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Soulful melodies and poetic lyrics, Eric Roberson is an independent singer-songwriter and producer. 2x Grammy nominated, he has written or produced for a number of artists such as Musiq Soulchild, Vivian Green, Jill Scott and Robert Glasper.

Honest and sincere, Eric Roberson’s musical catalogue is rich with expression and created straight from the heart. 

What impact has soul music had on your life? 

It’s been the soundtrack to my life. For every up and down I have experienced, it has been there. To me soul music covers multiple genres. So songs that fit the term soul music, changed my life. They made me a better person.

Is there an experience or event that has shaped your journey in music? 

Too many to name but I will mention a few that come to mind. Hearing J Dilla for the first time. Working at DJ Jazzy Jeff’s A Touch Of Jazz studios in the late 90’s. Going back to college after getting dropped from my record deal. So many things.

What song symbolises your life right now? 

I am part of DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Playlist Retreat and we did an album called, Chasing Goosebumps a couple years ago. On it is a song called, Die Empty. I'm at a point now where I ain’t holding onto anything creatively. If I feel it, I let it fly. Same thing with love. 

What inspires the feeling in the music you create?

Might sound cliche but life experiences really shape it mostly. I made a promise to God many years ago that if I felt something I would write about it. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Even at a traffic light, I'm watching the old man crossing the street and figuring out the song his presence is giving me. 

Do you create in the daylight or the moonlight? - does it make a difference? 

It used to make a big difference. I am a midnight marauder by nature but kids will change all of that.  Now I create whenever time allows me. Plus I’m getting older so the price is getting steeper for those all-night sessions, hahahaha.

Growing up, what artist(s) influenced you? 

Stevie Wonder, Commissioned, A Tribe Called Quest, Bill Withers, Prince, Sade, and a million others hahaha…. I listened to everybody.

What does freedom mean to you? 

Clarity. As a writer, creative freedom means everything. I can create without compromise. My artistry has grown to more compliment my life rather than control it. Having a personal definition of success is freedom to me. Yeah, clarity.

Is there a movement or person, past or present that you respect and admire? I could name so many but Bill Withers comes to mind. I loved how he carried himself on and off stage. He was about the art but didn’t let the business get the best of him. If I could sit and talk in the studio with anyone it would be him. Sadly, I never got the chance to.

Revealing the raw reality through photography. Photographer, singer and artist, Ana Maria Arévalo raises awareness through emotive and honest storytelling. Creatively she uses her superpowers to encourage a lasting social change.

All images by and courtesy of Ana Maria Arévalo Gosen

Instagram: @anitasinfiltro

Facebook: @amagosphoto

The embodiment of Hip Hop Culture, John Robinson is a teacher of the knowledge, and a student of the culture, he is forever evolving. Honestly and sincerity flows throughout his art, void of ego, he is the real deal.

His latest album The Lvl Up is out now!

Can you give us an insight into what inspires you to create? Nowadays my inspiration comes from many places and spaces so it varies. Some examples are taking walks and/or drives listening to music outside of the Hip Hop Genre. I also read and meditate for inspiration, I love to read and watch documentaries about amazing creatives across the board. It inspires me to hear about different processes of many brilliant creatives that I admire and respect.

Your group Scienz of Life are well respected, can you tell us the group's philosophy? Scienz of Life Forever! I must say Rest in Power to our beloved partner and brother Rasun aka Inspector Willabee for Scienz of Life. He is the heart and soul of Scienz. The groups philosphy is rooted in knowledge of self, spirituality and being a student of life. Many people that are living life every day usually never stop and think about the layers that make up the life we are living. What's the Science of Living truly?

Scienz of Life are life learners, we are excited about empowering ourselves with information that can be used to help continue to be a productive part of the world.

Photo by @f12images

How important is music with a message? I don't shade anyone who doesn't put blatant messages in their music mainly because I feel everyone is not made up to bring substance and integrity via storytelling through music. However I feel for my personal creative journey I am a griot of modern day so I will always have a message in my music.

For many years I approached my song creations with the mindset that, I am conversing with people in the present but it is important for these conversations to still be relevant for generations that haven't even been born yet!

You are also a teacher, how similar is the role of an MC and a teacher?

The dynamic of being an EMCEE in my opinion aligns with many life skills that are crucial to growth and elevation in this physical plane.

I always approach my classes like a live show, if the students are not engaged then I had a weak show and I need to refine the plan to make sure I rock the crowd! Being an EMCEE allows me a upper hand in communicating with young people because I am closer to their culture than most of their other teachers.

As an Emcee it is important to read the room and know your audience and it is very much the same in a classroom. Know your audience so that when you are delivering your lesson plans so that they land well and learning is happening.

Can you tell us about your book ‘Youth Culture Power’ and it's intended legacy? Both Youth Culture Power Book & Album are design to help teachers create a positive learning environment by building relationships and lessons around students' own culture (Youth Culture). Instead of forcing students to give up the things they frequent, we feel teachers should discuss them and when possible, use them in lessons.

The purpose of our book is to present a fresh take on why educators should not discount the culture of youth within the classroom and how this alone is a very powerful step toward building solid and genuine connections with your students. YCP!

Bandcamp: The LvL Up

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