Archive for the ‘ music ’ Category

Feature Fridays – Le BOOM Vent Suite

Howdy folks! Welcome back to Feature Fridays, and today I have a pretty personal song chosen. I know it’s the Friday before a holiday, and everyone is amped to get their long weekend started (I KNOW I am), but I decided I needed to share this song with you all since it’s been on constant rotation for the last week.

It always feels like Christmas to me when an artist that I love releases new music. With every track that passes, it’s like ripping another piece of wrapping paper off of the biggest gift under the tree. When Jill Scott released her new album, “The Light of the Sun,” it was no different for me. Her music has been a soundtrack for me in both sad and happy times, so I was eager to see what direction she took this new album in. As with most new music I buy, I bought it on my iPod, so I pulled my headphones in while at my desk at work and began to listen. 1 got to track 5 and immediately stopped in my tracks.

“Le Boom Vent Suite” seems to speak to every corner of my life. It’s almost as if Jill took a trip to DC, asked me what was going on, and wrote a song about it. The beginning of the song is completely empowering for me, and inspires me to make some changes in my own life, while the end reminds me that it’s sometimes easier said than done. That balance between believing that someone doesn’t want you and you deciding that it’s time to leave with the realization that maybe they do want you if you stick it out, coupled with your realization that you completely want them and you feel that they’d benefit your life if they’d just get it together? Man. It’s like she knows me. It’s so beautifully painful for me to listen to that I can’t seem to turn away from it whenever it comes on. As if you couldn’t already tell, I relate best to music, but it’s especially gripping for me when I’m going through something or trying to get to a place that’s described in a particular song. Whenever I feel strongly about a song, I tend to listen to it over and over, and that’s exactly what I’ve done with this song this week.

If you haven’t done so already, please go buy her album! It’s a work of art from start to finish in my opinion, and as a woman, there are a few songs on there that I completely relate to and that I feel very strongly about, with “Le Boom Vent Suite” taking the lead for the one I feel the most about. Are there any songs that you all have that seem to just kick you in the chest because it most accurately describes your life at a certain point? Let’s chat about them in the comments! Until next time, folks…


Feature Fridays: Summertime (So Hot)

Ah, the smell of burgers and dogs on the grill, the sight of girls in sundresses and sandals and guys in Polos, shorts, and their best pair of kicks, the blazing hot sun burning on the back of your neck…there’s no season like summer, and I’ve always loved it. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always associated some of my happiest memories with summer, and all of those memories involve music. Now that summer has officially hit, I would be remiss not to do a summertime song for this week’s feature. The all-time summertime anthem is now, and forever will be, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith’s Summertime, but I think this song I’m featuring here will become a close second, at least for me. This week’s Feature Friday is “Summertime (So Hot)” by Eric Roberson featuring Chubb Rock. Now, I had actually heard part of this song maybe about a month and a half ago when Eric did a Ustream that I was able to catch because I was off work, and ever since then, I was hoping I’d be able to hear it again. Lucky for me, Eric decided to release the song for download a couple of weeks ago.

Now that you’ve listened to it, try and tell me that you don’t hear summertime all up and through it! It’s almost as if they peeked into the future and captured the very essence of summertime and laid it on a track. As soon as the beat drops, I’m ready to stop whatever I’m doing and either a) 2 step around the room, b) go to the nearest car wash and clean my car, or c) drive down the highway with the sunroof open and this blasting from my speakers. It’s such a smooth, fun song, and I am absolutely in love with it. It conveys the spirit of summertime perfectly, and a smile can’t help but to spread across my face when I hear it. The song just makes me want to gather some friends, have a cookout, and sit and just enjoy each other from the daylight until dusk (and of course get up and dance with this comes on). I make a lot of playlists for general purposes, but I have to create a Summer 2011 playlist just to add this song to it.

After listening to it, and reading how I feel about it, I hope that you go download the song (it’s free), and that you add it to your cookout playlists. Speaking of summertime tunes, what other songs do you quickly associate with summer? I have an entire arsenal of songs that remind me of my favorite season, but I’ve done enough talking. Leave me some good songs in the comments, and I’ll see you all next week!

Feature Fridays: Greatest Weapon of All Time

Hey ya’ll! It’s been a while since I’ve been here…a long while, and in my opinion, way too long. In order to interact with you all more, and to keep the place looking like something, I came up with the idea of starting a weekly series. I came up with an idea for a series to do two things: 1) it’ll get me in a consistent writing/posting habit (which is key as a writer), and 2) it’ll give you all out there an idea of where my head is on at least a weekly basis. I win, you win, all we do is win (x3). Khaled.

The name of this new series is called Feature Fridays. In the series, I’ve decided to showcase one song per week, give you the audio of the song, and also discuss why the song was so vital to my week, what the song means to me, and then give you a chance to maybe discover some new music and to learn something about me along the way. If you’ve been following me for some time, or you know me in real life, you know that I’m always surrounded by music. When I go to work in the mornings, I have my iPod in my ears, when I’m at work, I’m on YouTube for the music, and when I come home, I have music on in the car, and on my computer while I’m doing work. It, in a nutshell, is my life. What better way to dig deeper than to see what I have in constant rotation?

Without further adieu, I present to you the first Feature Fridays track: Zo! Feat. Sy Smith – Greatest Weapon of All Time

We all know how I feel about The Foreign Exchange and any and everything that comes off of their label, so it’s no surprise that my first song comes from an artist on their label. This song was vital to my week for a couple of very distinct reasons. For starters, I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to my writing. It’s always been a dream of mine to not only write, but to publish a novel. I struggle with the thought that what I write isn’t up to par with what else is out there on the market, so instead of trying to write more to get better, I clam up and write sporadically (as we can se by how I tend to this blog). Needless to say, that’s completely counterproductive to what I’m trying to do, and I’ve gotten to the point where I need to change that if I ever want to see my dream come to fruition. There’s a line in the song where Sy Smith says “Don’t ever underestimate/the power/of your heart and soul/cuz they might write the greatest/love story that’s/ever been told.” Now I know I’ve heard this song countless times before this week, but for whatever reason, that line has been on repeat non-stop in my head! It’s almost like it’s exactly what I needed to hear in order to get some inspiration. Within the last seven days, I’ve done research on what is needed to create a successful story, read a book about how to properly set yourself up to write, and created a skeletal plot outline. Talk about motivation.

The song has also helped me on a more personal note. I have my days where I feel like I live the cookie-cutter life: get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, work out, play on the computer, shower, eat somewhere within the day, sleep, rinse, and repeat. It’s not a hard life to live in terms of work, but it’s pretty difficult to live such a structured life when I used to thrive on freedom, which allowed me to do the things I wanted/needed to do without becoming an insomniac. After listening to this song on repeat a few (read: many) times, it dawned on me that I still have the freedom to do exactly what it is that I want and feel like I need to do – I just have to be a bit more creative in how I approach it, and if I want it bad enough, I’ll have to make the time to do it. It starts within my mind, and telling myself that I actually can achieve the things that I want to do, and to stop underestimating myself and what I’m capable of and destined for. As someone who spends a lot of time in internal reflection rather than projecting feelings outward, it’s been a difficult task to convince myself that I have what it takes to be successful. Whenever I feel like I’m not cut out for my dreams, I cut this song on, close my eyes if I can, and envision myself living out the life that I feel inclined to live. It’s an amazing feeling to see yourself in situations that you never imagined possible before.

For those of you that have heard this song, do you see where I’m coming from? Have you ever had a song that gave you the right mix of inspiration and motivation to get you to where you wanted to go, even if it was a very short journey to get there? For those of you that haven’t heard the song, check it out above, leave some of your thoughts and comments, and be sure to follow Zo! and Sy Smith on Twitter to keep up with them! Until next time, folks…

Happy Birthday Dad!

I’ve been wrestling for a few days about just how I wanted to tackle this post. It’s a hard one to write, simply because this time of year is never an easy one for me. There was a part of me that wanted to solely go the route of expressing how much I miss my dad, and how I wish I could spend his birthday with him, and how not a day goes by where I’m not reminded of him or where it feels surreal that he’s not here anymore. Now, all of what I just said is true, but for once, I think I want to write something that speaks to who he was as a person and what was important to him. My dad’s birthday is today (April 21), and he would have been 62 if he was still with us on Earth. Do I think he was taken too soon? The selfish side of me says yes…the spiritual side of me knows that things could have gotten much worse for him had he stayed with us, so in that respect, I’m ecstatic that he’s not hurting anymore.

But I miss him.

Luckily, he gave me a gift from the day that I was born that will never leave me. It’s so much engrained into who I am as a person that I feel it is an integral part of my personality, and it has a hand in every single aspect of my life. The gift he gave me was the gift of music. Whether it was me having to hear him practicing songs on his bass for church on Sunday, or going with him to watch him perform with choirs, or singing in the car with him on the way to the grocery store, music was our thing. So on this day, on what would have been the beginning of the 62nd year of his life, I choose to celebrate him through song. There are so many songs that I learned through him, or that spark some memory of him when I hear it. There is one song that every single time I hear it, whether it be on my iPod, on the radio, or me randomly choosing to listen to it on YouTube, that feels like he is reaching down from the musician’s stand in Heaven to give me a hug. That song is The Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love.”

If you actually want to hear the song, click the link to go to YouTube — it won’t allow playback on the site.

Now, I have no recollection of the first time I heard that song, or even if my first time hearing it was with him, but no matter where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, or what’s going on, if I hear that song, I automatically feel at peace. I’m thankful every day that I had him in my life for the 16 years that he was with me, and that he passed on his genuine love for music and his talent down to me. Every time I hear a song with an amazing bass line, or a tenor that can really sing, or see someone playing a bass guitar or an alto saxophone, I’m reminded of my dad and just how much of an impact he still has on me to this day. It’s not an easy thing to realize that the only way I can tell him happy birthday is through my dreams and my thoughts, but this year, I choose to celebrate his life and his legacy. He left me with so many stories to tell my future children about who their grandfather was, and how awesome of a man he was.

To the best man I’ve ever had the Earthly privilege of knowing, I miss you. You live on in my heart and in my mind every day, and it is my earnest hope that I am making you proud down here. I wish I had one more conversation, one more hug, one more cheer from you in the back of the auditorium after concerts, one more ride down the highway listening to the radio together…I love you so much, and I take comfort in knowing that one day I’ll see you again, and we’ll get to do a whole lot of catching up. Happy Birthday Dad!

4.21.49 – 7.25.03

I Wanna Be She…

Unlike a lot of people in my circle of friends, I got introduced to certain amazing music pretty late in the game. It wasn’t until last summer that I was introduced to the amazing, talented, and gifted Eric Roberson. And let me just say that the first time I heard his music, I was completely blown away. Now, I’m not ashamed to admit, it took me a while to buy his album Music Fan First. I don’t know what the hell took me so long to get it, but once I did, I was pleasantly surprised, taken aback, and almost immediately fell in love with the album. As on any album, there is typically one song that stands completely out to me, and becomes my favorite track on the disc. In this case, the song off of his album is “She.”

This song is just…beautiful. I don’t think that there is another word that adequately describes the song. It’s simple, it’s poignant, it’s direct, and it spoke directly to my soul. I’ve known since the first time I heard it that it was a special song to me, but it wasn’t until I was driving home from Baltimore on Friday night that it really resonated with me why the song was so special to me. Mind you, I have listened to this song countless times, have listened and processed the words of the song, and have committed most of the song to memory, but it never really hit me why I was so in love with the song. It dawned on me that I want to be “she.” In every single line of the song, I long to be that woman to someone (who deserves it from me). For the first time in a very long time, I actually think I’m capable of being “she” to someone, which is taking some getting used to on my end. Once I came to that realization, I also noticed that it’s the simplest yet most powerful declaration of love I’ve heard laid over music in a very long time, and I can see myself in every note, melody, and rhythm of the song.

What does this mean to me at this very moment? It’s hard to tell…I know that I do desire something meaningful at this point in life. As I said above, I also recognize that I’m capable of providing support, love, and companionship to someone. I desire someone that likes me, wants to get to know me, and respects and cherishes me, but I know that that process takes time to get to and through. Am I in a particular rush? Not necessarily. I do think it would be nice, and every time I hear this song, I feel a little twinge of hope that it can happen for me some day.

I know I can’t be the only one out here who relates to a song on a deep emotional level. What song is it for you, and how does it make you feel? If this song spoke to you, what did it say? Leave me some thoughts in the comments.

Until next time, folks…

An Ode to The Foreign Exchange

If you’ve spent any amount of time with me within the last calendar year, you would know how much of a Foreign Exchange fan that I am. And I don’t mean a “oh yeah, their new CD comes out tomorrow, lemme go cop it” type of a fan. I’m the “let me pre order the CD, order the CDs I don’t have, and put everybody and their momma onto these things” type of fan. I mean, in the words of my good friend Cheekie, I STAN for these two. Let me give you a bit of a history on how I became such a Foreign Exchange fan…

Thanks to Twitter, I had started “meeting” people that I had never met before in real life. One of these people was an MC from my alma mater, DK aka Wayne Watts. He and I built up a rapport based on music, and when he released his “24” mixtape for his 24th birthday, there was one song in particular, titled “Birthday Party Guestlist (R.S.V.P.)” that caught me as soon as the beat dropped. Since he took the liberty of shouting me out at the end of the mixtape (that still touches my spirit btw), I decided to ask him where in the world he got the instrumental from for that song. He excitedly replied that it was from this group called The Foreign Exchange and the name of the song was Take Off The Blues. Ya’ll know I went to YouTube IMMEDIATELY and found the video for it. When I tell you my jaw hit the ground as I listened to the song…

That wasn’t the first time I had been introduced to FE. I remember a few years ago, hearing some tracks off of Connected, but I never thought to ask who the group was, or where I could find the music…but when I was re-introduced to them through DK, I. FELL. IN. LOVE. Never in my life had I experienced such a strong connection to music before…as someone who defines every event in her life through a soundtrack, it literally felt as if I had just discovered the soundtrack to my life. I can literally piece together songs off of all three albums to create my own personal soundtrack. From the chill flow of “Come Around” on Connected, to the introspective flow of “Daykeeper” on Leave It All Behind to the smooth groove of “Don’t Wait” on Authenticity, I have been able to musically describe my life and my thought processes for the last year thanks totally to The Foreign Exchange.

If for some unknown reason, you have NOT been blessed by the sheer talent of this amazing duo, please do yourself a favor and go download their catalog. You can get it in the iTunes store, or go to their website to getchu a piece of glory. From Nicolay’s amazing beats (like seriously, I have a heightened level of respect for anyone that can come up with music off the top of their head, but where does he GET the inspiration for this stuff? Listening to his instrumentals is like listening to magic be made, for real.) to Phonte’s verses so eloquently laid over top of said beats (and once again, this dude is the truth. He spits some real words about life and everything that comes with it in every single song on every one of their albums; I promise you, if you listen hard enough, you’ll be thinking about a lot by the time the album ends…), you can’t be disappointed in this group. You just can’t.

And let us not forget Darien Brockington, Zo!, and Yahzarah, all members of the Foreign Exchange family. Talk about people that can sing and compose music like none other…all of their features on FE albums, coupled with their own solo efforts…high quality music. I’ve put numerous people on to the entire FE family, and I literally get excited at the mere mention of new music from anyone in the group.

Everytime I listen to a Foreign Exchange piece, no matter what mood I’m in, a little piece of my soul smiles. From the bottom of my heart, to both Nicolay and Phonte, I thank you for making the music you make. You have no idea the positive impact that each of your CDs has had on my life. You literally speak to my soul and have helped me get through and process through many situations over the last 12 months. I’m SO looking forward to the next time you come to DC, because I will DEFINITELY be front and center!

Til next time, folks…