Monday, November 30, 2015

Amazing Cover: "Someday at Christmas" (Mario)

Back in 1967, Stevie Wonder released his Christmas album aptly entitled Someday at Christmas and the title-track to his holiday offering would go onto become one of those evergreen holiday classics that has been reinterpreted over the years by numerous artists.

With that said, for The Best Man Holiday soundtrack, Mario tackled the Stevie Wonder holiday classic and during his visit to Rap-Up Sessions, the GRAMMY-nominated crooner offered up a live interpretation of his classic as we move into the final stretches of the Christmas season.

Therefore, watch Mario's solid performance of "Someday at Christmas" below and lookout for his forthcoming album Never 2 Late, when it's released this coming Friday, December 4th!

Cut: "Need Someone" (Mary J. Blige)

Back in 2010, Matt Morris released his major label debut album When Everything Breaks Open and one of the stunning cuts from the LP was his ballad "Someone to Love You." Fast-forward to 2011 and Mary J. Blige releases her tenth studio album My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1) and a stunning rendition of Morris' ballad has been re-imagined by Blige.

While Mary stays true to the lyrics and melody penned and created by Morris, the production from Martin Terefe takes the song to a different level with Mary's powerhouse soulful voice. Now entitled "Need Someone," I dare say this is Mary's finest vocal moment from My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1).

With that said, take a listen below to Mary's cut and sublime rendition of "Need Someone" and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "Slow Motion" (Karina Pasian)

On Karina Pasian's debut album "First Love," the Gordon Chambers composed smooth joint "Slow Motion" stole the whole album and proved to be Karina's strongest vocal on the album.

With that said, the song has become her most popular song to date having been covered countlessly on youtube and therefore has caused the rising singing sensation to take to her piano to perform the track live for her growing fan base.

Watch her powerful performance of this touching ballad below and Enjoy!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Live Video of the Day: "Soul Train Babyface Tribute"

Earlier tonight, the 2015 Soul Train Awards telecast aired simultaneously on Centric and BET and the highlight of the night had to be the Babyface tribute which included a laundry list of hit singles he's written and produced for others as well as a finale that included Babyface himself.

Featured on the piano, Babyface accompanied the majority of the acts who honored him including Tevin Campbell on "Can We Talk," Brandy on "Sittin' Up In My Room," Fantasia on both the Whitney Houston classic "Exhale (Shoop Shoop) and Karyn White "Superwoman," Bobby Brown, and Boyz II Men who offered up a medley of some of their greatest hits.

Babyface closed it out with a rousing rendition of "Whip Appeal" and you can watch it all go down below!

Song of the Day: "On & On" (Erykah Badu)

"On & On" - Erykah Badu
  • Writers: Erykah Badu and Jaborn Jamal
  • Producers: Erykah Badu and Madukwu Chinwah
  • Record Label: Kedar/Universal/MCA Records
  • Released in 1997 from Baduizm
  • Peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
  • Won 1998's GRAMMY Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance 

Podcast: "Hello...It's Me" (The BackBeat)

On this week's episode of The BackBeat, we fan out over new releases from Adele and Erykah Badu. We do full album reviews of 25 and But You Cain't Use My Phone. Find out our personal favorites from each album as well as the tracks, which missed the mark. We love both Badu and Adele and we hope you will love their albums too! Enjoy

Amazing Cover: "The Reason" (Heather Headley)

Back in 2004, the title track to Hoobastank's sophomore album The Reason would go onto peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the group's biggest hit to date.

Fast-forward eight years and Heather Headley has breathed new life into this classic ballad from Hoobastank with the release of her fourth studio album Only One in the World.

While it was never released as a single, it is one of my favorite songs from Heather's Only One in the World and her discography as a whole and warrants a listen below of her sublime cover.

Second Listen: "For Lovers Only" (Maxwell)

Back in 2001, Maxwell dropped his third album Now, which featured so many hits and classics from the crooner. With that said, one of the cuts from the album is Maxwell's smooth sensual joint "For Lovers Only."

Though never released as a single, this song is amazing and definitely deserves a first listen if not a second. With that said, take a first or second listen below to "For Lovers Only" and Enjoy!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Song of the Day: "Count on Me" (Whitney Houston & CeCe Winans)

"Count on Me" - Whitney Houston & CeCe Winans
  • Writers: Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Whitney Houston, Michael Houston
  • Producer: Babyface
  • Record Label: Arista
  • Released in 1996 from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack
  • Peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100

Cut: "Gotta Get Up (Another Day)" (Jill Scott ft 4Hero)

Back in 2001, Jill Scott released her live double album Experience: Jill Scott 826+ and while the set is best known for her live renditions and the single "Gimme," my favorite joint from the bonus studio LP has to be her 4Hero assisted joint "Gotta Get Up (Another Day)."

While the song was never released as a single and Ms. Scott has not performed it live to my knowledge, the song has such a necessary meaning and a dope beat to accompany it. With that said, take a listen to "Gotta Get Up (Another Day)" after the jump and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Fire and Desire" (Rick James & Teena Marie)

"Fire and Desire" by Rick James and Teena Marie is easily one of my top ten duets in music history. Besides the vocals being off the charts, the passion between these two can be felt even through the mechanical reproduction of their recorded duet.

Arranged, composed, and written by James, "Fire and Desire" is one of those cuts from Rick's 1981 concept album "Street Songs" that still lives on classic Soul radio. Take a (hopefully) second listen to "Fire and Desire" below and Enjoy!

Album Stream: "But You Caint Use My Phone" (Erykah Badu)

It's been over five years since Erykah Badu dropped a new project and her long awaited followup to 2010's New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) has finally arrived. While Badu has stated that her new mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone has helped inspire her forthcoming studio album, But You Caint Use My Phone is a dope project on its own that is inspired by a line from her hit single "Tyrone."

In addition to featuring the Badu original “Phone Down” and her remix to Drake's "Hotline Bling" (renamed "Cell U Lar Device"), she is joined byAndré 3000 on “Hello" and possibly her son on "U Use to Call Me." While many believed it was Drake on "U Use to Call Me," Badu took to Twitter yesterday to inform her fans that it wasn't Drake, but retweeting one fan asking if it was her son.

Written, recorded, produced, and mixed in Badu's home studio in Dallas in just 12 days with the assistance of producer Zach Witness, Badu is putting a lot of people's studio abums to shame in my opinion.

With that said, you can buy But U Caint Use My Phone exclusively on iTunes for one week before it goes to other digital retailers and streaming partners on December 4th. Catch a listen below to the project and Enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Amazing Cover: "Christmas Time Is Here" (Toni Braxton)

One of my top 5 Christmas covers of all time has to go to Toni Braxton's impeccable rendition of the Charlie Brown classic "Christmas Time Is Here," which was originally recorded by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

On any holiday mix I make, Toni's phenomenal interpretation of "Christmas Time Is Here" is of course included and as we enter into the Christmas holiday season, it's definitely appropriate to revisit this amazing cover.

Listen below to Toni's "Christmas Time Is Here" below and Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cut: "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" (Amy Winehouse)

Back in 2004, a then relatively unknown Amy Winehouse recorded a cover of The Shirelles' classic "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" for the Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason soundtrack.

Slowing its original tempo down and opting for a jazzier instrumentation, Winehouse's distinct vocals took centerstage on this sublime cover and cut that not too many people are aware of.

With that said, listen below to Amy Winehouse's cover of The Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" from Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" (Donny Hathaway)

Back in 1973, Donny Hathaway released his last studio album Extension of a Man and one of the standout joints from the album for me has to be his stunning classic cut  "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know."

Written by Al Kooper and produced by Arif Mardin, "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" from the Atco release would go onto peak at #60 on the Billboard Pop Charts and #20 Best Selling Soul Singles.

With that said, take a listen below to Donny Hathaway's riveting recorded performance of "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Live Video of the Day: "Angel" (Aretha Franklin)

I was fortunate to witness the greatness of the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin back in 2012 at Nokia Live here in Los Angeles and while I knew she probably wouldn't perform my favorite cut from her "Angel," I held out a bit of hope. Sadly I was right, but Ms. Franklin's set did not disappoint and she truly rocked the house last night with her sublime set.

With that said, I though it would be nice to watch Ms. Aretha Franklin crooning out a rare live performance of this touching classic. Peep the Queen of Soul sanging a phenomenal rendition of "Angel" after the jump from her Showtime special back in the '90s and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Still" (The Commodores)

"Still" - The Commodores
  • Writer: Lionel Richie
  • Producers: James Anthony Carmichael, Commodores
  • Record Label: Motown
  • Released in 1979 from Midnight Magic
  • Peaked at #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Soul Singles chart

Cut: "I'd Rather Be Broke" (Toni Braxton)

Last year in 2014, Toni Braxton returned to music after a hiatus with her collaborative album with Babyface Love, Marriage & Divorce and one of my favorite cuts from the GRAMMY-winning project had to be Toni's "I'd Rather Be Broke."

While the majority of the songs feature both Toni and Babyface, "I'd Rather Be Broke" is one of Toni's solo songs on the album and really was single worthy in my opinion. As we all get ready to be around family and friends this holiday season, I urge you to revisit Love, Marriage & Divorce as well as "I'd Rather Be Broke."

Take a listen below to "I'd Rather Be Broke" and Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Song of the Day: "PrimeTime" (Janelle Monáe ft. Miguel)

"PrimeTime" - Janelle Monáe ft. Miguel
  • Composers: Charles Joseph II,  Dr. Nathaniel Irvin III, Roman GianArthur Irvin, Miguel Pimentel, Janelle Monáe Robinson
  • Record Label: Atlantic, Bad Boy, Wondaland Arts Societ
  • Released in 2013 from The Electric Lady

Second Listen: "You Were Always On My Mind" (Fantasia)

Back in 2004, Fantasia released an amazing cover of the classic "Always On My Mind." Retitled "You Were Always On My Mind" from Fantasia's debut album Free Yourself, it is a standout gem on her album and when performed live by the soulful songstress, it truly becomes a gospel-tinged testament.

With that said, take a few minutes and soak up the testimony that Fantasia has to offer on "You Were Always On My Mind" and hopefully we will be hearing about some new music and/or a tour soon cause Fantasia and music belong together in my book!

Amazing Cover: "Respect Yourself" (Guy Sebastian)

While Guy Sebastian recently released "Black & Blue," the lead single of his upcoming ninth album, I thought it would be nice to take a listen to his solid cover of The Staple Singers' classic joint "Respect Yourself."

Lifted from his covers album entitled The Memphis Album, Guy offers a smooth cover of the James Ingram co-written song and below you can check out Guy's live rendition of the thumping powerhouse joint.

Live Clip: "Water Under the Bridge" (Adele)

Last night, Adele was the musical guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and during her appearance, she performed her stunning mid-tempo "Water Under the Bridge."

While not a single from her record-breaking third album 25 currently, "Water Under the Bridge" is one of the fan favorites from her album and will probably end up being a single sometime during Adele's reign.

With that said, watch her powerhouse performance of "Water Under the Bridge" below and Enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Second Listen: "Emotional Rollercoaster" (Vivian Green)

Back in 2002, Vivian Green released her debut album A Love Story. Having previously served as one of Jill Scott's original background singers, Green took the the charts herself with her lead single "Emotional Rollercoaster," which would go on to become Vivian's biggest hit to date peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

The song even crossed over and became her first and thus far only top 40 hit on the Hot 100 peaking at #39. With that said, you can relive Green's poignant smooth jam "Emotional Rollercoaster," after the jump and Enjoy!

Interview: Patti LaBelle

Earlier today, Patti LaBelle stopped by Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club to promote her "Patti Pies" and the legendary Ms. LaBelle opened up about a lot of things including her sweet potato pies, not being a pretender, being relevant/happing today, and so much more.

Patti also opens up about the possibility of working with other artists, such as Fetty Wap, kicking off one of her fans after he showed his behind on stage, being humble, being trusting, what she's doing for Thanksgiving, and so much more.

Watch Patti's interview from earlier today and Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Live Video of the Day: "Focus" (Ariana Grande)

Ariana Grande offered up one of the best vocals of the night at the 2015 American Music Awards with her new single "Focus," which is lifted from her forthcoming third album Moonlight.

Breaking it down at the beginning with a little jazz rendition of "Focus," Ariana then turned up the BPMs and busted out some dance moves on her latest top ten hit. With that said, watch Ariana's performance of "Focus" below and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Stars" (Kindred The Family Soul)

"Stars" - Kindred The Family Soul
  • Writers and Producers Fatin Dantzler, Vidal Davis, Aja Graydon, Andre Harris
  • Record Label: Hidden Beach
  • Released in 2004 from Surrender to Love
  • Peaked at #101 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart

Second Listen: "Running Away" (Roy Ayers)

Roy Ayers is a pioneer of the jazz-funk and his joint "Running Away" from his 1977 album Lifeline is a fine example of his sonic works. "

Running Away" is definitely in my top 100 songs of all time and Roy's infectious instrumentation and catchy hook make this song the perfect addition to any set list. Take a second listen below and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "When We Were Young" (Adele)

Last night, Adele was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and during her second performance, Adele offered a riveting rendition of her rumored second single "When We Were Young," which is lifted from her newly released blockbuster album 25.

Offering up her brand of heartfelt soul, Adele's "When We Were Young" was spot on even through the bridge where she offers up one of her highest notes thus far within her discography. With that said, watch her powerhouse performance of "When We Were Young" below and Enjoy!

Live Video of the Day: "Strange Fruit" (Jill Scott)

This past Friday, A&E along with several other broadcast channels air the telecast of Shining A Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America.

While there were several solid performances, Jill Scott by far and wide offered the performance of the night with her spine-tingling rendition of "Strange Fruit," made famous most notably by Billie Holiday.

Instead of trying to mimic Holiday's rendition of "Strange Fruit," Scott offered her own interpretation that brought a tear to my eye and hears at the end. With that said, take a few minutes to truly embrace Scott and her powerful moment on "Strange Fruit."

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Song of the Day: "Hello" (Adele)

"Hello" - Adele
  • Writers: Adele Adkins 
  • Producer: Greg Kurstin
  • Record Label: XL Recordings
  • Released in 2015 from 25
  • Peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Friday, November 20, 2015

Song of the Day: "My Love" (Jill Scott)

"My Love" -Jill Scott
  • Writers: Jill Scott, Adam Blackstone, & Steve Mckie
  • Producers: Adam Blackstone & Steve Mckie
  • Record Label: Hidden Beach
  • Released in 2007 from The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3
  • Peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs

New Joint: "Where Do We Go" (Lion Babe)

Lion Babe has been building buzz for the past few years and now the duo are back with their third new single of the year, "Where Do We Go," which is lifted from their upcoming debut LP Begin.

A throwback to that disco flavored era, "Where Do We Go," is another solid jam from Lion Babe ahead of the duo's forthcoming 2016 Begin. Take a listen below to "Where Do We Go" and Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Amazing Cover: "All By Myself" (Latoya London)

Am I the only one that thinks American Idol needs to do an all-star season of some of the season's top talent to help raise the profile of some of the slept on talent from the hit reality show? Well if it was to ever come to fruition, Latoya London and Tamyra Gray would be two of the singers I would want to be involved.

With that said, back in 2005, Latoya London release her debut album Love & Life and the final track on her debut project was her stirring rendition of the Eric Carmen classic "All By Myself."

Having performed a riveting cover of "All By Myself" on the third season of American Idol, London's recorded interpretation is just as phenomenal and warrants a few listens as she knocks it out the park.

With that said, take a listen below to Latoya's sublime cover of the Eric Carmen classic joint "All By Myself" and Enjoy!

A Cappella: "Amazing Grace" (Destiny's Child)

During an episode of Disney Channel's Smart Guy, Destiny's Child guest starred on an episode and performed a phenomenal a cappella rendition of the gospel hymn "Amazing Grace."

The then quartet recorded an a cappella version of "Amazing Grace" on their sophomore album The Writing's on the Wall, and it is clear that the original line-up of Destiny's Child truly worked vocally as their four part harmonies sound impeccable during this live a cappella rendition on Smart Guy.

Watch their performance below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Proud Mary" (Ike & Tina Turner)

"Proud Mary" is a rock anthem written by American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Fogerty, and recorded by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was released as a single from the band's second studio album, Bayou Country and would peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1969.

Just a year later, Tina Turner first covered "Proud Mary" with her husband at the time, Ike Turner. The Ike & Tina Turner version was released as a single from their Workin' Together album and the song differed greatly from the structure of the original, but is also well known and has become one of Tina's most recognizable signature songs.

Starting off with a slow, sultry tone in which Tina introduced the song and warned them that they were gonna start it off "nice and easy" as "we never do nothing nice and easy" but said they would finish it "nice and rough," the song would turn into a funk rock vamp with Turner and assorted background singers delivering soulful vocals. It reached #4 on the pop charts in 1971, two years to the week after Creedence Clearwater Revival's version was at its peak, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972.

With that said, take a second listen below to Ike & Tina Turner's rendition of Proud Mary" and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Live Audio: "Didn't We Almost Have It All " (Whitney Houston)

Back in 1986 during her The Greatest Love World Tour, Whitney Houston performed a lot of her then current hits including "Didn't We Almost Have It All," before it became a classic Houston jam. With that said, during her first headlining tour, Whitney was in phenomenal vocal shape and offered up some of her best recorded vocals to date including this live rendition of "Didn't We Almost Have It All."

Take a listen after the jump to her sublime performance of "Didn't We Almost Have It All" and Enjoy!

Trailer: "A Christmas Melody" (Mariah Carey)

When I think of the holidays, Mariah Carey's name is synonymous with Christmas cheer. With that said, the festive diva is gearing up to release her directorial debut A Christmas Melody next month on the Hallmark Channel, and she not only directs but stars in the forthcoming Christmas film, which is slated for release December 19th.

While I am unsure if I have the Hallmark Channel myself, Carey's upcoming A Christmas Melody gives me a reason to scan the channels to see. The film centers on  Kristen (Lacey Chabert Mean Girls), a divorced clothing designer, and her young daughter. Mariah plays her former high school rival Melissa, who is president of the PTA.

Peep the trailer below for A Christmas Melody and lookout for it on Saturday, December 19th at 8pm on the Hallmark Channel.

Song of the Day: "I Like It" (DeBarge)

"I Like It" - DeBarge
  • Writers: Randy DeBarge, El DeBarge, & Bunny DeBarge
  • Producers: El DeBarge & Iris Gordy
  • Record Label: Gordy
  • Released in 1982's All This Love
  • Peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100

Second Listen: "Promise Me" (Luther Vandross)

Back in 1982, Luther dropped his second LP Forever for Always for Love to much critical and commercial acclaim. With his sophomore album, Luther solidified his places as the greatest male R&B singer of his generation by far and in my opinion the best male vocalist to grace the microphone.

With that said, there is a smooth mid-tempo cut off of his sophomore album entitled "Promise Me" which is one of the numerous gems from Vandross' discography. Therefore take a second listen to this exceptional joint after the jump and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Little Drummer Boy" (Kenya)

As we get ready to roll into the holidays, slowly but surely holiday music starts seeping into your music playlists and Kenya's sublime cover of "Little Drummer Boy" begins my own seepage of holiday music.

Produced by  Estuardo Galeno Stapleton from Nashville, TN, the musicians on the song include Dre Williams on bass guitar, Justin Abraham on drums, and Estuardo on keys and Kenya's voice fits beautiful on their reimagined production of this holiday classic.

Take a listen below to Kenya's amazing cover of "Little Drummer Boy" and Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Live Audio: "Back Together Again" (Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson)

Back in 1980, Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson released a collaborative album Live & More, which included some of Roberta and Peabo's greatest hits.

Recorded in part at The Holiday Star Theater in Merrillville, Indiana, Roberta and Peabo offered up a solid live performance of the Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack classic "Back Together Again" and you can take a listen to it below!

Live Clip: "When We Were Young" (Adele)

With the pending release of Adele's forthcoming third album 25 this Friday, the promotional rounds have begun and her rumored second singe "When We Were Young" has finally hit the net.

Lifted from a performance for 60 Minutes Australia, "When We Were Young" features some powerhouse vocals from Adele, offering some of her highest notes to date on record. With that said, watch her powerful performance of "When We Were Young" below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Any Time, Any Place" (Janet Jackson)

With Janet's forthcoming Unbreakable World Tour set to launch at the end of August, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit her classic joint "Any Time, Any Place" which is one of the numerous sublime crafted bangers from Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Released as the fifth single from Janet., "Any Time, Any Place" would go onto peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and top the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. With that said, take a second listen to "Any Time, Any Place" below and Enjoy!