Update!

Hey everyone! It's been about 3 months since I've released my first full length album, Work In Progress. I can't believe it's been that long already! Every day I have someone different asking me about it. So I thought I'd give a quick update via the personal FB page. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I put this out. It was just something I felt called to do so I finally did it. In the 3 months that it's been out, I've had stories on websites like Trackstarz. I've been able to talk about the album on radio with KIWA Radio. I've also had a handful of interviews and stories in papers like The N'West Iowa REVIEWSioux City Journal's WeekenderThe GlobeNobles County Review, and Northwestern College - Beacon

The response to the music itself has been pretty cool! A.I. has over 15k plays on Spotify and over 13k on SoundCloud. Just that song! Overall the album has over 50k plays on JUST Spotify and my music has been added to over 50 playlists, some as big as 9,000 followers! And I know it's getting played other places like Apple MusicAmazon MusicPandora, and Google Play. I've had tons of people tell me they like this song or that song or their kids learned the words to this song and try to rap along with the track. I've even had people that don't like hip-hop let me know they like the album! It's a pretty cool feeling! 

To anyone who has listened to or shared the music, thank you! It means the world to me. If you haven't checked it out, I'll post some direct links below. I'm not sure where we're going from here but I do have some music video ideas in the works and some shows in the process of being planned including DAD & Friends In Arnolds Park this June. Hopefully more to come!

If you'd like to follow along on the journey like my Stovetop page. You can also find me on Instagram (http://bit.ly/2n8lhd7) and Twitter (http://bit.ly/2BqGzqU) with the handle @The_Stovetop. If you'd like updates and behind the scenes stuff right to your inbox, signup for my newsletter at my website here, http://bit.ly/2EzQc8y (stovetop-music.com). Even a simple follow on Spotify and saving some songs or adding them to playlists can go a long way! Thanks for taking the time to read all this. Please share the music with someone you think would like it. I'm beyond appreciative! 

Work In Progress on:
Spotify - http://spoti.fi/2DvgCYW
iTunes - https://apple.co/2rjfaqY
Amazon - http://amzn.to/2B98Z8D
Google Play - http://bit.ly/2BmQtK5
SoundCloud - http://bit.ly/2E39FSp
YouTube - http://bit.ly/2iSxW4I

Sunrise Service

‪This past Easter I had the privilege of being asked to be part of Maurice Reformed Church’s sunrise service. My coworker were asked after we had done a song as part of our day job there a few months prior. We covered Lights Shine Bright by TobyMac and Hollyn and even put in a little choreography. Check out the video below, our song starts at 3:27. It was an honor to help celebrate to resurrection! 

Work In Progress

January 23, 2018. It's finally here! Today is the official release date of Work In Progress. I've worked on this project on and off for about 5 years. Today it's available for the world to hear. Pretty surreal! For so long it's just been a dream. That dream is now a reality. I don't really have much to say except that I'm thankful for this opportunity. I'm thankful you're reading this. I hope you listen and like what you hear. I hope you're encouraged and empowered. We're all a Work In Progress. And that's ok. Head over to my music page to find links to iTunes and Spotify. Or search your favorite listening platform and you'll find it there. Please share it with someone you think would like it. Let's go!

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5 Weeks of Fresh Fridays

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The title is pretty self explanatory, don't you think? But what does it really mean? Let me tell you! For the next 5 weeks, I'll be releasing a video every Friday in a series called "Fresh Friday Flows." Each video will be a live take of me rapping over a fresh beat. At the end of these 5 weeks, something awesome is going to happen. What exactly? You'll have to stay tuned to find out! For now, enjoy the first edition of Fresh Friday Flows and share it with your people!

2017 - 1987 = 30

Just some subtraction for funsies? Nah. Taking a math test? Nope. Confused? Me too. Let me break it down for you. 2017 = right now. 1987 = the year I was born. What's that mean? I. Just. Turned. 30. That's right, 3 decades here on planet Earth. Unbelievable. Time really does fly.

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It's been an amazing 30 years if I do say so myself. I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything. It was when my love for music was born. I still remember listening to oldies radio in car rides, digging through my dad's cassette tapes of 50's doo-wop music, and singing in church. Looking back I can see how those early years really set the stage for the role that music would play in my life. 

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My first "double digit" decade saw this role solidify even more. Starting with band (I rocked the alto followed by the bari saxophone) and choir in middle school, I found a love of performing. This continued through high school as I was involved in pretty much every musical extra-curricular I could be. And I loved every second of it. I was bitten by the bug of performance. 

People tend to really find themselves in their 20's. This decade was no different for me. It's such a weird time of life. You're kind of stuck between being a kid and being an adult. The major hang up is you're waaaay more of a kid than you'd like to admit and you don't realize it until you're older! It's such a strange time that I'm actually going to split this decade into 2 parts: 20-25 and 25-29. 

My college years were a continuation of performing. I was heavily involved in my dorm and used my passion for music to create for that community (you can watch my latest music video filled with college Easter eggs here!). I really started writing during these years. I also performed in many talent shows and found I was a pretty decent dancer. It was something I became known for on campus. My love for hip-hop, music and dance, really solidified during this time. In the last year of my time in college I joined a DJ crew and started throwing parties. This opened up a whole new avenue of music and performing to me that slingshot me through the rest of my 20's. The first couple years after college I started a DJ company, got a business partner, and did every kind of event from bars to middle schools to fairs to weddings and everything in between. In those years, S&E Entertainment and Stovetop Productions grew to be one of the best known DJ companies in NW Iowa. And we're continuing to grow now. Musically I wrote, recorded, and released 3 mixtapes and many singles in 3-4 years. I even had a song played on our local radio station (shoutout to KIWA, hear the song here!) I booked shows and worked on performing my original music for the first time. It was a struggle because making music was slowly becoming my dream and I shied away from it often due to fear and other excuses. Some legitimate, like working full time. Some not so much, like video games, social life, and mindless tv...   :)  It was an exciting and frustrating few years all at the same time. 

The reason I'm starting the second part of this decade at 25 is because that is the year I got married. Life definitely changed for me. In the best ways.  My whole life changed and I could no longer just worry about myself. Music still remained a love of mine but now it was no longer THE love of my life. The back and forth of working on music intensified. My life experience was changing, my outlook was changing, my point of view was changing. This, combined with my day job, becoming a husband and then a father, changed how I saw the world and the music I wanted to create. It led me to a place of really just wanting God to use my passions in any way possible. I began wanting to write about things that mattered. What that means, I'm still not sure. I just know there's more to the music I want to make than just lookin fly and partying. I still like to look good and have a good time, don't get me wrong. But at the end of the day those things can leave you empty. I want to point people to the thing that won't leave you empty, Jesus. 

So what now? I wish I knew. What I DO know is that I'm excited for my 4th decade (WHAT?!?!?) on this Earth. I'm 4 years into marriage, 2 years into parenthood (with baby #2 on the way), and 30 years into music being an intricate part of my life. I'm stoked to continue this journey. Thanks for joining me. We're just getting started!  

 

PS - as a way to celebrate my bday, I wanted to give YOU something! For a limited time you can download my three most popular songs on Spotify for free on SoundCloud. Click the link here and on each track select "More" to download. You can also still buy them on iTunes and add them to your music on Spotify. That would be the best birthday present ;) Enjoy!

New Video, Who Dis?

Let me tell you a story about a young, impressionable freshman whose love of hip-hop music leads him to looking up to some upperclassmen that are big in the NWC rap game. He follows in their footsteps to bring the h* name all across campus and beyond. He even mentions these upperclassmen in many of his songs. Then, without warning, they turn on him, releasing a diss track like none the world has ever heard. Well. Thankfully there is justice. I give you, the h* comeback. New song + video. 

But seriously this was a blast to make. There are so many inside jokes and small things that you really need to pay attention to. A lot of subtle and not so subtle references to things that maybe you'll only really understand if you went to NWC and/or lived in Heemstra Hall. I've got huge love for Casey and Tiny! I love beefs that aren't real!

If you didn't go to NWC or live in Heemstra, don't worry! I will explain everything, well, mostly everything in an upcoming commentary. Stay tuned for some fun behind the scenes access. 

Stovetop Music Now Streaming!

I have some exciting news! I went back through my catalog (which now that I look back is about 7 years worth of music, wow!) and started putting some music in places other than SoundCloud. SoundCloud is great. It's been good to me and I'll continue to keep my music there but there are also other places I want to have my music in order to get in front of a bigger audience.  

With that said, you can now find me, Stovetop, on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Google Play, pretty much everywhere! I'm so stoked! Now you can add my jams to your playlists and stream them or download them like you would any other music you buy. You can even follow me on Spotify, yes I even have that blue verified checkmark! The three songs I decided to start with go back to my first two mixtapes and one of my favorite singles. I also released a fourth that I played guitar for and produced with my friends Thai Hua and Jon Konz. 

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Almost There

Off my first project, The Experiment Mixtape (2010), Almost There comes from that place of wanting to improve and trying your best to get there. But at the end of the day, you know you're not quite where you want to be. 

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Ride With Me

This song is special to me because it features one of my best friends, Thai Hua. Thai's silky smooth hook makes you want to sit back, relax, and go along for the ride. This song is off my second mixtape, The Prequel (2011), and was inspired by the many late night drives I would take throughout high school and college.  

The Lakes

Anybody who's anybody in NW Iowa knows about The Lakes. It's the hottest spot during the summer. Boats, shows, great night life. It's the place to be! So naturally I felt like it needed an anthem. 

 

Back To You

This was such a fun song to work on. Three of us; myself, Jon Konz, and Thai Hua wrote, played, and produced this song all in one night. The lyrics and riffs just came and it was awesome! One of my favorites. Hope you enjoy it. 

So there you have it. Stovetop music out there for the world in any way you want it. Please give it a listen, add it to your playlists, and share it with friends. This is only the beginning! 

 

Disclaimer: apparently there is also a band called "Stovetop" that has music out there. So if you see these album covers, they're not me! :) 

Summertime Flies

What a whirlwind of a summer it's been! Kicked off with our biggest RiseFest yet June 16 and 17. Once again I had the honor of emceeing the weekend. It's a blast to introduce artists and interact with our great crowd. This year I was also able to share about my experience in El Salvador with Compassion last November. We had a little bit of weather that caused some delays but all-in-all it was a fantastic weekend. RiseFest ended with a great performance by TobyMac. He's been one of my all-time favorite artists since he was in DC Talk. It was incredible to have him on our stage in Iowa! 

 

 

After the festival my family and I headed out to Colorado for my wife's family reunion. It was a great few days of getting to know extended family. When the reunion concluded we all stayed in Colorado for a few days of immediate family adventures. It was a blast!

My wife and son went home and dropped me off in Fraser, CO. The Rise on the Road team met me later that day. We had a group of about 40 coming in the next day for a week of service in the Fraser/Granby area. I had the opportunity to co-lead worship for the week. It was a new experience for me! It was an awesome week and a great way to finish my time in Colorado. 

Improvement

Just like that, we're three months into 2017. Wow! It's crazy how time flies isn't it? I don't know about you but usually at this time of the year I'm thinking of all the things I said I was going to do in the new year. And how I'm no longer doing said things... The struggle is real, huh? These things vary, don't they? There's the usual things: eating healthy, exercise, get more sleep, etc. But then there are the other things that maybe relate to things that make up who you are as a person. For me that's music, writing, putting together sets, and so much more. Plus the most important things like being a husband and father! 

I wish I could give some quick and easy 3-step program to get back on track with your 2017 goals. I wish we could just snap our fingers and find that motivation back. The truth is it really just comes down digging in your heels and still working even if you don't feel like it. That's why I'm trying to switch my mind frame off of only using motivation and instead trying to develop habits that will lead to results. Motivation comes and goes. But if you develop positive habits you'll create a better chance for success in your goals. I'm not expert by any means. I'm trying to figure it out myself! 

What habits can you start to develop to lead to reaching your goals? 

 

New Year

2016 has come and gone. What a year it was!  Stovetop Productions had 91 events last year. Our most ever! This year shows no signs of slowing down as we are looking to grow our team and my business partner Scruff and I are looking to do more solo events. He is growing in notoriety in the tri-state EDM scene and I have plans to release a TON of new music and play some shows. Stay tuned for those details on social media and through the newsletter. Here's to a great 2017! 

The last few weeks of 2016 and first few of 2017 were pretty interesting around the Stovetop household. My wife and I sold our house, bought a house, and moved. In less than a month! My wife's grandmother passed away followed by my own grandmother only weeks later. This meant a trip to Grand Rapids, MI and back from a Monday to a Thursday. The timing of the holidays coupled with these events gave an interesting feeling to our family gatherings. Couple that with the flu running through our house and it's been quite a ride recently! I've thought often of Ecclesiastes 3 in the past month. There is a time for everything under heaven. We are thankful for the promise that we will see our loved ones again through our promise in Jesus. 

Shifting gears, we had a run the last two weekends of bridal shows. Our calendar is already fairly full for 2017. These three events in Sioux Center, Spencer, and Orange City should fill in the gaps nicely. 

If you're in the area, we'll be at Rails in Sanborn this Saturday! It's always a great time when we're there and this weekend should be no exception. We have a couple fun things up our sleeve as well. It's a pajama themed party so that should be fun! And no, you don't HAVE to wear pajamas to come out, but it'll be way more fun! You don't want to miss it. 

Quick Rocky Mountain Trip

This past week I took a quick trip out to Winter Park, Colorado for my day job. Part of what we do at RISE is mission trips. We do an international trip every summer to the Dominican Republic and an additional trip somewhere different in the states. In 2017 we'll be in Colorado for our domestic trip. 

The purpose of our quick road trip, our driving 25 hours out of 36 hours, road trip, was to scope out our housing location. We had been in contact with the people at Timberline Lodge in Fraser, CO. It's a Bible college associated with Torchbearers International. They take students for a year in beautiful locations all over the world and provide foundational teaching to equip men and women to live, with integrity and vitality, the authentic Christian life. A real cool organization!

 View from Timberline Lodge. 

View from Timberline Lodge. 

We had meetings for the full day we were there and toured the facilities of Timberline. I kept trying to imagine everything green instead of white since our trip will be in July and not December! It's a beautiful place and I can't wait to bring our students there next summer. If you'd like information on RISE Ministries and the things we do there including our mission trips visit www.riseministries.com. To learn more about Timberline Lodge and what they do visit www.timberlinelodge.org.

 Timberline has a great store. So you know I had to get some gear!

Timberline has a great store. So you know I had to get some gear!

 

 

El Salvador

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador with Compassion International. If you don't know about Compassion, they are a child sponsorship organization that serves impoverished children and families all over the world. They provide the basic needs for children that include food, clean water, access to education, and healthcare. It was incredible to see this work being carried out in person. To learn more about Compassion, click here

 Daniella. Little girl from our first house visit. She loves to color!

Daniella. Little girl from our first house visit. She loves to color!

My favorite part about the things I saw there was the fact that all of the aid came from the local church. Compassion simply empowers the local church to do exactly what the church is supposed to do, love people and serve those in need. We visited homes and churches. We were welcomed with open arms everywhere we want and felt the Holy Spirit at work at every project. 

 TL: Our second church greeted us with a superhero themed welcome! TR: Welcoming party. BL: Kids explaining the shrimp farm. BR: Part of our group at Daniella's home. 

TL: Our second church greeted us with a superhero themed welcome! TR: Welcoming party. BL: Kids explaining the shrimp farm. BR: Part of our group at Daniella's home. 

One great aspect to the education component is that the kids are taught trades to help bring income into their families. The average child will start having to help provide for the family in their early teens. One project even had it's own shrimp farm that the kids cleaned and managed. Another had them learning things like sewing and baking. 

 We were able to zip line through these trees!

We were able to zip line through these trees!

The end of our trip was marked with visits to Compassion's national country office, sightseeing, and zip lining through the forest. It was an unforgettable trip that actually ended in Las Vegas. My wife was there for work training all week. I was able to spend the weekend with her. We took in the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show that was incredible. There was also a chance encounter to hear a Donnie Osmond soundcheck, crazy! It was a great ending to a great week! 

 Easily one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Incredible. 

Easily one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Incredible. 

Sioux City North Dance Marathon

This last weekend we were once again invited to be part of Sioux City North's 3rd Annual Dance Marathon. This event is all student led and put on to raise funds for Children's Miracle Network. Kids raise money by pledging not to sit down for all four hours of the event. Activities included different games, inflatables, pizza, and more. There are also a few families invited to attend and tell their stories. We brought our Photo Booth and it was a huge hit. It is such an honor to be part of this great event. To see these students think of others and put these families first is inspiring. Through this event they were able to raise over $5,000 for Children's Miracle Network. Thank you Sioux City North! #4TK #NHDM

 

Halloween

Halloween is usually a pretty crazy weekend in most facets of the entertainment industry. This year was no exception as I had back-to-back events Friday and Saturday. 

Friday's event was the second annual private party a friend of mine hosts. There's great food, cool decorations, lots of costumes, and of course fire beats provided by yours truly! It takes place in a machine shed and it really does transform into a cool party space. A group of us dressed up as the heroes on a half shell, TMNT! This year we also had a special performance by the band Ultramatix out of Minneapolis AND a girl that twirled fire. Not the fire I was talking about with my beats but LITERAL FIRE. It was awesome. Plus Ultramatix dressed up as the Shredder and Bebop and Bebop. One of them was supposed to be Rocksteady but they were sent two Bebops by mistake!

 Gretchen the flame thrower. 

Gretchen the flame thrower. 

Saturday was the first public event thrown in a brand new, 1.5 million dollar event center in Sutherland, IA. Needless to say, it was a really nice venue. There was a costume contest that I got to judge. It always amazes me what people come up with for Halloween. Not only did I DJ for both events but we also provided lights and sound for both as well. 

 Setup in Sutherland. 

Setup in Sutherland. 

Now it's time to unwind after this crazy weekend. The next few months are going to really be ramping up with planning for next year, music releases, and all kinds of awesome stuff. This is Leonardo signing out, cowabunga dude!

 

 Turtle Power.

Turtle Power.

Photo Shoot

Recently the crew at S&E Entertainment started growing! Specifically in the Stovetop Productions area, two DJ's are being added. We had some fun with the new dudes getting some photos taken by a local photographer who is just getting her feet wet in the world of photography. She's new at it but she's SO good! Her name is Jasmine, you can check out her work here. Give her page a like! A lot of my photos throughout my website and recent promotion are hers. You can see a few here.