By Geoffery Rowlands
If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try and try again. This adage could well be the motto of brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas. The duo, collectively known as R. City or Rock City, wrote more than 400 songs before finally selling The Rain to Akon for inclusion on his 2006 triple-platinum-selling album, Konvicted.
“We still wouldn’t have given up no matter how many songs we had to write before somebody wanted one,” Theron emphasised. “We had belief in our ability. We knew we just needed some artist to accept one of our songs. That would open the door to other artists becoming interested in what we might have for them.”
The boys were right. The Rain was not among the six singles released from Konvicted but enough people were impressed by their work to give the duo a foot in the door. Within a year, they had written or co-written songs for Usher, Nicole Scherzinger, Mary J Blige, Ashlee Simpson and Sean Kingston. The latter’s Take You There hit number seven on Billboard’s Hot 100.
They signed with Akon’s Geffen Records affiliated KonLive label and recorded the tracks for their debut album, “Wake The Neighbors.” It was scheduled for release in 2008 but has still to see the light of day.
“What happened with the album pretty much summed up our entire lives,” remarked 31-year-old Timothy. “We’ve had a constant struggle to overcome obstacles and setbacks. But we’ve also had the determination and belief that we would eventually succeed.”
This positive attitude has taken the boys from an impoverished upbringing in the Oswald Harris Court Projects of St. Thomas, the US Virgin Islands. Their father’s drug habit saw him spend five years of their childhood in jail.
“Our mother kept us together,” explained Theron, 33. “There were times when we might only have meals of soda crackers and tap water but she would never let us get into trouble. You might be poor and from the Projects but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be a good person.”
Theron and Timothy began their entertainment career as children. They performed as backing dancers for a local all-girl rap group. But their passion was always for music rather than dance.
“Our parents always encouraged us to follow our dreams,” Timothy recalled. “That’s how we made the move to Miami. We’d become recognised as performers in St. Thomas throughout our teenage years. Trying to make it in America was a massive step but we got total support from our parents.”
Calling themselves 2-Ekwip, the boys did well in major talent competitions but failed to find a record deal. They returned to the Virgin Islands and held regular jobs for a while before trying their luck again in America. On this occasion, they moved to the musical hotbed of Atlanta.
“It was second time lucky for us,” Theron smiled. “We’d changed our name to Rock City by then. This is the nickname of St. Thomas so we thought it was appropriate. We became established under this name and you’ll see us credited as Rock City on the early recordings. But we ran into legal troubles involving copyright of the name so we’ve had to change to R. City.”
Frustrated by KonLive failing to release their album, the boys issued 13 mixtapes between 2008 and 2010 before finally leaving Akon’s label in 2011.
“We were earning decent money working on songs for other people but we wanted our own studio album out there,” Timothy stated. “We were eventually able to create our own Rebelution label and put out more mixtapes on that. But everything really came together when we signed to RCA on Dr Luke’s Kemosabe label.”
R. City’s official debut album, “What Dreams Are Made Of,” will be released on October 9. They couldn’t hope for better promotion than their smash hit single, Locked Away, which also features Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine. The song is highly personal for Theron and Timothy.
“The lyrics are based around what happened to our family during the time that our dad was in jail,” Theron explained. “People have connected with it on different levels rather than just the specifics of what happened to us. But we couldn’t be happier about the amazing response to our song.”
Omi’s world-wide smash, Cheerleader, continues to ride high in Billboard’s Hot 100. But the Jamaican singer has just issued Hula Hoop as the follow-up.
Like Cheerleader, the new single is taken from 29-year-old Omi’s forthcoming debut album, “Me 4 U,” which is set for release on October 16.
No official video for Hula Hoop has been made as yet but the tropical house track can be heard at www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKQ9kavmryg
Stars is the newly released latest single from Turkish-born but Amsterdam-based DJ/producer Ummet Ozcan. Featuring Australian vocalist Katt Niall, the official video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMtRoqPvg-8
The new single follows Ummet’s Beatport chart-topping success earlier this year with “The Hum.” This track is a collaboration with Belgian DJ brothers Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. The official video is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=exJlapzPnlc Much more of his music and performances can be found at www.youtube.com/user/UmmetOzcanTV/videos
Even more tracks are available at (no www.) soundcloud.com/ummetozcan
Some of these can be downloaded for free.
After releasing his music on Mercury Records for 32 years, Jon Bon Jovi and the label have now parted ways.
The split was not amicable. Although Mercury do not have a bad word to say about Jon, at least in public, his feelings about the label are made clear on Burning Bridges, the title-track from his recently released final Mercury album.
The LP as a whole is described by Jon as “a fan album.” He says many of the tracks are old songs which were originally left unfinished but have now been completed. These are mixed with some brand new songs.
Lyric videos have been made for all 11 album tracks. These are the latest posting in the created playlists section at www.youtube.com/user/bonjovi
You never quite know what to expect from Miley Cyrus. Her days as Disney’s wholesome Hannah Montana have long gone and she now seems to be embroiled in one controversy after another.
The latest problem concerns the numerous outfits she wore while hosting the recent MTV Video Music Awards show. The fact that most of them could best be described as skimpy is taken for granted. Miley seems to delight in flashing as much flesh as possible.
But she has been accused of ripping off Australian designers Cami James and Nadia Napreychikov’s trademark evil eyes and myriad sequins used on their Discount Universe clothing line. Miley is an acknowledged fan of their work and has worn Discount Universe clothes during her concerts. The evil eyes and sequins featured prominently in the costumes Miley designed with New York label BCALLA for the VMAs.
Cami and Nadia are obviously not happy. They used social media to express their displeasure. It remains to be seen if any kind of legal action will follow.
For her part, Miley used her role at the VMAs to announce the release of “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” a 23-track album inspired by the death of her beloved dog, Floyd. The entire album is posted at (no www.) soundcloud.com/mileycyrus
The official video for lead single, Dooo It!, can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu5iAgJ65dA
STRUGGLE: R. City duo Theron and Timothy had to write 400 songs before one was finally included in an album.
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