Musically Chic: Robert McFreshington of FREEState Workshop

30 Jul

When I have the time to enjoy live music (of course, I had more time to do this during my college years), I am always on the search for the next group of musicians to feature for my annual “Musically Chic” series.  I admit I have been wanting to feature Robert McFreshington and his crew that makes up FREEstate Workshop for a few years now. 


FINALLY . .. the interview is here with a man some call Fresh or Fresh Competition! The British born EMCee began his journey with the Maryland music scene back in 2006. It was in October 2009 that he established FREEstate Workshop, an audio, video production, promotion and clothing line company all wrapped into one.  Just this year, FREEstate broke one million views on Youtube. Besides being the mastermind behind a company that supports local music, he’s gets killer style points in my book. 


Think FREE, speak FREE, live FREE.

How did you know you wanted to be a musician?

“Music has been my savior since I found out about the holy trinity of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding,” McFreshington said. In my youth I was a chorus and played woodwinds throughout school. I started writing poetry at the age of 10 years old, this was my outlet, my escape and yet also the way I faced and dealt with my problems.

As Hip Hop grew through the 80’s and 90’s I began freestyling (real freestyling, not reciting written lyrics and calling it freestyling) for fun around the neighborhood. I grew up in Brooklyn Park, city zip code but considered Northern Anne Arundel County. I still have a tough time calling myself a rapper, more a poet who happens to rap… an emcee, master of ceremonies, commander of the stage.”


What do you remember about your first live performance?

“My first live performance was at Denafest,”  McFreshington said. Denafest is an annual benefit concert started by Aaron Hooper of the band Pasadena. This event still continues, this year it is the last weekend in August. I wore a black blazer, fitted cap low and rocked the stage in front of a crowd that had no clue who I was. MacG (John McGowan) one of my producers, rocked the electric guitar wearing the Burger King Mask. I remember pondering the thought “How many times I was going to mess up.”

The answer was 3, we videoed it to learn and grow as artists. One thing I did learn is it is not a good idea to smoke a blunt to the dome before you go on stage to perform a hip hop set. It is very faced paced, trying to fit as many songs as you can in a 25 minute window and cotton mouth can be a major difficulty.”

What do you love about performing? 

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Musically Chic: Carousel Rogues

23 Jul

Get to know Carousel Rogues!

They were formed in 2006 with singer/songwriter Caitlin Nethery, Zach Anslemo and a few friends.  Actually, I learned more about this awesome local band from last year’s featured Musically Chic artist, Matt Hutchison

Luckily, I was able to get in touch with lead vocalist/guitarist, Caitlin Nethery to talk girly fashion stuff and of course, music! 

“I love writing and playing music, and making art that goes along with it,” Nethery said.  I write garage rock-pop, but I also sing in a funk band and play with an early music ensemble (mostly 16th century music).  I teach piano and song-writing, and I truly enjoy my job most days.”


How did you know you wanted to be a musician?

“As a little girl, most of my play time was spent picking out tunes on the piano or drawing, ” Nethery said. My favorite toys were my suitcase record players and my mom’s discarded 45s.  On car rides, I would listen to my mom sing harmony with music of the 50s and 60s and it wasn’t long before I was singing with her.  I guess you could say I was just “born that way,” but it wasn’t until high school that I realized I couldn’t imagine studying anything else for 4 years in college, or doing as a vocation.”


What do you remember about your first live performance as a solo artist?

“My first live performance with Carousel Rogues was at a little coffee shop called The Mudd Puddle in downtown Frederick, Maryland,” Nethery said.  Our gear was mostly terrible, and I stared at my left hand the entire time while I played guitar, ha!  For a long time, I’ve struggled with feeling bad about drawing attention to myself, so the live thing can be really tough for me.  I’ve had to learn to be okay with the fact that I’m naturally a little bit shy and passive aggressive, both on and offstage.  I also really enjoy performing when I’m in the right frame of mind.”


What’s the best part of performing live?

“I love that when I play live, I am getting the chance to say something important in person, as it were,” Nethery said. The older I get, the more I just want to write about important things.  I want to carefully consider who my song is for as I write it, and while I play it on stage.  Those kinds of things deserve to be communicated in person I think.  I really like getting the chance to share a little bit of the stories behind the songs as well, if it’s the right crowd.  You never know when someone is really going to relate to your music and your story. “



Describe your personal style in five words or less.

“Neo-Victorian meets tough and tender,” Nethery said.  I love high frilly collars on blouses and dresses because I love anything Victorian era!  I love pastels and soft dresses, but I also love pieces that have structure and more aggression.  I have a spike bracelet that I wear almost everyday–it looks so tough; I love it!  Sometimes I’ll pair it with a sweet little dress for the juxtaposition, and I think it reflects my personality.  The guys are both lower maintanance.  Dan is usually in a vintage tee shirt and hoody, though he wears a tie at shows a lot.  Zach is like a hipster grandpa!  He can honestly wear anything.”


Does your stage style differ from your personal style? Why or why not?

“My stage style is the same as my personal style, but it’s stepped up a little,” Nethery said.  I’ll spend more time on my hair, make-up, accessories and overall look for a show.  This is important to me because I think that visual art just helps to further express whatever the music is communicating.  As an artist, what I want to communicate stays pretty consistent, whatever the medium. “


Anything else you want to share?

“Whenever I am demoing a new song, I use whatever is handy,” Nethery said.  Sometimes my percussion is high-heeled stomps and hand claps; sometimes it’s a broken toy tambourine.  On our new record, there is a song that has growly guitars and lots of swagger, then abruptly shifts to early instruments in the chorus, which is about as acoustic as you can get.  It’s like Weezer crashing the renaissance festival.  The pallet for each song ends up being pretty eclectic, and the way I go about fashion is very similar.  I’ll use whatever is handy.  A nice ribbon becomes a choker.  
I learned to do so many things– drawing, song writing, singing– by listening and imitating.  In a similar vein, I would LOVE to write a song for the credits of a Disney film and also do voice-over work for a Disney film.
Zach (husband and guitars for Carousel Rogues) and I live in a 108 year-old house in Brunswick, Maryland.  We recorded most of our first record here, and I also run a song shop out of it.  People can commission an original song from me and I will write, produce and record it for them.


CAROUSEL ROGUES PLANS FOR SUMMER 2014 “Well we have been sitting on our second record for months, and we can’t wait to release it.  Hopefully that will happen this summer.  We are also working toward moving to Nashville.”




Musically Chic: Frenamie

23 Jul

Do you know about Frenamie?

They have been featured in  DC Nation’s Battle of the Bands, Shockwave Magazines Band of the Month and featured in the WBAL Baltimore’s Top 40 Bands.

Ms. Charm had a chance to catch up with their lead guitarist, Nick Taylor,  to talk about his unforgettable style and his love for his band. 


If you had to describe your personal style in five words or less, what words would you pick?

“Jocular opulent old school mess,” Taylor said. 

Does your stage style differ from your personal style? Why or why not?

“My stage style is basically how I dress cause why tone down the debauchery, I’m comfortable this way so there it is,” Taylor said. 


What’s the best part of performing live?

“I love when I’m playing live,” Taylor said. The feedback I get from the crowd and playing with whomever it may be, I just love playing. Its so much fun!”


What are your plans for the summer 2014, well music wise?

“In 2014,hopefully we will put together some new tunes and possibly an album, we are always striving to create some funky rock stuff to get the butts moving,” Taylor said.”


Anything else you want to share? It can be random.

“I would like to say that Abby Kase the front woman of frenamie is going to marry me on September 27th of this year and that all of you should pray for my poor unfortunate soul,” Taylor said. Just kidding sugar!!”


Check out more about Frenamie here:




Check out Matt Hunichson here:  FACEBOOK TWITTER WEBSITE

Artscape 2014 & Baltimore Fashion Alliance Summer Plans

15 Jul

Are you ready for Artscape 2014?

It’s happening from July 18 to July 20!


New for 2014, the Emerging Artist Program supports artists participating in their first outdoor art show.  Selected Emerging Artists are paired with established artists working in the same medium to answer questions about exhibiting and offer advice on maximizingsales, booth design and art pricing. The program also provides a space in the Artists Market, free of cost.

  • Emerging Artists Jewelry
  • Exhibitors  Baltimore Jewelry Center (Baltimore, MD)
  • Wearable Art/Fashion 
  • Annie Kaufman (Baltimore, MD)

Some local crafters/designers to check out:

Jennifer Wilfong
Yummy & Company
Baltimore, MD



Allison Fomich, Brett Lojzim     
Baltimore, MD


Sweet Pepita
Shannon Delanoy
Baltimore, MD     

Be sure to check out the website to plan your Artscape adventure:


Guess what, Baltimore Fashion Alliance’s Fashion Block is back at Artscae this year!  On Saturday, July 19 from noon to 11:30 p.m. stop by 1800 Charles Street to see ever changing runqya shows and to check out local fashion vendors. 




Say hello to their new President of Baltimore Fashion Alliance, Caprece Jackson-Garrett!!


Besides Fashion Block at Artscape, the Baltimore Fashion Alliance has a few other fashion events you should mark on your calendar!

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Boulevard of Chic II on August 9th & BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

9 Jul

Boulevard of Chic (BOC) II is Baltimore’s only fashion truck rally and shopping event is coming back on August 9 from 12-7 at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor! Get ready for a bigger, better, and a more exciting event!

Guess what?!  

Ms. Charm is taking the runway and will be giving you an exclusive behind the scenes coverage of this event! 


BOC is about more than shopping; it’s a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit that has created a national trend in mobile retail. Our mission is to bring savvy entrepreneurs and artists together with fashion-forward consumers to promote the “Shop Local” trend. Experience a variety of mobile boutiques, fashion retailers, food, beauty products and services. Make it a day with the girls, get your shop on and support local businesses.


Raw Baltimore: ALLURE on August 7

9 Jul

On Thursday, August 7 , Raw Baltimore‘s next event is ALLURE, taking place at Creative Alliance located at 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, Maryland from 8 p.m. to midnight.  





For a full list, please click here.

Musically Chic: Shelby Blondell

2 Jul

 Who is Shelby Blondell? 

She is young musician singer, songwriter, and performer from Linthicum,MD. For the past two years, she have been taking on her career to the next level promoting herself as a performer, singer and songwriter. She has had amazing opportunities to play with Howie Day, Aaron Carter, Ginny Blackmore, He Is We, The Scene Aesthetic, Plug in Stereo, Carter Hulsey, 2AM CLUB, Tiffiany Alvord, Sonia Leigh, Alex Goot and Luke Conard.


“But to me music is more then a note, chord or melody,or who I’ve played with; it is a feeling,” Blondell said. 

What do you remember about your first live performance ?

“Growing up I always did things like the talent show,” Blondell said.  It was just over 3 years ago when I decided I wanted to take music to the next level. My first show was at Recher Theatre. I had spent so many nights there watching other bands and now I had the opportunity to stand on the same stage. I was in my senior year of High School; I remember all of my friends and family coming out and even some teachers. I was so nervous backstage; no one had really heard my original music before. I remember the walk onstage and how the nerves suddenly left once I picked up my guitar.”



What’s the best part of performing live?

“The best part of playing live is being able to connect to an audience, Blondell said. For me,  my music explains an emotion. My hope is that through a line or a word there is a part of a song that an audience member can connect with even if it is just because they find it catchy. When I play live the best feeling is seeing someone in the audience smile, dance or sing along. It the greatest pat on the back! It makes me feel like my hard work is paying off. ”


What musical artists are you inspired by? 

“I am influenced by all kinds of music,” Blondell said.  Through my music the biggest ones that shine through would be Sara Bareiles, Gavin Degraw, One Republic, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars.


Describe your personal style in five words or less.

“Live,Laugh,Love,Dream,Believe, Blondell said. These five words are actually a statement that I use frequently when I perform or describe myself. I think we should all live to the fullest, laugh whenever we can and always love ourselves and one another. We should all chase our dreams and as long as you believe anything is possible.


Does your stage style differ from your personal style? Why or why not?

“I’d say my style is the same,” Blondell said. I always try to be the same cheerful and upbeat girl. Although I’ll admit when offstage I tend to be more shy at first. ”

What do you look for when picking out a stage outfit?

“When picking a stage outfit I first take into consideration the venue and event,” Blondell said. For instance when I played at the Meyerhof my Baltimore Soundstage outfits were a no go! I like to make sure that my stage outfits still represent myself but they are a little more upscale then what I would ware on a normal day. ”


Shelby Blondell PLANS FOR SUMMER 2014
“Summer 2014 will be filled with NEW MUSIC,” Blondell said.  I have a new EP that will be released as well as a lot of surprises at upcoming shows!”


Check out Shelby Blondell here: 


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