re not totally sure what it means to “party like Pulaski Day.”
With a flow as smooth as the pros, a shocking level of creative intelligence, maturity beyond his years and confident swag that will catch anyone’s attention, Cam Meekins is the definition ofthere’s more than meets the eye. Taking his nice and neat look for granted would be a mistake. Cam strings together lyrics that surpass his young adult peers and could challenge any of his superiors. More than just a hip hop artist, Cam is a learned musician, songwriter and visionary in control of his own destiny.
Carlton is an alternative-pop trio based in Los Angeles, California. They are characterized by well crafted pop songs with an energetic live show. They released their first self-produced EP “Stretching” in October of 2013 and have stayed busy touring up and down the west coast since then. In June of 2014, Carlton released their new single “Drift” to high critical acclaim, earning them features on notable music blogs such as Good Music All Day, The Burning Ear, and Kings of A&R. Carlton is currently working on a new release and will be touring with Shwayze on the 2014 Feel Good Tour this fall.
Nikko Gray is a singer-songwriter who was raised in the UK and the Netherlands but lives in the Los Angeles area now. She’s still relatively little-known U.S., but 2011 might be the year she raises her profile. She’s already off to a good start with the release of “Beautiful You Are,” an atmospheric, sensual ballad that’s just been posted on her Bandcamp site.