Tell us who you are and what you do!
(Queen): We are BlaqueStone and we are an urban music couple. We are based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. Where we are from, we call it DMV (DC,MD,VA). We are representing Prince George’s County (whoop whoop) lol. My name is Queen and my partner in crime is Nyne. We also do outreach, but we haven’t really been hitting the streets like we used to, that will change now that the EP is out. We try to spread love and light to the youth and the elders. No really, if your music has that groove to the youth and the words for all ages, anyone can listen. We appreciate that about ourselves and music. We are old souls in a young body.
(Nyne): Very true. Our music is more so outreach as well. We use it as a platform to spread liberating and realistic messages to everyone out there. We want to capture life and then play it back in our music.
(Queen): How did we get to be who we are? Hmm, Well Marcus(Nyne) has always been very talented. He took piano lessons for over 10 years. We both went to the same high school and were both in chorus together. Its funny looking back at everything now but I guess it was all apart of life and its plan. I was also in the Washington Performing Arts as a child so I thank my grandmother for that one.
(Nyne): Very true, I was also in a lot of bands before BlaqueStone was created. In the DMV area we have a certain music genre or movement called Go-Go, and I was in a band called XIB. Its urban, it was created in DC and has many different forms to it. I also was involved in making and creating bands with my friends. Music has always been here. My uncle is a musician, he taught me how to play the drums and I appreciate him more than he knows. My dad LOVES music, old school, jazz, new school, anything. The name BlaqueStone came from Queen.
(Queen): Yes it was random but natural how the name came to us. We were leaving a show in another state actually, and we saw a sign that said up next or next turn in BlackStone. I just looked at Marcus and said, what if we changed our name to BlackStone, it means so much! Marcus had the beautiful idea to go with “Blaque”. BlaqueStone is solid, natural and strong. It’s pro black (not anti white). It’s love, it represents Marcus and I and what we consider our relationship to be all about. We aren’t perfect and we never ever want to be seen as that. But we are strong in our belief that if we have love and the people as our foundation, we can do anything and get past any trial that comes. As the Black community does over and over again.
What is the inspiration for your work?
(Queen): Our inspiration is the people! People are full of so much truth, pain, happiness, endurance. We all are trying to reach our dreams and be all that we can be. I think it’s the artists like Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone and Erykah Badu that inspires our work. Robert Glasper, Emeli Sande and Lianne La Havas and the Internet Band (they are awesome) are personal inspirations to me as well. Womanhood with messages will always inspire me.
(Nyne): Inspiration of our work to me is real life experiences and it’s almost like reporting the news for what we see in the black community. Also, what we WANT to see in the black community inspires us as well. Artists like Common, Marvin Gaye and The Roots inspire where our music and mind has motivation from. Rapping about the times, singing with a passion involved, these are things that we are taught and we will always need to be in the music world.
(Queen): I think the artists we have named styles can be seen as infused in who we are as BlaqueStone as well. Headwraps, ethnic clothing, loose garments, even our choice of accessories is a representation! We don’t just represent Black America, I feel we represent all culture. Diverse, yet wholesome.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
(Nyne): I would say, thoroughly plan. Also, make sure you execute what you plan. I would say setting up budgets in advance. I think those are things that we could have been more proactive on. In my opinion, even having your own income. This is so you will be in a position to start funding anything you are trying to support and ultimately do.
(Queen): I agree. Funding and realistically supporting your whole business is very important. You may look at what we are saying and say “What!?” “ I see the people on TV and they get paid, not the other way around!!”. But please, listen to us. We all have to start somewhere and you have to let those who are in the business know you are serious about your craft. You will have to fund some events, promotions and actual business. Websites are not free, but, they are needed. Also, I would tell upcoming artists to believe in themselves, stay true and extremely PATIENT. We must all appreciate every challenge and happy day.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
(Nyne): Hmm, I mean I would say so far so good. We haven’t really had too much friction. Our issues have been learning as you go. We have honestly been in a good position where we can support ourselves and our business on our own without relying on anyone else financially and we are proud of that. But we are not prideful, there is a difference.
(Queen): I think learning is always needed when you are both an Artist and a Business Owner right? I mean, you really need to be open minded. You need to be able to be open to hear your elders and peers out. We all need to understand that there are always people out there who will have more experience than you. That is not bad, but good. Let us learn from one another and be humble in all our ways. I think that being close minded can be an obstacle. We have had natural challenges. I called them natural because when a door shut, in order to have the next door open we had to do something in between. Start your own business, copyright your work and smile throughout your whole journey. Remember, it’s not the finish line that is most important, it’s your path while your getting there. We will always keep growing and learning every year we age. That is the beautiful part of life.