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22 November 2012

Much 2 Hot 2 B Cool: K Nicola Talks 2 The Twinz

   It takes two to make “A Beautiful Night.”
  The team behind the Beautiful Nights Facebook group, a page dedicated to Prince and associated artists, have tapped Singers/Dancers/Choreographers Maya and Nandy McClean, better known as The Twinz, to be special guests at the group's kick-off Prince party, “A Beautiful Night,” at 10 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Dr., in Chicago. The two will host, meet and greet with the fans and sign autographs. The party is being thrown by Marcus Scott, Bemaji Tillman, Alexis Wofford and L'Quita Sanders, all of Chicago. The event will also feature DJ Maurice Ice Culpepper.
  “We got connected (with Beautiful Nights) and we thought it would be a cool, fun event,” Maya said. “We're definitely looking forward to mingling with the fans.”
  The pair is best known for working with Prince since 2005. They performed with him during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLI in 2007,  did a six-month residency at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas starting in 2006,  there was a historic 21-night run at the O2 Arena in London and were featured in 21 Nights, a coffee-table book released in conjunction with the London concerts. They were also featured with the artist on American Idol, Saturday Night Live, the videos for his singles “Fury,” “Guitar” and “Chelsea Rodgers” and a Verizon Wireless TV commercial, according to a press release.
  “It was a big chain of events,” Nandy said. “It just started working one right after the other.”
Maya McClean, courtesy of Coastal Connection Group
  They have also worked with Chris Brown, Rihanna and LeToya Luckett. For the last two years they have fronted the urban pop-rock band Heroine December-- the group name being a combination of a suggestion from Prince, who noted the word “heroine” in one of their songs and the fact that the band was formed in the month of December. The group released the promotional single “Weekend,” in April 2011, which is available on iTunes and they working on a currently untitled album, which will be released in early 2013.
  They also teamed up again with Prince more recently in 2011 for his 21-night stand at The Forum in Los Angeles and the Welcome 2 Australia tour earlier this year, according to The Twinz' Facebook page.
  Before The Twinz hit U.S. soil they were well known in their native Australia. They both auditioned for Season 2 of Austrailan Idol, in 2004: Maya made the Top 30; Nandy did not. They created a sensation when Maya withdrew from the show to continue pursuing a career as a duo with her sister. They continued to work in Australia doing commercials, theater, fashion shows and movies, appearing in Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor, according to the Prince Vault Web site.
  The next year, they relocated to Los Angeles to further their careers and quickly found the break they were looking for. Their third audition was for backup dancers in a music video in a revue reminiscent of Ike and Tina Turner, featuring Tamar, an artist Prince was working with at the time.
  Nandy said they later heard that when Prince saw the audition tape, he saw one of The Twinz dancing and said “she moves in an interesting way.” Then the camera panned out and he saw that the dancer had an identical twin who moved the same way and that's when he made his decision.
  The music video eventually fell through, but, Prince tapped Maya and Nandy to back up Tamar on her tour, which he eventually ended up joining himself after Tamar's original guitar player dropped out. This was after being in America for a little more than six weeks and they said things took off from there.
Nandy McClean, courtesy of Coastal Connection Group
  They said they have two moments they consider career highlights: performing for their childhood idol Michael Jackson in Las Vegas and performing with Prince at the Super Bowl. Maya described the moment when she was waiting to begin the halftime performance and was in a position looking up at the sky. The sky was changing as it began to rain and there was a moment of reflection. She said it was a “really peaceful gratitude moment”.
  “The Super Bowl, that was amazing,” she said. “Especially when it started raining. That was a whole different ball game – literally.”
  On the night Jackson attended one of the 3121 shows at the Rio Hotel, they said their hairdresser did not tell them that Michael was there until after she finished their hair, because she did not want them to “bolt from their chairs” before she was done.
  The first chance they got, Maya said, the two checked the set list and saw that they did not have to go on stage until the third song, which gave them nine minutes to talk to their idol. The girls found him backstage and talked with him for as long as they could before they had to go to their places.
  However, this was not the first time they met Jackson: He came to Sydney with the HIStory Tour when The Twinz were 16 years old. They ended up visiting his hotel room for three hours and were able to speak with the artist and a chorus of children who accompanied him when he sang “Heal the World” onstage. They later auditioned as backup dancers on the ill-fated “This is It” tour in 2009, but were not chosen. She said they were both very emotional when they heard he passed away later that year.
  “He was beautiful, really generous,” she said.
  They cited Mariah Carey as a another professional influence and said their favorite associated Prince acts are Sheila E. and Andy Allo, respectively. But, there is only person who they said inspired them from the very beginning, their mother Maureen Gwendolyn Moseley, who passed away in early 2012.
  “She had a huge heart,” Nandy said. She was a symbol of unconditional love. Just her energy... she was always happy.”
 The Twinz were born in a remote area of Northern Australia to Hughes, who did charity work with underprivileged children, and Bruce McClean, a musician from Trinidad. They had an interest in the arts from an early age. They would learn the choreography from music videos and perform the routines in their bedrooms. They later moved to Sydney and studied singing, acting and dancing at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium of Arts and Brent Street, a performing arts school, according to a press release.
  Nandy said that in their private lives they are both pretty outspoken and really honest. The two declined to give their ages and said jokingly that they were “as old as they looked”. They added that they do not drink or smoke and they are committed to being healthy. They are at a point in their lives where they are more self aware and conscious and try to encourage others to feel the same.
  “You're as old as you feel,” Nandy said.
  In the next year The Twinz want to release an album, books shows-- especially one at the world famous Roxy nightclub in Los Angeles--, start their own entertainment company and work on getting a record deal. They are also very interested in using their talents for humanitarian efforts and donating to charity. Some artists they said they would like to work with include India.Arie, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and, of course, Prince.
  They said they are really looking forward to seeing one thing in particular Saturday: impersonators. They said they have heard about a "Prince impersonator" (Scott, who will be performing that night) and are particularly looking forward to seeing their own “impersonators,” another pair of twins who they discovered while looking through the Beautiful Nights Facebook page in a picture with Scott,  where the three re-created a famous shot of the The Twinz and Prince looking at their reflections in the mirror.
  “I definitely want to connect with them,” Maya said.
  She also had a personal message for all the fans of the Beautiful Nights page:
“We'd love to give them a shout out, give our love to them, tell them to get dressed up and look fly. We look forward to meeting as many people (as possible).”

For more information about The Twinz and Heroine December visit, and

Stay beautiful, Kristi


Lead photo courtesy of Coastal Connection Group.


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19 November 2012

U Got the Look: An Interview With Mr. Marcus Scott

This is Part I in a four-part series of interviews with the Beautiful Nights Creative Team:

  Beautiful Nights fans can now meet the man behind the “face” of the group's Facebook page.
  That's how Marcus Scott, 35, of Chicago, refers to his position on the creative team responsible for “A Beautiful Night,” the group's inaugural Prince party being held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Nov. 24 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4107 S. King Dr., in Chicago, that will feature DJ Maurice Ice Culpepper and Dancers/Singers Maya and Nandy McClean, better known as the Twinz, as special guests.
  The foursome launched their Facebook fan page last month –which has now has more than 700 members-- and includes Bemaji Tillman, Alexis Wofford and LaQuita Sanders, all of Chicago.
  Scott, who has a background in sales, said that the team designated him the “face,” or official spokesperson of the group, because he has facial profile, which, to many is remarkably similar to Prince's, that people respond to, in person and on his frequent Facebook posts.
  He said he has been an avid Prince fan since 1992, when, as a teenager, he heard the Symbol album for the first time (although he cited Sign o' the Times as his favorite album) and the first concert he attended was at the United Center in Chicago and he “hasn't missed a beat since,” traveling across the United States and abroad --including Montreal, Brussels and London-- to see the legend in concert.
  In the ensuing years, he has become a major fixture in the Prince Community, including being a regular attendee at the now defunct Sunday-night Prince parties at Berlin nightclub in Chicago and briefly taking over as the party promoter after the original promoter left) and is familiar to Prince fans from around the world.
Scott agreed to a telephone interview for the launch of “Dyes Got the Answers 2 Ur ?s,” where he discussed his favorite associated Prince act, meeting other Prince fans and how “A Beautiful Night” came to be:

  ?: How did you become involved with “ A Beautiful Night”?
  MS: When Prince came to Chicago [for a three-night residency at the United Center that started Sept. 24] and I threw a house party and everybody came from all over including Tuna from Tokyo. I'm very popular and I appreciate the fact that people show me so much love. It was flooded with people.
  There is nothing like a good Prince party, but, there's nothing like a good Prince house party... Plastic cups and everything. I always said I would rather go to a Prince party than throw a Prince party, because the better time people are having, the more work on the person throwing the party...
  I said if I throw a Prince party, it has to be different than any other party. (Tillman) said it was a nice touch to have Robin Power [a former Prince protegee who co-starred in the 1990 film Graffitti Bridge with Prince who attended Scott's September party].
(Tillman) approached me about having (regular) Prince parties, he brought in (Sanders) and I brought in (Wofford).
  I wanted the first party to be New Year's Eve with Sheila E., (Tillman) wanted it to be with Tamar [a singer who was featured prominently on Prince's album 3121 and who also recorded an unreleased solo album produced by Prince, both in 2006] Thanksgiving weekend.
  Tamar fell through and luckily the Twinz jumped on board real fast. I wanted somebody currently working with Prince, that would be a good look. Things (are) going very fast. I know it's going to be a bumpy ride, so I'm wearing two seat belts! (Laughing)
  We're not going to have it every month, because I don't want people to get burnt out.
The [Harold Washington] cultural center is like our Paisley Park in Chicago. It's for the community...and it's for the arts.
  We wanted to touch on people that have been apart of [Prince's] life, it's all about Prince, but, we kind of want to branch out. Once we have the party and people start posting pictures I think the page will take off.
  Beautiful Nights is incorporated. It will be a business. I'm the talker, I'm the salesperson. I've been in sales for 8 years, once I talk to you, I got you. Some people want to see what you're working with and you have to kind of show them...So, each party... is going to pay for itself. We're not really taking a profit. The price is going to fluctuate depending on whether the protegee is a special guest or they're performing."

  ?: What will make “A Beautiful Night” unique compared to other Prince parties you've been to in the past?
  MS: [B]ringing in the protegees and the live band at the end [Tillman's band, House of Twang, will hold a live jam session toward the end of the party]. This is going to be cool, because some of the protegees are musicians, who's to say that they won't sit in with the band? I think Mr. Man, Mr. (Prince) Nelson, is going to like that. (Tillman) had albums out, he used to record. I actually did background vocals on some of his albums.
  ?: What area of expertise will do you bring to the Beautiful Nights team?
  MS: I'm the face of the party, I'm the people pleaser (laughing), Mr. Excitement. I don't want to use (the word) mascot. I'm the one that finds the protegees because I've met them over the years and they trip out how much I look like the person they used to work for.
  ?: What would you say about detractors who may accuse you of using your resemblance to Prince to push the Beautiful Nights parties?
  MS: I look the way I look and I like Prince. I'm not using anything. I think it's a good gimmick, but, that's not the reason why (I'm doing this). If it's something you enjoy doing and people love it, let's go with the love. It's more (other) people that be tripping than I do. It's them, it's not me.
  ?: You can tell a lot about a Prince fan by who their favorite protegee/associated act is, who is yours and why?
  MS: "I would have to say The Time, because they are very consistent. Even with trying to get the original band together and going to The Original 7ven [during their reunion album and short-lived reunion tour in 2011, because the group was not granted permission to use the name “The Time” for the venture]. They're still relevant... they still get down."
  ?: What is the most unique piece of Prince memorabilia that you own or have owned in the past?
  MS: The picture discs [Vinyl LPs that have pictures on the entire disc, instead of the standard record labels]. You don't see them around anymore, they are not an every day item that you see. This isn't something you can say 'I'm going to the record store (to get)'. The records stores don't really exist anymore.
   ?: What do you envision for the next year for the “Beautiful Nights” team? What do you hope to accomplish?
  MS: Hopefully we have... many successful parties and a couple them of them (will be) overseas. I'm looking at it like a brand. Or (for) “A Beautiful Night” to become an official Prince party. I think that would be a good look... To have Prince kind of mess with us and say “not bad, not bad at all” and eventually do “A Beautiful Night at Paisley Park” and be like 'Special Guest: Prince.' (Laughing)
  ?: What is your personal message for fans on the Beautiful Nights fan page?
  MS: 1Love. 1Goodtime.

Tickets are still available online at

Stay beautiful, Kristi


Lead photo courtesy of Marcus Scott.


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