Next Step November Artist Spotlight: Tensei

 

Our November Next Step Artist Spotlight goes to Chicago based production duo Tensei! Hats off, gentelmen.

Meaning ‘heaven star’ in Japanese, Tensei consists of producers Simple X and Midas Wells, kindred spirits of sorts, one might say. Midas from the Chicago suburbs and Simple X from the Chicago south side, the two first met circa 1998 at the dorms of Southern Illinois University during a cypher. Soon, the two were banging out tunes on whatever their limited student resources could afford. However, Tensei’s journey has certainly been anything but linear: post graduation saw a “regular” job for X and a momentary complete departure from music for Midas.

Then came the serendipitous run in at a mutual friend’s gig a few years ago and Tensei was born. Both committed to their crafts, Tensei does not heavily rely on samples and in fact play many musical parts themselves. Any gaps that need to be filled are done by session musicians and vocalists. An incredible amalgam of soul, house, jazz, electronic, and eastern sounds comes alive.

Below, you can find a pretty freakin awesome grab bag of Tensei treats. The first is an exclusive stream of “Space Colony,” a tropical cosmic tune fit for an RPG (role playing game, for the non-video game nerds). Next is “The Ticket,” a drum heavy industrial sounding track with a bit of a Latin feel. Then we move to Tensei’s remix of “Robots” by the beloved Bilal, the track that actually got the talented duo signed to Plug Research. Finally, is perhaps our tastiest treat, the “Tensei Plugcast,” a completely engrossing DJ mix of songs from their massive archive dubbed with live violin and trumpet no less.

These dudes are going places, y’all. Watch for it.

Tensei – “Space Colony”
 

Tensei – “The Ticket” [MP3]
 

Bilal Robots ft. Adad (Tensei Remix Alternate Version) by Plug Research

Plug Research Podcast #14: Tensei by Plug Research

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October Next Step Artist Spotlight: Cole Williams

 

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Congratulations to miss Cole Williams for winning our October Next Step Artist Spotlight!

An East Flatbush native, Cole Williams blends the richness of her Jamaican and Brooklyn roots to create music mixing soul, reggae, ska, afro beat, and rock. Growing up listening to an an eclectic mix of Yolanda Adams, Mighty Sparrow, Jackson 5, and Bob Marley, one can assume correctly that this young woman is bursting with flavor. At times, she also reminds us just a little bit of Res – you know we’re not mad at that.

Her list of accolades, which include a Swedish Grammy nomination, aren’t modest either. To date, Cole has shared the stage with Lisa Lisa, Little Jackie, Imani Coppola, Big Brooklyn Red, Dana Fuchs, Honey LaRochelle, and Maya Azucena as well as recorded background vocals for Diane Birch and Joss Stone.

Might we add that she’s also performed on The Today Show and The Conan O’Brien Show, amongst others. Oh, and you can catch her as the singer in the new Cover Girl commercial with Drew Barrymore and as well as a Special K commercial that will be running at the end of the month. Fancy much.

This past September, the artist released an album named Out Of The Basement, Part 1, which you can stream in full below. Also, above you can find the gorgeous video for the instantly nostalgic “Little Me,” which we are absolutely delighted to premiere. Think late 90′s, early 00′s R&B.

Currently, you can catch Cole performing weekly at Asselna’s Sunday brunch gig at the new Gansevoort Hotel in NYC. She’s also mixing her next album!

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Now Accepting Next Step October Entries!

 

Lots of excitement around the fourth month of our Next Step contest. With CMJ around the corner, we can’t wait to put some shine on another upcoming musical talent!

So far we’ve featured Tara Priya in July, Iman Williams in August, and Tall Black Guy Productions in September. Two incredible vocalists and an amazing, inspiring producer.

The winner will receive an “Artist Spotlight” feature post on the Giant Step website, and up to $1,000 in Giant Step Marketing services!

Please note that we are accepting submissions from anyone that makes music – producers, singers, instrumentalists, rappers, and bands alike are all welcome.

This month, we are accepting submissions from today until Wednesday, October 26th. That said, we are now open for October entries!

Submit your music for consideration!