Christmas is just a couple of days away and the holiday parties are in full swing. Wednesday, Upscale and Hennessy sponsored the 3rd Annual MC Media Works Christmas Carol held at Suite Lounge. This holiday mixer benefited less fortunate families around Atlanta and was free to everyone who made a donation of a toy. In return, they received an evening full of gifts, live entertainment and surprises.
The holidays are always a good time to give back and notable celebrity guests such as: Rich Homie Quan, Emmanuel Hudson(MTV’s Wild’n Out), Bobby V, Jacquees (Rich Gang/Cash Money), Mishon (ABC’s Lincoln Heights), and Memph Hitz, all showed up for a good cause. The atmosphere was intimate and full of holiday cheer with live entertainment from artists in the Atlanta region.
The performances were divided into two sets: Christmas Carols featuring: Bluff City, Vedo, Havok Jones, Bliss. After The Carols... featuring: Alex Lapri and Brayve
I had the opportunity to chat with a few of the performers and get their input on this special holiday event. Read more below.
Annointed. Ambitious. Confident. Attractive– Bluff City (Frank, 21, Ronnie, 23, Keem, 23, Tre, 21) were the first to perform for the evening. Inspired by the likes of 90’s stars Jodeci & Boyz II Men, Bluff City combines vocal talent with raw conviction to harmonize and convey the emotion in their music.
Faithe: You sung one of my favorite carols…what made you choose Chestnuts Roasting?
B.C.: When we were trying to decide what song to sing, everybody was like Chestnuts: it was kind of weird. The song is so chill, for us it’s like the number 1 Christmas song. Keem: When I think of Christmas that’s the 1st song I think about….it’s the feeling of the song; it’s like a warm feeling. Hopefully, [with our voices] people get the feeling of the Christmas spirit when we sing it.
F: Did you enjoy the Christmas Carols event? Why?
B.C.: It was great for us, it was really a chance to showcase our God given talent to an intimate crowd. We take pride in our singing and our vocal talent…and it was for a charity so we love giving back to the people. Overall, it was a great opportunity for us. Ronnie: The best part on Wednesday was performing… I love to see people’s faces and reactions…to see them enjoying it…it was great, we love it.
F: What’s your holiday wish and goal for 2015?
Keem: Our holiday wish is to be together as brothers and see another Christmas and that this time next year we’ll be in a even better position to give back more. In 2015 we want to build our brand, release another mixtape, possibly tour, collaborate with August Alsina. The grind doesn’t stop- right after Christmas we’ll be back in the studio. We’re always in the studio working, rehearsing, anything to get better [that’ll help us] get to the next level.
Bluff City’s Holiday playlist favorites: Chestnuts Roasting, This Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to town, Give Love on Christmas day, Let it Snow
I Do Real Music– Vedo, the singer, had his dreams realized when he was selected to be apart of Usher’s team on Season 4 of The Voice. But that was just the beginning. Speaking about his experience, Vedo reflects,” [The Voice] was a humbling experience, it’s something I wouldn’t change for the world. It was mentally and physically draining and it put everybody to the test, but for those who really wanted it, it showed.” Vedo has used every hardship, including the loss of his mother while on The Voice, as a catapult to continue pursuing his passion.
Faithe: How did you enjoy the Christmas Carol event?
Vedo: It was great! For me it was eye opening just to see the amount of people that came out. Even some stars took time out of their schedules to show love and watch everything. Giving back is something that I am obligated to do that because there was a time that I didn’t have anything. I needed something or someone to keep me busy to stop me from getting in trouble so giving back warms my heart. I give back any chance I get. I come from nothing and I know what it feels like to have nothing. I want people to have a reason to continue pursuing their dreams. Giving back is our ultimate goal as people period, not just artists. As you get older, you need to give back to where you come from. Whether it be some time or money or whatever, just give back.
F: What was your favorite moment of the evening?
V: The performance. Being able to get on stage and sing and make people feel what I feel. Being able to evoke the emotions necessary for that song and see people smile and sit back a say “this guy is great” and see them enjoy themselves. I like to make people smile. For me that was the best, to be able to share my gift with everyone there at the event.
F: You performed This Christmas- which version is better Donny or Chris?
V: Yeah, although I performed the Chris Brown version, the Donny Hathaway version is my favorite- he’s still one of my favorite artists til this day.
F: Whats the best thing about the Holidays?
V: Being with family. My brother is in Nashville and I go back and forth, but in 2015 they are making the move to come to Atlanta. It’s so we can all be together. We see each other often but we had a conversation and said we all need to be in the same city, and I’m not moving to Nashville, so they’re gonna move down here. Atlanta is the city that gave me my shot. My start – for everything. If it wasn’t for Atlanta I wouldn’t have gone to The Voice and wouldn’t have met Usher and all the other people I’ve met.
F: What’s your Christmas wish for 2015?
V: To excel and be better than I was in 2014. To become a better person and a better artist. To sum it all up, being able to make an impact on people where they are checking and looking for me. 2014 was a big year, I think 2015 will be a bigger year where I step out and I’m exposed to the masses. I just wish everybody will take to me; and I’ll become a household name.
Impactful. Strong. Determined. Ambitious. Positive- Mai Dai, Kea, Neiko (Havok Jones), envision themselves as a modern En Vogue. Also self described as Wild, Daring, Classy, Empowered; these three young women hailing from Atlanta are a combination of girl next door charm with a shot of southern heat. Their latest single ” You Who” ft Young Thug is sure to get these girls their ultimate Christmas wish!
F: How was your Christmas Carol experience?
Havok Jones: It was a great event. There were a lot of people there that we didn’t expect to see and great performers, so we were really honored that we got to share the stage with so many groups, like Bliss and Bluff City. All the music was great. Neiko: It was like being at home, that’s what it felt like, really chill. The skits with Emmanuel Hudson and Rich Homie Quan were hilarious. It was really interesting, I enjoyed myself.
F: What inspired you to do an original piece instead of the traditional Christmas Carol route?
H.J.: We thought it would be cool to do something different because people normally just remake all the older, well known Christmas Carols. We said let’s try and do something else.
F: How did it go with you performing your song, Holiday Kiss during the Christmas Carol Event?
H.J.: I think people were really receptive of it. Its different from most Christmas songs; it had a 90’s R&B feel to it. You could tell people in the audience were actually trying to listen to the lyrics; they wanted to know what we were saying and take in our voices. That was awesome. It’s our original Christmas song and we had so much fun recording it!
Faithe: What are you looking forward to this holiday season?
H.J.: THE FOOD! All the holiday parties, family time and gathering together. Time to settle down and enjoy each others company.
F: What’s your Christmas wish?
Neiko: For people to get what they want. If you don’t get a gift, I hope you’re happy with who you’re surrounded by, because energy is very important. So surround yourself with positivity. Kea: I wish for 2015 to be a very successful year for Havock Jones.
F: What’s the best part about the holidays?
H.J.: Food, we love food and Mai Dai cooks like your favorite grandma. Us southern girls like to eat! Kea: Being around your whole family, because we’re getting older now. A lot of family members are no longer there, that were present back then. We would would have the big dinners with grandma, aunties, cousins everybody in the kitchen cooking, kids playing outside and boys playing games. That’s a memorable moment for me.
F: This event was for a charitable cause, what other ways are you able to give back?
H.J.: Most of the time during this holiday season we give back by performing, but we also try to give gifts. We know that there are unfortunate children who don’t really get things a lot of other kids get so we just want to make everybody happy. Whether its preforming or bringing out gifts or just coming out to talk to them. We’ve been going to a lot of schools lately just to show our faces and show that we care because a lot of the time the youth just want people to care about them. Kea: I have a few little girls that I speak to everyday; they just really want somebody they can talk to. Just to be able to be there and mentor them, explain life to them; like having a big sister- and just be real helpful- I enjoy doing that.
Take a listen to their original Christmas song, Holiday Kiss
Refreshing, Real, Raw, Entertaining: Alix Lapri started singing around 9 on YouTube and quickly drew the attention of fans and music execs. Alix states, “I don’t just want to entertain young people, urban audience or a pop audience, I look forward to having a wide variety of people I can genuinely entertain and give quality music to.”
Faithe: How was the evening for you?
Alix Lapri: I really liked it , the venue was beautiful, a lot of my peers were there. There were so many great performances, everyone is so talented. I love performing for a good cause- it makes me feel like I’m doing something great to add to this world. There’s power in doing something good for the people. I really liked the Christmas carols because everyone got to show off their genuine talent. They really got to show off their vocals. I love seeing that. I believe in supporting my peers.
F: You performed after the Carols set, what did you sing?
A.L.: I actually performed my new single, “Fleek”. It’s the big lingo everyone is using nowadays. It’s sorta something for my peers, something they can relate to. It’s a song I think a lot of the ladies will love. It just makes you want to bounce. Something they can dance to. I love songs like that.
F: what’s your favorite Christmas carol
A.L.: Definitely Chestnuts roasting, that song is so beautiful to me. I love the interpretations everyone can put on it. You know you can do the classic, put a jazz spin on it, you even make it modern but it will still sound so beautiful.
F: What’s your future Holiday wish?
A.L.: Being able to get all my family together in one household for Christmas. we live in Georgia and a lot of my family lives in either Kansas or Florida. So, every Christmas it’s only my general family; my mom and my two sisters. I always wish my grandma could come out and my aunt and cousins, because I legit miss them like every holiday. I think that would be so perfect, to all be together and have Christmas.
Alix Lapri’s Ultimate Christmas Carol Mashup: Silent Night & Mary Did You Know- deep, dark and moody.
Stay tuned for more from Alix in 2o15- and she’s still denying the rumors of any romantic ties to Crown World Entertainment labelmate Jacob Lattimore. Lapri said, “We’re really good friends. He’s a person that I’m so happy to have around just because I can learn so much from him. He’s a star already, so me always being around him I learn a lot; just wisdom, he’s a really, really intelligent person. ”
Take a listen to Alix’s version of Chestnuts Roasting- Happy Holidays!
Photos courtesy of Jameel Girtman