I’ll have a table (#10) selling copies of Prevail and Exotic Shifter and will perform during the Spoken Word Hour from 1PM-2PM. My blogger buddy Marc Polite (Author, Blogger, and Founder and Editor in Chief of Polite On Society) and will be one of several authors appearing at the event as well.
So if you’re looking for a FREE event full of great edutainment, come check out the BAABF this Saturday in Baltimore, MD!
I must say that I was quite surprised after listening to Rihanna’s latest album. I found it to be quite good. It’s a dark, emotional album that offers a deeper glimpse into the mind and artistry of one of the world’s most popular singers/entertainers. The sound and style of this album is quite different from what we’ve heard before (which may be one of many reasons why some fans have turned away). There’s a musical versatility not quite seen on previous releases. Rihanna’s vocal performances seem a little more seasoned and confident and sprinkled with more emotion (thankfully). And I think we now see the perfect melding of her image and musical style. It may not flow well on this side of the Atlantic but that’s probably due in large part to the fickle nature of our audience. I give Rihanna lots of credit for pushing her talent into a different direction and taking some risks. One thing the world didn’t need was Girl Good Gone Bad, Part II. And with “Hard” becoming her 13th top ten hit on the Billboard Charts, looks like “Rihanna Reign” won’t be letting up anytime soon.
One of my favorite album’s lately has been Melanie Fiona’s The Bridge. After seeing the video and spinning the single “Give It To Me Right” for months, I was psyched about the getting this album. Fiona had been generating quite a bit of buzz, especially after touring as the opening act for Kanye West on his “Glow In The Dark Tour” (in Europe). With all the buzz, one still wonders why her album was pushed back so many times. The record had been finished for quite some time (and not to mention it was released in Europe in 2008). Let me guess – label politics? But all that aside – the wait was worth it. Fiona has put together an album that is memorable from start to finish. It has a vintage feeling yet modern style and sensibilities. It’s soul through and through. And like Raphael Saadiq’s The Way I See It and Solange’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, it harks back to the old school music of the 60’s and 70’s without sounding too nostalgic, gimmicky, or unoriginal. The music, lyrics, and Fiona’s rich, smoky voice make The Bridge an album that you can listen to over and over for years to come. These are tunes all music lovers can enjoy. Aside from the first single, my other favorites include “It Kills Me,” “You Stop My Heart,” “Teach Him,” and “Bang Bang,” and “Monday Morning.” Check it out!
The day all Sade fans have been waiting for is coming! The long-awaiting, highly-anticipated release date for Sade’s sixth studio album, Soldier of Love, is February 8, 2010! Mark your calendars. Put in your pre-orders. This looks like it could be one of 2010’s best releases. It’s been nearly 10 years since the release of Sade’s last studio album, Lovers’ Rock. That album was a masterpiece and I’m sure the new album will be as well. Sade – one of the queen’s of the Quiet Storm, the voice of seductive, passionate soul music will be in full effect very soon. I can’t wait. Real music always prevails. Need not worry about “singles” or airplay, because artists of this caliber will have a devoted following and will sell regardless. Looks like I’ll be getting a b-day gift a week early. Yay! 🙂
I’ve been loving Chrisette Michele for a few years now. Her most recent album – Epiphany – stays in rotation. I play it once and cannot seem to stop playing it again. The sign of a great album is one that leaves a lasting impression on you. It moves you. You can’t get the music out of your head. It just hits the spot (or several spots). This album, I must say, is one of the best R&B/Soul releases of the year. While it may have been criticized for not having as many of the jazz-inflected arrangements as her debut, there’s no denying the jazzy vocals from this songbird.
Her voice is a mystical, musical instrument with personality, lots of color, varying tones, shades, and timbres, and a wide range. It’s sexy, soulful, and passionate. And it has a girlish quality that is reminiscent of the late great Ella Fitzgerald (one of her greatest influences – along with Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Natalie Cole to name a few). She has the innate gift to sing anything and make it believable. She takes you there. You’re riding with her from beginning to end. And every song is a performance. Each one different from the last. Which also brings to mind another great lady of song – Phyllis Hyman. Though she sounds nothing like Phyllis Hyman – there’s something about the way she delivers a song that reminds me of Phyllis Hyman. Phyllis Hyman owned her songs. She commanded the stage. She took you on a ride. It didn’t matter where she was taking you because you were so happy and so moved to go along anyway. And that’s what Chrisette Michele does. If her artistic and musical growth is any indication, she will go down one of the best vocalists of all time.
In 2011, after 25 seasons, The Oprah Winfrey Show will be saying its last hurrah. This shocking announcement seems to have stunned viewers and the entertainment industry. But Oprah said she knew in her spirit that it was time to say goodbye. It’s been a remarkable, historical, uplifting journey for Oprah, the show, her staff, and her viewers. She went on to become the most, if not one of the most powerful women in the entertainment industry. According to Forbes, her net worth is $2.7 billion. I know that amount is astonishing. But what’s even more so is that she did it her way. Oprah set out to do what she wanted and she achieved that (and much more). She used her power and influence to bring about good in the world. She overcame obstacles and became an inspiration to millions of fans across world. Though the show is ending, the industry/world is looking to see what she produces on OWN – the Oprah Winfrey Network. Though it’s unclear who is the heir apparent, it’s clear that Oprah has not finished her work yet. There’s still more to do. And the world will be looking forward to her next move. Oprah – an inspiration, a trailblazer, a humanitarian, and a living legend.
Lady GaGa gets more and more intriguing with every release. I recently saw the video for her latest single, “Bad Romance.” While I don’t care for the song (even after several listens), I thoroughly enjoyed the video. She’s a very creative artist who seems to take what she does seriously. GaGa knows how to get everyone talking with her brand of performance art. The bold imagery, the haute couture, the intricate choreography, the outlandish, wild wigs and hairpieces, in-your-face attitude, and the unique lyrical content, style and sound of the music – it keeps you glued to the screen. Her videos and performances seem to be more extraordinary than the music (for example, her video for “Paparazzi” and the performance of the same song on this year’s MTV Video Music Awards). She’s stepping out ahead of the class. And if she continues to push the boundaries (like many of those before her) and push herself creatively, the masses will continue to flock to her and follow her. What’s your take?
My bf and I had the privilege of seeing This Is It last month. I have to say that this was one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. I left with an even greater appreciation for the man behind the music. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if it was going to be documentary, a performance film, or a combination of both. It turned out to be a spectacular combination of both. The film told the story of how Michael Jackson and his tour crew prepared for the This Is It shows in London. From the rehearsal of the first song “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” to the final, moving performance of the spine-chilling “Man In The Mirror,” it was clear to see that Michael Jackson was just as bad as he was in his younger years. Anyone who wondered whether he still had it (not me) would be floored by what they saw. The artistry, the moves, the voice, the stage presence were just as strong as ever. That’s the thing about true talent. It never leaves. It never goes away. Regardless of what happened, there’s nothing that could take away what was inside of him. And you could eerily feel his presence–so strong–while watching the film. I cried at least 5 times while watching his performances. Almost didn’t think I was going to make it through the film because it was such an emotional experience. Michael Jackson was true genius. He’s still missed. With films like This Is It, his legacy will continue to live on.
You were truly gifted. An inspiration to many. You were the greatest entertainer in the world. Touched so many of us with your heart, soul, and spirit.
There will never be another like you. So we are grateful that God kept you here as long as he did. We are sad that you had to go so young. But it was time. You were called. And now peace is finally yours.
You will truly be missed. Your music and legacy will continue to inspire, uplift, and shape us all You will never die. You will always live on. We will always love you, Michael Joseph Jackson!!!
I’m finally sharing some of my artwork online. And what better way to start by showing a picture of Janet Jackson that drew almost 12 years ago. She’s one of my favorite people to draw. And it’s more than obvious at this point that she’s one of my all-time favorite entertainers. Growing up, I was inspired by and adored her music, style, and presence. I must say though, I miss seeing her on the scene.
It seems like Discipline was released so long ago – though it was only last February. It debuted at No. 1, “Feedback” became her first top 20 pop hit since 2001’s “Someone to Call My Lover,” and then like that—it was all over. Yeah, there was the tour (the show was EXCELLENT!!), butyou know what happened with that…. Aside from the Superbowl Incident (I still say she was blacklisted in lieu of this), issues in the Jackson family (not going there), and record labels who have no idea how to promote her (anymore)—her musical career seems to be at a crossroads.
She’s accomplished more in the last 27 years than most artists will in their entire careers. She’s done it all. She set the tone. And you can see that with many of today’s hottest female entertainers. The influence is unmistakable. But her music just hasn’t “hit” the way it used to. I don’t think it’s because the music is bad. Have their been some sub par moments over the course of the last three albums? Yes. But lackluster production, poor marketing, no radio airplay, and minimal label support have all played major roles in the downward spiral of Janet’s musical career.
Now, the lady is BAD!!! Always will be. She can grace the stage—not say, sing, or do a thing—and the audience will go wild. Nothing can take away her talent or the history she’s made. But it’s time to hit ’em hard. Hit ’em with something they’d least expect. Or go back with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The chemistry they have in the studio is magical. And last I heard, they were talking of going into the studio to work on the next album. Great news if it comes into fruition. Cause one thing’s for sure—I won’t be unhappy if JD isn’t producing on the next album. No offense—I love his work. But it’s just not for Janet. It may work for Mariah and Usher (to name a few)—but not for Janet.
All the greats have periods where they hit that brick wall or their music slumps. And most usually return to the top spot better than ever. It’s usually when everyone has counted them out—at the least expected moment—when their prominence is solidified again. Whatever happens—Janet’s got my support. I’ll be rocking with Janet for life!