When she speaks, you listen. When she sings, you feel. When she moves, you watch. Maybe it's the barely contained energy that gives her words buoyancy. Or perhaps it's her passion—and not the wildly appropriate, flaming red mane that really holds your attention. Whatever it is, ask anyone who has experienced TOY !!! and you’ll find another point of interest added to the list.
Back in small-town Maple Hill, North Carolina, the preacher's daughter sprang from the womb with music in her blood, learning piano by ear and hijacking church solos by the tender age of four. Her diverse influences began at home with a family of avid music lovers playing everything from old school gospel and 60's doo-wop classics, to the 70's funk & soul sounds of Al, Marvin, James and Tina. Pop, rock and country music were staples from grades K-12.
Her after school time was like a juke joint scene straight from The Color Purple. A curious, young TOY !!! sharpened her ear and took notes as Granddaddy and his makeshift band threw down stank gutbucket blues and sultry funk between shots of moonshine at his old country store. Sunday mornings at church were another show altogether… this one headlined by her paternal Grandpa, a fiery harmonica-blowing reverend with a 'Holy Ghost strut' that even “The Godfather” JB himself would’ve envied.
Her most profound inspiration came with the first glimpse of a new album cover—a beautiful, brazen and unapologetically naked Prince sitting perched on the back of a winged horse (but, of course)…
It was the raw, unbridled passion, free-spiritedness, and rebelliously sexy soul of Prince that influenced her most. There began the trajectory to honor her whims and become an adventurer, making rules and music of her own.
Then along came Hip-hop, where years of poetry, creative writing and school oration contests would instinctively lead TOY !!! to find her artistic voice.
Her beloved uncle became manager & investor, and "M.C. TOY" hit the studios hard, pressing up two singles and selling them from her backpack after school. Already a natural stage presence, she easily gained a buzz on the local music scene opening for rap legends like Public Enemy, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Das Efx and Pete Rock & CL Smooth. Her hustle carried over to the campus of NC A&T State University, where she studied Communications/Broadcast News by day, and after class, routinely crashed the male-dominated freestyle ciphers on the yard with a feminine fury.
New York City became TOY !!!’s next conquest. As serendipity would have it, a friend introduced her to Louise West, an entertainment attorney who represented heavyweights like Missy & Timbaland, Jay-Z, The Neptunes and Kelis. Weeks later, TOY !!! was offered a job as her assistant, realizing a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn the music business first hand. This environment brought numerous opportunities to connect with industry insiders—among them, a meeting with a music publishing exec who offered her a serious chance at songwriting. Though narrowly missing major placement of her first song, she gained the hard-earned acknowledgment of Timbaland, and encouragement from friend and fellow NC native (a then up-and-coming) Anthony Hamilton. This period also brought about a divine musical connection and the mentorship of esteemed producer DJ Clark Kent, which quickly got the ball rolling.
The Clark Kent alliance marked a period of rapid growth for TOY !!! and she soon purchased studio recording equipment and began to write, arrange and produce tracks at home. Collaboration requests followed, including an invitation from hip-hop superstar, Scarface.
Meanwhile, her Communications degree landed her at Nickelodeon as a Production Assistant, where she befriended soul legend and voiceover star, Isaac Hayes, while directing his voiceover sessions. His moral support and encouragement deeply inspired her to consider voiceover acting as a new career and a financing tool for her independent music.
TOY !!! seamlessly crossed over to discover her strong multimedia appeal in the voiceover industry. Within just a few years she lent her voice talents in countless TV & radio commercials, promos and campaigns, documentaries, trailers, video games, live award shows and cartoons—listing clients such as NBC, Nickelodeon, MTV, ESPN, Reebok, WNBA, VH1's "Hip Hop Honors", Rockstar Games’ Need For Speed Undercover & EA Sports’ Midnight Club Los Angeles video games, and a popular lead role in Old Navy's national SuperModelquins campaign, just to name a few. Shock jock and "King of All Media" Howard Stern was even said to have described the voice of TOY !!! as "Fu*king awesome!!" while considering signature promo voices for his Sirius radio show.
Now with more than a decade of varied voice experience in tow, TOY !!! comes full circle and sets the tone with her distinctive signature sound and allegiance to creative freedom, as witnessed on her previously released debut single “Ready 4 Me”. As she prepares to launch her upcoming yet-to-be-titled EP— an extraordinary blend of raw emotion, clever lyrics, catchy harmony laden hooks, intricate vocal arrangements, and brilliantly-constructed tracks that converge and bend genres into a pretzel—there’s a not-so-subtle hint that the thirst for something real and raw is sure to be quenched. Here is the place where Hip-hop meets Rock... marries Soul... impregnates Funk... and gives birth to a wonder child who is uniquely: TOY !!!
Born in Queens, raised in the Bronx where hip-hop started. I've always liked real music as kid coming up. My idols were always legendary. So me being an artist I wanted to have that same status with my music...I know it will take some time but hey, I can make it happen. Bliz is more than an hip-hop artist. I'm into drawing, poetry, dancing, photography and acting. If someone asked me to describe myself in one word...I'll say art."
As a Brooklyn native, Pretty Lyon sets the bar high for female rappers all over. She leaves a mark with her fans by using her unique style, witty and fun lyrics and her amazing dance moves. With a lot of experience under her belt, she has managed to grace the stage with opening acts for Young Jeezy, Trina and Travis Porter. Her album entitled Good Girl Bad Habits has been recognized and awarded with “Album of the Month” in February 2015 by Akademia and she also received “Single of the Year” for her song called “To the Floor” by The Independent Music Awards. The world should be on the lookout for this young, talented, energetic beauty. She’s leaving her prints on everything she touches, awaiting the right moment to release her roar!
J'VON "BISHOP" LAWRENCE
"Driven by respect & passion for the hip hop culture,I desire to be different and stay within my realm of being what you see me as.A MAN AND NoT a GiMMICK"
A talented lyrcist phrasing himself as being one of the top "BX Startin' 5" lyrical threats (of course with krs one & Big Pun leading his all star ballot).Jvon Lawrence is bringing what most artist and street corner rappers lack "I strive on bringing that raw uncut realism and detail within my rhymes and performances,it's like giving your ears an audio vision...you can literally close your eyes and I can paint you an HIgh Definition picture with my words" also packed within his versatile aresenal is precise storytelling,slick "what the F%#k" humor and just good hip hop knowing.
J'von's voyage of self betterment pretty much started back in his home growing up in the Bronxdale project housings where he and his twin brother not only sparred against each other,but with local contenders and with each loss came greater victories for young bishop and when word got around about the twin's abilities "we really got alot of attention,especially in high school ,I mean honestly I was just starting to rhyme and i kept a low profile but everytime I would pass the halls everybody would ask me to spit something so it became my popluar ticket" but back home j'von had a bigger obstacle to overcome which was religion."my father was a pastor and my mother was an evanglist so there were certain music and writings I would hide from them,in fear of my well written verses and well spent CD collections being destroyed " but after battling his parents back and forth they finally let their future star live his life....and his dreams
Aside from performing at NYC's pyramid and countless other open mic and showcase venues J'von shining moment came in the form of his first mixtape titled "Kings Of The Bronx" hosted by Young Focus and it was voted Mixtape of the Week on MTV.com and it produced a Rapid Fire hit Entitled "Bounce Around" which was later spun on Hot 97 for a week before being pulled and proper paperwork needed to be conducted...far from the fame of that particular mixtape J'von has been in the trenches ghostwriting and co-producing at the same time getting together his Independant Enterprise "SME" (Strategic Mindz Entertainment) along with A full introduction EP and a full length project.
Verbal musical masterpieces are created through the intricate knowledge of putting letters together that form words, phrases and lyrics that cause heads to nod, bodies to sway or hashtags. Richard Reynolds better known as AR or ABSTRACT RESIRDU, is well on his way to creating bodies of work that can be spoken, quoted and remembered. Hailing from the Westside of Queens, NY the East coast emcee and writer poetically combines grit, bravado and emotion within his lyrics that take the listener into the often misunderstood mind an artistic genius.
AR’s initial projects include the aptly titled, “The Process,” which was a 20 track mixture introduction showcasing a sample of his often times witty wordplay, followed by “Delayed Departure”, a 9 track EP that expounded on his innovative lyrics and showcased his writing abilities. With musical influences covering both East and West Coast, along with some southern hospitality ABSTRACT flexes his lyrical skills on each track, making his own personal statement. Audiences are invited to join his movement as he rhymes on a track called So Fly, “it’s a bird, it’s a plane yea I used to be Clark Kent, you wanna see the change inside the booth then come watch this….”Innovative and versatile, AR’s musical journey uses auditory twists and turns leaving both listeners and critics no doubt he’s ready and willing to earn his place within the hip hop artist repertoire. Join the movement via social media @Mr_Arrah on twitter and @Whoisarrah on Instagram. For booking inquiries email contact can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org
ANDRIA NACINA COLE
Andria Cole was raised in a house full of women and learned everything worth knowing about storytelling from their mouths. Lots of practice and careful study, supplemented, a wee bit, by degrees in creative writing from Morgan State and Johns Hopkins Universities have helped her land short stories in Baltimore Urbanite, The Feminist Wire, Sensations Magazine, and Fiction Circus. Ploughshares recently published her novella Men Be Either Or, But Never Enough, available for download on Amazon and Audible. Some years back, she was awarded the Cohen Award for a short story titled “Leaving Women” and she is the recipient of five Maryland State Arts Councils awards, one of which was the organization’s top prize for fiction. She is co-founder of the critical reading and writing program A Revolutionary Summer (www.arevolutionarysummer.com), which exposes young African-American women to womanist literary giants in an effort to push them headfirst into self-love. Andria is a certified special education teacher and taught middle and high school for 13 wonderful, difficult years. Currently, she supports underserved schools across the country in their quest to drastically improve children’s literacy skills. Nothing, though, makes her happier, prouder, or more afraid than raising Sol (16) and Jagger (going on 2), her cute, funny, hard working, clingy, and messy baby loves.
Katty Rodriguez-Harrold aka “Kat” is a beautiful multitalented, grammy nominated complete musician in all of its many splendor. She is an incredible singer, saxophonist, songwriter, arranger, composer and teacher.
Kat has performed with the likes of Beyonce, Erykah Badu, Eric Bennett, Anthony Hamilton, Luke James, Nikki Minaj, Louis Bauso, Patato Valdes, JJ Hairston And Youthful Praise, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Slim Thug, Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosiuos, Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole, VV Brown, Monica, Ledisi, Kelly Price, Slim thug, George Michaels, Fantasia, Shirley Caesar, Mary Mary, Elle Varner, Mary J.Blige, Missy Elliot, Estelle and Ciara to name a few. Beyoncé and her all female band which included Kat were invited by the President of the US Barack Obama to perform for the FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s Birthday at the white house.
Kat has recorded with Destiny’s Child, DJ Mark Ronson, Rap Artist Mobb Deep, Beyonce, Michelle Williams, Kierra Sheard, Anthony Hamilton and 50 Cent's. In 2006 Beyonce audition for an all female band. Kat was one of 1000 girls who auditioned and got hand picked by Beyoncé herself. Since then Kat has recorded the Live DVDs; The Beyoncé Experience, the I...Am Tour, Live at Roseland, Live at Revel, Mrs Carter Tour, On The Run Tour. She has also performed in numerous TV appearances which include Oprah, Ellen Degenerous, Black Girls Rock Awards, Today Show, Good Morning America, T in the Park, Glastonbury Music Festival, Tyra Banks, Bet Awards, American Music Awards, Fashion Rocks, Grammy's, The View, X-Factor in London, Superbowl XVLII , Oxygen, Chime for Change, MTV Awards, American Idol and World Music Awards to name a few. After being around the world a few times with the superstar Kat became one of the speakers for the BeyGood foundation Beyoncé founded. This opportunity made Kat realize her love for teaching. In 2015 Kat joined the Young at Arts organization and became a music teacher for the organization and the music coordinator at Amani Charter Public School. Kat Rodriguez also is a artist in her own right and has an album out called Mockery. Mockery is out on Itunes and Amazon around the globe.
Rachel Ryan (Radgalray) is honored to be a part of such an uplifting album. Her first exposure to the music world was her accidental song, "La La" which ended up being featured on ESPN. In 2010 she portrayed young Tiffany Moníque in her "Nemesis" music video and also sang in her song "Only Love". From 2008-2010 she was first chair for the brass section in her elementary school band. She is currently a high school senior at The Beacon School and is looking forward to what the future has in store.
Nyasha Nicole O’Connor is a graduate of Manhattan College-Riverdale, NY
"I started at a very young age expressing my thoughts and feelings about life to family and friends... Anyone who would listen. I'm an emotional being."
Presently, I work for a government agency were I've had published poems in job's newsletter as well as member of Poetry Club (now on pause).
"I also hold a volunteer position as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a women's ministry called Women's International Assembly of Faith aka The Sisterhood, where my duties relates to planning, marketing and communications. This ministry transformed my life. It offers spiritual and relational growth. To summarize what we do, we are a movement designed to globally help women in need find a sacred space for reconciliation, transformation and self-sustainability."
My destiny is still unfolding...
A quote from one of my favorite books, The Bible: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Nia Ryan, also know as Nia Shwavé is a talented 15 year old African American girl who resides in Brooklyn, NY. She attends Benjamin Banneker Academy where she is currently a sophomore. While always being an A average student in school she also fulfilled extra curricular activities like taking violin lessons at the Harlem School of Arts. Nia has always been a really deep thinker and writing is her outlet for letting out all her thoughts. In her piece "My Black Beauty" she focuses on the topic of colorism which is prevalent in today's society. She hopes you enjoy Black Light Chronicles!
Called "a new American badass” by Time Out New York and “a brilliant writer and people analyst" by the former Editor-In-Chief of Ebony.com, Neycha is an acclaimed recording artist, performer, on-camera personality, author, speaker, digital media creator and former celebrity life coach with 17+ years of unique experience in the fields of personal growth and wellness, music and entertainment.
Neycha has appeared on nationally syndicated radio programs like The Michael Baisden Show. Her music, writing and advice has also appeared in and on numerous media outlets including Ebony Magazine, Essence.com, The Washington Post, The Root, ABC News, Centric TV, Time Out New York, Heart & Soul Magazine, etc.
A celebrated indie-artist, Neycha was named “one of the seven best bands” in Time Out New York’s annual round up of best NYC bands. Her genre defiant CDs the dirty side up and White Noise along with the acid hip-hop anthems for which Neycha is perhaps best known are what she calls “instinct music - from the gut out.”
Her third album, The Holy Hell of Hope, (HHOH) is slated for a multi-installment release between 2013 and 2017 and is part of a larger project called The Badass That Hope Built™ - a movement initiated to help restore hope to the hopeless.
Neychaʼs HHOH boldly picks up where she left off after her abrupt hiatus from music in the early 2000s at the height of media buzz and label courting following the homicide of her life partner of 10 years. Fans of Neychaʼs distinct sound will find themselves right at home. The HHOH is full of the same gritty drums, outside-the-box song structure, vocal stylizing, dirty guitars and synths tucked in the crevices found on her critically acclaimed debut album, the dirty side up.
The seven songs that make up The Holy Hell of Hope are nuanced audio portraits that highlight the fragility of the human experience, especially the heart-tugging exercise of hoping. Rather than trying to narrate these nuances literally, the album risk your understanding Neycha’s entanglement with hope through subtle manipulations of constrained verses, irregular arrangements, re-purposed 4-track demo guitar riffs and tape feedback as if she were intending for us to feel more intimately the the ups and downs, ins and outs of her journey as they happened - out of order, incomprehensible, messy, intense and disorienting.
The album's first single and music video, Iʼm Still Here, offers a snapshot of what Neycha calls ‘monster resilience’. She explains, “while the album shares the fundamental hopes and disappointments that animate all life, let’s be clear, these are not songs of sorrow. They are instead battle-cries, fuck-that-anthems that Iʼd like to think of as prescriptions for releasing a multitude of sorrows and re-engaging hope.”
Neycha is the founder and CEO of The ReMixed Life™, a lifestyle brand rooted in hip-hop culture and punk-rock attitude that creates digital self-empowerment products and services for those who aspire to shift boundaries, remix reality and cultivate bold, rigorously authentic lives. Author of White Noise, a curator of hope and self-described “crossfader”, Neycha is deeply committed to cultivating safe spaces for bearing witness along with creating bodies of work that reanimate hope, transform trauma and instigate personal revolutions.
The Holy Hell of Hope, Album, Multi-installment release 2013-2017
The Badass That Hope Built™ Visual Mixtape & Performance Tour, Launch 2016
Tiffany Monique is an acclaimed vocalist, recording artist & songwriter from Newark, New Jersey. She has been working in the music industry for the last 24 years as an accomplished background vocalist. For the last 13 years, she has been best known as one of “The Mamas” – background vocalists for Beyoncé – and served as the Assistant Vocal Arranger (Choir) for the star’s Coachella (BEYchella) performances. She also serves as the megastar’s Lead Background Vocalist.
Tiffany released her debut EP, Nemesis, in 2010. The project was released worldwide through Rhythm 252 Music Group, a joint independent imprint with her husband, producer/manager, Kevin “Kwiz" Ryan. “Nemesis” received worldwide attention and resulted in her music being purchased and streamed across the globe, while garnering media placements in Essence, Jet Magazine, AOL Music, CBSNews and other news & media outlets. The lead single, “Nemesis”, continues to make waves, having recently scored placement on a televised NBA highlight reel in March 2019. She is currently working in her debut album, slated for release late 2019.
In 2013, Tiffany was interviewed by and a credited contributor for the Oscar-Award winning movie, “Twenty Feet From Stardom” , citing her impact and experiences as a background vocalist in the modern-day music industry. She is a background vocalist contractor, often training and assisting other background vocalists with securing jobs and tour placements in the music industry. She is also the founder of BookedXBlessed - an artist education and resource community for singers, musicians, background vocalists and performers.
Tiffany studied Music Education at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications w/ a concentration in Journalism from William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. She holds a Certificate of Eligibility from the State Of New Jersey Department of Education and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Tiffany is also a 4-year esophageal cancer survivor and dedicates a great deal of her time promoting and advocating for healthier, preventative health living.
With over 25 years of working experience in the music industry, Tiffany Monique has amassed an ever-evolving international fan base, while lending her talent and expertise to dozens of artists across the globe including: Beyonce, Pharrell Williams, Jay-Z, Jill Scott, Ledisi, Brandy, Nicki Minaj, Monica, Sting, Anderson Paak, Adam Blackstone’s BBE All-Star Band, Nick Jonas, The Roots, Mariah Carey, Black Girls Rock All-Star Female Band, Christina Aguilera , Kelly Clarkson, Stevie Wonder and many more.