Toniesha Payne photographed by William Foster

Name: Toniesha Payne

Occupation: Writer for the The Source Magazine, Saintheron.com and AnimalxHouse.com, Public Relations/Marketing for Ohio Against The World, freelance styling, and visual artist.

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Favorite albums of all time? Nas- Illmatic, Lil Kim – Hardcore, Robert Glasper – Black Radio

Favorite albums right now: The Internet – Ego Death and Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose your Weapon

TOP 6 PICKS that you have in rotation?


How long have you been writing about music with Saint Heron and what is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned from it so far?

I’ve been writing about music for Saint Heron for almost 6 months now and 2 months for The Source. The biggest lesson I have learned is to just be myself, to find my own style of writing and stick to that. This experience has also taught me to be confident and stand behind my words and my opinion (even if it isn’t the popular one). I write about the music I love and want to hear, music that moves me, and artists that are on the rise to stardom. I love writing about new underground artists.

What do you hope to bring to the music industry with your contributions? 

I hope that I am helping to shed light on all of the amazing young talent out here right now. I think that this generation deals a lot with popular mainstream artists stealing our ideas and never giving us the credit for it. So I try to catch artists and shed light on what they are doing, before someone “famous” takes their wave.

What would you like to see happen for Ohio’s music scene this year? 

Aw man, I want to see a lot happen. I for one would love to see more R&B artists step up. Like I love Lorine Chia, Marcus Alan Ward, Justin Ruff, I wish Meg Paulsen would drop more music consistently, and Ricki Simmonds from Cleveland is so dope.

As far as the Ohio rap scene? I’m bored with it, I want to hear more diversity. I love what Correy Parks is doing right now, Midwest Millz, Tae Fresh, Hoodstock Records is dope, Bobby Biz, and 55Bagz is dope too. I think they have their own sound and they won’t compromise that to fit what is popular right now in Ohio. I just hope to continue to see growth. I always have my Soundcloud pulled up, listening to everything that drops here, I hear everything.

What are some ways that you think up and coming music artists can do in order to gain recognition?

Continuing to stay true to their sound and also having a marketing plan like the best wordpress hosting behind their music. THAT IS SOOOO IMPORTANT! Our generation has such a short attention span, so I think some artists feel like they need to consistently drop music to be recognized, when that is the complete opposite of what they should do (everybody can’t be Future). I think artists should have a strategy as to how and why they are dropping songs. Drop visuals as well, give fans some variety. Promote it correctly, don’t just drop song after song on Twitter. You have to allow people to digest your last single first, if you know you have a hit! Work that single for a while (promote it) before dropping something else. I think of everything as quality over quantity, you don’t have to release 100 okay songs every month if you just drop one good ass one each month you know?

I totally agree. With that being said, what are your thoughts on the current state of music in general? 

Music is so exciting to me right now. A lot of my favorite artists are consistently dropping great music! Kanye West just dropped a phenomenal album, James Blake just dropped a new single, Beyoncé is pure black girl magic right now, Kendrick is to me the voice of the youth, and Future is really the most consistent rapper alive right now. Music is in a good place.

Top 5 songs you are listening to right now from Ohio artists? 

5: Midwest Millz- “Godbody

4: Lornie Chia – “Only one

3: Chelsea Pastel – “Pastelliot (Freestyle)

2: SASHA – “Falling out of Love with you

1. Tae Fresh – “Run it up

Follow Toniesha Payne on Twitter and Instagram.


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