Archive for February, 2014

Eastern Carolina Style Interviews: Whitney Peyton



“If artists like Machine Gun Kelly, Eminem, and Missy Elliott had a pale love child she would be just like Whitney Peyton.”

MAS – In my research for this interview I went onto SoundCloud and DatPiff to find some of your stuff to get familiar with you. As I was listening I found myself bobbing my head and really getting into it. I then went your website and saw your picture and I was like, “What the hell?” The picture I saw was not at all what I expected.

WP – Wait? So you heard my music before you saw me? That is usually not the case. I kinda like that! Usually people look and then they get some kind of idea of what it is going to sound like before they listen. It is kinda cool that you were able to listen before you looked.

MAS – I was showing one of my office friends one of your videos and they were like, “When did Avril Lavigne learn to rap?”

WP – Yeah, I’ve been called that before. It’s kind of funny, that is the second time this week someone has said that I look like Avril Lavigne. That’s cool, I’m just doing by stuff, being Whitney Peyton from the suburbs of Philly. I’m just rapping mad, it’s the easiest way. I’m just being me, so people can either take it or leave it.

MAS – Who is Whitney Peyton? Introduce yourself to North Carolina.

WP – I’m what would happen if Machine Gun Kelly, Missy Elliott and Eminem had a love child. I am excited to play North Carolina, I think I did once before but it was so long ago. I don’t really count it, because back in 2008, when I was real fresh, just started, I played this car show. The DJ that they hooked up with was wasted, he was playing by backing tracks and he was scratching during my songs. It was really messing me up. He was putting me at different places in the song, jumping me around as I am trying to rap. It was all kinds of crazy. It was in front of a lot of people. It was like, “Whoa this guy has too many drinks, and he doesn’t need to be playing my backing tracks right now.” So, I am ready to come back to North Carolina for the re-do. Let’s get it crackin!

MAS – How did you get in to Hip hop? Philly is a bit of a hotbed for Hip Hop so I can see that part.

WP – I’m from the outskirts of Philly so I had to go into the city when I started record or perform or anything. There is not really a venue out in the suburbs near me.

I was doing spoken word, just rapping a Capella. I didn’t know any producers and I didn’t know how to get any beats at that time. I was just writing. I was like, I am really into poetry but I also really love hip hop. So, I kind of want to transform this into not just spoken word but I want to rap too. They can sound the same but they are totally different. When you are rapping on beat it is way more rhythmic, a capella doesn’t have as many rules, you can be all over the place. On beat, you have got to be more in the pocket. It took a while to get the hang of it; I was so used to spitting a capella.

I started going into Philly and knocking on everyone’s door, like any producer. I was like, “I really want to record” and a lot of them just laughed. It took a while for someone to say yes they would record me. It started picking up from there.

At that time, there were definitely girls in the industry but it was still really scarce. Now there is more and more of us popping up which is a cool thing, but when I started recording there wasn’t really that many of us. It was hard to get people to take it seriously.

MAS – How long have you been in this game?

WP – I have been writing for a long time, so it is really hard to say. They didn’t let me in the clubs to perform until I was 18. So do you count when I was actually allowed to perform or do you count all of the stuff I have been writing in my notebook in math class. It’s kind of hard to gauge that, I have been writing since middle school. I think my first mixtape or EP came out in like 2008. I have got way better since then.

Artists go back and are like, “I hate my old stuff” because they feel like they have progressed so much. It’s been a few years that I have been heavily involved.

MAS – If you think you old stuff is something you hate or are ashamed of, we are in trouble with any new stuff.

WP – <Laughing> I’m not ashamed of it. You listen back and you compare it. Any artist, probably, listens to their newer stuff and compares it to their old stuff and is like, “wow, it’s a massive change.” Even people who are not artists, if they look at their style of anything, dress or how they acted, years ago they are like, “what was I thinking?”

My first song that I ever released as a single, Crazy, remains one of my most popular songs. For me, I’m like wow that was my first real track so I feel like I can rap way better since then, but it remains a fan favorite. I can’t really say that I regret any of it, it has all made me better. But, I for sure rap way better now.

MAS – Your flow is one of your biggest assets, but also the way you rap. Your roots in spoken word are very evident. As you are spitting those rapid fire lyrics, you can still clearly hear every syllable.

WP – Cool. That is something I think about when I listen to other rappers, I want to hear what they are saying. That’s the biggest part. As a rapper, obviously you are a lyricist first and foremost. That’s the whole point.

MAS – Where do you draw from for your lyrics?

WP – Because I am not a normal rapper, I don’t rap about the normal things. I don’t have that hood life that a lot of rappers are able to talk about. I just talk about things that I have been through; struggles with anxiety, struggles with relationships, stuff like that. I think that is relatable to the average person no matter where they are from. I feel like that is why I have been able to be versatile and have a wide demographic. No matter where you are from; the suburbs, the hood, the middle of the country somewhere it’s a relatable thing.

MAS – You are very motivated by what goes on your community.

WP – There is such a negative reputation that goes with rap music. We always think of rappers with violence, drugs, living the lifestyle where they are showing off the material items. That is what it always seems to be about. I just want to show that there is positivity to it as well. With my career I can also help charities and donate my time to those things on the side so that I feel like I did accomplish something positive. It’s not all about negative things.

MAS – How did you get hooked up with this tour? The artists don’t seem to have a lot in common.

WP – I was on tour with RA The Rugged Man and before that I was on tour with Twiztid. People are always like, you are mismatched all the time. If you think about it, it’s hard to find a demographic that is for me because I am so different from a lot of other artists. It’s like, who can you pair me up with? I like the fact that we are different because it makes for a more interesting show. If you are going to a show and there are four artists and they are all similar to each other, I think that would get old after a while. The fact that each of us, on the tour, has our own style makes it interesting when you go. I won’t be monotonous.

But to answer the question, I got hooked up with it while I was on the RA The Rugged Man tour. There was someone in the audience that was a booking agent. He was putting together this tour with Da Mafia 6 and he saw my performance and he approached me about it. He was like, “hey you put on an energetic performance and I think you’d be good on this tour.” I didn’t think… People tell you things and you take it with a grain of salt. In the music industry, of all things that you are approached a very low percentage actually gets followed through on and actually happens. So I took like, “yeah that would be cool” but I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket. But its real and I leave Friday to go meet up with Three 6 in Tennessee. We have about 60 tour dates or so that are back to back, it’s going to be wild.

“My career is a biscuit because I am bred with the best and I guess I’m delicious”
“You bet I rap with an image so un-ghetto. I’m not a puppet, no strings, no Geppetto”

Non-Stop – Review

Posted: February 27, 2014 by MichaelSmithNC in All, Movie Review, Movies
Tags: , , , ,



Rated PG-13

for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references

Since the tragic events of 9/11 the United States has used a lot of resources to upgrade the security in and around air travel. One of the ways that this was accomplished was in the expansion and further development of the Federal Air Marshal Service.  The FAMs are tasked with blending in with the everyday passengers flying the skies over the United States to watch over the flights and ensure that no acts like what occurred in 2001 will be repeated. The threats they face on a day to day basis can range from frisky couples joining the “mile-high” club to plots to hijack a plane mid-flight.

In the last few years Liam Neeson has re-emerged as somewhat of an action star. In the early 90s he cut his action movie teeth playing the role of Peyton Westlake / Darkman in the Darkman. In 1999 he landed the role of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin in the first Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace. From there he drifted into roles that were a bit less action oriented. In 2008 he burst back onto the action scene with the surprise hit Taken. Since that time he has become the actor to get if you are looking for an “older” guy to be your movie badass; see The A-Team, The Grey, Taken 2, and The Dark Knight Rises. Non-Stop is the next installment of Liam Neeson as the older, but old-man strong, hero.

This time, Neeson plays the role of Federal Air Marshal Bill Marks. Marks is not your polished hero type character that you are used to out of Neeson, he is a very troubled man. Marks battles a drinking problem and is very anti-social, to say the least. You could easily seem him as the type of guy who would wake up one morning and say, “F*** it, I’m gonna waste those fools today,” and then go postal. The story told in Non-Stop rests on the shoulders of Neeson and his ability to portray a drunk, depressed, anti-social guy, who also just happens to be a highly trained Federal Agent.

The story told in Non-Stop is an interesting one that will keep your attention if you enjoy a good “whodunit”. Marks begins to receive mysterious text messages describing a plot to kill a passenger on board the plane every 20 minutes until a ransom of $150 million is paid. Marks puts all of his training into action as he methodically goes about the business of tracking down the threat without alerting the passengers as to the danger they are in. Along the way he is faced with hurdles and challenges that seem to implicate him as the real threat.

The story is complicated and requires a little more attention than some movie goers like to give; a poorly timed restroom break in the middle of the movie or a talker sitting next to you can ruin this movie’s fun. It also doesn’t move at a very fast pace; this is ironic considering the plot is that someone dies every 20 minutes. It develops in a very deliberate and methodical way with the viewer never really knowing what is fully going on at any given time. The emotions of the movie also build in a very slow and deliberate way so that by the time the movie build to its climax, the tension is at its highest point.

At the climax, the story goes off the rails a little. Throughout the movie you are wondering if what is happening is a personal attack against the airline, a terrorist attack, or even a personal vendetta against Marks. When the baddy and motive are actually revealed, don’t be surprised if you find yourself scratching your head. The motive that is given just doesn’t fit the story and the characters that are provided.

The other two main characters in Non-Stop provide balance and the emotions that the story needs, if not the actual details.  The row mate to Marks is a woman named Jen (Julianne Moore) and she adds a bit of levity to offset the always serious and brooding Marks. The flight attendant, Nancy (Michelle Dockery), is the rock that Marks leans on when his paranoia won’t allow him to trust anyone else. The rest of the cast consists of your stereotypical figures that always seem to make their way into these types of movies; I won’t ruin your fun here.

Liam Neeson continues with his trend of grizzled hero movies in a story that is a bit complicated with a somewhat unfulfilled ending. Overall, Non-Stop is a good second choice movie if you insist on going to the theater this weekend and you have seen everything else. I won’t say that I didn’t like it, but I also won’t commit to saying I did.

Similar Viewing

Taken, Taken 2, Passenger 57

When: April 1, 2014 and April 2, 2014
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
Tickets: Here

The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil announced that Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, one of the top 10 grossing music tours of all time, will return to Raleigh. Since its world premiere in Montreal in October 2011, this electrifying production has thrilled audiences across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Created by Cirque du Soleil and directed by Jamie King, THE IMMORTAL World Tour is a departure from the company’s previous touring shows. Featuring 49 international dancers, musicians, and acrobats, it is presented in a rock concert format that combines the excitement and innovation of Michael Jackson’s music and choreography with Cirque du Soleil’s unparalleled creativity.

The underpinnings of THE IMMORTAL World Tour are Michael Jackson’s powerful, inspirational music and lyrics—the driving force behind the show—brought to life with extraordinary power and breathless intensity. Through unforgettable performances, the show underscores Michael’s global messages of love, peace and unity, and the band includes some of the same artists who previously worked side by side with Michael. Aimed at lifelong fans as well as those experiencing Michael’s creative genius for the first time, the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop, celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations.

For more information visit

When: March 29, 2014
Where: Koka Booth Ampitheatre, Cary
Tickets: Here

Bottoms Up, Bacon Down

75 Craft Beers
15 Restaurants
10 Bacons From Across the US
… and lots of Piggy Love

The Festival is an ALL-YOU-CARE-TO-TASTE extravaganza complete with the best craft beers for your tasting pleasure…..paired with the food of the Gods: BACON. Guests enjoy a souvenir glass plus 75+ of their favorite international beers and wines paired with delicious bacon dishes (VIP tasting included, general admission is alacarte.) The VIP Deck will host over 15 restaurant tasting stations featuring the BEST restaurants in the Triangle will be on-hand vying for the $500 Best Bacon Dish Prize and specialty tastes and beers throughout the day.   There will be over 2 tons of gourmet bacons from all over the country will be griddled on-site (until 3pm). The Main Stage will host live music all day along with a Butchering 101 class.  All of this plus fun foodie exhibits and so much more!


When: March 28, 2014
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
Tickets: Here
Scheduled to Appear:
John Cena
Daniel Bryan
The Wyatt Family
Big E
Cody Rhodes
The Shield
Big Show
Dolph Ziggler

(All superstars subject to change)


maxresdefault Twisted Insane
whit-pic-2 Whitney Peyton
vmznmv SOZAY
 photo Alan Winkle
When: March 25, 2014
Where: The Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
Tickets: Here


Son of God

Welcome to Yesterday



Rated PG-13

for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content

Set in the year 79 AD, Pompeii is a story of the final days of the city that would be destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The story is centered on the lives of a wealthy merchant woman, Cassia, and on a gladiator, Milo. Their lives are intertwined with a corrupt Roman Senator, Corvus, who has managed to have profoundly negative impacts on both Cassia and Milo.

On the night of the screening of Pompeii the omens of what was to come were plentiful. The most profound of them came as I was waiting for a friend to meet me before dinner. The place where we agreed to meet, The Q Shack, apparently had an issue with a meat smoker that resulted in the fire department being called and the whole complex being filled with the sound of ear piercing fire alarms. Little did I know at the time, but the damage to my ears would soon be partnered with damage to my eyes and insults to my intelligence.

To say that Pompeii was a “let-down” is an understatement. I didn’t expect to go in and see a masterpiece of film and creativity, but I did expect to see a little more than what I got. An epic disaster story like the destruction of Pompeii has such great potential, if handled properly. And my friend, this story was not handled properly. To quote a close friend named Isaac Weeks, “This is basically a Lifetime Channel movie with a special effects budget.”

There are three main problems with this movie that just ruined it for me; terrible characters, an unbelievable story, and insulting special effects. If two out of three of these issues were even passable, this movie would have been a pleasure to watch as a popcorn movie. It could have been something along the lines of 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow, which had an interesting story and very good visual effects that offset some character issues.

The characters of Milo and Cassia are passable at best, Kit Harrington and Emily Browning did what they could with the dialogue they were given, but mostly fell flat. Kiefer Sutherland as the villainous Corvus was just plain bad. I know you are not supposed to love a villain, more often you are supposed to love to hate them. In the case of Corvus, his dialogue was so bad and his character so stereotypical I wanted to hit fast-forward anytime Sutherland was onscreen.

Several other characters that were granted significant screen time seemed to have no real purpose at all. Joe Pingue as Graecus contributed the same thing as Currie Graham’s Bellator as the boss/owner of the slave gladiators. Why waste valuable time on those duplicated characters when you could use that time to better develop the other core characters?

The story, where to begin? The main story of the movie takes place over what feels to be less than a week. During that week we are asked to believe that it is possible that a dirty, bloody, violent slave gladiator and an aristocrat’s daughter, who are only ever in the same place at the same time about 3 times, fall so madly in love with each other they are willing to die for one-another. “Maybe he just made a great first impression”, you say. If snapping the neck of a horse with your bare hands is a great first impression in the eyes of aristocratic Roman women, then you may be right.

The final fatal flaw of this movie is in the special effects and final action sequences. If you have seen 2012 and you remember John Cusack making a stretch limo bend the laws of physics to the point where Einstein would roll over in his grave, then you have an idea of what happens in Pompeii. Apparently the horses that were raised and trained in ancient Naples are a breed that is immune to the sense of self-preservation that most all other mammals seem to be equipped with. It is also interesting that every time Milo and Cassia decide to have a tender moment Vesuvius is super polite and halts its explosive violence just long enough for them to get it in.

I do have to give the makers of Pompeii credit for a couple of things that they did manage to make look good or get right. The scenes of the actual eruption looked every bit as scary as you would imagine it to be. Also, the fight scenes in the arena with the various gladiators had some good moments. Finally, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje deserves credit for his portrayal of gladiator badass Atticus; he was someone that I had no problem rooting for.

So, if you enjoy disaster movies that are a disaster themselves, then this one is a runaway winner for you. If you are like the rest of us who would rather not set fire to our hard earned money, skip this one.

Similar Viewing

Gladiator, Volcano, Dante’s Peak, 2012

Photo Credit: Amarpaul Kalirai

Photo Credit: Amarpaul Kalirai

Tori Amos

Unrepentant Geraldines

Durham Performing Arts Center
August 20, 2014

Tori Amos is set to release her brand new studio album, Unrepentant Geraldines, May 13th in the U.S. on Mercury Classics/Universal Music Classics. Unrepentant Geraldines is pop/rock in both content and feel and is a change in pace from Amos’ most recent releases. The album is both one step further in the evolution of one of the most successful and influential artists of her generation, and a return to the inspiring and personal music that Amos is known for all around the world. Tori Amos will bring her Unrepentant Geraldines Tour to DPAC on August 20, 2014.

Tickets on:

Online at

DPAC Ticket Center: 919.680.2787, 123 Vivian Street, Durham, NC / Ticketmaster Charge by phone at 800.745.3000

Unrepentant Geraldines is her 14th studio recording, and a return to her core identity as a creator of contemporary songs, following a series of more classically-inspired and innovative musical projects of the last four years. These have included the seasonal collection Midwinter Graces, the classically influenced Night of Hunters, and Gold Dust, a collection of orchestral re-workings of songs from across her career. Released in October 2012 Gold Dust included “Flavor,” which was remixed by the late DJ Peter Rauhofer and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Club Dance Chart in February 2013.

Amos recently also launched her most ambitious project to date as a composer, along with book writer Samuel Adamson, with the musical The Light Princes, which premiered at London’s National Theatre in fall of 2013.

Tori Amos has sold over 12 million albums, has played over a thousand shows and has won numerous awards. Since the release of her debut album Little Earthquakes 21 years ago in 1992 where she pushed boundaries with her confessional style of songwriting, Amos continues to be adored, picking up new fans along the way, romanced by her messages of empowerment, tenderness, acerbic assertiveness, and of course her utterly peerless sound.

A pioneer across multiple platforms, Tori Amos was the first major label artist to offer a single for download. She has had her songs turned into graphic novels and has produced groundbreaking videos throughout her career. Ms. Amos is also a noted humanitarian and co-founder of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), which is the United States’ largest anti-sexual assault organization.



Crown Center

Fayetteville, NC

January 23, 2014

True Believers Tour
with Special Guests
Eli Young Band
Corey Smith

“This time, I really wanted to do something different,” says Darius Rucker. “I went straight from my first album into my second, and it really just picked up where the other one left off. So when we went into the studio on this one, we really wanted to take our time and not even start worrying about a record until we had songs that we felt were the right ones. And when I heard what would become the lead single, ‘True Believers,’ played back, I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve never done anything like that before!'”

“True Believers,” also the name of his 2013 headlining tour, is a triumphant reflection of the rewards and challenges of sustaining a marriage – was the first song recorded for this project and became the first single and title track for Rucker’s third and most ambitious country studio album. While his previous two albums, Learn To Live and Charleston, SC 1966 both topped the Billboard Country Album chart and produced five Number One singles, on True Believers he opted to dig deeper, work with new collaborators, and create something more resonant both musically and emotionally.

“I just started with a list of guys I wanted to write with,” says Rucker. “The process doesn’t really change – you go off in a corner and write – but I really wanted to try not to write ‘Alright’ again. And I’m very happy with what we got. I love the song choices, the sound is brighter, and even though I’m not big on listening to myself, I’m really proud of the vocals on this record.”

Tickets: HERE