“… Here in this particular exhibit you’ll find members of Wonderland and their notorious leader Janelle Monae along with her dangerous accomplice Badoula Oblongata. Together they launched Project QUEEN, a musical weapons program in the 21st century…”
Last week the video was released for the new collaboration between two unstoppable creative forces in music: Q.U.E.E.N. - Janelle Monae ft Erykah Badu. The combination of veteran Ms. Badu and relatively new Ms. Monae makes for a great duo inspiring the people to be every bit of who they are, love it and not give concern to the negativity of others. Sure this a common theme in today’s music - but few can pull it off with this class and originality.
The funky groove exudes confidence, sass and a take-over-the-world kinda vibe. And let’s not forget the chills that showed up when Janelle really put it down and sealed the song with a powerful, conscious rap outro. YES. Watch out for this young woman.
A weapon is what this record is - used wisely.
This single is a release from Janelle Monae’s second studio album, The Electric Lady, due out this fall.
Check out the video:
JT’s back and we’re ready!
He’s been on a hiatus for years now… Can you believe it’s been almost 7 years since the amazing 2006 release FutureSex/LoveSounds was released? Thankfully the newly married Justin Timberlake is back to claim his title as the most important Justin in Pop music. Last Thursday Justin started hinting at his newest musical project soon being exposed to the world. Tonight we have the first track - Suit & Tie featuring the incredible Jay-Z and produced by the legendary Timbaland.
The intro of the song had me a little worried but that fear dissipated as the track played on. Old-school feel-good sound, beautiful horns, JT’s smooth & sweet vocals and Jay-Z’s touch did not disappoint.
Although Timberlake hasn’t said when in 2013 his new album will be released, we know it will be titled "The 20/20 Experience" and it will produced exclusively by Timbaland- which made myself and surely any other fans of their collaboration ecstatic. Timberlake & Timbaland… ahhh it doesn’t get any better. Justin has been telling us he’s been working hard to make sure the music is right for this album. We know he’s got big shoes to fill after the last work of art he gave us - can he top it? I say yes - both him & Timbaland are due for a comeback that will put some real music back in Pop. Can’t wait to hear the whole project!
Check out Suit & Tie on Justin’s website, where you can also find an iTunes link to purchase it as well as a letter from Mr. Timberlake to his fans:
New Release: Tamar Braxton - “Love and War”
Twitter and Facebook have been flooding with posts about Tamar Braxton's newest that officially released today. Singers, writers, fans and even celebrities such as Ne-Yo and Lady Gaga have been putting their stamp of approval and promoting it heavily.
Collaborating with songwriting veteran LaShawn Daniels, Tamar sings of the good and the bad in marriage - "Guess we made it this far for better or worse, I wanna feel it even if it hurts." Her voice soars as she tells of the ups and downs of love, "Sometimes you’re my general, you quarterback all these plays; Sometimes you’re my enemy and I’m throwing grenades”.
The song is definitely one of the more honest depictions of love and Tamar’s voice shines.
R&B icon Toni Braxton's youngest sister and former background singer is putting in the work to make a name for herself; Love and War is already #2 on iTunes. Tamar, who stars on Braxton Family Values and her own show with husband Vince Herbert Tamar & Vince, released her debut album in 2000. Now, almost 13 years later, she’s back at it and planning the release of her second album in February 2013.
To Purchase The Single on iTunes:
It’s that time of year - Nominees for the most prestigious awards in music were officially released tonight!
I am ecstatic for Robert Glasper - Black Radio is nominated for Best R&B Album & Best R&B Performance for Gonna Be Alright w/Ledisi. This whole album was incredible and didn’t receive near the amount of attention it should have.
Frank Ocean has a total of SIX nominations - Record of the Year for Thinkin Bout You, Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album for (Channel Orange), Best New Artist and Best Rap/Sung Collab & Best Short Form Music Video for No Church in the Wild.
Miguel is also doing pretty well this year. He is nominated for Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for Adorn as well as Best Urban Contemporary Album for Kaleidoscope Dream.
Another note-worthy mention - Adele (who won six out of the six Grammy Awards she was nominated for last year with two already under her belt) was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance for Set Fire To The Rain from her Live At The Royal Albert Hall album. The song in its original recording would not have qualified this year. Adele is up against Carly Rae Jepsen (Call Me Maybe), Katy Perry (Wide Awake), Kelly Clarkson (Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)), and Rihanna (Where Have You Been).
I have a strong suspicion that Carly Rae may take the Song of the Year award with her massive hit Call Me Maybe. She’s up against The A Team (Ed Sheeran), Adorn (Miguel), Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) (Kelly Clarkson) and We Are Young (Fun ft Janelle Monae) for that title.
Best Rap Album will be a fun one - Up for that battle are Drake (Take Care), Lupe Fiasco (Food & Liquor II), Nas (Life Is Good), The Roots (Undun), Rick Ross (God Forgives, I Don’t) and 2 Chainz (Based On A T.R.U. Story).
Can’t wait for Feb. 10th, 2013 to see who shall be crowned.
To view all of the nominees:
Jhene Aiko’s newest - “Mirrors” - produced by Key Wane.
I saw Cali-bred Def Jam artist Jhene Aiko last week opening for Nas & Lauryn Hill; she sang, she rapped and she def knew how to put on a show.
This record has a reflective, introspective vibe as Jhene sings "You’re my reflection, so tell me - why can’t you be more clear". The beat is hot, just enough to shine without overdoing it. Detroit-native Key Wane is quickly rising to the top after producing other 2012 hits like Big Sean's "Guap" and Meek Mill's "Amen" all while finishing a college education at Tennessee State. Be on the look out for BOTH of them; can’t wait to see where they go in 2013.
Jhene’s debut album is due out next year but for now she has a mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), available for free download on her website.
In honor of Shawn Jay-Z Carter’s 43rd Bday, a little treat from 1990 -The Jaz ft Jay-Z - Originators.
Look at his lil baby face! Who would’ve known the force he’d become?
Happy Birthday Jay!
I also stumbled upon this sweet short vid today - Jay-Z on the subway conversing with a kind older woman who has no clue who he is. The woman asked if he was famous and he replied “Not very famous; you don’t know me, but I’ll get there someday”. I wasn’t quite sure if he was flirting with the old lady or is really just that friendly.
Many know of Ke$ha as that wild, boisterous girl that you hear the moment you turn on the radio. Some know her as the persistent girl who hung out outside of super-producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald's studio until he listened to her. Others know her as an artist who says & does whatever she wants and always has fun while at it. Love her or hate her you can’t deny that her catchy lyrics and powerful pop production works. Her music is fun, youthful and always sets the tone for a good time. With the help of the geniuses that are Dr. Luke & Max Martin there is an infectious pop-disease taking over named Ke$ha.
After getting her first introduction to the world being featured on the hook of Flo Rida's “Right Round” in 2009, and a largely successful debut album (Animal) in 2010, 25-year-old RCA artist Ke$ha is here with her second studio album, Warrior.
This album is pretty consistent with the image we have of Ke$ha to date: Loud, playful, in-your-face with a “i-don’t-give-a-____” attitude. From start to finish the energetic, anthem-type electro-pop songs will keep your body moving and your mouth singing along. Title-track “Warrior” expresses the message of a wild-child/party animal young generation taking over and fighting for what they believe in. "We were born to break the doors down fight until the end."
Die Young - The album’s lead single that has already infiltrated pop radio. Even though the message is a little questionable, I can’t help turning up the volume when I hear it.
C’Mon - Reported to be the second single - this one will be sure to resonate with her audience as an anthem for the Ke$ha lifestyle. "I don’t wanna go to sleep, I wanna stay up all night, I wanna just screw around. I don’t wanna think about what’s gonna be after this, I wanna just live right now."
Thinking of You - A nice little slap in the face to an old romance that features a awesome vocoder on the bridge.
Crazy Kids - The track starts out with a quiet folksy whistle and acoustic guitar… and then the storm hits. An amped up We Are Who We Are type song - "Tonight we do it big and shine like stars, we don’t give a ___ cause that’s just who we are."
Wherever You Are - Displays a slighty softer side of Ke$ha lyrically on top of a pop/rock/EDM-influenced track with Dr. Luke’s signature sound all over it.
Dirty Love - a 70s rock-influenced track featuring Iggy Pop. Trading in the pop/electro sounds for distorted guitar and aggressive vocals actually works out very well for her.
Supernatural - This song feels like it was injected with magic and sounds like a techno-pop playground - how can you not dance?
Love Into The Light - Shows her slightly more vulnerable side. Vocally this appealed to me the most.
Shocker: Wonderland - Sounds like a cross between a Katy Perry & Taylor Swift song- Perhaps the most heartfelt song but definitely took some adjustment from the vibe of the rest of the album.
"Warrior" releases today, 12/4/12.
As the third promotional single for his forthcoming album "Unorthodox Jukebox", Atlantic Records released "When I Was Your Man" Monday at midnight.
The record features Bruno Mars pouring his heart out over an acoustic piano track to a woman that he regrets not loving the way he should have. Classic concept but as always Mars brings his own flavor and story to it.
"I shoulda bought you flowers and held your hand. Shoulda gave you all my hours when I had the chance. Take to you to every party cause all you wanted to do was dance. Now my baby’s dancing but she’s dancing with another man."
In the end he wishes her well and hopes that the new man will "do all the things I should have done when I was your man."
Favorite part: The emotional intensity in his vocal delivery at the end of the bridge as he sings "I know I’m probably much too late to try and apologize for my mistakes, but I just want you to know…" and proceeds to sing that he hopes his replacement will buy her flowers and take her dancing. If you don’t feel that - you may be dead.
This heartfelt ballad stirs up very authentic emotions in both the artist and the listener.
The night before the release Bruno wrote to his Facebook and Twitter fans: ”Soon you guys will hear a song I wrote called ‘When I Was Your Man’. I’ve never been this nervous. Can’t explain it.”
Clearly this song came from the innermost parts of his heart.
In a Rolling Stone article Bruno is quoted saying that when he began recording the song he thought, “I’m never singing another ballad again, but that came from the gut - it’s the most honest, real thing I’ve ever sang.”**
Thank you Bruno, your fans appreciate you being so transparent and not withholding this gem from us.
This type of genuine, spill-your-guts, leave-it-all-in-the-booth artistry is the reason Bruno Mars will be on our radios for a long time to come. I got chills realizing how reminiscent his voice and emotion were of the late, great Michael Jackson throughout the song.
Bruno’s highly anticipated sophomore album “Unorthodox Jukebox” will be released 12/11/12.
Listen to "When I Was Your Man": (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXaXKS7kofM)
Purchase the Single from iTunes: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/when-i-was-your-man/id580000174?i=580000175)
** Matt Diehl, Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bruno-mars-and-diplo-hit-paris-strip-club-for-unorthodox-inspiration-20121121)
If you don’t know her name yet, here’s your introduction. I was turned on to Anesha Birchett a few years back when a friend and fellow vocalist shared her demo "Do You Know" to a track produced by the legendary Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgy11W3eQwo). Not only was the record DOPE but this girl’s voice was almost unreal.
Fast-forward to her 2012 Running (The Mixtape) release. Anesha’s obvious raising in the Church (check her singing Damita Haddon’s “Calvary” - (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmKf9GEYrzk)) shines through her God-Anointed voice even in a pop setting. From the light-hearted, relatable feel of "Broke", to the honest lyricism of title-track "Running", to the emotional "1:17 A.M. (Go Away)", Anesha shows off her skills throughout every track. The collection of songs is filled with awesome vocal arrangements (my personal favorite is found pre-bridge and pre-outro on "Poison") clever lyrics and flawless performance, including a soul-moving unplugged cover of Diddy/Dirty Money’s "I’m Coming Home". Lyrics were added and modified to give the song a more spiritual direction as Anesha shares her heart-filled rendition.
Anesha makes up 1/2 of the Detroit-based UMG writing duo APLUS with sister Antea Shelton. Together they have had placements with several top artists including Justin Bieber, Mary J Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, Beyonce & 2 Chainz.
For more info & to download the FREE mixtape visit: (http://www.aneshaonline.com)
As an artist there is nothing I crave more than being inspired… being moved to feel, write, compose, think, act. Whether it’s God’s love, music, an instrumental arrangement, a shaking lyric, art, poetry, wisdom, a casual conversation, a complete stranger, a loved one, nature, a touching story, a city street, a unique color, a kind heart or a dope pair of shoes…
Inspiration can come when you least expect it, from sources you’d never think possible and light your innermost self on fire. Are you open to seeing it & allowing yourself to be found?
Inspiration is so neccesary… Inspiration “draws the air into the lungs" of your heart, your mind, your soul… and your new creation/thought/action is what you exhale.
My greatest inspiration after God is the gift He gave us called music. If I could exist on music alone I would. No food, no water… just moving melodies and ravishing rhythms.
I’m a singer, a writer and an arranger but first and foremost I am a fan. When it comes to breathing music, in order to EXhale greatness, you have to first INhale it.
Come along & I’ll share my inspirations with you… Please feel free to send me your thoughts & what inspires you.
I will ALWAYS be a fan of Lauryn Hill. She will ALWAYS be one of my greatest musical inspirations… but after seeing last night’s performance I think she needs to be reminded her of her own words…
Leon Timbo. Tyrese. Amazing.
Tyrese freestyling over the soulful guitar and vocal accompaniment of Leon Timbo. Leon makes my soul warm & my mind light. Tyrese makes my heart melt like marshmallows in hot chocolate… Together - absolute magic.