LISTEN: Angel Taylor “Weak” and “Still God” New Music Reviews

photo (1)Angel Taylor former member of the hit gospel group Trin-I-Tee 5:7 is gearing up to release her debut solo project “Love Angel”.  After many months of quietly working behind the scenes, Angel has released her first single titled “Weak”.  Angel has also taken to social media and is giving listeners her second single “Still God”.  I am totally excited about Angel’s new project. It’s been a life long dream of Angel’s to be a solo artist.  Not discrediting her work and partnership with Trin-I-Tee 5:7, however, I as a fan of T57 am very happy that Angel is embarking on a new future and journey with her music.  “Love Angel”  is a project that incorporates Angel’s eclectic taste in music and exposes the different aspects of love.  Of the project Angel says,

“Being a solo artist and having the freedom to explore different styles and genres of music, allows me to express myself in a more well rounded fashion. There’s so many aspects to life and I now can express that without any barriers.”

First up, “Weak”: With a nod to the fresh R&B sounds of the 90′s, Angel effortlessly sings the cries of a confused heart, that knows it should leave a relationship, but still clings to the feelings its grown to know and love, and feels, well, Weak without it. It is refreshing to hear something different to take us out of the mundane sounds of mainstream radio today.  The instrumentation is simple and pure.  I like the sound of the turntable scratch and the familiarity of the drum beat, just really takes you back to when you and your crew would be at the lunch table banging out the latest rhythms.  Angel has great tone to her voice. When you hear her sing, she sounds like the girl next door, but then she’ll just GO THERE and you’re like “Did she really just do THAT?!”  I love to hear Angel sing.  She’s technical, random, skilled and free flowing all at once.  She sings from her heart, with lots of emotion and passion.  You believe her when she sings!  “Weak” is a great jam with lyrics all people can and will relate too.  I’m happy that with a background in gospel music, Angel isn’t overtly trying to be “mainstream” and is just giving us something very simple, the transition here is smooth. Produced by GRAMMY nominated Andrew “Druski” Scott and written by Carla Carter, “Weak” is something ALL experience, whether you’re a saint or an ain’t!  “Weak” is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.comTake a listen below and let me know what you think!

 

Next we have “Still God”:  Now I will try not to be biased here.  I first heard “Still God” in its baby stages.  I LOVED IT!! Of all of the songs that may possibly find a home on her “Love Angel” EP, “Still God” is my FAVORITE!! And let me say, only because I know Angel will read this (hey girl), that I really love the unmixed, unmastered version of “Still God”.  LOL, yes, I just loved the organic sound of it. But the songs still BANGS and makes me anxious for a live version!  The lyrics remind us that despite the negative situations we are going through, God is still God, “so even if the sun didn’t shine, you would still be God/and even if the wind doesn’t blow, I still know, you’re God”.  What I like most is how the song builds in emotion with each passing phrase.  By the end of the song you feel super charged to carry on through the journey God is taking you on.  I love how Angel just belts out the last refrain towards the end of the song!! It’s like she’s crying out to God on my behalf.  This track is usually on repeat!! It carries me through my Sunday mornings! I thoroughly get my life! The song is produced by Christian Anderson and Hugh Anderson III and written by Angel, herself.  It doesn’t sound like anything else on gospel radio today and as the first gospel track from Angel, I like that it doesn’t remind me of a Trin-I-Tee 5:7 song.  Though I worry that this track will sonically go over some folks heads, Angel has found her sound, it’s eclectic and she is freely and confidently sharing that with us through the song selections that will be on her “Love Angel” EP.  “Still God” will be available in the next couple of weeks on online markets for purchase.  For now you can listen below and let me know what you think!

Connect with Angel via her social media outlets:  Twitter- twitter.com/Angel_Taylor || Facebook- facebook.com/loveangeltaylor || Instagram- instagram.com/LoveAngelTaylor.

LISTEN: Chaka Khan “It’s Not Over” feat. Lecrae

ChakaKhanNewPRShotMay2012RegularMultiple GRAMMY Award winning diva Chaka Khan is back celebrating 40 years in the music industry.  With a new single, “It’s Not Over”, Chaka Khan teams up with new GRAMMY Award winning christian rapper Lecrae.  “It’s Not Over” is a straight up urban/pop song.  Inspirational in it’s lyrics, but sounds like something from a movie (Honey, Step It Up, etc) soundtrack.

Now I have much respect for Chaka Khan, but I’m not that big on her music. Not that I don’t like her, she was just before my time some and I haven’t fully ingested her catelog.  For me “It’s Not Over” is about the big names, more than the actual song.  Kind of like those movies that have an all-star cast, but the film lacks substance…yeah that’s how I feel about “It’s Not Over”. It’s not bad, just may need some time to grow on me.  I do like dance/pop type songs, just didn’t see this coming from the legendary Chaka Khan.  Check out the single below for yourself. What do you think?

BET Music Matters Showcase Feat. Mali Music and PJ Morton

feature-mali-music-02-572x290Ayee!! Shout out to the man Mali Music! You know he made a huge impact as part of the 2011 BET Music Matters class.  Mali performed during the 2011 BET Awards taking to the big stage with “The Job Experience.” Leaving mainstream artists and the like with mouths open, he also caught the eye of Akon and later signed a marketing deal with Akon at the helm.  Mali Music has since been working on his next release ‘Mali Is’ with the released date still locked away.  He has hit BET’s 106 and Park to perform, been on tour with B. Reith and has recently worked in the studio with Jennifer Hudson.  Keep ya eyes and ears open for more from Mali Music!

pj mortonPJ Morton, son of Bishop Paul Morton Sr. (whose new album Best Days is available now in stores) side steps his duties as the new keyboardist for the hit group Maroon 5, and takes his talents over to the BET Music Matters stage this year.  PJ Morton, who caused small waves of concern and confusion among the saints with his signing to YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires), has been steadily doing his thing with Maroon 5 and even releasing an EP “Following My First Mind.” I don’t have word yet when PJ will be releasing his national YMCMB debut album, but I’ll let you know once something surfaces.

The BET Music Matters Showcase will be presented on 12/11/12 at the famous SOB’s NYC. Other performers include Jennah Bell, Stacy Barthe, Jessy Wilson and Kevin Ross.  It will be hosted by Buttahman and Vanessa Fraction. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the first performer will begin at 8:30 p.m. You must be 21+ to attend the event. For more information check out BET.com/MusicMatters

Deitrick Haddon Does Usher “Climax” ReMix

So Deitrick is bout to drop a free album?!  Yea! Coming soon Deitrick will release “The Re-versed Mixtape.”  Check out his re-versed cover of his interpretation of Usher’s “Climax” below!

“Climax” is my favorite song that I’ve heard from Usher’s “Looking 4 Myself” album.  I love Usher’s vocal performance and his lyrics on the track.  Upon first listen, I wasn’t to into Deitrick’s interpretation, I really like what Usher offered as far as the meaning of the song.  Slowly however, I’ve come to feel the groove of what Deitrick is doing.  What I appreciate the most, is someone of Deitrick’s stature doing something like this.  Already there are tons of folks weighing in on how they feel about the re-versed tune.  I like this from Deitrick and can’t wait to hear what else he tackles.  What are your thoughts?

Artist Interview | Shawanda Lynette Talks “30 Years Later” New Album Release

A few months ago, I attended an event at a local church.  One of the featured artist was Shawanda Lynette.  She took to the stage and I was thoroughly impressed.  She rocked that stage and yet, came off so humble and genuine in her performance.  I mean Shawanda wasn’t up there for show.  She was there because this is the gift God gave her and so she is going to use it to give Him glory, while serving up some great music!  Shawanda has this youthful neo-soul groove about her and her music.  Embedded in elements of R&B/Soul are messages that inspire and encourages others to let go of your inhibitions and be the best you God created you to be!  I must admit, that I wasn’t expecting Shawanda to be as good as she was that night!  Truly capturing me, I had to learn more about Shawanda, so I was able to connect with her and grab an interview.

Shawanda Lynette released her album “30 Years Later” on August 4, 2012.  I was able to attend her album release concert on that same day and was wowed yet again!  The energy in that room was amazing, we really enjoyed ourselves! It is with no reservations that Shawanda Lynette is well on her way to being a great artist! Check out the interview below and get into the footage from the release concert.

|| Artist Interview ||

1. Who is Shawanda Lynette and why should she be on our radar?
I am authentic, sincere, honest, motivated, determined, helpful. I love God. I love my family. I love to write and sing and I believe that my music inspires and will help people to be all that they were created to be.

2. What was the inspiration for the title of the album?
The title of the album came to me one day while we ( My brother and I) were at the studio.  I though it sounded cool at first but when I really thought about it, the songs that I was writing and the stuff that was coming out of my heart was a reflection of how I really felt in my 30th year of life. The lyrics have become what I know to be true and what I believe.

3. Who are you musical influences?
I love Ledisi, P.J Morton, Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire and Mary J Blige, to name a few :)  My Dad and my brother have influenced me a lot musically as well.

4. How would you describe the sound of 30 Years Later?
I’d say that it’s a fresh, motivating type of sound. It’s inspirational with a neo- soul vibe. It’s a lot of things fused into one but basically, it’s just good music!

5. What was your experience like creating this album?
It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The process really caused me to mature. It was really a point where I had to decide if this (music and writing) was what I really wanted to do. I put my all into it. I was intentionally honest when writing and I didn’t hold anything back. Working with my brother was really cool. He created all of the music and helped with some vocal arranging. Throughout the process he was hard on me but that’s what I needed.  As a result, we put together a cool album. We are proud of our accomplishment. :)

6. Favorite song/most personal song from the album?
I think it depends on the day, all of the songs are personal. I wrote each of them and they are all an expression of my heart. If I had to choose I would say Beautiful and Here I Am.

7. What would you like the listener to come away with after hearing your album?
I’d like for the listener to be inspired, reassured that everything is ok. Be prompted to live out their dreams, follow their heart and live life to the fullest.

Please support and purchase “30 Years Later” available on ShawandaLynette.com Connect with Shawanda Lynette and let her know your thoughts! Twitter: @ShawandaLynette | Facebook: ShawandaLynette | Youtube: Shawanda Lynette

Angel of Trin-i-tee 5:7 Performs Aretha Franklin’s “Call Me”

I’m just a groupie for Trin-i-tee 5:7!  I can’t deny it and nor am I ashamed of it!!  Angel of Trin-i-tee 5:7 was out in the Dallas, TX area this weekend in a special performance at Andria’s Cajun Cuisine.  Check out the clip below of Angel going IN on Aretha Franklin’s “Call Me.”  I so wish that I could have been there! I’m so happy for her and it’s so good to see her in this element and be so in the moment (cause she was feeling that).  I’ve always loved hearing Angel serve us saints a good dose of R&B/Soul in her gospel songs, but to hear this, WOW!  And it’s just a clip, can you imagine what the whole show was like?!!  Angel is here to snatch wigs hunnie!!  Loved her look and she seemed so free, and again so in the moment!  Those vocals and those squalls, YES, Get’cho Life Angel!! LOL!  Shout out to the band cause that groove had some extra funk on it!  Home girl on the keys was getting it!! Yes, I got my life and I am just so giddy over what the future holds for Angel!  She’s super dope!  Check out the clip below and make sure you connect with Angel and let her know what you thought!  Twitter: @Angel_Taylor | Facebook: AngelT57 | Instagram: LoveAngelTaylor

Keyondra Lockett Releases “Soul Couture” Free Download

You will want to download this mixtape! Really nice vocals from Keyondra Lockett! With her first solo effort, “Soul Couture”, Keyondra takes on the task of reworking some of mainstream music’s most popular tunes (i.e. Elle Varner- Refill, Jessie J-Domino, and Chris Brown-Turn Up The Music).  If you’re wondering who Keyondra Lockett is, well she is a member of the Stellar nominated gospel group Zie’l.   Keyondra has shared platforms with various artists including Bishop Paul S. Morton, Karen Clark-Sheard and Micah Stampley; to name a few.  Of “Soul Couture” Keyondra says,

“This mixtape embodies the reworking of five mainstream songs assimilated into Christian songs to edify the soul. I’m always excited about music, but what’s most exciting at this time is that this is my first project without Zie’l. I definitely miss hearing our voices together and can’t wait for our next album. Moreover, it was a pleasure working with Jor’dan Armstrong and Ted Williams of “The Good Guys” production team. They’re great at what they do and I can’t wait to hear more from them in the future.”- (VRE7.com)

Get Your Free Download of  Soul Couture- visit: noisetrade.com/keyondralockett | Connect with Keyondra on Twitter @KeyondraLockett

 

Album Review | Evin Amiri- “Freedom Music”

Evin Amiri has embarked on a journey in his life and has documented such journey musically.  It all started with “A Prelude to Freedom Music,” which featured some great covers and remixes to songs like Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3x’s” and Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You.”  On July 4th, Evin Amiri gave us the highly anticipated “Freedom Music.”  A project that Evin says “…has been an amazing period of growth and self discovery.”   Freedom Music showcases as Evin’s way to connect to his fans outside of what we’ve come to hear from him within the confines of his group 21:03.  Evin says that he is “…learning to make music with YOU in mind, but music that also resonates with ME.”

Freedom Music continues the great work that we got on the Prelude project with production and writing from PAJAM, Travis Malloy and Streetwood, even Evin himself.  It opens with a great introduction into what the project is about, with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music II & III providing the backing instrumental.  The first movement kind of lets us in on the mindset Evin had when first starting this journey towards his freedom.  Ya know when you are wondering about if you are measuring up in Christs’ eyes and if you can bear the burden you are carrying around.  Where the first movement is infused with the feelings of doubt and worry, the second movement heralds confidence and achievement from Evin.  He’s found his freedom and is now using that to inspire and motivate us to keep going, knowing that the God we serve is going to take us through this process, it will be tough, but we shall come out on top.

Continuing this theme the second track, an original, “There’s Gotta Be More,” features gospel urban/pop singer JAI.  This groovy track has Evin giving us a wake up call, letting us know that there is more out there for us to do in this faith walk and life that God calls us to live.  The saying that the God we serve is BIG, doesn’t make sense when we operate in such small ways and inside of boxes with limited thoughts, Evin says “we were built for more.”  Live your life legendary!

 “Transformed” sounds like that track you hear in those ‘coming of age’ movies, when the main character realizes that they are gonna do things their way despite what others say and/or think.  The upbeat R&B/Pop sound of this track helps to drive the message that we are no longer who we used to be before coming to Christ, so tell ya haters to stop trying to hold you to your past, for you have been Transformed!

Showcasing more of his musical influences Evin slows things up some with two cover tracks: “Beautiful, Beautiful” by Francesca Battistelli and “Your Great Name” by Natalie Grant.  I love how Evin kept Francesca’s vocals and added his own, making this a wonderful duet.  His voice really compliments hers very well.  I also like the stripped down production he did, where Francesca’s version is really rocked out, Evin decided to make his version more organic, trading the guitars for a piano, giving more passion and focus to the lyrical content of the song and the amazing vocal performances from him and Francesca.  Evin does the same with “Your Great Name” keeping it simple and heartfelt, with a simple acoustic guitar and adding his vocals to the song, showing that this dude is not bound by even gospel music’s boundaries.  It’s not about CCM vs. Gospel vs. Traditional vs. Contemporary, it’s about the freedom to WORSHIP our Christ as one body, regardless!

I was wondering why “Cold World” was placed on this project, but it does fit.  Keeping with the theme of finding freedom in Christ, music and our lives, Cold World exists here to remind us that the safest place is in the will of God.  If one continues to do His will, we will find that God will give us the desires of our hearts.  Non-like the cold world we live in that constantly causes us hurt and pain, Christ will give us life and we can have that life more abundantly, that ultimate freedom found in Christ!

“Jesus (Holy One)”, YES, EVIN  BETTER SERVE THE SAINTS CONTROVERSY!!! I can already hear folks asking “why did he choose to do that song?!”   Evin uses the Lady Gaga “Judas” instrumental, changes the lyrics and is reading someone! LOL, I don’t know who the lyrics are directed to at times, but I like the attitude Evin sings with on this track! And the break down of that good’ole “Have you tried Jesus… He’s alright” chant!!!  And he incorporates lyrics from Envogue’s “Free Your Mind.”  I LIVE for this track as I get my NEW SHOUT on!  Next up is a great ode to Detroit and what to me is a great rewrite of Eminem’s “Not Afraid”.  I love this track as well!  Keeping the grimy, solider cadence of the original track, Evin adds a great flavor with his lyrics and pounds Romans 1:16 to heart.  Not only being unashamed of the gospel, but not giving into fear and to live your life out loud!  God got you!

The Adam Lambert rewrite of “Better Than I Know Myself” is beautiful!  I’ve never heard the original Claude Kelly written track, and now that Evin has put his own spin on it, I don’t want to!  It is with this track that Evin makes a good case for becoming one of my favorite male vocalists!  That boy is sanging!!!  “Freedom Music III” features Brandy and interpolated her (unreleased) song “Freedom”.  I love the message of this track, as Evin restates that he is now free to love, dream, believe and be who he wants to be for Christ and himself.  He is past the judgments of others. And come on you KNOW you LOVE hearing Brandy sing!

The third original track “Need You The Most” is a great neo-soul/R&B sounding track.  With elements of jazz and hip hop infused, it reminds me of a song that Guru, Hi-Tek or Vivian Greene would have produced/sing.  The lyrics are dope and I just love the vibe of this song! One of my favorite chorus’ to sing along to.  “Prayer Life” a Richgirl “Swagger Right” rewrite, is calling out the ladies on the first verse but then opens up the message to everyone.  If you want the best out of life, you must have that prayer life right!  The addition of lyrics from Cece Winans’ “Pray” adds a nice touch.  Again, I’ve never heard the original track by Richgirl, but with this Travis Malloy reproduced track, I don’t want to- #IChooseGospel!

With a cover of Laura Story’s “Blessings” this track once again places Evin’s vocal talents alongside Onitsha Shaw (the gospel Brandy).  I love this song.  Get your kleenex ready, and be prepared to be very introspective here.  I know that this song will speak and only reach more people than it already has.  I am one of those people.  This song speaks to my life right now!  Please get into this song!  Reminds me of the story of Job and then how we pray for all of the things we want from God, but when we don’t get them or we feel our prayers go unanswered, we feel that God isn’t listening.  But this song tells us to look at things differently.  God knows what’s best for us…what if the raindrops bring us His blessings, and our tears heal us and sleepless nights are what it takes to bring us nearer to Him?  There is a lesson to be learned in everything that God takes us through, the good and the bad.

Closing the Freedom Music project is the third produced track by Travis Malloy, “Your Time Is Coming” and it even features some vocals from Travis.  It samples Dexter Wansel’s “Time Is The Teacher” and Evin just takes time to talk to us about finding that freedom and the journey it took to get there.  I was shocked to hear that Evin wanted to give up on doing music.  I am glad that he is going to uphold the calling on his life.

Overall this is a dope project.  I didn’t know much about Evin Amiri (or 21:03 for that matter) prior to “Freedom Music” but it has allowed me to see and get to know Evin in a different and more intimate light.  This project gets a 4 out of 5.  Great lyrics, contextually it is a solid, cohesive project with awesome production and remixing.  It is passionate and filled with emotions on all levels.  It inspires, touches and motivates.  In the end Freedom Music for Evin is “music that is free of genre biases, free from monotonous topics, free from radio restrictions.”  Evin Amiri has truly found that freedom and is revealing in it.  I for one am happy for him and I am motivated and inspired to continue my journey towards that ultimate freedom in Christ and in my life, for myself.

Connect with Evin via Twitter: @EvinAmiri and If you have not gotten your FREE Download of “Freedom Music” you can do so by visiting EvinAmiri.com and “GET INTO THIS FREEDOM MUSIC, THIS FREEDOM MUSIC!!”  

Music Share | Suzy Rock “Dirty Little Secrets” + Free Download

Natalie Simms aka Suzy Rock has a new jam for ya and she’s giving it away for FREE.99!!!  I’ve been patiently waiting for new music from Suzy Rock.  She’s been writing and being featured on songs with other artists like Trip Lee and KB and with her work as first lady of High Society, I started to get worried that we wouldn’t get a solo project from Suzy Rock.  But whatever the case may be, Suzy is coming with her project Vanity Suxx.   Right now the website is up and running and being “inspired” from last nights BET Awards Suzy tweeted that she was sending her music to Rapzilla!

Check out “Dirty Little Secrets” below via Rapzilla.com and then Download your copy HERE for Free!