The Movement Fam

Brian Eno once said "It's not the destination that matters. It's the change of scene." Toronto transplants The Movement Fam never had to hear the message; they live it every day. The Melbourne natives sold practically everything they owned last year and moved themselves to Toronto in search of the dream of sharing their "Soul Hop" music with the world. The Movement Fam is a conglomerate of two acts: Cee & Bekah and solo act Notion. Cee and Notion are brothers on stage and in real life, while Cee and Bekah turned a onetime romantic attachment into a vibrant act blending Bekah's soulful vocals with the poetic yet powerful rhymes of Cee. As The Movement Fam, they draw from the collective material from both acts; taking turns at the foot of the stage and backing each other up along the way. Just like family.

Cee displays the lyrical finesse of a young Kanye West and the whip-smart style of Common, while Bekah lights up the mic with voice that's been compared to Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige. Notion's rhyming style is darker and more complex, seemingly wringing rhythm from the tales he tells in song in the style of J. Cole and Talib Kweli. On stage the threesome are a teeming mass of energy, feeding off one another in a synthesis of style and sound. It's the divergent blend of soul and hip-hop that causes club goers to stop and pay attention. Bekah's voice is like a tidal force that is the perfect counter to Cee's cacophony of rhyme, while Notion is the wandering minstrel who’s found a modern vibe for his story-telling style. And the trio isn’t just about words. Cee and Bekah bring their musicianship to the fold in the form of their guitar and keyboard skills, respectively, while Notion’s production chops on Logic and the Akai MPK have been expanding exponentially, eventuating into one of the most distinctive sounds in modern music.

The Movement Fam moved half a world away from home to find a market for their fresh sound. The hip-hop movement in Australia is starkly homogeneous; anyone who deviates from the prescribed sound of the lone youth radio network doesn't get heard, but north of the equator The Movement Fam have found a world of opportunity. Aside from finding a label, Cee, Bekah and Notion have already worked with a plethora of artists since crossing the Pacific. Collaborators include Emilio Rojas, Illmind, Skyzoo, Copywrite and Hezekiah (among others). Bekah has even done vocal work for Ras Kass. The Movement Fam has momentum; the sort that is made from hard work, talent and not a little luck.

The Movement Fam does not engage in diffuse theatrics in their writing. The music allows practically unfettered access into the lives of Cee, Bekah and Notion with no filters. They rap and sing what they live, and they live what they rap and sing. It is this essential element of humanity that attracted each of them to music in the first place, and continues to drive the vibrant style and sound of the The Movement Fam. It’s difficult to think of a more dedicated crew on the Indie scene. Not many artists have the courage to sell up their lives and move half a world away from family, friends and places they have known. It is this blend of courage, honesty and pure talent that destines The Movement Fam for greatness.

All you have to do is listen to the music. Cee & Bekah’s The Soul Movement Originals show off their distinctive “Soul Hop” blend, displaying a vibrant energy and creative tension that jumps out of the speakers and grabs you by the ears. Notion’s On The Corner Of Notion & 9th (a tribute to 9th Wonder), shows his stylistic flexibility as an artist over slick 9th Wonder beats, while his future projects will showcase his production abilities. It is hard not to get drawn in by the energy. Fans of hip-hop and soul will be enthralled with the beats, rhymes and sounds of The Movement Fam. It’s safe to say that even those who don’t normally tune in to hip-hop are going to find a lot to like with this crew.

The future looks bright. Individually and collectively, The Movement Fam has a lot going on. There are no less than five EPs in some stage of development between Cee & Bekah and Notion. At the edge of the musical horizon are full length albums; projects that will come to fruition in the next couple of years as The Movement Fam continue to build a following. This isn’t the sort of crew you hear once and forget; The Movement Fam is the sort of artists you expect to see on the GRAMMYs one day. Cee, Bekah and Notion believe it’s possible. You will too once you open your ears to The Movement Fam.

How do you describe your music to people?
Cee: Bekah and I call our music 'Soul Hop'. We coined that term back in 2004 as we felt it perfectly summarised what we do - a blend of Soul and Hip Hop. We also have influences from acoustic folk, indie rock, electro, house and pop; I have quite an eclectic taste and while the currently released tunes are more straight up soulful Hip Hop, the future music will be more of a blend.

Notion: An engaging, soulful and personal version of Hip-Hop.

Bekah: I call it Soul Hop. There's nothing out there to compare it to so I give them our details and tell them to listen to it. Promo baby!!

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
Cee: Music has always been a part of my life, so aside from being a huge fan since I was a kid, I started playing guitar at 9. I wish I had have stuck to it or I'd be freakin' awesome now. Discovered Hip Hop at 11-12, and got mega obsessed. I studied how the songs were put together, how the MC delivered the rap, the way the bars were structured etc until trying it myself around 15. I didn't start writing regularly til I was about 20, was in a couple of groups where I got my experience recording and writing songs, did some MC competitions and all that. I picked up the guitar again almost 2 years ago and have just started taking lessons, so I'm excited to see where that goes.

Notion: It all originated from freestyling and emulating my favourite emcee's at the time when I was growing up. Once I became confident with this and started to hold my own, my older brother Cee hounded me to start writing and showed me basic structure, and then I ran with it! The rest is history...

Bekah: I got into music from an early age - watching my Dad sing and play guitar in his band. I came into my own style just a few years ago. I grew up and I had travelled and experience many things therefore my song writing changed into real life experiences.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Cee: Awesome question. Sleep. I love it. Could do it all day. Mornings are evil. I only get up before midday for job interviews, to catch planes or to go earn money.

Notion: Seriously? It's to smoke and go for a walk in nature, sit in nature, and reflect. I sit at the top of Mount Dandenong in Melbourne, Australia at a lookout, taking in everything that Victoria has to offer. Beach, city, to mountains and country, all in one view. Nothing feels more relaxing and connecting, without being psychical. Listening to smooth tunes as the sun falls, it's quite amazing.

Bekah: Sing and listen to tunes. If I can't so that on a daily basis I'll crumble. It's the only thing that keeps me sane.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Cee: Connections. I feel that as Soul Hop artists from Australia, the fact that we're living in Toronto, Canada, have been signed in the US and now have a New York based publicist while staying independent is a decent achievement, though we'd be much further along if someone co-signed us or a label put us on. Trying to meet promoters, managers, other artists, producers, etc, is always a challenge so we have to spend our own cash to get to festivals like CMJ, A3C and SXSW to meet the people we need to know.

Notion: Establishing a consistent and re-occurring client base.

Bekah: Everything is challenging because we are independent which mean we have to do everything ourselves but it's rewarding to know how far I can push myself.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Cee: I've always been obsessed with music and I played guitar since I was 9 (on and off, unfortunately), so I kinda figured I'd be a rock star or involved in music somehow. I'm taking guitar lessons again so maybe that dream isn't totally redundant...

Notion: A professional basketball player. Or a sports cameraman. lol.

Bekah: I always knew I'd be in the music industry. I didn't wanna be a princess like most girls with a castle. That's boring.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Cee: As far as being a Hip Hop fan growing up in Australia, it was super tough to even get access to the music so I feel that made me more dedicated than the average musician. The money I had to spend to buy over-priced CDs and delayed magazines translated to a supreme dedication to perfecting my craft. I studied every album I bought, every bar a dude spat, why they did what they did. And I'm applying that to my guitar lessons now. I always related more to the North American culture than Australia, so being here in Toronto really feels like home for me.

Notion: It's made me think more outside the box, and outside the country. Internationally minded is the way to be nowadays with your music, as we are with our own. I don't intend to dwell in one market for my whole career. There are so many tastes, markets countries and amazing people out there in the world, and I want to share it with all of them.

Bekah: I come from a musical family so getting into it wasn't hard at all. It felt so natural. I've never had issue with my music in Australia, I've always had a positive outcome and support.

What other artists out there do you love?
Cee: Over the past year, I've really got into indie rock and hardcore. So right now, my list goes something like Kanye West, J. Cole, Erykah Badu, Underoath, Paul Dempsey, Asking Alexandria, Pretty Lights, City & Colour, Alexisonfire, The Shins, Adele, Daniel Merriweather, (going through my iPhone alphabetically now and trying to keep it sorta brief) Aloe Blacc, Angus & Julia Stone, Beirut, The Black Keys, British India, Chromeo, Cold Chisel, D'Angelo, dead prez, Drake, edIT, Ellie Goulding, Raul Midon, Emilio Rojas, Fiona Apple, Jason Mraz, Florence & The Machine, Foreign Exchange, Freddy, Cee-Lo, India.Arie, Jack Johnson, Ian Brown, James Morrisson, Jamie Lidell, Jamie Woon, James Blake, Jessie J, Jay-Z, Jazmine Sullivan, Jesse Boykins III, John Mayer, La Roux, Laura Marling, Mayer Hawthorne, Miike Snow, Muse, Metallica, Nas, Oasis, Paramore, Pixies, Plan B, Portishead, Richard Ashcroft, Robin Thicke, Sade, Sam Sparro, Sandpeople, Sean Price, Silverchair, Skyzoo, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, The Streets, Tame Impala, Parkway Drive, The Temper Trap, Wale, The XX, 30 Seconds To Mars...I could seriously go on all day.

Notion: I love Soul music, and their connecting genres so I admire the melodies and song writing of Cee-Lo, Mayer Hawthorne, Musiq Soulchild, Keyshia Cole and the like. Hip Hop-wise, I like my Mos Def's, Kweli's, Jay's and Nas'. Ain't none better!

Bekah: I love all artists. As long as the music gets my head nodding and hips swaying you've got me. Making music is an art so I respect those who make the good stuff.

What does your future hold?
Cee: I believe in what we do so much that I have no doubt that we will get to a point where we can sustain a living off our music, and that we will make a positive impression on many lives in the process. And there will be business interests as well, along with touring and making music. And that's all considering that the world doesn't end on December 21st 2012, of course. I'm excited to see how it pans out.

Notion: Much success, many opportunities, many obstacles, and lots of travel! I will achieve, grab and overcome them all! Watch me grow.

Bekah: Haha I wish I was psychic. I have no idea what the future hold but I hope to have made a name and music would be my full time job. I don't want to do anything else with my life.