Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Release Tuesday: 9/16/14

Chris Brown - X

~MusicLife Pick~
Breezy returns to his signature sound as previous albums.  Even though its track heavy and it could've been arranged differently for better flow, I think it's a good album.  Listen to: Add Me In, New Flame, Drown in it ft. R. Kelly, Autumn Leaves ft. Kendrick Lamar

Preview album here

Find out what music is set to drop this year on our New Album Releases page

Monday, September 15, 2014

MusicLife Interview w/ Houston R&B Singer Reggie Jamz

While visiting some cousins in Houston during the 4th of July holiday last year, they took me to this lounge called Bar 5015.  It had this juke joint vibe and the music was on point!  This is where I saw Reggie Jamz perform and his talent instantly impressed me.  They way he mixed ol and new skool songs was amazing.  But what really got me was how he remixed Sade's Cherish the Day.  I'm overly critical about artists who use Sade's songs but Reggie left me speechless.  There wasn't a person in there that wasn't grooving.  And they gave him so much love and support.  A year later, I was able to catch up with the local artist who calls himself a R&B superhero.

MusicLife:  When did you get the music bug?

Reggie Jamz:  I would have to say, I'd been singing since 3 but officially I knew this was my calling at 12. That was the most impactful year for me. It was just something that clicked.

MusicLife:  What's your earliest music memory?

RJ:  I guess it's been my whole life, always singing in church. Getting picked to lead but when I was little it wasn't a big deal. I figured I was picked because my mama pushed me so much to know the songs. So I thought it was skill not talent. Until much later.

MusicLife:  Who are your musical influences?

RJ:  My influences are the trailblazers like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, and James Brown. R. Kelly had been my favorite since I was a child. He's everyone combined!

MusicLife:  You've opened for an array of artists like John Legend, Al Green, and Ledisi to name a few.  Which was the most memorable experience and why?

RJ:  Charlie Wilson. Yeah he's the most influential. He a true performer first. He emphasize showmanship and professionalism. "Always keep em wanting more.." he'd say.

MusicLife:  If you could perform on the same stage with anyone, who would it be and why?

RJ:  Well right now, it would be R. Kelly. I've never got to perform with him and I would love to bring both R's together that would be dope.

MusicLife:  Who are you listening to now?

RJ:  Nowadays really is tricky because music is so linear. It's a few I do like, The-Dream he's a master & Wiz Khalifa is very dope, he's a true artist.

MusicLife:  You have an amazing gift of mixing ol skool music with new school.  How do you come up with which songs you will mix together?

RJ:  I try to stay true to the context I'm singing first. Then I just vibe in my head with songs flying everywhere and the one that FEELS right, that's the mix!

MusicLife:  Why do you call yourself the R&B Superhero?

RJ:  It's just R&B is trying to get pushed away, well at least Black R&B so I'm just trying to save, preserve our history. It's Soul. It's in our DNA.

MusicLife:  What can people expect from "The Reggie Jamz Experience"?

RJ:  Good times, positivity, a message, and he gotta step through the night right into Heaven. Lol. 

MusicLife:  How would define your music life and what music means to you?

RJ:  My music life is in its adolescence it's still growing and changing, so the next chapter will be based off these growing pains. Music to me means life. Music has the amazing power to change moods and that's very important so whoever is the catalyst must be very responsible, especially when you have the gift because then you can directly affect people.

If you're in the Houston area, you MUST see him perform!!  Learn more about Reggie and his music on his website here.  Follow him on Twitter @ReggieJamz.

Thank you Reggie for the interview and hope to one day see you again!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Stevie Wonder Announces The Songs in the Key of Life Tour

Photo: JUST ANNOUNCED: Stevie Wonder will bring the “Songs In The Key Of Life Performance” to 10+ Cities across North America! RSVP here for presale info: http://bit.ly/StevieWonderRSVP 

Stevie Wonder will embark on an arena tour in major cities to perform songs off his classic 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life.  Facebook Presale starts Thursday 9/18 at 10AM!  PRESALE CODE: KEY.  General sale begins Monday, September 22.

Tour Schedule 

November 6 - New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
November 9 - Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
November 11 - Boston, MA @ TD Garden
November 14 - Chicago, IL @ United Center
November 16 - Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
November 20 - Auburn Hills, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills
November 22 - Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
November 25 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
November 29 - Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
December 3 - Seattle, WA @ Key Arena
December 5 - Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena

Click here for ticket info

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Release Tuesday: 9/9/14

BANKS - Goddess

~MusicLife Pick~
I freaking LOVE HER!!!!  She has this haunting vibe to her music with some R&B.  Listen to: Brain, This is What if Feels Like, Warm Water, Change 

Preview album here

Jhene Aiko - Souled Out

Preview album here

Michelle Williams - Journey to Freedom

Preview album here

Find out what music is set to drop this year on our New Album Releases page

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Recap Report: 9/5/14

The Recap Report:  A feature post that highlights interesting music news collected from the music streets you might have missed

Kendrick Lamar Is Now the Subject of a College Course -  Lamar's debut album will be used to teach an English composition course at a Georgia University.

HBO to Debut James Brown Documentary 'Mr. Dynamite'Produced by Mick Jagger, doc features rare and never-before-seen footage, interviews and photos from Brown's career.

Maya Angelou's Work Mixed With Hip-Hop for Album - A project done before she passed, uses Angelou's words and lyrics to create album.

NFL Players Talk Music: What's On Their Pre-Game Playlists? - Find out what music players listen to when their getting pumped for a game or just relaxing.

Sam Smith gives a soulful twist to Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

SYTYCD Season 11: Finale & Season Review

 So You Think You Can Dance? (SYTYCD)
Wednesdays on FOX 8/7c

The Finale

For the finale, Nigel and Mary were joined by 4 guest judges: Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, and Jenna Dewan Tatum.  As always, they showed clips of memorable auditions throughout the show and had each judge and finale dancer pick their favorite routine of the season. 

Performers:  Top 20
Song:  Doctor Jazz by Jelly's Last Jam (1992 Original Broadway Cast)
Choreographer:  Warren Carlyle

This was such a fun and dynamic performance!  Great to see the Top 20 together again. 

Performers:  Michael Dameski ( SYTYCD Australia Winner)
Unstoppable by E.S. Posthumus

The tricks he did was amazing.  It was great to see a performance from a winner in another country


Performers:  Les Twins
Song:  Fading Flower by Yuna
Simply incredible!!!  I freakin love the way they translate the song into their choreo.  I felt every beat, every step!!

Performers:  Top 10 & All-Stars
Song:  Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap
Choreographers:  Sonya Tayeh & Chris Scott

Watching this I could cry of happiness.  Sonya and Chris did an awesome job with this choreo.  I loved the moments where froze in the middle of the choreo. . . BRILLIANT!!

And the Winner is. . .
Ricky Ubeda

I was kinda shocked that Casey and Jessica left 1st but all 4 were strong dancers.  So glad that there was 1 winner this year! 

Overall Season

This season went incredibly fast.  Unfortunately, for some reason I found myself a bit disconnected with the level of performances this year.  I did like how they incorporated dance teams in the mix.  However, it made me think they should just bring ABDC back since most of the crews showcased were on that show.  To end another season, check out MusicLife's top performances:

Please click on the name of the contestant to view the performance

Top 5 Best Group Performances
Top 20 (Broadway) - New York, New York
Mini-Group from Top 16 (Contemporary) - So Broken (Live)
Mini-Group Top 7 Girls (Contemporary) - My Immortal (Band Version)
Top 10 (Hip-Hop) - Bang Bang
Mini-Group Top 7 Guys (Contemporary) - Wave

Top 5 Best Contestant Performances
Valerie & Zack (Tap) - SING
Emilio & Teddy (Hip-Hop) - Nightshift
Jessica & Casey(Contemporary) - Like Real People Do
Tanisha & Rudy (Hip-Hop) - Good Kisser
Jessica & Jack (Broadway) - Hernando's Hideaway

Top 5 Best Performances With an All-Star
Rudy & All-Star Jenna (Cha-Cha) - Maps
Rudy & All-Star Allison (Contemporary) -Dirty Diana
Jacque & All-Star tWitch (Hip-Hop) -Slave to the Rhythm 
Valerie & All-Star Aaron (Tap) - Love Me or Leave Me
Zack & All-Star Amy (Contemporary) - Europe, After the Rain

Who was your favorite dancer this season?

What was your favorite performance this season?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Top 6 Elements of The Concert Experience

Many wonder why I don't have a problem dropping serious cash to attend a concert.  It's quite simple. . .the amount I paid for the show doesn't come close to priceless life changing experience and lasting memories I receive.  There's NOTHING like experiencing music live with a room full of people who love and relate to the music as much as you do.  I asked our MusicLifers what were the specific elements that make the best concert experience.  Below are the most popular responses, in no particular order:

  1. Setlist:  Incorporating the right songs is critical.  It should takes us through the act's musical journey and catalog.  A good mix of old and new, keeps the crowd happy.  The way each song segues into the other adds to the mood and controls the flow of the show.  The opening song sets off the entire show while the encore (a given nowadays) seals the experience and sums up the show.

  2. Venue:  Arenas, amphitheaters, clubs (seating and standing), stadiums, and theaters all provide a different vibe from sound to ambiance.  In the DMV area, an arena like the Verizon Center is good for a massive concert like Katy Perry or Bruno Mars.  DAR Constitution Hall offers a more intimate experience for acts like Frankie Beverly & Maze or Jill Scott.  The 9:30 club, a standing room venue, allows for a up close and personal experience for hidden gems like Daley or Emily King.  Amphitheaters like Merriweather Post Pavilion gives an outdoor experience and the option of an assigned or lawn seat.  I remember seeing Coldplay for the 1st time at Nissian Pavilion (now called Jiffy Lube) and to this day it's one of the best shows I've seen.  To feel the music outside, chillin' on the lawn with other fans was an incredible feeling.

  3. Crowd Engagement:  Getting the crowd pumped and requesting their participation is essential.  The act also feeds off this energy which create more of a connection.  For arena/stadium shows, I'm seeing more artists having 2 stages on opposite ends of the venue.  This allows for people sitting in all areas to get closer to the artists.  I 1st experienced that during the Watch the Throne Tour with Jay and Kanye.  Other variations I've seen is having moving stages like Justin Timberlake or flying across via balloons like Katy Perry. 

  4. Punctuality:  Nothing like starting a show on time.  Concert goers spend lots of cash and wait so long for that moment to come.  The last thing they want is to be kept waiting *cough Lauryn Hill*  when they've come pumped and ready.  It kills the energy when left waiting.

  5. Crowd Make-Up:  To be surrounded by liked music individuals is the best!  I remember when I saw Sade for the 1st time during the Bring it Back Home Tour and I ended up talking to other fans around me about her music.  It takes away from the experience when ratchet, drunk, high, and/or wasted individuals are present.

  6. Live Performance:  When attending a live show, you assume the act will sing LIVE.  However, some artists, as we've seen during awards shows, rely on backing tracks or even worse. . . lip sync.  Beyonce is a perfect example of an artist who does an AMAZING job not only singing live (well besides the whole national anthem situation, lol), but doing so while dancing, which is hard to do.  If I wanted to hear an artist sing along to their track, I could've saved my money and played their CD at home.

Honorable Mentions:  Added elements that gives acts extra cool points.

City S/Os:  An artist gets major props when they use the proper terminology of the area they are playing.  For example, if a concert is in Silver Spring, MD, it's kinda wack to say "What's up Silver Spring."  Most of the time people attending are from DC, MD, or VA so the best bet would be to use the acronym DMV.  However, concerts in DC and Baltimore can be referred to as such.  Another great touch is adding the city name or incorporating its signature music in a song like Go-Go or Baltimore Club in the DMV.

Opening Acts:  Although, most don't pay to see the opening acts, they get the audience prepped for the main act.  Usually, they would have the same type of vibe as the main act.  It's also a great opportunty to be exposed to up and coming artists, including those that may have been outside your preferred music genre.  I discovered some incredible acts like Jennah Bell and Nick Hakim (Emily King), Roman GianArthur (Janelle Monae), The Stepkids (Kimbra), Wolf Gang (Coldplay) as openers.


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