Inventive lyrics, cross-cultural appeal, faith define "Tha Vizion" on new CD
Okinawa, Japan (MMD Newswire) June 28, 2012 -- Michael Yearby, known by many as hip-hop artist M.Y. Tha Vizion, is on a personal mission to spread music with a positive, uplifting message to the world, and he needs $50,000 to complete that mission. Yearby is hoping to raise the money, which will fund his first full-length CD, through the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. He only has a month to do it, but Yearby is characteristically optimistic that the force of his music, combined with the power of social media, will allow him to reach or even surpass his funding goal. He's currently gearing up for the July Kickstarter campaign.
Originally from Florida, Yearby serves his country in the Air Force, currently stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. He has previously released a successful EP, "The Shinobi's Son," produced by Kenny Williams of Outta Step, LLC, and renowned mastering engineer Erick Labson of Universal Mastering Studio. In addition Yearby has produced the "Beautiful Muzik Mixtape" series, and has also attracted many new fans at a number of street concerts. He admits that his military service has afforded him some unique opportunities. "When a hip-hop artist has an opportunity to rap for the youth of Japan, that is a pretty exciting thing," he says, adding that M.Y. Tha Vizion has made "a solid impression" on the Japanese community.
Hip-hop and urban are among the hottest music genres today, with new talent constantly competing against established mega-stars for the attention of a fickle audience. Very often, however, the messages in the music are angry and negative. By contrast, Yearby's music is "heartfelt and encouraging," as he describes it, and deeply personal as well.
"These songs are a collection of my very own life music," explains Yearby. "Writing them helped me remember the love, the passion, and the everything that comes with living this life - and I hope it can give someone else a reason to keep moving forward in their lives as well."
Yearby's musical influences are broad, ranging from classical to rock music, and he strives to craft songs with inventive lyrics, crossing over racial, cultural, and national lines. A message of faith is woven throughout his work - his personal religious faith as well as his faith in the power of music to heal hearts. You might even consider his music a ministry of sorts, one that meshes well with other projects he is involved in, such as a clothing company, Kiyoi, that markets strikingly designed custom apparel displaying similarly uplifting messages. And then there's a comic book series, featuring stunning art and the same type of positive message.
Yearby's fund raising campaign on Kickstarter officially begins on July 1, 2012 and ends at midnight August 1. "The songs on the album have already been composed and arranged," he says. "The funds will be used to move the selected songs for the album from pre to post production." This includes but is not limited to professional studio time, which is expensive in Japan due to the exchange rate. It also includes mixing and mastering by engineers, the hiring of a photographer for album photos, music video production by filmmakers/animators, construction of the online video game by developers/programmers, and having the illustrators compose the unique imaginary for the album, apparel, comic book, and more.
As much as he is stoked by the music, Yearby is particularly excited about the video projects, and the opportunities afforded to those who pledge $2,500 or more. "For instance, for a $2,500 pledge, you can become an online game character," he explains. "Illustrators and animators will make mock-ups of your character with your help. Then programmers and developers will create your character out of 10 controllable characters used in the single-player game, and you'll receive producer's credits for the online game." Higher pledges will allow the participant to become a producer for a mini Web series, and/or to be a feature illustration in the graphic novel/comic book. "There are tons of creative possibilities, and we're just getting started," says Yearby.
Some have asked Yearby why he doesn't shoot for a major label, but the truth, he explains, is that most major record labels consider a new or indie artist more of a liability than a potential asset. This causes album delays, high production costs, and a host of other problems that not only stifle the artist's creativity but, Yearby feels, ultimately hurt the fans by keeping them from experiencing music the way the artist intended. Fortunately technology has made it easier than ever for talented artists to be their own label, and social media make it easier to market their product, but the creation process still requires money.
Hence the Kickstarter campaign, which Yearby is taking very seriously. He explains, "Unlike many urban musicians who have big dreams and big talent but no direction, I have a sensible marketing plan. I plan to use the power of social media to the max. Even if people can't donate any money, they can at least help spread the word. Anything they can do through their social media networks or any other networks, on or off line, will help." (Yearby's social media links are below.)
Yearby believes he has a unique artistic approach and that his music is different from anything that has been seen in recent years. "I know every musician says that," he adds, "but all I'm asking is for people to go to my Web site and follow the links to listen to some of the samples - and then they can make up their own minds."
He also encourages people to visit his Kickstarter page to get an overview of the project, including previews of some of the astonishing artwork he is considering for his CD, custom apparel, and related projects. Potential donors can also view the list of premiums that will be awarded according to donation amount. Yearby hopes to gain a lot of attention for the project before it goes live on July 1.
More than that, he wants to be an ambassador for the music world. "It's remarkable how music is considered to be the most dominant and prevalent art form we use to express our point of view, our interests, and the love we have towards one another," he says. "I want people to listen to my work, of course, but beyond that, I want to help make them aware of the true power and significance of music.
"And as for my own music, my goal is to get as many people as possible to love it, support it, and share it."
Michael "M.Y. Tha Vizion" Yearby's Kickstarter page is at http://kck.st/LDVEHT and can be previewed now.