Community Post: Local students to be awarded the Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship at City Hall

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*Info from Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – On Friday, May 17, 2019, at 6:30 p.m., The Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation (MFSF), in partnership with several local businesses and community organizations, will award graduating seniors with the Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 each. Nearly 100 students applied to be a Milwaukee’s Finest Scholar, but only 15 students were selected, making it one of the most competitive scholarships in Milwaukee County this year.

“As a Milwaukee native who graduated from Milwaukee Public Schools in 2013, I’ve witnessed first hand the lack of financial resources for deserving students who desire an education after their high school career,” explained Jerel Ballard, Founder of Milwaukee’s Finest. “It’s important that we continue to uplift foundations like Milwaukee’s Finest to encourage our youth regardless of their zip code or financial status.”

Students were selected by a Scholarship Review Panel consisting of local parents, educators, college students, and business owners. During the ceremony, honored students will receive a signature glass award with their name engraved on it, a congratulatory certificate from the Mayor of Milwaukee, the scholarship monetary award, and the title of being selected as a 2019 Milwaukee’s Finest Scholar. The Office of the Mayor will present the Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation with a proclamation during the award ceremony. This event is free and open to the public.

About the scholarship

Founded in 2016 by Jerel Ballard at the age of 21, The Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation has grown tremendously throughout the City of Milwaukee. Since its inception, more than $30,000 have been allocated towards scholarships for students who come from low-income backgrounds. The average donor for the foundation is only $25.

As a one-time, merit-based scholarship, these awards are given to individuals who demonstrate strong leadership traits and have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Unlike other scholarships, the funds are issued to the student directly and there are no stipulations on which college or university the scholar attends.

To date, Milwaukee’s Finest Scholars are enrolled at prestigious, historic and local universities across the country including Harvard University, UW-Madison and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Each student had to submit an essay answering the question, ‘How has growing up in Milwaukee shaped who you are as an individual?’ and ‘How do you plan to use what you’ve learned in Milwaukee County and apply that in your higher educational goals?’ More information on the scholarship can be found at www.mfsf.org

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Jerel Ballard, President

jerel.ballard@mfsf.org

/CW

 

"Crawfish and High Life" Press interview w/ Jay Anderson returning to perform May 3rd


The last time we kicked it with Jay Anderson he was just getting back from NOLA and had a bunch of stories to tell! Well, he has returned with more things to share and we were more than happy to chat and get the scoop for our CW fam.

All photos captured by Freakish Nerd.   Jay,  Recording his new album “Crawfish and High Life”  in MKE.

All photos captured by Freakish Nerd.

Jay, Recording his new album “Crawfish and High Life” in MKE.

Jay came back in town to record the album, Crawfish and High Life, which is about his experiences between New Orleans and Milwaukee (such a fitting title, right?). Jay’s experiences in NOLA have been nothing short of amazing, so much so that he knows he definitely isn’t moving back to Milwaukee. He wants to live in NOLA for a while then eventually move to Cuba. There are parts of the culture here in Milwaukee that he isn’t completely satisfied with, but it’s not really a Milwaukee thing, it’s more of a Northern vs. Southern thing.

“Walking past people on the street and they don’t make eye contact with you, or if you’re walking alone down the street and someone else is walking alone down the street, down South you say hi to people. You greet them and make eye contact whether you know them or not,” Jay says.

Jay wants to try to embark on the path of being a master musician. He wants to be able to know everything about his voice and his saxophone that he possibly can. He says Jazz and Blues is pretty much what started this country and because of the Congo Square and the transatlantic Slave trade in New Orleans, if you want to go to your musical roots, that’s where you go.

“If you want to learn French, you move to Paris. So if I want to learn Jazz and Blues, then I’m moving to New Orleans.”

Immersing yourself completely around the culture of what you want to do or learn about is one of the best ways to master it, in our opinion. The moment Jay feels like he has the ‘critical acclaim’ in NOLA like he has in Milwaukee, then he’s going to Cuba. Why Cuba though?

“Everything goes back to Africa and the transatlantic slave trade which brought people through the Islands first and then to the mainland. So after I get done learning what I need to learn from New Orleanian culture and history [of music], the next stop for me is Cuba or Puerto Rico because slaves were there as well.”

After Cuba and PR, Jay would like to go to Côte d'Ivoire. Then next stop Japan or Europe. So basically, y’all not gonna be able to catch up with Mr. Anderson lol. But his passion for music will always keep going.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. As soon as I find another musical style I want to understand, I don’t care if I have to learn another language. I just want to emerge myself in all music. I’m just on this quest to find the rarest sounds. Nothing is enough for me.”

Jay said he’ll dig through crates of old records left behind, finding the stuff that’s not on iTunes or Amazon. Things everyone else isn’t listening to. Now this wouldn’t be Jay’s first soul search. The soul searching and the music are one in the same to him. Since he has decided to dedicate his life to music, if he’s traveling and searching for more then, it’s for the music.

Jay, so far, has written 4 albums of material in NOLA. He claims he can produce so much content because it’s such an interesting place to live as a musician. There is inspiration galore. Doing music full time in Milwaukee, damn near drove him crazy. He argues that in NOLA he has more time, and there are so many things that will spark an idea in his head.

“Your ideas are gold. All you have to do is remember to keep them,” says Jay.

As soon as he booked his May 3rd show here, (Performing with Stomata the new album “Crawfish & High Life” 7pm at Wilson Center For the Arts) he utilized his time to get the album done. Setting deadlines that nobody truly knew would ever work but have now proven to be quite genius. Feeling strongly about these compositions he up some amazing “local” talent,  and asked them to come for a 1 day no holds bar session at Riverwest studio. Everyone he called did what they were supposed to do, so much so that they cut 11 tracks in 10 hours. YES 10 hours!

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Sure, it’s amazingly insane! But why does he have such a strong pull here in Milwaukee?

“I was extremely fortunate and lucky. And because I know my lineage. A lot of musicians don’t talk about that or acknowledge it and it’s one of the most important things in any type of artistic career. The person who raised me in music in Milwaukee was David Wake. And I learned from Mark Davis. It’s a blessed and charmed life. Somehow I always ended up being around the people who were the real movers and shakers.”

Social media also has factored in to Jays unorthodox pull and success. In New Orleans the people tend to do a little research on who is “playing” in the lively and competitive music scene.  They see his profile and say, “Apparently there’s a whole city of people who are like ‘this is our boy’.” Like him or hate him, he really has been a force in Milwaukee music industry the past several years.

With a new band, Jay Anderson and the Night Trippers, that has members that he admits are all better musicians than him, he is once again pushing his limits. He suggest that they all hold him accountable for his mistakes and tell him where he needs to improve. Which is why this method is more strategic then one would think.

“Whatever you’re doing down there in NOLA, if you’re around the right people, they’re going to correct you and help. I wouldn’t call Milwaukee soft, but Milwaukee doesn’t exert the same pressure that’s necessary to cultivate that kind of environment,” Jay says.

Shots fired? Maybe. But think about it, does he have a good point?

Even outside of music, Jay only wants to be around people who are conducting themselves seriously. Holding themselves and their your peers accountable. If you only hold yourself accountable, it’s just you against the world.

Like our Editor, Lexi said, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” and Jay noted that “the best position to be in is if you’re the weakest link.”

Now you know we had to ask him about his label! Voodoo Honey still exist but has shifted it’s attention to just his solo projects. Instead of managing artists, if he sees that “thing” in you, if you have that drive and he knows something that you don’t, he’ll put you on game. But only if your ears are open.

CopyWrite was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of “Crawfish and High Life” and we think it’s dope! It gave us that down south NOLA, Louis Armstrong vibe with a balance of new era genre mixing that MKE is getting quite good at. The Crawfish part of the album is definitely there with the smooth jazz feel, and all the Milwaukee features and musicians added, brings it all home with the ‘High Life’. There is imagery, word play, experimental homages, and some vocals that we didn't expect out of Jay. It combines creative expression with experience, and pulls at the strengths of true collaboration. He really couldn’t have chosen a better title to combine the two things that captivates who he is now and where he has been. We’re excited for the album and we can’t wait for your show this week.

Thanks for chatting with us again, Jay!


/Carrie for CW




Big Beat MKE 2019 Kicks Off Thursday Night!

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*Info provided by Breaking And Entering

Milwaukee (April 29th, 2019) - Milwaukee music website Breaking And Entering is thrilled to announce that our annual beat battle tournament, Big Beat MKE, will begin battles at the Jackalope Lounj, adjacent to The Wicked Hop (345 N. Broadway), for its second season this Thursday night. This year’s tournament will feature 16 Milwaukee-area beat makers spanning hip hop, EDM, and more, competing head-to-head in a four-round tournament over the course of eight weeks to be crowned the 2019 Big Beat MKE champion. Each night of the tournament will feature two beat battles, as well as two performances from local hip hop acts. All of the events are free to the public, 21 and over.

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A beat battle consists of three one-minute rounds, where a producer plays or creates an original beat, and the winner is determined by a panel of judges, including Milwaukee musicians, media personalities, and music influencers. Big Beat MKE will feature guest judges weekly, as well as representatives from Breaking And Entering and Milwaukee-based electronic music label Nice FM.

To be selected for the tournament, producers had to submit two original beats via BreakingAndEntering.net. From there, a selection committee of 15 different Milwaukee area music-related personalities were given the difficult task of choosing the final 16 competitors. Over 30 different producers submitted entries into the contest this year. The 2019 Bracket was unveiled on Monday, April 15th. Opening round battles will take place from May 2nd-23rd, with the Quarterfinals on May 30th and June 6th, Semifinals on June 13th, and Finals on June 20th. The full bracket and nightly recaps will be available at BreakingAndEntering.net/BigBeatMKE throughout the tournament.



Big Beat MKE 2019 First Round Battles:
(All events at Jackalope Lounj, 9:00 PM Doors)

May 2nd - Mr. Killerlain vs. Bennie D
           Penny Beatz vs. Fearjoy

May 9th -  Four Giants vs. Trademark   

        James Ashen vs. GLDN Child

May 16th - Godxilla vs. Cuban Lynx

         Da Monsta (40 Mil) vs. Tuan G

May 23rd - Spice God vs. Mystik Musik

         Spacecrime vs. Beat Council

Big Beat MKE Performers

May 2nd - Spaidez and Yogie B & Keez
May 9th - Nile and Phat Nerdz
May 16th - King Myles and Sha
May 23rd - Joshua Jenkins and G-Gifted
May 30th - King Dozzi and Rich P.
June 6th - Camb and AWillThaGreat
June 13th - J-Lamo and CMoneywave
June 20th - Shle Berry, Twan Mack and A.C. The Ruler

For all media inquiries please contact: Allen Halas allen@breakingandentering.net


/CW



Trelldagreat - Pans (video submission)

Today’s submission of course comes from another Milwaukee Native! Trelldagreat is a upcoming hip-hop artist who recently released a new music video for his song “Pans.”

“Pans is a song about working a 9-5, scrubbing pans literally, stacking, while others may not necessarily like that and still goin through the hardships of day to day life. It’s the 1st single to be dropped off upcoming ep Low Life.”

Visually, this video is dope. I’ve got to give a honorable mention to the East Side with all the colorful graphics on the walls that every Eastsider can recognize. Plus, the added animations of the Superman symbol on the chest and the Goku reference was a nice creative touch.

Trelldagreat has been featured on Breaking and Entering, and has performed on the same card as Milwaukee’s very own, Lil Chicken. In the future, he plans on working with more artists around the city to create safe event atmosphere for more artists to express themselves. Ultimately bringing the gap of segregation Milwaukee is so know for.

We commend you for wanting to help our city. More power to you! #SupportTheLocal

/CW



Lando Chill (coming to MKE) - "Black Ego" album

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Tired of hearing the same ol’ artists and looking for someone new to vibe to? Well, look no further! Musical creative Lando Chill, is an experimental rapper and social activist who is heading straight for Milwaukee. Lando’s tour will be making a stop at The Back Room at Colectivo Coffee on Wednesday, May 1.
“Lando's sound is a thoughtful, emotional exploration of the black experience, that is equal parts west coast funk and desert trip-hop. His third studio album, Black Ego, received widespread critical praise and was called a "'hello' to the present-day of our country" by NestHQ”.

Lando Chill’s vision is bold and fresh. His artistry explores “the nuances of the black experience, and touching on themes of cultural appropriation, privilege, and intersectionality, his recent release draws from a vast expanse of influences”.

He will be making stops in the biggest cities all over the U.S. and our city is the first stop on his map. Come and check him out! You know we’ll be there!

/CW



Together: Views of Sherman Phoenix

Together, we make US better.

Right now, a large percentage of the developed world’s population is obsessed with borderline narcissism and self-promotion, so it’s a gasp of fresh air to be able to catch a vibe in Sherman Phoenix where everyone seems to be there to somehow make somebody else’s life better.

From the tenants who provide services to the community, produced BY the community; to the community leaders who host meetings there, discussing best practices to add value to the lives of others....

On any given day, you can walk in that building, that formerly served as a bank, and witness the beauty of unity. And while I admire it in all forms, I’d be concealing a big part of who I am if I didn’t express my admiration for black unity. The never-ending family reunion type vibe I get in here is a feeling that I crave every day.  

Community members enjoying the vibe on a Tuesday afternoon.

Community members enjoying the vibe on a Tuesday afternoon.

When Sherman Park State Bank was built in 1927 (according to wisconsinsinhistory.org), I’m pretty sure no one imagined that the establishment would survive a near brush with complete destruction and transform into an entirely different kind of financial establishment.

It became an institution that will increase the economic health of a community that has had its fair share of struggles. One that would provide real estate space for close to 30 businesses of color, in a community of color, to serve that same community, as well as people across many demographics who walk through there each day.

A List of Sherman Phoenix businesses at the front entrance.

A List of Sherman Phoenix businesses at the front entrance.

92 years ago, I bet the architects of that building never imagined that 90 years later, the site they constructed would become an incubator for talent and business cultivation in the heart of a Milwaukee neighborhood that many would consider “troubled”.

However, many of us don’t see “troubled” when we think of the Sherman Park neighborhood.

At least I don’t. I think of being a kid, and playful walks to the corner store from at my aunt’s house on 34th and Auer.

A lot of us remember playing “carpet pool” with cousins, siblings, and friends at Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club; or trying to sneak in the teen room, to see what the “big kids” were doing.

We think of BBQ smoke, our elders bumpin’ Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go”, and family picnics at Sherman Park. Most of all, many of us think RESILIENCY!

Back in the Summer of 2016, the Sherman Park neighborhood was put to the test after a series of unfortunate circumstances that lead to unsettling tension between some of the community members, and the Milwaukee Police Department.

I asked Joanna Brooks, owner and CEO of Embody Yoga at Sherman Phoenix where she was when she first heard about the backlash that occurred after the killing of one of the community members, by a Milwaukee Police Officer.

This is what she said:

“I don’t quite remember where I was, but I remember exactly how I felt. I didn’t check the news that night, but I remember seeing it on people’s Facebook live, and feeling like I was there too. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had seen, and I woke up the next morning to drive down and see it for myself. I was sad, but hopeful at the same time, because of how the community came together.”

I was curious to know what Sherman Phoenix represents to Joanna, and she told me that “it represents an opportunity for true ownership, growth and an opportunity to help me legitimize my business.”

Hearing her response brought extreme joy to my heart. It’s inspiring to see how far she’s come, and, as she stated, “be given the opportunity to normalize the practice of yoga in the black community”. Joanna is revolutionizing how Yoga is practiced and is thinking outside the box about how she offers it to her Yogi’s.

I’ve been given the honor of being Embody Yoga’s official DJ, and have been part of some pretty fly events, providing a hard-hitting hip-hop soundtrack, while they’re on the mats.

Joanna Brooks, Owner and CEO of Embody Yoga instructs a class during one of her sold out special events.

Joanna Brooks, Owner and CEO of Embody Yoga instructs a class during one of her sold out special events.

Embody Yoga, along with the 26 other businesses in Sherman Phoenix are doing something for our city that hasn’t been seen, since a portion of the original Bronzeville neighborhood was demolished in the 60’s to make room for the construction of the freeway.

Sherman Phoenix represents the resurrection of two giants! That fateful summer night in 2016 was no match for the power behind Sherman Phoenix’s rise: and neither was the systematic destruction of the original Bronzeville, which served as the hub of black business, economy and culture in Milwaukee.

If you appreciate a good comeback story, then you have to be inspired by how that old BMO Harris Bank building withstood the fiery beatdown it took; to return not only to be operational again, but as a symbolic representation of community strength. This can easily be ranked as one of the best “rise from the ashes” stories ever.

"Sherman Rising" poster, located in Shindig Coffee.

"Sherman Rising" poster, located in Shindig Coffee.

Yep, I said EVER!

Just think about the amount of talent that’s being developed within the confines of that space at any given moment. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Sherman Phoenix getting a lot of credit in the future, for being the place that incubated some of the most talented individuals to come from Milwaukee.

I imagine someone giving an award acceptance speech for a notable worldwide achievement, accepting a Grammy, Oscar, etc. and telling a story that points to Sherman Phoenix as being the place that provided the inspiration for whatever they worked on to receive that acknowledgment.

Creativity just feels so free flowing and natural in here.

Think of how many dollars are being circulated back into the hands of the gatekeepers of this beloved community, instead of being sucked out and poured somewhere that won’t have any direct benefit to the people whose hands it came out of.

Something else that blows my mind, is how amazing each of the businesses at Sherman Phoenix are in their own respective right, but then as a unit, they give off an aura of superhero like strength, creating a thriving sense of livelihood in the community.

That “superpower” seems to rub off too, because whenever I’m at Sherman Phoenix, I feel a sense of invincibility, and inspiration, and belief that I can accomplish anything.  

One of my favorite places to hang out at Sherman Phoenix, when I’m not shaking things up at Embody, is Shindig Coffee, formerly known as The Juice Kitchen. I’m a huge Hip Hop fan, and every time I’m in there, I sit as close as I can to the Wu-Tang Clan picture hanging up, because looking at it reminds me that I belong there. This is the only coffee shop I can go to, where I know I don’t need headphones, because the conversations are always ones I’m interested in, and the soundtrack is always right up my alley.

Manaan Sabir, Owner of Shindig Coffee, posing in front of the Wu-Tang poster.

Manaan Sabir, Owner of Shindig Coffee, posing in front of the Wu-Tang poster.

Wu-Tang is one of my favorite groups ever, and I see so many similarities between them and Sherman Phoenix. For example, together, the group functions as a cohesive unit, achieving unparalleled success. But also, individually, each member has had success outside the group. Sherman Phoenix is similar in that way!

When I’m there, I feel like I can succeed as my authentic self, because I see everybody else there doing it!

At Sherman Phoenix, I’m compelled to be the best that I’m capable of being, and I’m moved to continue finding ways to add value to the lives of others. There’s an unexplainable sense of encouragement that comes from feeling good energy and seeing good ideas being exchanged by the people in that building.

At the beginning of 2019, I did something I should’ve done a long time ago and wrote out what my core values are in life. Even though those values were always on my mind, it wasn’t until I actually wrote them down and saw them on paper, that I was able to better identify with others who share the same ones as me.

Authenticity

Unity

Freedom

Creativity

Integrity

Discipline

Respect

This is what I wrote down, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I see an expression of all of them at Sherman Phoenix, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

CW Connect /Adam Xander







MKE Industry Mixer ( Press Write Up)

Milwaukee has really been trying to step up their networking game lately, and making sure to include the creatives in the city. Every other day I see a new event I’m invited to on Facebook where creatives are coming together to meet and possibly collaborate on projects. The most recent event I went to was the MKE Industry Mixer, hosted by DJ Rickey Allenz from v100.7. This mixer was packed with people in the music industry from popular DJ’s to local artists, radio personalities and more. I tried to talk to a little bit of everybody in each category to see what they thought of the event to really give y’all a good feel for what went down if you missed out!

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DJ Rickey Allenz was the mastermind behind this beneficial event, and for this to be his first one, he did a bomb job. He wanted to have the industry mixer because he feels like he’s in tune with a lot of Milwaukee artists, however, some DJ’s just don’t know what’s currently hot in the streets. The point of the mixer is to bring artists together with DJ’s because in hindsight, artists without DJ’s are practically nothing. The DJ is the one who’s going to play your record in clubs, on the radio, etc. They can help spread your music to a wider audience who might not normally get to hear it on a regular basis if, for example, the artist mostly promotes it within their own community. DJ Rickey Allenz is a DJ for v.100.7, WNOV and KBBG 88.1 in Iowa. Other DJ’s have connections in other cities as well, so if they know you and like your music, they can promote your songs in those areas. That is called a PLUG ladies and gentlemen!

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Allenz used to be an artist himself, but he didn’t know the game well enough, so he fell off of it. He said some DJ’s will hustle an artist and charge them money to play their music and then possibly not fall through with actually playing it. That’s not what Allenz is about. If he likes it, he’ll play it, simple. He’s always willing to help an artist grow and put them on game if they’re willing to help themselves.

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Two artists who I was able to speak with at the industry mixer were @NuMoney2mm and @_sgodjayy. They both came and either performed or had their music played that night. NuMoney performed one of his songs, and he says the DJ/Artist duo is a great relationship. The artist has a product the DJ demands and the DJ can be the start of everything. He says, you never know a connection someone might have with someone else who can get your foot in the door.

@_sgodjayy had one of his songs played and was literally geeked when his song came on lol. Jayy says every platform is a good one, it just depends on how you use it. He gets excited for his music and takes pride in his craft and creativity because “when you take pride in what you do, it shows.” You have to have confidence, he says, or else you’ll limit yourself.

I met the lovely DJ Trustar, aka the Trap Princess and the first female Core DJ in Milwaukee, and she says it’s important for DJ’s to come to events like the mixer. Sometimes DJ’s don’t talk on the mic and artists don’t know who they are so it’s good to get your face out there. For example, a lot of people don’t even know she IS DJ Trustar, since she doesn’t talk on the mic much, if at all. People are usually surprised when they find out she’s a woman, especially since she really knows how to throw down on the 1s and 2s, which usually isn’t expected from a woman DJ (btw, that’s a whole topic for a different day that can be dissected when y’all are ready lol).

Lastly, I spoke to the very personable radio personality, Promise from v.100.7! A few Milwaukee artists might know him from his radio segment, “Heat from The Street.” Promise resurrected the segment when he first came to v.100.7 because he wants to help artist get more exposure. Promise tries to be pretty hands on as far as trying to make sure the city hears different sounds and styles, because a lot of the time people get boxed into whatever part of the city they’re in. He also says social media has ironically made people antisocial. Promise says, “In the music industry everybody wants to be heard, but a lot of people don’t know the right approach.” Networking events like the mixer are a great opportunity for media professionals to interact with artists and put them on game. It gives them a chance to get in front of each other and learn how to talk and be more personable instead of hiding behind a screen. Also, it helps for people in the industry to put a name with a face or a face with a voice.

Overall, I thought the event was a great opportunity for people in the industry to mix and make those connections to further grow their careers. There weren’t just DJ’s in attendance either, club promoters, music producers, sound engineers and other journalists with media platforms came as well, s/o to Brittani and A Sit with Britt.

My only concern was the fact that there weren’t a lot of artists there. The DJ’s did their part and showed up. I was introduced to plenty of them such as, DJ Heathen of v.100.7, DJ devast8 and DJ Cell of the Recordbreakers, etc. I’m not sure if it was the promotion of the event, artists just not wanting to come or what. But, I see a lot of artists complain that there aren’t events like this, then when there is, no one shows up. Like I’ve tried to drill into your brains throughout this entire article, this industry mixer was a great opportunity for everyone involved, so if someone can let me know the reason why more connections weren’t made on the artist side, please enlighten ya girl! Hopefully DJ Rickey Allenz and other DJ’s throw more networking events like this in the future because the concept is great and can really elevate the music culture here in Milwaukee (which you know CW is all for).

/Intern Carrie for CW