Interview with: Matthew De Ver

MATTHEW DE VER made his entry on the blog and in no time, stole the Song of Month top spot in May with single ‘The Gift and The Wound’. NEW LEASE MUSIC had a little chat with him about the meaning behind the boom bap-inspired single, his plans for the rest of this year – and his thoughts on the music industry today.

NLM: ​Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How’s life treating you?

MDV: My pleasure. Happy to do it. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of new songwriters that are challenging and inspiring me to go deeper into the craft of songwriting. It’s been super rewarding to flex that muscle after writing on my own for the past chunk of years. Life is good, I’ve been feeling clear and focused lately and I have a brand new music video coming out very soon….

​NLM: ​You released your debut single’ The Gift and The Wound’ plus visuals In February. What was the public reception on both productions?

MDV: It’s been great so far. Slowly finding like-minded listeners and building step by step towards the release of my upcoming album: Surface Tension (a tincture for integrating shadow). I’m learning a lot from all the feedback and taking notes for future releases. My music doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre box so when people get the vibe it’s a great feeling. I spent so long without any social media presence that it’s strange and surreal to be engaging with folks online. The creation of the music and the sharing of the music are very different facets of the work and I want to show up and be present for both. I’m doing my best to let the love in.

​NLM: What was your inspiration for writing the single?

MDV: ‘The Gift & The Wound’ is inspired by growing up in Madison, WI. Specifically, I wanted to capture what it felt like driving around with my friends in high school, partying, getting into trouble & the feelings of first loves. There’s a warmth there with a subtle hint of mystery and grief beneath the surface. It’s a prelude to darker and deeper themes that I explore in the album. Over the course of the album, I explore a period of time after my dad’s death and when my mom was struggling with alcoholism. My aim was to make something beautiful out of an incredibly challenging time in my life.

​NLM: ​How was the filming process for the video?

MDV: Filming the video was a lot of fun. I was going for a lo-fi, nostalgic, home movie vibe so we shot the entire video using only an iPad and natural light. All the locations were spots in Madison, WI where I spent a lot of time growing up and that held resonance and meaning for me. It was cool to revisit them as an adult and see them in the context of healing and moving forward. When it was finished, there was a nice balance of elements (water, fire, earth, air) that I wasn’t consciously expecting when we started filming.

NLM: ​So how would you describe your sound to potential fans?

MDV: That’s a tough question! It’s groove based music with a an emphasis on lyricism & emotional depth. There are elements of jazz, funk, psychedelic pop and hip-hop. I had a powerful insight a few years ago about music being a carrier of intention and meaning. I felt like I had to make a conscious choice about where my music was coming from and what the essence would be. So, for me, it’s healing music, spiritual music, heart music. Hopefully some of that comes through to the listener.

NLM: ​If you had to collaborate with ONE mainstream artist, who would it be?

MDV: I would love to collaborate with Erykah Badu. Aside from being a big fan of her music for many years, I respect how she carries herself and how she’s navigated her career. From the outside, she seems to have a great balance of integrity without taking herself too seriously. It would be an honor to co-write, produce or perform something with her. I think we could geek out on some new-age healing shit too.

NLM: ​If you had three wishes to change the music industry today, what would they be?

MDV: 1) Higher resolution digital audio for streaming and download. The technology is available right now for us to enjoy much higher quality digital audio.

2) Fair streaming royalties for artists. I do think we’re going to get there eventually….

3) I’d like to hear more artists taking the risk to speak authentically through their music. When someone has a clear perspective and a unique take on life it really stands out to me.

NLM: ​So what are your plans for this year?

MDV: I’ve got a nice flow going on right now with releasing music and working on new material. The next step is putting together a live show with all the great musicians who worked on this album. It’s looking like mid July will be when we start gigging. Aside from my own music, I’m producing and co-writing with and for other artists.

NLM: ​How can potential fans make contact with you?

MDV: The best way is through my website & socials: MatthewDeverMusic

​NLM: ​Finally, if music didn’t exist, what profession would you do?

MDV: I think I would be doing some form of visual art. When I was younger I did a lot of drawing, painting & metal sculpture, which I really enjoyed. In high school I even thought about going to college for visual art, but life took me in another direction. Like music, it allowed me to enter that meditative state of creation. Whatever else I did would have to include that experience of creating. Being in my body and out of my head.



Album Review: Fiero – Population 7


Hailing all the way from the West Midlands, nine piece hip-hop/neo-soul act POPULATION 7 have dropped their brand new album entitled ‘Fiero’, earlier this week.

A real sultry soulful/jazz fusion takes centre stage and swagger throughout the nine-track production, with smooth Erykah Badu-esque vocals and the occasional, laid-back freestyling giving the slick combo that extra kick.

I’ve found a real treasure here – so don’t disappoint me now and CHECK IT OUT!!!

Must Listens: Blindspot, Slugums, Wi – Fi, Fiero, Paz6 & FoxP2.






Song of the Day: Motives – Courtney Bennett

Courtney Bennett Motives

COURTNEY BENNETT drops the audio to her debut, self-penned single Motives which is taken from her forthcoming EP He(art) Dealer. The singer/songwriter/rapper from West London has built her name in music circles and has fans in artists such as Jhene Aiko, M.I.A, Big Sean, Missy Elliot, Erykah Badu and Raekwon before the rest of the big wide world has got to know her.

After covering and interpreting on YouTube classic and modern hits, she has built a massive following with over 5 million YouTube hits and over 60,000 subscribers!

Now it’s time for the free-spirited songbird to let the world hear her own music…check out the seriously dope and laid-back, Motives.

RGD pic

Back in March, this young emcee was featured on NEW LEASE MUSIC with Loyalty Is Rare…now she’s back with a rather smooth offering, Get Some Money, which is available as a free download via SoundCloud…but wait !!! Before you rush off to get your copy, why not stick around a moment and get to know her?

NLM:  Hey how you doing? Please introduce yourself and where you from.

RGD: I’m great. Wassup, I’m RGD that stands for RudeGyalDejah. I’m from Nashville, TN.

NLM: Tell us what projects you working on at the moment?

RGD: I’m working on my debut mixtape 2.Die.4 dropping at the end of the year.

NLM: At what point did you want to become a hip-hop artist?

RGD: Middle school. I started with poetry first tho. I finally started recording December of last year.

NLM: Were you in a group before you flying solo?

RGD: Always solo. I tried starting a group back in high school that was a FAIL lol. My friends weren’t into it
as much as me.

NLM: How would describe your music? Would you compare yourself to any of your music influences of today?

RGD: I  would describe it as honest. It shows all sides of me. Me in a vulnerable state. My fears, insecurities, aspirations, everything.

NLM:  What do you think of the female role in the hip-hop game today?

RGD: I feel the female role is getting bigger with all these female artists getting the recognition they deserve. We’re prospering right now.
Girl power all day.

NLM: What mainstream (or even indie) artists you’re into at the moment?

RGD: Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, D’Angelo’s The Black Messiah is my favorite album right now. I listen to R&B more than Rap believe it or not.

NLM: If you had a choice to collaborate with  just ONE mainstream artist, who would it be and why?

RGD: Erykah Badu. I love her so much. She’s one of my favorites of all time. I feel like we could make a dope record together.  I enjoy her honesty in her music and the vibes.

NLM:  If you were granted three wishes, what would it be?

RGD: Infinite wealth & knowledge, peace on Earth.

NLM: How can potential fans make contact with you?

RGD:  My soundcloud, twitter, IG are all @RudeGyalDejah

Interview with: Mz Jeannie Duval

Ms Jeannie Duval

In March, MZ JEANNIE DUVAL appeared on NEW LEASE MUSIC, gracing us with her debut track  P.U.S.H from the upcoming mixtape, Public Speaking …I think it’s about time we get to know the conscious emcee.

NLM: Hey how you doing? Please introduce yourself and tell us where you from.

MJD: My real name is Olivia Hamilton and Jeannie Duval is my pen name, not an alter ego or a super star personification of the real me.  She IS me just when I’m writing and performing from my soul.  I’m from Baton Rouge Louisiana specifically Scotlandville the neighbourhood located directly behind Southern University.


NLM: Tell us what projects you’re working on at the moment? 

MJD: Whoa!  LOL!  I have about 3 to 4 different projects I’m working on at one time most days, with two at the forefront.  My label mate Tyghe and I are preparing a song behind the Truffle Butter instrumental sort of a reply to the subliminal negativity we found in the original song that’s polluting our children right now.  We are also planning an original release with another infectious beat with the subject matter pretty much being the hustler’s point of view in arguments.  Bringing it into a conscious level by subliminally speaking on how the Bible says we should love each other regardless but my hustle is being fuelled by all I want to do for you.  You aren’t the person that should be arguing with me.  I’m extremely excited about the both of them.

NLM: At what point did you want to become a hip-hop artist?

MJD: I was 18 years old.  Shout out to my mentors Warner and Chris or as they were otherwise known in frequent freestyle battles on campus FAME and Chris-Style.  I was a college radio personality and FAME was my boss Chris-Style and he were room-mates and my show was called poetry in motion.  Warner would see the passion I had for writing and when he read some of my poems he just said write me 16 bars because if you can do this you can rap.  Chris-Style is the genius behind  the beat for “Home Sweet Home” and he’s also my children’s godfather.  He’s the one that stayed up till 3 in the morning or later with me making me get sharper with my delivery, giving me the foundation to be a lyricist not just a writer.

So I didn’t decide it actually God blessed me with 3 great teachers and I just became a hip hop artist but I didn’t decide to rap revolution until I met Mr. Augustine.  You guys know him as Dee-1.  Watching him rap upliftment and his struggle with staying righteous and being in this world made me change the cursing in my music and my name.  I wanted to touch people’s spirits the way he touched mine but bring a woman’s point of view to this struggle.  One day I’ll get to tell him Thanks for that.

NLM: Were you in a group before you were a solo artist? Please spill!

MJD: LOL!  I tried so hard to create another TLC but they didn’t take me seriously or just didn’t have the time to get with me so I still talk to both of those women and I’m not mad at them or anything.  They have amazing voices and faces to match..who knows what the future may bring.  They see I wasn’t just blowing smoke now maybe that will be something we can do on the side when they’re ready.

NLM: How would describe your music? Would you compare yourself to any of your music influences of today?

MJD: It’s soul music in hip hop form, so it can be mistaken for gospel but it is honestly conscious preparation music for the war.  I always tell people don’t label it gospel because I’ll lose a whole half an audience of young people if you do and those are the minds I’m after.  The return of Christ is real and the war between good and evil has started already.  We have to be mentally prepared to fight the enemy.  I’m Jeannie!   Any native of Louisiana is a mixture of everything.  The music you hear is that gumbo.  It’s the Gap Band, Kool N The Gang, and Digable Planets with a little Monie Love the revolutionary spirit of Ms. Queen Latifah packaged like Jill Scott, Angie Stone, or India Arie.  It speaks to the spirit so there are several soulful influences.

NLM: So What do you think of the female role in the hip-hop game today?

MJD: It has appeared to me that her role changed from standing out as a business woman or game changer to a submissive sex kitten on all ends.  It gives young girls the wrong impression of themselves, life, and their worth but the beat is nice so no one pays attention that the words are being implanted into mentalities.  We’re slowly becoming a product of what we’re taking in and the woman has the power to change all of that with the proper message.  We were born teachers and leaders, we just need that information put out there more.

NLM: What mainstream (or even indie) artists you’re into at the moment?

MJD: I am listening heavy to my labelmate Mr. Tyghe.. find him on Soundcloud and Reverb under our label which is N.O. House Records.. I listen to a lot of T.I., Wale and Kendrick Lamar.  My favourite indie artists from my city are Young Gage and Itzil Duce.  Great wordsmiths and just great hearted guys overall.

NLM: If you had a choice to collaborate with  just ONE mainstream artist, who would it be and why?

MJD: Erykah Badu because when I was 13 years old and did performance poetry for my first talent show that’s what the judge called me and I was so very honoured.  My mom brought me to Essence Festival 3 years later to see her perform and I fell in love with her genuine spirit and how free she is when she’s on stage.  She’s my inspiration so that would be a dream come true.

NLM: If you were granted three wishes, what would it be?

MJD: LOL.. only 3?  My first one would be to give each person on the police force in each state psychological exams and if they refuse them fire them because they’re obviously hiding something.  2nd I would go to each juvenile detention center and jail and give them the option of having a one week pass or to be released completely after completing either a GED program where I’d have the job right there set up after the training, higher education or a trade school. Lastly I would put all the most financially successful women in one room and speak to them on their role in pulling up people in our communities.  The man was made from dust but the woman from a bone so strength is there regardless we have to continue to remind each other

NLM: How can potential fans make contact with you?

MJD: I am on Instagram @livduval30 On Twitter @jeanieduval with ONE N lol and my fan page Jeannie Duval on Facebook as well as where I have been number 6 on the local charts for about 2 weeks now.  I answer all messages as quickly as I can.  I am in school at the moment to be a Medical Assistant and my state board is in June so it may take a minute for the reply but it’s coming I promise.  I’m just a regular lady with a dream to make an imprint on the world through the music but I’m aware I can’t do this by myself.  I welcome anyone who wants to be a part of this family and this movement. We’ll keep it pushing.