Timothe Davis

Timothe Davis

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Thursday, 24 July 2014 22:13

Arika Kane

Arika Kane is an artist on the verge! She has charted on Billboard, her music has been played in heavy rotation on VH1, and she has performed on the stage with artists like Babyface. Now she is busy promoting her very popular (and very hot) new single. But she took time out of her busy schedule to get "Up Close and Personal."

Ten Questions w/Arika Kane

1. Your sound is decidedly R&B. Are there other blue-eyed soul singers (Teena
Marie, Lisa Stansfied, Annie Lennox, for example) that have influenced you? And
what is it about R&B that moves you?

Singers like Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, Alicia Keys were strong influences on me growing up. I was also influenced by the greats like Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer. I am moved most by R&B because it combines rhythm & blues and always equates to a feeling in your soul that we can all relate to.

2. If you could duet with any singer, who would it be?

Alicia Keys. I feel her soul, luv her!

3. What is something that your fans would find surprising about you?

That I love sports, and I'm a competitive person. I grew up with an older brother so I had
no choice but to hold my own. Lol

4. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Staying true to who I am, my beliefs and my music is my most proud accomplishment ;-)

5. Ifyou had your choice between a career of 10 Grammys but no Gold or Platinum recordings or 10 Gold and Platinum recordings but no Grammys, which would you choose? And why?

Both would be nice! Lol. I would say 10 Gold & Platinum records
because that means the Fans love and actually bought my music. The Grammy
Awards aren't based on sales. But again, both would be nice! ;-)

6. How old were you when you first stood in front of an audience and sang? Were you nervous then and do you ever get nervous now?

I was in 6th grade, it was my school talent show called "pops night" Yes I was nervous the whole time and cried after. Yes I still always get butterflies right before I hit the stage. Though the difference now is that I don't let it overwhelm me. After the 1st few notes, I just relax & enjoy my time on the stage ;-) ...feeeeew

7. Male artists have groupies. Do female artists have groupies as well? (Or in the words of TLC, do they just have "Scrubs?")

Lol!! That was funny. Well I would say the scrubs are the guys around the way you just bump into when your out & about & don't really care who you are. The other level would be theportion of actual respectful male fans. And then of course there is the total
opposite of that where you run into the scary ones! lol

8. Singing is your first choice. But if you had to do something else, what would it be?

Probablydesigning clothes, building brands that support & encourage women. However,
My music career will be a good bridge to still also fulfill those dreams!
Looking forward to the future..

9. Twitter has a 140 character limitation. Does that make it the best place for a "battle" because words have to be selected carefully and to the point? Or is it theworst place because that's not enough characters for a full thought?

Oh it is the best! Being simple & selective is right up my alley, so it's perfect
and also helps me to respond/interact with more of my fans. It also seems more
personal when it's shorter.

10. Tell us about your latest project: Favorite song? Inspiration? Where available?

"It's There" is my latest Single. One of my favorite projects to date. It is
featuring the talented Brian McKnight. The inspiration for the lyrics came from
the strings & the pianos. It's a magical, motion picture ready duet that
speaks to any soulful partnership that has overcome life's obstacles. It's
available now on Itunes, Amazon, Google Play.

Saturday, 17 May 2014 15:39

Shawn Mayer

About three weeks ago, I was surfing online and came across an "American Idol: Where Are They Now?" article. As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder not just what happened to the contestants but what it feels like to be in the spotlight, and then for the spotlight to fade. It hasn't to be hard.

To ask Shawn Mayer, It's harder than I could imagine.

Shawn Mayer has always had the music in her. A free spirit from a small town in IA, she was raised to work hard and follow your dreams – wherever they took her. Where did the dreams take Shawn? At the age of 15, they took her to Nashville, and a few years later, to NBC's "Nashville Star" where she placed second and received more exposure than she ever could've imagined.

"Nashville Star" resulted in a stateside tour and a two year publishing deal. Shawn shares that the tour was fantastic exposure and while she never wanted to write, "It was an awesome experience."

Still, despite the bright lights of stardom shining down on her, something was missing. Being in Nashville, and being on its show, meant she needed to do country music. But country music wasn't in her soul.

"In the beginning, I just wanted to do music. And if that meant that I had to sound like something, I was happy to play."

But every good artist will readily admit that one must always be authentic; and in time, not following her true passion began to weigh on Shawn.

"I grew up listening to the Eagles, Tom Petty, and Fleetwood Mac. I wanted to do something with more edge. But the only way that I could get gigs in the Midwest was to do country."

Even bar gigs allowed for no more versatility than covering popular country songs. Not to mention, after the tour was over and the writing deal came to an end, Shawn discovered that the people who supported her, only supported her doing country music.

Music and life, because music is Shawn's life, was taking a downward spin and her story was starting to sound like the country songs she had grown tired of singing. Shawn was in a funk and she needed to find herself and her voice again.

Lucky for us, she did.

Shawn began to apply the craft of songwriting, which she had honed during her publishing deal, and write the passions inside her. And while playing an acoustic gig in Nashville, she was "discovered" by some producers from Holland. They invited her to come to Europe and do a few shows. Shawn didn't have to think about her answer. It was what she had been waiting for. What resulted was a two week tour of Europe and the songs that fill her EP "Holland 2013."

"I got together with some talented musicians locally and in 3 days knocked out the songs." The songs harken back to what she had been missing: the rawness of music, simple tracks without the overdubbing, rock and rock, and her singer/songwriter sensibilities.

It's not that Shawn Mayer doesn't like country. She loves country, particularly older country. But she feels like, "I've fallen out of today's country world. My heart is soul-rocker. So that sound is what has moved me." As for Nashville Star, she adds it had a, "Monumental effect on my life and gave me a huge opportunity and platform that I might not have gotten otherwise ... but sometimes you feel like you're pouring your heart out and it's being taken for granted."

While she made many connections during her songwriting days, she admits that her perspective on "connections" has changed. "Knowing the right people is important. But I've been re-inspired. I've realized that everyone is connection in their own depending on what you can share."

That "re-inspiration" is allowing Shawn Mayer to create the sounds that suit her best. Like the Melissa Etheridge rocker edge of "Right Mistake" or the emotional and introspective "Another Day."

"I have the freedom to almost create anything. I'm inspired to dig deep and not strive to belong."

Her creation will culminate with a full-length album due September of this year, and what she hopes will be another tour of Europe. Of the new album, she says, "it's going to be something different and unique."

More than unique and different, it will be full of songs that are true to Shawn Mayer. So while having the limelight fade wasn't easy. For Shawn and for us, it's created a more authentic, a more vibrant, and a more passionate artist.

And in the end, isn't that what every great artist should be?

Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:14

"Why Did You Leave" - DaLYC

I was sifting through recent Twitter followers and came across "Why Did You Leave" by DaLYC. It's a trio driven, mid-tempo groove, bereft with enough runs for an Olympic track. It also has a 90's throwback feel; it sounds a bit like something Shai or Jagged Edge would've done. I mean that as a compliment. They exhibit range and vocal talent: Listen to "Sick and Tired" and you'll find it to be both dramatic and soulful. 

While all the vocalists on the track are credible artists, it's the voice of the tenor/baritone (starts in second stanza) that adds the soul to this R&B ditty. The background vocals give the song more depth and layers as well, and, the emotional crescendo at the end is greatly appreciated.

My final comment is that this is "grown folks" music; it's R&B adult contemporary. And that's a refreshing change from most of the overly sexual lyrics (and techniques) provided by most youthful R&B artists nowadays.


Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:36

"It's There"- Arika Kane

Independent artist Arika Kane serves up a warm love song on her latest single "It's There." As duet with Brian McKnight, it's a lush arrangement, a POP song over a R&B structure.

Arika Kane has made lots of in-roads into the music scene. She's charted on Billboard and Amazon and has been featured on VH1, to name but a few. There's no doubt that coupling with Brian McKnight can only serve to further her cause. As a matter-of-fact, the song reminded me of another piano Pop/R&B love song McKnight did early in his career - "Love Is" with Vanessa Williams. It was a pretty song that hit the top ten on the POP charts.

As sweet as "It's There" is, I prefer when Ms Kane is doing something that is decidedly more R&B and has more "flava." Her song "Here with Me," is a great example.

So here's my suggestion: after you give "It's There" a listen, check out YouTube for her amazing tribute to Aaliyah's "Rock the Boat." You'll like it. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 23:50

"Closer" - Thief

I've got one complaint about this song. It's too damn short!

Thief has decided to stand up to a poor-excuse-for-a-lover in the song "Closer." So they tell her, "I'm too tired with watching you ... fuck me over."

It all sounds like an epiphany - a "it hit me like a ton of bricks, you've been mistreating me all along" moment. You know, the straw that broke the camel's back, the enough is enough, the "if I stay here I'ma catch a case" moment. 

Thief clearly had a moment. It wasn't a good one, and they put it to a song. Get ready for a ride of tight vocals and a great beat that could as easily have a radio edit as it could have tons of remixes. While it's electronica and destined for some club play, it deserves a lot more. 

Heard the song; bought the song.

Like I said, my only beef is that the song is too friggin' short. But sometimes - especially when it comes to telling someone to fuck off - less is actually much more. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 23:17

"Stay with Me" Sam Smith

Blue-eyed soul - it's a term that's used to describe white artists who embody the rich spirit of R&B vocals. And many have appropriately been given the moniker over the years - Teena Marie (RIP), Lisa Stansfield, Annie Lennox, and Hall & Oates, to name but a few. More recently Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, and Ed Sheeran have all shown their ability to master the soulful sounds of rhythm and blues. Add to that list Sam Smith.

The way Sam Smith weaves in and out of falsetto is impressive. Perhaps even more impressive is that he seems to have the same amount of power in his higher and lower register. His voice is rich, colorful, but not showy. He breathes life into his songs.

"Stay with Me" is nothing short of beautiful sadness. It's a poignant song about needing love from someone, even when the love isn't returned. The song is gospel - choir in tact - and the arrangement is plush ... and moving. The song is a emotional knockout.

I've been waiting for a full length album from Sam Smith since I heard his vocals on Disclosure's UK hit "Latch." Sounds like the wait is almost over, and based on what I've heard so far, the product will be well worth it. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014 15:30

"Going Down" - Spider Rockets

New Jersey based group Spider Rockets have released their first video: "Going Down," it's the lead single from their upcoming album Bitten.

"Going Down" is old-fashion rock-and-roll: gutteral vocals, raging guitars, drummer in full throttle, attitude for days, and sexual innuendo.

Speaking of innuendo, I listened to "Going Down" about an half dozen times in a row. I'd hate to think that I'm slow on the uptake but I did want to make sure that "going down" was exactly what I thought it was.

My verdict? Considering that the lead singer, Helena Cos, rants, "Push just a little farther, drop it in much deeper ..." I'm thinking that - before the night is through - someone is going down. And I think that we'd all agree that going down is almost always a good thinig ... 

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 16:05

"Giving It All" - Bondax

I'm a little late on this. I will admit. NEVERTHELESS, I bought the single and its in heavy rotation on my iPod. 

To my chagrin, I can't tell you much about the duo behind this buoyant single. But what you need to know is that "Giving It All" is electronica-dance single aided and abetted by a soulful lead vocalist. By the time she sings, "I think I love you," you'll probably be in love with the song. You'll also be dancing across your floor. (Or nodding yuur head, for those "cooler" types among us.)

I hate when a great song goes unnoticed. Especially considering how much lousy stuff gets played on the radio. But quality usually rises to the top. Here's to hoping Bondax and songs like these will get the airplay it deserves ...

(And don't forget to check out the remixes ...)

Saturday, 29 March 2014 13:50

Alexis Jones - Anyday

Alexis Jones is a 24 hour woman.

She is hard at work – busily promoting "Anyday" - her second album, connecting with artists across the country, trying to build a fan base, releasing her mix tape, "Diary of an R&B Singer," and holding down a full-time job. Not to mention, she recently fully overhauled her website: alexisjonesmusic.com. All of this in a very small market – Raleigh, NC – that's not known for its music scene or its support of native artists.

As Alexis puts it, "Right now I'm independent. I would love to have a record deal, have my music be my career. But right now I'm still working, and I can't rely solely on music ... I want to wake up and do music every day."

Big dreams for a girl whose first choice was not music. Truth-be-told, originally, Alexis wanted to be an athlete; she played college sports. But after graduating school – and finding herself – a love for music was awakened.

To that end, Alexis, who was also raised in a musical family, spends her free time working on her music. She has an in-home studio, which allows her to balance her day job with her musical career. It also saves her time and money. She has broadened her talents from singer to singer-songwriter, arranger, and producer, and she has stretched herself emotionally.

She recalls, "I was singing other people's music at first. But I knew I wanted to write my own. So I locked myself in a room and for two hours just sat there until a song finally began to come. I've been writing ever since."

"The difference [between the first and the second album} can be heard on the album," she continues. "You can hear the growth in my writing skill, my vocal skill. My first album was simpler. I put more feeling and more emotion into the second one."

That's not to say Alexis isn't proud of her first album aptly titled "Alexis Jones." As a matter-of-fact, one of her favorite songs, "Ready," is on that album. "I wrote it and it touches me every time I hear it." But she recognizes the importance of growth, and she is striving to prove herself in a realm chock full of up and coming artists.

Alexis has also stepped into videos – an important piece of the equation for today's stars.

"I did my first video in 2012 at the time of the first album. People not only want to hear you. But the fans want to see you in action. See you move, talk, and sing. That's another way to connect with you as an artist." Several clips and videos, including "Ready" and "Run This," can be seen on YouTube.

More than music and videos, though, Alexis wants to create a brand. Part of that brand includes being known for the versatility of her music – R&B, POP, Neo Soul – to topnotch production and writing skills. She looks to people like Keri Hilson, Timbaland, Pharrell, and R Kelly as individuals who have managed to build a brand.

Because the Raleigh market is so small, she has endeavored to reach beyond her city limits and connect with other artists.
"Sometimes you feel like you are making music for yourself and for your neighbors. So I've tried to connect with other artists across the country."

"What makes music more difficult is that I don't think local radio stations support independent artists like they should. You go to Greensboro, NC, they spotlight. They are respecting that there are other people out here with talent. I don't understand it. So I'm working on different singles. I'm networking with other artists outside Raleigh. I'm trying to make that one single that will possibly give me a chance."

She hopes that one single will be on "The Diary of an R&B Singer." Released March 21st, the mix-tape includes Alexis' tracks mixed with industry tracks.

While Alexis loves music, she admits that it's hard work. She also admits that she doesn't do it by herself. Her family is a huge support network. Plus she has a deep faith.

"I'm spiritually guided. My faith is something I rely on and it keeps hope in my heart each and every day. As a person, you always need something for guidance. We can't do it on our own. So just me believing (in God) it gives me strength."

Faith + Hardwork + Talent = Alexis Jones singing any day.

Saturday, 22 March 2014 03:03

Last Kings - IAMNAYAH

I'm not sure how Nayah does it. The girl is in school full time, she recently released a video directed by Dallas video auteur Jeff Adair,  she's endeavoring to make a name for herself in the music scene, and now she's finished another song: Last Kings.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Nayah has a vocal quality akin to Rihanna. And her sister - Nayah's not Rihanna's - wisely writes songs that feature and compliment Nayah's voice and vocal style extremely well. Kudos to both of them for creating songs so radio-friendly. 

In this love song, Nayah proclaims, "If you put me on a pedastal, please, promise you'll never let me go."

A word to the wise: Having the object of your affection put you on a pedastal can feel damn good. But it hurts like hell, if they ever take you off that pedestal. But hey! I'm jaded and I'm not going to spoil the fun here. LOL

The song is nice addition to Nayah's growing repetoire of songs, and along with "BLVD" is one of my personal favorites from her.

Nayah is searching for her Last King on this song. When she finds him, I'm sure he'll claim her as his Last Queen.

(See ... I do have a romantic side in this old soul!)

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