Friday, January 21, 2022

Nas Joins $20 Million Funding Round For Carry1st, ‘Africa’s Leading Mobile Games Publisher


Nas Joins $20 Million Funding Round For Carry1st, ‘Africa’s Leading Mobile Games Publisher’

Nas Escobar Cigars

Photo Credit: Escobar Cigars

Rapper Nas has joined a $20 million funding round for Cape Town, South Africa-headquartered Carry1st, which bills itself as “the leading publisher of social games and interactive content in Africa.”

New York City-born Nas – whose QueensBridge Venture Partners last year earned a reported $40 million from a nearly decade-old investment in Coinbase – joined Google as well as Savage X Fenty backer Avenir in funding Carry1st. And Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), which has now coordinated with Nas on multiple raises, led the round.

According to a formal release from a16z, four-year-old Carry1st – which has worked on titles including Football ClashMatch League, and SpongeBob Krusty Cook-Off, per its website – serves north of one million users.

“Most notably, Carry1st has aggregated Africa’s disparate payment networks into a modern fintech platform,” the document continues, “ultimately creating a one-stop solution for other game publishers to manage, distribute, and collect payments from end users across 90 different payment methods.”

On this front, Andreessen Horowitz sees “a huge opportunity for a next-generation games platform and social network in Africa,” noting that the average age of the continent’s 1.3 billion residents is 19.

But “few international games target an African audience at launch, and even fewer localize and design for the continent – taking into account regional taste and languages,” a16z notes before acknowledging that Africa’s “highly fragmented” payments space is a barrier to global app and game companies.  

Nas’ investment in Carry1st arrives as the broader music industry is looking to establish footholds in emerging markets, and particularly throughout Africa’s 54 countries.

Months after Warner Music South Africa acquired local label Coleske, for instance, the overarching WMG kicked off 2022 by buying a majority stake in African distribution and rights-management company Africori.

Regarding the aforementioned funding rounds that have drawn support from both Nas and Andreessen Horowitz, late November of 2021 also saw the parties (along with The Chainsmokers and Kygo) join a $55 million Series A for music-investment platform

Today, Nas used to sell 50 percent of the streaming royalties from two tracks, “Rare” and “Ultra Black.” For the latter song, the 48-year-old priced 500 ownership tokens at $50 apiece (with each offering a 0.0143 percent stake in the work’s streaming royalties), 250 tokens at $250 each (0.0857 percent ownership per token), and 10 tokens at $4,999 a pop (2.1400 percent ownership).

Meanwhile, Nas – who became a co-owner of and equity partner in Escobar Cigars last August – congratulated his former manager, Steve Stoute, on the two $50 million rounds that his UnitedMasters closed last year. Andreessen Horowitz, an existing UnitedMasters investor, led the newer of these raises.

Lastly, in terms of the professional overlap between Nas and a16z, the VC has backed multiple crypto and NFT startups, and Nas declared after cashing in on his Coinbase interest: “Long crypto forever…. in sickness & in health.”


Cookie has been singing since the age of five and honing her skills by singing in chorus and madrigals during her high school career. She also utilized her singing talent by performing at local venues in and throughout the Spring Creek, Warren, and Erie Pennsylvania regions including nursing homes, parades, bar venues and sporting events.

She then expanded her musical experiences while continuing to grow her talent when performing via the Infinity Performing arts cafe of Jamestown New York. Through the program she performed at various NY state venues/festivals (including the Blue Heron music festival) and got the opportunity to sing at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame as well as participate in a Blues music competition while at the Lafayette Tap Room of Buffalo New York.

Throughout her musical journey she has been an opening act for Hip-hop artist Lil' Scrappy, country artist Aaron Tippin, and the music group Kool and the Gang. In late summer (August) of 2021 she was invited to perform the singing of the National Anthem to open up a Nascar race for the Watkins Glen international racetrack.

Within recent weeks two of her original songs "Rugged Cowboy" and "It is what it is" were ranked number one for local country/acoustic music on the Number One music chart or site.

Cookie Isn't Your Average Cookie

Erie, Pennsylvania Dec. 26th, 2021

Today the new independent artist that goes by the name of Cookie is Number Two on the N1M charts (NumberOne Music charts) for local country music. Her new single "Rugged Cowboy" which was released on August 31st, 2021 has been catching the attention of fans who follow her music on this site. She celebrated it becoming number one on the charts on December 5th for the first time since its release, and also another original of hers "Hurt Soul" slid into the number one spot on December 13th.

While still fairly new to music as a solo artist and singer/songwriter, Cookie (real name Amber Otto previously Amber Cooke), has been singing and performing since the tender age of five. While seeing her creative ability as a hobby upon its starts, she began taking music and what it could do for her more seriously after becoming  a vocalist in a blues band at the Infinity Performing Arts Cafe of Jamestown NY. Through Infinity, she was able to perform at several of the venues within the New York state region as well as perform at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, and compete in a blues music competion while at the Lafayette Tap Room of Buffalo New York. 

Aside from Infinity, her talent was spotted by those watching and listening throughout her various music ventures, giving her opportunities to perform as an opening act for artists such as Lil' Scrappy (Hip-hop artist now on Love and Hip Hop), Aaron Tippin (Country artist), and Kool and the Gang (R&B funk band). She was also selected as one of the top "go to" vocalists within the Erie Pennsylvania area to contact for the singing of the National Anthem. This lead her to sing our country's anthem at two different Monster Jam events and as of this summer (2021) in August was able to share her voice to kick off the "Go Bowling at the Glen NASCAR cup series"weekend event. 

Some of Cookie's musical influences were the soulful and sultry sounds of Aretha Franklin, Shania Twain, Tammy Wynette, Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Johnny Cash and many more. Though more familiar in performing cover songs, she has embraced her own sound and currently has her music available on all music platforms including SoundCloud, Spotify,Youtube Music, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Napster, itunes, Shazam etc.

She stays true to her powerhouse, soulful vocals but combines them with her new found love of playing acoustic guitar and country rooted background that came from several of her family members; closest being her Grandfather. She describes her sound as one where the "country ends and soul begins." She previously shared with a local newspaper that she hopes to one day be an artist that you hear on the radio and states to "Just keep singing," because you never know where it might lead. 

To listen to Cookie today follow her on:

Monday, December 20, 2021



Laced with undertones that make their audience question every ounce of their knowledge and perceived reality, Calumet’s music has never shied away from asking the most pressing questions while delivering a unique and funky listening experience to their fans.

Phoenix, Arizona – August 21st, 2021 – Fusing political discourse with the power of music, up-and-coming pop superstars Calumet are back with an incredible new single ‘Save Us from Ourselves’. The song was written by Jason Mitchell, who is the bassist and guitarist on this track. The song features Eric Mobley, lead vocalist, John Herrera on the drums, Josh Prior handling percussion and vocals, and Marvin Scott, bringing his saxophone to the huge hook in the bridge.

In essence, Calumet’s music seeks to get people to question their beliefs while getting them to groove with upbeat rhythms and hooks. The individual members are fans of so much music in so many styles, they are comfortable in using bluegrass chord changes, 70’s sitcom funk, rock guitars, soul vocals, and a disco bridge in the same song – as voracious music fans, their ears perk up to vocal harmony and interesting arrangements.  Indeed, Calumet's signature is the powerful soul vocals of lead singer Eric Mobley, supported by the classic soul harmony blend of Jason Mitchell and Josh Prior.

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the band, which has had its share of highs and lows. After a hiatus of several years, Calumet reformed in 2018 and has been very prolific since then, releasing an EP, a full-length album, and numerous singles. They put a lot of love and effort into their songs, as evident by ‘Save Us from Ourselves’, and other recent singles.  Their lyrics are nuanced, and usually have some degree of socio-political commentary within them, painting a subtle picture that begs the audience to keep dissecting their words for hidden meanings and narratives.

For Calumet, the biggest inspiration remains American life, and what it means to live in a democracy that is under attack from within.  'Save Us from Ourselves' is a companion piece to 2020's 'This is How it Ends', which was released during the uncertain days of the pandemic and approaching election.  "We write songs about many subjects, but the darkness of the last few years has provided plenty of material for us to use," says Jason.  "Some of our favorites artists, like Curtis Mayfield and Sly Stone, were able to deliver messages about universal themes that apply to us all, and we carry that with us."

Go to to stream their newest single ‘’Save Us from Ourselves’ and make sure to follow them on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Spotify. For interviews, reviews, and collaborations, feel free to reach out to the band through email or Twitter.


Calumet is a funk band formed in Phoenix, Arizona by Eric Mobley and Jason Mitchell in 2001. Originally a funk and soul cover band, Calumet soon began writing their own material soon after performing. In 2002, the band released their debut album ‘Retro Energy’, and played for years around Arizona, including festivals, nightclubs, and shows with Al Green, Kool & the Gang, and George Benson.  Calumet is maintaining a busy recording and performing schedule with new singles being released every few weeks.

Name: Calumet
Phone Number: (602)-741-373
Email Address:
Business Address:
PO Box 6232
Chandler, Arizona 85246
United States


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Aria Elan

Artist Biog


Singer/Songwriter Aria Elan sang gospel in an Oxnard, California church accompanied by Grammy winner Anderson Paak on drums. SiSi Records, her indie label, released several critically acclaimed albums on various artists and in 2013, released Aria’s positive, “feel-good” Smile album. 

In 2015, she collaborated with Grammy award winner Mamadou Diabate on her environmental anthem Free Mama Earth which also appeared on her Hotter album. In 2018, Aria’s latest album FUN dropped and she delved further into her sultry, smooth jazz and R&B style. 

Stay tuned for Aria’s amazing new album scheduled to be released in February 2022. All of Aria's albums were produced by award-winning songwriter Karl Marrett of Marrett Productions in Bronx, New York.

Aria’s accomplishments (award-winning poet and playwright) are displayed in her lyrical abilities. Her experience as an entertainment attorney in New York City and Los Angeles gave her the opportunity to help others.  

She has spoken and performed at women’s conferences, legal conferences, colleges & universities, United Way of Ventura County, Maui Earth Day festival, Maui Martin Luther King celebration, Oxnard, California Earth Day festival, US Air Force, US Navy, Veterans fundraisers, etc. .  Aria has received certificates of appreciation and awards from the California Youth Authority, College of Charleston, County of Maui, NAACP, Ventura Self Help Clinic, Watts Legal Aid, California Poet Laureate, US Navy, and numerous others.

As a motivational speaker, Aria Elan presents humorous, poignant and memorable stories about Aria’s ABCs of SUCCESS that resonate with people.


For bookings and media requests with Aria Elan, please contact

Follow Aria Elan:




Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Joyce Grennan


Joyce Grennan a Canadian Artist/singer/songwriter who has been on Canadian radio and internet radio around the world.  You can find her original music on iTunes, Spotify and most internet platforms.  Genre is Pop, Country, Christian Pop with R&B influence.  Born in Quebec, raised in N.B. travelled across Canada in a show band and landed in Vancouver BC. where she lived most of her life and graduated with honours at the Art Institute of Vancouver for Electronic Music.  She has performed all over Canada including the Yukon and fell in love with Canada's beautiful territory where she presently resides. 

She has written many songs and  made numerous trips to Nashville TN to write and record.  Joyce has co-written with hit songwriters such as Stephanie Brown who has written with  Garth Brooks, Karren Pell  who was  one of Reba McEntire's staff writers, Larry Wayne Clark who has had a few cuts with Artists such as Lee Greenwood and Chris Young, Roger Dillon "Sticks & Stones" by Tracy Lawrence.  These are just some of the writers Joyce has co-written songs with. She is a versatile songwriter who writes alone and with other like minded songwriters.  She's performed on stage with other hit songwriters down in Nashville TN.  

Joyce Grennan hit the charts with her songs.   Canadian Country Music Charts years ago  #55 with a song she co-wrote with Larry Wayne Clark "It Scares Me"  Joyce also has a few single songs published in Nashville.  "That's What Pillows Are For" made it in the top 25 on True North Radio in Canada in 2019 and currently 2021 has a Christian Pop song "In God's Hands" which is no. 1 on N1M internet radio.  Has performed live on internet radio and loves performing.  

Joyce has been involved with numerous bands over the years and has sung many styles of music from country, rock, folk, pop, gospel, R&B, and jazz. She has written many songs and  made numerous trips to Nashville TN to write and record. 

She has shared the stage working with Al Harlow, Rocket Norton, and John Hall from Prism who formed a band called “The Buzz” and another   band - Rocket Norton R & B Explosions.

Joyce has been working on another  new EP - coming soon and is very excited to  release her new music.  

For more information please sign up for Joyce's mailing list.

Band Name:Joyce Grennan

Album Name:Make Lemonade

Year Released:2020


Music Style:Country Pop


We Sound Like:Shania Twain

Performing Rights Society:SOCAN (CANADA)

Label Affiliation:Unsigned




Wednesday, November 10, 2021

THE OUTSIDER Music & Lyric Video by MARYANN

MaryAnn Stefanik, lyricist, singer and song writer from New Jersey & Florida, has always enjoyed singing from a young age. A truly memorable voice, MaryAnn has a hypnotic sexy tone that will pull you through the various genres of Folk, Adult Contemporary and Rock.  Warm, real, honest and sincere, her lyrics will enlighten you and enfold you into the wisdom and light that is MaryAnn.

MaryAnn released “A Rose…Is a Rose…Is a Rose” in July 2006 to critical acclaim and excellent reviews.  The singles “Crossing Over by the 31st” and “Picture Perfect” followed, which proved her lyrical writing skills show her insight, hindsight & foresight, and became the driving force behind her 2017 TRANSPARENT release.  Her latest single, THE OUTSIDER, will leave you wanting MORE!!!

Maryann is a member of the Recording Academy and her music can be found on all the major on-line outlets including iTunes, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Amazon.