Tedashii Releases New Single: “Be Me”

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Music Video Release: Andy Mineo “You Can’t Stop Me”

Mineo

Courtesy of: http://www.andymineo.com/bio
Mineo

Whether he’s on stage bringing an audience to its feet with his riveting performance or off stage fielding interview questions with a potent combination of intellect and wit, it’s obvious Andy Mineo is a born communicator and hip hop music is his instrument for reaching the masses. “It is absolutely undeniable that hip hop is becoming the universal language,” Mineo says expressing an unbridled enthusiasm for his artistic vehicle. “It’s so influential because you are able to say so much in a short period of time. The essence of hip hop is the boldness of it so you’re able to be exactly who you are. You are able to say exactly what you want. You represent exactly what is deepest and dearest to you and people respond to that. They respond to that realness.” That musical authenticity, heart for people and keen insight into the human condition coalesce on Mineo’s Reach Records debut Heroes for Sale. “We make heroes out of a lot of things,” he says. “We make heroes out of people. We believe ourselves to be greater than we really are. We make ourselves look like heroes to other people. What I really wanted to do is show the brokenness of the heroes that we create and the heroes that we try to be in order to show that there is ultimately only one great hero.”

To underscore that message, Mineo was willing to strip back the layers of his own life and be honest with his audience. “I get really transparent on these songs,” he confesses. “I want to let people see into my brokenness in hopes that other people would identify with that and ultimately know that they don’t have to be great. Their God is. Also I just wanted to have fun. I wanted to show off my love for hip hop. I wanted to try some things. You’ll see a bunch of my big personality come out. I let people see who I am.” A native of Syracuse, New York, Mineo grew up in a single parent home and was a troubled kid who was kicked out of public school because of his anger issues and aggressive tendencies. Sports and music became positive outlets for Andy’s excessive energy. “I was more involved in basketball and football until one of my friends and I just started rapping as a joke,” he remembers. “We used to buy singles because we couldn’t afford anything else. When you’re 10 years old and you’ve got two or three dollars, you buy the CD single instead of the whole album. The CD single would have instrumentals, so we would just write our own raps to the instrumental on the CD. That’s kind of where my love for it began. My buddy got a program for the computer and we were recording in my living room. I put together my first rap and I fell in love with it the moment I heard myself on the beat. I said, ‘Man, I want to do this forever!”

Mineo became a hard-working young entrepreneur and not only recorded his own raps, but started a studio in his house where he recorded other young hopefuls. He became a local hero and at 17 had money, success and everything most young guys are looking to achieve. “When I got to about 15 or 16, I got all the equipment I needed to not only record myself, but have my friends come over and I’d record them,” he says. “Other people got wind of that and said, ‘Hey I’ll come over and I’ll pay to let me record,’ so I started doing that. The business kept on evolving. I started making more money and bought more stuff, moved it into my basement and built a full studio with one of my friends, who was a carpenter. We created a little ghetto basement studio. That’s how I made my money all throughout high school.”

Yet even with Mineo’s worldly success, there was still an emptiness and restlessness in his heart. He found what he had been looking for when his sister Mary went to work at a church camp one summer and took Andy with her. “I was surrounded by loving people,” he recalls. “There were a couple of guys that invested in me that summer, shared the gospel with me, showed me what it is to follow Jesus, and that’s when I had my first real encounter with Jesus.” When he returned home, it was hard to grow in his faith. “All throughout high school it was really difficult to follow Jesus without having any community,” Mineo says. “I didn’t have any home church. I didn’t have any men to disciple me. Nothing. When I went to college is when I started to get that. In college, I got away from the situation I was in. God put me there and he put me around a bunch of people that loved God, people that looked like me and talked like me. They were into hip hop like I was and it was really a blessing to meet some of these guys.”

Mineo met producer Alex Medina (Lecrae, Trip Lee) who encouraged the young artist to check out T.R.U.C.E. “It was a group of young people that would gather on Saturdays to work on performing arts for the purpose of evangelism,” he says. “I got invited to come check them out at a rehearsal and there was a whole bunch of men there, people my age, and they all loved God. They were an encouragement for me to start walking with God again. They showed me that I could use my gifts for him. I didn’t have to live the way I was living. I didn’t have to make the music the way I was making it. I could actually use everything that I have for Jesus. I got connected with people that showed me that I could do more with my life and my music.” Mineo traveled with T.R.U.C.E. and began making a name for himself with such projects as Sin is Wack Vol. 1. Soon others were enlisting Mineo to add his considerable skills to their projects. He’s been featured on Tedashii’s Blacklight, Ambassador’s Stop the Funeral, Flame’s Captured and Lecrae’s “Background.” “That was the first song we collaborated on and since then we started to build a relationship,” Mineo says of working with Lecrae. “He came to New York and we shot a music video for it. We started to realize that we both had a similar vision, a similar mission in what we wanted to do with our music. They were looking to sign a new artist and I just seemed to be the right fit so I signed with Reach and it’s been a heck of a journey ever since.”

#116 Life: Unashamed Interview with Dj Official

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Follow @DjOfficialDj

Bio

My name is Nelson Chu a.k.a DJ Official. I was born on the Bronx, NY. Lived in Brooklyn for my early childhood, then moved to Amityville, Long Island in my later years. Now I currently reside in Philadelphia, PA. Husband to Teresa Chu. Father of 2 beautiful daughters Isabella and Sophia. I’ve been doing music professionally for 15 years now. Started DJ’ing and Producing for a group called The Cross Movement in 2001 and in 2007 started DJ’ing and Producing for Reach Records. I’ve been blessed to have 3 Dove Awards, and a Grammy Award. 2010 I released a compilation titled “Entermission” on Reach Records. I’ve been around the world doing what I always wanted to do my whole life and that is music. I love representing Christ in my character and in music and would hope all those that don’t know the joy I feel by being a Christian, would get to know it.

Interview

Tell us a little bit about the path to where you are today.

For those that don’t know, my name is Nelson a.k.a. DJ Official. As long as I can remember I have loved the genre of rap music and the culture of hip-hop. It was all around me. I grew in NY, where hip hop was born and it set the stage for who I am today. After High School I became good friends with Cipha Sounds, who was also a DJ/Producer who was already making some noise around NYC. I rolled with him for the next 2 years and learned a lot about the music business, the art of dj’ing and producing. I had my foot in the door in the NYC music scene, but behind the scenes I was making some bad decisions. I ended up getting in trouble with the law, which landed me in jail for a couple of days. Those two days forever change my life. To make a long story short I was brought up on some serious charges and was supposed to be looking at some serious time. But, the LORD showed grace that changed my life again. You see growing up I had this best friend Mike and his parents were both Christians. They would always talk to us about the gospel, took us to events, loved on us and corrected us when we needed correction. We weren’t the worst of the worst, but we were your typical knuckleheads, combing the streets getting in trouble where we could. Every now and then I would sit with Mike’s mom (Mrs. Edlow) and talk about the Bible. I was real hesitant at first and even stand offish, but as time went on I would ask questions and her responses totally rocked my world. But I wasn’t willing to give up all that I had just yet and follow Christ. I mean, at some point I believed what she said about the Bible and who Jesus was, but laying down my life and following Him wasn’t in my program. I wanted to be a world famous DJ /Producer. After high school I was just getting started with my career and it seemed to be a very clear reality. Fast forward to while I was in that jail cell and all I could remember were those talks with Mrs.Edlow about Jesus, sin, dying to oneself, laying it all to follow Christ and I just started crying. Now crying in a jail is a no-no, but it was so heavy on me. I remember repenting of my sins and saying “Lord no matter what happens in the next few days, I want to follow you and live for you”. I felt this burden come off of me like I had never felt before. I was a changed man and by GOD’s grace I only served 2 days in jail. I had to pay for my sin in other ways via probation, community service and restitution, but I never saw any more jail time. Thank you LORD!

Did you have a specific moment when you realized that you wanted to produce music?

After that pivotal time in my life I started going to a church, serving there and eventually the church decided to do a rap ministry. A the time I didn’t know much about any Christians doing hip hop or CHH for that matter, but I knew that I wanted to use my talents for the Lord. One day someone gave me a CD by a group called The Cross Movement and my world changed again! The guys were just like me, they knew hip hop, they could rap and they sounded good. I emailed them to let them know that I wanted to meet them, to tell them how blessed I was by their music and one of their members got back to me. Soon after, I made a trip to Philadelphia to meet them. After a few months of getting to know them, they needed a DJ for a missionary trip to Jamaica and that is when it all started. After that trip I began traveling with them and even started doing beats for them. I was traveling so much from NY to Philly that my wife and I decided to take a leap of faith and move there. Well, it paid off and the Lord was with us every step of the way. I was CM’s main DJ for the next 7 years and eventually ended up producing many of their songs. Around 2007 CM disbanded and I began DJ’ing for Trip and Tedashii. Soon after, Reach Records hired me to DJ for their first “Unashamed Tour”. After the tour finished I was DJ’ing non-stop for Lecrae, Trip, Tedashii and Sho Baraka; which is when I became the official DJ (no pun intended) for their tours. After about seven years of doing that, Lecrae’s rise in popularity presented a need for a permanent DJ and I filled those shoes. So that catches you up on where the LORD brought me from and how I became DJ Official.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Well, that has changed in the past year due to an illness that I have been battling called Light Chains Lambda Disease (a rare form of the cancer called multiple Myeloma). Before my diagnosis, I was on the road a lot and when I was home I would make beats, work on show ideas and prepared show sets for upcoming tours and concerts. In November 2013, I had Bone Marrow Transplant. While the bone marrow transplant was successful in battling the Myeloma in the bone marrow; the disease has spread into my lungs and my day to day life has changed dramatically. I am not able to travel a lot and I have to take a lot of medication to balance everything that is going on in my body. But I still make beats almost everyday and am currently working on my 2nd compilation project and some other cool stuff that has recently been given to me.

What risks or hard decisions have you had to make to live unashamed?

When I became a Christian I wasn’t very liked by the people who called me friend or family. They thought I was loony. They thought I was being irrational and going too far with this thing they called religion. They couldn’t see that GOD has truly changed me from the inside out. It took awhile for those people to turn around and really see that, not only was I changed but, I was truly unashamed of being a believer in Jesus Christ. Plus, being in the (mainstream) music industry just when my career was about to take off and giving it all away to follow Christ was a great risk. But well worth it and I’d do it all again.

What does the unashamed life look like in your context?

As of right now, I am battling a sickness in my body and one thing I like to stress to people is that while I’m sick, I will continue to lean on the Lord, serve the Lord, worship the Lord, trust the Lord throughout this sickness. It’s very easy during this time to turn your back and not trust the Lord. But I would like to let people know that I am to be believer in a GOD who loves me more than I ever could, One who is all-wise and One who is all-knowing. That’s unashamed.

Have you had any mentors along the way?

Yeah, I’ve had plenty. The people who led me to Christ…The Edlows. Ambassador of Cross Movement and Pastor Vincent Ferrante. Plus, there have been many more people that have really poured into my life and helped make me the person I am today.

How have you worked through illness, from the original cancer to the recent news about your lungs?

I take it day by day. There are certain days I really feel tired and sick and really just want to rest and not do too much. But I try to take it easy whatever I do and try to make the best of a good situation. If I’m feeling good that day I will try my hardest to get done what I need to get done. It’s been a challenge but I’m learning the process throughout it all. GOD is really helping me grow.

What verses or passages in Scripture have sustained or encouraged you?

That’s hard. My list is veryyyyyyy long. I’ve been dealing with this sickness for a while and there have been plenty of Scriptures that have been sustaining, encouraging and helpful. But at the moment I would say there are two that are very challenging, but very essential to the believer during a hard trial.

Philipphians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Can you offer some encouragement to other unashamed believers out there?

Yes. Remember the GOD we serve is good. We must remember that he loves us more than any human being can love us, more than we love ourselves and will do what’s best for us. Sometimes things just don’t seem right or look impossible but we must remember that GOD has infinite wisdom and is all knowing and that he knows every situation from beginning to end. We just have to learn to lean on him and as Psalm 18:2 says “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior”. We must learn to make the Lord our rock, our fortress, our savior and only then will things that seem off begin to shine a new light.

How can we, as the body of believers, pray for you and your family in this season?

1. A clear mind. It’s hard sometimes to have a clear mind in the midst of sickness. Because the sickness and feeling you get with it can take over. 2. Healing. We still serve a GOD who can heal to this day. I’m asking healing for my lungs. 3. Strength for my family. It’s so easy to forget the people behind the scenes who are with you every step of the way. My wife has been unbelievable. A truly GOD send and I ask for people to pray for her strength during this. 4. Purpose. I want this all to be for a reason. I want GOD to get his glory from this. I want my life, my story to make a difference in other people’s lives. I want it to help strengthen people’s relationship with Christ and be more unashamed of the gospel than ever before.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:58

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