Summer Soul Session Vol. 2

On Friday, June 24, three artists are hitting the stage for a performance you don’t want to miss.  LivSuite Presents Summer Soul Session Vol. 2, featuring Lauren White, Chris Turner, and Ife’.  These artists are an eclectic mix of R&B, Neo-Soul, Jazz, and Funk. 

Lauren White has performed with great acts, such as Chante Moore, Anthony Hamilton, and Will Downing.  Her first solo album, “The Biography”, debuted in November 2009, and her next album is set to be released later this summer.  This Washington, DC native has been described as dynamic and commanding and her performances are “guaranteed to keep the listener entertained, engaged, feeling like they are a part of the experience.”

“Love Child” Chris Turner decided at the tender age of 4 he wanted to be a singer, just like his father.  This Oakland, CA native has been performing most of his life.  Past affiliations include the SF Jazz High School All-Stars and GRAMMY High School Jazz Ensemble.  Chris has been on tour with Gwen Stefani, Chris Brown, Kelly Clarkson, and Bilal Oliver.  Currently working on his first full album “LOVEchild”, Chris was selected in February of this year by BET Music Matters as an “Artist to Watch”. 

Not only is Seattle native Ife’ a singer and songwriter-she has also started her own company, Crescendo Entertainment.  Her hope for Crescendo is that it will be “the conduit through which I not only create and produce various projects that I’ve been wanting to bring to life, but also will allow me to use my creative expression to help uplift people in their lives.  It starts with music, but that’s really only the foundation; it’s my platform to share my gifts with the world.” 

As you can see, this show on the 24th is going to be filled with wonderful talent, and if you’re in the DMV, you definitely don’t want to miss it.  The venue for Summer Soul Session Vol. 2 is XII Restaurant and Lounge, located at 1123 H Street NE, Washington, DC.   Advanced tickets can be purchased now for $20; they will be $25 at the door.  Bring your man, bring your girl, or just come by yourself.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

 

Interview with an Emcee

This weekend I was able to speak with Young General, a rising emcee based in Chicago.  Young General’s new mixtape, “Hip-Hop 4 Adults”, will be released today.  Check out our interview below.

Elle: How long have you been in the music business?

Young General: I’ve only been doing this professionally for about a year and a half, but I was always close to hip hop as a fan and recreational emcee before I got serious.  So I’ve been rapping since high school, but just recently decided to make music my business.

Elle: How did you get started?

Young General: I started on the battle circuit in Minneapolis, MN (my hometown) and also down at Florida A&M University when I was in school. I did a lot of rapping there, and it just progressed into something larger.  The music didn’t really get big for me until I got to Chicago and plugged into the hip hop scene there; the market in MPLS is so small that it’s hard for an artist to find outlets for hip hop. 

Elle: What can your audience expect from your mixtape?

Young General: ”Hip-Hop 4 Adults” (HH4A) is really a collection of music I’ve been working on for about a year and half, and it’s just like it says-grown-up music.  A lot of people think that the title of the mixtape means the lyrics and content are going to be explicit but it’s just the opposite; it’s more about thoughtful/clever lyrics that describe what it’s like to be Young General today.  Hopefully people will feel like they know me when they listen. I try to be honest and share some of my experiences when I write.

Elle: Who are some of your musical influences?

Young General: Jay-Z was the first hip-hop artist I really attached to when I was younger. “Reasonable Doubt” is STILL my favorite hip hop album, ever.  I’m also a big J. Cole fan. I feel like hip-hop needs what he brings to the table as an emcee.  I also really enjoy The Roots, Ludacris, Currency, Bun B, etc.  I am also a huge Jazz fan; I really like to listen to jazz to relax. LOL.

Elle: What do you use for inspiration?

Young General: I use my life for inspiration. I try to write based upon the lens I see through and not someone else’s.  I find that normal life brings enough adversity, ups, downs, etc that I don’t need to fabricate anything-just telling the truth the way I see/saw it is enough.  So, my life inspires me to write and make music. What motivates me is that I see people who I consider my peers making money and progress through music everyday!

Elle: What else do you have on tap for 2011?

Young General: Lots!  I’m dropping Hip-Hop 4 Adults Vol. 2 in May with an album dropping in the Fall…so this is just the beginning! 

Elle: How do you stay relevant?

Young General: I stay relevant by keeping up with what’s current.  If you have an understanding of what’s going on in the world your music will reflect that.  I also try to do a combination of local events in Chicago as well as national events in cities like L.A., New York, etc.

Elle: Can you tell us a little about your upbringing, personal life, etc.?

Young General: I have strong Midwest roots being born in Detroit and going to high school in Minneapolis.  Growing up in Minneapolis its hard not to gain appreciation for the arts and a diverse music selection. Minneapolis was where I really got into freestyle rapping and battle rapping; there are a lot of really dope underground emcees in that area. After I graduated high school I attended college at Florida A&M University-that was where I really got into commercial hip hop as well as “Down South” music and the underground groups in the South.   After leaving school with my MBA I moved back to MPLS, but eventually ended up in Chicago, and the rest is history.

Elle: Do you produce also or are you strictly a lyricist?

Young General: Mostly I’m just an emcee, but I do a lot of arranging and executive production as I tend to have a good ear for what I want as a finished product.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for true producers who actually create the beats; some of the stuff that you hear these days is amazing.

Elle: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Young General: Yeah just that I believe strongly in networking, if you are involved with the music business in anyway please reach out to me so we can find a way to work together.  The further I get into the music industry the more I realize all we have is each other, so get at me!

I would like to thank Young General for allowing me to feature him on “Southern Girl in the City” today!  Be sure to check out Young General’s site today at 6 pm when his mixtape is released.  You can also find Young General on Facebook and Twitter.  This emcee is doing big things, so be sure to stay on the lookout and show your support.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

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Southern Girl Album Review: “7”

If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook, you know I’ve been talking about this album incessantly since I’ve had it in my possession, which has only been since Tuesday.  It’s very rare nowadays that you find true musicianship from people that haven’t sampled a track.  Mint Condition, a band that has been together for 20 years, has done that just that. 

Mint Condition has delivered a phenomenal album with their seventh-LP aptly titled “7”.  It goes with me EVERYWHERE, moreso than Janelle Monae.  As a musician, I appreciate those who play anything.  And the great thing about this band is that you have true artistry, and everything blends together perfectly.  Another great thing is that lead singer, Stokley Williams, sounds just like he did 20 years ago on “Pretty Brown Eyes” and “U Send Me Swinging”. 

The opening track “Can’t Get Away” is a great opener and highlights Stokley’s great voice, guitarist Homer O’Dell, and keyboardist Jeffrey Allen.  My favorite tracks are the opener, Stokley’s duet with Kelly Price in “Not My Daddy”, and the last track “Twenty Years Later”.   The total album gives you R&B, funk, and a little neo-soul.

This album gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.  This album is a classic and should be added to your music collection.  For those in the DMV and Baltimore area, Mint Condition will be performing in B-more on May 7.  And for those of you attending Essence Music Festival, they will be performing in New Orleans on July 1.  I’m tempted to go visit them in Baltimore, but my “auntie” Madeline is trying to talk me out of it.  If you have the album, what do you think?  And if you don’t have it, go get it!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Southern Girl Album Review: The ArchAndroid

Not her normal "uniform", but a great look nonetheless!

Happy Friday’s Eve!  This week is a first for me on this blog; yesterday, I did my first book review (hope you guys enjoyed it), and today I’m doing my first album review!  I have a very eclectic taste in music.  Where most people like artists and will purchase anything they make I like songs and will have my buddy make me a mixed CD as opposed to going out and buying someone’s album.  There are very few artists whose album I will buy as soon as it comes out.  I can honestly say that Janelle Monae has now been added to that short list. 

I purchased “The ArchAndroid: Suites II and III” before Christmas.  Off the strength of her single “Tightrope” with Big Boi of Outkast and her appearing on the “Idlewild” soundtrack, she piqued my interest and got my attention.  If I had to rate this album, I would give it 5 out of 5 stars!!!  It’s absolutely fantastic!!!!  Once I started listening to this, I took it with me everywhere.  It was always playing in my car, I had it with me at the PT job, and I even snuck and brought it to my day job as well!!!  I can’t put her in a genre; she’s in one all by herself.  She’s the female version of Prince…and ya’ll know how I feel about him.  The musical arrangements are amazing, her voice has so much range, and none of the songs sound alike but they go together.  The Intro reminds me of “Black Swan”, in the sense of being music from a ballet.  My favorite track is “Faster”.  I also love “Say You’ll Go” and “BabopbyeYa”.  I can honestly say there’s not one track I don’t like, and it’s very rare that that happens. 

All of you should go get this album, via CD, iTunes, or whatever means you purchase your music.   She taps into all genres of music and is just a really talented musician.  LOVE HER!!!  (And you will, too!)  If you’ve listened to the album, what do you think?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Today’s Black History Month fact is about Ella Fitzgerald.  Ella, also known as Lady Ella or the “First Lady of Song”, was the first Black woman to win a Grammy.  In 1958, the first year the awards took place, Ella won for Best Jazz Performance, Individual and Best Vocal Performance, Female.  Before her death in 1996, she would go on to win 11 more Grammys.

This Week in the News- DC Edition

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It’s FRIDAY!!! I hope you all had a great week!  Another work week is under our belts.  This is going to be a busy weekend for your girl. On Saturday, I have a barbecue and a birthday party to attend, and on Sunday, I have brunch (unlimited mimosas!), a meeting, AND a conference call! Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it!  In any event, let’s get this show on the road.  I decided to do a DC highlight of the news this week as a lot has happened, and I’ve had a chance to attend some great events and there has been some tragedies. 

First, sadly, another one of our young men has been murdered.  Sixteen year old Anthony Barnes was struck by a single bullet early Wednesday morning in Southeast DC.  The Maryland teen was visiting his brother, and the two decided to go to a local gas station to get a snack.  An older man approached the teen, and as he tried to flee, he was shot.  The reason for the attack is still unknown, and no arrests have been made.  Anthony was your typical teenager-he liked sports, music, and girls.  This death is a mystery to his family, and I’m sure the rest of the community.  I hope justice is served swiftly, and I wish his family peace while dealing with this tragedy.

On Tuesday, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the DC Mayoral Forum at the NCNW (National Council of Negro Women) Building.  As I was heavily involved with the political process when I lived in Florida, I was very happy to have this opportunity to attend this forum.   This will be my first time voting in the Nation’s capital, and I want to make sure I vote for the man who I think will do the best job.  First, Mayor Adrian Fenty.  He spoke about what he has done in his current administration, which is a lot, but I wish he would have spoken more on what he plans to do if re-elected.  Next, Council Chairman Vince Gray.  He had an answer for everything.  He had some great ideas as they pertained to Education and HIV/AIDS, but the thing that concerned me was he didn’t stand behind his vote for current DC Attorney General Peter Nickles.  Even if someone made a “bad” decision, you should stand behind it, because if you make “bad” decisions, are you going to apologize for them in the future???  Lastly, we have former newscaster Leo Alexander.  This man should be a comedian, seriously.  He made the audience laugh, and of course made shots at his two opponents.  He had some wonderful ideas; my only concern is are they realistic?  When I left on Tuesday, I said that I had made a decision-now I’m not sure.  I will definitely continue to do my research on all three candidates.

Last night, Anthony David came back to DC.  The opening act was a band called Ndelible.  They were really good, and the lead singer sounds very much like John Legend, whom I absolutely LOVE!  After about an hour, Anthony FINALLY made his way to the stage.  (You may have seen my tweets of aggravation.) Needless to say, my linesister and I, and probably everyone else, were tired and slightly agitated.  Turns out the drummer was late. (My linesister found out after talking to someone at the bar.)  I almost left, but I really wanted to see him, so we persevered and stayed.  And I’m glad we did.  The show was great, even though I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to him afterwards.  It was almost midnight, and I do have a job…The one thing I didn’t like is that there was no official announcement made regarding the delay of the show-the host didn’t say anything, nor the club personnel.  So if anyone from Liv comes across this post, or you know someone from Liv, please pass the message along-If there is an unforeseen delay in a performance, it’s customary practice to let the audience know what’s going on.  Thanks!)

So, that’s this week in news, DC edition!  What are your plans for the weekend? If you’re in the DMV, I’m sure you’ll be at FedEx Field for the Beltway Battle (Redskins vs. Ravens).  What are some things that happened in your city this week?  And feel free to comment on any topic that I’ve discussed.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Anthony David Performing at Liv

Anthony David is an AMAZING artist, and he’s coming back to DC on August 19.  I’ve already planned on going, and luckily, a friend who will be in town for a conference is coming with me!  Mr. David’s smooth, melodic voice has captivated many audiences around the globe.   At the suggestion of some of my friends via Twitter last summer, I bought a ticket to his show.  As I wasn’t that familiar with him, I went to his site and listened to some of his music.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered he sang one of my favorite songs, “Words” with India.Arie.  After hearing that, I KNEW I had to go to this show.  I even communicated with him via Twitter before the show and asked for a shout-out, which I was told I would get, no problem!  (And might I add that I appreciate the fact that Mr. David responded to fans unlike other artists/celebrities who didn’t.)  His performance was phenomenal!  And after the show, he was more than willing to talk and take pictures with his fans, yours truly included!  (He even recognized me from Twitter, and I called him out for forgetting to give me my shout-out! :))

Based on my previous experience, I’m very excited about going to see him in two weeks!  If you’re in the DMV, I strongly suggest you attend as well.  I’ve also added a little song for your listening pleasure, in case you’re not familiar with him.  He really is a talented artist, and I can’t wait for his next album “As Above, So Below”, which is set to be released October 5.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Happy Black Girl Day

A fellow blogger, The Beautiful Struggler, came up with the concept of Happy Black Girl Day.  Essentially, HBGD is where we celebrate ALL black women and try to uplift each other instead of belittle, degrade, and diminish.  So I am taking it upon myself to help the cause of uplifting other black women.  On the 2nd Wednesday of each month, I will have some type of post highlighting and celebrating Happy Black Girl Day.  This month, as it is Black Music Month, I will be highlighting my Top 5 Favorite Black Women Singers. Now, even though you may not agree with me, this is MY list. If you don’t like them, make your own.  And I’m not saying these women are the best singers…I’m just saying they’re MY favorite!

5. Beyonce- When Destiny’s Child first came out, I was a huge fan.  But I was not a Beyonce fan.  The thing that turned it around for me was a few years back when I saw a special on E! about her life.  I realized that she and I had similar childhoods.  And while watching her on tv I saw a very humble, talented, and gracious human being.  From there, I was hooked! I purchased every Beyonce album, I watch her on tv every chance I get, and I jokingly tell my friends that I aspire to be her (via my summer body).  No matter her success, she remains that little girl from the South, which I can relate to.  Not to mention the girl can dance her tail off and she can sing.  Beyonce is just a talented performer, and I will probably be a Beyonce Stan for life.  (And I have vowed-after watching Sex and the City 2-that I will learn the choreography to “Single Ladies” by the end of the summer!)

4. Nina Simone- I first fell in love with her voice before I even knew who she was.  I first heard “Four Women” at a performance during my junior year in college, and I made it my business to find out who sang the song. From there, I found out about Nina Simone (who’s a fellow Southern girl) and listened to more of her songs.  No matter what type of mood I’m in, Ms. Nina can relate. 

3. Lauryn Hill- This girl is phenomenal…hands down!  This girl has stage presence, amazing writing talent, and she can rap AND sing.  I just really want Lauryn to come back with a bangin’ album, a bangin’ tour, something…I still blast “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” like I got it last week.

2. Brandy- Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to her, but Brandy is one of my favorite singers.  I probably know just about every lyric to each song that was released as a single.  I loved her as Danesha on “Thea” and on her own series “Moesha”.  Brandy was the good girl I could relate to, and she was talented.  There weren’t too many songs by her I didn’t like.  Some of my favorites are “Best Friend”, “The Boy is Mine” (her duet with Monica), “Full Moon”, and “What About Us”. 

1. Jill Scott- SHE.IS.THE.GREATEST. Do I really need to say more?!?! This woman is a poet, a singer, a writer…Is there anything she doesn’t do?  I love her voice, and from what I can tell, she is a great live performer.   Each and every time I listen to her live performance in Philly and she sings “You’re Getting in the Way” I sing at the top of my lungs right along with her, and I dare somebody to tell me I can’t blow.  My mother even picked on me one day as “A Long Walk” came on the radio, and I knew EVERY lyric.   Even though I’ll miss her performance in DC next week :(, I anxiously await her new album “The Light of the Sun”, which is set to be released later on this year.

Honorable Mention: Aaliyah and Faith Evans

So, there you have it, my Top 5 Black Women Singers.  Who are you favorite Black women singers?  What are some of your favorite songs by Black women? Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.