::GET FAMILIAR:: B.JAMELLE

Friday, July 18, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: B.JAMELLE
by Daniel Harris




In last week's Get Familiar installment, TheSoulcialista's Kike Aluko sat down with Columbia Nights for an amazing interview. During her sit down, the group suggested some artists that we all should be familiar with. Challenge accepted!

Often times in a search for talent, one's own backyard is the last place to be checked. Some of the best talent can be found in your very own backyard and the Washington, DC Metro area is no exception. With artists like Wale and Raheem DeVaughn finding mainstream success, it won't be long before B.Jamelle finds her way into the rotation of music lovers everywhere.

B.Jamelle describes herself as a "writer first and singer third and dreamer in between." Based in our nation's capital, B.Jamelle displays an amazing talent to tell moving stories through song. Her beautiful, sultry voice floats effortlessly over riffs, runs and key changes creating a new, gleaming take on soul music.

In October of 2012, B.Jamelle introduced her fans to what she describes as her "random journal entries put to music." Memoirs From The Thick Of It perfectly showcases her abilities as a singer/songwriter and arranger. It is an open and genuine peek into her life. B.Jamelle says this EP was, "a labor of love written with the listener at heart." Since that time, B.Jamelle has continued to deliver captivating lyrics with stunning vocal ability and a ton of dreamy musical arrangements in between.

Get even more familiar with B.Jamelle and follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook. Support good music and visit B.Jamelle's Bandcamp page.



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::GET FAMILIAR:: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH COLUMBIA NIGHTS

Friday, July 11, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH COLUMBIA NIGHTS

Post by Kike Aluko
Video by Mansa J. 


For this week's Get Familiar Friday, we had the great opportunity to go behind the scenes with Hayling Price, John E. Daise, and Jason Edwards (known collectively as Columbia Nights) at their show at the Black Cat last week. Check out the video interview below to hear more about this group's very distinctive approach to music-making, how they work together, and what songs they just can't get enough of. You will also see some footage from their show, which will give you a sneak peek of their "soultronic" flavor. And, if you're feeling Columbia Nights, they have also given us some great suggestions for who else we should check out, giving us some bonus artists for this Get Familiar Friday:

-- Aaron "AB" Abernathy



Special thanks to Hayling, John & Jason for the interview access!

Make sure to also check out Columbia Nights's feature on Gypsy Soul's Aural Advocacy Campaign HERE


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::GET FAMILIAR:: LIRA

Friday, June 20, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: LIRA
by Daniel Harris



Lira, a multifaceted talent from South Africa has certainly made her mark within her country and across Europe. Often compared to Sade, Lira's awarding winning style has made her a household name overseas. In 2012, Essence Magazine named her one of five unique artists to "change music." With international success under her belt, Lira now has her eyes set on being a fixture in America's music scene. By all accounts, she has what it takes to find much success here in the states.

A talented singer, songwriter, model and actress, Lira began her musical journey at the age of 16. After winning a competition for young singer and songwriters, she began performing both covers and original music.  Over the years, Lira has developed a unique ability to flow between genres like Bossa, R&B and Jazz.

Her latest release Rise Again is described as being a perfect introduction for US fans. Lira's smooth, unique sound, her wide variety of lyrical content and touches of her South African heritage help to tell a complete story of who she is and the mark she plans to make stateside. Rise Again is inspirational, romantic, upbeat and though provoking, all at the same time. It really showcases Lira's complete spectrum as an artist.

If you are in the Baltimore area, you will have an amazing opportunity to experience Lira's artistry first hand. Lira will be performing at the Baltimore Soundstage on June 24th. Rise Again is available now on iTunes and Amazon.
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::RECAP:: EAR CANDY FEAT DONTAE WINSLOW & THE WINSLOW DYNASTY

Thursday, June 19, 2014
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::RECAP:: EAR CANDY FEAT DONTAE WINSLOW & THE WINSLOW DYNASTY
Post by Nakera Lee
Photos by Nick Fullen


As the saying goes, “You never know where you’re going, until you know where you come from.” That statement was resonated in a room full of enthused fans, long time friends, and family members who all anticipated the soulful, sultry, and centric sounds of Dontae Winslow and the Winslow Dynasty with host MonokiaNance and DJ Lil Mic.  

On Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at Teavolve located in scenic area of Harbor East in Baltimore, MD, Gypsy Soul Entertainment hosted it’s signature event Ear Candy series. From the beginning to the end, Dontae Winslow and his beautiful wife Mishica Winslow captivated the audience with their Hip Hop Jazz ensemble taking the crowd back to the days when feel good Baltimore house music was in full effect.




For those who are not sure, we’re here to help you #GetFamiliar. The WinslowDynasty group is a music group from Baltimore, MD with a mission to change the world and inspire a renaissance in creative art. Dontae Winslow is a featured member on trumpet/production and vocals, while Mashica Winslow is a featured member who lends her angelic vocals/songwriting and stellar arranging abilities. Their formidable alliance comprises styles of Jazz, Soul, Urban Poetry (Hip-Hop) and Rhythm and Blues music.


Between the versatility in their artistry and the relatable content in their musical projects, it is safe to say that Dontae Winslow and the Winslow Dynasty is creating an atmosphere that allows individuals of all kind to cultivate their inner being and that creates a sense of appreciation for self in the same breath. 



One of the most memorable moments of the night came as the Winslow’s performed their track Blaxploitation and Revolution. This particular song not only reached the masses for it’s up tempo beat, but touched all onlookers in the room who could sincerely relate to the message behind the track. 




With a Harlem-Renaissance feel and Dontae Winslow on trumpet, the crowd was quickly moved to their feet in celebration and appreciation of their ancestry. This dynamic duo has truly brought back the essence of real jazz to modern music so we can only imagine the powerful forces they become with the addition of their son. 

To say that Dontae Winslow and the Winslow Dynasty did a great job is not enough to amount to the sparks and flames that they left on the dance floor and in the hearts of the crowd even after their set was complete. Born and raised in the City of Baltimore has truly helped to set the tone for the Winslow’s and one thing that remains tried and true is that this dynasty is just getting started. 



I would be remised if I didn't mention the awesome Urban Ballroom dance workshop lead in the beginning of the event by Milton Kent. He is working hard to bring back a sophisticated sexiness to the dance floor and the audience and participants loved it.

For more information on Dontae Winslow and the Winslow Dynasty, please visit their website.
Enter The Dynasty can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon. 

To view more photos from the event please click HERE
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::GET FAMILIAR:: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH AARON "AB" ABERNATHY

Friday, June 13, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH AARON "AB" ABERNATHY

Post by Kike Aluko
Video by Mansa J. & Brittany Mays


For this week's Get Familiar Friday, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Aaron "AB" Abernathy at his Soul Session show with band Nat Turner at Bohemian Caverns last week. Check out his insightful interview below, and find out about his journey as an artist, where he gets his motivation from, and what really matters to him. You will also hear some soulful snippets from the band's soundcheck, which sounded just as awesome as the real show. And for another extra treat, check out some of the other artists mentioned in the video -- just in case Aaron's voice leaves your ears wanting more new musical talent:

-- Muhsinah
-- Rashad

Special thanks to Aaron and his Abernathy family team (Anthony & Anise) for the interview access!

Make sure to also check out Aaron's feature on Gypsy Soul's Aural Advocacy Campaign HERE
     

           
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::HEADPHONE JUNKIE:: A COUPLE FRIENDS BY KINDRED THE FAMILY SOUL

Monday, June 9, 2014
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::HEADPHONE JUNKIE:: A COUPLE FRIENDS BY KINDRED THE FAMILY SOUL
By Daniel Harris

Real still sells. Entertainment, as a whole, has become full of people living fake lives, perpetuating false notions and stereotypes and selling people on pipe dreams. For Kindred The Family Soul, "real" remains an important part of their veteran career.

3 years after the release of Love Has No Recession, the husband and wife singing, songwriting and production team is gearing up for the release of their 4th studio album, A Couple FriendsThis album is a fresh break from much of today's top selling monotony. Real lyrics, relatable situations, applicable advice accompany the classic Philly soul sound that helped make Kindred one of today's premier duos. 

One of the standout tracks, Everybody's Hustling is a smooth and groovy ode to old school, straightforward soul music. Filled with real life lyrics and loads of encouraging words, this song is a proper push in the right direction for many. A line like "Credit score may not be high. Don't let that be the reason why, you don't give things that extra try" is enough to keep any listener striving for their dreams. (It really encouraged this reviewer, that's for sure!)

Perhaps one of the more endearing moments of this album features a piano solo from the incomparable Valerie Simpson on the album's title track. Listening A Couple Friends gives the audience an open and honest look into what is at the core of Kindred's relationship, friendship.

Never Loved You More is a trip down memory lane in many respects. A very Lou Rawls-esque sound is the perfect platform for Kindred to flashback on a love that has survived the test of time. This tune is enough to make even the most cynical very hopeful.

Real life, love and situations still sell. A Couple Friends is a very firm indication that real still has a place, even in today's manufactured entertainment industry. The album comes out Tuesday, June 10 and it should definitely be added to your collection.


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::GET FAMILIAR:: SAVE A DOPE BOY - HONORING OOH OF BROWN F.I.S.H.

Friday, June 6, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: SAVE A DOPE BOY - HONORING OOH OF BROWN F.I.S.H.

Post by Soulcialista
Photos by Nick Fullen



This week the Baltimore music community and music as a whole, lost an artists who saved and touched the lives of many far beyond the scope of music. We at Gypsy Soul want to celebrate his life by getting you familiar with a man who did much build, sustain, and save a city. With humility, we bring to you our knowledge of a great man, father, son, musician, activist, teacher (and the attributes can go on and on) that did so much for so many people. 

OOH aka Yo Slick aka Derrick Jones may have first touched many in my generation through music. I personally remember meeting him and hearing his music over a decade ago on the campus of Morgan State University as he performed with his good friend and brother Jahiti. Together they performed as BrownF.I.S.H. and made music, that for me, was part of the Morgan experience. They were also a staple in the spoken word and performance scene and had the respect of artists and musicians not just in Baltimore but up and down the coast as well as across the country. The song that stuck with me most was "I DO" and for me, that was his theme song every time I saw him out and about.




For many others in the younger generation not only were they privy to his music but were educated by him.  He taught the youth in Baltimore City Public Schools for ten years and developed a movement  #SAVEADOPEBOY that impacted a great deal of urban males who wanted other options besides the street. Through a program called YAP (Youth Advocate Programs) OOH provided those options by working with employers to hire these "dope boys" and provide income and opportunity they were not able to discover on their own. Due to certain restrictions of YAP many of the youth wanted ways out but had not yet been caught or convicted of a crime and therefore were not eligible. With the single "DOPE BOY" OOH raised funds and provided his own personal money to assist where YAP was lacking. AND THATS JUST WHAT WE KNOW HE DID...many of his good deeds, sacrifices, and triumphs may never be known but what we do know is that he made a colossal impact on Baltimore, the youth and otherwise. 




Wednesday, June 4, 2014 family, friends, and fans gathered to celebrate his life with a great tribute performance and candle light vigil. For most, this gathering seemed like a Warm Wednesdays, Organic Soul, Morgan State, Coppin State reunion. We saw many that we hadn't seen in a while, we saw friends that we had no clue had a connection or was impacted by OOH, and we saw music makers and art creators cancelling plans and appointments to be in a space filled with love for a awesome man.


We send our deepest condolences to his mother, family, and close friends. We hope that by getting familiar with some brief aspects of the life of Derrik Jones aka OOH aka Yo Slick it will inspire you to #SAVEADOPEBOY or at least work so hard in your community, in your gifts and your passions that you leave a legacy as beautiful and inspiring as OOH!




To view more photos by Nick Fullen of the tribute and vigil please click HERE.







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::GET FAMILIAR:: tUnE-yArDs

Friday, May 2, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: tUnE-yArDs
by Daniel Harris

When an artist is given the space to just and create what naturally comes to them, what tends to result is a beautiful product of self expression and a genuine love for the craft and art of music. 

If record sales and singles for Top 40 radio and the pressure to feed the industry were to be taken away, artists would be left with a blank canvas and the freedom to fill it with beautiful art. For tUnE-yArDs, waiting for these more than ideal conditions isn't an option!

Merrill Garbus has performed under the tUnE-yArDs pseudonym since 2006. A multi-instrumentalist, Garbus seemingly creates in a space void of all typical industry destractions and requirements. The combination of digital recorders, mixing software, unusual percussion, guitars and ukuleles, Garbus seamlessly turns the chaotic into a beautiful experimental sound. This "lo-fi experimental folk" only enhances her very powerful and soulful voice.

For her upcoming album Nikki Nack, Garbus translates her recent experiences in Haiti learning vodou drums and dancing and her more stress free creative environment. In an interview with The Guardian, Merrill says, "I've been making an out-of-control mess...Sometimes it feels like a wild beast I cannot begin to tame." Nikki Nack is set to be released May 6th.

Get even more familiar with tUnE-yArDs by checking previous releases W H O K I L L and Bird-Brains, both available on iTunes and Amazon. Be sure to follow tUnE-yArDs on Twitter and like her on Facebook.




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::GET FAMILIAR:: BOP ALLOY

Friday, April 25, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: BOP ALLOY
by Daniel Harris



Hip-Hop is a constantly evolving genre. As new generations begin to develop their voice and sound through Hip-Hop, new ideas and concepts start to become prominent within the genre. One concept that can never change for Hip-Hop purists is an element of "real."

Classic acts like De La Soul and NWA to newer acts like Kendrick Lamar and HISD, all prove that the "real" should be present no matter the style. For Bop Alloy, the real is a defining element to their sound.

Individually, emcee Substantial and producer Marcus D can hold their own in Hip-Hop. Substantial, a native of Maryland, crafts honest, sage-like lyrics. Lyrically, Substantial is very reminiscent of an era in Hip-Hop where emcees actually had something to say. Substantial creates lyrics that are both witty and thought provoking. 

Seattle producer, Marcus D is a master at blending smooth melodies with hard hitting Hip-Hop beats. What sets Marcus D apart from other producers is his ability to blend at the most simple level. There aren't tons of effects in his productions, a sort of throwback to Hip-Hop's early days of dope samples and straightforward beats.

Together as Bop Alloy, Marcus D and Substantial combine the best of what makes them great as individual artists ( fluid flows, and honest lyrics over hypnotic melodies and pounding drums) to create a sound that is all their own. And while their sound make evoke thoughts of Hip-Hop days gone by, the group says they "haven't set out to be the next group with a throwback sound, but to "make quality music that anybody, from any walk of life can enjoy."

You can hear Bop Alloy LIVE in Baltimore, this Tuesday (April 29th) at Ear Candy Live!

 
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::GET FAMILIAR:: BOOMscat

Friday, April 18, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: BOOMscat
By Daniel Harris




In today's cookie cutter music scene, originality is a refreshing element. For any artists to go against the grain of what is acceptable and popular, essentially jeopardizing mainstream notoriety to preserve their art, is very welcoming. For BOOMscat, originality is really all that matters.

The group, known officially as The Peace and Body Roll Duo: BOOMscat, has taken a very familiar and popular genre (R&B) and stripped it down to its bare bones. Asha Santee's minimalist approach to her arrangements and compositions provide the perfect foundation for Jennifer "Patience" Rowe's powerful voice. The simplicity of their sound allows the audience to experience the full texture and passion of their lyrics. 

Their latest live release, The West Wing Project, exemplifies their unique style. From the first track, Morethananything, Asha's melodic arrangement draws the audience into Jennifer's transparent and impassioned lyrics and helps to set to the tone for the over all experience of the EP. 

The duo self-describes themselves as "duo of women changing lives one note at a time." We can assure you that if these ladies keep their present formula to R&B, lives will continue to be changed.

Get even more familiar with The Peace and Body Roll Duo: BOOMscat and follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook

If you are looking for an opportunity to hear them live, BOOMscat will be one of our featured guests at Ear Candy Live, April 29th at Teavolve. Visit our Facebook page for more information!
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::BEHIND THE SCENES:: HOLYCHILD at Rock & Roll Hotel

Monday, April 7, 2014
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::BEHIND THE SCENES:: HOLYCHILD At Rock & Roll Hotel
Post by Kike Aluko
Photos & video by Broady Brown


We can't get enough of HOLYCHILD here at Gypsy Soul, an up & coming brat pop band that got their start right here at George Washington University in DC. They were kind enough to let us talk with them after their set at the Rock & Roll Hotel this Saturday where they gave us some more insight on their band, their inspirations, and what this thing called "brat pop" is. Check out the awesome interview below, and be sure to stay on the lookout for this group. With SXSW and CMJ already under their belt, they are going places! Many thanks to Seth & Beth on HOLYCHILD'S team for the interview access!





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::GET FAMILIAR:: COMMERCIAL FAVORITES

Friday, April 4, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: COMMERCIAL FAVORITES
by Daniel Harris




For music lovers, there is no limit to the lengths we will go to discover new (or new to us) music. I am often asked where I find some of the artists that I am into. Most of the time, it's using the related or similar artist feature on some of my favorite streaming radio apps. However, on a few occasions, I find some of the best artists while watching commercials.

Generally, they are a two and a half minute interruption to whatever it is I was watching. But I have found that in the midst of being sold on sneakers and dog food, there are some music gems driving that advertisement. Here are five commercials with artists I feel you all should be familiar with.

1. "Blake and Drain." While advertising the GOAT's spectacular line of sneakers (bias opinion very much intended), Jordan's "Blake and Drain" commercial featured an R&B classic by James and Bobby Purify called "I'm Your Puppet." In 1966, this song reached number 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. While the Motown music machine was in full swing durning that time, James and Bobby's uniquely soulful sound still managed to find its place in music.


2. "Southern Comfort|Shampoo|Whatever's Comfortable" It's not easy to be a man, in a hair salon, getting a shampoo. Somehow though, this cowboy boot wearing gentleman and his awesome mustache manage to pull it off. Soul legend Lou Johnson's "The Beat" is the perfect song to drive absolute comfort. While it didn't receive as much commercial success as some of Lou Johnson's other songs, The Beat still hold its own among a plethora of soul songs.

3. "Find Your Travel Companion" Not a particularly memorable ad, Expedia.com's "Find Your Travel Companion" used a song by Electric Guest called "Waves." Combing elements of soft rock, soul, funk and pop, Electric Guest deliver a sound that is truly unforgettable.




4.
"Plastic Perfection" I honestly believe that if the good folks over at Apple weren't cranking out some of the best technology we've ever seen, (Yes, more bias!) they would all be incredible DJs. It's nothing new for Apple to use sort of obscure and fresh talent to promote their products. The iPhone 5c "Plastic Perfection" commercial featured a smooth, near funk driven tune by Sleigh Bells called "Rill Rill". As an experimental pop duo, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss  aren't afraid to deliver a unique sound, very different from what is presented in today's pop music.



5. "Southern Comfort|Dance|Whatever's Comfortable" Dancing is probably one of the freest forms of expression in our human culture. However, many are held back by the fear of not having proper skills and looking silly. Not this guy! In fact, he is so comfortable, he gives us six incredible shots of him workin' it out! Marcos Valle, Brazilian pop legend, revolutionized the bossa nova genre by fusing elements of jazz, funk and soul into an already interesting style of music. His 1983 hit "Estrelar" is the perfect backdrop to this guy's killer moves.

What about you? Do you have any commercials that have opened you up to new (or new to you) artists? Help us all to get familiar by sharing them in the comment box below.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: Hawk House

Friday, March 28, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAWK HOUSE
by Daniel Harris



Hip Hop is huge business for the music industry. In each generation, there has been a number of artists who refuse to follow the trends and flavors of the month. As rap began to go mainstream in the 80s and early 90s, groups like NWA, Public Enemy and the Native Tongues collective decided they're good where they were. When ice rap came about in the early 2000s, The Roots, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Talib Kweli said they'd never do what they do. As the current Hip Hop climate is comprised of molly poppers and swag rappers, Hawk House is determined to give the people something very different.

In the spirit of those Hip Hop pioneers, the group, comprised of brothers/MCs Sam and Eman and vocalist Demae, strives to return their listeners to dope lyrics and near simple production. (Most of which is handled by producer and DJ Eric Lau) Sam and Eman's chill, laid back flow combined with Demae's soulful voice, meld perfectly!

Last year, Hawk House released A Little More Elbow Room and was (self) described as a "journey through lyrics, melodies and vocals." Truthfully, that description is not a stretch and this journey is one that lends itself to being traveled over and over. It has been said that Hawk House is "the most interesting thing to happen to UK rap since Estelle." It can really be argued that once more people get familiar with this trio, they will be the best thing that has happened to Hip Hop!

Get even more familiar with Hawk House and download their album A Little More Elbow Room.
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::RECAP:: MARSHA AMBROSIUS LIVE AT THE BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE

Monday, March 24, 2014
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::RECAP:: MARSHA AMBROSIUS LIVE AT THE BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE
Post by Daniel Harris
Photos by LaVan Anderson



It has been 12 years since "The Songstress" aka Marsha Ambrosius released her first album as one half of the soulful duo Floetry. But as each and every concert goer found out this past Friday at the Baltimore Soundstage, there is no stopping Marsha Ambrosius!

The Baltimore Soundstage once again proved that it is a premier venue and the perfect host for Marsha's Friends and Lovers Tour. With incredible sight lines at every angle in the venue and great sound, the soundstage was an amazing way to take in the evening's artists. Before Marsha Ambrosius took the stage, her tour provided an opportunity for Baltimore to get familiar with a few up and coming artists.

First to take the stage was Motown recording group Mprynt. When you are an R&B group on the Motown label, there is a lot to live up to. Although there were some signs that they were fairly new to performing on this level, this group of four managed and represented the Motown name very well. After covering artists like Jay Z, Tupac and Blackstreet, Mprynt performed "Don't Hurt Me." A decently put together tune, was a good way for the crowd to get a sense of who this group is and their potential to be successful in the music business.

Next to perform was Jade Alston. From her first song "Good Times", it was very clear that Jade was a unique artist. Jade's blend of R&B, soul, alternative and folk was a true testament that music really knows no boundaries. After being diagnosed with a serious heart condition, Jade Alston purposed to do the music that she loved and that spoke to her most. Her sound is a very polished one, which is the perfect vehicle to drive her very open and straightforward lyrics.

Both Jay Hayden and GoGo Morrow are no strangers to the big stage and their respective
performances made that very evident. Both Jay and GoGo gave great energy and connected very well with the audience. Sharing the stage with artists like Deborah Cox, Tank and Eric Roberson, Hayden's laid back acoustic set gave the audience a great opportunity to see why he has been able to share the stage with so many talented artists. GoGo Morrow, former background singer and dancer for Lady Gaga, gave the crowd a high energy performance that was the perfect lead in to Marsha Ambrosius.


The anticipation for Marsha reached it's highest point yet and just as it was about to boil over, she took the stage to an eruption of cheers. Marsha Ambrosius knows how to give a great performance. The sold out venue was not only treated to Marsha's incredible vocal ability but also some very candid moments. Each time she chose to reflect on some moment of her love life, there was the sense that it was much more than a show. It was a way for her to really work some things out and share her experiences.

Marsha is a very clever and truly ingenious artist. How she effortlessly transitions from "Late Night, Early Morning" to Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" was classic! Her self produced take on the Sade classic "Stronger than Pride" perfectly blends the smooth Sade's familiar smooth sound with heavy Hip Hop influence. (Jeru the Damaja's "Come Clean" being the base of her interpretation) 17 years removed from it first being penned and 9 years since recording it, "Butterflies" is still a crowd favorite. With both Marsha and the sold out crowd singing, it became one huge chorus singing those very memorable and relatable lyrics.

If an opportunity presents itself to check out the Friends and Lovers Tour, it would be foolish to pass it up.

Our thanks to the Baltimore Soundstage for the media access and photographer LaVan Anderson for the wonderful photos.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: #DiscoveredatSXSW Edition

Friday, March 21, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: #DISCOVEREDATSXSW EDITION
by Kike Aluko



One of the best things about the SXSW Music Festival is the opportunity to find new great artists that you've never heard of before.

CHECK THIS OUT for a more in-depth summary of event highlights from the whole week.

For this week's edition of Get Familiar Fridays, I bring to you my Top 5 favorite discoveries from SXSW 2014:

1. Artist Name: Mø
    Genre: Electronic / Pop
    Artist Origin: Denmark
    Why I Like Her: Spice Girls. Enough said.


2. Artist Name: The Kite Street Tangle
    Genre: Electronic / Alternative
    Artist Origin: Australia
    Why I Like Him: His smooth Sampha vibe.



3. Artist Name: Chet Faker
    Genre: Electronic / Soul / Jazz
    Artist Origin: Australia
    Why I Like Him: Blackstreet. Again, enough said.



4. Artist Name: HOLYCHILD
    Genre: Brat Pop
    Artist Origin: George Washington University, Washington, DC
    Why I Like Them: This self made duo formed right in our backyard at George Washington
    University & their music really does a lot for my inner teenage girl's ears (I fully expect to hear one of their
    songs perfectly placed in a teenybopper movie very soon).



5. Artist Name: Mia Dyson
    Genre: Blues
    Artist Origin: Australia
    Why I Like Her: Strong & beautiful voice that sounds GREAT, especially when paired with male
    harmonies live.



For my full list of SXSW 2014 favorites, check out my Spotify playlist below. Hope you enjoy!

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::RECAP:: SXSW 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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::RECAP:: SXSW 2014
by Kike Aluko

I had the AMAZING opportunity to attend South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014 in Austin, TX for the first time last week, and boy was it an awesome experience!! With hundreds and possibly thousands of events to choose from throughout the week (many of them free), it was an overwhelmingly exciting event to be a part of. Here are some of the highlights:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 started with PledgeMusic's #PMAVillage event at The Blackheart where I saw up & coming brat pop duo (formed at DC's own George Washington University) HolyChild and Danish star Mø perform their hearts out. That evening was Haggar Clothing's "Slacks are Back" event at Clive Bar, where I saw the beautifully talented Emily King perform, along with Aloe Blacc who closed out the show. 

                                   HolyChild                                                      Aloe Blacc

Most of Thursday, March 13 was spent at the Hype Hotel where (among others) Australian artist Chet Faker and Baltimore's own Future Islands (pictured right) performed. Chet Faker's electronically smooth cover of Blackstreet's "No Diggity" was featured in a 2013 Super Bowl commercial. That evening I hopped over to Seth Meyers' food truck for some free Shake Shack to top the night off right.

Friday, March 14 was jam packed, starting with Universal Music Group's showcase at Palm Door where I saw Swedish band Little Dragon perform quite a few hits. After that I made a quick pit stop at the Pandora Discovery Den inside The Gatsby to pick up some free makeup thanks to Revlon. Then I headed to the super popular & exclusive Fader Fort presented by Converse to participate in lots of fun & interactive promotions including photo & video booths, signature walls, and Converse Red Light Radio sessions. 

Elle King
After getting my fill of the Fader Fort fun, I passed by Kelis's food truck (she's apparently a certified chef!) to grab some more free bites. She was cleverly promoting her upcoming album, titled Food, and I kept wishing I would get a milkshake to go with the duck confit sliders I got that perfectly hit the spot after a full day. In the evening I headed over to the SoundExchange Sessions at Stubb's BBQ where I saw a variety of performances including Wild Cub, American Authors, London Grammar, Young the Giant, and Elle King (who is Rob Schneider's daughter and has a surprisingly powerful voice that she used to cover R. Kelly's "Ignition Remix!")

The Kite String Tangle
On Saturday, March 15, I ended my SXSW experience on a high note at the biggest showcase of Australian music in the USA: The Aussie BBQ hosted by Sounds Australia at Maggie Mae's. In addition to a great huge selection of free food including burgers, nachos, enchiladas & more, I saw shows by two artists that I really enjoyed: up & coming Electronic artist The Kite String Tangle and blues singer-songwriter Mia Dyson.

Overall, the SXSW experience is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED between the free food, free events, live shows, and so much more. It's so great to be surrounded by people who love music & who are willing to help you jam to the shows the best you can. It's a wonderful way to discover new up & coming artists that you haven't heard before, and the best part is how accessible & willing to talk those artists are. There is never a shortage of opportunities to have a fun time grooving to some great live music. So much so that I definitely plan to make a return trip to Austin again!

For a list of my favorite discoveries from SXSW 2014, click HERE.

Before ending this post, I must acknowledge the tragic car accident that happened in the early morning of March 13, 2014. We must keep all those affected in our thoughts and prayers, and monetary donations to support relief services can be made to the SXSW Cares Fund.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAILE SUPREME

Friday, March 14, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAILE SUPREME
by Daniel Harris


Insightful, wise and passionate. These three words can be used to effective describe the work and music of Haile Supreme. While many of his contemporaries have chosen to water (and dumb) down their content, Supreme meets the challenge of blending savvy lyrical content with an original, edgy sound.

Relatively new to the live performance scene, Haile Supreme is a talented singer/songwriter with a style that is both eclectic and unique. But when you share a name with an Ethiopian emperor and huge figure in Rastafarian culture, being unique is almost a prerequisite.

Supreme's sound just isn't about experimental production. He embeds thoughtful and very introspective lyrical content within his music. On his latest release, Liquid Temple, Haile Supreme touches on a variety of topics including insightful teachings from his mother to being a spectator to violence.  It is this very distinct blend that sets Haile Supreme apart from the rest of the pack.

Get even more familiar with Haile Supreme and download is latest album, Liquid Temple.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: EGO ELLA MAY

Friday, March 7, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: EGO ELLA MAY
by Daniel Harris



Creativity, imagination and balance are elements that have seemingly been washed away in music's mainstream. It is a difficult sight to see when this current formula and system of industry success gets repeated over and over, producing more of the same. There is hope though. Ego Ella May is hope.

With her infectious and inventive sound, Ego Ella May is making her mark on music in a huge way. Born and bred in London, this singer, songwriter, producer and self-taught guitarist is not boxed in by the music industry's formula. Being influenced by a vast variety of musical styles like Electro, Jazz, R&B and Soul, Ego Ella May destroys the system and creates in a space free of limits and void of preconceived notions.

Breathing Underwater, Ego Ella May's latest release, is like listening to the future. A future where that formula of industry success is rewritten and artists are left alone to be as expressive and innovative as possible. This 7 track offering blends her effortless vocal ability, with non-watered down lyrics and imaginative productions creating a unique sound that she has dubbed "Future Soul."

Breathing Underwater and Ego Ella May's musical and lyrical versatility are all testaments that the future of soul is in very good hands.

Get even more familiar with Ego Ella May and watch her video for "Love Hard."


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