State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Sam Tardif

Movin' On Battle Showcase: Chester Berks

Chester Berks is a soulful hip-hop artist from Reading, PA. He mixes hip-hop, soul, and good vibes. Twenty-two years old and new to University Park this year, this senior is more than excited for his opportunity to compete at Movin’ On Battle of the Bands. The excitement of the atmosphere and access to new people and audiences has perpetuated him to release his first two mixtapes this year. With his music, he tries his best to make it honest and original. He likes to think his music strays from the pack, especially in contemporary underground hiphop music. His influences include Miles Davis, Kendrick Lamar, Common, Mos Def, James Blake, J Dilla, Kanye West, MF Doom, Lauryn Hill, and many more.

Berks says, ” I’m just getting my feet wet in the State College/PSU music community and I’m really hoping to make some more key contacts and collaborate with some of the area’s finest while showing them my perspective and spreading my vibe as well.”

According to Berks he has a release planned before the end of the semester as well as a pending joint-entry with PSU producer/DJ SitRealm for the Phyrst Jam Sesh Battle Tournament to be held throughout April. The release will ideally be a short 3-4 song tape with collaborations from PSU producer Ray Miller aka SitRealm and my feature vocalist and State College native, Olivia Jones who will be performing with me at the Movin’ On Battle of the Bands.

Movin’ On 2013, State In The Real, and Penn State are so excited to have Chester Berks perform in this year’s Movin’ On Battle Of The Bands!  Check out below Chester Berk’s EP “Start Walking” and give us your feedback! Come out Saturday, March 23rd at 9pm in Alumni Hall to hang out with me and Chester Berks and catch his set!

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SPA Noontime Lounge Presents Sam Brenner

“Stop in between classes, grab something to eat downstairs, and join us in the Noontime lounge right above Panda Sushi!

25-year-old singer/songwriter Sam Brenner is an independent artist on the rise. His harmonious debut album, Where We Begin, showcases an emotional depth & subtle confidence that is rare in most young musicians.

At the core of Brenner’s music are his lyrics – honest commentaries that seem easily relatable and delicately personal to the human experience.

Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, his parents exposed him to classics such as The Beatles and James Taylor, while his brothers introduced him to Dave Matthews Band and Radiohead. When he was twelve-years-old, his parents bought him his first guitar and from that day forward, he never put it down. “I remember attempting to take lessons early on but never really finding a good fit. When I was that age, I was much more interested in learning popular songs than learning the fundamentals, which means I was apparently setting myself up to be the world’s greatest wedding singer,” he says with a grin.

In the Fall of 2005, Brenner relocated from Buffalo to Cleveland, OH in pursuit of a college education. It was in Cleveland that his talents, both as a writer and as a performer, started to exponentially blossom. Before long, Brenner became a commonplace name around campus music venues, and developed a supportive following that would eventually help encourage him to pursue music as a career. In the Spring of 2007, Brenner won a Battle of the Bands competition on campus and was awarded the opportunity to open for Lifehouse. This is when Brenner got his first taste of the dream….

Since Where We Begin’s 2011 release, Brenner has been busy bringing his songs to backyards, clubs, coffeehouses, and colleges all across the country. His unique guitar-playing style, crisp voice, and knack for inclusion makes a Sam Brenner live show one that cannot be missed.

Brenner is currently working on a 6-song EP & a second studio album; both to be released in 2013.”

Join the Facebook event here!

Karmin Releases New Cover of Drake's "Started from the Bottom"

Despite being let down because this track wasn’t accompanied by a video of Amy Heidemann with a suicide bun, I continued to listen to Karmin’s rendition of Drake’s “Started from the Bottom.” I was a bit taken aback at first when I even learned that they were covering this song. In my Karmin experience at least, I always enjoy Amy putting a feminine twist on typically fast rapping songs like “6 foot 7 foot” and “Look At Me Now,” so hearing these somewhat consistently slow lyrics made me wonder if I was a fan. But taking a step back, I obviously am. Doing this song in a lower register for her voice makes Amy seem powerful, confident, and in control. She is no longer just a little white girl covering songs, she is a contender in the rap game, and she knows it. As per usual, Karmin cleaned up the song. I for one appreciate that, especially in rap songs when we all know that certain words are use frequently. Karmin also changes lyrics to make the song more personal. I believe my favorite line from this remix is “I don’t wanna do any complaining but we did no SNL with no music,” leading to “but ask how me it was to get pimp slapped by Paul McCartney.” You can tell that Nick and Amy have a sense of humor, which is clearly just another reason why they are the cutest musical duo/engaged couple. Also, Drake (*cough Aubrey Graham), did NOT start from the bottom, so he should sign the rights to this song over to Karmin. Maybe it can be a wedding gift.

Vin Diesel Should Stick To Movies

To start off, I had to ask if this video was serious. I expected to be Rick Rolled at some point, or Ashton Kutcher to have a throwback moment and tell me this was Punk’d. I’m all for a man to show his sensitive side, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when people truly believe they have singing talent and they sound like William Hung. And yes I did just make a William Hung reference. Side note: I did some research on him for a paper, and he was shockingly enough NOT a successful recording artist. He now works with the Los Angeles police, which is where Vin Diesel should end up if he posts another video like this. His rendition of Rihanna’s “Stay” was intended for his girlfriend as a Valentine’s Day present. If my boyfriend thought that butchering a Rihanna song was an acceptable Valentine’s gift, he’d find himself sleeping on the couch that night and possibly single on February 15th. My advice for Vin: keep it XXX next Valentine’s Day and if you want to record that…I guarantee you’ll expand your viewership.

Rediscovering Justin Nozuka

Amidst all the Grammy excitement and chaos, I was home for the weekend in the suburbs of Philly. So, naturally I was plugged into Spotify all weekend long, rediscovering my obsession of Justin Nozuka.

If you don’t know who he is… you haven’t been living.

Nozuka, a native Canadian like many of our favorite artists (Carly Rae, J. Biebs), has a blues-soul like sound with bit of pop mixed in. You might recognize him from Canada’s hit teen show Degrassi…that I was also obsessed with. Hmm..maybe he and Drake should collaborate.

Anyway, he’s had two albums (Holly [2007] and You I Wind Land and Sea [2010]) released already, and one is supposed to drop this year. Both have received positive reviews and mild fame among the US charts. His song “After Tonight” was featured on MTV and VH1. But my favorite song has to be “Golden Train,” because of its upbeat melody and how his dreamy voice is especially showcased in that track.