WARE have you been? Meet JESSIE WARE

Who is JESSIE WARE?Jessie-Ware-red-lipstick-effect

Another artist that I slept on was Jessie Ware! I didn’t discover Jessie’s music until this year. Here’s a quick rundown on this budding starlet:

The Deets

  • Origin: UK (London)
  • Label: PMR Records
  • Started her career as a background vocalist for Jack Peñate and SBTRKT
  • She collaborated with Sampha (long time collaborator of SBTRKT’s) on the song “Valentine”
  • Released her debut album “Devotion” August 2012
  • Debuted at #5 on the UK charts
  • Most successful single “Wildest Moments”

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Jessie has spent the last year touring at numerous festivals throughout the UK, Europe, and the States. She recently started working on her sophomore album during the 1st quarter of this year. I’m highly anticipating her next release! I can’t wait for some new music! In the meantime, listen to some of her tracks below.

Wildest Moments

Devotion (Title Track)–One of my faves!

Bonus Vid: Valentine

Dates of Upcoming Shows:

  • Wilderness Festival (August 7, 2014-Cornbury Park, Charlbury, UK)
  • Berlin Festival (September 5, 2014-Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany

For more info on Jessie, check out her official website jessieware.com

NEW Music From Keyshia Cole: “Rick James” (HOT or NAH??)

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The old K.C. is back and in full effect! Keyshia Cole is known for belting out heartfelt lyrics, but over the years some of her fans insinuated after getting married that they didn’t like the “happy” Keyshia as much as the “old” Keyshia who sang about heartbreak, pain, and relationships.

As of late something has brought the old K.C. out of hiding on her new track “Rick James.” It’s a catchy track about her slapping up a female (in Rick James fashion) who her man cheated on her with. It also refers to Dave Chappelle’s “Rick James” skit (w/ lines such as “feet up on your couch”, “slap a bitch like Rick James”). “There’s a lot of speculation around the track since Keyshia unfortunately has experienced marital problems as of late.  Nonetheless, I’m glad to see that she’s back on the scene…

artworks-000073959311-d6t7sn-originalChorus:

Why does it matter now?
Who can do you better?
Feet up on your couch
Yeah bitch I’m Rick James
Yeah bitch I’m Rick James
Yeah bitch I’m Rick James
Slap a bitch like Rick James
I’m Rick James

 Peep the vid below featuring Juicy J:

What do you think? Banger or nah??

Coachella Highlights: Part II

Here’s the 2nd round up of a few clips of some great performances during the last weekend of Coachella! Enjoy!

Pharrell & Co.

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Pharrell allowed festival attendees to take a trip down memory lane while bringing out a variety of special guests (inc. Usher, Jay-Z, Pusha T, Busta Rhymes and T.I.) Check out the vids below!!

Bubbling in the desert #hov @pharrell

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Nas

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(Nas and Lauryn Hill at Coachella 2014)

Nas celebrated the 20th anniversary of “Illmatic” this weekend.  It was twenty years to the day of its release.  He performed each track from his critically acclaimed debut album.  One of the most epic moments during his set was when he brought Lauryn Hill onstage and the duo performed “If I Ruled The World.” Lauryn also performed “Ready or Not” from The Fugees repertoire.  Damian “Jr. Gong”appeared as a special guest and the two wowed the crowd with a performance of “Jamrock” and “Road to Zion.”

Sekkle sekkle sekkle

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(**Images and videos are courtesy of the Instagram community**)

Coachella Highlights: Part I

It’s that time of year for the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival!  The festival features two consecutive weekends of music held in Indio, California.  One of the great things about Coachella is the opportunity to see some of your favorite vets perform as well as new and up-and-coming acts from diverse musical backgrounds! Catch a few of my fave Coachella highlights below:

Solange and Beyoncé

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Solange Knowles, affectionately known as Solo by her fans, covered Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” during her set at Coachella.  She then performed some of her own tunes, including Sandcastle Disco (one of my faves from her) and her latest single “Losing You.”  The biggest surprise of the night was when her big sis Bey took the stage alongside her!  Looking like a scene straight from one of Solo’s music vids, Bey popped up and the twosome danced in sync to “Losing You.”

Peep the vid below:

OutKast

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Outkast_Coachella_2(Weekend 2 at the Coachella Festival)

Andre 3000 and Big Boi of the critically acclaimed Southern Hip-Hop group, OutKast reunited on stage for the first time in seven years at Coachella! They were the headliners during the first weekend and the duo performed again this past Friday.  During the first show, they performed 27 songs and was joined onstage by Janelle Monáe and Future. After mixed reviews from the initial comeback performance at the festival, they revamped their production and performance issues for their set on Friday and received more praise from festival attendees this time around.

Vid below from the first performance:

 

 

Industry Vets: Young Guru and Sean C. Visit Berklee Valencia

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This week students at Berklee Valencia’s campus had the opportunity to meet and interact with two music industry veterans, Young Guru and Sean C.  If you aren’t familiar with their names, you’re most likely familiar with their repertoire. Young Guru has worked as a highly esteemed engineer and has also worked alongside respectable and notable artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye West. Prior to meeting Young Guru, I indirectly felt as though as I knew him due to Hov’s various shoutouts throughout the years. One of my favorite Hov shoutouts was when he told Guru to “turn the lights down..let’s keep it smooth” on Party Life (American Gangster album) LOL

Our other industry vet, Sean C. is a Grammy-nominated producer and A&R that has produced for hip hop artists such as Diddy and Jay-Z.  I was especially interested to hear Sean’s perspective on the industry and the future as an A&R since my career interests are specifically in that field. There were various workshops held over the two-day period while they were here in Valencia. One of my favorite workshops was the A&R session that was held on campus in our studio on the film scoring stage.

Berklee Valencia Studio

(Berklee Valencia students pictured in the studio with Young Guru and Sean C. for the A&R workshop)

(Photo Credit: Disrupcion Records)

Both Sean C. and Young Guru provided feedback to Berklee Valencia artists who submitted music. I’m currently working as an A&R for my culminating experience thesis, so I was super excited about the opportunity because both of the artists that I’m working with were chosen to participate in the session.  It was such a humbling experience to receive feedback on their music from industry professionals and to use that info to tweak their projects and to make them even better! This was a great experience both creatively and professionally.  Another workshop focused on innovation within the industry.  During this panel, both guests answered various questions that students had re: career advice, music production/technology, the direction of the industry, and evolving with the industry to ensure your position/career. A highlight for me was Sean’s response in reference to being a woman in a male dominated industry. His consciousness about the issue was indispensable and re-emphasized some of the points that I’ve learned throughout my professional career.

Young Guru and Sean C

This experience was one that I longed for as a student in the Global Entertainment & Music Business Masters program.  The knowledge that both gentlemen dropped on us was absorbed like a sponge and truly invaluable.  It’s a great opportunity to meet people who are working in positions that many of us aspire to be in. The grind continues….

Mannnn I Miss 90s R&B!!

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Hands down, one of my favorite musical eras during my lifetime thus far is the 1990s!  During the 90s it seemed that R&B was truly at its prime!  The innovativeness is still unmatched.  This era gives me a feeling of nostalgia…it reminds me of great times! Everything about it just felt good! The music was a fusion of sounds including New Jack Swing, Hip Hop Soul, Neo Soul, Funk, and of course traditional Rhythm & Blues.

Artists could really sing, dance, write classics, and were musicians as well. The emotions that they were able to conjure up is priceless. They were multi-faceted artists and made timeless music!

Below check out a handful of my favorite 90s R&B songs!! Feel free to share some of yours as we take a walk down memory lane.

 

Sade’-Cherish The Day

 

Aaliyah—4 Page Letter

 

Mary J. Blige-Be Happy

 

Jodeci-Forever My Lady

 

Ghost Town DJ’s-My Boo

 

Montell Jordan-This Is How We Do It

 

Soul 4 Real-Candy Rain

 

Does anyone else miss the 90s? 

 

 

 

 

Elle Varner…”COLD CASE”

I’ve been rocking with R&B songstress Elle Varner since her first mixtape “Conversational Lush” and subsequently when she hit the scene with “Only Wanna Give It To You” from her debut album “Perfectly Imperfect,” which spawned her other mega hit “Refill.”

Elle

Elle is back on the scene with her new single “COLD CASE.” She sings about how beautiful love is at first until she has a feeling that her boyfriend is cheating on her..In the first verse she sings:

I got this case on my hands, that I can’t crack

But I been gathering all that I can

One of those things that I must understand, understand

Cuz you went and changed up on me, much too fast

Talk about lightening speed, lightening speed

But it ain’t no unsolvable mystery

I gotta get down to it
 

Check it out!!!

She describes the sound of her upcoming sophomore album entitled “LOVE” as “Trap Jazz”. If Trap Jazz sounds like this new banger that she cooked up, then obviously I’ve been missing out! The production by Pop & Oak on “COLD CASE” is insane! From the intro, to the change in the tempo, to the backbeat with the heavy bass, along with her hard hitting vocals..all make for a great combo! Her album has no release date yet, but I’ll be waiting for it!

This is most definitely a song for the ladies! I’m feeling Elle’s vibe this time around.  This song also has a sexier vibe and appears to explore a new sound for the songstress. What do you think..HOT or NOT??

 

Better Late Than Never…KIMBRA

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One day last month, I was listening to music on one of my favorite streaming platforms, and I decided to check out some of the artist recommendations. To my surprise, I stumbled across a gem…an artist named Kimbra.

The RunDown:
Origin: New Zealand & Australia
Genre: Electropop
Label: Warner Bros.
Age: 23
Instruments: Vocals, tambourine, guitar
Website: kimbramusic.com

Kimbra Vows

I listened to her debut album, “Vows”.  It was released in 2011, so please forgive me for tardiness…but now that I’m hip to who she is, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of new material. In the past I had heard mentions here and there of Kimbra, but that was mainly from Gotye’s top-charting single “Somebody That I Use to Know,” but other than that, she was an artist that I didn’t know.  Recently in 2013, she was featured on John Legend’s track “Made To Love” which I absolutely think is amazing! Once again, I didn’t know it was her until after the fact.

The following singles were released from “Vows”:

  • Settle Down
  • Cameo Lover
  • Good Intent
  • Warrior
  • Two Way Street
  • Come Into My Head

This album garnered Kimbra numerous awards during 2011 and 2012 from the APRA Awards and ARIA Awards. She also won a Grammy during 2013 for her collaboration with Gotye.

Here’s her official vid for the album’s 1st single “Settle Down”

Check out one of my faves from the album, “Something In The Way You Are”…

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Started From The Bottom….

BV Studio

Started from the bottom…The Berklee Valencia record label practicum has been a quite a memorable experience already!  The first few weeks were spent trying to lay the foundation and the groundwork for Berklee Valencia’s budding student record label.  We are the chosen ones to help build this label from the ground up for future students. (No pressure at all!)

Some of our tasks included brainstorming names for the label, and picking our top 12 artists from all of the SoundCloud submissions for the label.  The amount of talent in this school is unmatched and that was visible when listening to the various tracks that were submitted!

The entire class was able to function as the A&R department throughout this process.  It was fun to listen to the submissions and share our thoughts as we collectively compiled our list of artists to interview for the next round.  This wasn’t an easy task for various reasons—obviously the talent pool was one, but the other was identifying the criteria.  What exactly were we looking for? How do we choose our finalists?  What attributes are important? Are we measuring their potential or what they have to offer at the moment?  These were just a few of the baffling questions that we had to sort out amongst a group of 20+ students with a lot of opinions and expertise.

Organization

Organization was the enemy! We clearly had no template to follow and it was up to us to organize most of it.  We realized in retrospect some things that we could’ve done differently to be more effective—but that’s why it’s a practicum.  We’re definitely learning along the way.  The most important thing that is vital for the sustainability of the label is—communication.  We have to learn how to communicate with one another and how to communicate clearly and directly.  Although we may not agree with one another at times, it is always important to respect each other as people at the end of the day.  An issue that arose was in reference to the deadline for students to submit their material.  There could’ve been more clarity such as a specified time instead of just a date because people were still submitting material on the due date after our class was over. To avoid issues like this in the future, we appointed two points of contact in an attempt to prevent any form of miscommunication or confusion about deadlines and interviews.

Vinyl Records Wall

To simply put it—initially it seemed that there were too many chefs in the kitchen (which could have lead to the ultimate recipe for disaster).  It has been a process of collectively learning how to work together (especially when everyone may not be on the same page) and adapt to dealing with various personality types.  Eventually, we were able to format our game plans and and we are continuing to work towards our common goal…the successful creation of a student operated record label. Up next…auditions will be held for the 12 artists that were previously chosen. I’ll update you soon on the rest…

Flashback: 2014 MIDEM Music Conference

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Since my first day at Berklee Valencia, one of the highlights for all of the Global Entertainment & Music Business program Master’s candidates was the prospect of attending the Midem conference.  The annual music conference, Midem was held in Cannes, France from February 1st-February 4th.  This conference was the first official music conference that I’ve ever attended and it was also my first time visiting France.  Overall, these two factors contributed to a valuable and enjoyable experience.

Let’s briefly recap the events:

Initially on the first day I tried to remember all of the useful tips that had been driven and embedded to all of our heads. It could have been overwhelming at first sight—but fortunately I mapped out a game plan in advance and upon my arrival tweaked a few things with the assistance of the “Midem Smartphone App.”  My own personal interests were in the following areas: artist & repertoire field, music publishing, and digital streaming platforms.  I planned to attend events that catered to those specific areas.

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The “Midem Smartphone App” was my best friend over the course of the three-day period that I was in attendance.  It sent reminders/alerts for some of the panels and events, and you could also select your favorite events to add to your own calendar within the app.  This allowed me to use my time efficiently in order to maximize my experience by visiting the different exhibitors and attending the panels that were of interest to me.  Many of the topics related to growth, sustainability and innovation since the theme for this year’s conference was “Get back to Growth? Make it Sustainable.”

“The one peculiar thing that struck a chord within me was the lack of music.  We were at a music conference that didn’t play much music at all.  During the evenings on site there were live shows here and there, but music wasn’t heard throughout the course of the day.  On one occasion there was a brief dance number performed by Brazilian dancers and a few drummers.”

One of the Midem Talks that I highly anticipated on attending featured Lyor Cohen and was moderated by Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Records.  I really enjoyed the dialogue between Lyor and Tom.  Although I had been following Lyor’s career for some time, it was awesome to hear him and witness him tell it/re-live those moments firsthand.  It seemed as though two good friends were just catching up on old times.  They discussed Lyor’s journey and briefly scratched the surface of his new venture, 300.

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Another highlight was the Midem Talk with emerging UK artist, Rita Ora.  I was somewhat familiar with her as an artist and I remembered her song “R.I.P” from a few years ago and of her Roc Nation affiliation, but outside of that I didn’t know much about her.  It was enlightening to hear about VEVO’s partnership with her to develop her as an artist while promoting her on their platform. She ended up debuting at #1 on the UK charts with the assistance of this partnership.  This showcased innovative ways of how artists are partnering with brands/platforms to assist in launching their careers.

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Ultimately, I met a lot of wonderful people from across the globe and received and handed out numerous business cards.  I had a few successful meetings with different people from different companies.  It was a realistic portrayal because it wasn’t all glitz and glamour.  Two of my other scheduled meetings were no shows for different reasons (one person sustained an injury and the other forgot about it).  These experiences helped to weed out the people whom I would want to keep in touch with after the conference was over.

It was an amazing networking opportunity, and there are people who I’m already in contact with.  I didn’t enter this conference with the mindset of securing a job, but I knew that I would meet people who could potentially share the knowledge and resources that I’ve been looking for in regards to my career interests.