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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Eyezon
Monday, November 17, 2008

Some folks have noted that I have a predilection for featuring east coast artists as my Artists Of The Week. Well, you can’t get much further from the east coast of the US than South Africa, and that’s exactly where this week’s Artist Of The Week, Eyezon, hails from. Figuring an emcee who’s actually seen apartheid up close and personal might have a thing or two to say, I sat down with Eyezon this week to find out more about his early years in South Africa, when and how he made the move to America, and how he feels all of his life experiences help him connect with people as an emcee.

Adam Bernard: You were born in South Africa during apartheid. How long did you live there and how did it shape your view of the world?
Eyezon: I spent most of my childhood years in South Africa. I didn't move to the States till the beginning of my teen years at 14. I got to experience a lot as a child in Africa, both black and white. The world is full of good and evil and until we all learn to see only the good in everything we'll never be happy.

Adam Bernard: By the time '95 came around you were rolling solo with your father absent and your mother exiled to Germany…
Eyezon: I never knew my mother till around the time I decided to move to the States. She had been exiled in Germany right after my birth and my memory of her was drawn from the stories of my aunties telling me that she had passed on and gone. I tried moving in with her and it was like two total strangers. She had her new life and family now.

Adam Bernard: When, during all of this, did you decide to come to America and how did you come that that decision?
Eyezon: That’s where Amy comes in. Amy had been a young white American lady who worked with kids on the streets in Johannesburg. By God and chance she would take the role of mothership after meeting us at a police station in Johannesburg where my cousin's step dad had left us. Amy would become a family friend with our grandmother and through politics find a way for us to come out here with her along with the blessing of my grandmother who was now dying at an old folk’s home. Through God and people we'd wind up moving out here and I chose to come out here with my cousins and Amy cuz that was the family I knew and know.

Adam Bernard: Is there anything, or anyone, you regret leaving behind?
Eyezon: To be honest with you I moved around so much that I never had the chance, or time, to build concrete relationships but for the ones with my cousins who moved around with me. Plus I lived in my notepad more than anywhere else, writing poetry and drawing.

Adam Bernard: When did Hip-Hop enter into your life and when did you start rhyming?
Eyezon: Hip-Hop, or shall I say Black music, has always been a big part of my life, whether I could understand it or not. I think good music will touch or move you no matter what. I remember listening to Michael Jackson songs and translating the rhythm to what sounded like Zulu. Hip-Hop was like an underground thing at that time because there were certain records that were not allowed due to them promoting black consciousness, but I got into Hip-Hop through my uncle who got tapes from overseas and Tanzania.

Adam Bernard: That’s a huge effort to get to music. Thankfully yours is much more accessible. There might be some folks out there unfamiliar with your work, though, so tell everyone about some of your projects.
Eyezon: I have the 7 Miles From Earth LP on iTunes right now and I have A People Like Us that's coming out February 29th, 2009. There's also a bunch of singles available online. I have a bunch of free music on my MySpace page, too.

Adam Bernard: In what ways do you feel you relate to people?
Eyezon: I am one of them.

I'm coming from hoopties and tenements, loose jeans and Timberlands
Hoop dream we at them and shoot squeeze for benjamins
I keep battlin' got a fetish for better things
move like a veteran, you'll see what I'm tellin them

I am on the streets and in the struggle with everybody. I'm the dream for a people who barely got time to dream. I'm Hakeem. {laughs} But no for real man, I'm peoples.

Adam Bernard: Finally, all people can affect change. What change would you most like to affect?
Eyezon: I can tell you that I want to touch lives and change the world, etc., but I'm a believer in God and in some part believe I'm only a messenger. There are things I learn from listening to my own music. I've also accepted the responsibilities that come with doing music. The A People Like Us album can be attached to the homelessness issue that affects all of us. The video for the single is about homelessness in San Francisco, CA and also comes with a mini-doc to possibly help, or bring light, to this important issue.

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/eyezon


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:35 AM  
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