By Contributor Cierra Rich
Sunday night started out with a line out the door to get into the Complex in Oakland, where local artists came together to perform for one of the traveling Coast 2 Coast musician contests. The environment was fairly intimate but the energy was quite high. A small venue where all ages were welcomed, sat a panel of three judges to choose between a variety of performers to send to the final round of the competition. Winners travel to Miami, Florida during a large conference event in 2018, to face off for the winning title and $50K.
Image Courtesy of Coast 2 Coast
This was Sirzeez’s second show and he had an amazing group of supporters from close friends to some relatives. When we was asked about who came, he responded with, “Really everyone who showed up for me was family; my mom, auntie, my big brother, friends I grew up with, the whole SirVache Co. ”
His crew was especially supportive of everyone that came out onto the stage. Friend and rapper Youngrosss was spotted in the front of the crowd cheering on each performance through the entire night. The SirVache group sported purple sweatshirts, “We decided to use purple, because it's the color of royalty”, they said.
Video by Cierra Rich
After Sirzeez performed I'd asked him if he had any words of encouragement for other underground rappers. He replied with, “I'd have to say the success doesn't come overnight, it's sacrifice, it's dedication. No matter how hard it gets, never stop chasing your dreams.”
He also mentioned he has two freestyle mix tapes, over a dozen singles and some compilation tapes, which you can find on Soundcloud. Overall the message Sirezeez wants to push across with his talent is to be positive; surround yourself with good vibes and you'll be so much happier that way.
Monique Martinez surprised the crowd when she hit those high notes; she has a pop voice that goes so well with her style. Monique placed first, so she'll be competing in the final competition of Coast 2 Coast. Martinez said “I am so thrilled to have been chosen for first place, it's quite a shock. There were a lot of amazing and talented people in the building. I am extremely grateful.” Martinez continued, “I was blessed to have close friends and family, along side my Templo Music Crew to support.”
Videos by Cierra Rich
I asked Martinez for some motivational words for up and coming artists, she replied with, “Keep pushing and working on your craft. Always believe in yourself, and enjoy the beautiful struggle as much as the journey that comes with it. The business is crazy, but there's so much opportunity that comes with it, if you believe in yourself.”
Monique also told us, “I just recently dropped my single "Still Here" in June, which is available on all media outlets. I am currently finalizing my EP to be released within the next few weeks.”
Although, there were some technical difficulties throughout the show and I think everyone that night would have to agree that there was an insufficient amount of air conditioning (lol). I hope to hear less voice over at the next one I attend. Other than that – all in all – it was a very pleasant experience. I personally appreciated how humble the artists were that I spoke with and it put a smile on my face to see so many people from the community come to support the performers; from babies, to millennials to grandparents. The crowd was more than alive, they were repping our coast!
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE,
a freelance fashion writer, poet,
photographer and abstract visual content producer.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University, where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column For
The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first of 25 Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early. Bringing him to four degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, from commercial retail management to corporate level ghost writing. Now - he the poet - T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent launch of the urban California lifestyle based fashion-art movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.