Ace Reign / Blog
Career Mistakes By Independent Artists
Independent artists far too often are not willing to take needed career chances by recording other independent artists or songwriters’ music. Yet, many famous artists take advantage of such opportunities all the time.
To help independent artists appreciate the value of collaborating and or recording other artists or songwriters’ music, for the next few weeks, KMG will share several successful stories.
Check Kamby Management Group’s Reverbnation or Facebook blog pages at least once a week to see what interesting story we share.
Ace Reign a gimmick or a fad
As a HUGE fan of music and a highly critical listener of rap, I have found myself drawn to Ace Reign's music. There is an honesty in her lyrics and a passion in her delivery that I haven't seen much of lately. She doesn't come across as a gimmick or a fad ... but as a passionate performer with a gift for turning real life situations and emotions into something beautiful and real. I've had the pleasure of reading other articles featuring her and her music and while I agree that she is an amazing talent, I can't really find anyone to compare her to. What I CAN agree with is that Ace Reign is an AMAZING talent that the world needs to hear. Her refusal to sell sex and BS just to make a name for herself makes her a standout in the industry to me. The things that would normally repel me, are non-existent with her and I look forward to watching her star shine and being a witness to her continued rise to the top. By FIRE
Up and coming female rapper: D.C. native, Ace Reign
Ace Reign, also known as Ace of Spade, born April D. Winston, is an American producer, songwriter, rapper artist from Washington, DC. She began her career as a songwriter at age 11 by portraying the details of life on her street. After a failed group consisting of herself, her brother, and a female friend called La Cosa Nostra in 1999, Ace refocused her attention on her education and worked on enhancing her writing skills. Refocused and energized, Ace was more determined than ever to remain true to herself and make classic music. As a result, her music is not just about creating something enjoyable; she uses her passion and experiences to also make it relatable. “Making music is a way to vent my thoughts and emotions without making myself vulnerable to others. Its an outlet. My music enables me to reach people near and far in a positive way…to share my thoughts and motivate others in some way.” Ace is heading towards breaking barriers that are typically imposed upon female hip-hop artists. She has been able to break into mainstream music industry through some well-renowned international producers such as Rob Stern, a progressive international techno audio producer. Through this connection, Ace was introduced to Grammy and platinum artist, Josh Gabriel, and owner of Little Mountain Recordings from the Netherlands, Sander Kleinenberg. They both recognized the realism and simplicity in her rhymes vocalized through her melodious and soulful voice. Kleinenberg, who has set the standard for progressive house music, invited Ace to play around with some beats. They were all impressed by the cultured, harmonious lyrics the twenty-six year-old was spitting. Ace was not yet ready to sign with a major label at the time but was asked to compose and record the track “This Love” on their album released on October 24, 2010. Gabriel and Stern both collaborated with Ace to produce “Still Ridin” and “Candy Coated Whip,” two tracks from her "When it reigns it pours, Volume 1 mix tape" album. Ace’s androgynous style of music features a range from R&B to rock, classical to house, soul to eclectic, fused with a classic hip hop sound throughout. Her style can be compared to the sounds of soul/R&B/hip hop group Floetry and English pop rapper Lady Sovereign while she sites the greats - Tupac, Biggie, and Nas - as influences. Ace's flavor is a refreshing change as her ingenuous yet mature flow sets her apart from the profusion of hip hop revolved around flashy, vulgar, violent, or mindless material. The music production is high-quality, containing sophisticated musicality and a well-rounded and pleasureable sound palate. Because it covers such a wide range of sounds, Ace's music does not fit into any one genre. Although this could be seen as a benefit to attract a broader audience, it can become rather difficult to brand yourself as an artist without debuting within a niche or with a signature sound. Her sound can be broadly placed in a hip hop category but while some of the tracks on the album lean towards spoken word neo-soul, others are much grittier, contrasting with a much harder and rougher classification of hip hop. She has already proved herself unique in the game but can do so further by establishing her niche either by focusing on one style or blending to create one cohesive one. You can preview and purchase Ace's volume 1 mix tape here or here. Stay tuned for her second mix tape CD, “When it Reigns it Pours Vol. 2” and other projects in the near future. Share your thoughts on Ace Reign's music below.
What's the meaning behind your name? Around 15, a friend gave me the nickname “A”, short for April. There was one problem. Whenever she yelled out “A”, about 15 more people would answer. Quite confusing! So, I started referring to myself as Ace to separate myself from the rest of the A’s. Reign came about much later. As I got older, it became my aspiration to be someone that people will remember. Regardless if a president is the worst ever or the greatest we ever had, people will remember the impact, the legacy he leaves behind. I want my "reign", my legacy as an artist to be remembered as a positive influence and my music timeless. How did you get started with all this? I’ve been writing music since I was a child. As long as I can remember, I love writing poetry. One day after listening to Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Trina, I decided to try rapping my poems, but they were too soft. Those artists were not rapping about love, which my poem reflected, but their life, respect for women and life on the streets. After studying Queen Latifah’s song, “U.N.I.T.Y” and the vocals of MC Lyte, at age 12, I created my first piece, entitled “Raw”. I knew then I had stumbled onto something. I become more serious about my artistry about 23, around 2007, when I met Robert “Rob” Stern. At the time, Rob and I worked together at this restaurant. He overheard me freestyling to one of my co-workers. I guess he liked what he heard. He told me he was DJ back in his hometown Ohio and wanted to make me a beat. I was like, alright. The next day he dragged me into his car. I was a little nervous because I didn’t really know this dude, but after I heard his beat, I was liked, “Dude, this is hot.” The rest is history. For a while, we recorded and produced some projects together in our home studio. Rob is doing his own thing and I’m doing mine, but we hook up to make music whenever our schedules allow it. What's the message to transmit with your music? Life, life, life. It is important to me that my music is realistic and relatable. I want my listeners to see the value in being yourself, following your dreams, and let negative situations be the motivation to do positive things. When people listen to my music, I want it to inspire them to write if they’re a writer, to draw if they’re an artist and to smile if they’re frowning. I want my music to be the motivation for people to uplift themselves and improve their situation. What's your method at the time of writing a song? Going into my studio, closing the door, and listening to one of my favorite songs with my earphones blasting. Then, I put on my favorite instrumental and begin to write. Sometimes I know what I want to write about and other times my pen just moves to express my thoughts. The end results are songs like “Crazy” and “Look Beyond the Surface”. Who are your music influences? My musical influences are artists like Tupac, Biggie, Queen Latifah, Mc Lyte, and Nas, just to name a few. To read the rest of the interview, visit http://ventsinterviews.blogspot.com/2010/10/ace-reign.html.
Indie Music Review: Ace Reign
Ace Reign is a Washington, D.C. based rapper who, at the age of ten, took baby steps towards becoming a songwriter by jotting down aspects of her life on paper. That led Ace, born April D. Winston, to form a group called La Cosa Nostra in 1999 with her oldest brother and a female companion. The group ultimately disbanded, but the fire for music never died. That passion is clearly evident on Ace Reign’s mix tape, "When It Reigns It Pours, Volume 1." Despite the likes of MC Lyte and Queen Latifah paving the way for modern day successes such as Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj, female rappers must continue to prove themselves in an arena steeped in testosterone and bravado. That can sometimes force a woman to try too hard, causing her lyrics to become overly gritty and sexualized. In the case of "When It Reigns It Pours," Ace Reign manages to avoid many of these pitfalls. Make no mistake, Ace is no punk. Tracks such as "Red Bandana" and “B---- N----” shows that she can go hard with the big boys: Punk a---- slippin’ For underestimating b---- Yeah, I roll with the hardest, young black Goddess I shine so bright, it’s like my skin was f---- polished All haters, I demolish Still, Ace is at her best when the guard comes down and we learn more about her desires, passions, and beliefs. On the track "Maria," which samples The Jackson Five song of the same name, Ace expresses the joy of being in love: Damn, first kiss just like magic You give me life with the joy you bring If only I could sing, I would serenade you everyday The same is true for “When We Make Love,” an affectionate love letter of a song that, in the hands of a lesser artist, might have slipped over the edge into debauchery. "When It Reigns It Pours" even manages to be uplifting. On the track "Look Beyond the Surface," Ace rails against anyone who chooses to judge her based on her appearance or sexual preference, which in rap music, is virtually unheard of: Love is blind Comes in any shape, form, or fashion So don’t let it pass ya Life is meant to be lived for many things If you live for nothing, I guess you’ll die for anything There are still some tracks that come across as less than original. Songs such as “Still Ridin” and “Candy Coated Whip” are braggadocios, anti-hater anthems you’ve heard on the radio for years. Despite that, Ace Reign has a nice flow that’s supported by unique beats, strong production, and at times, very revealing lyrics. Score: *** out of ***** -- Ace Reign has recently collaborated with Josh Gabriel and Sander Kleinenberg, owner of Little Mountain Recordings from the Netherlands, to record the track "This Love." You can find it on their album "5k," which was released on October 24th. By Michael Langston Moore http://www.examiner.com/african-american-entertainment-in-national/indie-music-review-ace-reign-review