R&B

R&B

"I can see my name written across the sky," Raphael Saadiq sings on "Go To Hell," from his stunning new album, Stone Rollin', as a B3 organ swells, cymbals dance, and a fluttering string section spirals towards the heavens. "Victory is near... I can feel it getting closer, closer every day."   Since Saadiq's early days the Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and record producer has carried the torch for old school R&B. In addition to releasing critically acclaimed albums like Ray Rayand Instant Vintage (nominated for five GRAMMYs), for the last two decades Saadiq has worked behind the scenes as a celebrated producer, collaborator and sideman for big-time acts like D'Angelo, John Legend, Joss Stone, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder, the Bee Gees, The Isley Brothers, Mary J. Blige, TLC, Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, Earth, Wind and Fire and the list goes on and on. Now, at the peak of his creativity, Saadiq is finally ready to soak up the spotlight alone with Stone Rollin'. A few years ago Saadiq signed a deal with Columbia Records. "When I first got the deal with Columbia they knew I had produced some records, but they didn't know me as a solo act," he explains. But when label guru Rick Rubin paid a visit to Saadiq's home studio, he was blown away by what he'd heard. "He told me to never box myself in," says Saadiq. "I just have to be myself. You've got to follow your own path. I've always gone down the road less traveled, but now I do it even more aggressively." His instincts have paid dividends. Saadiq's debut album for Columbia, 2008's The Way I See It, which boasted four Billboard R&B chart singles and was nominated for three GRAMMY Awards including Best R&B Album. "It's definitely surprised me how far things have come," he says.  Stone Rollin' - written and produced by Saadiq, who also plays bass, mellotron, keys, guitar, percussion and even drums on most of the tracks -- is even more powerful, urgent and bold than it's predecessor. The new songs are firmly planted in classic R&B, and nod to Saadiq's heroes like Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Little Walter and Sly Stone. However Saadiq offers his own contemporary spin, one born out of a combination of his recent touring experiences, as well as inspiration derived from indie acts that hold regular rotation in his ipod."I still want to be a throwback artist, but with a futuristic twist," he says. After a memorable powwow with Rick Rubin, Saadiq felt emboldened, vowing to pursue his solo work with no compromises. This is the reason, he feels, why The Way I See It struck such a universal chord. With that album's release, Raphael Saadiq truly made his mark as a touring artist. Fans, new and old, came in droves to see Saadiq perform at festival shows throughout Europe and the States -- including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, South By Southwest and Voodoo Experience, and a recent opening slot on the Dave Matthews Band’s amphitheater tour. Stone Rollin' was born on the road, and recorded at his studio complex the Blakeslee Recording Company  in Los Angeles, just around the corner from the Hollywood Bowl. "I damn near live in that studio," he says. Saadiq wrote the stomping opening track, "Heart Attack" while in France, inspired by Sly Stone jams like "Dance To the Music" and "M'Lady" (Saadiq also grew up in the East Bay, where the Family Stone was born.) "I wanted the album to start out with that sense of urgency, that global soul and rock & roll feel," he says. "After having so much fun out there touring, I really wanted to make an album that I could go out there and play." Stone Rollin' continues with the stunning standout track, "Go To Hell," featuring his studio squad of musicians who are melodically complimented by an angelic choir intoning the mantra, "Let Love Keep Us Together," and a vocal ad-lib by Saadiq that recalls Seventies Stevie Wonder. "I'm just screaming my feelings," says Saadiq.  Stone Rollin' does feature it's share of special guests. Robert Randolph dropped by Blakeslee to lay down some nasty steel guitar on "Day Dreams." Saadiq opens the track -- evocative of a Dixieland rag. Also guesting on "Just Don't" is one of Saadiq indie rock favorites, Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano, from the band Little Dragon. "She put some great vocals on top," he says. "On that song I also had the chance to play with one of my idols, Larry Dunn from Earth, Wind and Fire. He played piano and took a long, epic Moog solo. That's why the song is so long, because I wanted to give him the space and the respect on my record that he truly deserves." Saadiq had Chuck Berry's feel-good rock & roll on his mind when he wrote "Radio." "I always wanted to do something like Chuck," says Saadiq.  Another standout track on the collection is "Good Man," which brilliantly blends golden age Soul with a killer hip-hop hook, co-written and sung by upstart Taura Stinson. "I'm going to have a great time playing this album live," says Saadiq. Until then, he's spending every day in preparation. After he wakes up in the morning he bikes down to the local high school for some sprints around the track. "To get my wind up, ready for the tour." "I don't know where the title Stone Rollin' came from," says Saadiq. "It just came out of my mouth one day, but it just made sense with where I'm at right now. I feel like I'm stone rollin', like I'm ready to rock. I'm ready to go. Throw me anywhere and I'll make it happen. I feel really good about this album."
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Mac Ayres is a self-taught producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist from Long Island, NY. Drawing inspiration from the likes of D'Angelo, J.Dilla, and Stevie Wonder-- Mac has created a sound that pays homage to the greats while also remaining distinctly his own. 
 In the summer of 2017, Mac released his debut EP "Drive Slow" (debuted on his label ARIMÉ). The release was met with critical acclaim and landed him on platforms such as Billboard, Complex, Pigeons and Planes, BBC, and Tidal Rising. Now, after a year of touring and writing, the 21-year-old artist has set his eyes on the release of his debut studio album "Something to Feel".
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To Fantasia, life and music can never be separated. So when the 26-year-old, eight-time Grammy nominee titled her third album Back to Me, she was making her current goals, both creative and personal, crystal clear."When I was on American Idol," she says, "people fell in love with the young lady who took her shoes off to come onstage, who spoke her mind and didn't hold anything back. They could relate because whatever I was feeling at the time, I put that in my music."But after doing two albums and having the chance to do some acting," she continues, "I think I allowed people to influence me and change me. As an artist, you're always asking, 'What's the new sound? What's gonna bump in the clubs? What's hot?,' when really, all it takes is you being yourself. What makes us special as artists is when we do us. So I wanted to get back to that Fantasia-the young lady who sang from her soul and didn't worry about what anyone else has to say. You have to follow your heart, and most of the time when you do that, you win."Fantasia Monique Barrino knows a few things about winning. Following her triumph in the 2004 edition of American Idol, the song "I Believe" made her the first recording artist in history to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts with a debut single. Her album Free Yourself was certified platinum, while the follow-up, 2006's Fantasia, featured the #1 R&B hit "When I See U."Back to Me, which includes writing and producing contributions from such hitmakers as Ne-Yo, Claude Kelly, and Rico Love, may be Fantasia's first new music in over three years, but that time has hardly been quiet. For a full year, she took on the role of Celie in the Broadway musical The Color Purple (she is also cast in the forthcoming film adaptation). She published her controversial memoir, Life is Not a Fairy Tale and starred as herself in the Lifetime Network adaptation of the New York Times bestseller. Most recently, following a series of personal and professional challenges, she returned to the spotlight with the VH1 reality series Fantasia for Real. So when it came time to focus on her music again, she was itching to go."When we started recording," says Fantasia, "it had been so long for me, and I must have had about 50 or 60 songs. I had kind of taken a break-not by choice, but because so many things were going on with my life, with management, with accountants, everything was in an uproar. So I just started to go in the booth with anybody that would let me in. We went for months, in Atlanta, New York, LA, working with a lot of people."After going through so many songs, though, I realized that what we were missing was everybody coming into one room, sitting down, and talking about real things, real-life situations. And, of course, I'm always the one to start it off, always the one to put my business on Front Street! But I do that because I feel like your life is your testimony, that's what you're supposed to speak about to help your next-door neighbor or whoever maybe listening. You help them by speaking the truth."The gritty soul of "Move on Me" provided the spark that Fantasia sought. "It gave me that sound that I had been looking for-that Tina Turner feel," she says. "I remember being in the booth and getting that same feeling that I get on stage. That song gave me a push, like OK, here we go, we finally got it.""Move on Me" is one of three soul-drenched songs on Back to Me produced by the team of KP and Malay (along with "Teach Me" and the blistering "The Thrill is Gone," which features Cee-Lo Green). This raw and unexpected side of Fantasia, though, is balanced by cuts like the smoldering "Bittersweet," the album's first official single, and the inspiring, melodic "Even Angels.""When I was on Idol," she says, "we did all types of music, and the whole family would be in the living room watching together. 'Even Angels' is the song that pulls all of those people back in. It's very beautiful, laid-back, something totally different for me."Themes of empowerment and independence run throughout Back to Me, most notably on "I'm Doin' Me" and "Man of the House." The singer says that her experience with the Fantasia For Real series was crucial for her to reach this position of strength."The show was a great thing for me, because I had somewhat disappeared," she says. "I was on the move, touring with Kanye, with Keyshia Cole, and then everything kind of slowed down. There were a lot of business things that were all wrong. I had people asking me, 'Are you singing anymore?' When you've been singing all your life, from age 5, to hear somebody say that was an eye-opener. So with the show, I wanted to let people know what was going on in my world, and see how I was fighting to get it all back."It's more than fitting, then, that after the full journey of Back to Me, following the range and variety of twelve distinctive songs, the final track is the show-stopping anthem "I'm Here," the signature anthem from The Color Purple. "I wanted to give something to everybody on this album," says Fantasia. "I didn't want anyone to say, 'I saw her on Broadway, but I don't listen to her music.' And I do love that song. I did the play for a year, I had a great time, and I'm very honored that I did it. But it was very hard, and knowing I had that song to sing really helped!"With Back to Me, Fantasia is asserting her power, as a singer and as a woman. After a time of struggle and uncertainty, she's writing a new chapter by taking on the greatest challenge of them all: regaining confidence in herself. "There have been a lot of questions, a lot of press - 'Who is she dating? Who is she with? Where is she at?,'" she says. "But I think this album will tell you everything you really need to know. We put our heart into every song."This is my therapy," Fantasia concludes. "Some people do yoga; some people go sit out by the water. My thing is putting my feelings into my music and sharing that with people who are going through some of the same things. Every song on this album is the truth, and that's the best thing for me."
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2018's "Best New Artist" Grammy Award Winning Canadian singer/songwriter and Def Jam Recordings artist Alessia Cara emerged onto the music scene in 2015 with her global anthem "Here." Cara's first release "Here" grabbed the world's attention when it garnered over 500,000 streams on Soundcloud in its first week, going on to become Spotify's Most Viral Song of 2015 selling over 3 million copies. A five-track EP, Four Pink Walls, soon followed before the release of the full-length certified platinum KNOW-IT-ALL. Alessia lent her voice to "How Far I'll Go," the official song for Disney's animated film Moana, penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Her multi-platinum #1 hit single, "Scars to Your Beautiful," is Cara's gut-wrenching take on female identity, on body image and on deleterious behaviors in the name of beauty. "Stay" her #1 hit with Zedd has sold over 2 million copies and has been called the "Song of the Summer." "1-800-273-8255," her most recent #1 smash with Logic went platinum 5x, contributing to her 6 global smash hits and 8.5 billion streams worldwide. She was one of the most streamed new female artist of 2017.Most recently she won the MTV EMA for Best World Stage Performance and released her highly anticipated second album THE PAINS OF GROWING.
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The members of Australian future soul band Hiatus Kaiyote have unveiled Choose Your Weapon (Flying Buddha/Sony Music Masterworks), their most opulent, expansive and ambitious project yet.   In a short time, this quartet has embarked on an odyssey that began in bohemian Melbourne and has taken them to the Grammy Awards and beyond.   Hiatus Kaiyote's story begins with a girl toting a novelty guitar. Bender, as everybody calls him, was hanging out at Gertrude's Brown Couch in Melbourne's groovy inner-suburb of Fitzroy when the striking Nai performed solo. "I didn't know what she was gonna do because she was there with this really whack pink guitar," Bender remembers drolly. "She started the set explaining that her guitar was locked in someone's house and she couldn't get it, so she had to borrow this one. It was like this child's pink shit little nylon guitar. She just started playing and singing and I was like, Whoa, what is this? This is crazy! I was instantly blown away by the voice and the complexity of the tunes. I'd never really heard that combination of elements before. Straight away I was like, Oh, man, I gotta do a band with this girl." He business-carded her post-gig but Nai, having no formal musical background, was initially unsure about collaborating, worried her songs were "a bit weird".  In fact, the fantastically named Hiatus Kaiyote came together over time, its members encountering one another fatefully in various bands, cafés, and share houses. Bender, who'd made it his "mission" to seek out complementary players, found that challenging. Says Nai, "I was ready to give up on the whole band idea, because the musicians were amazing – like, really gifted musicians – but it needed more than that. It needed emotional connection to the music – but with creativity." She retreated into her beloved desert… Hiatus Kaiyote eventually crystallized after the quiet Pez joined, along with his curious roomie Simon. "Once we were all in the same room playing, it was just like, This is what it's supposed to be like!," Nai enthuses. Hiatus Kaiyote jammed on their now Grammy-nominated song ‘Nakamarra’ – which Nai had just penned about a friend devoting herself to working outback with Indigenous Australians. "I still bring in songs," she says, "but we can come up with shit from scratch together – and that's way more rewarding. Usually the best stuff comes out when you're just kinda winging it." Indeed, Hiatus Kaiyote isn't merely a soul/funk/jazz collective – it's a boldly unconventional paradigm, with Nai a singer/songwriter, and Bender, Simon and Moss all instinctive musicians and bedroom producers.   Hiatus Kaiyote issued their acclaimed debut Tawk Tomahawk, of authentic homemade grooves, via Bandcamp – and shot a mesmerising bushland video for ‘Nakamarra’. Meanwhile, they started to attract influential industry fans starthing with Taylor McFerrin whom they supported at Melbourne's historic Esplanade Hotel ("The Espy"). Simon recalls, "We got off stage and he was just like, What the hell was that?" The Brooklyn jazz-hopper championed Hiatus Kaiyote in an interview by the blog From Paris, which later profiled the band. Taylor also shared their music with BBC tastemaker DJ Gilles Peterson (they'd later win "Best Breakthrough Act" at his Worldwide Awards) and Anthony Valadez at California's KCRW. The Roots' Questlove proclaimed their music "undeniable". "It really went gangbusters," Nai says. Even Prince tweeted about Hiatus Kaiyote.   Salaam Remi, the esteemed producer who's liaised with Amy Winehouse, Nas and The Fugees, determined that Hiatus Kaiyote be the flagship signing to his Sony imprint Flying Buddha. Hiatus Kaiyote repackaged Tawk Tomahawk with a new version of Nakamarra featuring a verse by Q-Tip, the legendary member of A Tribe Called Quest. They subsequently became the first Australian act to receive a Grammy nomination in an R&B category ("Best R&B Performance"). "Just to be propelled into that kind of platform and welcomed into that lineage is validation in itself," Nai muses.  Today, Hiatus Kaiyote present Choose Your Weapon – imagining the future past, and juxtaposing the acoustic and electronic, over 18 tracks and a 70 minute musical adventure. Again self-produced, this sophomore album honors soul music's history while reveling in its experimentation and globalization of sound. This album, in many ways, was born on stage --  "Most bands generally write their album as they're making it, whereas we already had so much material that our fans were familiar with, so we owed it to them to actually document it," Nai states. Nevertheless, the band did freely explore in the studio, serendipity their muse. And the outfit fully utilized their accumulated vintage synthesizer. "The synth is a really interesting bridge between live instrumentation and production because it's electronic, but essentially it's still an instrument," Nai observes. Above all, Hiatus Kaiyote, tracing the missing links between Rotary Connection, J Dilla and Flying Lotus, chart their evolution on Choose Your Weapon. "With our first record, we'd been together six months or a year," Nai says. "So you put a couple of world tours under your belt and then you try to produce a record, it's a whole other thing."  Intense live, ‘Shaolin Monk Motherfunk’ is synth-funk boogie with a subversive prog-rock breakdown. ‘Borderline With My Atoms’ is quiet storm balladry evoking Minnie Riperton. Nai has depicted the serpentine ‘By Fire’ as "a burial song", the former fire-dancer, who lost her father in a house fire, reclaiming the element's life-giving over destructive force. Hiatus Kaiyote approached one of their idols, orchestrator/composor/multi-instumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson to  put his “one man orchestra” on ‘The Lung’. The album's poetic lead single ‘Breathing Underwater’, was conceived for Stevie Wonder, Nai reveals. "All of our icons kept hearing our music – and Stevie's my favorite one. So it was like, What if Stevie hears one [of the songs]? None of them are good enough! We need to write a new one especially for Stevie. That's why I have the key change turnaround – 'cause he's king of that." However, the lyrics tell of something else. "There's so many love songs, but I wanted to make one that was about really simple forms of love that aren't necessarily romantic – like the love of a cactus that can survive for over 100 years without water and then, when it rains, it blossoms in minutes," Nai suggests. "People always use metaphors to express their love, but the metaphor is its own love within itself – and it is its own universe… So it's like a love song to everything."  On sequencing Choose Your Weapon, Hiatus Kaiyote realized "how epic every single song is," says Bender, every one with intricate layers and its own "vibe". "It was just like a huge, massive, complex puzzle." As such, they've created spacious interludes.  In the past Hiatus Kaiyote have playfully dubbed their transcendent hybrid of jazz, psychedelia, soul, R&B, funk, hip-hop, electronica and worldbeat "multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster shit". Today Bender proposes the eccentric "wondercore", Hiatus Kaiyote's music is less a genre than an immersive experience – a trip. For Nai, the "key" descriptor for Choose Your Weapon is "cinematic". "We definitely see the music as habitats – and each song is its own. It's very visual."
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The Revolution is an American rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1979 by Prince. The Revolution rose to international fame in the mid 1980s with Purple Rain, the album sold more than 13 million copies in the United States alone. The band was one of the most successful music acts of the 1980s and sold over 16 million albums in the United States alone. The band achieved two number-one Billboard 200 albums (Purple Rain and Around the World in a Day), six top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and won three Grammy Awards. The band officially disbanded in 1986 at the end of the Parade tour. Since the sudden shocking death of their friend and musical mentor last April, the funk-rock- R&B band has remained mostly silent. All five members of the band have traveled through the terrible gamut of emotions since learning of Prince’s passing. Aside from three sold-out shows at the famous Minneapolis venue, First Avenue, the birthplace of Purple Rain, The Revolution has been quietly pondering its next steps. "The concerns were how many dates, what would the fans want, and what do we do as a band to heal?" said Wendy. Soon the answer became crystal clear -- bring everyone together in the spirit of love and music. The Revolution would rise up and tour again in tribute and support of their beloved friend. “We’ve been really quiet, and we did that consciously, because we were grieving and didn’t want to be disrespectful. But the fans wanted the chance to feel the energy so we just want to give it back letting them experience what we were as a band for Prince," adds Wendy. The Grammy® Award winning group is now rehearsing for the tour and are ready to bring back their powerful music and spread a message of hope, love, and unity. “Prince said that music is medicine,” Bobby relates, “People need it, and we need it, and we can make it as authentic as we can. In honor of him, we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”
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With each song, Daniel Caesar reaches out and makes a connection. His debut album, Freudian, which will be released on August 25, is no different. It is a compilation of melodies tied together to amplify the R&B singer’s distinct, soothing voice.   It’s a deep connection in the classic sense of R&B/Soul and its transcendent power to affect the very core of our existence. His voice, songwriting, and presence immediately elicit feeling, especially on the pair of 2017 singles “Blessed” and “We Find Love”—which The Fader praised as “Gorgeous.” They further unlock his world and usher in the arrival of his hotly anticipated full-length debut out this year.   That level of connectivity is becoming a tradition for the artist. With jarring gospel undertones, heart-tugging guitar chords, and soothing harmonious vocals, his 2014 debut effort, Praise Break, earned critical acclaim and would be ranked in the 20 Best R&B Albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone. Caesar's follow-up project, Pilgrim's Paradise, was met with even greater praise, subsequently capturing the attention of both the Canadian and international music markets.   Conveying moody anecdotes about life's most pertinent lessons - love, loss, faith, desire and determination, Caesar tells a coming-of-age tale that is not only relatable, but genuine. With raw talent and an unwavering mystic, layer by layer, Daniel Caesar is writing a melodic story rooted in his authentic self — a story that has only just begun.
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With each song, Daniel Caesar reaches out and makes a connection. His debut album, Freudian, which will be released on August 25, is no different. It is a compilation of melodies tied together to amplify the R&B singer’s distinct, soothing voice.   It’s a deep connection in the classic sense of R&B/Soul and its transcendent power to affect the very core of our existence. His voice, songwriting, and presence immediately elicit feeling, especially on the pair of 2017 singles “Blessed” and “We Find Love”—which The Fader praised as “Gorgeous.” They further unlock his world and usher in the arrival of his hotly anticipated full-length debut out this year.   That level of connectivity is becoming a tradition for the artist. With jarring gospel undertones, heart-tugging guitar chords, and soothing harmonious vocals, his 2014 debut effort, Praise Break, earned critical acclaim and would be ranked in the 20 Best R&B Albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone. Caesar's follow-up project, Pilgrim's Paradise, was met with even greater praise, subsequently capturing the attention of both the Canadian and international music markets.   Conveying moody anecdotes about life's most pertinent lessons - love, loss, faith, desire and determination, Caesar tells a coming-of-age tale that is not only relatable, but genuine. With raw talent and an unwavering mystic, layer by layer, Daniel Caesar is writing a melodic story rooted in his authentic self — a story that has only just begun.
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