January 31, 2008

Freestyle Blast

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 12:49 pm

FreestyleBlast 

Are you getting spammed by FreestyleBlast.com?  If not, you should be! For those who don’t know, FreestyleBlast.com is an eBlast marketing system developed by the La’ Organization that targets the Freestyle market. There is a good chance that if you are reading this blog, that you are on the list and are currently receiving the blast. Our email count is currently at 88,000 emails. But you’re probably saying “But their aren’t 88,000 Freestyle Fans out there”. I would have to disagree with you due to the turnouts I’ve experienced throughout the country. But, our email list isn’t just Freestyle Fans. In order to have ended up on this list you have to have some how come in contact with someone in our industry, whether you knew it or not. We have people from all walks of life that are on our list. It’s growing tremendously and is constantly being up-dated and cleaned. We wanted to create a system that would reach the Freestyle Masses. When promoters book through La’ Entertainment, we add them on to our blast, “Free of Charge”, and Blast their event every Thursday. Once a week is enough, anymore than that and you will have a lot of people opting out of your list. In the beginning, promoters from Los Angeles, didn’t see the point in promoting to people in New York, but, since Freestyle is a narrow targeted market, word of mouth is “King”. With the popularity of the internet, and social networking sites like myspace etc., People have made friends all over the world, and when your buddy from New York ask you about the show in “your” area, that is where the value is. Our Opt-Out rate is very low, and we actually receive “Thank You” emails from many of the recipients who truly appreciate the information. This service is for everyone. The promoters, the artist and the fans. We have at times blasted other events that we are not directly involved with just as a favor with no strings attached ‘Yes we do that at times” and we also charge a small fee to others who are locked in with other agents but want to get the benefits of FreestyleBlast. If you are on the FreestyleBlast mailing list, please pass this info along to your friends and family who might be interested. If you are not on the list… Join it now!

January 29, 2008

Hawaii Loves Freestyle

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 02:31 pm

Angel “The Original CoverGirl” 

Well, we did it!  It was a long trip, but it was more than worth it. Angel and I flew from our home in North Carolina to Houston, TX, then from there to Honolulu. We flew with the legendary group Atlantic Starr.

When we arrived in Hawaii, we met up with Marcus, the talent coordinator, great guy! He got us into the Limo and helped check us into the Hotel. We had our room on the 31st floor of the Ala Moana Hotel over-looking Waikiki Beach, with the famous Diamond Head Volcano to our left.  What so great was that the seun set was directly in front of our Balcony.

Usually when on the road, we try to chill out in room, watch a little TV, read, sometimes we might even… Never mind! Anyhow, it was Hawaii, my first time, Angel’s 6th, and as tired as I was, I did not want to stay in.

We knew that the hotel had a sort of outdoor shopping center, with restuarants, bars and plenty of stores that sold jewlery, clothes and shoes. (Fellas, if you ever go their with your lady, accidentally leave your credit card in the room).

There were a lot of restuarnts to choose from, but I have an issue about trying something new when I’m hungry, so eventhough it was knew to us, it was American enough for us to give it a shot.  We ate at the famous Bubba Gumps Restuarant. I was please, simple everyday food, a lot of friend seafood, it thats Okay, we were in Hawaii. I even got to try out the Hawaii’s traditional Mai Tai as well as another drink called a Lava Flow.

We were pretty exhausted and a bit Jet Lagged, so back to the hotel we went. It was nice because we were able to chill out on the balcony overlooking island. The next day we had soundcheck at 2pm and we had to be back at the club around 8pm for a meet and greet. Stevie B was there and a bit under the weather, ”Hope you’ll feeling better Stevie”, I know what it’s like to be sick and on the road.  But like all professionals, he was there to do his job, for his audience and give them the best that he had. You would never even know he was sick!

As we all piled into the Limo to head to the club that evening, I noticed the car was sort stuck in traffic, it was moving really slow.  I looked out the window and saw this huge line of people. I figured we were in the party district and like all party districts the streets are crowded.  I asked the driver, how much longer till we got to the club, and he told us just 3 more blocks. We all started talking about how we hope the club does good, the driver then tells us, that line is for you guys!

As we enterted the club, the people standing around the entrance started freaking out, it was incredible, I haven’t seen reactions like his in years. As we enetred the VIP area, the crowd that paid a premium to be there, all stood up and applauded as the artist made their way into the dressing room.  We hung out there for a couple of minutes, then stepped back out into the VIP area that help about 100 people for the much anticipated mett and greet. All the artist received a great reception, but I must admit, there was a special bond between Angel and the Hawaiian people.

For those who know or have been around Angel, have experienced her natural bonding with her fans and audiences. Her welcoming green eyes tells the people “Come Here I Want To meet You”. She doesn’t usually sit behind a table and sign autographs, Angel, as much as I am against it at times, insist on standing and miggling with the crowd. Sometimes, it isn’t a safe idea, so I don’t allow it, but that night was different, and I couldn’t have felt more comfortable, than around these amazing people.

Angel was the opening act, a place I was cool with. Some events have me really nervouse that I want to hurry up and get it over with. Upon her introduction, the crowd went bananas, as she made her entrace to the cadence she made famous from the song “Because Of You” The crowd sang along, hands high up, the love in that place was unlike any I have ever experience in the 20 years I’m doing this.

We were using a show tape used only once before, this one contained Angel’s hit ballad “Promise Me” I personally love this song, and the video is even more amazing. Performaning ballads is a challnge and not many can nor would even attempt it.  Stevie B’s “Because I Love You” (Postman Song) and Lisa Lisa’s “All Cried Out” are exceptions.

When the intro our “Promise Me” began, the crowd lost it.  The promoter ran over to me and told how much the crowd was hoping Angel would sing it. We didn’t know this and performing this song for this club was considered pretty much last minute.

At the end of the show, Angel was definitly moved. She did something that isn’t part of her routine.  She called the promoter “James Coles” to the stage and put her arm around him. She then told the audience… “He had the opportunity to bring in the “Phony Girls” for a fraction of my price, but he said he would never do that to you, his audience”. The crowd cheered and applauded, she continued, “James Coles is bring Freestyle back to Hawaii the way it supposed to be, and I want everyone to support any event that he put on okay?”

That was it! The crowd was not only Angel’s it was now James Coles.

Hawaii, thank you for all your love and hospitality, and I hope to see you again real soon.

 Aloha!

January 23, 2008

Just A Morning Quickie

Filed under: Suzi Carr — Suzi Carr @ 05:31 pm

Hi everybody,  just a morning quickie for the day.

After my 3rd cup of my french roast coffee this morning,  I clicked on this site to see if Latif fixed my screw up from last nights blog. (I posted it under his name)  Of course Latif is always ON IT…..and then some.  Not only did  he fix it he created an exact duplicate of my 1st homemade 5th grade mic, photographed it and posted it in my blog.  I never realized how FALIC it looked. Check it out in my ‘Original Suzi Carr Mic’ blog.  I’m still laughing hysterically…..He and Angel are the FUNNIEST people I know.  They have had me (on the floor) laughing more this year than I laughed in 20 years.  Latif needs his own comedy show on cable.  I’m serious…

I hope you get to laugh today as hard as I did.

Kisses,  Suzi

Freestyle in Paradise

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 01:46 pm

Angel and Latif 

One of the places that I’ve always wanted to go to was Hawaii. I think it is the most popular place on earth.  I’m yet to hear someone talk negative about it.  My sister Cindy and her husband Al go all the time, so much that they considered buying a time share there. My wife (OCG) has been talking about it since we got together,  The Cover Girls were huge in Hawaii. She always talks about the smell of fruit when you get off the plane, the beautiful beaches and of course the Volcanos, well at least that’s what I want to see, hey, what can I say, I’m a boy! Well thanks to James Coles, we are going to Hawaii!  We leave Friday morning Jan 25th ’08 and returning the following Monday evening.  Seems like a nice extended trip, but the fact is, most of that time will be spent traveling. We are doing a show at The Pipe Line Cafe along with Stevie B and Atlantic Starr. We’ll meet up with them at the halfway point of our 12 hour flight, my back hurts just thinking of it.

My wife’s a bit pissed at me, because while she’s packing the SunTan lotion and Bathing Suits, I’m anticipating our return home so I could get back to work. I’m swamped right now. I have been traveling the country for many years, first with Lil’ Suzy for over 20 years, then with Angel, and while still traveling with Suzy and Angel individually, in 2004 I began traveling with S.A.L. which includes Lisette Melendez.

To have visited practically every state in the country, with the West Coast being almost like a second home, you would be surprised to know that I haven’t had a chance to see much. I love History and am fascinated by landmarks, but for some reason it is so hard for me to seperate my work and play, not that my work isn’t pleasurable, I love what I do, it’s just hard for me to take a show trip and turn it into any kind of vacation.

I don’t want to come across unappreciative, I have been blessed and I thank God for it everyday. I don’t want to wake up one day an Old man saying, “Hey, what happened?” Eventhough I’m not looking forward to the trip, I am looking forward to going to Hawaii. I hope it moves me the way it has moved so many others I know, because if it does… I’ll be back!

Anyhow, my true point to this blog is the simple fact that “Freestyle” is going to Hawaii! It was there back in the day, dropped out as it did else where, but now it’s going back. Where as many might see it as a great experience, I see it has a great breakthrough for Freestyle.

The response to the event has been over whelming and the promoter is very excited. While so many other forms of music has regressed over years, Freestyle is amazingly progressing and expanding beyound the point it was when it first came into the scene. What’s next? Japan? Angel was huge in Japan, so was Lisette and many others.  How about Germany, Johnny O is king there and Stevie B is basically a household name in Brazil.

Building Freestyle in the United States is a wonderful thing, and it will keep us working. But building Freestyle around the world will keep us living. Living lovely. When I heard that promoters in Hawaii were interested in bring in Freestyle acts, I immediately saw the big piture.  I contacted a couple of people that I knew were in touch with the promoters out there so as to get connected, not to just throw my girls up in there, but more importantly, to throw Freestyle up in there and to make sure tha promoters are well advised as to how the market is now.

A few of the people I asked to connect me, never connected me. They didn’t want to share, and that has been one of Freestyle’s biggest downfalls. If just one Freestyle artist exist in a market, it is only a matter of time before Freestyle is totally dried up in that market. We need to show that there is a variety of acts still performing and recording, that eventhough there are some classic acts in this genrea, Freestyle itself shouldn’t be catagorized as Old School. There are alot of new songs being recorded and alot of new artist recording them.  Just listen to La’ Radio Live and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So off I am to Hawaii, I will let you know how it goes.

All I Ever Wanted To Do Was Be A Singer

Filed under: Suzi Carr — Suzi Carr @ 06:23 am

An Original Suzi Carr Mic

Hi Everybody,  I’m so excited to be doing this.  I thought  I would 1st blog about my music obsession since there are so many of us.  Hope you enjoy.

From the time I came into this world all I ever wanted to do was to be a famous singer.  I always say “music picks you” and once it does there’s no turning back, that’s it….

I grew up in the most southern part of West by God Virginia on 8 acres of land.  We had horses in the front 4 acres and woods in the back 4.  I used to walk through the woods

 singing the Sound Of Music and pretending to be in the movie.  When I was in the 5th grade I wrapped a golf ball in tin foil and stuck it on an empty tiolet paper roll.  It was my 1st microphone,  I was always obsessed with mics.  I took it to school and the whole class wanted one.  So that night I stoled all of my mothers golf balls and tin foil and made 23 microphones. 

 An Original Suzi Carr Mic
An Original Suzi Carr Mic

She was livid with me but my class was ecstatic.  We sang and sang.  My father was a wonderful musician and singer.  He played sax and was a lot like Bill Clinton,  he used to say he loved “beautiful horses and fast women”.  He always taught me that when I got an idea in the middle of the night to always get up and write it down,  otherwise  I’d forget it and never get it back.  He was so right.  To this day if I’m driving and get a great idea,  I always call my vm and record the melody and words.  I also keep a recorder on my bedstand for those inspired dream sessions.  Sometimes I dream I’m listening to someones new record and it’s amazing and then I wake up and realize it’s ME! 

There’s never been a  day in my life that I haven’t listened to music.  It’s a huge part of my life.  And being on stage is one of my greatest joys.  I put it up there with being maddly in love and making mad passionate love.  I also get off on hearing my records,  especially while I’m working out.  BTW, they just released Suzi Carr’s Greatest Hits on ITunes.  It has Dreamin, Say It’s Gonna Rain, Baby I Love Your Way, and Fading Away, all the WTP hits I sing in my show, and 9 other remixes and originals.  More about how that came about later. 

Wishing you a fabulous week filled with bliss and joy.  And lots of love to Latif for making this all possible. 

Kisses,

Suzi Carr

January 19, 2008

Dear Latif,

Filed under: Angel (OCG) — Angel "The Original CoverGirl" @ 01:50 am

The Cover Girls 

Sometimes I get scared I think I’m gonna wake up and it’s all a dream. Everything we’ve become POOF gone. I’m so dependent on you yet you’ve made me so strong. I hate when you tell me you want to prepare me in case something happens to you. So what if I can run the business and manage our finances, what about my heart? I know it sounds like a cliche but you are the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel corny when I think about you, like one of those precious moments Love Is…. Isn’t it awesome that we both like so many of the same things. I never get tired of being around you. Alot of couples we know can’t wait to get away from eachother, I can’t wait to spend time with you. I like how we don’t have to fake being interested in what we talk about. As much as I feel I know you, you’re still a mystery to me. Just when I think I know everything about you I learn something new. The love I feel for you consumes me. Everytime I think about something, anything you’re somewhere in the mix. I’m never embarrassed to say how I feel about you, because you show me in so many ways how much you love me. Remember when people would tell us you’re not going to feel the same way in 1 or 2 or 7 years, we proved them wrong! I feel a stronger love now for you than I ever have, just when I feel like our love can’t get any stronger we reach a new plateau in our relationship. I think they just don’t get how we get closer and closer, like we have some sort of secret. I think we’ve learned alot from my parents and other couples who’ve been together forever. Love is not just one thing or emotion theirs so many involved like caring, trust, commitment, honesty, giving your heart unconditionally, compromise, tenderness, good sex and a fight once in a while to spice things up.

Love You Always,

Your Wife

January 18, 2008

The Freestyle Webolution!

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 02:05 pm

I must say, “Thank God For The Internet”, we are all so fortunate that we live during this amazing time. Is this how people felt when the TV came into existance?  I don’t know about everybody else, but I don’t think I could function without my computer and the internet.  I’m not a big surfer, but I do alot of research and of course all of the businesses I am involved in rely heavily on the internet.

For Freestyle, the web came just in time. A time when basically, the last full fledged Freestyle label Metropolitan Records was ready to hang up it’s last compilation… Which so happened to be three that I produced “Stylin’ Free Presents Metropolitan’s Ladies Of Freestyle” Vols 1, 2, 3  The idea was great, the product … good. Hey, I was limited, what can I say. But it was something I was proud t be a part of.

Many labels either closed their doors, many went into other areas, but hey, that’s business. The smaller labels, artist and producers stayed around, simply because the sudden decrease in sales and shows had no affect on them whatsoever. They still sold the same 10 CDs a month and still “Toured” their neighborhood.

I shouldn’t say they, I was one of them, I was running little ol’ Stylin’ Free Records and had produced 2 compilations Stylin’ Free “The Alternative Dance Compilation” (obviously, I didn’t understand much about marketing with that title), then, Stylin’ Free “1999 Freestyle Finale” (Wow, did that not show my perception of where I thought the Freestyle market was going back then?)

I was one of the first independent Freestyle labels to have my own site… Some of you might remember Stylinfree.com, it was a very simple site with it’s most interesting feature being a “GuestBook”. What was funny was, I didn’t have an internet connection at home and the computer I had barely was fast enough to type up the “Stylin’ Free Network NewsLetter”.  I had an associate from Chicago “Ivan” who was so far ahead with computers, I thought he was a genius. Ivan would check and print the guestbook each week and mail me (regular mail) the pages, where I would read and take their info so that I could put them on our Newletter mailing list. But since I myself wasn’t on-line, I really didn’t have a clue as to the power of the net.

While working at Metropolitan, I got to spend more time on-line and became more familiar with it’s power. I was still really green and with Dial-Up still pretty much the norm, I didn’t exactly find the experience that enjoyable.

Then one day, while at Metro, I got a call from a guy who called himself ”Jack G”. He had a great idea and wanted support from a reputable Freestyle label. He explained to me about a messageboard that he was about to launch, that will attract all the artist and fans of Freestyle around the world. He wanted for us to get involved with him, but I didn’t know this dude and I sure as hell didn’t know what a messageboard was let alone what it could do. How would this guy attract people to it anyway? He didn’t know anybody. I went about my business, and before long, Jack G launched the all new ClubFreestyle. I joined on, but just as member. I figured, if this guy is going to attract the Freestyle Market, then I had madd Metropolitan product to sell to them. The problem is, his numbers were soaring and was in the thousands in no time.  I questioned him about this when he had approached me again about joining him.  He explained that he had to hype the member numbers to make it look attractive. I didn’t see that working for too long.  How are you going to have 4,000 members and just the same 6 people posting? Eventually people will wisen up to it.

Anyway, It was cool, I got to write a bit, as you can tell by my blogs, I do like to write. Jack organized an outting at Coney Island one night where all the members could finally meet in person. I called WebMasterDave (then he was just “Dave”). and we took a ride out to Coney Island. Their must’ve been about 15 people there and I met a handful. But when I met Jack, it all came to light. Have you ever seen Harry Potter? Okay then, that’s what Jack looked like! Have you even seen Nepolian Dynamite?… well that’s how he acted!  Then when he yelled out “Last one to the Go-Carts is a rotten Egg”, I was like. “Oh Hell no!, WMDave nearly ran off with them to the Go-Carts, I had to grab him.

We ran into Jack at a couple of other parties at smaller clubs and I realized his true motivation behind CF. You see, Jack was a nerd! But not a cool nerd, I know cool nerds, some of my best friends are nerds Lol.  He was a straight up obnoxious nerd who for once in his life was getting some sort of attention, sorry Jack, I couldn’t hold it in any longer! He used and abused CF for his own selfish benefit with no real interest in support of Freestyle. I told WMDave, that we need to put our site back up and this time add a board to it.  It took WMDave about a month, but finally, it was up and running. I remember watching as the first few people came on,  Melissa, Lisa Santana and Diamond32 R.I.P., WMDave and I would watch the board everyday and get excited with every new member.

We Vowed never to add any bogus members and to make sure and delete inactive members and spammers. We vowed also to never block or boot negative post, a practice that Jack mastered. When people got carried away and posted negative things about me, my wife or my crew, we didn’t boot them, we called them on the phone, or met up with them at a club.  Those tactics seemed to work better. We may have had our board up for many years, and maybe our membership is still a bit under 3000, we do pride ourselves in knowing that we are in a small way contributing to the Freestyle Webolution.

I’m a huge reader, and a subscriber to a lot of Business Magazines.  My library is pretty extensive and most of the things I know are through reading and just giving it a try.  WMDave on the otherhand rather sit in front of the computer with the manual closed trying to figure it out. Hey, it works for him! I tell him all the time, with my brains and his fingertips, we could rule the world Lol!

Some of the other entities that we have created to enhance the visibility of Freestyle utilizing the web is of course La’ Radio Live, Freestyle Blast, and the latest, FreestyleBlogs.com

It’s alot of work, dedication and education.  It’s takes a strong team that has the patients to go the distance and bare with technological bugs that invade us now and then. Believe it or not, glitches and bugs have a bit of a positive affect on me personally.  They remind me that we are pioneers in this, involved in an historical time.  Sort of like the times when you had to crank the engine of your car, then jump in and drive.  Those people must’ve been really annoyed, but wow, what an experience and the stories they were able to tell.

Today, Freestyle has no excuse. We have in front of us, all the tools needed to catapult this market back on top. We have the power now, to produce, manufacture, distribute, promote, market and collect from Freestyle. So whats the problem? For one, techonology cannot replace talent, creativity or motivation, that has to come from within.

We are living in a great time. Freestyle relies on us right now and if you would like for it to be around for your children and grandchildren, then take advantage of technology and come on, join the Freestyle Webolution.

Freestyle 4 Life Baby!

hello!

Filed under: Lil' Suzy — Lil Suzy @ 02:01 am

Hi all,

Just thought I’d stop by and say hi while I have some time. Angelica has a full belly and is chillin out in her bouncer. LOL  Anyhoo I’m just counting down the days until my first show back March 1st after 1 yr of maternity leave  LMAO… Im like do I remember how to sing? Do I still know how to be Lil Suzy? Ive been fat and pregnant for 9 months.  Do I remember how to dress sexy?   lol     Its crazy the things I think of now. All these thoughts just flying through my lil crazy head. Im so anxious to get this first show over with so I can get used to the planes again and airport drama. Actually, I soooo do not miss the airports and flying. Thank God Im a sleeper. I’m usually asleep b4 the plane is even in the sky. Ughh I just remembered the airport food and plane food. (When they give it to you) ughh. Having to be confined and smelling all the food on the plane (im gagging) its not like we can crack a window open! LOL  

Ya know what though? once I get to that club,all the annoying crap of traveling and delayed flights,lost luggage and security lines just goes away. Kinda like labor pains!  LOL at the end of the journey,you end up with an awesome gift. Me being able to sing for you guys onstage is such an awesome gift. So Ive started mentally preparing to get back in the swing of things and to make new memories and new friends during my travels. So thats it 4 now. Talk to you soon!

Kisses

Suzanne Lil Suzy

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

January 16, 2008

Is It Time For Some New Freestyle Music?

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 02:31 pm

Freestyle never went anywhere. It has always been around. It just lost it’s credibility with traditional radio due to poor productions.  Think back in the day, the artist that are still very busy traveling the country performing, acts like, Angel (OCG), Lil’ Suzy, Lisette Melendez, Lisa Lisa, Stevie B. Johnny O, Cynthia, Judy Torres, Coro, Sweet Sensation, TKA, Noel and I could keep going, and probably should so as not to offend anyone not mentioned, but I want to get to the point.  Listen carefully to their hits, listen to the quality. It’s like you can actually hear the time and passion put into them.  Back then, home studios weren’t that common, they existed, but it was rare that master productions derived from them. Those hits were recorded either in major studios or fully equipped independent facilities. These were some huge records and launched many careers. They sold lots of records and got crazy radio play till this day. But that time was also about the time that home studios started becoming more accessible and affordable to build.

Freestyle became the new dream for many Latins in New York and finally they had a chance to thrive in a business that many of them dreamt about their whole lives. Latins were only considered for Latin music, Salsa etc.. But what about the Latins in America who didn’t speak Spanish? Like myself who’s both parents are Puerto Rican, but was never taught Spanish, I understand perfectly, but to speak it, forget it.

Finally, Freestyle became the new Lain American Dream and every young Puerto Rican at the time wanted to become a Freestyle Artist.  The songs weren’t difficult to sing and the productions were pretty simple sounding.  Those who had jobs began purchasing home equipment from Manny’s and Sam Ash on 48th Street in Manhattan (I know, I was one of them.) Suddenly, the Freestyle Labels that existed in those days were bombarded with demo’s (Cassettes and DAT’s were then the norm).  The heads of those labels realized that they could put a lot more money in there pockets if they cut down production cost. So now, instead of paying high production fees in commercial studios, they began signing songs on spec, meaning, if you brought something in that they liked, they’ll pay you and release it. The money on those spec deals began to dwindle as more and more demo’s flooded the market. It got now to a point, that “would-be” artist were willing to release those tracks for nothing in hopes of becoming the new George LaMond or Cover Girl. These young dreamers were desperate for a deal, for a chance to make their mark as a recording artist.

It got to a point that when there tracks were turned down, they rushed out and produced another, sometimes in just a day or two. Finally, great songs were being written to poor productions, and labels were taking chances on putting it out, a few got through, until traditional radio began to question new releases. There was a time that traditional radio trusted the labels, since many of the owners were young and knowledgeable of the market, some even working DJs. But after awhile, traditional radio couldn’t do it anymore. This was during a time that the stations weren’t as separated as they are now. Freestyle, Rock and Rap were all played on the same station. Traditional Radio was usually categorized as Adult, youth etc.Jocks would play a high quality Rock song, followed by a Freestyle record, and then into a rap song and the quality of the three were very obvious. It got so bad that, just the thought that a particular record was Freestyle or just recorded by a Freestyle artist, marked it as unacceptable with a one way ticket straight into the recycle bin. This wasn’t realized right away and many labels continued producing and shopping records to radio, but to no avail. KTU in New York was always considered one of the leading stations in the country and many of it’s sister stations around the U.S. watched them closely and pretty much did what they did, and when KTU refused to play Freestyle or anything associated with it, so did the others.

It was a sad time for Freestyle in itself. By then New York lost it’s Dance station altogether as KTU began playing mostly Hip Hop.  Many other Freestyle artists were in their teens when they became stars, during a time when they should’ve been thinking about their futures, they were on tour. By the time the Freestyle Market went south, it was pretty late. Like a child trying to wake up his dead dog, artist were in denial, and continued producing and shopping their Freestyle songs.Now in their twenties, lots of time had been wasted and artist had a choice, continue struggling with their careers, or find a job and live their lives. Freestyle artist became a novelty in themselves. They would appear at local clubs in and around New York, performing for humiliating money, subjected to the mockery from fans who were now all Hip Hop and the club owners and promoters who booked many acts out of mere pity.This went on for many years, and slowly artist began to totally step away from the spotlight in search of another life. Many left, satisfied that they were blessed to have experienced this short yet wonderful career, others left bitter and frustrated.

Freestyle was now totally underground and visual to just the die hard. New artist came into the scene and were content with the now very small audience. Freestyle songs became classics and actually gained a little value due to the fact that they would never be repressed. I was working at Metropolitan at this time and I remember selling 12 inch singles for as high as $75.00.I myself saw a different side to the market. I love business, and I saw Freestyle as a business in need of some serious help. Thank God for the Internet! It was a Godsend to Freestyle. Due to my association with Lil’ Suzy and Metropolitan Records, I had the rare opportunity to experience Freestyle outside of New York. Even though it had pretty much died in other markets such as Texas, California, and Chicago etc. It didn’t yet disappear. Many cities featured and supported their own Freestyle Artist. Acts like L.A.W., Jocelyn Enriquez, Angelina and Spanish Fly kept the hope alive in their cities. Lil’ Suzy became a national Freestyle Phenomenon and she was respected highly in many many cities and till this day packs clubs and concerts all over the country all by herself. I would mention to many of my now promoter friends if they were familiar with some of the other Freestyle acts, but unless I actually sang them a song or two, they would be clueless.I knew many acts would do great in these other markets, but I also knew that it wouldn’t be an easy task. It would take time and lots of energy to try and break even the older acts back into those markets.  I started an Newsletter back in the day called “The Stylin’ Free Network News”  many die hard remember and even still have copies. I had built a huge mailing list (emails weren’t popular then) and with the help of my small Stylin’ Free staff we wrote, printed, folded, stamped and mailed out those Newsletters every month. It was my way of connecting Freestyle throughout the country and it was working.The Newsletter was a lot of work, and technology wasn’t on my side yet so I was very limited as to what I could do, so we had to stop it. Not long afterwards, I started the La’ Entertainment message board with the help of WebMaster Dave, that’s another blog that I will get into at another time. I used the same networking skills I used for the Newsletter and began promoting the board. Their was another board up at that time ClubFreestyle, but many of the members on that board were bogus so I knew we would eventually lead that market.The La’ Board became one of the main platforms for the Freestyle community, a place where we can gather all the Freestyle Heads in one place and tell them what’s new in the market.  Eight years later, we started our own Internet Radio Station, with the goal to become the Freestyle listening Station of the world, now, not only can the fans read about what’s new, but now they can hear what’s new.One of the biggest questions I get from people when I talk to them about Freestyle is “How come artists don’t release new music?” and usually I answer… For what? Who’s gonna hear it? Who’s gonna buy it? Without away of promoting new music, producing becomes and expensive waste of time. Their have been new songs, more than any of us even know.  Everyone knows Lil’ Suzy’s “Take Me In Your Arms and Promise Me”, but are you aware that she has release six albums with no less than ten songs on each? Of course you didn’t! Because Traditional Radio never told you. Look at Angel (OCG), yea everyone knows her hits Show Me, Because Of You, Inside Outside and My Heart Skips A Beat”… But what about “No One In This World”, “Once Upon A Time” or ”One Night Affair” or the many others she had recorded and released but not too many people know. Every artist you can think of in Freestyle has songs that were recorded and released, that were great, sometimes even better than the hits that we don’t know about because we didn’t get the traditional radio support we needed.From the beginning of Radio, it has always and still is considered the absolute primary tool used by the major record companies to promote a new release.  They know how important radio rotation is and that without it, everything else is a waste of time.  Payola is against the law because jocks were paid big money to put songs on rotation, so what makes us think that we were ever going to get anywhere without proper radio play?But things are a bit different now and Freestyle is actually getting a second chance.  Thanks to technology we are soon going to be able to tell Traditional Radio to go to Hell! iRadio Stations are stepping up to the plate and becoming the new promotional tool for Freestyle. It’s taking a minute to catch on, but like email was back in the day, Internet Radio will be the new medium.Now Freestyle has a reason to go back to the studios and produce new music. Our chances are even bigger now, because Internet Radio is international.  Where as your local radio station is just that, local, Internet Radio has the ability to promote your music to an even bigger audience than KTU or other major stations. Nowadays, everyone has a computer.  As a matter of fact, I know people who have computers, but not FM Stereos. Internet Radio has listeners that listen along with their co-workers at Law Firms, Mortgage Companies and Accounting Firms. Remember, anywhere that there’s a computer, there’s an Internet Radio!Now, go back to the studio, produce some new music, then get it over to your favorite Internet Radio Station, Tell everyone you know about them. Put their logo on your photos, links on your myspace page and websites. Log on daily and stay logged on. Trust me, if you’re looking for new Freestyle music, you’ll hear it first on the net.

Freestyle 4 Life Baby!

January 15, 2008

Freestyle, It isn’t just an Art, it’s a Business!

Filed under: Angel (OCG) — Angel "The Original CoverGirl" @ 06:07 pm

The Cover Girls

I’ve been in the Music Industry for 20 years. For the first 10 years I was ignorant to what was going on around me. I couldn’t grasp the concept of it being a business. All I wanted to do was sing I didn’t want to think beyond that..what a mistake. Their are so many crooks in this business, and I think I attracted all of them. I sang some of the biggest hits of the late 80′s and 90′s and financially I had nothing to show for it. That all changed when I met a booking Agent/Manager named Latif Mercado, he had a small but growing company named La’ Entertainment. What attracted me most to him was his knowledge of the business and his honesty and integrity when dealing with myself and other Artist. His knowledge far surpassed anyone I knew. I thought cool I can trust him so I don’t have to worry I can sit back and think about performing. Latif had a whole different plan. He promised to be my Agent/Manager and take care of all my business transactions but their was a catch. He would only do it if I took the time to learn the business myself. I grumbled and complained but I took him up on his offer. I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed learning from him. I know I’m not finished and I have a ways to go but I not only feel good about my artistic abilities as a singer/dancer/writer/producer. I feel capable of sitting in on a meeting with the heads of any company and I would not be intimidated by them.

La' Entertainment
© 2008