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"Trademark Registers: Hip Hop’s Trademark Aaron accentuates the positive on latest stellar release"

Rap MC Mark Aaron Glacken — aka Trademark Aaron — exudes quiet confidence, sharp focus and clear humility when discussing his music, life and goals. The titles of Aaron’s sophomore full-length, Prelude to Greatness, and its predecessor, 2010’s Make Room, may seem frontloaded with typical Hip Hop braggadocio, but they’re a straightforward assessment of his intentions.
“I knew the title (for Prelude) before I put out Make Room,” the Northern Kentucky native says over a couple of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ales at downtown’s Mainstay club. “The fact it took so long made the title more honest. It was a journey — it’s a prelude to greatness. We’re really working toward something. I don’t have it yet, but I’m on the way.”

Given Aaron’s musical diversity on Prelude to Greatness, the title seems more of a promise than boast. An advance from his previous work — two demo CDs, the Good Over Here EP and Make Room — Prelude is clear evidence of his potential.

“Make Room was the first thing I put out on a decent scale,” Aaron says. “I’ve been talking about Prelude to Greatness since I put out Make Room. That’s how long we’ve been working on it. This one is more about songwriting. I wanted to make complete songs. I think it’s better produced and better performed. We took two years to finish it and I think it could stand up to some major releases.”

The EP and two LPs, Aaron’s proposed gig schedule and his upcoming projects, already in process, are products of his almost pathological work ethic. Aaron’s full time crate assembly job leaves little time for writing (he memorizes his lyrics, rather than physically writing them down), recording, video shoots and publicity, yet he manages to shoehorn it into his waking hours with just enough energy to spare for the show.

“I normally come offstage drenched and 20 minutes later I want to sleep,” Aaron says. “I give it all. It’s like hitting the gym. I want (the audience) to have as much fun as I’m having.”

From the jazzy slowburn of “Yeahman” to the infectious bounce of “Like Me,” Aaron offers a sonic hybrid of Soul, Jazz, Pop and Hip Hop on Prelude while weaving lyrical textures that view life from a refreshingly positive perspective.

“This My Job” is a case in point — over a soulful beat, Aaron assures his girlfriend that late nights in the club are about work, not the party.
“I’ve really had that conversation with my girl. It’s not all fun and games. I work all day and then I go do this,” Aaron says. “This is a job. It ain’t fun every night.”

Aaron’s love of music in general was neither nurtured nor discouraged by his parents, who had no particular passion for it. He appreciated whatever music intersected his life.

“I didn’t hear a lot of Hip Hop growing up,” Aaron admits. “I came up on Rock and Punk; I used to go to a lot of Punk and Hardcore shows. I wasn’t around a whole lot of music. My parents like music but they don’t sit around listening to it. I’ll do that. The other day, I bought a Sam Cooke CD for five bucks, and I’ve been listening to it on repeat. I like all kinds of music; I like The Beatles, Coldplay, R&B. I like older music because it seems like it had more feeling and soul to it.”

In middle school, Aaron heard Nas and Wu Tang Clan and was captivated by the musical and lyrical flow. He felt a natural connection between Rap and the poetry he’d written since he was a child, which led to making his own music after graduating from Boone County High School.

“We would hang out in my friend Street Anthem’s basement. Me and him and my friend Juice Jones would be working on music all the time. We didn’t know what we were doing,” Aaron says. “From there, I’d be at parties with Juice and people would talk about how they were rappers and he would instigate a Rap battle. He’d be like, ‘My dude will kill you.’ So I’d always be battling people. Once I did one show I started to get more focused.”

On Prelude to Greatness, Aaron worked with local Fresh Records producers/co-owners Greg and Kristopher Yock. He credits the brothers with bringing out his best and keeping him honest.

“Greg was someone who challenged me in the studio,” Aaron says with a laugh. “I’d never had that before. Greg was like, ‘That was terrible. Do it over.’ If you (compared) those songs the day we recorded them to the versions that are on the CD, you wouldn’t believe it. We did so much to it after that.”

Aaron comes by his honest streak honestly; his mother is a pastor and he grew up in a church environment. Although his music is completely secular, he credits faith as a major component in his drive to excel, as an artist and person.

“I believe in God and what I’m doing is what I’m supposed to be doing,” Aaron says. “I curse and things, but that’s how I feel and it’s honest. I want to make the best music I can make. I want to represent Kentucky. I really try to put positive things out there. I don’t do that misogynistic, mistreatment of females thing. That’s not me.

“Earlier today, I found out I was going to lose my job. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I gotta do this music. If you want it and you do it for the right reasons, you’re gonna get what you’re supposed to get. I like to say ‘Cherish the struggle.’ The struggle’s gonna make you who you are.”

Through hard work and respect for his audience (“You don’t treat them like fans, you treat them like family”), Aaron hopes to establish himself as a completely unique Hip Hop force. In that respect, Prelude to Greatness is an accurate description.

“I want people to say I sound like me,” Aaron says. “You listen to someone like Kid Cudi, and some Hip Hop fans say he’s not Hip Hop. I agree with them, but not in a negative way. I think it’s great. I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that. That’s where I would like to be. I want to make music that anyone can listen to. That’s my goal.” ©

- CityBeat


"Meet the artist: Trademark Aaron"

A blue collar worker is hoping to see his name in lights.

Trademark Aaron – or as he was known at Boone County High School, Mark Aaron Glacken – is releasing his second album “Prelude to Greatness” Feb. 28.

In middle school, Aaron was introduced to hip-hop icons like the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas and fell in love. Hip-hop seemed like a natural transition from his poetry, said Aaron, 26.

A preview video for the album (available on YouTube) shows Aaron waking up and going to his job, waiting for the day to end so he can go pursue his dream and perform. The video isn’t too far off from reality, Aaron said.

“I’ve gone out of town and done shows, drove home that night and gone to work the next morning,” Aaron said. “There’s no feeling like putting on a show.”

“Prelude to Greatness” is the follow-up to his debut “Good Over Here” and the new album is a product of two years of growth, Aaron said.

In his short career, those performances are moving to bigger and more important stages. In the past, he’s opened for some of his heroes including members of the Wu-Tang Clan and legends like Talib Kweli.

As the release of “Prelude to Greatness” draws near, Aaron hopes to work out a few dates for shows and an album release party.

The shows and album, Aaron hopes, will help contribute to the hip-hop scene in Kentucky, something he admits isn’t strong right now, but he dreams it will grow.

“I want to represent Kentucky,” he said. - Metromix | Metromix.com


"Florence rapper releasing 'Prelude to Greatness'"

FLORENCE — A blue collar worker is hoping to see his name in lights.

Trademark Aaron – or as he was known at Boone County High School, Mark Aaron Glacken – is releasing his second album “Prelude to Greatness” Feb. 28.

“I’ve put a lot of work into it,” Aaron said.

Aaron, 26, grew up in Florence and always loved writing, even before he loved hip-hop.

“I used to write a lot of poetry,” he said.

Hip-hop a natural transition
In middle school, Aaron was introduced to hip-hop icons like the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas and fell in love. Hip-hop seemed like a natural transition from his poetry, Aaron said.

“I have a passion for this music,” he said.

“Prelude to Greatness” is the follow-up to his debut “Good Over Here” and the new album is a product of two years of growth, Aaron said.

“I learned a lot more about the creative process,” he said.

A lot of hip-hop often focuses on a catchy chorus and some verses that fill in the space between choruses, Aaron said.

“I’m more focused on creating complete songs,” he said.

Aaron hopes the new album resonates with fans of all genres of music and not just hip-hop fans because he’s not just a fan of hip-hop.

“I like all kinds of music,” Aaron said.

For the album, Aaron focuses on songs the average person can relate to.

Sacrifice is worth it
“I’m a blue-collar worker,” he said.

A preview video for the album shows Aaron waking up and going to his job, waiting for the day to end so he can go pursue his dream and perform. The video isn’t too far off from reality, Aaron said.

“I’m just somebody who works hard,” he said.

Aside from recording and performing, Aaron works more than 60 hours a week at his job, which leaves little time for chasing his dream, but he takes every opportunity he gets.

“I’ve gone out of town and done shows, drove home that night and gone to work the next morning,” Aaron said.

While there is sacrifice involved, it’s worth it, he said.


“There’s no feeling like putting on a show,” Aaron said.

In his short career, those performances are moving to bigger and more important stages. In the past, he’s opened for some of his heroes including members of the Wu-Tang Clan and legends like Talib Kweli.

“It’s incredible,” Aaron said.

As the release of “Prelude to Greatness” draws near, Aaron hopes to work out a few dates for shows and an album release party.

The shows and album, Aaron hopes, will help contribute to the hip-hop scene in Kentucky, something he admits isn’t strong right now, but he dreams it will grow.

“I want to represent Kentucky,” he said.
- Cincinnati.com | Florence


"15th Annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards: Hip Hop"

The nominations have been selected, and now it’s up to you to choose who should win trophies at this year’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs).
Back for the 15th year, the CEAs are decided by public voting (save the Critical Achievement Awards, which are chosen by the nominating committee) and the awards will be given out Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Madison Theatre in Covington. You can place your votes here.

The deadline for voting is Friday, November 11 at noon.

Greater Cincinnati acts from all genres active from October 2010-October 2011 were eligible. The time frame for “Album of the Year” (which, really, should probably be “Recording of the Year”) consideration is the same. Specialists in many facets of the local music community — from writers and bloggers to radio hosts and club owners — were asked to be a part of the nominating committee.

Hip Hop:
Trademark Aaron
DJ Clockwork
D-Maub
Puck
Vincent Vega
Crack Sauce

Bluegrass:
Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers
Hickory Robot
Rumpke Mountain Boys
Comet Bluegrass Allstars
The Tadcasters

Country:
The Tammy WhyNots
Dallas Moore Band
Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups
Mack West
Tex Schramm and the Radio King Cowboys

Folk/Americana:
Shiny and the Spoon
Magnolia Mountain
Sassy Molasses
The Tillers
Josh Eagle and the Harvest City
David Rhodes Brown

World Music/Reggae:
The Pinstripes
Baoku Moses
Newport Secret Six
Tropicoso
Ron Esposito
The Cliftones

Rock:
The Guitars
Buffalo Killers
Brian Olive
The Kickaways
The Prohibitionists
The Greenhornes

Hard Rock:
Valley of the Sun
Banderas
Two Headed Dog
Atlantis Becoming
Chakras

Metal/Hardcore:
Pain Link
Black Tractor
Winterhymn
Mala In Se
Livid
Beneath Oblivion

Singer/Songwriter:
Daniel Martin Moore
Kim Taylor
Dusty Bryant
Jason Ludwig
Josh Eagle
Joe Hedges

Alternative/Indie:
The Seedy Seeds
Pomegranates
Walk the Moon
The Harlequins
Sacred Spirits
The Chocolate Horse

Punk/Post Punk:
Vacation
The Dopamines
The Strongest Proof
SS-20
Situation Red
Weakness

Blues:
Leo Clarke Band
Voodoo Puppet
Them Bones
Zachary Burns Band
The Blue Shivers

R&B/Funk/Soul:
Freekbass
The Cincy Brass
Ricky Nye and the Paris Blues Band
Erica P.
Iolite
Los Honchos

Jazz:
The Faux Frenchmen
The Qtet
Art Gore and the Jazz Knights
Mike Wade and the Ambassadors
Brent Gallaher
Phil DeGreg

Electronic:
You, You’re Awesome
Dark Colour
Skeetones
Kry Kids
Pop Empire
Eat Sugar

Best Musical Ambassador to the City:
Foxy Shazam
Walk the Moon
The Greenhornes
Brian Olive
Buffalo Killers
Pomegranates

Best Live Act:
The Dukes Are Dead
Walk the Moon
500 Miles to Memphis
The Seedy Seeds
The Dopamines
The Cincy Brass
Banderas

Critical Achievement Awards:
Not open for public vote

New Artist Of the Year:
Belle Histoire
Vaudeville Freud
Young Heirlooms
The Tammy WhyNots
The Kickaways
Freekbot
SHADOWRAPTR
The Ready Stance

Album Of The Year:
The Seedy Seeds — Verb Noun
Brian Olive — Two of Everything
You You’re Awesome — Good Point, Whoever Said That
Skeetones – Retrospektive
Walk the Moon — i want! i want!
Josh Eagle and the Harvest City — A Good One is Hard to Find
The Guitars — High Action
Shiny and the Spoon — Ferris Wheel

Artist Of The Year:
The Chocolate Horse
Skeetones
Buffalo Killers
The Seedy Seeds
Walk the Moon
Brian Olive
Pomegranates
The Greenhornes - CityBeat


"Local MTV: Trademark Aaron"

No, by "Local MTV," we don't mean some new reality show featuring pregnant 16-year-olds entering rehab for their crack addiction, hoarding and narrow interior design skills. That "M" once stood for music (or so we're told) and today we are offering you a look at a couple of local musical acts that recently produced music videos — Dance Rock band Walk the Moon and Hip Hop's Trademark Aaron. Like audio recordings, it's become easier to make quality films (and music videos) with little money, as these clips show.

Trademark Aaron (pictured) released his eclectic and strong album Make Room earlier this year as well. The young, gifted MC from Northern Kentucky shows his range on the new single "Yeahman," a creeping, jazzy slow jam. Aaron says the title comes from the "aloha"-like greeting "Yeah man," used amongst his friends and he calls the track a "celebration" of "enjoying life and having a good time." The video was created with Home Run Productions. If you like what you hear, hit up the MC's Web site here for a bunch of free tracks.
- CityBeat


"Trademark Diversity"

Are “regional sounds” dead in music? With the shrinking of the world via the Internet, it seems likely. Instead of being influenced solely by the peers in your town/region, artists today have the world at their fingers and can take from wherever they want. “Chicago Blues” or “Seattle Grunge” probably wouldn’t have developed in these times.

Hip Hop has always been known for its regional scenes and sounds. But young local Hip Hop artist Trademark Aaron is a great example of “It ain’t where you from, it’s where you at,” concocting a sound that embraces a wider range of influence, from Dirty South bounce to Chicago soulfulness, New York raw to Cali smooth. On Make Room, the Kentucky MC’s new 10-song album, the collision of influences makes for a great listen that suggests a truly talented artist on the rise. The tracks (from big bangers to silky slow jams) are well produced and highly accessible, with hooks aplenty. But Trademark Aaron’s strongest suit is his vocal flow and lyrical prowess — his words are smart and his rhymes are clever, but, most importantly, he comes off as a deeper thinker than your average dime-a-dozen boaster, showing a thoughtful and revealing side that is immensely relatable and appealing.

Make Room is available now at local indie-friendly record stores or you can download a copy for free at trademarkaaron.com. Make Room’s official release party is Saturday at Kaza’s in Covington (in the former spot occupied by Clique). Get show and venue details here.
- CityBeat


"Trademark Registers: Hip Hop’s Trademark Aaron accentuates the positive on latest stellar release"

Rap MC Mark Aaron Glacken — aka Trademark Aaron — exudes quiet confidence, sharp focus and clear humility when discussing his music, life and goals. The titles of Aaron’s sophomore full-length, Prelude to Greatness, and its predecessor, 2010’s Make Room, may seem frontloaded with typical Hip Hop braggadocio, but they’re a straightforward assessment of his intentions.
“I knew the title (for Prelude) before I put out Make Room,” the Northern Kentucky native says over a couple of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ales at downtown’s Mainstay club. “The fact it took so long made the title more honest. It was a journey — it’s a prelude to greatness. We’re really working toward something. I don’t have it yet, but I’m on the way.”

Given Aaron’s musical diversity on Prelude to Greatness, the title seems more of a promise than boast. An advance from his previous work — two demo CDs, the Good Over Here EP and Make Room — Prelude is clear evidence of his potential.

“Make Room was the first thing I put out on a decent scale,” Aaron says. “I’ve been talking about Prelude to Greatness since I put out Make Room. That’s how long we’ve been working on it. This one is more about songwriting. I wanted to make complete songs. I think it’s better produced and better performed. We took two years to finish it and I think it could stand up to some major releases.”

The EP and two LPs, Aaron’s proposed gig schedule and his upcoming projects, already in process, are products of his almost pathological work ethic. Aaron’s full time crate assembly job leaves little time for writing (he memorizes his lyrics, rather than physically writing them down), recording, video shoots and publicity, yet he manages to shoehorn it into his waking hours with just enough energy to spare for the show.

“I normally come offstage drenched and 20 minutes later I want to sleep,” Aaron says. “I give it all. It’s like hitting the gym. I want (the audience) to have as much fun as I’m having.”

From the jazzy slowburn of “Yeahman” to the infectious bounce of “Like Me,” Aaron offers a sonic hybrid of Soul, Jazz, Pop and Hip Hop on Prelude while weaving lyrical textures that view life from a refreshingly positive perspective.


“This My Job” is a case in point — over a soulful beat, Aaron assures his girlfriend that late nights in the club are about work, not the party.
“I’ve really had that conversation with my girl. It’s not all fun and games. I work all day and then I go do this,” Aaron says. “This is a job. It ain’t fun every night.”

Aaron’s love of music in general was neither nurtured nor discouraged by his parents, who had no particular passion for it. He appreciated whatever music intersected his life.

“I didn’t hear a lot of Hip Hop growing up,” Aaron admits. “I came up on Rock and Punk; I used to go to a lot of Punk and Hardcore shows. I wasn’t around a whole lot of music. My parents like music but they don’t sit around listening to it. I’ll do that. The other day, I bought a Sam Cooke CD for five bucks, and I’ve been listening to it on repeat. I like all kinds of music; I like The Beatles, Coldplay, R&B. I like older music because it seems like it had more feeling and soul to it.”

In middle school, Aaron heard Nas and Wu Tang Clan and was captivated by the musical and lyrical flow. He felt a natural connection between Rap and the poetry he’d written since he was a child, which led to making his own music after graduating from Boone County High School.

“We would hang out in my friend Street Anthem’s basement. Me and him and my friend Juice Jones would be working on music all the time. We didn’t know what we were doing,” Aaron says. “From there, I’d be at parties with Juice and people would talk about how they were rappers and he would instigate a Rap battle. He’d be like, ‘My dude will kill you.’ So I’d always be battling people. Once I did one show I started to get more focused.”

On Prelude to Greatness, Aaron worked with local Fresh Records producers/co-owners Greg and Kristopher Yock. He credits the brothers with bringing out his best and keeping him honest.

“Greg was someone who challenged me in the studio,” Aaron says with a laugh. “I’d never had that before. Greg was like, ‘That was terrible. Do it over.’ If you (compared) those songs the day we recorded them to the versions that are on the CD, you wouldn’t believe it. We did so much to it after that.”

Aaron comes by his honest streak honestly; his mother is a pastor and he grew up in a church environment. Although his music is completely secular, he credits faith as a major component in his drive to excel, as an artist and person.

“I believe in God and what I’m doing is what I’m supposed to be doing,” Aaron says. “I curse and things, but that’s how I feel and it’s honest. I want to make the best music I can make. I want to represent Kentucky. I really try to put positive things out there. I don’t do that misogynistic, mistreatment of females thing. That’s not me.

“Earlier today, I found out I was going to lose my job. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I gotta do this music. If you want it and you do it for the right reasons, you’re gonna get what you’re supposed to get. I like to say ‘Cherish the struggle.’ The struggle’s gonna make you who you are.”

Through hard work and respect for his audience (“You don’t treat them like fans, you treat them like family”), Aaron hopes to establish himself as a completely unique Hip Hop force. In that respect, Prelude to Greatness is an accurate description.

“I want people to say I sound like me,” Aaron says. “You listen to someone like Kid Cudi, and some Hip Hop fans say he’s not Hip Hop. I agree with them, but not in a negative way. I think it’s great. I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that. That’s where I would like to be. I want to make music that anyone can listen to. That’s my goal.” ©

- CityBeat


"Music: Slam! Concert Series"

Cincinnatians have been eating up the increased live music programming the past couple of years on Fountain Square, as the city’s centerpiece has gone from the occasional event with live tunes to a free, six-days-a-week music schedule with concerts all summer long. The programming has been eclectic from the start (Reggae on Wednesdays, Roots/ Country/Blues on Tuesdays, etc.), but a few agitators took to the internets last year to accuse organizers of not booking enough artists to attract African-American audiences. This year, the Square’s Summer Music Series introduced the Slam! Concert Series on Saturday nights, showcasing mostly Hip Hop with a mix of DJs, MCs, singers and spoken word artists. The shows have been a huge success, and this Saturday’s event should be the biggest of the year as positive-minded modern Hip Hop legend Talib Kweli headlines the 7 p.m. concert. The show also features local acts Joseph Nevels, Vincent Vega and Trademark Aaron, who is releasing a new single and video a few days after the show leading up to the release of his sophomore album, Prelude To Greatness, at the end of the summer. myfountainsquare.com. - CityBeat


"Local MTV: Walk the Moon, Trademark Aaron"

No, by "Local MTV," we don't mean some new reality show featuring pregnant 16-year-olds entering rehab for their crack addiction, hoarding and narrow interior design skills. That "M" once stood for music (or so we're told) and today we are offering you a look at a couple of local musical acts that recently produced music videos — Dance Rock band Walk the Moon and Hip Hop's Trademark Aaron. Like audio recordings, it's become easier to make quality films (and music videos) with little money, as these clips show.

Trademark Aaron (pictured) released his eclectic and strong album Make Room earlier this year as well. The young, gifted MC from Northern Kentucky shows his range on the new single "Yeahman," a creeping, jazzy slow jam. Aaron says the title comes from the "aloha"-like greeting "Yeah man," used amongst his friends and he calls the track a "celebration" of "enjoying life and having a good time." The video was created with Home Run Productions. If you like what you hear, hit up the MC's Web site here for a bunch of free tracks. - CityBeat


"15th Annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards: Hip Hop"

The nominations have been selected, and now it’s up to you to choose who should win trophies at this year’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs).
Back for the 15th year, the CEAs are decided by public voting (save the Critical Achievement Awards, which are chosen by the nominating committee) and the awards will be given out Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Madison Theatre in Covington. You can place your votes here.

The deadline for voting is Friday, November 11 at noon.

Greater Cincinnati acts from all genres active from October 2010-October 2011 were eligible. The time frame for “Album of the Year” (which, really, should probably be “Recording of the Year”) consideration is the same. Specialists in many facets of the local music community — from writers and bloggers to radio hosts and club owners — were asked to be a part of the nominating committee.

Artists receiving multiple nominations this year include Walk the Moon, the recent RCA Records signees who scored as many nominations as they possibly could, with five, including Artist of the Year and Album of the Year. Indie Pop faves The Seedy Seeds, who’ve been nominated several times over the past few years, scored four CEA.11 nominations, while rocker Brian Olive, Electronica group Skeetones, Garage Pop trio The Greenhornes and Indie foursome Pomegranates each earned three nominations.

Here's the complete rundown of the 2011 Cincinnati Entertainment Award nominees:

Hip Hop
D-Maub
Puck
Vincent Vega
DJ Clockwork
Crack Sauce
Trademark Aaron

Bluegrass
Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers
Hickory Robot
Rumpke Mountain Boys
Comet Bluegrass Allstars
The Tadcasters

Country
The Tammy WhyNots
Dallas Moore Band
Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups
Mack West
Tex Schramm and the Radio King Cowboys

Folk/Americana
Shiny and the Spoon
Magnolia Mountain
Sassy Molasses
The Tillers
Josh Eagle and the Harvest City
David Rhodes Brown

World Music/Reggae
The Pinstripes
Baoku Moses
Newport Secret Six
Tropicoso
Ron Esposito
The Cliftones

Rock
The Guitars
Buffalo Killers
Brian Olive
The Kickaways
The Prohibitionists
The Greenhornes

Hard Rock
Valley of the Sun
Banderas
Two Headed Dog
Atlantis Becoming
Chakras

Metal/Hardcore
Pain Link
Black Tractor
Winterhymn
Mala In Se
Livid
Beneath Oblivion

Singer/Songwriter
Daniel Martin Moore
Kim Taylor
Dusty Bryant
Jason Ludwig
Josh Eagle
Joe Hedges

Alternative/Indie
The Seedy Seeds
Pomegranates
Walk the Moon
The Harlequins
Sacred Spirits
The Chocolate Horse

Punk/Post Punk
Vacation
The Dopamines
The Strongest Proof
SS-20
Situation Red
Weakness

Blues
Leo Clarke Band
Voodoo Puppet
Them Bones
Zachary Burns Band
The Blue Shivers

R&B/Funk/Soul
Freekbass
The Cincy Brass
Ricky Nye and the Paris Blues Band
Erica P.
Iolite
Los Honchos

Jazz
The Faux Frenchmen
The Qtet
Art Gore and the Jazz Knights
Mike Wade and the Ambassadors
Brent Gallaher
Phil DeGreg

Electronic
You, You’re Awesome
Dark Colour
Skeetones
Kry Kids
Pop Empire
Eat Sugar

Best Musical Ambassador to the City
Foxy Shazam
Walk the Moon
The Greenhornes
Brian Olive
Buffalo Killers
Pomegranates

Best Live Act
The Dukes Are Dead
Walk the Moon
500 Miles to Memphis
The Seedy Seeds
The Dopamines
The Cincy Brass
Banderas

Critical Achievement Awards
Not open for public vote

New Artist Of the Year
Belle Histoire
Vaudeville Freud
Young Heirlooms
The Tammy WhyNots
The Kickaways
Freekbot
SHADOWRAPTR
The Ready Stance

Album Of The Year
The Seedy Seeds — Verb Noun
Brian Olive — Two of Everything
You You’re Awesome — Good Point, Whoever Said That
Skeetones – Retrospektive
Walk the Moon — i want! i want!
Josh Eagle and the Harvest City — A Good One is Hard to Find
The Guitars — High Action
Shiny and the Spoon — Ferris Wheel

Artist Of The Year
The Chocolate Horse
Skeetones
Buffalo Killers
The Seedy Seeds
Walk the Moon
Brian Olive
Pomegranates
The Greenhornes
- CityBeat


"Trademark Diversity"

Are “regional sounds” dead in music? With the shrinking of the world via the Internet, it seems likely. Instead of being influenced solely by the peers in your town/region, artists today have the world at their fingers and can take from wherever they want. “Chicago Blues” or “Seattle Grunge” probably wouldn’t have developed in these times.

Hip Hop has always been known for its regional scenes and sounds. But young local Hip Hop artist Trademark Aaron is a great example of “It ain’t where you from, it’s where you at,” concocting a sound that embraces a wider range of influence, from Dirty South bounce to Chicago soulfulness, New York raw to Cali smooth. On Make Room, the Kentucky MC’s new 10-song album, the collision of influences makes for a great listen that suggests a truly talented artist on the rise. The tracks (from big bangers to silky slow jams) are well produced and highly accessible, with hooks aplenty. But Trademark Aaron’s strongest suit is his vocal flow and lyrical prowess — his words are smart and his rhymes are clever, but, most importantly, he comes off as a deeper thinker than your average dime-a-dozen boaster, showing a thoughtful and revealing side that is immensely relatable and appealing.

Make Room is available now at local indie-friendly record stores or you can download a copy for free at trademarkaaron.com. Make Room’s official release party is Saturday at Kaza’s in Covington (in the former spot occupied by Clique). Get show and venue details here.
- CityBeat


"Florence rapper releasing 'Prelude to Greatness'"

FLORENCE — A blue collar worker is hoping to see his name in lights.

Trademark Aaron – or as he was known at Boone County High School, Mark Aaron Glacken – is releasing his second album “Prelude to Greatness” Feb. 28.

“I’ve put a lot of work into it,” Aaron said.

Aaron, 26, grew up in Florence and always loved writing, even before he loved hip-hop.

“I used to write a lot of poetry,” he said.

Hip-hop a natural transition
In middle school, Aaron was introduced to hip-hop icons like the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas and fell in love. Hip-hop seemed like a natural transition from his poetry, Aaron said.

“I have a passion for this music,” he said.

“Prelude to Greatness” is the follow-up to his debut “Good Over Here” and the new album is a product of two years of growth, Aaron said.

“I learned a lot more about the creative process,” he said.

A lot of hip-hop often focuses on a catchy chorus and some verses that fill in the space between choruses, Aaron said.

“I’m more focused on creating complete songs,” he said.

Aaron hopes the new album resonates with fans of all genres of music and not just hip-hop fans because he’s not just a fan of hip-hop.

“I like all kinds of music,” Aaron said.

For the album, Aaron focuses on songs the average person can relate to.

Sacrifice is worth it
“I’m a blue-collar worker,” he said.

A preview video for the album shows Aaron waking up and going to his job, waiting for the day to end so he can go pursue his dream and perform. The video isn’t too far off from reality, Aaron said.

“I’m just somebody who works hard,” he said.

Aside from recording and performing, Aaron works more than 60 hours a week at his job, which leaves little time for chasing his dream, but he takes every opportunity he gets.

“I’ve gone out of town and done shows, drove home that night and gone to work the next morning,” Aaron said.

While there is sacrifice involved, it’s worth it, he said.

“There’s no feeling like putting on a show,” Aaron said.

In his short career, those performances are moving to bigger and more important stages. In the past, he’s opened for some of his heroes including members of the Wu-Tang Clan and legends like Talib Kweli.

“It’s incredible,” Aaron said.

As the release of “Prelude to Greatness” draws near, Aaron hopes to work out a few dates for shows and an album release party.

The shows and album, Aaron hopes, will help contribute to the hip-hop scene in Kentucky, something he admits isn’t strong right now, but he dreams it will grow.

“I want to represent Kentucky,” he said.
- Cincinnati.com | Florence


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