Hot Fire: Pink Sky Paradise
When I first got into St. Louis' underground music scene (nearly five years ago), I was surprised to find a multitude of refreshing and authentic artist. It was music from Lst Mmbrs and MME that drew me into a world of endless talent and creativity. It was this same music scene that later introduced me to the 'underground' art culture in the city as well. My life had become a holy trinity of fashion, music and art!
Until this very day, it seems every corner I turn is filled with a new treasure. The latest discovery on my treasure hunt can be found on a mysterious remote island with pink skies and melodic winds. As soon as the chords drop on the first track, you enter a different world where each song brings you closer and closer to the heart of this island. Simply put, Orlando Vaughn's Pink Sky Paradise is one of those gems you stumble upon and wonder where it's been your entire life.
In the midst of all the current conversation about producers not getting enough credit in the music industry, Pink Sky Paradise is a shinning example of the magic that can only be made with brilliant production. If you respect the art of music production, you'll definitely want to check this one out.
The [overall] cohesiveness is what impressed me most, especially since this is the producers very first project. Everything from the music production to the artwork was meticulously arranged, as only a true visionary could do. In fact, long before I actually listened to the tape, I was seduced by the artwork. It was like an archaic drawing deep inside a cave - very simple, and almost natural in a way, but I knew it was meant to tell a story. A book most certainly characterized by it's cover; I found myself lost in the vibe of the six track EP, and before I knew it, I'd listened to it from beginning to end [without skipping through].
After listening to the project (well over five times), I became even more curious about the artwork and it's significance to the project - my inner creative wasn't satisfied with the fact that it was visually pleasing, I just had to know the story behind it!
"I was actually hoping at least one person would ask these questions because I took a simple approach with the artwork but still wanted to get a message across," said Orlando Vaughn, also known as OV. "I had a few ideas of what I wanted it [the artwork] to look like, but not necessarily a 'story'. More like symbolism." He continued.
"I took my concepts, ideas, and references to my friend Rayfield Taylor, and we executed the artwork within a couple of hours."
Although he admits to going crazy with cliches for this project (a huge "no-no" in the artistic and journalism world) he still managed to make them his own. Also, while drawing inspiration from his personal life, OV was sure to include universal themes throughout the project that others could relate to.
"The woman in the artwork is everyone. Everyone has a journey / destiny," he says. "She's looking out into the distance because she is actually on the journey to [her] paradise. She's in the water because most people, if they are passionate about something, will do whatever they need to reach their destiny - swimming is hard!" he said jokingly.
While the artwork in its entirety is light, OV made sure he included elements that represented the darker side of obtaining paradise as well. "The 3 crows [above the woman] symbolize the thing that is promised to everyone, which is death. I'm not afraid of death, but I am fascinated by the many concepts of what happens after death." The producer went on to say that [more generally], the crows represent any struggle faced in life, which is beautifully articulated on NoGood4Me (track four) by TayllorKaye.
A true extension of the EP - the artwork pulls you into the island, and the music makes you stay.
"I really meant everything I put into this project," he said. You can literally feel this energy throughout the tape, as each track is eerily relatable, and contains feminine elements - in a masculine way. OV's theme of an urban odyssey is consistent throughout the project, which is something even mainstream artist struggle to get right. Yet he got it right on the very first try.