Ms Hennessey Writes A Book – How To Live For Love & Hip Hop!

This book is your opportunity to see into the real life of creatives and artists.
You will see how we connect and how important great conversations are.
Maybe you’re reading this book because your passion is Hip Hop. Maybe you’d like to take the insights from the creatives you will read about to become a local or global artist yourself. Maybe you want to take how I structure my interviews for your own blog or radio show to express your passion?
Whatever your reason, put on your favourite playlist and enjoy.

All proceeds of this book goes to the charity Opportunity International, an organisation that helps families living in extreme poverty by giving them loans to start their own enterprise.

To purchase my book in paperback head to:
To purchase my book in digital head to:

Enjoy, thank you for you support and above all, blessings
Ms Hennessey


A Conversation with The Mecca Don of Hip Hop – CL Smooth


He has gone by the monikers of Caramel King, The Mecca Don, C.L. and El Presidente just to name a few, but to those who need no formal introduction to this hip hop pioneer, he known simply as CL Smooth.

Corey Brent Penn Snr aka CL Smooth has trail blazed the hip hop emcee game since 1989, when the rapper / producer hailing from New Rochelle in NYC burst onto the East Coast hip hop scene collaborating with the likes of pioneers AZ, the late Heavy D and of course his partner in crime, DJ / Producer Pete Rock. The latter having amassed an impressive and inspiration 25 year pairing hip hop has created, CL Smooth and Pete Rock are the quintessential vanguards to the values to the foundations of real hip hop. Foundations that birthed celebrated hip hop tracks such as TROY ( When They Reminisce), Back on The Block and It’s a Love Thing to name a few on the repeated playlists of every hip hop lover, introducing us to the vocal stylings of an emcee that weaves the art of storytelling with the true poetic justice of a Pete Rock beat.

CL Smooth is a humble, intelligent, hardworking and undeniably gifted wordsmith in this hip hop game who still remains as real and true his passion today as he always has. Possessing as enviable flow that has awarded him one of the genres most respectable rap sheets, CL has also spent many years away from the very industry that birthed him during the 1995 split of him and Rock, making the pair explore different paths of their brotherhood and careers.  During his hiatus CL spent time with his family, loved ones, working of various solo music projects “American Me” released in 2006 and collaborating with the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff on his Magnificent mixtape series and rather interestingly enough developed an interest in climate change and become a vocal opponent of Proposition 23.

Getting the opportunity to speak to a wise soul like CL Smooth I was instantly struck with his sense of ease, gratefulness of this career he has been blessed with and humble with all he has achieved and still has to experience in this current chapter of his life since reuniting with Rock and about to take his first visit and tour in Australia this March. Thanks to Delta Bravo and associates, Mecca and The Soul Brother are set to perform the hits that shaped their 25 year hip hop reign on their first tour down under, I got to chat to CL about his hip hop journey to date, what Aussie hip hop audiences can expect from a Smooth and Rock live show and how he consistency, vision and a grateful heart has ensured his legacy in this game stands the test of time!


Hey CL, how are you doing today? So excited to know that you will be performing in Australia soon…. What can we expect from your show with Pete Rock?

Hey Ms Hennessey I’m doing great thanks, very grateful and blessed for this life I have been given and happy to just spend my days enjoying my family and my music you know. Yes I am excited as well about coming to Australia as this will be my first trip down there and I have heard nothing but amazing things about your country, so Pete and I just can’t wait to come down there and vibe with the people and experience all Australia has to offer man.

As far as this show is concerned you can expect a long trip down memory lane as we will be taking way back so I hope the fans see and feel what 25 years of friendship and musical creativity can achieve…. and just to enjoy the show is really all I can ask. I am just so grateful my passion for hip hop has brought me this far and I’m loving the ride.

You have been in the game for a minute now, since 1989 representing the East Coast and collaborating with pioneers such as AZ, the late Heavy D and of course Pete Rock. How would you describe the hip hop that birthed you to the hip hop of today ……? Is the machine still the same or has the game changed?

Well nothing stays the same hopefully, you want things to evolve and broaden and mature and hopefully the genre has done just that over the years. I mean the hip hop of today is very different to when I first started given the fact that the industry itself is so over saturated and there are just so many artists that you have to cipher through and so many outlets to find the good….. you just have to dig a lot more for it now than you needed to in my generation you know what I mean. There is great music out there but now you just have to search for it, and that’s ok as there will always be artists that bring something different to the game. However back in my day when a new artist dropped, the attention and drive for that artist from the hip hop fan was a lot more concentrated due to the fact that we didn’t really have an over processed market or the technology to create beats and sounds that hip hop can today, at such a rapid pace. I’m just grateful Pete and I still have the fans, original and new, that love and want the hip hop we create, and as long as there is a demand for that real sound, we are happy to supply.


As a pair you have both created amazing, life changing hip hop such as When They Reminisce (TROY) and It’s a Love Thing to name a few. How would you best describe the connection you and Pete have?

I would best describe it as something you live your childhood with, it’s a beautiful experience being able to relive your childhood with someone you can create amazing things with musically and that’s what Pete is to me. We have put things together creatively and forged a kinship and brotherhood that really has stood the test of time, even during our time apart. Coming from the early stages of my creative career and getting to work with Pete from the very beginning has truly been a testament to our brotherhood and friendship and is something I am truly grateful for. This tour being our 25th anniversary is important to not only us and our creativity but to our fans and those that have supported everything we have done creatively for that long so we really cannot wait to just bring our vibe and good hip hop to Australia and share with the fans down there and enjoy this experience, and I get to do it with my soul brother.


Be sure to catch CL Smooth and Pete Rock as they kick off their Australian “Mecca & the Soul Brother” 25th Anniversary Tour on Weds 8th March in Melbourne, with dates in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth ending on Sat 11th March.

Limited tickets still available at:



Always Hip Hop

Ms Hennessey

James Lantry- Unleashing Hip Hop’s Inner Conscience



When you first meet James Lantry you are struck by his warm, inviting and open smile and an inner confidence that instantly hits you. Therein that confidence is the key that has enabled Lantry to become one of the most sought after Behavioural Coach and Small Business Start-up Expert coaches in the Sydney region, with most of his clients coming from the arts and entertainment fields, all seeking the wise and rational counsel of this thoroughbred hip hop at heart life strategist mentor.

Lantry, the founder force behind Conscious Creatives, an intimate workshop based on the enhancement and improvement of those in creative fields to bring out their inner best, has been successfully encouraging everyone from singers, dancers, writers and everything in between to reach their goals and maintain the momentum he teaches in his Conscious Creatives sessions. As an organically grown business for Lantry, it is something that is a labour of love for Lantry, who takes pleasure in helping people unearth their inner creative, and one he delivers with ease, humour and more importantly in laymen’s terms.

I am a huge believer in feeding your soul and mind with positive energy and working on your inner self as well as that of the outer and my first meeting with James was indeed transformative and thought-provoking, which a direct reflection of his spirit for seeking the best in others. If you don’t give yourself anything in the coming year, I would invest in a conversation with James Lantry and get the cognitive wheels on your brain something to think about, especially where your life’s dreams and missions lay. So happy to share James Lantry’s first interview with Ms Hennessey Speaks Blog and find out what makes this mind whisperer tick.


Thanks so much for your time James, I truly appreciate it. How are you going and how has 2016 being treating you thus far?

Hello Ms. Hennessey! I’m really well, thank you. 2016 has been a very rewarding and lucky year for me. With the completion of my degree in February, and the steady growth of the Artists Sessions, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

Congratulations on the success garnered from your inspiring career as a mentor and coach. So who is James Lantry and what is your greatest motivation behind creating and living the positive life you do every day?

I’ve been curious towards the topics of behaviour, creativity and passion for years, and I decided a while back now to get to know myself, and find my passion.    

The motivation stems from an unwavering belief in myself, along with curiosity and wonder in exploring possibilities. The undercurrent of the continued motivation is personal growth and knowing that the best is yet to come.

What do you think have been some of the greatest challenges or lessons you have faced that have helped shape who you are today and serve as tools to help that shaping your life’s calling?

The greatest challenge I’ve faced is adjusting to life after parental death. My father was a rock for me and one of the wisest men I’ve ever known. We had a fantastic relationship and shared values for growth, learning and progress. He was one of my greatest teachers. I empathise that everyone experiences the death of a loved one, and it’s tough. This also comes with the realisation that at some point, you’ve got to grow up. One may have a certain sense of value within their home, yet when you step into the marketplace, you’ve got to bring skills, knowledge, experience and a continued willingness to learn. Ultimately, staying hungry.

A further challenge is becoming aware of what a calling is. You know, it sounds so profound and out there. Yet, it starts as a small feeling inside you. There’s this knowing that you have to move in a certain direction and there’s a sense of purpose. Slowly but surely, it gets louder and clearer. If ignored, it turns into pain. So, you keep stepping and the next thing shows up.

I’ve been shaped by numerous mentors along the way. Keeping my eyes open to people who have achieved similar goals, and approaching them to discover whether they are open to sharing about how they got there, and to follow a similar path.    

One of the greatest tools I’ve received in my life is one question: Why is this happening for me and what is my lesson? I share this with everyone because it’s priceless. It keeps me awake to the fact that things are happening for me and that I am ultimately supported. The current situation doesn’t have to make sense to me, and by asking myself this question, it helps me step again and keep stepping.     

What are your thoughts on the world we live in today? Pretty broad question I know but I am intrigued by the insights that life coaches have and share with those they deal with on a day-to-day basis so I am always interested to know what a life coaches thoughts are of the world they teach and help people live in?

The reality… life can get messy. The continued reminder is to keep it simple. Having a solid personal foundation is vital. Following that get creative and experience life! I’m one for experiencing. The folks that interest me are the ones that keep stepping out of their comfort zone. It’s one way to stay invigorated and fresh. Honestly, do one thing a week that terrifies you, learn something from it and share about it with a friend.  

To be clear though, my continued focus with people is on their internal world. Everything outside, is simply a mirror of what’s happening inside.

The cool part is teaching people who with support, making changes can be simple and easy.

How do you remain consistent in your messages of positivity when the world we live in is so negative at times?

To share a few fundamentals:

  • Stay trained, challenged and invigorated in your creative interests. I recommend taking popping and hip hop classes.
  • Establish mentor relationships for each of your goals. You’ll get fed positivity and encouragement!  
  • Be open to being a mentor. Giving is living and it’s an incredibly fulfilling process.
  • At the end of each day, write down a list of who showed up in your life to support you/help you out that day. 

The music or artists you listen to that inspire you and your powerful contribution to the global community on a daily basis?

To name a few:

James Brown; Roger and Zapp; Jay-Z; George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic ; Legend Da Beatslaya; Naughty by Nature ; A Tribe Called Quest…and many more…

Where can people reach you online and / or book your mentoring

The hip hop artist you would most like to mentor / coach if you had the opportunity to?

Australian hip hop artist L-FRESH the LION

The quote you live by and why?

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidences, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

~ Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von ~

I always find myself coming back to this. Years ago I wanted to prove this to be true. Today I have a long list of evidence to back this quote. If you get that same feeling of ‘anything is possible’ after reading this quote, then your ‘why’ takes care of itself.

For more information on James Lantry and his creative workshops contact him via:


Love and light

Ms Hennessey

Sydney Visual Artist Sophieaye Painting Hip Hop with Purpose

Sophie pic 1

There’s something exciting about experiencing hip hop through a visual artists eyes, seeing their interpretation through their brush stroke or their image of hip hop in a piece of handmade artwork. One such local visual artist that is taking the hip hop art world by storm is the super talented Sophie Al-Bazouni aka Sophieaye,representing South Western Sydney and capturing the art of hip hop through her incredible painted portraits of some of the genres greatest.

As a deep seeded fan of hip hop and its culture, Sophieaye was always drawn to the music and its message from a young age, as a fan of the legendary Tupac and Notorious BIG. Starting out with a passion for drawing characters and hip hop artists in particular, Sophie eventually started dabbling in painting and her passion for the music and culture spilt over into amazing pieces that captured the essence of the artists who inspired her daily life. Taking part in this years celebrated 4 Elements Hip Hop festival in Bankstown in March, Sophieaye’s works hung pride of place in the gallery foyer of the Bankstown Arts Centre leading into the festival and garnered praise and attention from festival goers and council members alike. She has since gone on to ignite her local hip hop community with her impressive works and building a name for herself and her beautiful portraits of influential hip hop leaders such as Tupac, Notorious BIG, Lauryn Hill and the like.

In her first interview ever ( as she excitedly exclaims), this Bachelor of Fine Arts student shares what motivates and drives her passion for painting hip hop portraits and how she hopes her artwork is received by those who are drawn to it. Very excited for this truly talented, humble and inspiring young artist putting her passion to higher purpose.

Thanks so much for your time Sophieaye, I truly appreciate it. How has life been treating you thus far?

Thank you for the opportunity! Life has been good, I can’t complain. Busy as always, I’ve got a lot coming up!

Biggie Blue

Your artwork is something that is truly unique and symbolic of the art and culture of Hip Hop. How would best describe your artwork, what it is you create and what you enjoy most about the process of creating these hip hop inspired pieces?

When people ask what I do, I always say that I paint Hip Hop portraits. I’ve explored other subjects but that’s mainly what my practice has consisted of. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve painted 2Pac and Biggie. My English teacher once told me to write about what I know, so I took that advice and applied it to my art. Music is second to art for me, and it’s a lot easier to paint something which you’re passionate about.

How does inspiration come to you and how does the world itself play a part in your creative process?

It usually comes from the songs themselves, especially the lyrics and the flow of a song. Whenever I listen to a song I paint it in my mind. The way certain lyricists can rap, I want to be able to paint. I love the atmosphere that’s created with Hip Hop, music is the first thing I pay attention to when I walk into a place and if it’s anything I like don’t even attempt to have a conversation with me (my friends can vouch for this).

Sophie face

What is it about being an artist appeals to you so and what or who encouraged you to take the first step in your artistry?

I’ve been into art for as long as I can remember, but I’ve come a long way from drawing anime characters! I could never see myself in an office job, and for a while I thought that I couldn’t make it as an artist. It’s only until recently that I realised I could, and I’ve started taking steps towards making it my career. It’s very rewarding to give something back to a culture I appreciate so much. I’ve been blessed, and there is no way I’m going to let it waste away as a hobby. I’m inspired by the rappers I paint, my high school art teacher and my mum and dad, who has never questioned me when it comes to the decisions I make. The support and love I get from my family and friends can last a lifetime. I want to immortalise the influencers and cement my name in Hip Hop culture.

When you are in your creative zone what keeps you motivated and do you have any particular rituals or music that inspires your artistic flow? What are your favourite musical artists / songs and why?

I always have something playing when I’m painting whether it’s music or something on the TV. Lately I’ve just put Fresh Prince on, or I’m listening to the latest album drop (currently SchoolBoy Q’s Blank Face LP). Sometimes my friends keep me company with good conversation and argheli but I’ve found that to be a bit distracting! My favourite rapper is Biggie because I love his flow, voice, lyrics, everything about him. I have a large list of favourite artists and songs so this could take a while but my top five albums are:

  1. Illmatic – Nas
  2. GKMC – Kendrick Lamar
  3. Ready to Die – Biggie
  4. Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill
  5. Friday Night Lights – J.Cole

Sophie kanye

Where are your collections currently featured at the moment? (Art Galleries, Museums, Public Spaces) and what is the general public feedback on your works?

I have my largest work to date hanging at BMCP, a shisha cafe in Parramatta. I’m a regular there and it’s always the first place I recommend to people! Right now I’m working on my first exhibition so I’ll have some works hanging very, very soon. I’ve always had the best reception to my work, it motivates me to keep doing what I do. Usually it starts with “Did you do that?!” followed by “Can you paint me?” In all seriousness though it’s very humbling and really warms the heart.

What do you hope is the feeling that people get when they look at your incredible pieces?

I just want to take them back to a place where they listened to a certain song and make them admire their favourite artist even more than they probably already do. I’m just painting what I love and I want viewers to feel that love when they see my work.


Your motto in life?

Love Yourz. “What’s money without happiness? Or hard times without the people you love?”

Sophie erykah badu

For more information on Sophieaye and her artwork visit her on:

Always Hip Hop

Ms Hennessey

Basking in the Exalted Glory of the Soweto Gospel Choir

Soweto Gospel Pic 1

“Dazzling and unified…..Soweto Gospel Choir was as much to look at as to listen to. The human spirit – this you couldn’t miss” The Los Angeles Times, 2012

“Boasting two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, SA Music Awards, and having performed at the Oscars all in just 10 years, easily makes this the world’s best choir” City Press, South Africa May 2013

Just two of the endless reviews that this phenomenal internationally renowned choir have and continue to receive no matter the continents their exalted voices travel too. And they are set to return to Australia in late June for a nationwide tour that will again inspire, uplift and engage audiences of all ages, colours and creeds, as the unifying essence of music is supposed to do.

Hailing from the township of Soweto in Johannesburg South Africa, The Soweto Gospel Choir have been in the business of soul whispering and healing through music since the choir was first founded in 2002 by choir leaders David Mulovhedzi and Beverly Bryer. Amassing a more than 30-member ensemble, the choir blends elements of African gospel, Negro spirituals, reggae and American popular music into an electrifying sight and sound visual experience that has and continues to capture the world over. From the powerful and majestic voices to the colourful outfits and uplifting ambience, The Soweto Gospel Choir is food for the mind and soul. Over the past 16 years in the international arena, the choir has performed with the likes of Robert Plant, Bono, Akon, Keri Hilson, Peter Gabriel, Black-Eyed Peas, Shakira, Angelique Kidjo and John name a few and have performed for the late South African President Mandela, former US President Bill Clinton, Oprah, Quincy Jones, Archbishop Tutu, Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince Harry, The Lord Mayor of London and many more.

With two albums ‘ Blessed’ and ‘ African Spirit’ that have both received The Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album in 2007 and 2008, the choir also collaborated with artist Peter Gabriel on the song from the Disney movie WALL-E called ‘Down to Earth’, which was also nominated for Best Song in 2009. From State performances for global leaders to lending their vocals to rock concerts and everything in between, the Soweto Gospel Choir are undoubtedly the most recognised and respected international choir in the world and it is a position they do not take lightly.

Catching up with choreographer, choir master, tenor, dancer and founding member Shimmy Jiyane about the upcoming Australian tour called “Faith”, he took some time out his busy schedule to shed some light on the choir’s inspiring journey thus far and what motivates the members to share their majestic voices so effortlessly with the world. I am so excited to share this interview and a small window into the musical world of a sound so rich and transcendent of my childhood growing up in my hometown of Johannesburg, the colours, the rhythm and the pulse of a country that has birthed a choir that continues to mesmerize the world over.

Hello Shimmy and thanks for your time. How has life been treating you?

Life has been good just working hard with the choir on our new album and show.
Soweto Gospel Pic 2

You hail from my native homeland of South Africa and for that I am most proud. South African music, be it gospel or beats has been getting considerable love from the global market of late and serving as inspiration for many other countries musical communities and has done so for years. The Gospel Choir is world-renowned and synonymous for its depth and beauty of sound. How would you best describe the power of this gospel and the message behind it music?

Soweto gospel choir’s sound comes from our proud musical traditions, taught to us from an early age in our homes, schools and churches. We are known for our beautiful African harmonies that are unique to the choir and to African music in general. We truly love singing and enjoy passing this on to our audiences, so the beauty of this love translates into our music and our message is one of upliftment and joy. Our audiences are affected by the sincerity of our belief in God and in our genuine energy and love for life. We don’t need to preach our message, you just need to listen to our voices that come from the soul.

Who are the Soweto Gospel Choir, how many singers does it consist of and what keeps you all so committed to this union?

SGC actually comprises 42 members in total, 21 of who are on this tour. The choir is our family and we’ve been together for 14 years, so the love of our musical family and of our wonderful musical journey, keeps us committed to this union.

We are so excited to know that you will be visiting Australia for a tour soon. What can we expect from your show and what are you currently working on musically that you can share with us over here?

We are so excited to be coming to Australia and bringing our new show called Faith with many beautiful, diverse voices from South Africa as well as dancers and drummers. We have some new costumes and a variety of percussive instruments unique to South Africa. There are some fun and energetic routines as well as some gentle, soulful numbers, and our repertoire includes traditional and gospel songs representative of our different cultures and faith as well as some classic international favourites.

How would you say South African music is received by the global audience? What makes its sound so special and unique?

Soweto gospel choir comes from the background, where even the shades of a tree, not a brick and mortar building, can house a church service. The harmonies, the energy and the intensity of South African music is what makes it so exciting for international audiences and keep in mind, that every song has its own African movements, so that adds a uniqueness that is greatly appreciated.

Where can we find you online?

What would you say is the greatest motivation for the choir in doing what you all do?

We love to sing!

 For more information on The Soweto Gospel Choir visit:


Catch the Soweto Gospel Choir on their Australian Tour:



Hip Hop and Beyond

Ms Hennessey

Aaradhna talks Brown Girl album, Loving Yourself and Taking on the World

aaradhna 3

She is one of the greatest vocal exports out of New Zealand, with a voice and demeanour as regal as the soul queen she was born to be. Aaradhna is a force to be reckoned with as she continues her steady climb from up and coming singer to a bona fide soulstress with a  four album strong discography and a global fan base that just get enough of this Porirua born Samoan-Indian beauty.

As she embarks on her Australian tour for her newly minted soon-to-be-released album Brown Girl on Dawn Raid Entertainment, Aaradhna has remained a consistent and committed artist of her music, working with the likes of Savage, Che Fu, P Money and David Dallas over the years and travelling between new Zealand, The US and London to cultivate a sound that is unique and bold, complimenting her messages of relationships, race, politics and female empowerment on her current album “Brown Girl”. It possesses a powerful and edgier tone than her soulful and sexy Treble & Reverb release of 2012, an album that caught the ears of the US market and put Aaradhna on the global soul watch. For an artist who first explored the earlier stirrings of performance at the age of 11, singing along to Bollywood movies she would watch with her father, the stage was already set for this powerhouse vocalist, with her debut album I Love You landing on the RIANZ Top 20.

Aaradhna has always been a mysterious and almost mystical personality to me, watching her star rise organically in an industry that can break you before they make you. A lot can be said of her character steadfastly focussed on creating honest and inspiring music that lives to stand the test of time. She is humble, grounded, secure and confident in her journey and that is a strength that can be felt in conversation with her and through her music. This interview highlights a glimpse into the thoughts of a woman who has created a lane for herself in an over processed, often synthetic music world and given us her raw, pure and undiluted soul through music and that, to any music lover, is the ultimate gift of artistry.

Hi Aaradhna how are you doing? So excited to know you are going on tour soon to share some music off your new album “Brown Girl” due for release soon.

Thank you, super excited to get back on the road and perform these new song! Plus I’ve got a new band and they’re cool boys, real muso’s and I love that and what they bring to the crew.

aaradhna 5

Your career and your music has been such an inspiration to so many, back in your native new Zealand and of course on a global level too as your music and most importantly your voice resonates deep in the soul. When you sing pain or heartbreak, everyone can relate to it, when you sing praise and love, we come along on that lyrical ride with you. How you best describe who Aaradhna is and the music she creates, particularly this new album?

It’s the truth and its real, I don’t sugar coat anything, I sing because I have to, that’s my healing & thinking process, and I guess people can relate to that.

Your journey has been a work in evolution no doubt – looking back what would you say has been one of the greatest lessons for you as a woman and as an artist in this music industry!

Don’t give up! And that other people’s opinions of me is none of my business.

Your career has taken you all over the world, working and collaborating with people from all walks of life. What is it about the rhythm of life that appeals to you as a creative and how do you incorporate that into your music creation?

I go with the flow, I don’t chase anything, I let things happen in the order it’s supposed to happen, I don’t force anything, I try and just let it evolve naturally.

Can you share something with us that we may not know of you? Every person has a surprising lurking within them so what would you say is Aaradhna’s surprise?

I love Horror movies and ghost stories, and love hearing about haunted historic places in strange parts of the world, lol

Your thoughts on the soul music community today and the changes you feel it has undergone since you first started your journey?

I think it all swings back around, I’m and old soul and I’ve always loved the oldies, and also 90’s R&B, and that will always inspire me, I like the new stuff like Anderson Paak and people like that, but give me D’Angelo & Sam Cooke any day.

aaradhna 2

The importance of women, for yourself, embracing their roles as sexual, independent and powerful beings as opposed to the over-sexualisation that social media has females portrayed with young women baring all for 15 mins of fame and 1000 social media likes rather than strong self-awareness and inner security?

Yeah, it’s really sad the social media effect on young girls, I want all ladies to love themselves and be strong for themselves, keep things a little more hidden and private and never reveal all of yourself for no reason, love yourself first.

What are you hoping to achieve personally and professionally with this new “Brown Girl” album and what’s next for you?

Well I’m launching this album in London, and I’m going to do European tour for the 1st time, I’m looking forward to going back to US and touring there, but ultimately I just want people to hear the album and enjoy the music.


Your greatest musical inspirations and why?

Singing at the Apollo in Harlem, because that’s the gold standard for Soul Music worldwide, and I did that last year, and still buzzing from that, I still have many things to accomplish, 1 step at a time.

Your constant motivation in life and why?

My family, my fiancé, and my fans, I keep going for all of them…… (and of course myself xx)


For more information of Aaradhna visit:





Her Australian / NZ Tour ” Introduction to Brown Girl” this June 

brown girl tour


Hip Hop and Beyond

Ms Hennessey

Meshell Ndegeocello – An Artist of Conviction

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She is one of the most prolific singer songwriters in the funk, soul, jazz and roots genre and with a career that spans close to four decades having initially started in 1985, Meshell Ndegeocello is the truth behind the origins of the neo soul and spoken word artistry. Born Michelle Lynn Johnson in Berlin, Germany and raised in Washington D.C, Ndegeocello adopted her surname at the age of 17, which means “free like a bird” in Swahili. And freedom of expression being her greatest banner, the multi-talented musician (bass, keyboards, drums, guitar) has worked with everyone from John Mellencamp, Madonna, Chaka Khan and Herbie Hancock to name a few sharing her talents as a rapper, bassist and singer across a range of musical projects.

Achieving her first foray of musical fame with the cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night” (a duet she performed with John Mellancamp) in 1993, which reached No 3 on the Billboard charts, this was closely followed by her solo penned hit “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night) in 1994 and secured her as an artist to watch. Over the years her discography grew in depth and number, from 1993 to 2014, having given the soul genre true gems of work in albums like ‘Plantation Lullabies’, ‘Comfort Woman’ and ‘Devils Halo’ to name a few. Amassing a legion of fans hungry for her powerful lyrics of love, self-expression, ownership and world issues and bore the activist in Nedegocello. She has become the unofficial flag bearer of issues concerning Aids awareness, women’s empowerment and gay rights having contributed numerous musical projects with the likes of U2 and written works in the form of an essay anthology It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living and her music has featured in scores of movie soundtracks such as; How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Batman & Robin, Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Talk to Me, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls and The Best Man.

Meshell Ndegeocello is sans the glitz and glamour that belies many an artist in the music industry today. She has never been about the trappings of wealth, fame and fashion, rather opting for a less lofty lifestyle, paying attention to the real blessings in life, the love of her family and the joy of her infinite craft and artistry in just being her. She is an artist who walks the walk and talks the talk, shares her deepest innermost self when creating her music and is unapologetic in her authenticity in life and as a relevant and necessary recording artist in today’s musical canvas. I have been a fan of Ndgeocello’s work for many years now, losing myself in her intricate melodies and powerful prose and feeling nothing less that empowered and inspired after listening to her music. This interview is a brief glimpse into the beautiful soul of this free bird of an artist and one that I am truly proud to share with my readers and her fans alike.

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Hi Meshell how are you doing? Thanks for your time in doing this interview…

Hi Maxine. I’m well and hope you are too.

Your career and your music has been such an inspiration in my journey and countless others as your songs resonate deep in the soul. When you sing pain or heartbreak, everyone can relate to it, when you sing praise and love, we come along on that lyrical ride with you. How you best describe who Meshell Ndegeocello is and the music she creates?

I don’t think I do. I feel very different than what gets reflected back to me. When I sing about pain and heartbreak, those things are really happening, they’re really hurting. It’s hard to always see those songs as inspirational or comforting because they are often really hard for me to hear or sing. I really just listen for the sounds to come, wait for the transmission, and when it does, I try to faithfully express it.

Your journey has been a work in evolution no doubt – looking back what would you say has been one of the greatest lessons for you as a woman and as an artist in this music industry!

That it only wants you as long as it knows its use for you. The industry is about money. There are a lot of music lovers and people who wanted to be close to creativity but being an artist and being a star are different choices. That’s the thing, I guess. I tell people I teach that you gotta be clear on which you’re choosing, cause they’re not the same.

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Your career has taken you all over the world, working and collaborating with people from all walks of life. What is it about the rhythm of life that appeals to you as a creative and how do you incorporate that into your music creation?

I think all the travel actually makes a rhythm hard to feel. Jet lag is a real thing, touring is exhausting. When I am home I am my most creative that is where I have spaces to write and listen. But the travel and collaborating are exceptional, they have taught me so much and I am lucky to do it. I do it because it comes with the territory, at least now I do.

Can you share something with us that we may not know of you? Every person has a surprising lurking within them would you not agree? What’s Meshell Ndegeocello’s surprise?

That I am really shy? That I listen mostly to people talking – to philosophy podcasts and lectures about the earth. My secret is that I am not cool.

Your thoughts on the neo soul music community today and the changes you feel it has undergone since you first started your journey?

I don’t think there really is a community there. Neo-Soul, in my opinion, is not a thing. It’s a genre created where there was no previous genre. But I am not a believer in genres and I don’t subscribe to that one.

The importance of women embracing their roles as sexual, independent and powerful beings as opposed to the over-sexualisation that social media has females portrayed with young women baring all for 15 mins of fame and 1000 likes rather than strong self-awareness and security?

I think you said it all right there.

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What are you currently working on music wise you can share with us?

I am working on scoring and a presentation of music based around James Baldwin’s work. I am thinking about new music and considering recording some covers.

Your constant motivation in life and why?

I am still just trying to understand how we all got here.

For more information about Meshell Ndegeocello visit:





Hip Hop and Beyond

 Ms Hennessey