(Lenny Gilmore / RedEye )
By now you should know the details: Thursday at Lincoln Hall, the RedEye Rock ‘n’ Vote Final 4 (chosen by readers from 10 local artists selected from more than 200 submissions) take the stage to compete for your on-site votes and a slot at Taste of Chicago. You’re going, right? You should—these are artists on the rise, and you’ll want to say you knew them when.
Read below for more on this year’s competitors: R&B singer Daryn Alexus, and Samy.Language, Martin $ky and SoloSam, all rappers with very different sounds and skills. They represent the first-ever Rock ‘n’ Vote without a rock band, though Alexus and Samy.Language perform with live bands. Get excited, and see you at the show!
RedEye Rock ‘n’ Vote 2014
7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Hall (doors 6:30 p.m.), $12
CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS ($12, 18+) TO ROCK 'N' VOTE (THURSDAY, MAY 22 AT LINCOLN HALL)
How do you contribute to the Chicago music scene?
Daryn Alexus: Chicago is a huge market for hip hop and indie rock bands, but I feel like the R&B/pop lane has not been capitalized on. I bring a new sound, spunk and energy to the city, an energy I think it’s missing.
Samy.Language: I’m bringing something honest. It’s all really confessional. I feel like this scene needs more of that. Less swag. More truth.
Martin $ky: I just make the music I’d like to hear. I just happen to be in Chicago. It doesn’t influence my sound much, but I think I bring a different but still heavy sound to Chicago. It isn’t “drill” music, but it’s still heavy.
SoloSam: I try and remind people that I’m a product of a poetic Chicago. My music relates to artists like Kanye, Lupe, Common.
What’s the best thing someone could say about your live show?
DA: “You’re so inspiring to watch! I just had the greatest time!”
SL: “He brings that honesty that’s in his music to the stage.” The veins popping out of my head should tell you that I mean it. I really, really mean it.
SS: That even though they might not know the words to my songs, they tried their best to learn them. They get a hook stuck in their mind and think, “Damn, I need to go home and find that song by him.”
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a musician?
DA: Fear. As crazy as it may sound, I battle with a terrible case of stage fright. With every show it gets a little easier, but whenever I have to sing in front of a group of people, big or small, my heart drops into my stomach and my stomach rises into my chest. My palms sweat, and my hands quiver. It’s a new challenge every time.
SL: It’s really easy to feel inadequate in this scene. Convincing yourself that you’re worth something in this industry can be tricky. A lot of self-doubt. A lot of self-reflection. It’s a patience game. What’s most important is to never, under any circumstance, stop being creative. Just gotta’ keep on living in la-la-land until you catch that break. ‘Cause at the end of the day, everybody’s got to do something in life, and we get to make music, and that’s awesome.
M$: I think the biggest challenge is to stay consistent but not release too much content.
SS: Trying to find an authentic sound. Something that naturally resonates well with listeners. I found it, though. Ha, I’m ready.
Chief Keef or Chance the Rapper, and why?
DA: Chance the Rapper. He meets all my musical needs: He brings creativity, uniqueness, culture and turn-up all in one.
SL: Chance. I like the drill music but ... eh. Chance is an inspiring cat. He’s a supreme talent, and his hustle is unmatched. Every young artist can learn from him. In fact, every young artist SHOULD learn from him.
SS: I know it’s not an option, but probably St. Millie, ha. His music sits well with me, and I support his movement. Chance is cool—good thing what he’s trying to do for rap.
Kanye asks you to open for him, but you have to wear a mask. What do you tell him?
DA: I’m a roll-with-the-punches type girl. Want me to wear a mask, cool! Let’s do it! I’d come up with the coolest theme for the set and have the greatest, grandest mask designed specifically that show! Kanye is all about creativity, and I’ll certainly give him creativity that night.
SL: I’d say “yes master” and I’d put the damn mask on. I’d wear a leopard print leotard if I had to.
M$: I’d tell him sure. I have a music video with a mask on, so that’s nothing new for me.
SS: I’d say “naw” to the mask but “yes” to opening for him. That request would be a test. Kanye wouldn’t want someone copying his style and how he presents himself. I’d probably wear tribal face paint or some [bleep].