Thursday, 06 August 2015 00:00

Kenya - "Let Me"

Kenya's "Let Me" is a refreshing testament to the power of skillful vocals, solid songwriting, and experienced production.  "Let Me" is an song that invites its listener to become part of its energy (versus intruding on one's personal space.)  Kenya's silky voice playfully hides the apparent talent that lies beneath.  When enjoying Keny's vocal approach, it becomes clear that she has the ability to match her vocals to what a song (and its writing) needs - in the case of "Let Me" that would be a hide 'n seek, confident, soulful woman who need not ask for approval--rather one who offers you the rare pleasure of her presence. Kenya's is a voice that would equally translate to a host of musical genres and traditions - jazz, neo-soul, gospel, blues, R&B, and....(you get the point!)

 

BGVs echo the strength of womanhood in all the right places.  The musical score is solid with a groove that can last for hours without becoming boring or distracting. By contrast, the groove evokes familiar feelings of 'grown-folk love' and not the childish baby love often experienced in adolescence.   Sometimes, a song and its vocalist are aided by the power of its music video.  No doubt, "Let Me" is complimented by the engaging videography of its well done video. To that end, it is not held hostage to it.  Whether enjoying audio or video, "Let Me" holds true to great artistry.
 
Check out Kenya at her website!
 
Contributed by Tony Johnson

 

Published in Reviews
Thursday, 06 August 2015 00:00

Enertia McFly

Inertia (in physics): “The property of a matter which retains its velocity, speeding or slowing only when acted upon.”

Enertia (in music): “The force of a man who retains his velocity, then speeds it and slows based on the beat, the groove, and the sounds around him.”  Let the beat hit them! Better yet, hit them with the beat!

Enertia Mcfly is hot right now and he’s getting hotter. If you haven’t heard his latest single, “Go To Twerk,” then you’re missing one of the best independently produced hip hop songs of the summer. A song that is being added weekly to music markets across the country.

Despite his ever-increasing velocity on the music scene, Entertia Mcfly remains humble and approachable. While, he talks of being more than a rapper; he is an artist, his laughter comes quick and easy and his friendliness is disarming.

We caught up with Enertia when he had several things on his mind: his latest single, his collabo with Will.I.Am, working out at the gym, and hooping on the basketball court, to name but a few.

 

Enertia, I’ve heard you say that you’re not a rapper, you’re an artist. Tell us more about that.

“I’m not a writer, I’m not a rapper. I’m an artist. Don’t get me wrong. All of them are great. But certain rappers can’t write, and some writers can’t perform. Saying I’m a rapper can make me sound one-dimensional; I want to do it all.”

As an artist, finding your own sound has to be important. Can you talk about that process?

 When you come into the game, you are influenced by a particular artist and  when you do songs initially, you tend to sound like whoever you are a fan of. I got alot of Twista and Busta Rhymes. While, I was honored to be in that box, I realized that the comparisons made me sound stagnant. We don’t need another one of them because we already have them!

It took me some time to accept the fact that you can sound a little too much like someone. Once I realized that, I began to realize that I needed to be Enertia Mcfly and not the guy that sounds like Luda or Twista.

Ultimately, it became an organic process as I focused on what I like and what I wanted to present. 

 

Speaking of your sound, how would you describe it?

Lyrically, I’m a metaphoric guy, not only witty but I go for “Oh wow! I didn’t see that coming!” But I also like double-time twisting mixed with slow. Basically, I’m a rollercoaster of talent and fun ...

 

Where would you say you’re in your career right now?

I’m at the beginning … still scratching the surface. I’m smarter than where I was when I got my first deal four years ago. But there’s still so much more for me to do.

I’ve worked wil.i.am, who is an absolute genius. He’s bona fide, a mad scientist. I felt myself becoming a better artist because of him. You feel me?

I’d also love to work with Drake. K Lamar, Big Sean, Timbaland, Pharrell …

 

Your single, “Go To Twerk,” has gotten incredible reviews. Tell us about it.

You know, every artist likes their newest stuff. That’s natural. Aside from “Betty Crocker,” a song I did with Lil Wayne, it’s my favorite single to date. The process for both was so organic.

 

We know we are holding you up from the gym and basketball court. So just a couple more questions. You’ve worked with wil.l.am, Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, and others. How do you stay so grounded?

My mother whopping my ass! (He laughs a lot.) Andrea Taylor! She raised me differently.

I don’t believe you have to be a dick to get respect. People love you more when they see your accomplishments and you can say “Hey, how you’re doing? It’s nice to meet you.”

I understand it can be tough. But my mother taught me to respect your peers and your fans. They’re fans for a reason.

 

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the music game?

I love fashion. But if I wasn’t in music, I’d be in sports – coaching, playing. I’m a football junkie and the Eagles is my favorite team. (Sorry, Cowboys!)

 

Toughest Question of the interview: If you had your choice of having the critical acclaim of Talib Kweli but minor commercial success or the commercial success of Nelly but little critical success, what would we choose? (We almost stumped him on this question.)

Damn! Nobody has ever asked me that. Let me think about that.

Talib Kweli vs. Nelly. I look at Nelly, he was so successful at just being him. But Talib, I don’t know whether he’s rapping or talking directly to me. So he wasn’t the top notch guy in record sales, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t successful.

I have two sons, I want to be successful for them. I want to be remembered like Talib but have that in between success. I want to leave something for my sons to carry on.  

 

Enertia is an artist on the rise. “Go To Twerk” is climbing the charts. He refers to Jeff Adair – the video producer – as amazing! And because he’s been ripping and running, including running to the gym," he couldn’t linger for long. “I’m getting the body in shape. Plus, I’m gonna pick up a basketball game," were his final words.  So we let him go.

We talked to him a couple days later. He made it to gym. But he didn’t hit the hoops. Nevertheless, the energy is there and he’s proving to be an unstoppable force. He is inertia. 

For more on Enertia, check out his interview with Vibe.

 

Published in Interviews
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 00:00

Side FX (EP) - Denitia & Sene

Denitia & Sene have love on their mind (cue Natalie Cole) on their 4 track EP entitled "Side FX." When love is at its best, it's wonderful and reciprocated. When it's not, when it breaks down, when it's over, we write edgy songs of painful angst. On "Side FX," Denitia & Sene experiene both facets of love. They get their hearts broken, as well as break a few hearts.

They're on the losing side of love in "Running," the opening track, as they plead with a lover to stop "Running." Lovers need to reason, to talk, to work things out, because "we couldn't fail, unless we tried." 

"Side FX" is my favorite. Here Denitia is almost flippant toward the feelings of the lover whom she has seemingly moved on from, for as she puts it "nothing lasts forever." The love was intense, full-throttled, and messy. But she's willing to toss it off. "It's the side-effects of hurricanes." (That could be literal. Too many hurricanes have been known to result in sloppy-short-lived-love-making.)

The beats on the album vary from electronic and synthesized, sparse and haunting, and sounds that are akin to chiptunes. As always, Denitia's vocals are crystal clear and compelling, and the lyrics packed full of metaphors and imagery.

Drums drive "The Fan," where for a moment, Aphrodite seems to have blessed the love; and the song oozes happiness. But clearly, the love is temporary because on their final track, "Because We Are Fools," they question the whole business of falling in love. 

They aren't the first singers to try to answer the question, why do fools fall in love? And they surely won't be the last. But few will craft it as stylishly as Denitia and Sene have on "Side FX."

Check out the "Side FX" - the single - below:

 

 

 

 

Published in Reviews
Thursday, 09 April 2015 00:00

Set It Straight - B. Right Feat Drew Helix

Personally speaking, as a BIG HIP HOP HEAD who's had the opportunity and privilege to interview some of the BIGGEST HIP HOP stars, I still have the desire to listen to fresh NEW and unsigned artists. And with a title like, "Set It Straight," not only did I expect fresh and new, I anticipated that I'd hear hot lyrics, flow, or storytelling.

Unfortunately, B. Right's "Set It Straight" lyrics are little to basic with nothing memorable about it to make you want to COP IT!!! The beat never caught my attention and the production sounded dated, as if the artist hadn't given it enough attention. There so many rappers and artists who are hungry, you have to be ready if you wanna step out and stand in the BIG LEAGUE. That isn't to say that this artist doesn't have potential. But I feel like he needs to get in better touch with what's driving him as an artist, improve his writing skills, and maybe even find a mentor. Then come back stronger and harder.

"Don't be mad at me, I'm just the messenger."

Special Contribution by TV Host and personality Marty A. Johnson

For more interviews and segments with Marty A. Johnson, check out his Youtube channel.

Published in Reviews
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 00:00

The Pain of a Bad Review

If we are an artists, and we've allowed others to read or hear or see our work, then we've probably had to deal with the pain of bad review.

The story goes a little something like this ...

We love our craft: our writing, our music, our poetry, our art, and our flow. We conceive it, we birth it, we bring it into the universe. And then we begin to share it with others. Along the way, we've probably gotten a lot of encouragement. Many of our friends have even enjoyed what they've seen and heard, and we are proud of our accomplishment. But then a "professional" steps in and calls our baby ugly.

It hurts, and sometimes it's downright depressing.

So how do we respond? What can we do? A lot.

1.We can reflect on why we were motivated to create. Did we do it for fame and glory or did we do it because we love the art? If we did it because we loved the art, then our love for it should diminish. If we did it for fame and glory, then maybe we need to make adjustments or get used to "mixed reviews."
2.We can examine the review closely and see if there's some truth to it. Do we have some growth as an artist? Is there something I could have done better? What can I learn from what the reviewer has said.
3.We can exercise some humility. Truth is, regardless of the quality of our output, not everyone will like our work. A review is an opinion, and we all know what they say about opinions: they are like noses (and various other body parts). On a side note, I was recently perusing Rotten Tomatoes and reading bios of some of my favorite actors. Most of my favorite actors have more rotten movies than fresh. As a matter of fact, according to RT, in order for a movie to be "fresh" or well-reviewed, only 60% of the reviewers have to like.
4.Don't forget that many artists aren't "critically" acclaimed but they are huge commercial successes.
5.Shake the haters off! Anybody can be a critic – it requires an opinion and the ability to string words together will some degree of proper syntax. And many reviewers enjoy giving negative critiques over positive one.
6.Finally, be wise! If several reviews point out the same weak point, listen! You're being told something. But if the reviews are a little of this and a little of that, maybe it's just a case of "different strokes for different folks." Hey! I don't think Kevin Hart is hysterical. But my girlfriend almost wets herself every time he walks on the stage.

Sharing your work is like sharing your heart. Getting a bad review is like sharing your heart and then having someone rip it apart! Just like love is a risk, sharing what's art is also. Whatever you do, though, whatever happens, whatever is said or reviewed, don't let it discourage you from pursuing those dreams.

Art is like fine wine; it gets better with age. If we refine our art, sift through the feedback and apply what's necessary, then our art will also get better with each stroke of the pen, the music, and the beat.

Published in My Blog
Monday, 30 March 2015 00:00

Loud Places - Jamie xx (feat. Romy)

"Didn't I take you to higher places you can't reach without me?" so Remy questions a loss love on the song "Loud Places." And while she may have taken him high, she's come to realize that it wasn't enough. Consequently, the object of her affection continues to search for more. Gentle and angst ridden, Jamie xx and Remy have collaborated on an ethereal sounding down-tempo house groove that demands repeated plays.

Quite frankly, the song could be about anything "illicit" - sex, love, drugs. But being the romantic that I are (yes - I are) I choose to think it's not about losing love. But about coming to the realization that it's lost.

Remy says that she won't be around when he comes down. But you and I will be, playing this song over again and again.

Loud Places is the type of song that deserves airplay. As I understand, it's also on the debut release of Jamie xx. Here's looking to what else Jamie xx has in store musically for us. 

 

Published in Reviews
Thursday, 19 March 2015 00:00

Keithra Morely - All we need is prayer

Nah ... it's not music. But it was pretty damn funny. So I had to share. If we learn nothing else, we know that prayer will always get us through ...

Published in Reviews
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 00:00

Snoh Aalegra - Emotional

 

Wanna know what's in heavy rotation on my iTunes? "Emotional" by Snoh Aalegra. This may be in part because Notion Magazine calls it, "the best single they've heard all year." That's a mouthful. But to tell you the truth, the words aren't far from wrong.

Swedish by ethnicity but apparently soulful from birth, Aalegra's vocals have been compared to Amy Winehouse. And while they both have a smoky element to their voice (and Amy remains one of my favorites), Snoh Aalegra's voice is uniquely her own. It's a fusion of jazz, soul, and blues as she mulls on her latest song, "what if he hurts me?"

The track was produced by RZA and together they are clearly a formidable duo. The ditty is enough to make Aalegra claim that she feels "a fever coming on." One listen to this perfect concotion of mid-tempo funk and you'll feel it as well. I can't to hear what else she has in store for 2015. 

Got any doubts? Check out what Okayplayer and Revolt.tv have to say about Snoh Aalegra. 

GET IT ON ITUNES

Published in Reviews
Saturday, 27 September 2014 02:45

Charlie B

Charlie B has an innocence that only youth (or even, perhaps, perceived youth can have). He enjoys the benefit, and forgiveness, of a younger artist seeking to make good music. It is clear that MJ - the gloved one himself is a cornerstone influence on Charlie B's musical interpretation, delivery, and vibe. In that, Charlie B. carries on a legacy and tradition that is admirable and much admired. The challenge with MJ being such a cornerstone lies in demonstrating one's unique fingerprint outside of one's musical idol. Charlie B's ability to commit to delivering a song is clear. His talent for capturing the essence of his idols is profound. What is less clear is how much of the delivery is uniquely Charlie B versus his channeling of other artists who have influenced him.

As one who enjoys covers, and often does them, I'd like for the life-preserver to be gently put aside so that Charlie B. can show his swimming prowess first hand. There is a uniqueness and musical contribution to Charlie B that we haven't seen yet. With good producers, I think he could define (or redefine) himself and show that HE is an artist – far more than a cover artist of others.

Special Contribution: Tony Johnson

Published in Reviews
Thursday, 25 September 2014 23:29

Sober - Nayah

Nayah is back with her new single solo. And it would seem that the relationship that she craved on her last single has gone awry. Because tonight, she's drowning in a bottle of moscato because she "hates being sober."

Nayah is daring to become Dallas's pop princess with a steady output of radio-friendly singles that deserve some radio attention. 

She hasn't strayed from her formula here; and that's a good thing. Her voice still recalls Rihanna but also sounds uniquely Nayah. The song has a strong emotional center that becomes more affective as the song continues. 

Nayah sings that "you never gave enough ..." But she is giving every time she takes the mic. Nayah loves the music, and it's crystal clear.

Published in Reviews
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