For Wilkinsburg native Hakim Rasheed, singing in talent shows has been a pastime since he entered a Boys & Girls Club contest as a 14 year old. While Rasheed's now grown, and works in admissions at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, he still steps up to the mic ... where his soulful croon and melismatic falsetto slays. At the end of March, Rasheed took home the prize for "Top Vocalist" in WAMO's 2008 Talent Show, a prize which included a deal with heavyweight Koch Records to release a single into rotation on select R&B and hip-hop stations.
That single, the upbeat "Tell Me Where U Wanna Go," is expected to hit the WAMO airwaves in June, Rasheed says. If all goes well, he hopes Koch will sign him for a full album, which he's been working on since winning the contest. He's currently collaborating with producers Nesia Beatz and Soy Sos, Mozart Productions and Mindbender, and recording the bulk of the tracks in Mindbender's South Hills studio.
Rasheed also took home a top prize in WAMO's 2005 contest, and was a semi-finalist on WPXI's "Gimme the Mic" show. In August, he's scheduled to perform at Mellon Arena for WAMO's "Summer Jam," which features major league hip-hop and R&B stars alongside top local talents. You can sample Rasheed's style -- and keep up with his career -- on his myspace page www.myspace.com/hakimrasheed.
On an entirely different note, while at Brillobox for the Sort Of Records anniversary show, I heard rumors of a new genre-bending local supergroup in the works. "Really, it's called Rob Lowe?" I asked. "No -- Raw Blow." Oh, haha, now I get it. The group is comprised of Terry Carroll a.k.a. T-Glitter of Dirty Faces along with Chris Cannon and Adam Frew of the Johnsons Big Band, and Eric Yeschke of Dreadnots and White Gold. The instrumentation consists of samplers, a snare drum, upright bass and vocals; Carroll describes it as using hip-hop sampling techniques with "antique sounds, to create music that is dance-able, with a sort of mid-20th-century feel," he writes. "Kind of like electronic rockabilly/white blues or something." Hear it for yourself at http://www.myspace.com/rawblowpgh. Or you can catch the group's debut Sat., May 31 at Remedy in Lawrenceville, with Gangwish, DJ Julie Chill and DJ Magicbeanzzz.