CKG is an LA Music award winning artist/producer/writer from Chicago. Juding from his new hits “Higher” and “Nicky Santoro”, he’s going to be the biggest thing from Chicago since Kanye West. He’s appeared on tv shows like NBC’s “Chicago Fire”, Fox’s “Empire” , ABC’s “Mind Games” and more. Praised by Grammy award winning producers & writers, he is positioning himself to be someone to be reckoned with in this entertainment game! We got to catch up with CKG and get to know him, his start in music, and the meaning behind a few of his latest releases!
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about your musical background? Who (or what) inspired you to begin writing, recording, and releasing music in the first place?
CKG: When I first saw the video for “You Gots To Chill” by EPMD, I fell in love with hip hop. When I heard Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Big L and Kurupt (of the Dogg Pound) rhyme, I “KNEW” this is what I wanted to do. They def. inspired my writing style on the rap side. As far as producing and writing pop, R&B, etc, people like DeVante Swing (of Jodeci), Dj Quik, Prince, R Kelly, Timbaland etc were def. a big influence.
ET: Could you walk us through each of your songs (‘I Can Handle That’, ‘Field Goal Good’, ‘If This Is The End’, ‘Yes’, ‘Got 2 C U Now’, and ‘They Can’t Touch Me’) and give us some insight into each song’s meaning and lyrical content?
CKG: “Got 2 C U Now” is a song for the ladies. Basically it’s about a woman so into a guy, that whenever she calls him, she “HAS” to see him. “If This Is The End” is a rap/rock song. I’ve always wanted to do something where I was kind of singing/rapping with a band. I wanted to showcase I’m more than a rap artist. Songs like “They Can’t Touch Me”, “Field Goal Good” and “I Can Handle That” are half lyrical showcase, half about the struggles in life. “I’m Feeling You”, which is probably my biggest song to date, is a radio friendly song about three diff. females in three diff. cities and the stories all end with the woman basically telling me they’re feeling me. “Yes” is an R&B/Rap tinged jam. I kind of wanted that Kanye West “Flashing Lights” feel to a song. It’s actually the same tempo.
ET: What went into the making of the music video for ‘Nicky Santoro’? What about the music video for ‘Higher’?
CKG: “Higher” was actually shot in January. I was having issues with getting the video completely finished dealing with other people. Eventually I did the finishing editing & put it out this past September. That song has actually already been licensed overseas. The theme was a party gone wrong. My friend screwed up the money but we still had a good time & passed out. As for “Nicky Santoro”, that’s a song that I created to sort of fit in with todays rap format on the radio, but still gave it that NEW feeling. A lot of people don’t know who it is. There is a version out with the talking of Joe Pesci from the movie “Casino” on the beginning of it, but that was just promo. I’m independent, and I can’t get that cleared yet! LOL. But, it’s taken off & it seems it will probably wind up being my biggest record to date. The concept for the video is I have rent due and my landlord is going to kick me out if I don’t have the money. So, I kind of do a play on the tv show “Cash Cab” and do the “Ghetto Cash Cab”. People like it. A lot of people also don’t know the REAL Nicky Santoro is actually from Chicago. Also, that I write ALL my video treatments and co direct them.
ET: What has it been like to have the opportunity to act on television programs such as Empire, Chicago Fire, and Mind Games?
It was a great learning experience. From being on my own, ROCK BOTTOM broke in 2007, starting my own company from the ground up, teaching myself to play the piano etc, to learning everything ground up, has been a blessing in disguise. I won an LA Music Award in 2009, THAT experience was crazy. But being on these tv shows, I was an extra, but I got some good camera time. I really learned how these things go so, it’s a lot of “hurry up and wait”. LOL. But, Im developing my own tv show idea, a comedy called “Obstacles” so, hopefully I
Can “Star” in my own show soon and or feature in something big soon!
ET: You’ve had seven of your songs licensed for television, correct? What have these experiences done for your ability to spread your music and your message?
CKG: Yes, I’ve had my songs licensed in the US, UK, Canada and more. On some of the biggest networks out there. It’s been mind blowing to say the least. To hear something you created in your BEDROOM, and the next thing you know, it’s on TV, it’s crazy. It’s def. opened up doors as far as showing there is a market for what I do. When it’s time for me to go MAJOR, all the things I’ve accomplished def. give me more bargaining power.
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