DC Love Fest!

Springtime in DC is so beautiful!  The cherry blossoms have bloomed, more folks are out enjoying the monuments, and music festivals start filling up our calendars!  I am so excited about the upcoming DC Love Fest on May 10 at 7 pm at D.A.R. Constitution Hall.  I’ve always wanted to go, and I am glad that I finally get to attend the show!  With performers like Mos Def, Chrisette Michelle, and Lysette Titi, this is not a show you want to miss!  In addition to hearing some great live music, you also get to see great vendors, culinary arts, cocktails, and all of the culture that DC has to offer.  I hope to see you there!

DC-Love-Fest-2014-Mos-Def

SuiteTalk and Summer Soul Session Vol.2 Recap

On Thursday, June 23, I had the amazing opportunity to interview rising soul and R&B singer Ife’ Thomas.  Ife’ has such a warm spirit and a great fashion sense!  If you’re an avid reader of the blog, then you remember my highlighting the event previously (go here to catch up.)  She was a pleasure to interview and was very forthcoming in her answers.  See below for our interview:

Elle: What are your next steps for Crescendo Entertainment?

Ife’: I’m so glad you asked me about that.  We’re working on a relatively new tv project, which will be a reality show.  The first show idea is for songwriters.  We would also like to produce and executive produce biographies, whether they’re on the big or small screen, or even as an independent film.  I’m continually writing songs.  I always hear new things in my “mental radio”.  I always carry a tape recorder. 

Elle: Past or present, who would you love to do a duet or trio with?

Ife’: Number one, my husband, Maxwell (Ife’ said I could quote her! ;)) I would also love to work with Javier (Colon) from “The Voice”.  For a hip-hop collaboration, it would be Talib (Kweli) and Common.  Wouldn’t that be dope???  I would also love to work with Sade; I get compared to her a lot.  Old school collaborations-Stevie Wonder and Charlie Wilson.  Those that have passed on-MJ, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Marvin Gaye would have to be my Top 3. 

Elle: If you couldn’t be a performer, what would you do?

Ife’: My dream job is a veteriarian.  I would also love to be either an attorney or a journalist.  Realistically, though, I would probably be a teacher.

Besides myself, there were three other interviewers participating in SuiteTalk.  I learned some very interesting things about Ife’ during this roundtable, such as she grew up doing musical theatre, she doesn’t like the term “neo-soul”, and she has the same ritual before every performance.  Ife’ hopes her fans understand her lyricism and are able to apply the lyrics to their lives.  She wants to touch us all, she wants us to feel her music, and she wants us to know exactly what she’s talking about when we hear her sing.  According to Ife’, “The current state of music is tough because you have very few people buying music (in the form on CD’s).  Social media allows you to be more creative.” 

The performance of Ife’, Chris Turner, and Lauren White was nothing short of amazing on the night of June 24.  The crowd was involved and singing along.  All three artists were absolutely fantastic and are well on their way of getting their names known. 

I appreciate Organic Fusion asking me to participate in the SuiteTalk.  It was a wonderful experience, and I was humbled in the presence of Ife’ and the other bloggers present.  I strongly suggest you all listen to and purchase the music from these artists.  Their music will definitely keep all of your parties going this summer!  Until, next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Coors Light Coldest Artist Live Show

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Thursday, June 2, the city of Baltimore, MD was able to experience musicianship at it’s finest.  At Sonar, Coors Light hosted a show featuring new artists, seasoned vets, and of course, some cold brew at the Coors Light® Search for the Coldest National Tour featuring N.E.R.D. and Pac Div.

During the Spring of 2011, Coors Light hosted the Coldest Artist, a competition where they were looking for new, raw talent.  The winners of the West and Midwest competitions were able to meet and perform in Baltimore; they also served as the pre-show to one of hip-hop’s greatest musical acts, N.E.R.D.

The first performer, Billa Camp, hails from Chicago.  Billa has a nice flow and is a great lyricist.  He’s a combination of Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Lil’ Wayne.  If these three artists were to ever think about collaborating, they only need to research this rapper to see how it will turn out, and they would be pleased.   None of the 3 songs he performed were dance tunes, but they will easily be club tunes that you would hear on the radio.

Seattle, WA native Joe Ed from Eclectic Approach performed two songs.  The first song, “Brother”, was dedicated to his brother, and he chose Sonar as the venue to perform this song for the first time.  The song deals with substance abuse and how one’s addication not only affects that person, but also their loved ones.  “Cool”, the song that brought him into the competition, was very rock and is reminiscent of Maroon 5.  The great thing about this song is that it highlights the uniqueness of Joe Ed.

Pac Div is a hip-hop trio from Los Angeles, and they are opening for N.E.R.D. on their summer tour.  All three members are hype men and feed off of each other’s energy while performing.  The great thing is that they were able to keep the audience engaged the entire time they were onstage.  This group will definitely go far in the music industry. 

The main event for the evening, N.E.R.D., did not disappoint.  Performing old and new songs, Pharrell was stunned into silence once when he began performing and the audience sang along with him.  Chad was very laid back, as usual, but frontman Pharrell Williams had enough energy for them both.  Shay Haley was able to hold his own against Pharell.  The members of N.E.R.D. are able to feed off of each others’ strengths during their live performances and allow each man to have his light.  And live instrumentation is always appreciated during shows.   The audience sang along to almost every track and probably surprised themselves with how many songs they knew.

Coors Light has created a great event with the Coldest Artist Live Shows.  They are to be commended for putting together a great show with artists who are creative, unique, and are able to appeal to the masses.  Thanks to Gypsy Soul & Soulcial Grind PR for allowing your fave Southern Girl to attend.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

*To see all photos taken at the event, go here.*

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

Way Back Wednesday- The Quiet Storm

Last night I had a bit of insomnia.  Really I was just lazy and didn’t feel like going to bed.  So as I played on my laptop, I was listening to the Quiet Storm on various stations in the DMV.  I have to admit part of the reason I wasn’t going anywhere was because I was having too much fun listening to the radio, despite the fact a certain station continued to play the same songs over and over again…but I digress.  Today’s post will be some of my favorite songs from the Quiet Storm.  If you are easily seduced or distracted, you may want to listen to these when you get home.

First up, anything by Jodeci is great…well, from the first 2 albums.  I could listen to K-Ci and JoJo and look at DeVante Swing and Mr. Dalvin all day.  I have a ton of Jodeci songs I love, but “Cry For You” is one of my absolute favorites.

I love SWV.  One of my favorite songs is “Right Here”, but one of the best Quiet Storm songs is “Rain On Me”.

Not too far back, but Floetry was one of my favorite groups.  And this song never gets old.

Despite his cheating on Halle Berry, I am in love with Eric Benet.  I remember going to sleep to this song as a freshman in high school (or was I in middle school???).  Regardless, this is when Eric stole my heart. 

Lastly, is Mary J.  It’s funny, I’m not a big fan on MJB, but this is one of my all-time favorite songs.  Go figure.

I had you going way back, didn’t I?!?!  What are some of your favorite Quiet Storm songs?  I’ve made myself now want to purchase “Diary of a Mad Band”.  (I’ll be going to amazon.com soon!)  Happy Humpday, and until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Way Back Wednesday- What Happened To…

Yes, I know this is supposed to be a hip hop WBW post, but I’ve been listening to an artist that blew up when she first came on the scene but had a hard fall.  After not only listening to her last album but singing to EVERY song, I’ve realized that we haven’t heard from her in a minute and have pondered what happened to her.   Wondering who the artist is?  Of course you are.  Well, it’s none other than Amy Winehouse.

Amy Winehouse was the second coming of Teena Marie.  She could SANG, was soulful, and had a very retro sound.  Winning five Grammys, Amy was on her way to the top.  Heck she was at the top!  Then legal trouble, drug and alcohol abuse, and run-ins with the law caused this singer to (attempt to) leave the limelight.  Paparazzi followed her EVERYWHERE, to the point that she had absolutely NO privacy!  Very few have had such a tragic, long, hard fall such as Winehouse. 

She did attend rehab for two weeks, got a divorce, and is apparently back on the right track.  It was reported in July of last year that she was set to create a group with ?uestlove from The Roots.  But due to Amy having visa issues, the supergroup is on hold.  (I think that would be an AWESOME collaboration.)  Reports say Winehouse hasn’t been in the studio recently, but I hope she goes back quickly. 

Despite the troubles that she’s had, I think she is an AMAZING artist and needs to get back to making great music!  Are you an Amy Winehouse fan?  If so, what do you love about her?  Was she one of those people that you wondered what happened to them?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!