Chanel-Iman-Sevn-and-Ai-Lee-Syariaf-at-STRONG-by-Zumba-1559883613
Courtesy of STRONG by Zumba

Zumba, But Make It Slap: Grammy-Nominated Producer Sevn Thomas On Creating 'STRONG By Zumba' Music

As New York residents anticipate the summer sun, the dancefloor of popular hotspot Copacabana was transformed into a full-blown STRONG by Zumba session.

With a high-intensity exercise led by Ai Lee Syarief, one beat, in particular, riled up attendees. It's the aptly titled "Knock 'Em Down," created by Grammy-nominated producer Sevn Thomas. Fast and slightly akin to his many hits (turn up Travis Scott's "WAKE UP" and Drake's "Pop Style"), the Toronto native gave the crowd another bop to add to the workout playlist.

Scoring a workout isn't easy, but the pairing seemed ideal for Thomas. "It's the perfect merge between music and exercise," he tells VIBE before the big workout. "They go hand in hand with each other, they complement each other. A lot of people listen to music when they work out to get in their zone and channel that energy. I thought it made perfect sense."

Thomas' collaboration with the STRONG by Zumba brand falls in line with the non-dance workout and incentive to challenge traditional fitness regimens. Past collaborators include Timbaland, Steve Aoki, and Krewella. While Thomas isn't the first hip-hop based producer, his take twists the brand's sound with an arena-like quality and a high tempo beat.

"["Knock 'Em Down"] is energetic, intense—a driving force," he said. "It's the perfect pulse for an intense workout. I tried my best to represent that in the beat as best as I can." 

Thomas' beat was used during the middle of the workout when legs were giving out and water breaks lasted a little longer than intended. As Syarief set up the next set of crossovers and squats intervals, guests like Chanel Iman were moving to Thomas' beat with ease. Thomas also joined in on the fun, STRONG by Zumba gear and all.

"Sevn's innovative sounds, blending of multiple genres with hip-hop beats and wrapped with a hint of his signature Caribbean-inspired bounce syncs perfectly with STRONG by Zumba," said Zumba CEO, Alberto Perlman. "By working with world-renowned producers, we are able to provide the best, most motivating and unique beats in every class that drive the ultimate afterburn."

For Sevn's personal STRONG by Zumba playlist, the producer is all about trap beats and artists like Young Thug's YSL Records signee Lil Keed.

"I really like trap music. That's my type of stuff [to workout to]," he said. "I've been listening to a lot of Travis Scott. I'm not sure if you're familiar with an artist named Lil Keed. I love Lil Keed right now, he's one of my favorites. His brother, his name is Lil Gotit. I love Lil Gotit's stuff too. I've been rotating that stuff when I'm in the gym doing my thing, I kind of zone out to that."

But STRONG by Zumba's workout not only came from a little inspiration from trap music but martial arts as well. Lead instructor and developer Syarief found her way to the brand in 2010 and has been the face of their many workouts like Zumba, Zumba ToningAqua Zumba, Zumba Sentao, Zumba Gold, Zumba Gold Toning, Zumba Kids/Kids Jr. and Zumba Step. Syarief says the latest Zumba workouts are less about perfecting reps and more about moving to the beat.

"There are so many fun movements. You're going to sweat, you'll go to your limit, it's going to be hard. But the music is always there to push you," she said. "Even though you feel like, 'Can I still go?' The music will push you and we don't count reps. You won't even think of the reps, just to move to the beats. That's what makes it different than any other workout. We're going to start a bit slow and then it's going to increase the intensity until we really push your limits. You always have small, active recovery bouts in between so you can really catch your breath and then go full high intense, work hard. So that you have the afterburn effect and then you have the active recovery."

When Thomas isn't on the boards, he's trying his hand at developing artists. Currently, he's working with Long Beach native Gibby, a partnership that fits his organic approach, not molding them into a carbon copy of what's trending.

"I think he's going to be super special. He is super special but for the world not to see how super special he is[...] That's one of the things I have on my agenda right now," he said. "It's super cool and interesting to work with a new artist because you see how chemistry and synergy work as well as working with somebody that gets it. An artist such as Gibby, he gets it, it makes it so much easier for me. It's not as much heavy lifting, but it's super dope to see how people are on the same wave and how they can exchange ideas with each other. The end result is always the best when you guys have the finished product, it's kinda like 'Look what we created together.' That's the fun part."  

Thomas also has a few major productions on the way, noting how he's very booked and busy. "I've been getting in the studio with everyone right now," he said. "So I'm super excited to see how that unfolds."

Learn more about STRONG by Zumba fitness here.

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Delta To Relaunch SkyMiles American Express Cards With More Perks For All

Business owners and consumers alike will soon be able to reap even more benefits from the Delta Skymiles American Express Card. Beginning January 30, 2020, cardholders will be able to earn more miles on everyday purchases and access more travel perks.

The relaunched American Express Card portfolio will include 4 tiers of card options for consumers (Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card) and 3 tiers of options for business owners (Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card).

“We’re constantly listening to our customers and spent the last year digging deep on what they expect from an industry-leading Card. The result is a diverse portfolio of redesigned Cards that will deliver rich rewards and benefits that give travelers unmatched options that fit their lifestyle needs,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Customer Engagement & Loyalty, and CEO – Delta Vacations. “Each Card is tailored to what our customers have told us is most important to them – ranging from ways to earn even more miles to travel perks along the way.”

Some new perks for consumers and business owners include earning 2 times the miles for purchases at restaurants and supermarkets, no transaction fees, earn 3 times the miles for airfare and hotel bookings, access to complimentary upgrades and more.

“This is a powerful expression of the backing we provide to our shared customers. We listened to their needs and made exciting changes to the Cards that give them greater value across the board,” said Eva Reda, Executive Vice President, Global Consumer Partnerships, American Express. “With lots of perks that elevate your travel experience, double and triple miles on spending where it counts and so much built-in value, it really pays to have our Delta Cards.”

To learn more about the new perks and their limited time offer (ending on October 31, 2019), visit news.delta.com.

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A view of the atmosphere at the Star-studded Adventure Ride hosted by Polaris Slingshot And RZR on September 12, 2019 in Tenmile, Oregon.
Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Polaris Inc.

Polaris' Slingshot And RZR Offer Unforgettable Behind-The-Wheel Experiences

Polaris is taking customers on a wild ride. The company behind more than 30 products including off-roading vehicles and snowmobiles offers up unforgettable experiences that cater to your inner adrenaline junky.

Earlier in the month, the powersports giant flew members of the press and social media influencers, including Snoop Dogg's son Cordell Broadus, rapper Bia and BMX rider Nigel Slyvester, to Eugene, Oregon for the Polaris All Out Adventure. The daylong event gave participants a behind-the-wheel experience with the Polaris RZR and Polaris Slingshot.

After being in business for more than 60 years, Polaris continues to expand its reach to include a diverse group of consumers. “[It's about] creating accessibility to power sports and an interest that maybe folks didn’t have before because they saw it as something that you had to be off in the woods [to do], or you have to be off in the snow,” Joey Lindahl- Marketing Manager, Customer Growth & Engagement told VIBE.

“We make all that stuff, too — but now this is another option and it is really something that we see resonate with a lot more people than maybe have been our other products in the past.” The company has seen “organic growth” among “young riders, women, and people of color,” added Lindahl.

Among the lineup of impressive creations, the Polaris Slingshot steals the show. The sleek, three-wheel autocycle reaches speeds of up to 130 mph and was designed by Tiger Bracy, Polaris' Senior Manager of Industrial Design.

Bracy has worked with Polaris for more than a decade and is among the small group of black designers in his field. And even after years in the business, Bracy still gets excited to see his designs go from paper to pavement.

“I’ve been doing it so long that I’m used to it,” Bracy shared with VIBE when asked of his reaction to seeing a Slingshot on the road. “I think the first time that I saw something [that I designed] it wasn’t on-road if was an off-road product. It wasn’t [about] seeing someone on it, it was it being manufactured and coming together. Because in my brain I can see this but it’s still on paper, once it's out and it’s there and people are enjoying it? [My] mind [is] blown.”

More customers have identified with the Slingshot than the company anticipated, which allows Polaris to learn more about a diversified group of buyers. Although the Slingshot doesn't have a specific target audience, it was designed to “reach a different buyer,” Bracy explained.

“It’s not for everybody,” he said. “It’s a polarizing vehicle in terms of how you drive it, how it looks, but we wanted to take that risk to go find a new area.”

See more in the video below.

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Celebrate Apollo 11's Historic Moon Landing With Grand Marnier's "Moonwalk" Cocktail

It's been five decades since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to land on the moon. To mark the historic moment that occurred on July 20, 1969, global French liqueur brand Grand Marnier is celebrating the historic "Moonwalk" cocktail inspired by Amstrong and Aldrin's lunar journey.

In 1969, Joe Gilmore, head barman of the Savoy Hotel's American Bar, invented the drink to commemorate the astronauts' return from their successful mission. The classic cocktail — made of Marnier's cognac and bitter orange-flavored liqueur, champagne and more — is said to have been the first beverage they sipped upon their homecoming.

“The cocktail was a mix of grapefruit juice, Grand Marnier, champagne and rose water,” he explained to Wonderland in 2008. “The Savoy sent it off in a flask and I received a letter back from Neil Armstrong thanking us and saying it was the first drink they had when they came out of quarantine.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary, we're sharing the classic "Moonwalk" recipe for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home today and for years to come. Scroll down for more details and relive the historic moment in the video below.

Bonus: We've added four more Grand Marnier cocktail recipes for the French holiday, Bastille Day (July 14). À votre santé (Cheers)!

 

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