Before becoming the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer he is today, alternative soul singer Timothy Bloom was just an army brat spending his younger days traveling the world with his family. “I think it’s just being social and being able to adapt to your environment,” explains the one time VH1 Soul You Oughta Know artist. “With dad being in the military and being a pastor with all the movement we did, I was able to expand culturally.” Coming from a religious background meant the church became his first stage in fulfilling his eventual career in music. According to Bloom, he discovered music to be his spiritual outlet.
Singer/songwriter Victoria Monet McCants began her journey within the music industry as a young woman residing in California’s capitol. “Sacramento is really diverse, so I absorbed a lot of genres of music,” says Monet. “People in my school listened to everything from hard rock to country and anything urban.” Didn’t hurt that she spent her earlier years performing in school plays, church services and even NBA half-time shows. Leave it to Monet, music was a lifestyle.
For the past few years, there has been one particular voice advocating responsible economics and ownership within Hip Hop culture. That sharply dressed and charismatic gentleman is real-estate tycoon Jay Morrison aka JayMrRealEstate. Part of his appeal is how much his story represents not only the “started from the bottom” mentality that riddles Hip Hop, but also the much sought after American dream.
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.