On Thursday, February 1, 2018, the first night of Black History Month, Henry Box Brown: A Hip Hop Musical, produced and starring Karl “Dice Raw” Jenkins, opens at the Bonnell Auditorium of the Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130. This musical forces one to ask: What would I do for freedom?
Grammy-award nominee Jenkins, well-known for his collaboration with The Roots, sees Box’s story as an opportunity to introduce a new slave narrative—the story of a real person, who is deeply flawed, highly talented and limitlessly resilient.
Jenkins, who shares Box’s large build, stars in the show. His co-stars include Minister Jamie Knight, an artist formerly on Jay-Z’s record label, and Gina Costanzo (“Gina Zo”) from Team Blake Shelton on NBC’s The Voice.
Jenkins co-wrote the music with hip hop producer Seth “Digital Crates” Barmash. Former BET and Disney writer Phillip S. Brown directs the show and wrote the narrative. The music was recorded at Forge Recording, which is also a sponsor of the musical.
Shannon DeVido, Lead Actress from the upcoming Zeno Mountain Farm production The Homecoming recorded vocals for the film’s soundtrack with Forge Recording engineer Robbie Simmons.
Shannon DeVido records vocals in Studio A.
The Homecoming is a high school musical full of humor, heartbreak, and passion that celebrates disability culture. This project comes directly after Zeno’s award-winning documentary Becoming Bulletproof and is the largest effort the production company has made to date.
Zeno Mountain Farm is a nonprofit that fosters lifelong friendships and opportunities for people with diverse needs. The community is built around projects; currently these include art, film, theatre, sports, music and adventure.
The Philadelphia comic book-inspired rock band Stereotytans is working on an EP of theme songs from popular epic movies and television shows at Forge Recording. The EP will include theme songs from Wonder Woman, Game of Thrones, Spider-Man, and more.
The Tytans take inspiration from Living Color, Fishbone, Radiohead and Public Enemy to create rock music with hints of soul, funk and metal mixed in for good measure. Each member personifies a Tytan from Greek mythology: Gab Guma (guitar, Hyperion); Marc Brasof (drums, Oceanus); Damen St. Alborne (vocals, Prometheus); Chris Jones (bass, Kronos); and Ken Khaoss (DJ, Hades). The band is 93.3 WMMR’s Artist of the Month for December 2017.
Steve Rosplock with members of Stereotytans
Steven Rosplock is the mastermind behind Stereotytans and is also a member of Phantasm, which tracked its latest album at Forge Recording.
Here is the video Clowns from the Stereotytans’ debut album Escape.
Many millennia ago, the earth and sky gave birth to the mighty Tytans! Freed by Athena, after eons of imprisonment at the hands of her father Zeus, the Tytans now reside powerless on Earth trying to regain their former glory. In a bid to overthrow Zeus’ reign, these mythic beings have formed a rock band with a plan to convert fans into an army of Demigods to battle Zeus and return them to their rightful place among the heavens. And thus, the STEREOTYTANS were born!
Above: Brendan McGeehan and Alex Barrett record the audiobook Deck the Hallways.
ListenUp Audiobooks chose Forge Recording to record two audiobooks for the New York Times best-selling Fixer-Upper Mystery series. ListenUp Audiobooks is an award-winning spoken word production company and audiobook publisher with hundreds of published titles.
Alex Barrett narrated author Kate Carlisle’s fourth and fifth novels in the Fixer-Upper Mystery series—Deck the Hallways and Eaves of Destruction—in The Academy Studio with audio engineers Brendan McGeehan and Robbie Simmons. The series follows contractor Shannon Hammer who also solves murder mysteries in her coastal California town. You can purchase the highly-rated Deck the Hallways audiobook here, and Eaves of Destructionhere.
Alex Barrett, also known by the pseudonym Angela Starling, has recorded numerous audiobooks. “Alex is very talented, very professional and very easy and fun to work with. Her experience shows in both her reading and her interaction with me as the engineer,” says Simmons. Click here to find other audiobooks narrated by Barrett.
Forge Recording’s Academy studio is well-suited for voiceovers. The recording booth is comfortable and acoustically tuned for a clean, dry, spoken-word sound; it also allows for a TV hook up which eliminates distracting page-turning noises, and makes a perfect set-up for re-recorded dialogue (known as ADR) for video. Simmons recorded Victoria Laurie’s audiobook A Grave Prediction with Elizabeth Michaels here in 2016, and wrestling aficionado Bill Apter recorded the audiobook for his memoir Is Wrestling Fixed? in the Academy Studio.
Lee J. Harold released Memory Lane, a 5-song EP of jazz standards. The tracks were arranged by Jim Holton and recorded, mixed and mastered by Forge Recording Lead Engineer, Ron DiSilvestro. Forge Recording also designed and manufactured the CDs which are available on CDBaby.
Memory Lane is, well, a trip down Memory Lane with familiar songs like Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Favorite Things, with delightlful and original twists and turns. A little less familiar are Oscar Brown, Jr.’s Memory Lane, Eddie Jefferson’s and James Moody’s Moody’s Mood for Love and Dizzy Gillespie’s Night in Tunisia.
Performing on the tracks are Jim Holton on keyboards and cello, Nimrod Speaks on bass, Anwar M. Marshall on drums, Josh Robinson on percussion, Diane Monroe on violin, Alberta Douglas and Ramona Douglas on strings, and Lee J. Harold and Rhenda Fearrington on vocals.
Here is a video on the making of Memory Lane, produced by Brendan McGeehan. We hope you enjoy it.
Which Philadelphia native discovered Kenny Gamble, produced I’m Your Venus (The Shocking Blue) and Sunny (Bobby Hebb), co-wrote I’m Gonna Make You Love Me(Diana Ross & The Supremes & The Temptations), and was an announcer for American Bandstand?
Answer: Jerry Ross
Jerry Ross (1933-2017) was a true Philadelphia music pioneer. He did the news, sports, morning wake-up shows and DJ’d for Armed Forces Radio; attended Temple University’s communications program; DJ’d on WFIL-TV with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Music; DJ’d for WFIL radio; and was the announcer for Dick Clark’s American Bandstand—the first national TV show totally dedicated to playing pop music. He then founded Heritage Records and signed Kenny (Gamble) and Tommy (Bell) to his label. The rest, as they say, is history. Read the interview in Spectropop.
Kristin Callahan’s voice has been described as fresh, vibrant, hypnotic and mesmerizing. To capture her unique style, Kristin chose Forge Recording’s Studio A as a backdrop and guitarist Josh Nussbaum as accompanist for four videos. The songs were recorded and mixed by Forge Recording Lead Engineer Ron DiSilvestro.
Kristin is a Baltimore native who has been performing jazz since 2009. She is currently working on two projects. The first is Songs of Peggy, a program consisting of songs Peggy Lee recorded throughout her career and original songs by Lee. The second is Sway with Me, a program of Latin jazz tunes, and highlights songs written by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Joshua Howard worked with Adam Levine on The Voice. Now he’s working with Forge Recording lead engineer Ron DiSilvestro. The first song in this collaboration is entitled Make You Feel Right.
Howard sings and plays guitar on the track. Ron DiSilvestro plays drums and also produced, recorded and mixed the music. The other musicians are Manny Hampton (keys), Josue Santiago (bass), and Josh Nussbaum (guitar).
Joshua competed in the sixth season of NBC’s The Voice. He is not the only Voice contestant to call Forge Recording home. Matthew Schuler (Team Christina Season 5), Nadjah Nicole (Team Blake Season 9) and Gina Costanzo (team Blake Season 10) have all produced major projects at Forge Recording.
Gina was selected by Blake Shelton on The Voice in 2016. When not performing she spends time collaborating in the studio with producer Digital Crates.
Working with Digital Crates has always been incredible for me. He understands how I record and it is easy to play off him as he plays off me in a session. He is that person I can finish his sentence to as he can do the same for me.– Gina Zo
I really enjoyed getting to utilize Forge to allow my visions come true. The grand piano that is here holds a lot of my secrets so to speak because I have gotten to write a few of my songs using it. This album holds a lot of truth to it. It is very much a fun and loving album but shows the side of me I do not think people always get to see because I am so driven and focused. It shows my passion for life and the arts and how love plays into all of these things. — Gina Zo