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Illustration: Salene Casteneda

4 Helpful Tips For Artists Who Can't Perform

Not every entertainer’s stage presence is a present. Some need cliff notes on channeling their inner Busta Rhymes. Performance coach Laura Kessler (Usher, N’Sync, Eve) breaks down how artists learn to roc the mic right

Illustration: Salene Casteneda

BREATHE EASY
Muscles don’t lie. You can tell when someone is nervous—it transcends through the entire nervous system. I teach grounding your nervous system through martial arts or yoga. The exercises are designed to engage all the muscles emanating from the core. Frank Ocean is sincere [on stage], but he doesn’t use much of his body at all. He needs to use his legs as a base, like a tripod or pyramid. Sometimes when he holds the mic, his whole shoulder goes up and that changes the tension in the neck area. That could literally make you more nervous. We’re creative athletes. You have to treat it as a physical sport.

PSYCH OUT
The psychological element makes the difference. One singer had been robbed in her home and ever since then, it affected her voice. I try to avoid that cliché of envisioning the crowd in their underwear. I think of a lesson from The Brady Bunch when I hear that. You really wouldn’t worry what people are thinking if you knew how seldom they do. There are so many distractions—cell phones, texting—they don’t have a heck of a lot of time to tear you apart. Perfectionism is a huge factor. I emphasize being in the moment and not so much the destination.

YOUTUBE SESSIONS
I have them list artists they like and dislike. Then, I assemble a group of YouTube videos and we study the body language and note what we like and don’t like about their performances. If they’ve had acting in their background, I get more theater-ish and have them imagine roles, scenarios and circumstances. Nicki Minaj has good energy, but she can be inconsistent. I would try silent bodywork with her, where she’s moving her body without singing or making any utterance.

COMIC RELIEF
Take a comedy class. It’s a fun, silly environment and you get used to acting out as different characters. Comedy helps to break out of your shell. Drama to use your emotions more; sports or dance for the physical. I can teach technical things, but experience breeds confidence and knowing technique puts it all together faster.

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MICHAEL CAMPANELLA

Judge Removes Tekashi 6ix9ine's Lawyer From Racketeering Case

Tekashi 6ix9ine is in need of new legal representation. A judge has reportedly removed one of 6ix9ine's lawyers from his racketeering case ahead of his trial, XXL reports. The decision was made during a pre-trial conference on Tuesday (Jan. 22).

The presiding Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled that the 6ix9ine's lawyer, Lance Lazarro, would have to be removed from the case due to a potential conflict of interest. Lazarro reportedly represented Tekashi's co-defendants, Faheem "Crippy" Walter and Kifano "Shotti" Jordan before representing 6ix9ine in his racketeering case.

During the conference, Engelmayer stated that he was upset that Lazarro had not disclosed his relationship with the co-defendants previously. Lazarro reportedly represented Walter for a gang assault charge in Oct. 2018 and Jordan for numerous charges in 2009 and 2015. He explained that he didn't think the matter was important to mention.  Judge Engelmayer responded by noting that it wasn't the attorney's place to determine whether his previous work was significant.

Lazzaro will not be able to act as Tekashi's lawyer until he sends letters detailing the extent of his relationships with Walter and Jordan. If the judge finds no conflict of interest, Lazarro will be able to return as an acting attorney for Tekashi. Dawn Florio will continue as part of Tekashi's legal team.

As previously reported, the "Stoopid" artist, Walter, and Jordan are awaiting trial for a racketeering case. Tekashi pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in Nov. 2018. If convicted, he could face a life sentence in prison. His trial date is slated to begin on Sept. 4.

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Drake And Odell Backham Jr. Sued For Orchestrating Violent Attack On Man

Drake and NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are reportedly being sued for allegedly orchestrating a violent attack on a man in a West Hollywood club, TMZ reports. According to court docs obtained by the celeb site, Bennett Sipes is accusing Drake and Beckham of telling their entourage to beat him up after a brief confrontation.

Sipes claims the incident occurred in the VIP section of the Delilah nightclub after he began to argue with Drizzy, Beckham, Kourtney Kardashian's ex-boyfriend Younes Benjima, and the rest of their crew. A source close to the incident claims Sipes was "talking smack" at the time. When he attempted to exit the area, Sipes alleges that Drake gave him the "cut throat" gesture.

When the victim entered the bathroom, he was attack by Benjima and Drake and Beckham's friends. The whole fight was caught on video, showing Benjima throwing the first punch at Sipes. Drake and OBJ are also seen on camera watching from a distance.

Sipes reportedly filed a police report following the incident, but dropped it shortly after. He is suing OBJ, Drake, Delilah and others other for an undisclosed amount.

Check out footage from the attack below.

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A Judge Has Closed Off The Second Floor Of R.Kelly's Chicago Studio

A Chicago judge ordered the second floor of R.Kelly’s studio to be shut down. The 52 year-old musician, who is now under criminal investigation stemming from a slew of allegations of physical and sexual abuse against a bevy of women, initially used the warehouse as a place of work, but apparently as a residence as well.

The judge on the case mandated that the warehouse can only be of use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to CBS Chicago, an inspection took place at the property on January 16, which revealed the property has bathrooms, bedrooms, a kitchen, a full bar and lounge area.

Because the building is zoned for commercial use only, all the evidence found suggests that people indeed inhabit the premises.

“We did find bedrooms with bathrooms. Inside the bathrooms there was evidence of toiletries, robes, and it appeared that people were living in the property,” Kimberly Roberts, deputy corporation counsel said. “In addition to that, the stairs were dangerous.”

Another form of evidence found in the property was a staircase, which allegedly was not properly secured to a wall. Ultimately, the deficient staircase can become a major fire hazard if an emergency were to occur on the premises. In response to the findings, Judge Patrice Ball-Reed mandated that the second floor be closed until the staircase is repaired.

“There’s no plan to suggest how this was built out. There hasn’t been one inspection by a city inspector to verify the work was done properly, and being out there, it’s obvious that the work was not done well, which leads us to concerns about public safety,” Ball-Reed said. “If a fire breaks out with that lack of fire separation, the entire warehouse can go up.”

Still, R,Kelly’s attorney Melvin Sims said that despite all that was found, his client does not use the studio as a residence but only as a workplace. “A facility on the premises does not a residence make. A couch on the premises does not make it a living room,” Sims said. “Obviously, you have attorneys and judges, and we are interpreting how a creative space is to be used, and we’re probably the least creative people inclined to do that.”

A follow-up hearing will take place on February 7, where another debate will take place to see if the studio will remain open in any capacity.

 

 

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