Monday, August 31, 2015

Song of the Day: "September" (Earth, Wind, & Fire)

"September" - Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Writers: Maurice White, Al McKay & Allee Willis
  • Producer: Maurice White
  • Record Label: Columbia Records
  • Released in 1978 from The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1
  • Peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart 

Live Video of the Day: "Come See Me" (Jill Scott)

As we close out the night, which happens to also be Jill Scott's birthday, I thought it would be nice to revisit one of the highlights from her 2012 Vh1 Storytellers special.

With that said, during Jill Scott's 2012 Vh1 Storytellers, the Grammy-winning Philadelphia songstress performed her cut "Come See Me," from her third LP The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3. Offering a play on academics to set the tone for this rendition, Scott and her band knock it out the park on this and the guitar rifts will really get you to feeling something.

Peep Scott's sublime performance of "Come See Me" below  and Enjoy!

Cut: "Memories" (Whitney Houston)

What I love about Twitter are the musical conversations I get into with a lot of fellow music lovers and a few months ago while talking about jazz and Whitney Houston, I was reminded of her phenomenal 1982 lead vocal on the brilliant "Memories."

Featured on Bill Wasel's experimental jazz-funk band Material's album One Down, "Memories" was Whitney Houston's first recorded lead vocal before she would go onto make her groundbreaking self-titled debut album Whitney Houston in 1985.

With that said, take a listen below to Whitney Houston's 1982 cut "Memories" as we continue to honor the legacy that is Whitney Houston!

Live Audio: "This Little Light of Mine" (Sam Cooke)

I was having a conversation last night about who I thought were some of the best male singers of all time and no surprise, Sam Cooke was among my top 6 of all time for not only being a vocal trailblazer  but for also having such a sharp and clear tone.

With that said, back in 1964, Sam Cooke recorded and released his live album Sam Cooke at the Copa and one of the numerous standouts from this collection is his rendition of "This Little Light of Mine." Thankfully someone has uploaded it online and you can take a listen after the jump to Sam's sublime rendition.

Live Clip: "Should've Been Us" (Tori Kelly)

Last night during the 2015 VMAs  Tori Kelly had another riveting performance, this time of her current single "Should've Been Us."

Opting once again to put her talents center stage, Tori and her band rocked out and then Tori took it a cappella for the LA audience gathered there last night to once again show/prove why she is one of 2015's Best New Artists.

Watch her performance below and Enjoy!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Song of the Day: "Crown Royal" (Jill Scott)

"Crown Royal" - Jill Scott
  • Writers and Producers: Jill Scott and Lee Hutson, Jr.
  • Record Label: Hidden Beach Recordings
  • Featured on 2007's The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3

Cut: "Back to Life" (Corneille)

Back in 2008, Motown released Corneille's major label debut album The Birth Of Cornelius. Off of that album was the opening track "Back To Life," which is a tight smooth mid-tempo from the singer-songwriter.

Though Corneille's career is somewhat under the radar here in the US, he is a phenomenal artists who really deserves the chance to be heard. With that said, take  listen to his cut "Back To Life" so that you can gain a better perspective of where Corneille is coming from and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Right Here" (SWV)

I had the pleasure of attending the San Diego Jazz Festival's closing night this past Sunday and one of the highlights from the show as SWV's sublime set where the Sisters With Voices along with their live band performing a rousing set of classic hits and cuts.

With that said, one of those such hits was their Michael Jackson "Human Nature" flavored joint "Right Here," which was originally featured on the groups 1992 smash LP It's About Time. Therefore, take a second listen to "Right Here" below and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "Rise Up" (Andra Day)

Earlier this summer, Andra Day stopped by The Real to begin the promotional rounds for her then forthcoming Cheers To The Fall and with its sublime release this past Friday, I thought it would be nice to revisit her powerhouse performance of the set's current single "Rise Up."

Accompanied by just her pianist, Andra's powerful vocals filled the studio of The Real and left everyone in the audience in aw of her soulfully raspy voice. With that said, take a listen to her amazing rendition of "Rise Up" below and Enjoy!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Live Clip: "Earth Song" (Yolanda Adams)

Yolanda Adams' vocals never disappoint and the anointed singer took to the Michael Forever 2011 tribute concert to offer up a sublime gospel tinged rendition of the Michael Jackson classic "Earth Song."

Backed by a choir towards the end of the number, Adams let loose at the end and took the crowd on an emotional and spiritual journey with her interpretation of MJ classic. Watch it go down below as we continue to celebrate Michael Jackson's legacy and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "They Don't Care About Us" (Michael Jackson)

"They Don't Care About Us" - Michael Jackson
  • Writer: Michael Jackson
  • Producer: Michael Jackson
  • Record Label: Epic Records
  • Released in 1996 from HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
  • Peaked at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart

Amazing Cover: "Human Nature" (Laura Mvula)

While Laura Mvula was on the promo trail to build buzz for her then forthcoming debut album Sing to the Moon, she hit up BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge and offered up the mandatory cover and her acoustic take on this classic song is one of my favorite covers from 2013.

Opting to go with the late Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," Laura's sweet and smooth vocals fit effortlessly on the melody of Jackson's classic song. Watch her amazing acoustic cover of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" below and Enjoy!

Cut: "Butta Love" (Next)

Back in 1997, Next released their debut album Rated Next and the lead single from the group's double platinum Artista debut was the smooth joint "Butta Love." While "Butta Love" peaked at a solid #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, their second single "Too Close," is the joint that people most remember from the R&B trio.

With that said, take a listen to their cut "Butta Love" below as we revisit this 90s cut from Next.

Amazing Cover: "One In A Million" (Keshia Chanté)

Back in 2011 as a tribute to the late singer Aaliyah, Keshia Chanté covered one of Aaliyah's iconic jams to honor ten years since to tragic passing of Aaliyah.

While Keshia had been rumored for years to be portraying Aaliyah in a biopic, she clearly was not involved in the Aaliyah Lifetime biopic that was almost universally panned by critics and fans. Hopefully if/when Aaliyah gets a feature film treatment, Keshia has a eerie resemblance to Aaliyah in my opinion will get the change to portray her.

Either way you might feel about the Lifetime Aaliyah biopic, peep Keshia Canté's sublime cover of "One In A Million" below!

Second Listen: "Fake" (Alexander O'Neal)

Back in 1987, Alexander O'Neal released his biggest hits to date which was the infectious thumping joint "Fake." Peaking at number one on the R&B charts"Fake," which was produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis helped spur sales of O'Neal's sophomore album Hearsay and would make him an international star.

"Fake"  still goes for me in my book and its Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis beat is still as fresh as it was back in 1987. With that said, take a second listen to the old-school jam "Fake" from Alexander O'Neal below and Enjoy!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Song of the Day: "Shine" (Luther Vandross)

"Shine" - Luther Vandross
  • Writers: James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Bernard Edwards, & Nile Rodgers
  • Record Label: J/Epic/Legacy Recordings
  • Released in 2006 from The Ultimate Luther Vandross
  • Peaked at #31 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
  • Originally recorded for the soundtrack to the movie The Fighting Temptations, but failed to make the final cut.

Live Clip: "Rise Up" (Andra Day)

Artist-on-the-rise Andra Day just released her sublime debut album earlier today Cheers To The Fall and the set is really about to get some serious love as her new single "Rise Up" is gearing up to take over the airwaves as it will be featured in a forthcoming Beats By Dre commercial featuring Serena Williams that will air during the U.S. Open.

With that said, yesterday Andra uploaded a sublime acoustic rendition of "Rise Up" and you can watch below and if you haven't checked out her debut album Cheers To The Fall, it's available for download on iTunes and streaming on Spotify now!

Cut: "Still Here" (Jennifer Hudson)

As we eagerly await news regarding Jennifer Hudson's fourth album, I  have revisited her sophomore LP 2011's I Remember Me and rediscovered the gem that is "Still Here."

Written by Diane Warren, the poignant ballad is Hudson's ode to her late family members and is a touching tribute to anyone someone might've lost along the way.

With that said, take a listen below to the cut "Still Here" and rumors of Jennifer circling Aretha Franklin's biography will also bring news about new music soon!

Amazing Cover: "All Man That I Need" (Yolanda Adams)

Yolanda performed at a 2015 Whitney Houston tribute it seems somewhere in a nice church and of course her anointed voice offered a riveting rendition of the Houston classic "All Man That I Need."

While no one will ever sing a Whitney Houston original better than she in my opinion, Yolanda's spirited rendition proves why she is still one of the greatest singers around and you can watch her powerhouse rendition of "All Man That I Need" below!

Second Listen: "All at Once" (Whitney Houston)

Whitney Houston's self-titled debut album spurred numerous #1 hits, but one of my favorite songs from her discography, "All at Once," never received the official single's treatment here in the States.

While it was released in several countries in Europe and was even certified gold in Japan, the Michael Masser and Jeffrey Osborne written ballad never got its just due and you can (re)visit this classic song from Whitney's discography below!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Live Video of the Day: "Is It Still Good To Ya?" (Patti LaBelle & Luther Vandross)

During Patti LaBelle's PBS special "Patti LaBelle - Live! One Night Only," she performed an amazing cover of the Ashford & Simpson classic "Is It Still Good To Ya?" along with her close friend and former president of her fan club Luther Vandross.

In my opinion, these two together, can do no wrong and this goes down in my book as one of the most underrated duets and covers to occur in the past 20 years. With that said, check out their passionate duet after the jump and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Move On Up" (Curtis Mayfield)

"Move On Up" - Curtis Mayfield
  • Writer: Curtis Mayfield 
  • Producer: Curtis Mayfield
  • Record Label: Curtom
  • Released in 1970 from Curtis
  • Peaked at #12 on the UK Singles Chart

Amazing Cover: "I Know You Won't (Unplugged)" (Kelly Clarkson)

Kelly Clarkson's Vh1 Unplugged episode aired during her 2011 promotional tour for her latest album Stronger and during her set, Kelly opted to perform fellow American Idol winner Carrie Underwood's ballad "I Know You Won't" and transformed the country tinged ballad more into a torch blues ballad.

With that said, I've been holding out for Clarkson to release her own version for awhile now, but since this hasn't materialized yet, you'll just have to settle for re-watching Kelly's sublime cover below!

Second Listen: "Piece of My Heart" (Erma Franklin)

Before Janis Joplin as a part of the Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded "Piece of My Heart," Aretha Franklin's eldest sister Erma Franklin recorded and released the joint a year prior.

Peaking in the top ten on the R&B charts, Erma's rendition would later earn the songstress a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1969, though her sister Aretha would go on to win with her classic hit "Chain of Fools."

With that said, take a second listen to Erma's original version of "Piece of My Heart" below and Enjoy!

Cut: "Bein' Green" (Ray Charles)

"Bein' Green" (also known as "Green") is a popular song written by Joe Raposo, originally performed by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and later covered by Ray Charles.

In the Muppets version, Kermit begins by lamenting his green coloration, expressing that green "blends in with so many ordinary things" and wishing to be some other color. But by the end of the song, Kermit recalls positive associations with the color green, and concludes by accepting and embracing his greenness.

The song's signature line "It's not easy being green" is a phrase that has since appeared in many contexts in pop culture. It is often quoted as an expression of melancholy over one's lot in life. The song is associated with questions of identity and individuality, but also with themes such as self-love and celebration of diversity, especially in terms of race (or "color"), which was at the forefront of social debate within American culture at the time of the song's debut.

With that said, Ray Charles covered "Bein' Green" in 1975 on his album Renaissance; this version gained popularity thanks to an episode of The Cosby Show. Charles then sang a duet with Kermit on Sesame Street and The Cher Show and also sang the song on the 1989 special Sesame Street… 20 Years & Still Counting. Therefore, take a listen below to this cut from Ray Charles and Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Song of the Day: "Anna's Song" (Marvin Gaye)

"Anna's Song" - Marvin Gaye
  • Writer: Marvin Gaye
  • Producer: Marvin Gaye
  • Record Label: Tamla
  • Featured on 1978's Here, My Dear

Podcast: "The BackBeat: Don't Call It A Come Back" (The BackBeat)

This week, we get back into our soundbites starting with NWA’s biopic Straight Outta Compton, our thoughts on JoJo’s compact with her Tringle, Beyoncé’s “stringy hair” Atlantic article and Black Twitter’s response as well as how we are totally here for Janelle Monae and her movement.

Also we get into Lil B’s discussion of Black Lives Matters on CNN, Azealia Bank’s bad contract and response to Nicki Minaj’s wax figure, Fetty Wap dominating the summer, as well as Aretha Franklin’s highly anticipated biopic with Jennifer Hudson loosely attached to stars.

And make sure you stay tuned to the end of the episode to hear our favorite songs of the moment.

Amazing Cover: "Love Is A Losing Game" (Daley)

My favorite tribute to the late Amy Winehouse still remains UK singer on the rise Daley's phenomenal rendition of  "Love Is A Losing Game." Though no one can touch Amy's acoustic demo version of the track in my mind, Daley's take is a heartfelt tribute to the late soul singer and it truly deserves a listen or two.

"Listening to this song brought me to tears today, I wanted to pay my respects. Such a loss to music. May she finally rest in peace." – Daley

With that said, take a listen below and Enjoy!

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)" below and Enjoy!

Playback: "The One" (Treasure Davis)

Earlier this summer, Treasure Davis released her new video for "The One" lifted off of her EP Heart Flavored Summer and while summer starts winding down, I thought it would be nice to revisit this song of the summer because it never truly took off how I thought it would.

With that said, take a few minutes and watch Treasure's dramatic visual for "The One," where she plays a waitress split between two lovers below and Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Live Video of the Day: "Journey To The Past" (Aaliyah)

As we remember Aaliyah today, fourteen years since her tragic passing,  I thought it would be nice to honor her legacy of Aaliyah and revisit one of my favorite live performances of hers.

With that said, I am reminded of one of my favorite songs by Aaliyah from the animated film Anastasia entitled "Journey To The Past." As we honor the passing of a life gone too soon, I thought it would be appropriate to watch her performance of "Journey To The Past," from The Rosie O'Donnell Show below from back in 1997.

Song of the Day: "Rock the Boat" (Aaliyah)

"Rock the Boat" - Aaliyah
  • Writers: Static Major, Eric Seats, Rapture Stewart
  • Producer: Keybeats
  • Record Label: Blackground & Virgin
  • Released in 2001 from Aaliyah
  • Peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart

Cut: "Lullabies" (Yuna)

I don't know about you, but earlier this year was tuned into the season premiere of Being Mary Jane and as I continue to say after each episode, the music supervisor for this show deserves some serious acknowledgment and awards because the music selection is beyond amazing; mixing both well known hits, classics and obscure gems, the music for Being Mary Jane is a delicious mix every single week.

With that said, during one of the pivotal scenes in the show this week, Yuna's cut "Lullabies," which is lifted from her self-titled debut international album Yuna came on and really set the mood and I am sure had viewers (this one included) in their feelings.

Therefore, get acquainted with this cut from Yuna below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Practice What You Preach" (Barry White)

Back in 1994, Barry White released his joint "Practice What You Preach," which was lifted from his multi-platinum LP The Icon Is Love and it would go onto become Barry's last #1 hit, spending three weeks at the summit of the R&B charts and peaking at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100.

With that said, "Practice What You Preach" would also go onto win a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Song of the Year. Take a listen after the jump to Barry's classic "Practice What You Preach" and Enjoy!

Remix: "I'll Be Around (DJ Apt One Edit)" (The Spinners)

I recently rediscovered DJ Apt One's sublime remix of The Spinners' classic "I'll Be Around" and while we get into the last day of Janurary, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this jam cause good music is the perfect way to ease back in.

With that said,  take a listen below to DJ Apt One's remix of "I'll Be Around" below and if you like what you hear, cop the free download while supplies last.

Amazing Cover: "All The Man That I Need" (Ledisi)

This past holiday season, Ledisi offered up the best rendition of of the Whitney Houston iconic #1 classic hit "All The Man That I Need" sans The Voice's in my humble opinion.

Possessing one of the best voices in music history in my opinion and clearly one of the best voices in the game right now, Ledisi's powerhouse vocals and her dedication to training and studying throughout her career continue to offer once in a lifetime performances and moments that I continue to enjoy.

If you don't get to shouting and/or putting your hand up when watching Ledisi's sublime performance of "All The Man That I Need," then you might want to make an appointment with a cardiologist and fast because something is wrong with you.

Either way you feel, watch Ledisi's praise-inducing rendition of "All The Man That I Need" below and Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Song of the Day: "Emotional Rollercoaster" (Vivian Green)

"Emotional Rollercoaster" - Vivian Green
  • Writers & Producers:Vivian Green, Eric Roberson, & Osunlade
  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Released in 2002 from A Love Story
  • Peaked at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #13 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart

Live Video of the Day: "Lift Me Up" (Christina Aguilera)

While some label Christina Aguilera's 2010 LP Bionic as a flop, the set is actually one of my favorites from her discography and really should've been given a stronger push from her label as it features some of her best work to date.

With that said, one of my favorite cuts from the album is her Sia-penned ballad "Lift Me Up," which she performed ahead of the album during the telecast Hope for Haiti Now, which raised money after the hurricane impacted the island.

Watch Christina Aguilera's powerhouse rendition of "Lift Me Up" from the telecast below and hopefully we will hear some new music from her later this year!

Second Listen: "Should I" (Grenique)

Take a second listen to Grenique's  smooth joint "Should I," which is off of her 1999 debut album "Black Butterfly." Grenique's "Should I" is a perfect smooth soul classic that never really got its due in my opinion and is a great jam to start your Saturday off.

With that said, take a listen below to "Should I" and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "Should've Been Us" (Tori Kelly & Avery Wilson)

A few weeks ago on Sing! Karaoke by Smule, Tori Kelly and artist-on-the-rise Avery Wilson used the social media platform to duet on Tori's current single "Should've Been Us."

The two clearly have vocal chemistry from their duet and I would be interested in hearing what an original duet between the rising stars would sound like as both are blessed with some of the strongest vocals to come out of this new crop of singers.

With that said, peep their virtual duet on Tori's "Should've Been Us" below and Enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Live Audio:"Comin' from Where I'm From" (Anthony Hamilton)

Back in 2005, Anthony Hamilton Hamilton released "Bonus Audio (Comin' From Where I'm From Live" and off of this three track EP, Anthony Hamilton let into a nearly 24 minute testimony on his classic "Comin' from Where I'm From" that starts out with a little Al Green "Love & Happiness."

With that said, take a listen to this sublime live audio lifted from a show in Atlanta from back in the day and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (Chrisette Michele)

To honor the late Whitney Houston, dedicated a week of performances back in 2013 to mark a year since the passing of the late icon.

With that said, Chrisette Michele was the first artist to offer her vocal chops to honor the legacy of the late Ms. Whitney Houston with a stunning rendition of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and you can watch her sublime interpretation below!

Second Listen: "Take Off the Blues (Ft. Darien Brockington)" (The Foreign Exchange)

Released in 2009 from The Foreign Exchange's Leave It All Behind, "Take Off the Blues" is one of those smooth mellow joints that will never stop feeling so good.

From the infectious instrumentation, to the smooth laid-back vocals, "Take Off the Blues" is one of the better songs to come out of the 2000s, and if you have forgotten about this joint, you can take a  second listen to it below.

Cut: "White Candle" (Tamar Braxton)

Tamar Braxton's Love And War album was released almost two years ago and while she is already getting ready to release her forthcoming followup, some of us still haven't stopped listening to it. With that said, one of the numerous standouts from her sophomore album has to be her ballad "White Candle."

Offering a testament to relationships that veer off course, "White Candle" is a vocal standout on the album and was single worthy in my book. Either way, this acoustic-esk ballad from Tamar is a cut that warrants further attention and you can take a listen to "White Candle" below!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Amazing Cover: "Optimistic" (Mary Mary)

During BET's telecast of Black Girls Rock from back in 2011, Mary Mary took on the Sounds of Blackness classic jam "Optimistic." While some of my younger followers might not be aware of this joint, it is one of those joint that you just can't deny a good old two-step to.

With that said, Mary Mary added their own flavor to this powerful uplifting jam and you can peep their performance of it below as well as Sounds of Blackness' original recording of "Optimistic"!