Artist Spotlight: Amy Serrata

Amy Serrata

Website/MySpace/FaceBook/Twitter/YouTube

Today we are shining that Soulified spotlight on the singer/songwriter Amy Serrata.  She is new to the scene, but is coming with force.  Last November she released her self titled debut album “Amy Serrata”.  Her singing talents gathered a lot of their strength from her gospel choir background.  This choir training, has given her the ability control the octaves, range and pitch of her voice, much like an athlete controls their body.

Now this is her debut album and it’s pretty good.  When I first listened to the album, I was trying understand the placement of the first few songs.  That’s when I took a minute to think, and understand.  Yes, Amy Serrata is a Soul singer, but that gives her a wide latitude to express herself.  Her voice lends a quality to Soul, that just pops.  To best describe this quality, would be to say that her voice is wisps of smoke that are moved by subtle changes in the environment.  The wisps still have the ability to rise, uplift and move.

As I pictured this, and listened further to the album, it clicked.  Her voice can easily match some of the best out there, but she is being restrained by the music.  She can sing acapella, and I’ll be there with my arm stretched out and holding a lighter. :)  Once she has her own band, they become cohesive in style, vide and focus, she is going to be unreal.  Picture Yazarah on her song “Four Alarm Fire” on her recent “The Prelude” EP.

My favorite songs of the album that really show me what’s possible are “Lets”, “Teach Me”, and “In My Garden”.   The first “Lets” is upbeat, quirky enough, and I love the flute.  It keeps it simple to give her voice a chance to shine.  Second is “Teach Me”, which is the Soul that most can recognize very easily.  A touch of funk, and solid vocals really help this one go over the top.  “In My Garden” is just Pure Amy Serrata.  Nothing to mask her voice, no over powering instruments, just Amy.

I was very please with the album, and very anxious to hear future music that she creates.  For a debut album, it’s very solid and shows the audience  glimpses of the possibilities.  This thirteen song album is available on iTunes and Amazon.  Enjoy.

Below we have her first single from the album, “Rooted”, and  clip form her Video Blog.

Rooted

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kn3ds9UTRw

Artist Spotlight: Rafiya

Rafiya

Myspace/Youtube

Today we have an artist, that hails from Philadelphia, via the world.  Her name is Rafiya, and she brings aspects to Soul music that is very welcome.  Having lived in places such as Barbados, Congo, Benin, Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Guinea and the Ivory Coast, she has embodied many of the sounds, vibes and rhythms of these places.  Also she has worked with those local artists and gained a vast knowledge from their collaborations. Some of the more notable artists are Youssou N’Dour and Oscar Kidjo.  To compliment these aspects, she also sings in English and French.  That’s a talent in itself that warrants a closer listen.

As an Afro-Soul singer, she has a very crisp, subtle and warm voice.  The crispness in her voice, I think, comes from her being able to perform in French and English.  That talent lends itself to a focus that is hard to learn in any situation.  In her new single “Amazing”, you will hear voice showcased, by instruments that do a great justice to her.  They allow her to be heard and the true emotion of the song brought forward.

Today she is releasing her single “Amazing”, which will be followed  by her “Amazing” EP on November 17th.  The creation of the EP was journey around the world.  She recorded in Paris, New York, Philadelphia and Maputo, Mozambique.  It has taken two years of to complete the EP.  You can expect it to have influences from each city, to make her EP a truly world experience in Soul.

Below we have a sample of Rifya’s new single “Amazing”.  Also there’s her video of the song “Je Me Cherche”.  Enjoy.

Amazing

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqDjEMpL3CI

Memphis: The Chocolate Bar Returns on October 3rd

The Chocolate Bar

Well… Zora’s Lounge is doing another The Chocolate Bar event on October 3rd.  If you recall I attended the previous event, and left with mixed feelings.  I loved the idea and the vision that they had, but was slightly blinded by the execution of it.  I have hope that they will improve this event.  Anyway, it’s Saturday October 3rd @ 9pm.  Doors open, and the event starts at 9pm.  There are two sections in the lounge.  There is a $5 cover section, and a $10 cover section.  The only difference is that the $10 section is where Lila will perform.  The $5 section gets the music via speakers.  The live performance should start at 10:00pm.

The main premise is envisioning a sushi bar, but with chocolate and great wines. The wines include Relax Riesling… Frontera Shiraz… Barefoot Moscato, Sauvigon Blanc, Beringer White Zin, Zonin Baccorosa and Sonoma Merlot. The assortment of chocolate consists of triple chocolate cake, cocoa truffles, tiramisu, German chocolate cake, white Russian truffle, marzipan and fudge. TIP: Anything below $5 in price is not worth it. The slices of cakes and such are much better value.

Zora’s Lounge is located at 652 Marshall, Memphis, TN.  Also to get more information please call (901) 525-0009.

Lila

Website/Myspace/CDBaby/iTunes

Speaking of Lila, she will be the artist of the evening.  She is a local violinist, who plays a variety of genres such as Jazz, hip-hop, soul, R&B, funk, alternative, rock, Latin, and reggae.  She recently released a Jazz/Fusion album titled “The Blue Violin“.  You can go to iTunes or CDBaby to sample songs from her album.  It should be a very good performance and experience.  Below is a very nice video bio on her.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdZ9G_evSdw

Soul Artist Spotlight: Wendy McIntyre

Wendy McIntyre

Website Myspace FaceBook Twitter Youtube

Here is an artist that doesn’t get the attention that she deserves.  With one of the smoothest, and with incredible range, that I have been privileged to hear.  She released her debut album “The Anthem“, earlier this year.  It’s a nice mix of R&B, Jazz and Soul.  Below you can check out the EP Sampler of her album.  You can also find her on Gypsy’s Soul Ear Candy Chronicles Vol. 2.

The Anthem

Count It All Joy

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr0olCBaqpE

Soul Artist Spotlight: Laura Izibor

Laura Izibor

Website Myspace FaceBook Twitter Videos

Shine

Good morning people.  Today’s artist is Laura Izibor.  Sometimes the art that we just find out about, is not new to the scene, but just been under the radar. As an Irish born  musician, producer and recording artist, she started singing early in life.  She found her love in music at the age of 13, and taught herself to play the piano a year later.

Laura Izibor

She released her debut album “Let The Truth Be Told” on May 8th, 2009.  Below she sings Mary J. Blige’s Real Love and her own song “From My Heart To Yours”.  Also, I’ve included her song “Shine”, one of my favorite songs from her album. Enjoy.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTe_52wSMjk

Soul Artist Spotlight: Afi Soul

Good morning people.  Going for a different vide today.   Afi Soul (pronounced ah-FEE) is singer that is from the Washington, DC area.  She has a very soft sensual voice that  lull you into a relaxed state.  She performs mostly on the East Coast, and has won many local awards for her voice and talent.  Afi has one album, which is “Lovely“.  It was released in 2007.  She is currently working on new material to be released.  Anyway, on to the music.

Afi Soul

Afi Soul

Website Myspace FaceBook Twitter Youtube

Kisses

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Grc0VCoclI

Soul Artist Spotlight: Shamika Brice (Brown Rice)

Good morning people.  Ever have the feeling that life is good, and all that?  Then you hear or see something, that now you know you can’t live without. A voice that speaks to you in a way, that very few others have in the past. An emotion that speaks through the music, and grasps you.  That’s how I describe the voice of Shamika Brice aka Brown Rice.  She has been making music since she was 10. She released the album titled “Bounce To This” in 1998 in Japan. I’ve tried searching for it, but I can’t find it anywhere. I would love to get my hands on that album.  Anyway, she took some time off, and is back performing in small venues around New England. I’m hoping that she has an album coming out soon, or at least an EP.  Something.  I’m thirsty for more.

Brown Rice

Shamika Brice aka Brown-Rice

Website Myspace FaceBook Twitter Youtube

Funny

Sade’s Site is Updated

Sade Updates

Morning people.  I was doing my normal morning surfing, and found something very nice.  Sade’s US website has been updated with a new look, and a forum for her fans.  There isn’t any new album info, but this helps confirm that. After going through the forum I’ve added a few of the fan sites links for you.  Hopefully there will be an announcement of her new album.  After doing more searching, a French site is saying to expect a November release os this album.  I don’t know where they are getting that info, but we’ll see.
Sade Fan Sites

Sade Brazil

Sade Fans International

Taboo Band

Sade’s Offical Sites

MySpace

FaceBook

Worldwide Sade Site

Sony’s Sade Site

UPDATE: 7-16-09 Just thought that I would keep everyone up on any changes with Sade’s upcoming album that is rumored.

1. So far Sony hasn’t confirmed an album release date, let alone a November 24th, 2009 date.

2. A new site popped up Sade2009.com. It’s NOT a official Sade site.  She already has two official sites, along with a Facebook and a MySpace, which hardly get updated.  This Sade2009.com is a fake, and the person is trying to further his own web design company. For the full run down go here.

3. Billboard has a great article on the whole issue. There has been confirmation from her band that new material is being worked on, and a possible late 2009 release.  Cross your fingers.

Soul Artist Spotlight: L’Renee

L'Renee

Good morning people.  In my efforts to add some new features to the site, I’ve come up with “Soul Artist Spotlights”.  It’s where I spotlight six female artists, that are new to ME.  Some of the artists may new on the scene or serious veterans. There is so much music out there, I know, no one person is getting exposed to all of it all the time.  Also, I’ve added the feature of embedding mp3’s in a nice way.  Yeah, I know big deal.  Anyway, on to the music.

L'Renee

L’Renee

Website Myspace FaceBook Twitter Youtube

Our first spotlight is L’Renee.  Coming from the Detroit, MI area, she has fought against many doubters. Starting in 2006, by creating her own music label.  From there she moved forward at a great pace to release “Special Song” LP that same year. The following year, she released “2nd Chances”.  L’Renee also released “Merry Christmas EP” in 2008.  She is very ambitious with her 2009 release schedule.  She has three LP’s slated for this year.  They consist of “L’Renee’s House”, “Europe”,  and “Jazz” which is a live LP.  She will not be a one hit wonder, or a flash in the pan.  She has set her sights, and is planning on giving her fans the music they deserve.

All I Need Is Time


httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igNGj51rRrU httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqPILq9H7rk

bu2xs8vcaw

Oceana

Oceana

Website Myspace FaceBook Twitter Youtube

Good afternoon.  My eyes and ears have been opened this day to the soothing voice of Oceana.  With a heavy influence from the great Maceo Parker, she brings a fresh sound to this genre.  Her voice is heavy with a subdued emotion, and feeling that adds many nuances to her music. Her debut album Love Supply was just released on April 30th.  You can pick it up here.

From what I have heard so far, the song Cry Cry (video below) is great.  It’s her first single from the album, and her first video also.  She has a lot of live videos on her YouTube channel.  It’s like she just came onto the scene and knocking them dead.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygJvT8N7q40


Muhsinah…. A quite strength

Muhsinah

Website Myspace FaceBook Twitter Youtube

There isn’t a way to describe Muhsinah.  I learned about her, when I was posting over at Brown Sugar.  She has a very different style, complex style that takes a good ear to really appreciate, and understand.  Once you get it, you’re hooked.  Then you find out that she has been making music for a few years, and a few albums under her belt.  In 2005, she released The Oscillations EP. Then in 2007 she released day.break. In 2008 she really exploded with her releases.  pre.lude, day.break 2.0, The Oscillations:Sine, and The Oscillations: Triangle. This year she released The Oscillations: 2XLP, which is a compilation of the previous two  The Oscillations albums.  A good portion of her albums are mp3 format only, so, iTunes and Amazon has them available to purchase.

Learning more about her, and her music you see something that is becoming very common on the web.  That common item is the absence of big music companies influence.  She is a model of an independent artist.  Her site is very professional, and feature rich.  She can release EP and singles as she pleases.  Also she can connect directly and often to her fans, and offer freebies.  This is something that I am very excited about for future artists arriving in the Soul music genre.  This is all extra, in addition to her great talent.  This is something that not all artists can do.  Just imagine if Sade had a site and fan connectivity like Muhsinah?  I’m very glad the music industry hasn’t caught up to the times.  It gives the fans a really chance to enjoy, and be apart of the music that we all love. Other artists that have similar independence are Ayah, and Amanda Diva.

Oh, you know that great song Daykeeper from Foreign Exchange?  She is on that also.  Download it free here.

Ayah release Debut album 4:15 today

Ayah 4:15 Debut album

Website Twitter MySpace FaceBook YouTube

Just found out about this artist, Ayah.  Today she released her debut album “4:15”.  From the music that I have heard, I would say it’s like an upbeat smoothness.  Reminds me a little of Joy Denalane.  Her album is available on her site today on CD.  It will be released on iTunes on June 9th of this year.  While I was getting to know more about Ayah, I found that she released a mixtape called “Problem Woman Mixtape”.  You can go to her MySpace page and download the mixtape, and that should hold you till your album arrives.  I know it’s going to kill me to wait for this CD in the mail.  My last thing I ordered from the UK took two months to get here.  Oh, I’ve attached two of her videos below, Believe and Pusha Man.  Also, she also has a 4:15 Album Release Celebration.  Details are below.  I wish I could attend.

Date – Saturday, April 18th / 2009 (10pm)
Location – Toika Lounge (471 Richmond St. W)
City/Town – Toronto
Cover – $10
Dresscode – Be Your Sexy Self!
19+

Facebook Event Link – [ Click Here ]
Contact Email – [email protected]
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For only 951 Prince fans, the Prince Opus

The Prince Opus Case

You have to ask yourself a question. Are you a true Prince fan that you think you are?  This is the test right here. Prince has released The Prince Opus.  It’s a 280 page book that is 13″ x 20″, that weighs 38lbs.  It’s leather hand bound, with it’s own velvet case.  To add to the decadence, each page is printed in a four color process, plus metallic gold on silk.  It’s a photo book of Prince’s 21 Nights tour, and also includes a numbered and limited edition Apple iPod 2nd Gen Touch.  The purple iPod Touch has 40 minute movie from that same tour, and bonus tracks.  There will only be 950 of these available.  The price for this item?  Oh, only $2,100 USD.  If you have some extra money around, just go ahead and get me one too. Continue reading “For only 951 Prince fans, the Prince Opus” »

Natalie Gardiner, the Fix you didn’t know you needed

Natalie Gardiner

Website MySpace Twitter FaceBook

You know how you try some new food dish, and wonder how you have lived without it?  That is Natalie Gardiner.  Before last month, I had never heard of her or her two albums.  Sad, I know.  Well… now that I know about her, everything is right in the world.  Normally when I find a new (to me) artist, I liten to the most recent album, and work backwards.  That’s one of the benefits of finding unknown artists. Natalie’s most recent album is California, which has a Sade-esque feel to it, but a little more subdued vibe to it.  It flows along, with not a single bump, and it’s a wonderful ride.  her debut self titled album, Natalie Gardiner has more diversity in the styles displayed on the album.  It still has a subdued tone to it.  My favorite song on California, is “Slowly Softly”, which the video is below.  On her debut album Natalie Gardiner, it’s “Now I got Worry”.

Media: Video of “Slowly Softly”, Video of Live Stockholm performance, Preview of songs from both albums Continue reading “Natalie Gardiner, the Fix you didn’t know you needed” »

Soul Unsigned Collection

Soul Unsigned

Spent some time up late surfing, and came across this great collection of music at Soul Unsigned.  It’s a website that has Soul artists that have not signed with any record labels, yet.  Based on their talent and the Soul Unsigned Vol. 1, Soul Unsigned EP 001, and Soul Unsigned EP 002 they won’t be unsigned for long.  I was really surprised by the over all cohesiveness of the this collection of music.  They first released EP 001, then EP 002, and most recently Soul Unsigned Vol. 1. In late April they will be releasing Soul Unsigned Vol. 2.
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