When this event popped up on my timeline, any other plans I may have had for that day mysteriously auto-deleted from my calendar. Certain artists have the power to make that happen. Jill Scott is one of them.
On Friday, August 9, Jill will be in conversation with Johnnetta Cole as part of the National Museum of African Art Director’s Discussion Series. We always love to hear Jill sanging and you can do that here and here. However, Jill is also a multi-talented actor, author, poet and philanthropist. In the midst of the beautiful, culturally rich space like the Museum of The American Indian, I expect it to be great discussion.
Tickets are on sale to the general public now here. Get them while they’re hot! I fully expect this to sell out.
This is the latest in the series of discussions that have previously featured icons such as Maya Angelou and other artists and musicians.
Conceptualizing and planning events like this would be my dream job. #WriteItMakeItHappen
When people think about the Philly soul scene, the usual suspects that immediately come to mind are Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild. Think a little harder and you may come up with Kindred or Vivian Green. Absolutely nothing wrong with that because as you should already know I stan for Jill (preparing to buy tickets to see her for the second time this year and I CANNOT wait) and I’ll always love Musiq. They essentially put the Philly neosoul scene on the map. I just want to shine the spotlight on some other artists that deserve some recognition as well.
As I did in the last post, I have to start this off by talking about the man that has written for, produced, and performed with a lot of these artists I’m spotlighting.
Hailing from the South Side of Philly, Carol started out backing artists like Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, and Kindred. Once you listen to her sound, you’ll see why she couldn’t possibly stay in the background. I saw her live at Zanzibar Blue (RIP) a couple of years ago and she blew me away – a young Anita Baker in the making. Her album, Moments Like This, was released in 2006. She worked with James Poyser on some of the tracks.
Vikter is a singer, songwriter, producer, and plays multiple instruments. He’s released several albums and appeared on tracks by artists like Erykah Badu, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Incognito, Esthero, and Eric Benet.
Ashley is a Philly-born singer and songwriter. Her band formed in 2003 and they mostly perform locally. l had the pleasure of catching her acoustic set here in DC last year. Her stage presence is soothing, yet captivating. She reminds me of Dionne Ferris or Me’Shell Ndegeocello – especially with the way she handles that guitar. You can tell when she performs that it’s truly for the love of the music. I hope to see an album from her sometime in the near future.
With a fro like that, you know he got soulllll! He calls his music a mixture of soul, pop, R&B, and funk. He’s a self-taught artist who has been singing since childhood. His mother was embarrassed to take him out because he would often randomly break into song. His song of choice? “Me So Horny!” His musical selection has evolved a bit since then. He released his first self-titled album last year and has collaborated with the likes of Wyclef Jean and Lupe Fiasco.
I been hearing rumblings about the next coming of Lauryn Hill for a while now but never really investigated further. It wasn’t until I heard “Need You Bad” on Soul Bounce that I sat up and took notice. Evidently, I am late. Ain’t nothing neo about this soul singer. She sang on Showtime at the Apollo at the tender age of 11 and performed with Stevie Wonder at 13. She appeared on a couple of tracks on Fantasia’s album, Free, and wrote a couple of songs on Christina Milian’s album. This 20-year-old singer and songwriter is indeed one to watch. Look out for the album on J records sometime this year.
“I Am” with Kindred
Cover of “What’s Going On”
A true stan would never end this post without mentioning her favorite Philadelphia soul singer. None other than my man Bilal. He should be no stranger to my faithful readers. But for those that happen in here that may have never heard of him, I’ll let the music speak for itself.
Here are a couple of videos from the last show I attended. I’m thrilled to say I’ll be seeing him perform later today in Baltimore and then again on Friday at a jam session with The Randy Watson Experience. With President Obama finally delivering that knockout blow to Billary, can this historic week get any better?
“White Turns To Grey” from the never released “Love for Sale”
A NICE version of “Soul Sista”
Did I miss any underrated Philly soul singers that you think deserve some shine? Shout them out in the comments.
Hopefully, I’m preaching to the choir when I talk about this woman’s musical ability. The words and sounds that come out of her mouth are heaven sent. Her live performances have moved me to tears. I shouldn’t need to convince any of you about that. You should already know. So I’ll talk about some of the other things I admire about J-I-L-L-S-C-O-T-T.
I admire how comfortable she is in her own skin.
I admire her sassiness, her beauty, her unabashed sensuality, and her rawness. She’s a cusser like moi.
I admire that she was able to pick herself up and keep flying after loving that deeply – and losing.aside: She might have had an extra shot of six of Crown Royal on ice but you never once heard about a DUI or any other public antics. You have also never heard her say one negative word about him. That’s a real woman. Now a chick like me would have been hollering to anyone that would listen about his bitchassness. I’m just sayin.
I admire the path she has taken and how she is following her dreams. She’s gone from scooping ice cream in North Philly to being a three-time Grammy Award winner, published author, and star of the big and little screen.I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Everything happens for a reason, they say
Everything happens for a reason, they say
Yesterday morning I received an upsetting e-mail from a friend whose situation I told you about in a previous post. Again, I won’t go into great detail, but it was an urgent prayer request for her unborn child. At exactly four months into her pregancy, her water broke and the doctors were telling her that a miscarriage was inevitable. She wrote that while she was accepting that God knows best, she also knew He has the final say. So came the mass prayer request.
I felt terrible for her and sent one up, even though I knew it would likely be to no avail. I did have a little hope though. Miracles happen everyday. Not in this case though. I got word later in the day that the baby was gone.
I had only shared the complete story of her pregnancy and all the drama surounding it with two other people – the only people that I share almost everything with. When I told both of them what happened, they both had the same response: It was probably for the best.Everything happens for a reason.
I was a little upset at that response since I had also grown to care about this baby already, seeing as how she had named it and shared sonogram pictures and all. Some time later, I did wonder if it was the truth. I think she would have been a wonderful mother, but I was also always worried what the father would do since he was strongly opposed to this child coming into the world. And there was reason to be worried. The dude had done a long stint in prison. He wasn’t there on some white collar crime, feel me? Not to mention, she has said some things that led me to believe that if he knocked, she might open the door, despite all the drama he has put her through *sigh* So what kind of lesson would that have taught the child?
Although I’m more spiritual than religious, I strongly believe God has a plan for my life and that the things that happen to me are all part of his master design. I may not understand certain things at the time and I may even try to fight what I know I must do. However, I eventually accept that there is a reason for everything and it will be revealed when the time is right. It always is. Hindsight is 20/20.
In most cases, it’s hard to conceive how the loss of a child would be part of God’s plan for anyone’s life. It just doesn’t sit right with me that the opposite could be true in my friend’s case.
Sorry to end the week on such a heavy note. Next week, I’ll have much lighter commetary and videos from the THREE concerts I have or will attend this week.
When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I just simply remember my favorite things
and then I don’t feel so bad.
I’ve been inspired by the good folks over at Soul Bounce, Nova, Butta, and Ill Mami, to put together my own top ten list of songs from 2007. Be sure to check out their lists as well because they know good music.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s HARD for me to do lists like this. There were so many songs that moved me this past year. However, after some help from the above lists and the Best Albums Roundtable podcast to refresh my memory, I’ve managed to narrow it down.
10. Stop Breaking My Heart – Rahsaan Patterson
I was anxiously awaiting this album and while I didn’t fall in love like I did with his previous three releases, I found myself coming back and grooving to this particular track again and again. Like many of the songs I chose, it was a definite theme song for me in 2007.
He Knew that the president wasn’t addressin’ him
Though dead presidents was addressin’ him Two kids from hot sex no protection and
People don’t see how aids is affectin’ him
Then to mix in Nina Simone and Bilal…can’t get hotter than that.
Listen to Common in a studio session breaking down “Misunderstood”
8. Sex God – Brand New Heavies
I am very ashamed to say that although I had certainly heard of the Heavies before and kept up with their concerts through one of their stans, I just became a convert this past summer. At the Capital Jazzfest, they had hundreds of black folks partying in the cold, pouring rain like they were in Miami on a 80 degree day. I already told you that was one of my top concerts of 2007.
It was hard to choose just one song from their latest release, Get Used to It. There was stiff competition from “Let’s Do It Again.” I first heard a mix of “Sex God” on MN8’s Myspace page with a rap intro and didn’t know it was the Heavies. I couldn’t stop playing it. And you know how I do, the title and lyrics didn’t hurt either!
7. Buju Banton – Driver A
Everytime I hear this song, I’ll remember Jamaica. And oh, what fond memories they are. The Reggae Sumfest crowd who had been at the show since 7pm, went wild when he performed this at about 4am. If you are a reggae lover, it’s hard to sit still on this one. I wish I had been capturing video because this man’s live energy is unbelievable.
6. Mary J. Blige – Til The Morning I have yet to fall in love with Growing Pains, but this particular song, along with one or two others are definitely stand-out tracks. From the first listen, this was the only song I added to my Top Rated on the ‘pod. It’s a straight party track and frankly reminds me of the 90s MJB who put out albums where I just knew I was going to love each and every song.
5. Ledisi – Alright
This song got a sista through some tough times this year.Some mornings on my commute to a job that I’m so over, I throw this on and know it’s going to be alright.I’ve been a Ledisi fan since I saw her perform several years ago on the Capital Jazzfest cruise. Her latest release, Lost and Found, further cements my adoration for her amazing talent.
4. Raheem Devaughn – Woman
I remember seeing Rah perform a year or two before the release of his first album. I hadn’t heard of him and gave him the serious side-eye as he took off his kicks and rolled all over the stage like his last name was Labelle. Today, color me convinced. “Woman” is such a feel good track. On the rare occasion that I turn on the radio and hear some rapper accosting my bleeding ears with the order to “shut up, swallow,” I so need artists like Rah to extol the virtues of “woman” [read; not bitch or hoe, thankuverymuch!]
3. Chrisette Michele – If I Have My Way
I Am was definitely one of my top five favorite albums of 2007. Not to mention what this girl can do live. Again, it was hard to pick just one song. “My Way” faced stiff competition from “Golden,” “Mr. Radio,” and “Let’s Rock,” just to name a few. However, this was another track with lyrics that mirrored a situation that went on in my life in 2007. I actually played this song when I just couldn’t find the words. Now that is good music.
2. Eric Roberson – Pen Just Cries Away
Again, you should already know how I feel about Erro. As a matter of fact, I’ll be seeing him perform twice this week. So many standouts on what I consider his best album yet, Left. I swear he wrote “Pretty Girl” about me. However, this was another song that holds an emotional significance for me. I’ll never be able to listen to it without remembering a certain someone, me and him straight vibing to it at W Ellington Felton’s Tuesday night set. Little did I know months later, I would hear that same song as the relationship came to an end. I still love it just the same though.
1. Jill Scott – Crown Royal
What can I say about this song that hasn’t already been said? What can I write about The Real Thing that hasn’t already been written? I’ll just say that I’ve been fortunate to really feel Jill on this particular track many times over in 2007 and I hope that trend continues in 2008.
Honorable Mention: Neyo, “You Make Me Better”
I’d love to hear your favorite tracks of 2007.
*hat tip for the BNH graphic to Lauren via Tayari’s Blog