LAMI Wants You To Dance

LAMI Wants You To Dance

You don't have to be any good either, it's all love
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If you like infectious rhythms, story-driven lyrical content and true musicianship, then you’re going to love the new EP Year In Review by budding USC artist LAMI.

I had the opportunity to sit down with LAMI and delve into his history as a musician; finding out how he works as an artist as well.

With music that makes you want to move your feet, LAMI’s personality is just as inviting. This shines through in his song “Silhouette”. After the vision had been developed by LAMI himself, his manager (Hector Garcia) brought Matthew Carieri onto the team, and they produced a dance centric and fun-loving video that perfectly displays the vibe of the song. Watch it here:

Thanks to a multicultural household, LAMI was able to escape the homogeny that exists in his hometown near San Pedro and Palos Verdes. With his mother hailing from Burundi, a country in eastern Africa, and his father of Liberian and German descent, LAMI had a world of music and inspiration at his fingertips growing up.

These influences led LAMI’s musical knowledge to be that of jazz (his father had a long career in jazz piano), funk, cultural African music, and motown. As LAMI said it himself, he is a musician first. Proving that actions speak louder than words, LAMI’s output of music clearly showcases a talent that has been exposed to many forms of music.

In addition to these world influences, the LA area did help to shape his sound as well; creating a relaxed and “chill” vibe. You could be at a party, family gathering, chilling with friends or enjoying music alone, and LAMI’s sound would always be applicable. That’s no small feat for an artist.

This stems from all of the backgrounds LAMI has. There’s a sense of unity within his music, which is exactly the message he wants to put forth. Focusing on jazz while growing up, when choosing what to study at USC, LAMI made the decision to pursue a degree in the popular music program USC offers. This major allows for the culmination of all of the genres LAMI loves, and relates to the hip-hop/funk sound that he is releasing.

HAVE YOU SEEN HIM LIVE? You should. I attended his performance at the TreeHouse recently, a music venue that holds events hosted by a student run production collective known as La Mala, and it was full of energy and excitement. The interesting part about a LAMI set is that you can never predict it. Thanks to his jazz upbringing and the level of musicianship within his band, usually USC students as well, LAMI is able to create a unique performance for every show. Each song could go into multiple directions as LAMI and the other band members engage in a musical dialogue of riffing, call and response, and whatever else they can think of on the spot.

So who does LAMI listen to? He loves Snarky Puppy, Anderson .Paak, Smino, and greats like Stevie Wonder. However, he draws a lot of his hip-hop inspiration from artists like Chance the Rapper, Kanye, and Kendrick Lamar.

In the coming months, LAMI intends to continue doing shows and has ALREADY begun working on his next musical venture.

This is just the beginning for LAMI, so get ahead of the curve early..you’ll be hearing more from him!

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To The Girl Who Still Has Her Mom This Christmas

To the girl with who is blessed enough to have her momma this Christmas. 
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     To the girl who is blessed enough to have her momma this Christmas, please remember to soak every last bit of it in. 

      Please remember to hug her so tight, that the way she smells is locked into your nose. Listen to all the stories you've heard a million times, like you've never heard a single one. Help her, even if it seems completely silly to you, help her mix that cake. Laugh, oh please laugh. Laugh at all her corky ways, at the way she mispronounces words, try's to be hip and use new found lingo, or how she cusses when she forgot to get the rolls out of the oven but quickly asks the Lord for forgiveness. Remember her laugh, etch it into your brain. Make her happy, if she wants to go riding around looking at Christmas lights down the same streets you've went for years, do it. Don't fuss, take her advice, agree to just disagree on things. It's not worth it. Most importantly, remind her over and over how much you love her. 

     Because unlike you, I'm not able to see my mom on Christmas. I'm not able to see her on birthdays, Thanksgiving, or any other occasion. My time with her is up. Death is the most permanent heartbreak. 

     How I long to hear her voice, her laugh. To feel her tight embrace. Smell, oh god, what I would give to just be able to smell her. I would absolutely love to go riding around for hours while she ohhs and ahhs at every single house we pass. If I had the opportunity I'd tell her just how much I love her, how I'm so thankful for all the sacrifices she made for me. In fact, I'm not sure I could ever tell her enough. 

      Some days I wake up and it still doesn't feel real. Others, I panic trying to remember exactly how she sounded. Because, I don't want to forget. I don't want to forget a single characteristic about her. Not one. 

     Take time, not just on holidays, or special occasions to be with your mom. Even if it's just you two piled up watching reruns of "The Little House on the Prairie", soak it in. 

    You only get one momma. Nobody could ever take her place. She's your rock. 

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5 Unexpected Lessons The Queens Of 'Rupaul’s Drag Race' Have Bestowed Upon Us

As I anxiously await the impending season four premiere of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" this Friday, I can't help but think of all the fabulous queens who are returning. Earning a spot to compete on a season of "All Stars" is no small feat, which means that only the best (and some of my favorite) queens will again grace the runway and workroom.

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Boasting ten regular seasons and soon-to-be four "All Stars" seasons, "RuPaul's Drag Race" has been my favorite television show for about five/six years now. In total, I've seen nine full seasons but am familiar with every queen who's competed since its beginning. Each season, I find myself becoming obsessed with a new slate of queens and rooting for the next best queen to take the crown.

As each new season rolls around, I'm constantly reminded of the greatest life lessons drag has to offer.

Good things come to those who work for it

"RuPaul's Drag Race" offers some of the fiercest, toughest competition on prime time television. While some people may think Drag is a fun, light-hearted hobby, those people would be incorrect. The constant effort that must be maintained in the competition, as well as outside, is a tall order. The amount of time spent getting ready, alone, is a challenge. However, the glitz and glamour are only half of the requirement. As performers, drag queens must refine a multitude of skills, such as comedy, immaculate lip-syncing, and mesmerizing choreography. In essence, drag queens are asked to be the jack-of-all-trades. After watching the queens work tirelessly to improve themselves in some area or another, I always feel inspired to improve myself to the best of my abilities. No, we can't all be the best at everything, but we can always be better.

Life imitates art/Art imitates life

Originating from roles in William Shakespeare's plays, drag has been said to be an acronym for "dressed as a girl." With its roots based in theater, it's not hard to trace the evolution of drag across all areas of performing arts. From the makeup, the costumes, and the wigs to the personas and the personalities, drag queens incorporate art into every aspect of their craft. As someone who actively seeks creative outlets, I fully appreciate the variety of creativity that the queens bring to the table. Some are masters of impersonations, some have vocals that could rival Ariana Grande, and some could oust top competitors of "Project Runway." Every facet of drag calls for artistic talent, and the queens never fall short of delivering.

Do what you love (and what pays the bills) 

Making it as a drag queen, while there is more visibility and a bigger platform now, is a whole-hearted commitment. "RuPaul's Drag Race" represents the culmination of years of hard work and preparation. Some queens will audition for countless seasons before getting their chance to grace the main stage. During those off years, these queens keep their schedules maxed out with gigs and appearances to provide for themselves. In reality, it's a career. Just like in any other field, uninhibited ambition must be the guiding force to truly excel and rise to the top. I appreciate the tenacious attitude the queens approach drag with. Failure and setbacks are inevitable for everyone, but the humble beginnings most queens start with make for great testimonies once they've hit their stride.

Sisterhood 

It's true that there is no one shadier than a drag queen. Whether it's a fiery "read" or witty comeback, drag queens will put and keep anyone in his or her rightful place. Even the workroom of "RuPaul's Drag Race" can be filled with tension every now and then. However, as quickly as the queens bicker, they also make up. Not only are their feuds usually short-winded, but they also often lead to the budding of new and close friendships. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," right? Even then, some queens get along from start to finish. Either way, the closeness that develops between the queens is that of an idealized sisterhood. Plus, they share wigs and clothes just like any other sisters would; well, maybe not wigs.

Accept others and yourself

This is probably the best life lesson and example that's come from watching "Drag Race." In the midst of many seasons, queens will often come forward to discuss their struggles with acceptance, whether from society or family. With these emotional, and oftentimes difficult, discussions comes an outpouring of support from fellow queens. Being that many of the queens face similar upbringings and experiences, they easily identify with the discrimination harbored against them. What's uplifting in all of the heaviness of their past experiences is the acceptance they offer each other. Not only do they accept each other, but many have also reached a place of accepting themselves, as well. Self-acceptance can be hard for anyone. Period. So, the self-acceptance the queens find is the glimmer of hope we can all use from time-to-time amidst our cloudy self-perceptions.

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