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On February 14, “They [doctors] went in through my neck to my spine. Afterwards, I found out that they discovered a piece of my crushed disc lodged in my spinal cord, which could have paralyzed me for life just from turning around or bending over.”

A year later, she says, “No harm was done to my vocals! Sometimes my shoulders and neck get tired.… I have a titanium plate in my neck, and sometimes I can feel it in there behind my esophagus — especially when I laugh really hard, then I can totally feel it.”

— Jay Allen Sanford

Good Rap “It almost seems like people and the media are more concerned with which [hip-hop] artists are going to jail and rehab, rather than the positive contributions they are making to society,” says rapper/emcee Miki Vale. “As far as mainstream hip-hop artists, there are actually a lot who are making charitable contributions: Nelly, David Banner, Talib Kweli…Master P and his P. Miller Youth Centers are designed to take kids off the streets and provide education and financial literacy.”

Master P — a onetime San Diego Stingrays forward (as Percy Miller) — has also headed up several benefits for New Orleans flood victims. Vale, meanwhile, has cofounded the local UPliftment Project.

“[It’s] a series of events that showcase artists we feel are not only extremely talented but are also socially aware and using their music as a tool to spread a positive message. All the money raised from these events is donated to charitable organizations like the International Rescue Committee and the FTP [Feed the People] program.” FTP volunteers such as Vale gather every other Sunday to walk the streets and deliver bagged lunches to the homeless.

Vale’s debut album is set for release next month. Early Sunday morning (1:00 a.m.), she plays Andrea Rushing Fine Arts Gallery in North Park with DJ Slopoke.

— Jay Allen Sanford

The Obsession Is Over “All the money I make on CDs or shows up until April is going towards getting me to Bolivia,” says Poway-based singer/songwriter Katie Christine Smith. “I’m going there to help out with feeding the hungry, working with indigenous Indians, and teaching the youth about living healthy lives.” She estimates her cost for the trip at around $2000. “Also, I’m learning music in Spanish so that I can sing down there, too.…

“I’ve been listening to Mexican music since I was 11. I used to be obsessed with the singer Selena, and I memorized all her songs. Since then, I’ve been following a lot of awesome Hispanic musicians, like Juanes and Julieta Venegas, so I can sing in Spanish. I just need to learn the songs. I’m actually writing my own songs in Spanish, too! I just have someone who is fluent read over the lyrics, to check the grammar and stuff.”

In Bolivia, Smith will be working with Shield of Faith Ministries, as well as several members of the Rancho Bernardo church she attends, Maranatha Chapel.

“I’m not worried about bringing my guitar on the trip,” she says. “I’ll just pray it doesn’t get stolen. It’s nothing fancy to begin with. I’ve never owned an expensive guitar.”

— Jay Allen Sanford

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