Straight off the back of his killer feature verse on Ty Dollar Sign’s ‘Oh Nah‘ remix The Weeknd has dropped a new track!
‘Often‘ is true to The Weeknd’s signature smooth style, his vocals sounding as strong and distinctive as ever! Details about the track and the artist’s highly anticipated new album are still sparse at the moment, so until we hear more news you can just enjoy the vibe of ‘Often‘…..
A Soulful Sensation Collaboration: ‘Space’ – Lil John Roberts feat Eric Roberson, Stokely, Anthony David & Musiq Soulchild
June 14th, 2014
This week RnB / soul fans have been blessed with this sensational collaboration of soulful Talent! For those who are unfamiliar – Lil John Roberts is one of the most respected RnB drummers in the industry, he has performed on tracks with Snarky Puppy, Musiq Soulchild, Robert Glasper and Jill Scott to name a few, as well as touring with the likes of Stevie Wonder!
Lil John is currently working on his debut album entitled, ‘Heartbeat‘ which will feature tracks with Mint Condition, The Robert Glasper Experiment, Eric Roberson and a number of new RnB artists. ‘Space’ is the first single from this album and features vocals from Eric Roberson, Stokely (of Mint Condition), Anthony David and Musiq Soulchild whose voices blend beautifully together!
The track is uplifting with a jazzy edge, the collobration is genius – showcasing true RnB finesse and artistry. The standard has been set high for the release of ‘Heartbreak‘ in July and it is nice to see that with the likes of Lil John and Robert Glasper musicians are finally getting the spotlight that they deserve!
In Conversation with D’Angelo: A Rare Insight into the Man and the Music
June 1st, 2014
D’Angelo has always been one of the most elusive and private artists on the RnB / Neo-Soul scene. After dropping two hugely successfully and critically acclaimed albums in the late 90s, ‘Brown Sugar‘ and ‘Voodoo‘, D’Angelo disappeared leaving fans everywhere pining for updates and new material.
Over the past few years he has started to make appearances at festivals and performed a few live concerts teasing audiences with new tracks and the promise of an upcoming album, and this week D’Angelo finally gave an insight into his life and work with an in depth interview for the Red Bull Music Academy Festival.
At nearly 90 minutes long, the interview sees D’angelo talk about his career from the very beginning, he discusses his musical influences, the pressures of fame and details the impressive story of how he wrote and produced the sample album of ‘Brown Sugar‘ from his bedroom!
Questlove (Ahmir Thomspon) also takes the stage at points demonstrating the incredible rapport that the two artists have, he talks about the beginning of the ‘Neo-Soul‘ movement and brings out a more laid-back, funny side to D’Angelo.
The good news for fans is that D’Angelo discussed new material, albeit that he admits he is taking his style in a more funk / rock direction, he also discussed a desire to record a Gospel album. Watching the interview reminds you just how special this artist is, from his talents as a musician to his ability as a writer and a producer, D’Angelo comes across as humble, grounded and articulate and this conversation is a must watch for all RnB and Neo-Soul fans!
Lets hope this rare insight is a step towards the release of that much anticipated new album, but for now enjoy…….
The Return (again) of Mase: ‘Nothing’ feat Eric Bellinger
May 11th, 2014
Who can forget when Mase stormed on the music scene in 1997 with his debut album Harlem World, featuring RnB classics such as ‘Tell Me What You Want‘ and ‘Feels Good’? But despite the success of this album and his second ‘Double Up‘, Mase made a shock announcement live on radio in 1999 that he was retiring from music to answer a ‘call from God’ and become a Pastor.
Subsequent years have seen attempted comebacks with some success and this week Mase dropped a new track featuring Eric Bellinger entitled, ‘Nothing‘ from his forthcoming album ‘Now We Even‘. Mase has teamed up with Chris Brown’s ‘Loyal‘ producer Nic Nac, so what the track lacks in lyrics it makes up in beats, but the question remains – is Mase still relevant?
Decide for yourselves and check out the new track below:
Hot New Essential EP’s from Gallant & Raleigh Ritchie
May 2nd, 2014
Over the past two weeks not one but TWO incredible EP’s have dropped in the world of RnB! Raleigh Ritchie who has been blowing up the UK RnB seen over the past year, has collaborated with American Neo-Soul group The Internet on a new EP entitled, ‘Black and Blue Point 2‘. The EP features hot remixes of tracks from Ritchie’s previous EP as well as a new song, ‘Chased‘ showing his lyrics and vocals are as on point as ever. This is a great collaboration and another fantastic EP for Raleigh Ritchie fans to add to their collection – lets hope to hear more from this team in the future! You can buy ‘Black and Blue Point 2′ now on Itunes.
The second EP comes from unsigned American artist Gallant entitled ‘Zebra’. Gallant has teamed up with producers Felix Snow and Maths Time Joy to release this incredibly unique EP, at first listen I became an instant fan – the style lies somewhere between RnB, Neo-Soul and this new electronica soul coming from artists like Sampha and SZA. Gallant’s vocals are stunningly distinctive and at times haunting (in a good way!). His lyrics are rich and emotive and scream wisdom years beyond his young age of 21, if the music industry has any sense this guy won’t stay unsigned for long! If you are a fan of Maxwell and Frank Ocean or just want to hear something enticingly unique you can buy ‘Zebra‘ from Itunes.
With this level of talent being brought at the start of their careers I can’t wait to hear what Raleigh Ritchie and Gallant will be bringing in the future – these two are definitely ones to watch!!
Remembering Great Records: Terence Trent D’Arby – Introducing the Hardline
April 19th, 2014
In honour of National Record Store Day, I look back at one of the most innovative Soul Records…
Artist Terence Trent D’Arby released his debut album ‘Introducing the Hardline’ In July 1987; a power force which stormed through the UK charts spending nine weeks at the number one album chart spot. The album produced four top 20 singles and earned Terence Trent D’Arby a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and a Brit Award.
The success of The Hardline was hugely influential to the UK RnB scene, as the album was released whilst D’Arby lived in the UK we adopted him as out own! UK RnB whilst thriving in the 1960s and enjoying some success in the 1970’s was struggling in the 1980’s to gain pace above the underground scene with the exception of Sade. Terence Trent D’Arby was the full package, he had a strong iconic image with long dreadlocks, an undefinable golden skin tone, a sultry pout and of course huge shouderpads! He had almost complete artistic control over the album, writing seven out of the eleven tracks and producing the project; a rare amount of artistic licensing for a debut album. Terence Trent D’Arby was making a statement – he was not just a singer, he was an artist.
The album oozed influences from every area of urban music from reggae, blues, the funk of ‘Dance Little Sister’ to the stripped back soul of ‘Sign Your Name’ to the Motown nod in his rendition of ‘Who’s Loving You’. The production of the album is flawless, mature and at times boldly experimental; boasting layered and complex instrumentals on every track and the vocal range that D’Arby demonstrates is second to none.
The Hardline paved the way for many UK soul artists as it grabbed international attention, the couple of years that followed in the UK soul scene saw the arrival of Omar, Soul II Soul and many of the ‘acid jazz’ groups. Influences of this album also became apparent in the 1990’s during the arrival of the ‘Neo – Soul’ movement in the US, when artists such as D’Angelo, Maxwell and Erykah Badu appeared sporting similar sounds, experimental production and even styles as Terence Trent D’Arby.
Most importantly , Introducing the Hardline has retained its credibility and relevance. Dust off your old copy,or listen for the first time, it still sounds innovative and fresh and is in my opinion, a milestone soul album.
Enigmatic Erykah Storms the Cape Town Jazz Festival
April 9th, 2014
I have just returned from Cape Town bringing good news for all Erykah Badu fans; Erykah headlined the prestigious 2 day Jazz Festival on the main stage and I can confirm that she looks and sounds better than ever!
The atmosphere at the venue was intense with anticipation for Erykah’s arrival and she came on to stage to possibly the best crowd reception I’ve ever heard! Her style was understated; wearing over sized workman’s trousers, a simple black shirt and a mountain hat with her hair wrapped in a scarf underneath, she looked stunning regardless – no gimmicks or extravagance required, which mirrored the tone for the performance.
Here is an artist who does not need any extras, she gets by on talent and conviction of her lyrics alone. The Neo-Soul Queen was the ultimate eclectic ‘one man band‘; she sang, she rapped, she even had a multi platform electric pad on which she created synth melodies and added sound effects to her tracks. With a clear awareness of her fans she sang all of her hits; ‘Love of My Life‘, ‘Next Lifetime‘, ‘I Want You‘ and ‘Tyrone‘ during a set which lasted over an hour, before returning to perform an explosive encore of ‘Honey‘, ‘Window Seat‘ and ‘Bag Lady‘ finishing up with a crowd surf sending the audience into an excitement frenzy that left everyone on a high.
The show saw some tender and emotional moments too during some of Erykah’s more stripped back tracks and particularly during a birthday tribute that she gave to her backing singer sister , ‘Nayrok‘ who shared the stage with Erykah and who she thanked in a tearful speech for her continued support. Clearly humbled by the response from the Cape Town crowd Erykah expressed sincere gratitude several times and said she felt like she was ‘Home‘.
The show was mesmerizing, energetic and humble and what was so evident was that Erykah Badu has maintained a huge global passionate fan base. The demand from fans and crave for new material is there, the talent is clearly still there, possibly stronger then ever, the love of music from Erykah is still there, so hopefully we won’t have to wait to long for this exceptional artist to be back on the scene with new material.
Until then we relive the classics….and there are so many….enjoy!
The Robert Glasper Experiment Raise the Roof at Eventim Apollo
March 13th, 2014
So last night Ronnie Herel and I were lucky enough to spend the evening with The Robert Glasper Experiment, and I use that terminology deliberately…I will explain later.
For those of you who are still not familiar (shame on you) Robert Glasper is a musician and producer who recently released two albums; ‘Black Radio ‘ and ‘Black Radio 2‘ with his band under the title ‘The Robert Glasper Experiment‘ and who treated London to a live performance at The Eventim Apollo last night.
From the start of the show one thing was clear – this was going to be a night of effortless, unapologetic musical authenticity. Robert and the rest of the ‘Experiment’ band came on stage sporting their own unique styles but sharing the same laid back vibe with Robert on keys, Derrick Hodge on guitar, Casey Benjamin on lead vocals and saxophone and Mark Colenburg on drums. This collaboration should be re launched named ‘The Robert Glasper Masterclass’ as all 4 members are exceptional, world class musicians who played with finesse and have an incredible chemistry together. Mark Colenbug gave without a doubt the best drumming performance I have ever seen, his sticks did not rest for the first 30 minutes of the show, he was effortless yet so full of energy and I’m pretty sure we could solve the Global energy crisis by using the power which he emulates from his drums!
The night felt like everyone there had been invited to a private jamming sessions in Robert Glasper’s basement, he explained that the group suffer from ‘Musical ADD’, an excellent description as they flowed across genres, mashed and riffed contemporary and classic songs, going from Cyndi Lauper to Janet Jackson to Bill Withers then to J Dilla. The Robert Glasper Experiment were on stage doing their thing – at many points with their eyes closed just feeling the music and that is why I say I spent the evening with Robert Glasper because it didn’t feel like a performer / audience scenario, it was everyone in the room together celebrating their passion for music.
What made it feel even more unique was the way that special guests Raheem Devaughn, Laura Mvula and Emeli Sande all casually joined the band on stage at points to jam with them. Each guest provided roof raising vocals; Raheem Devaughn performing a number of tracks including ‘Worries‘ and ‘Woman‘, Laura Mvula joined for ‘Calls‘ and Emeli Sande for ‘Somebody Else‘ all sounding even more incredible live than on any of their recordings.
Robert Glasper was the ultimate charismatic front man; funny, genuine and infectious, he was clearly having the time of his life on stage and you couldn’t help but feel the same. This experience was unique and exquisite, I would challenge anybody who is passionate about music regardless of genre not to be in awe of the performance that The Robert Glasper Experiment gave last night and if you were not fortunate enough to be there then make sure you don’t miss out next time!!
Hot New Track – Brandon Williams feat Robert Glasper & Jesse Boykins III
March 2nd, 2014
Soul and RnB fans if by this point you haven’t discovered Brandon Williams – get familiar. Brandon is a multi-talented Grammy award winning producer, musician and and composer who has collaborated with the likes of Amp Fiddler, Janet Jackson, Talib Kweli and Musiq Soulchild to name a few.
This week Brandon dropped a new track ‘Now I Know‘ feat Jesse Boykins III and Robert Glasper and the high expectations I had of a track with such powerful soulful artists have been met and exceeded. The track is neo soul / Jazz at it’s best, Glasper and Williams bringing instrumental and production finesse with Jesse Boykins III smooth and hypnotic vocals blending it all together. You can download the track for free on Brandon Williams site www.bwilliamsmusic.com/music or donate ‘your price’ for a download – although frankly I cant afford how much I think the track is worth!!
These 3 artists are big names in the soulful game and definitely ones to watch. Robert Glasper delivered arguably the album of the year last year with ‘Black Radio 2‘, Brandon Williams is putting the final touches to his forthcoming album ‘XII‘ set to drop this Summer and Jesse Boykins III just released his new single ‘Plain‘ from his forthcoming album ‘Love Apparatus‘ due for release April 22nd.