You know what the best gifts are this season? The ones that come after the 25th! From a music lover’s point of view, it is always awesome to listen to a great mixtape. Most of the time, I almost think it’s unfair because the music is too good to be free but I won’t complain too much. Three talented artists recently released their free mixtapes and I wanted to share with you the goodies I found from Austin Brown, JoJo and Luke James so I hope you guys listen and love!
Austin Brown – Highway 85
Backpack Kids own, Austin Brown released a nice Christmas present with his first official full length LP, Highway 85. This mixtape, which features production and songwriting from Austin and his BPK crew Tommy Parker, Kelly Parker, and Scott Bruzenak, is a tasty smorgasbord of various sounds ranging from 60s pop to 90s hip hop that come together so seamlessly that you dive right into the layers with no problems at all.
JoJo – Agápē
JoJo is not simply a singer but a sanger. She shows off her vocal chops perfectly in her mixtape, Agápē whether she is proclaiming her love for Andre 3000, talking about going to the canyon or remaking a Joni Mitchell classic. Interwoven with funny personal interludes, the mixtape details her struggles and triumphs in the music industry and beyond in an honest and refreshing way, starting with the raw track, Back2thebeginningagain.
Luke James – Whispers In The Dark
With a Mo Better Blues backdrop, Luke James creates a grown and sexy vibe with his new mixtape, Whispers In the Dark. Produced mainly by New Age Rock Stars’ Danja, the New Orleans singer and songwriter delivers incredibly on this LP which fuses soul, R&B and jazz into one delectable treat.
I have the privilege of sharing a fellow backpack kid‘s poetry. Her name is Nana and her poem is titled Love.
Hearts beat faster
Emotions a mixture
Like a potpourri of fruits in a blender
Love has been found
Strong and unable to waver
Sweeter than fresh honey from a honey comb
More powerful than the finality of the lowly tomb
Love has been found
Without it, life has no pleasure
In its absence, success has no measure
Love has been found
If you want to follow Nana and her lovely writings, click HERE.
(l-r) Tommy Parker, Austin Brown, Scott Bruzenak | Credit: AustinBrown.com
If you are on my twitter account (@thejolynproject), you may have seen the hashtag “BPK” used quite a bit lately. This hashtag stands for “Backpack Kids.” Now you may be wondering what exactly are Backpack Kids. Well let me break it down to you. The term “Backpack Kids” was coined by the musical trio, Austin Brown, Tommy Parker and Scott Bruzenak. The singers/songwriters/producers created this term originally for the three of them but has since expanded this phrase to explain a much greater group of individuals who express their true selves. On Austin Brown’s official website, the newcomer states:
Each of us is unique in this world with unique talents. We all have inner strengths that make us who we are. How many of you have been the last kid picked at recess for a game? What about feeling singled out because you were YOU and didn’t follow the crowd? We’ve all been there. Being a Backpack Kid means you’re YOU and that’s that.
This term goes way beyond their music and their personal artistic endeavors. This term goes way beyond the words themselves. This term signifies a much greater meaning that is universal and extremely essential and that is self-love. Once you are able to accept you for whom you are, then you are able to celebrate the distinctive characteristics that make up the fabulous being that you and only you are in this world. Everyone is capable of doing this and everyone has special qualities that only they can express in their own way to the world hence why Austin states that “We’re All Backpack Kids.”
So now is the time to start truly thinking about us in a brand new way by taking special care of our heart, mind and soul, embracing our challenges and obstacles and accepting our true selves for who we really are without any cover-ups or falsehoods. Celebrate our wonderful quirkiness; celebrate the hardships that have made us stronger; celebrate the growth from the time we were born ‘til now; celebrate the foundation of us which is truly unconditional love. Let’s start expressing that foundation by giving and receiving love to ourselves and each other with no judgments. There is no greater time to love then now.
If you need some inspiration through your journey of self-love, then check out the original three Backpack Kids’ work. It may offer you a little push towards reaching your goals and aspirations and becoming the fullest expression of you that you can be in this moment and hereafter.
Update 12/24/12: Austin Brown just put out his awesome mixtape, Highway 85! Listen below and download @ AustinBrown.com.
For more information on BackPack Kids Austin, Tommy and Scott, go to AustinBrown.com.