Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Release Tuesday: 7/22/14

Common - Nobody Smiling

Preview album here

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

Seeing Music in Color, A Look at Synesthesia

In April while being interview by Oprah on Oprah Prime, Pharrell mentioned he saw music as colors with each sound having its own color.  "...I may hear his chords and hear that there’s mustard and yellow and oranges and browns in that chord structure....because it’s all based on the fact that when we’re born, all of our nerve endings are together and they need to prune. So you have your five senses and some of them don’t separate, so they send ghost messaging to the other nerve endings."

What Pharrell was describing is a neurological condition called synesthesia, when your senses blend causing you to see sounds, taste shapes, and hear colors.  This topic came up again in May when I saw a TV interview with an artist named St. Vincent who also admitted to having synesthesia.  This gave more explanation to the vivid, futuristic, and intriguing performance she gave on SNL and use of color in her videos.

Synesthesia was 1st discovered in the mid 1800s.  But scientists couldn't even prove it was real.  Back then, some artists kept it a secret for fear people would give the condition all the credit for their talent.  In the 90s, synesthesia received validity when MRIs discovered for some, listening to music triggered a part of the brain that deals with sound and sight.  Other research has discovered that we're all born with it but most lose it by the time we're 8 months old.

Other musical synesthetes:
  • Mozart -  Described the key of D Major having a warm "orangey" sound to it, while B flat minor was blackish. A major was a rainbow of colors to him.
  • Duke Ellington - A D note looked like dark blue burlap while a G was light blue satin.
  • Kanye West -  "I see music in color and shapes and all and it’s very important for me when I’m performing or doing a video that the visuals match up with the music – the colors – you know, like a lot of times it’s a lonely piano [that] can look like a black and white visual to fit that emotion, even though pianos are blue to me and bass and snares are white; bass lines are like dark brown, dark purple and things like that, so…”
  • Frank Ocean - His album Channel Orange represented the color he felt when he 1st fell in love. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Recap Report: 7/18/14

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

Eighth-Grade Metal Trio Unlocking the Truth Signs $1.7 million Sony Deal -  Read how these Brooklyn boys got their big break!

Belize-born actor cast as Bobby Brown for ‘Whitney’ filmAnd the casting continues. . .find out who they cast to play Bobby.

2Pacalypse on Broadway: Tupac musical flops after six-week run - Due to financial difficulties, the musical has come to an end.

Beyonce, Eminem, Iggy Azalea Lead MTV Video Music Award Noms - Find out who made the cut for this year's awards.

Michele Obama and Janelle Monae Discuss Arts Education at Grammy Museum Awards Event - Michele delivered keynote and Monae honored at event.

"Weird Al" Yankovic' releases a parody of Iggy Azalea's Fancy as a part of his 8-videos-in-8-days marathon

Thursday, July 17, 2014

SYTYCD Season 11: Top 18

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

Last night, the Top 18 performed with Misty Copeland joining the judges panel again.  I know this is just the beginning but I'm still awaiting some breakthrough with these dancers.  I hope it gets better as we get close to the Top 10.  I continue to enjoy seeing past contestants come back as choreographers on the show.  It shows how this show provides opportunities and supports growth of these dancers that go through the competition.

Contestants: Bridget & Emilio
Style: Jive
Song: Happy by Pharrell Williams
Choreographer: Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev

What a perfect dance style for that song.  The music not only suited the choreo but the dancers personalities.  Emilio may not have had perfect footwork but he made up for it with his energetic delivery. #iloveemilio

Contestants: Serge & Carly
Style:  Hip-Hop
Song: Senile by Young Money ft. Tyga, Nicki Minaj, & Lil Wayne
Choreographer:  Luther Brown

I thought they did a good job executing the choreo as skeleton-like dancers.  Sergie definitely stuck out for me.  As Misty said, they grasped the character.

Contestants: Tanisha & Rudy
Style: Broadway
Song: Sing Sing Sing (Part 2) by Fosse (Original Broadway Cast)
Choreographer: Warren Carlyle

Of course Tanisha stuck out as the stronger of the 2 in terms of execution but together it was a good performance that embodied the Broadway flavor.  As Nigel said, Rudy is such a burst of life!  Looking forward to his growth.

Contestants: Emily & Teddy
Style: Contemporary
Song: Ne Me Quitte Pas by Nina Simone
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

Very haunting piece and I liked how the choreo translated the words.

At the end of the night, the judges sent Stanley and Jourdan home.  And so we're down to 16.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Justin Timberlake & The Tennessee Kids Show Off in Baltimore

July 14, 2014 - Baltimore Arena - Baltimore, MD

Last time I saw JT was in 2007 for the FutureSex/LoveShow Tour.  That show was one of the best concert experiences I've ever had so I was so excited to see what he had in store for me this time.  My concert partner for the evening was none other than ChinaBabe.

DJ Freestyle was the opener to get the crowd going with some jams.  He was joined by Dontae Winslow, a Tennessee Kid trumpet player, who came out to represent his hometown of Baltimore.  The show finally started at 8:30pm as we saw Justin standing in front of a huge catacomb like projection backdrop.  He began to sing Pusher Love Girl accompanied by The Tennessee Kids on the strings who appeared as silhouette pictures on the backdrop. . . and the 20/20 experience began!!

Justin was in his element, feeding off the energy from the crowd.  One thing that is consistent with his shows is you feel like you're at a big house party, you feel at home.  JT and The TN Kids were having just has much fun as we were having.  I am a choreo geek and to see the smooth yet intricate choreo executed with such fluidity was amazing.  It literally left me in awe.  One of the many great moments of the night was seeing Ivan Koumaev (Season 2 dancer on SYTYCD) dance.  I felt like a proud parent seeing him up there with Justin. 

JT has one of the best band, singers, and dancers!!  The Tennessee Kids are one impressive group of entertainers who contributed just as much as JT to create a wonderful concert experience.  Not only did the singers sing but they had their own choreo and I don't mean just a little 2-step here and there but they were getting it in too.  The chemistry between them and JT was great to see, all fitting together seamlessly. 

During Let the Groove Get In, a part of the stage lit up and started to elevate.  Then all of a sudden it started to move across the arena with Justin and his background singers still performing.  It was crazy!  I've seen Usher being carried on a small platform across an arena or recently, Katy Perry being carried by balloons, but never this!!!  You should've seen JT running across it to connect with fans.  It eventually stopped at the opposite end of the arena where Justin walked down some stairs to perform a few songs on a smaller stage.  It's those special touches that shows how much he genuinely cares about the experience of his fans in the entire arena. 

Justin's setlist provided much variety between all his albums.  He even sprinkled a little ol skool with songs like MJ's Human Nature and BBD's Poison where he and the crew got down doing New Edition like moves!  There were 2 moments during the show where he got the crowd to chant "the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!"  And it might as well had been on fire because between the energy and the bodies in there, it was hot! 


Set 1
1.  Pusher Love Girl
2.  Gimmie What I Don't Know (I Want) (Snippet)
3.  Rock Your Body
4.  FutureSex/LoveSound
5.  Like I Love You
6.  My Love
7.  TKO
8.  Summer Love
9.  Until the End of Time
10. Holy Grail/Cry Me a River
Set 2
12. Only When I Walk Away
13. Drink You Away
14. Tunnel Vision
15. Senorita
16. Let the Groove Get In
17. Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley Cover)
18. Not a Bad Thing
19. Human Nature (MJ Cover)
20. What Goes Around...Comes Around
21. Take Back the Night
22. Jungle Boogie (Kool & The Gang Cover)
23. Murder
24. Poison (BBD Cover)
25. Suit & Tie
26. SexyBack
27. Mirrors

I was disappointed that they couldn't get the spotlight right when Justin walked to our side of the stage.  There also was an awkward intermission, which seemed unnecessary and took away from the flow of energy for a second.  I can't really compare it to FutureSex/LoveShow because it was a different experience for me.  It made me realize how far Justin's come.  It was a full circle moment, marking a new level of artistry and maturity that wasn't in his last tour.  Plus, it showed how valuable The Tennessee Kids are to Justin and the show, a match made in musical heaven!!  No need for glasses because after this my vision is clearer than ever, Justin is a master of his class!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

A.B.C. by Eric J: "Good Kisser" - Usher

A.B.C.:  Also known as "Another Bad Creation" from my cousin, Eric J (choreographer/dancer/instructor)

Eric J definitely makes every moment worth it!

If you're gonna be in the NYC area, take his class and really GO TO WORK!  For more info, visit: Broadway Dance Center

Eric J Class Schedule

Mon. - Beg. 9-10:30pm
Tues. - Adv. Beg. 9-10:30pm
Thurs. - Adv. Beg. 9-10:30pm
Sat - Int. 7:30 - 9:30pm

Wanna see more Eric J videos???  Visit his YouTube page and leave feedback!!

Follow Eric J on Twitter. . . @Ericj616


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