Azealia Banks “Broke With Expensive Taste” is a chaotic album from an equally chaotic specimen in which we find her clearing a lane of her own.
2014 marked a devastating moment for American music. Well, not really; just consider this year the next step in the industry’s digital evolution. For the first time since the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began certifying platinum records domestically with the 1971 release of The Eagles’ Greatest Hits 1971 – 1975 compilation, not one album released this year had achieved platinum status, that is, until Taylor Swift broke up the pity party.
When it comes to independent R&B and soul, things probably don’t get any better than Avery*Sunshine. Since releasing her self titled 2010 debut, the “Ugly Part of Me” singer has subtly built for herself a pretty large following nationally and internationally. This year, Sunshine brought more positive vibes through her sophomore follow-up, The SunRoom. Featuring standouts including “Won’t You Try” and “Nothing To Something,” the album proves exactly why the Chester, Pennsylvania native has one of the vocal pipes in music today.
Speaking with SoulTrain.com, Sunshine discusses The SunRoom, tour abroad, balancing a career and motherhood and more.
Berklee College of Music held its annual four-day City Music Network Conference on Monday,November 2 at Downtown Los Angeles’ Omni Hotel. Over 200 registrants enjoyed presentations and conversations from all walks of the music industry, along with academia. One panel involved music icons Gladys Knight and Bill Withers. Joined by Bobby Colomby, Tommy LiPuma, Ray Chew, Ricky Minor and Ron Weisner as host, the group of industry veterans discussed everything from contemporary music creation to changes due to technology.
“I’m just truly humbled to open for someone who has been in the game for the last ten years,” says Motown signee Kevin Ross as he wraps a national tour opening for mentor Ne-Yo. “I’m taking in as much as I possibly can; been studying his every move.” Ross’ steady rise to R&B stardom hasn’t come from having thousands of Twitter followers, YouTube views or even a heavy slew of mixtape releases. The “Money over Love” singer’s journey seems more academic. “With me going to the school for the arts in Washington, D.C. and my background being a classically trained vocalist, the likelihood of me going to school for being a classical singer was highly probable, but Berklee came to my school and offered me a lot.” Besides learning from some of the best music professors the nation has to offer, the Boston-based Berklee College of Music lent the then-aspiring songwriter a bit more. “I definitely made sure I made the most out of my time by making sure to network with everyone I could,” he says.
Obviously, there hasn’t been a feature film released on television this year that’s garnered as much attention as Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. Between, theOne In A Million singer’s family voicing their animosity toward the project, Wendy William’s involvement and changes to leads, a polarizing public perception is the best a project like this could hope fore. Though many will most definitely tune in to learn new details on Aaliyah’s controversial relationship and short marriage to R Kelly, the film also focuses on her relationship with Dame Dash. The Roc-A-Fella co-founder would be the last person romantically involved with singer and emerging actress before being killed in a 2001 plane crash.
Putting himself in the shoes of Mr. Poppington is Toronto-based actor/rapper Anthony Grant. If he isn’t auditioning for roles, he’s listening to beats and writing. A relative unknown outside of those with a penchant for Canadian television, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B may be the film that ultimately pushes his career forward or backwards. Regardless, when the biopic airs people will undoubtedly be talking about him.
One month after Marlene Pinnock received a $1.5 million settlement from the California Highway Patrol after being brutally attacked in July by former officer Daniel Andrew, author and radio host Earl Ofari Hutchinson interviewed CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow last Friday morning on radio station KTYM about the incident and the black community’s relationship with the agency.
According to a 2013 study conducted by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, an estimated 399,546 children are in America’s foster care system. Out of that high number, Gary Strangler, executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiatives, says thousands who age out of the system after turning 18-years-old have difficulties adjusting to life as an independent citizen.
“In fact, over the past decade, more than 200,000 teenagers have aged out of foster care often without achieving permanent family connections or those critical building blocks of support,” explained Strangler.
Despite overwhelming obstacles, one young man managing to excel post-foster care is Berkeley native Jaquel Pitts. Since making his exit from the system the day after his high school graduation in 2012, the 20-year-old has managed to earn an associate degree in social science from College of Siskiyous. He is working on his bachelor’s degree and pressing toward a promising NFL career.
For the first time since the scandal, we get an insight into the life of someone who some see as a terrorist and others, an American hero. Through Citizenfour, viewers will see someone who ultimately felt it was his responsibility to inform citizens and let them come up with their own conclusion.
Expect Addicted to make the bottom tier list of Wal-Mart’s urban section within the next couple of months. Those who are fans of Zane’s Sex Chronicles know exactly what to expect and those who don’t will probably be disappointed. Everyone else, hopefully they can leave their mind at the door and just enjoy the fluff for what it is.