Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Behind the Scenes: "We've Met Before" Ep. 2 (Mateo)

Mateo launched a new webseries that coincides with the release of his upcoming EP, "We've Met Before,"which will be released on August 13. The new online series of the same name, chronicles Mateo’s journey as he works to not only release his single and new EP, but all of the promotion efforts that follow, along with the process leading up to his first official album release. With that said, watch the second episode of the new webseries after the jump and Enjoy!

Album Cover: "Yours Truly" (Ariana Grande)

Ariana Grande is one of the biggest new artists of 2013 and her forthcoming September 3rd Universal Republic debut album Yours Truly has just received its official album cover.  Featuring Ariana on top of a bed of pink roses, Yours Truly is led by her Mac Miller-assisted debut single "The Way" in addition to her followup "Baby I." Peep the official album cover for Yours Truly after the jump and lookout for her forthcoming tour Listening Sessions when it kicks off in Silver Spring, Maryland on August 13th!

New Video: "I've Been Life" (Cody ChesnuTT)

Cody ChesnuTT is back and this time the singer/songwriter has released an infectiously colorful video for his joint "I've Been Life," which features the Brooklyn Jumbies and their world-renowned Stilt Walking. Fitting the vibe of the record perfectly, Cody's official visual for "I've Been Life" is a great close to the day and/or beginning. With that said, watch Cody's latest visual after the jump and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" (Maxwell)

"Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" - Maxwell
  • Writers: MUSZE (Maxwell) & Itaal Shur
  • Producer: MUSZE
  • Record Label: Columbia 
  • Released in 1996 from Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite
  • Peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #8 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 

Interview: Elle Varner

Peter Bailey shares a NiteCap with Grammy-nominated songstress Elle Varner inside Santa Monica's West Lake Studios after her ASCAP Awards win. She discusses her new single "A Good Man", upcoming album Four Letter Word and dating Iman Shumpert. With that said, watch Peter Bailey's interview with Elle Varner after the jump and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "I Want You" (Avila Brothers)

This is clearly one of my favorite underrated gems and always leaves me wondering what the Avila Brothers are up to as this was one of the best joints of the 2000s in my opinion. Back in 2005 the Avila Brothers released The Mood: Soundsational and one of the standout joints from the set was their reinterpretation of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You." Using the perfect sample from Marvin's classic "I Want You," the Avila Brothers craft their own "I Want You" which is one of the most underrated songs to drop in the 2000s. Take a second listen to the Avila Brothers' "I Want You" after the jump and Enjoy!

Rare Performance: "So Amazing" (Whitney Houston)

During Soul Train's tribute to Luther Vandross back in 1999, Whitney Houston partook at the end by performing a riveting, yet brief rendition of his classic hit "So Amazing." Whitney Houston and Luther were dear friends and it's a pleasure to see Whitney effortlessly adlibs on top of the beautiful arrangement of "So Amazing." Watch this rare performance after the jump and Enjoy!

A Cappella: "Vision Of Love" (Mariah Carey)

While we all eagerly await Mariah Carey's forthcoming album, I am reminded of some of her most mesmerizing performances including this a cappella rendition of "Vision Of Love," which is lifted from The Wogan Show back in 1990. With that said, watch Mariah Carey's aw-inspiring performance of "Vision Of Love" after the jump and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "Don’t You Forget It/ Can’t Say Love" (Glenn Lewis)

A few days ago, Glenn Lewis felt inspired and performed an acoustic rendition of his classic hit "Don't You Forget It"  before delving into his current single "Can't Say Love," which is lifted from his forthcoming August 20th sophomore album Moment of Truth. With that said, after the jump you can witness Glenn's smooth rendition of both of his joints and lookout for his highly-anticipated and awaited sophomore LP Moment of Truth when it's released next month!

Amazing Cover: "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Beyoncé)

Almost two weeks ago on July 20th, Beyoncé brought her The Mrs. Carter Show to The Palace of Auburn Hills located just outside of Detroit and the Grammy-winning songstress performed an impassioned rendition of the Sam Cooke classic "A Change Is Gonna Come"to honor the Motor City, which recently filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. With that said, Beyoncé and her team have now uploaded a montage performance of her tribute to the D and you can watch it all go down after the jump.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Video: "Love In The Sky" (The Weeknd)

Earlier today, The Weeknd released his a new joint "Love In The Sky," which is lifted from his forthcoming sophomore LP Kiss Land and now an official mini visual for the joint has hit the net. With that said, you can peep the official video for "Love In The Sky" after the jump and lookout for Kiss Land when it's released September 10th!

Live Video of the Day: "The Greatest Love Of All" (Whitney Houston)

During Whitney Houston's HBO special Welcome Home Heroes from back in 1991, she opted to closeout her phenomenal concert with a powerful rendition of "The Greatest Love Of All." Featuring two adorable kids who joined her on stage during her performance, Whitney Houston offers one of her best vocal showings of The Greatest Love Of All" in my opinion and certainly my favorite performance as it is filled with her powerhouse vocals and infectious personality. Watch it all go down after the jump and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Fall Again" (Glenn Lewis)

"Fall Again" - Glenn Lewis
  • Writers: Walter Afanasieff and Robin Thicke
  • Record Label: Sony
  • Featuring on the 2002 soundtrack for Maid In Manhattan

New Joint: "Love In The Sky" (The Weeknd)

With his fall headlining tour approaching and the release of his sophomore Universal Republic set Kiss Land set for September, The Weeknd has released another new joint and this time it comes in the form of the smooth "Love In The Sky." Featuring some haunting production, "Love In The Sky" is another solid banger from The Weeknd and you can listen to it after the jump!

New Video: "Lifted" (Naughty Boy ft. Emeli Sandé)

After releasing the audio for his joint "Lifted," that features Emeli Sandé, the official video for Naughty Boy's produced joint "Lifted" has hit the net. Lifted from Naughty Boy's forthcoming album Hotel Cabana, "Lifted" is the second single pulled from his forthcoming project following his chart-topping hit Sam Smith assisted "La La La." Watch the official video after the jump and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "The Boss" (The Braxtons)

Originally released in 1979 under the tutelage of Motown Diva Ms. Diana Ross, "The Boss" was crafted by famed songwriting duo Ashford and Simpson and would go onto peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and  #12 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. Fast-forward to 1996 and The Braxtons' reinvested the thumping Motown disco joint for a new generate off of their So Many Ways LP. With that said, take a listen after the jump to their sublime remake of "The Boss" and Enjoy!

Cut: "Get Up" (Amel Larrieux)

Back in 1999, Amel Larrieux released her debut solo single "Get Up," which was released as the first single off of her solo LP Infinite Possibilities. While the single peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart and #97 on the Hot 100, it is often a forgotten about cut from Amel that started off her solo career post Groove Theory. With that said, take a listen after the jump to "Get Up" and Enjoy!

New Joint: "Complicated" (Raheem DeVaughn)

A new joint from Raheem DeVaughn hit the net this past weekend in the form of "Complicated." Rumored to be lifted from his forthcoming highly-anticipated new album A Place Called Loveland, due this September, "Complicated" is a solid ballad from the DC crooner and a bit of a change from his latest joint to hit the net "Trigger Man." With that said, take a listen to "Complicated" after the jump and lookout for A Place Called Loveland when it's released this September!

Second Listen: "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" (En Vogue)

Back in 1992, En Vouge released the lead single to their second album Funky Divas in the form of "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" and the song shot up the charts to peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Hot R&B Singles chart. "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" would also go onto peak at #7 on the year-end charts for the Billboard Hot 100 and is considered by many as one of the top 100 songs of the 90s. With that said, take a second listen to "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" after the jump and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "Be Grateful" (Tamar Braxton)

Earlier this year during BET's Celebration of Gospel, a very pregnant Tamar Braxton took to the stage to perform the classic Walter Hawkins penned "Be Grateful." Armed with just her powerful voice and a jazzier arrangement of the gospel classic, Tamar brought and felt the spirit that night and you can take a listen to a live audio rip of it after the jump!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Live Video of the Day: "Love to Love You Baby" (Donna Summer)

With the passing of Donna Summer, a lot of people are remembering the groundbreaking career that she has led. Not only did Summer transcend race and sound, but she helped lay the groundwork for disco and Euro dance pop that so many people enjoy today. With that said, below is a remembrance of Summer before her big hit "Love to Love You Baby" hit.
By 1975, Summer had been living in Germany for eight years and had participated in several musical theatre shows. She had also released an album in Europe entitled Lady of the Night, written by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and produced by Bellotte, which had given her a couple of hit singles. She was still a complete unknown in her home country when she suggested the lyric "Love to Love You Baby" to Moroder in 1975. He turned the lyric into a full disco song and asked Summer to record it. The full lyrics were somewhat explicit and at first Summer said she would only record it as a demo to give to someone else. However, Summer's erotic moans and groans impressed Moroder so much that he persuaded her to release it as her own song, and "Love to Love You" became a moderate hit in the Netherlands.
Watch her performance of her iconic "Love to Love You" after the jump and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Into You" (Kem)

"Into You" - Kem
  • Writer and Producer: Kem
  • Record Label: Motown
  • Featured on 2005's Album II

Live Audio: "The Ghetto" (Donny Hathaway)

**Was reading Mark Anthony Neal's What The Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture and he wrote a brilliant section on Donny Hathaway and this live recording of "The Ghetto." With that said, I wanted to revisit this live audio in part from reading about it via Neal's book. **

Ain't nothing like a talented vocalist unplugged and crooning away on a live album in my opinion and Donny Hathaway is one of the greatest to ever release a live album. While the mainstream vocal talent in the industry appears to lack a certain vocality that legends such as Hathaway possessed, it's refreshing to revisit some of his live audio work and his take on "The Ghetto," which is lifted from his 1972 live album is no exception. With that said, take a listen to his sublime live take on "The Ghetto" after the jump and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Sing About Me" (Mateo)

Once again, Mateo offers a brilliant interpretation/cover and this time the rising crooner takes on Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me." Rewriting the verses, Mateo borrows the chorus from Lamar's "Sing About Me" and thankfully for us, Hard Knock TV caught his phenomenal performance at Truth Studios. Watch it all go down after the jump and lookout for Mateo's new EP "We've Met Before," when it drops August 13th!

Remix: "Astronaut (Ghost Loft Remix)" (Joel Compass)

I missed this Ghost Loft Remix of Joel Compass' joint "Astronaut" that dropped a few days ago, but better late than never is what I always say. With the release of the official video for "Astronaut" and now this official remix, hopefully people are taking note of Joel Compass as he really is a dope artist-on-the-rise. With that said, take a listen after the jump to "Astronaut (Ghost Loft Remix)" and Enjoy!

Playback: "Fool Me Once" (Nylo)

Last night, one of my friends asked me about any new joints that I had really been feeling lately and I had to hip her to artist-on-the-rise Nylo and her single "Fool Me Once." Currently available for a free download, Nylo's smooth, dark, and sexy "Fool Me Once" is too good to pass on with a few listens and a free download. With that said, take a playback after the jump to "Fool Me Once" and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Why Don't We Fall In Love" (Amerie)

Back in 2002, Amerie released her debut single "Why Don't We Fall In Love" and the Rich Harrison written and produced single became and instant hit and summer classic with its infectious and recognizable beat. Lifted from her debut album All I Have, "Why Don't We Fall In Love" is the perfect mid-tempo to ride out to as we continue to enjoy the last bits of summer. Take a second listen after the jump to "Why Don't We Fall In Love" and Enjoy!

Rare Performance: "I Turn To You" (Christina Aguilera ft. Tevin Campbell)

During The Alma Awards back in 1999, Christina Aguilera made her primetime television debut alongside Tevin Campbell who joined the then rising powerhouse vocalist on her ballad "I Turn To You," which would go onto peak at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. While Tevin Campbell and Christina Aguilera might seem like an odd pairing, their vocals fit perfectly with one another on Christina's power ballad and hopefully one day, these two will find themselves sharing the stage again as Tevin is one of a few male vocalist who can actually keep up with Christina's vocal prowess. Watch it all go down after the jump with this rare performance and Enjoy!

New Video: "Astronaut" (Joel Compass)

Yesterday, Joel Compass released the official music video to his latest single "Astronaut." Lifted from his forthcoming "Astronaut" EP, due September 2nd in the UK, the official visual for the title-track fits the vibe of the smooth mid-tempo and you can watch the astronomical/recording studio video after the jump!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Interview: Bridget Kelly

Bridget Kelly stopped by Power 99's #NextOnDeck series hosted by Mina SayWhat and during her time on the show, Bridget opened up about her forthcoming debut album Something Different, why the album has been delayed, why she is taking her time on her debut LP, how involved Jay has been with her career, and who she's worked with on her upcoming album. Peep the interview after the jump and lookout for her debut album Something Different soon!

Live Video of the Day: "Can We Talk" (Tevin Campbell)

Been jamming to Tevin Campbell's "Can We Talk" lately and I stumbled upon one of his performances of his classic hit from back in the early 90s. While I am unfamiliar where the clip is lifted from, Tevin croons out a phenomenal live rendition of "Can We Talk" with the assistance of some background dancers. Watch it all go down after the jump and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Whoknows" (Musiq Soulchild)

"Whoknows" - Musiq Soulchild
  • Writers: Musiq Soulchild & Frank Romano
  • Producers: Orthodox & Ransum
  • Record Label: Def Jam
  • Released in 2004 from Soulstar
  • Peaked at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #23 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks

New Joint: "Loved Me Back To Life" (Celine Dion)

During her performance last night in Quebec City, Celine Dion premiered a new song "Loved Me Back To Life," which is lifted from her forthcoming album Loved Me Back To Life. Penned by Sia and produced by Sham & Motesart, "Loved Me Back To Life" will be the first single lifted from Celine's upcoming LP due this October. With that said, you can watch her live premiere performance of "Loved Me Back To Life" after the jump and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Roll Out" (LaBelle featuring Wyclef Jean)

Back in 2008,  LaBelle released their comeback album Back to Know which reunited the famed 60s and 70s soulful trio together back on record for the first time in decades. With that said, the lead single from the album was the Wyclef Jean assisted "Roll Out," and the mid-tempo joint really gave LaBelle a refreshed sound. With that said, take a second listen after the jump and Enjoy!

TV Rewind: Iyanla: Fix My Life (Syleena Johnson)

Syleena Johnson is the latest individual to call upon Iyanla for help during Iyanla's OWN series Iyanla: Fix My Life. During this episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, Syleena gathers her family in an attempt to fix the ingrained troubles and issues that have plagued the family for years. Watch the special episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life after the jump and see what Iyanla attempts to do for Syleena Johnson and her family.

Live Clip: "So Gone/ Knockin' Da Boots" (Jill Scott)

During The Hampton Jazz Festival that was recently held in Virginia, Jill Scott took to the stage as one of the headliners and she offered a sublime set that included a mashup of her 2011 single "So Gone" and the H-Town classic "Knockin' Da Boots" via her trio of male background singers. With that said, watch Scott and her background singers sensual and soulful performance of "So Gone" and "Knockin' Da Boots" after the jump and lookout for new music from Ms. Jilly from Philly towards the end of 2013!

Rare Recording: "You Can't Hurry Love" (The Supremes)

Going to Detroit at the end of this week and it just so happens that I've been listening to some classic Motown hits these past few weeks and one of those gems has to be The Supremes' classic hit "You Can't Hurry Love." With that said, after the jump  you will find a rare recording of the trio with an alternate rendition of their classic hit. While the melody is changed a bit on this recording, you still get the same vibe on "You Can't Hurry Love" and you can check it out after the jump!

Cut: "Love Poems" (Bilal)

Bilal's debut album 1st Born Second is considered by many as one of the most signifiant debut albums of the past 25 years and one of the standout cuts for me from his album has to be "Love Poems." Written by Bilal and Keisha Whatley and produced by Aaron Comess, the laid-back mid-tempo has a solid vocal and lyrical showing by Bilal that ends with him riffing while some spoken word is dropped on top of "Love Poems"' instrumentation. Take a listen after the jump to "Love Poems" and Enjoy!

Remix: "Wish I Didn't Miss You (Blaze Remix)" (Angie Stone)

Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You" was one of my favorite songs from the 2000s and the sample of The O'Jay's "Backstabber" was the icing on the cake for this infectious jam. With that said, during the height of the single's success numerous remixes were released to help build the buzz for Stone and her album and my favorite remix has to be the Blaze remix that truly takes the song to another level. Take a listen after the jump to "Wish I Didn't Miss You (Blaze Remix)" and Enjoy!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Live Audio: "I Am Changing" (Whitney Houston)

Back in 1986, Whitney Houston performed a flawless rendition of the Dreamgirls classic "I Am Changing" during one of her concerts in New York City at the time. Heralded by many as "The Voice," this single live audio clip in my opinion proves why Houston in her prime is still untouchable in my book. Her sheer vocal prowess, runs, and phrasing alone put this in my book as one of the greatest live audio recordings ever captured up there with Aretha Franklin's "Amazing Grace" from her gospel album as well as Luther's "Superstar" from his live album and the fact that is a rough recording of her performance only further proves it's power. With that said, take a listen after the jump to her sublime live recording of "I Am Changing" and Enjoy!

Live Video of the Day: "Superwoman" (Lil Mo ft. Fabolous)

Was catching up on TV One's R&B Divas earlier tonight and Lil Mo in my book is the clear breakout star of the new series. With that said, I was trolling YouTube reliving some of Lil Mo's performances and I stumbled upon this phenomenal mashup of her performing the Karyn White classic "Superwoman" with her Fabolous assisted hit single "Superwoman." With that said, watch her phenomenal performance lifted from BET's 106 & Park after the jump and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Brown Skin" (India.Arie)

"Brown Skin" - India.Arie
  • Writers: India.Arie, Carlos "6 July" Broady, Shannon Sanders
  • Producer: Carlos "6 July" Broady
  • Record Label: Motown Records
  • Released in 2001 from Acoustic Soul
  • It reached #39 on Billboard's  Hop R&B/Hip-Hop Songs

Second Listen: "So High" (John Legend)

Released as the fourth and final single from John Legend's debut album Get Lifted, "So High" would go onto earn John Legend a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, with the assistance of Hill who appeared on the remix. Though it peaked at a modest 53 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, "So High" is a solid ballad form Legend and you can take a second listen to it after the jump

New Joint: "Teardrop" (Cleo Sol)

After releasing the free download of her original joint "Borderline," Cleo Sol has combined Massive Attack's "Teardrop" and The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" into her own rendition entitled "Teardrop." With that said, you can take a listen to Cleo Sol's "Teardrop" after the jump and if you like what you hear, cop the free download while supplies last!

Album in the Works: "Love in Flying Colors" (The Foreign Exchange)

It's been roughly three years since The Foreign Exchange released their third LP Authenticity, and now the duo have dropped the official album cover artwork and tracklisting for their forthcoming fourth studio album Love in Flying Colors. Slated for a September 24th release, the set features ten tracks from the Grammy-nominated group and you can peep the album cover above and the tracklisting after the jump.

Live Clip: "How Many Drinks?" (Miguel)

Miguel has been using his newly found high-profile that came with his breakout smash single "Adorn" to further his latest single "How Many Drinks?," which is lifted from his 2012 LP Kaleidoscope Dream. With that said, Miguel recently took his single "How Many Drinks?" to MR PORTER where he performed a solid acoustic rendition and you can watch it all go down after the jump!

Album Stream: "Body Music" (AlunaGeorge)

Ahead of their forthcoming debut album's release, AlunaGeorge have released a free album stream of their upcoming LP Body Music. With that said, take a listen after the jump to AlunaGeorge's Body Music ahead of its July 29th release and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Kiss From A Rose" (Allen Stone)

For the Grammy's ReImagined series, artists are asked to cover a song that won in one of the general fields (Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year or Best New Artist categories) in addition to songs that have been inducted into the Hall Of Game. With that said,  yesterday, the Grammys released the latest cover in their ReImagined web-series and Allen Stone opted to take on Seal's classic 1995 hit "Kiss From A Rose." Watch Allen Stone's cover go down after the jump and Enjoy!

Behind the Scenes: "Last Night" (Sebastian Mikael ft. Wale)

Sebastian Mikael dropped his Wale assisted single "Last Night" earlier this month and as the record beings to make some traction on radio, an official behind-the-scenes feature for the Mike Ho directed has hit the net. With that said, you can watch the behind-the-scenes visual for the official video of "Last Night" after the jump and Enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Album Cover: "A Mary Christmas" (Mary J. Blige)

Though it might only be July, Mary J. Blige is planning on blessing our ears with a holiday album this coming October via Matriarch/Verve/Interscope Records. Entitled "A Mary Christmas," Mary worked with David Foster on her upcoming release and it will feature some special duets with Jennifer Lopez, Mark Anthony, and even the legendary Barbra Streisand on "When You Wish Upon a Star." With that said, peep the album cover above and lookout for Mary this fall in the upcoming holiday film Black Nativity in addition to a new album expected for 2014.