PART 1: This CULTURE CAPTURE performance was captured in HUSS ART HOUSE - HQ for LIFE VOCABULARY in South London.  Head to to get the latest on his music.  

(Part 2 - Fontzerelli performance).  

Editor Serena Hussain aka HUSS conversation with Shay J Today and Management before the event:


True. How can there be?  These are the words taken from Rapper and lyrical Philosopher (from Atlanta) Shay J Today.  In conversation with him and part of his management team Web who is based in Europe (Founder of platform "Raise the Kulture”) we discussed the state of Hip Hop for well over an hour.  Here are some of the insights: 

First - Web cut straight to what she as a Hip Hop Culture Activist deems most important for us to consider right now: 

“We don’t usually give interviews … but we f**k with you and what you’re doing.  Unfortunately, the new culture is no culture.  And those who complain about the state of hip hop - my message to them is - SHARE your Rappers”. 

The discussion about discovering new music, being heard and supported went deep - spanning from thriving as an artist to a more market perspective on the art itself. But it mostly focused on Shay J Today’s philosophy - being YOU on the path of least resistance - which is pivotal to the art itself:

“For me… vision is always a must and I go off of a feeling.  From New York and the opportunities over there to spreading the music far and wide (Japan and other territories).  Go where people receive you”. 

I asked them about this path of least resistance - and if dreaming bigger could engender such a smooth trajectory.  What about the struggle?  And the struggle being real?! A sharp insight came from them:

"Once you do better, the circle gets smaller and tighter”. 

So … removing ourselves from energy that doesn’t help propel us can be the cause of said resistance? Is isolation a necessary part in the creation of art?  Shay J Today went on to explain: 

"Art is subjective and regardless of where you sit - whether it’s mainstream music or not - you should be your own Artist and exactly how you want to be”. 

On self promotion - during these times of new media and digital content - I asked how artists, especially unsigned and independent, should seek to stand out? A very quick and succinct answer came from Web: 

“Be paper … not coins.  We’re not here to make noise - but to be recognised.  Real recognises real - be silent but (smilingly) deadly”. 

On the absence of a record label and ‘corporate' management team, we talked about straddling the line between discovery and middle management.  We’re in a space now where we can find more and more diverse music.  But it is still up to us to share what we know is 'good music'.  On her platform “Raise the Kulture”, Web shares artists whose music she finds an answer in.  Which is the true meaning and mission of Hip Hop is it not?  

Hip Hop is an evocative genre of music, one that LIFE VOCABULARY regards as a lens through which we can better understand human nature... and understand our lives.   

When it comes to making music, and the frequency of this, Shay J Today prefers to take his time and praised his Producer (also his mentor) who showed him how to absorb music in a deeper way - listening vs. studying.   

“Albums take time - the greats produced great projects”.   

Rather than churning them out?  There are trends and layers in hip hop including the “real hip hop” purists who are celebrated for recognising true musical art.  Are such categories necessary to highlight ‘the real’? Or could such categories stand in the way of the music reaching as many ears as possible?  Do elitist approaches within Hip Hop potentially create more exclusivity when in fact music and hip hop needs to be all embracing?  

Perhaps aligning ourselves to any layer in this Hip Hop cake could create further separation but we also have to assist others in deciphering where WE sit in this cake.  It’s not so black and white. 

This conversation entered all kinds of grey areas - the kind that LIFE VOCABULARY likes to capture. It’s in that grey area where we can truly find one another.  Learn more about Shay J Today in our live CULTURE CAPTURE interview with him and South London Rapper Fontzerelli. 

Shay J Today’s upcoming album VAL{you} is created around a theme of personal growth and intelligence.  To get a deeper insight into his writing and listen to his new music, head over to

Serena Hussain aka HUSS The Editor - Producing Culture Content to Incite Insight.


Hannah Williams & The Affirmations appear on Jay-Z’s thirteenth studio album “4:44”.  His title track is bodied around “Late Nights & Heartbreak” which is also the title track of Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ latest album, released by Record Kicks last November. Jay Z’s album, produced by No I.D. declared that he purposely pitched Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ song: “I put this sample (that) it starts off with, “I find it so hard/When I know in my heart/I’m letting you down every day.” I remember him hearing it and looking at me like, sighing”. Quoting Jay-Z: ‘4:44 is the crux of the album… it’s such a powerful song and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written”. 

This in depth and candid podcast conversation between #LVMAG’s Editor Serena Hussain and Hannah Williams not only records her reaction to the sudden interest in their music, but her thoughts on the music industry, being an Artist, and experiencing another ‘break’ at this stage in her career.  “A series of breaks and luck” creating a long and gratifying career.  “Late Nights & Heartbreak” has been recorded backed by her new band from Bristol “The Affirmations” at Quatermass Studio in London, the HQ of the British cult band The Heliocentrics and has been produced by legendary UK drummer Malcolm Catto, also known for his work with among the others, Mulatu Astatke, Orlando Julius, Floating Points, Quantic, Dj Shadow and Madlib.Hannah Williams exploded onto the soul scene with her debut album a Hill Of Feathers in 2012. The first single “Work it Out” was an independent hit on the airwaves all over the globe and the official video has garnered over 1.5 million views on YouTube. The story of Hannah Williams seems to be written in lore from day one. Her father was a musically gifted minister and her mother let her join the church choir at the age of 6. Hannah could read music before she could properly read words. Now she’s an unstoppable force of incredible, once-in-a-lifetime talent.



#LVMAG talks to Orchestral Arranger Fiona Brice at the rehearsal for the Mozart Players & Shift K3y concert in Croydon's Boxpark. Fiona's very unique and praised perspective was relied upon to provide the composition and musical liaison for the orchestral musicians and DJ/Producer Shift K3y. Fiona was tasked with writing the entire arrangement for this unique collaboration of string instrumentalists and a DJ with a setlist of tracks to mix and play in a very open sound environment. 

The setting was interesting - a busy city food court with the highest calibre of orchestral musicians rehearsing and playing to the public, most of whom perhaps wouldn't pay to listen to such a genre of sound. Fiona says "music shouldn't be intimidating ... you have space and you're going to put some music into it ... everyone should have access to all kinds of music". 

The conversation soon moved into the current culture of sound and music, and the over exposure to a certain style of it. Compressed sounds and compressed culture! Fiona talks about the homogenisation of music and how perhaps more investment needs to come from corporates in order for diverse Artists to have their music heard more widely. 

Fiona's role is pivotal to pulling off such a collaboration, but she most definitely isn't centre stage. She has made this job for herself - with nobody ever telling her (when she first started in music) that such a job ever even existed. Her profession and perspective is testament to how we can all find our own way in such creative industries - crafting and offering our own unique perspectives.



A stripped back interview, unscripted, took place at TACET MUSIC GROUP in Haringey (North London) where Artist and Grammy nominated Producer Wizzy Wow is based.

Founder/Editor of LV-MAG Serena Hussain conducted this (and other) conversation as part of a core series of content - capturing stories and insight with Creatives and Artists across multiple disciplines.

See more:


WIZ on the gram:


Editor/Founder of London’s LIFE VOCABULARY digital magazine in conversation with Internationally loved Indian Folk Singer/Songwriter/Composer Raghu Dixit.   

So many stunning insights in this laid back conversation which we only wish we had more time for.  Raghu displays his setlist just before this interview commences and explains how the fans will dictate the songs anyway - much like how LV-MAG interviews are conducted… allowing for the natural flow of conversation between Artist and Journalist just like the reciprocal energy between Artist and Audience.   

Raghu and his collective of musicians provide an open house every morning in their studio in India where fans and curious folk can pop in to enjoy their uplifting sound - which has always remained the same; to evoke JOY.  Even the joy of sadness, joy of anticipation, and the joy of hope.  Many many more stunning insights in this interview.   

Life Vocabulary #LVMAG CULTURE CONTENT - Spotlighting dynamic individuals, inciting insight, sharing artistry and creativity.