I’ve listened to many songs from Derek Minor, who recently shared his epic origin story with the Tuned Up audience, and this new collaborative track is a vibe – no pun intended! Vibrations features Brooklyn musician, Oswin Benjamin, and Boston-based multi-disciplinary artist, International Show. Show has had a lot of success behind the scenes doing work with mainstream artists and getting his music placed in popular shows on television networks like ESPN, Bravo, MTV, and Netflix, and is now making his debut as a Christian artist. I reached out to get to know him and he was happy to chat.
Gabrielle: This is a pretty dope track and we love Derek Minor here at Tuned Up! We’re excited to see fresh names in the Christian music scene. How did this collaboration come about?
Intl Show: Thank you. We all really appreciate the support. I’ve known Derek for a while and we always chop it up and talk about music and real life. I actually had this song ready for about 3 years, I was finally getting ready to release it as a single and I sent it to Derek just to check it out and we began a conversation about a co-release because he loved the track. I took my 1st verse off, kept Oswin Benjamin on the track, added DJ Mal-Ski, and released it with RMG/ EMPIRE it is doing amazing so far on the DSPs and it’s gaining traction at radio.
Gabrielle: I checked out a bit of your story. You’ve had your share of life challenges, including fatherlessness, homelessness, and an annulled marriage. Do you feel these struggles are related to each other? How did these events form the artist you are today?
Show: The short version of this very long answer is through adversity God has always shown me that he is there with me. It’s why I do what I do because I want people to have an encounter with God like I did in the hard times. In those moments, I learned that God will always turn everything around for his glory and for my good. I was only able to get through those situations with his love, care, and grace and those struggles truly made me better from every angle possible.
Gabrielle: At what point does music enter your story and what part did music play at these pivotal destiny-deciding moments?
Show: I started playing the drums when I was a kid. That introduced me to music in such a unique way so I pursued music and attended a performing arts high school, BAA (Boston Arts Academy). I learned music theory and production programs in addition to my major, instrumental. They taught us everything from timpani to marimba & Xylophone, Piano, percussion instruments, etc… I was also able to use the facility at Berklee College of Music due to the partnership with my school. From there I was able to use different programs and learn production techniques from students who attended the college. High school is also where I fell in love with rapping. We used to have freestyle battles in the cafeteria and that also sparked an interest in wanting to be an artist as well. That eventually led to me being an engineer out of the necessity of recording my own music to release it. I started with these DAWs:
Finale, Digital Performer, Reason, ProTools. They were the fundamental programs that shaped my sound. Music gave me purpose, freedom of expression, and a way to connect with many people from all walks of life in an organic non-judgemental manner. It created avenues to live in other countries like Russia for a while. It caused me to push myself to the max to see what God would do with the gifts he gave me.
Gabrielle: You began in the secular music industry. What was that like?
Show: It was incredibly conflicting at times. Sometimes clients would tag me in the posts, promotions/marketing or they would record studio sessions that were the polar opposite of what I represented and who I was at the core. God ultimately challenged me to reset & cleanse all parts of my life. I changed my business model to put boundaries around what type of projects I would work on and think more carefully about who could come into my studio and work because I only wanted to be associated with positivity. Recently I’ve been reconnecting with some of my clients that I used to produce for and it has allowed me to pour into their lives, pray with them, and deposit seeds of encouragement that will grow and allow them to do the same for others.
Gabrielle: Why the pivot to Christian music?
Show: My music was always clean. I believe I was like the Will Smith of Rap (lol). God was always the center of my life, but a micro goal was that I wanted my mom to listen to my music and I wanted her to be proud of my work. Essentially, I grew tired of creating the toxic music that repeats the cycle of pain and hurt that plagues the industry as a whole all to make a dollar and gain temporary attention with the latest single/beat. I wanted to be the light and shine in dark places so God helped me change my messaging while creating new opportunities that I could be happy about.
Gabrielle: Do you see yourself still making music for non-Christian audiences in the future?
Show: Yes, because I understand the objective is to be the light at all times and in all situations. At the beginning of my sessions, I have begun to pray for the artists, the things going on in their lives, and for the productivity of the session. One of my clients just told me that because of this he has now started praying on his own and praying himself to sleep. He shared that he really looks forward to that part of the sessions and that is worth it all. To help someone else see hope and peace want it so badly for themselves that they pursue true change.
Gabrielle: I love that and share the same philosophy. What is music to you?
Show: Music is therapeutic. It’s healing, and it is a key to spirituality and understanding more about who we are. It’s my creative escape. It’s part of my purpose. I think it is important to watch what we see and absorb, so I want to make music that is impactful but still has edge. I like the quote by Dick Clarks that says, “ Music is the soundtrack of our lives.”
Gabrielle: Was there ever a time that you did officially give up on your dreams of making it as a musician?
Show: No, there is no Plan B for me. This is what God created me to do, and me giving up on it is like telling Him it’s not good enough. So no, I will never give up on music, or stop creating it.
Gabrielle: Who are some of your musical influences and who are some musicians you dream of collaborating with?
Show: Timbaland for his way of thinking and innovative sounds & business strategies. He has a distinctive sound and continues to adapt and grow to the industry. Just Blaze for his energy and sample ideas. His fusion of genres and different instrumentation always captured my ear. Jay-Z for his lyricism and wit when it comes to wordplay and entendres. Rick Ruben for his mixing and production and ability to adapt to different styles effortlessly. Jon Bellion for his creative genius when it comes to production and writing and arrangements. He’s an outside-the-box thinker and I can both appreciate and look up to that. I would love to collaborate with them. I would also love to collaborate with KB, Lecrae, and other artists in other countries to explore their native sounds and instrumentation.
Gabrielle: Why should people follow your journey and listen to your music?
Show: Because all I truly aim to do is my part at making a lasting impact with people not because of a vain reason, but I want them to see how I made it through so much and not just survived but thrived despite the failures, opposition, and unexpected curveballs life throws at us all daily. I want people to listen to my music to feel inspired, hopeful, and ready to expect the best in life.
Gabrielle: What can we expect next?
Show: Continued sound exploration, more new releases, more production music. A brand new initiative I started is T.R.I.M. ( The Route Into Music). Through this, I will begin pouring into others by teaching music production within the correctional facilities in the Boston area to introduce inmates and youth at detention facilities to a viable skill for their rehabilitation journey, and a therapeutic outlet. I have begun to moderate panels, and I am focused on doing more speaking engagements to advance the industry of production and composition.
Gabrielle: That’s pretty amazing! Thank you so much for sharing more of your story. I wish you the best and look forward to following your journey!
Author: Gabrielle Solange