R&B

R&B

Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Grammy-winning actor and musician, Common continues to break down barriers with a multitude of critically acclaimed, diverse roles, and continued success at the box office. He appeared on the big screen in the Oscar nominated film, SELMA, a film centered around the civil rights marches that changed America. Alongside John Legend, he won the Academy Award and Golden Globe in 2015 for “Best Original Song in a Motion Picture” for “Glory” which was featured in the film. In 2016, he appeared in the David Ayer’s high profile comic book movie, Warner Bros’ SUICIDE SQUAD. The film broke box office records both domestically and around the world. He was most recently seen opposite Keanu Reeves in the highly anticipated sequel JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, released February 10th. Common also executive-produced Netflix drama BURNING SANDS and performs the closing credits original song “The Cross” featuring Lianne Le Havas. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released on Netflix March 10th. Common recently wrapped production on Judy Greer’s directorial debut A HAPPENING OF MONUMENTAL PROPORTIONS with Allison Janney, as well as the action-thriller HUNTER KILLER opposite Gerard Butler, Billy Bob Thornton, and Gary Oldman. He will next be seen this Summer in Bleecker Street’s MEGAN LEAVEY alongside Kate Mara, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford and Edie Falco. The film follows the true story of Marine Corporal Megan Leavey, who forms a powerful bond with an aggressive combat dog, Rex. Common will soon begin production on QUICK DRAW, a new revenge action thriller to be produced by TRANSFORMERS producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Content Media. Common’s 11th studio album, BLACK AMERICA AGAIN, released November 4, 2016 on ARTium/Def Jam Recordings. The album includes socially conscious new single, “Black America Again” featuring Stevie Wonder and the anthem “Letter to the Free,” the end-title track to Ava Duvernay’s powerful Oscar-Nominated documentary 13TH.  
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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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Following Our Version of Events, Emeli Sandé MBE’s first album that sold over 5.4 million copies to date, as well as scoring the biggest selling album in the UK of 2012 and 2013, Emeli Sandé had arrived. But her new album marks a brand-new chapter, and with it, a new sound. This sound is one that is bold, confident and fearless, it’s extraordinary. But she’s had to go on a life-changing journey of self-discovery to get there.   Having initially made her mark as a songwriter in the UK urban scene via acts such as Wiley, Wretch 32 and Chipmunk, Sandé’s solo success saw her became a highly sought-after writer for an array of international acts. Sandé wrote and co-wrote tracks for everyone from Alicia Keys to Rihanna (alongside friend Naughty Boy), Katy Perry and Tinie Tempah. She performed on Jools Holland and the X Factor, supported Coldplay and played at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics and at the White House for Barack Obama. With over 340 million video views, 19 million singles sold including 3 x UK No.1 singles, 6 million albums including Our Version of Events being certified platinum 7 times in the UK and Ireland you’d think that she had it all together. But, while she dominated the music industry and captured the hearts of the nation, there was a disconnect with the way she was feeling. Sandé already has some of the most impressive stats in music to her name under her belt, though despite the success of the second album, Long Live the Angels,  four  BRIT awards (including Best female twice) and receiving an MBE for Services to Music in 2018, Sandé’s foundations were shaky, “I feel like with the second album there was kind of a mix of all that was happening. Dealing with a divorce that was going on and discovering who I was as a black female.” She says, “I wasn’t grounded, you know.”   Sandé had to step away and regroup, to allow herself to come back stronger. The last five years have been a time to build the self-esteem and the confidence she didn’t realise hadn’t been there, despite her previous two albums and her EP garnering the sort of critical acclaim that money couldn’t buy.   “I thought I was going to get married, settle down and my life was going to be perfect, no further questions. When really there was such a poverty of confidence. If you get famous so young, that becomes who you are and what you believe is your worth, and then you kind of forget that these songs are coming from you. And it’s such an incredible feeling to share them but that can’t be how you validate yourself.” She sighs.    This regrouping was necessary for Sandé as a black woman, as well as an artist. “I needed to learn I am beautiful’ she says, “Only now I’m beginning to accept the feminine energy.   It was taking the time to reach back into her heritage to find the foundations for the future that gave her the headspace to draw on her sound. Having grown up one of two mixed-race children in Alford, a tiny town outside of Aberdeen, her identity was split, “Growing up mixed race meant I identified with the side of the family I spent most time with, my mum’s side. But I knew I was different, and this became more apparent when we travelled with people staring.” Because of the identity split, she can truly understand those people who don’t have confidence because of who they’ve been told they are. She saw this through her father especially, “My dad’s frustrations, him as a black man, what he really had to go through and the kind of injustices he experienced… I always saw that it was difficult to be black.”   Going to Zambia and connecting with her father’s family was when she didn’t feel that question of identity.  It was a revelatory experience. ‘The strength of the women!” she laughs, ‘They were running the village, plus my grandma, she was a matriarch; the kids all came to her, it was really beautiful. It just made sense of who I was myself.”   And with this renewed sense of self, Sandé was able to create a long overdue message that people need to hear. Tapping into the tone of the disenfranchised state of the world, the main purpose of this album is to give people confidence, “Especially people who have been marginalised, or forgotten or kicked down by this invisible oppression that’s always there.” She says, “I just want to give people just this incredible superpower every time they play the album. Like a battery pack.” She smiles brightly. ‘They just plug it in and they know that however they’re feeling, by the end of the album, they’re going to feel better.”   Launching this new album is Sparrow, the perfect introduction to this record and the empowerment that this new, vibrant sound brings. ‘That one felt like a channeling song” she nods. “I want people to feel like there will be a struggle but there will be a release at the end, and that’s when you can breathe finally, when you’ve got through it.” Sandé believes that allowing love in is one of the most difficult things for a human being to do, “Well love is kind of mocked now. If you love, or if you’re kind to someone, it’s weakness.” At a time where the world seems to pivot on being ‘the best’ or where everything is so sexualised, especially for women, Sandé knows that our worth and our voices need to be heard now more than ever.  ‘Human’, a seventies sounding R&B tune, is a song Sandé wasn’t planning on writing, but one that spilled out when she heard the opening string chords of the track. It’s a song that, in the midst of knife crime across the capital, is a sobering and welcoming reminder of the humanity of us all. “It’s such a dark time” she says, “I think it’s dangerously dark for young adults at the moment. We talk about crime rates, but they’re having these conversations about it that aren’t getting to the depth of what’s going on. So much comes from self-esteem and what young people are shown they deserve and where they belong in society that dictates how little value their lives have now.”   Sandé found her community in music in the same London that has seen knife crime reach record numbers; it was through choirs that she found her sisterhood and met the black women that have allowed her to tap further into her identity. She sang with the London Community gospel choir before Christmas and understood the reality and strength and a sternness to it all, but also felt a ‘very palpable love, “It’s very real and it’s not going to be said all the time, but not growing up here, I feel privileged to be accepted into the community via music.”  ‘You Are Not Alone’, an anchoring gospel anthem that speaks to the loneliness of life, with Sandé’s stunning voice backed by a powerful gospel choir with rousing church beat running through it, acts as a reminder that whatever you’ve been told, ‘my friend, you are not alone.’ Words we all need to hear.   It was collaborating with producer Troy Miller that allowed for a unique recording experience. Already feeling like she had complete freedom over what she was writing, it was working with Miller at the back of his house that gave her the right vibe to create the best album she could, “Every day I’m walking through his family home and feeling the energy of love, you could really feel it. We were making this album and we wanted a pure message to be delivered to people.”   When asked how she felt writing and recording this album, the album that will remind people of the value of life and of love Sandé says, “I feel grounded. I know exactly what I wanted to say and do. I’ve came out the other side more confident, happier with more self-love.” Emeli’s new album is the sound of power; power of freedom, power of growth, and of authenticity. It was borne from the power of understanding who you are, and of finally being able to give to others what you’ve learned for yourself. Emeli Sandé is an artist who can finally say that she’s the best version of herself she’s ever been.  
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It’s hard to believe that an artist with an output and reputation as strong as Mahalia’s hasn’t released an album yet. But having signed to Asylum Records via Atlantic at the age of 13, before taking the time to finish school in her hometown of Leicester and find her sound, Mahalia’s entire career has been an exercise in intuition and patience. A testament to the success of major label patience, even at a young age Mahalia, born Mahalia Burkmar, chose not to allow the pressure of signing to rush her process and growth as a young artist. She began releasing acoustic music in her late teens before moving down to London to pursue her career after high school. Appreciative of the relationships she’s been able to nurture with her record label, Mahalia once even joked that she’s a ‘label baby’ though she strives to maintain a level of creative independence at all times. Raised in a musical family, her confidence and prowess at the tender age of 21 is impressive but expected. “I grew up in a house where my mum would tell me if a lyric was shit. And when she said that, she meant, you can do better and she was right.”  Her mother hails from a singing background and was in a band called Colourbox in the 80s, while her dad was also a session musician and songwriter. She also shares her passion for music with all three of her brothers who she reckons instilled in her a deep desire to just be heard: “when you’re a girl among boys you just don’t get listened to.” All these details contextualising her love for connecting with others through her music and live shows, as well as her openness in her music. Despite her age, her journey to this record has definitely ebbed and flowed over the years. “When I got to 18 and I moved to London, I was confused because I thought that I was ready but I really wasn’t.” Mahalia bounced around the houses of friends and family for over a year, with very little money or motivation to create: “I was just finding life really difficult.” She details one particular low point when she called on her usual friends for a place to crash in London, but one by one the plans all fell through. She found herself at Paddington with her suitcase and nowhere to stay: “I remember jumping the barrier and getting a train back up to Leicester that night to stay at a friend’s house. It was just a mad time” she revels. It wasn’t until she decided to move back to Leicester in 2017 that she wrote and released breakout single ‘Sober’. “All of that was just me losing confidence and feeling insecure, watching other artists surpass me and I hadn’t even worked out who I was yet.” Fast forward to present day, via a viral COLORS session that travelled globally and “changed everything”, international tours - both support and headline - a string of infectious singles and collaborations with the likes of Little Simz and Kojey Radical, Mahalia has been back in London for over a year now and writing her debut album for just as long. Her jam-packed schedule of activity seems to go against the traditional album-mode exile that many artists practice these days - isolating themselves from their everyday lives and social media to focus solely on writing for prolonged periods of time. Instead Mahalia utilises the everyday to draw inspiration and energy from, explaining “I find that the busy periods away mean that when I’m back, I’m truly excited to return to the studio.” Inspired by Eartha Kitt, Mahalia’s debut album is titled “Love and Compromise”. Named after the clip of Kitt that resurfaced and went viral a few years ago, where she unapologetically addresses her views on relationship and the idea of compromise. Mahalia explains, “I watched that clip religiously and it was such a huge part of my growth and understanding myself in relationships with men.” In the 3-minute snippet, the iconic triple threat star who was a singer, dancer, actor is posed the question of whether she’d be prepared to compromise if a man entered her life. In response, Kitt cackles dramatically and proceeds to return the question repeatedly, asking the interviewer to unpack everything from exactly what reasons she would have to compromise, all the way to the meaning of the word itself. Her own signature blend of fascinating and empowering - something that Mahalia channels effortlessly through her own candid lyrics and refreshing outlooks. “The album talks about me falling in love, and falling out of love, breaking hearts and having my heart broken and me compromising for things but also at the same time being really uncompromising.” And it’s that back and forth that inspired a lot of the writing on this record, before eventually coming to the resolution that while we can choose to compromise on the material, there’s power in choosing to remain strong in your character and spirit. Musically, the record is surprising even to Mahalia, excitedly she admits “it’s not what I thought it was going to be!” Continuing on a distinct departure from her earlier stripped-back acoustic style for a more diverse and open sonic palette. “Every song is different, which to me is so much more exciting.” She cites Jill Scott’s Woman and Billie Eilish’s debut album as sharing a similar ethos: one where you’re able to feel something different in each moment. Mapping it out track by track, the record invites you on a journey through relationships of all kinds: exploring sentiments of confusion, addiction, rejection and infatuation before circling back to the search for love.  And her influences are as broad as her emotional spectrum. “I’ve been playing with the idea of putting out a playlist of songs that inspired the album, but I don’t know if people are going to get it.”  When considering who would occupy the playlist, she simply says, “Everything. Everything I heard in a restaurant, or coming out of someone else’s phone on the street, or while I’m watching TV.” More practically, she lists everything from Bon Iver and Carole King to Summer Walker and H.E.R and of course Lauryn Hill as artists that would make the cut. Drawing on the vulnerability of the Summer Walker that she endeavours to capture in her own art, the raw sentiment of Bon Iver and the intricate musicality of H.E.R, as well as the all round strength of storytelling on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Ultimately finding honesty and emotion at the heart of her music. And in this case, the openness Mahalia radiates in her art is nothing but a genuine reflection of her real life presence - effervescent and warmly familiar. A key factor that suggests this album will be the first in a long line of self portraits that she can paint authentically over her career. And though she cites her parents ability to follow their gut and talents through different career paths, when asked if she thinks she’ll make music forever she nods and smiles dreamily: “It just makes me really happy.”
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