About Devoted S.O.U.L Entertainment
Owings Mills, MD
For some, music is just something you listen to whenever time allows. But to Mitch L. Hennessy and Nikki Tamara, music was the proverbial band-aid that helped in healing the scars of life. Living almost parallel lives, they would both grow to become a part of something much bigger than themselves. Mitch L. Hennessy or Henny or(48Karatz, Ratz, 1ne Take depending on who you ask) started writing rhymes at the age of 7. "I would take songs by Run-DMC, The Fat Boys and others and make my own version of their songs at first." Soon, he began to express his own thoughts and feelings on paper. He discovered at age 9 that he could sing as well. "My moms would make me perform at family gatherings." Over time, he says he was "consumed" by music. "I would be in school writing rhymes during class." By the time he was 15, he made the decision that he would try to make a living off of his talents. "Although, I realized that you could make some real bread doin' this. The love of the culture is what always drove me." He linked up with a local group of rappers called, 4x's The Flava. They battled other crews, performed at parties and talent shows, etc. After splitting over "a misunderstanding based on jealousy" the foursome went their separate ways. He maintained a friendship with one sole member, GumzDaRapper. "We started our own thing...We did the horrorcore stuff, the ballerific stuff, whatever trend it was...all that." Henny continued to record with different crews until he hooked up with an old aquaintence, VA Slim. He joined Slim's group, The FlameThroWarz. Built in the design of a Wu Tang/Boot Camp type group, Henny considers The ThroWarz "the illest crew never to be released". It was thru the group that he met the two people who would play significant roles in this journey. Scottie Styles a.k.a Organix and Nikki Tamara. "Scottie produced a lot of tracks for us before he moved to Atl." "Nikki joined after a mutual friend brought her thru to the studio." After the group parted ways in 2003, Henny and Nikki looked to do things their own way. "First off, who knew that the girl that came thru to record would later become my wife...it's crazy when I think about it." "Secondly, I think we were destined for big things as a group. We just weren't prepared spiritually. After it all went down, I hit up Scottie for some tracks. I knew that his sound was what I needed to do what I wanted to do musically. I began to change around 2003, I became more militant, more revolutionary. I wanted my music to make the world change. So when The Warz split up, I looked at it as a sign from God to do His work. Since then, I've grown more and more spiritual."
Unlike Mitch, Nikki grew up in the church. Singing with her mother Yvette Sullivan and Frances Jackson of the original Clara Ward Singers. She learned at a young age that her voice was able to touch the inner part of a person. "To have people tell me that I helped in bringing their spirit to a different place was a bit intimidating, humbling as well." Like most kids growing up in The Bronx, she became intrigued with the streets. "I was kind of living a double life...in the streets wildin' out during the week and in my choir robe on Sunday. She continued to sing about God's glory as well as secular songs in addition to doing hooks for local artists. In a chance meeting with Stevie Wonder, she realized that she wanted to sing professionally. "As great as Stevie is listening to him at home, it's a 100 times better hearing him in person; singing a duet with him...ME! ( I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer)" She went on to perform in the Off Broadway musical "Walk In The Light" A Journey in Gospel. After joining The FlameThroWarz in 2001, she finally felt like she had a place she could call home. "I had linked up with different crews for years but none of them felt like family." She and Henny developed a close friendship that sooner grew into a relationship. "I wasn't even trying to deal with any men because of some past relationships but there was a deep connection between him and I." Married in 2002, everything seemed great until the untimely passing of her mother in 2004. "I lost my best friend that day...you can never prepare for a loss of that magnitude. And I was also 7 months pregnant at the time." She stopped singing after that tragic day and contemplated quitting for good. "I lost the fire that I had, it just wasn't that important to me anymore." After what she calls a "5 year depressive state" she made her first official trip back to the mic a month ago. "Sometimes after tragedy we need to get away, regroup and refocus but now, I am BACK!!!" She is currently working on a new project but keeps the details a little secretive. "Let me just say that it'll be about love in all aspects. Mental, physical but mainly spiritual." Judging by the music they've already put together, it's just a matter of time before the masses become Devoted To The S.O.U.L.