Shadae Myers (left) and Kojo Robinson are creators and hosts of "Music 4 U," which besides Jacksonville will begin airing in parts of Alabama and Mississippi.
"Article courtesy of the Florida Times Union"
When Kojo Robinson and Shadae Myers launch the new season of “Music 4 U” this weekend, they’ll introduce their energetic, informal television show to viewers hundreds of miles from its Jacksonville home.
They’ve been building a local following for the music video countdown and entertainment series for three years on CW-17 and Bounce TV Jacksonville.
On Saturday, their potential audience will expand to Northern Mississippi and Northwestern Alabama via My Mississippi and CW4.
For Robinson and Myers, the creators and hosts of “Music 4 U,” airing in three states brings benefits beyond the obvious.
Their focus is providing a free platform for independent artists. From the outset, they’ve made it a point to showcase musicians with a Jacksonville connection.
Going into a new market will allow them to broaden the focus, Robinson said, and include performers from that area of the South — who will get exposure here as well.
The same will hold true if negotiations to start airing “Music 4 U” in parts of North Carolina and Virginia in the fall are successful, he said.
It works both ways, Robinson said. Jacksonville talent also gets additional exposure.
But his greater hope: “The more ‘Music 4 U’ grows, the more artists will want to come here and appear.”
That way of thinking reflects a commitment to making Jacksonville the primary beneficiary of the show, Myers said.
“We both see the potential for the city,” she said. “We want to keep our home here.
“This is a great location, and it can be a great place for musicians. We want to give Jacksonville the exposure to help make it that place.”
The half-hour program is built around a Top 5 countdown of music videos from largely unsigned artists chosen by viewers who vote weekly on M4U social media. An episode may also include an interview with a musician, local personality or athlete, a fashion segment and more.
“Music 4 U” premiered in April 2013, and the early shows were taped at the CW-17 studio. Eventually they started filming in Jacksonville nightclubs “because we wanted the show to look more vibrant,” said Myers, who appears on camera in her continental “Mz London” persona.
They try to get to locations all over town, and have returned to the same location just once.
Until recently, Myers and Robinson only went on location outside Jacksonville twice for material — to Miami, and to Jamaica, where Myers grew up.
(At the time of the interview in early May, they were preparing to head to Columbus, Miss., for the annual Market Street Festival, where they planned to introduce themselves to the community and film a few segments for future episodes as well.)
Finding videos for the show “works both ways,” Robinson said. “People come to us, and we find artists and reach out to them.” They want the show to be family-friendly, so the videos have to be “clean,” that is, free of profanity or clothing that’s too revealing.
Myers, 28, and Robinson, 29, met in New York in 2006, at a bus stop near where they were living in the Bronx.
She moved there to be with family after graduating from high school. He had left his hometown of Louisville, Ky., and was trying to find work as a musician — he sings and plays the guitar.
They became instant friends. Robinson was still very much a “struggling musician” when Myers got accepted at Jacksonville University, so he didn’t need a lot of encouragement to follow her to Florida.
Myers majored in broadcast journalism. Robinson, who still had a strong interest in music, said there was nothing like “Music 4 U” to get musicians in Jacksonville “seen and heard, free of charge” and eventually they came up with a concept for the show. They can’t remember who suggested the name.
It took a year, and multiple demo tapes, to convince executives at CW-17 that they had something worth airing.
Robinson believed from the beginning that “Music 4 U” had a future, he said. Myers confessed to being less certain.
“She’s the realist, I’m the dreamer,” Robinson said.
The combination, they agreed, makes for a good professional partnership.
‘MUSIC 4 U’
The TV show airs at 12:30 a.m. Saturdays on CW-17 and at 8:30 p.m. Sundays on Bounce TV Jacksonville. There are 15 episodes planned for the new season.
David Crumpler: (904) 359-4164
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