Surprise! We have music for Blood of a Queen! So freaking excited for this! I get to combine my love for music and writing into this very unique reading experience and I can’t wait to share it with you all! After spending hours of songwriting, recording, producing and mastering we finally have a finished product!
Why is it So Important to Have Music to Blood of a Queen ? Music, the magical combination of sounds, harmonic voices, instruments and emotions– is the invisible force that connects the listener to a specific experience, usually one that the writer wants to induce.
We’ve cried, laughed, been afraid and even sat on the edge of our seats in suspense while watching a movie unaware that it is the music that is drawing us in even more. Sometimes the music alone can affect you in ways the dialogue and scenery can’t.
That’s the magic of music. Without it, our experience becomes 1 dimensional. But not anymore. Experience my novel Blood of a Queen like you’ve never experienced a book in your life.
How Will Music Work For Our Book?
Just like how a movie soundtrack supports scenes in a movie by describing a current mood or emotion, our music will do the same by enhancing the mood of the book. Placing you in a similar emotional experience as our protagonist, Ruby.
As our characters experience love, heartbreak, betrayal or courage we want the music to add another layer to the readers experience. See the book like a movie, flow with the story and be taken deeper.
Launch Buddy, by clicking below, you will be among the 1st to experience the music behind the book!
Click the audio link below to preview our song, Blood of a Queen!
Written by LaToya (Toi) Powell, The TOI House
Co-written by James Aaron Foster.
Performed by LaToya (Toi) Powell
Produced and recorded by James “A-Natural” Foster for Natural City Music. Mixed and mastered by Stefon Moeselle for Secret Sounds Productions
Available at the following locations: on 8/7/16
iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play,
Amazon mp3, Tidal
Don’t forget to share the journey with your friends and family by clicking on the share buttons!
Ladies and Gents, we have ourselves a winning cover and music!!!!
You’ve rocked with me during this launch, spread the word on social media, watched my videos and when the time came, you voted on your favorite cover. Wow, you put in a lot of work with me– I could call you my co-authors at this point, but then I’d have to send you a 10 page task list of things still left to do!
Yeah, I didn’t think you’d have the time to take on that load, which is why being a launch buddy is right up your alley! You get to watch videos, laugh at with me, listen to music, read some fiction and vote on a book cover. Life is sweeeeet!
Let’s Make Our Book a Best Seller!
Before I reveal our winning book cover, there are a few extremely important things we need to do to ensure that our book becomes a best seller!
Share Our Journey! – 92% of consumers find word of mouth to be the best form of advertising! That’s were YOU come in. All you have to do is TELL PEOPLE! Invite your family, friends & co-workers to sign up for the launch mailing list, and join our Secret Book Launch Community! Tell them about this amazing author to reader experience we’re all a part of! Tell them to watch the videos and laugh with the rest of us. And when the book is launched on 8/7/16, tell them to go get it and tell their friends about it.
Social Media – Invite your friends and followers to join us on all of your favorite social media networks! Let them know about what you’ve been working on, what you’ve been a part of over these past few weeks! @TheToiHouse #BloodofaQueen #ToiPowell on Twitter!
Review – Once the book launches on 8/7/16 , I can’t stress to you the importance of leaving an amazing Amazon review (Not that I’m trying to sway your opinion of the book lol). But, this is one of the top reasons why a book becomes a best seller in its category. Leave a review on the book and tell reviewers about our journey! Let Amazon and potential readers know that this book is amazing and available because of YOU!
Now, without further ado…
Our Winning Book Cover is…
DESIGNED BY YOURS TRULY (TOI POWELL)
Listen to the music for Blood of a Queen! Available on 8/7/16 on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon mp3, Tidal
Don’t forget to click on the images to pre-order the ebook!
The print copy and music will be available to order on 8/7/16.
When Kendrick Lamar released his sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), I was in the middle of teaching a unit on Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye (1970). My freshmen students were grappling with some big ideas and some really complex language. Framing the unit as an “Anti-Oppression” study, we took special efforts to define and explore the kinds of institutional and internalized racism that manifest in the lives of Morrison’s African-American characters, particularly the 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove and her mother, Pauline. We posed questions about oppression and the media – and after looking at the Dick & Jane primers that serve as precursors to each chapter, considered the influence of a “master narrative” that always privileges whiteness.
Set in the 1940s, the Breedlove family lives in poverty. Their only escape is the silver screen, a place where they idolize the glamorous stars of the film industry. Given the historical context…
Ok, Let’s get started on what I’m playing on MY RADIO!
I can’t help it and I don’t believe I’m biased cause Authentik is my booskies lol but I can’t hate on anything he’s been putting out! This single #On2DaNext just brings back that great RnB sound with great vocals (beautifully arranged and written by A-Natural), catchy hooks and easy to follow verses! When I tell you this dude is a beast on Social Media, it’s inspiring and almost downright unbelievable that he has so much persistence and dedication to garner so many great responses and feedback! He’s been hitting the ground running with this single, featured on many local radio stations, interviews and of course he’s available on most digital online retailers! All I know is I’m proud of my boy and he betta SANG that damn song! Get it Authentik!
I come to you as an aunt or future mother whose heart is too fragile to see you as yet another victim of a society that was not built for you. The pain of mothers past, present and unfortunately, the future supersedes anything the human soul can possibly comprehend. Your beauty as black men has been replaced by fear from those who never have or ever will understand you. Unfortunately this stigma has been placed upon you before your parents were even born.
Although you may feel equal to your peers of other cultures, you must remember for your life’s sake, that you are not; at least not yet. The fact that I am writing this is painful enough to admit, yet, it is the only advantage you will have in life. If you understand the difference between you and your multi-cultural brothers, you will understand what your fathers and brothers before you have come to understand and….you just may have a chance.
The times we live in are truly a time of confusion, heartache and pain. Painful that we are only fifty or so years out of segregation where people like you were bound by laws of this United States that criminalized you for being who you are. Simply for being…who…you…are. It’s painful that in the face of injustice from those who have owned us, sold us, oppressed us, killed us and destroyed our families and even with the insurmountable evidence against them, it is still not enough to lift the bounty from your heads.
Those who hate you and want to destroy you will do it, even with the law on their side. It’s painful that peaceful protests are rocking this country, yet the media would rather show the small few who loot and burn so they can generalize us all, rather than understand our pain. It hurts to read the comments on social media from “friends” of a different race who assume we are merely complaining and can’t relate to our suffering. And speaking of suffering, it pains me to go to work every day and suffer in silence as the visuals of our dead men laying in the street rack my brain, mixed with deadlines of work I could care less about.
The only dead lines I fear are the chalk outlines of young black men who look just like you.
My heart is heavy with despair as I must prepare you for the life you are about to enter as a black man in America. It’s unfair, it’s humiliating and it hurts but you MUST heed my warning or else your young lives will add to the millions of young black men whose lives have been taken from us way too soon.
There are some rules that you as black men must be aware of and it applies to you and only you. Here are a few:
Do not let your frustration or anger of being racially profiled, followed, harassed, and frisked or provoked cause you to REact in the way they expect- in the face of law enforcement. This includes being loud, belligerent, ghetto, untamed or simply upset. There are some who will use even the excuse of a sneeze to kill you in cold blood.
Do not walk with your hands in your pockets in public places. If your hands are cold, wear gloves. Pockets were not made with you in mind. The image of you has been plastered on TV and ingrained in the minds of people who are not like you, brainwashing them to fear you. And because they do, they do not see you searching for warmth but instead searching for a gun we all know you don’t have. They will call the police who will take their word over yours and never stop to ask you questions before shooting you dead.
This is one of the hardest things I will have to tell you but you will only have your own judgment to guide you. As scary as it may be, WHEN the police wrongfully approach you (and in your lifetime this will happen more than a few times), you MUST stand there and face fear directly in the face. Do not move unless they tell you to. Answer them and follow every direction they give. As humiliating as the demands, you must comply. I know it will hurt physically, emotionally and spiritually but your highest priority is to stay alive! DO NOT give them a reason, although they need none. Even as I write this, I know that this too is a gamble. Like facing a beast in the woods, do you stand still so you don’t provoke it, or do you turn and run because you know either way, you’re dead? I beg of you, do not run. Live to survive another day, to find another way to rise above this.
If you want to record your interactions with police, use your phone but have it out before they approach you. They do not want to see you reaching for anything. Be polite, answer questions and although you have rights, unfortunately – these rights do not apply to you. Be aware. You have a right to record and to ask questions but, as a black man, this is a provocation. They will see you as a threat and use this as an excuse to do what we have already seen them do and get away with it.
Last but not least…
Do not forget the fallen. Whatever you do, remember their roles in this universe. To bring awareness to an epidemic much larger than any known disease this world has ever seen. Racism is your biggest enemy and it has been killing our people for hundreds of years. There have been more black lives taken since the beginning of slavery til the very day you read this letter. Do not become another one of them. Always remember those who came before you.
I am weak and drained with sadness from the injustice plaguing this country but I have found the strength to instill in you the truth of what it is like to be a black man in America.
Although I have not listed every occurrence, know that racism hides behind closed doors, grand jury’s and badges. If you know this, then you know you must find a peaceful way to make a change.
You are powerful, strong, beautiful human beings and change can happen but, it starts with you. Sometimes it seems as if you must represent yourself in ways only Jesus can. Like you must be perfect to even have half of their respect, but you must think and grow beyond that. You must find ways to protest injustice without inciting violence, looting, destruction and pain; which not onlyaffects others but also affects your own people.
You have a responsibility to educate yourselves in your history, in the trends of disparity among our culture so that you may have the tools you need to finally defeat this enemy.
You are our future and though they may target our future with police brutality, I won’t let them succeed which is why I am leaving you with these words of advice.
You will be carrying on where others have left off but what are most important are two things:
Do not forget the fallen
Always remember to keep love and peace in your hearts. No matter how hard it becomes you must hold on to your humanity, no matter how hard they try to take it away.
Be strong my young black children and never forget the fallen.
The hard work has paid off! Finally, after the shooting, the editing, getting a new computer to create the promo images in CS5 (I was having major issues w/ my old laptop), my video is finally complete!! I am so excited, over joyed, exhausted- yet energized (how does that happen)! It was a great and important journey from start to finish and I am proud of it, myself and my friend, director and singer – Lenny Harold.
Lenny Harold is a close and very creative and talented friend of mine who directed, produced and edited this sexy music video. Together with his vision and mine, we were able to come up with a simple, yet clean video concept to my latest cover GOOD KISSER.
We wanted to focus on beauty shots, lighting, performance and different looks. It was such an enjoyable experience and a pretty detailed one at that. Since we are both conscious about self-branding, we had been faced with the task of making sure the video was sexy, yet tasteful. And, because the video is to a cover song, we were particular about how we wanted the vision comes across.
We wanted to give you a full length visual which wasn’t over the top (we want to save that for my original music!), but, we wanted to give you something to vibe off of and connect with. A lot of us know and like Usher’s version, but there is something about the female voice on this particular song that makes it even more sexier (so I’ve been told!)
You’d also be surprised to know everything you see – from the lights to the make-up and video was not a huge production. It was 1 man with lights and a camera, me, our friend James who helped assist and of course my sexy co-star Irvin. We shot in 1 room in front of a black screen and that was it. (That was the easy part).
I found different make-up looks online and on Pinterest(I told you I use this **** for everything! – Thanks Red Hot for that tag line). I went out and bought the supplies I needed and practiced lip art and nice eye shadowing that I felt would translate well on camera. Lo and behold it did! Praise the heavens! I even shot a make-up tutorial for one of my favorite looks in the video. I’ll be posting that soon so stay tuned!!
Being creatively independent, we have to find ways to accomplish our goals and dreams on little to no budget at all. But don’t be discouraged. It allows you to get those juices flowing – thinking outside the box and learning new skills on your own to do some awesome and amazing things yourself.
I didn’t have $ in my budget for a make-up artist so, I learned and did it myself. I also chose not to pay $ for a graphics artist so, over the years, I learned and did that myself too. See my pic below:
It helps to be self-sufficient. It relieves the stress of having no budget and gives you full creative control over your project – but I must say, you will need a creative eye to know what looks good and what doesn’t.
My biggest pet-peeve is my music, images and videos MUST look and sound professional. If you aren’t sure if your product can hold a flame next to your favorite artist, place them side by side. If if doesn’t look or sound just as good or even better, don’t release it. Either go back to the drawing board or know your limitations and pass the work on to someone who can help. It’s ok to sit this part of the creative process out. Take notes and come back on the next release and show off what you’ve learned!
With that said, I want to thank Lenny Harold for being so amazing in directing, shooting and editing this video. For his inspiration, guidance, feedback and love he put into this project – he holds a special place in my heart (among other reasons lol).
To James “A-Natural” Foster for pushing me to do this song, arranging vocals and helping to produce and grow the sound that isToi Stori, thank you. You know my limitations and you push me past them. The final product is always amazing and i’m always left speechless.
I want to also thank Irvin, my love, for playing an authentic part in this video – giving me the chemistry and confidence I needed in order to perform the true emotions and feelings behind this song. Although you’re not a person who likes to be in front of the camera, you put those feelings to the side, humbled yourself and joined me in the creation of Good Kisser. Your support is overwhelming, amazing and everything – all in one. Thank you for putting yourself out there so I can follow my dreams. I couldn’t have done it with anyone else (wink)!
Last but not least, I’d like to thank my family, fans and friends who have shared, posted, re-posted, commented and liked the song and the video! You guys have given me life! Just seeing and hearing the feedback and support has been extremely humbling and overwhelming, This is why I do it! For you, for me, for all of us that struggle to reach a dream that is within our grasps. You also give me confidence and the will to keep going and never give up. Who needs a major deal in order to reach the people you love. You’re already here!
I was so excited after getting my final track to my cover of Usher’s “Good Kisser”, I decided to promote it on Instagram ASAP! The only problem was, with a full schedule ahead of me, I barely had enough time to get everything done before I left the house. So, I decided to get up early, beat my face and do my hair. The idea was to lip sync in front of my camera phone to the “Good Kisser” track but the music wouldn’t playback loud enough. I decided to blast the song through my VIZIO sound bar via blue tooth and boy was it loud! I had to do a few takes (hey, sometimes it beez like that! lol) just to get it perfect, but I didn’t realize what time it was. It was only 10 am and I had to re-take those shots about 6 times -YIKES! I recorded my reaction when I realized the time… I’m sure my neighbors hate my guts!