Thursday, July 25, 2013

Da Purple Ranger: Tampa’s Live Local Music Scene’s Newest Entry To Hip-Hop

Lil Roddy Da Purple Ranger is as offbeat and eccentric as his name implies. This Tampa native has taken his love for the Power Rangers, Lil Kim, and his hip-hop influenced attitude and turned it all into a whole new music experience. A four-song set stretched over the night at Valentine’s Nightclub & Show Bar in Tampa, Florida, recently introduced live local music lovers in the Bay area to this unique offbeat artist.

Lil' Roddy Live @ Valentine's 7/9/13
Photo courtesy of Valentine's
Lil' Roddy began putting rhymes together the same year Lil'Kim went to prison in 2005.  She was one of his idols and the loss of her vocals in the industry affected him. This led to the formation of a group with his two best friends in 2009. They called themselves Rangers in Reality. The group lasted for a few years until the members decided to go their separate ways, leaving Roddy to pursue his solo career. According to Roddy, “I didn't really sit and think hard about purple wigs and things, the character came to me naturally and it is an exaggeration of myself and who I want to be. I take on character roles and costumes because that's my personality. Da Purple Ranger is a Power Ranger, he is a hero, he’s my hero, and he’s the industry hero.” Citing his personal past experiences with bullying as the inspiration for this heroic character, this artist is quick to state his views. “When I was a kid, I never fit in. But over the years, I have learned to embrace the qualities that make me unique. My persona, Lil' Roddy Da Purple Ranger, was born the day I decided to not give a damn about other people’s opinions of me and it is his birthday every time I put on that wig and walk up on the stage to entertain.”

Photo courtesy of Lil Roddy
And entertain he does, switching from melodies and rhymes to beats and raps. This high energy, and go-for-it-all performer is determined to shake up the live local music community with his aggressive performances. Crossing lines, gender bending, and blending the best of his influences in both music and his personal life, he works hard to drive each performance to be better than the last. “I draw on influences from so much in my life that the list may never stop! I hope to inspire others through my style and music and to help break down the barriers of what a real man is supposed to be. I don't feel there should be a set definition of what a person should act like or behave like, each individual should be himself or herself, and go wherever their paths lead them.”

Photo courtesy of Lil' Roddy

Make sure to catch this rising star as he takes on the live local scene now and in the future with his messages of inspiration, confidence and the importance of being true to oneself. Grab some free downloads at Roddy’s Reverb Nation page, and take a moment to introduce yourself to the Purple Ranger. You can also catch up with him on Facebook and Twitter, and as always, in the clubs and venues around Tampa Bay.

Check out live video from Roddy's most recent Tampa performance at Valentine's. Original video by B. Cooper.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mama Gina Live @ Mystikal Scents 7/13/13

Tucked into the corner of a shopping plaza off Fowler Avenue in Thonotosassa, Florida, is a small little known store named Mystikal ScentsA true diamond in the rough, it is a pagan/wiccan metaphysical retail operation that has a little bit of everything for the metaphysical fan. On this warm and muggy July evening, the strains of an Alvarez 12 string acoustic guitar poured out of the doorway of this unique shop, and was soon followed by the voice of a long-time songstress and storyteller, known as Mama Gina. Her blues-driven folk music with pagan styled lyrics weaves storied journeys, which take listeners down paths the singer has tread in her past connections with nature and the energy of the world.

Even though Mama Gina is still a fresh name to the music and pagan community, this talented lady got her start many years ago in her hometown of Tampa, Florida. After spending much time on the road singing and playing at many locales, she settled down in the land of palm trees, her roots, and has spent time with other local artists. All of this was building to a new evolution for the artist, “I stopped singing, I needed a break. I felt like I had lost my voice, not my physical voice but my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to play in bars anymore, it wasn’t the vibe I was looking for.” During a 2009 camping trip to a festival in the Ozarks, Mama Gina had only her tent, a drum and nothing but nature around her.  With that background as inspiration, she found her voice and began singing and writing once again but on a new path. Describing her new sound,Mama Gina is quick to point out the source of her freedom with genres, “Vocally, I get to do whatever I want to with the music. If I write something that sounds bluesy I get to sing it bluesy, if I write something hip-hop influenced, I get to channel that energy, if I do something that sounds like country, I can perform it that way. I don’t get pigeonholed into any one sound anymore.”

Photo by B.L. Cooper
The many performances, tweaking and recording has produced her first full-length release, Goddess Kiss’d and this special night at Mystikal Scents was also the official CD release party.  The singer spend the better part of two hours entrancing her audience with her music, spurning laughter, love and at times even tears, as we journeyed with her down the road singing of birth, life, unity, and even a celebration of those lost to us. Switching easily from guitar to djembe to two different frame drums, the music and the voice blend went in all different ways for each song, with each as diverse and different as the last. Seemingly one with the instruments and the songs, she performs music that touches the heart. When asked about personal growth she states, “I think I’ve grown as a songwriter, I’m really staying true to the stuff that is literally falling out of me. I don’t want to sound all “frou-frou” and and say ‘oh I’m channeling it’, but the fact is that words are falling out of me and I’m not having to do very much. I’ve done a lot of work on my craft and now my craft is doing the work for me.”

And working it is, making this artist another must-see to add to any music fan’s list. Mama Gina has many upcoming shows both around Florida and around the country, make sure to check in with her on ReverbNation and Facebook for the latest show and festival dates. Grab a few free downloads while you’re there; also look for the new record on your favorite digital distribution sites, CD Baby, iTunes, Rhapsody and many more.

Mama Gina with Pearl of Mystikal Scents
Photo by: B.L. Cooper

Upcoming Shows:

Saturday, July 20, 2013
The Raven Faerie
Lakeland, FL

Friday, August 9, 2013
GreenSong 2013
Winchester, VA

Check out Mama Gina's "Waking Panther" from the CD release party, performed with an 18" synthetic head frame drum, using the hollow of the drum to amplify the voice. Original video by B.L. Cooper.