This beautiful brown poet and songstress is a delightful soul to speak to, and incredibly talented. I had an opportunity to interview this Goddess from Chicago, and was relieved to find that there was still, yet another artist who despite the compelling circus of the mainstream, remains true to herself and true to the legendary craft of creating timeless SOUL.
Find the audio interview below, along with her bio and links to learn more about her and her art…
Brooklyn-based artist ArinMaya is a singer/songwriter with her soul wide open. Her style cannot be contained but is often characterized as graceful and healing, whether she’s scatting through standards, riffing to R&B or improvising over electro-beat. Her voice culls audiences to remember the sensuality and mystery of Sade, the deep hurt of Billie, and the wisdom of Nina. And her songwriting sends audiences to a hopeful, sometimes private place where they are comforted, satiated and affirmed.
Hailing from Chicago, ArinMaya was born into the arms of two music-loving parents whose record collections spanned from Paul Simon’s Graceland to almost every album released by Sweet Honey in the Rock, from show tunes like Ain’t Misbehavin’ to Pharoah Saunders and Stevie Wonder’s entire discographies. From age 5 she wanted to be in every choir possible, and she was. ArinMaya participated as section leader or soloist in Trinity United Church of Christ’s children’s and youth choirs, the Chicago Children’s Choir, the Community Renewal Society’s All God’s Children and every single choir she could join in high school at the Latin School of Chicago. She even gave strong voice to the teenage and women’s drill teams at church, filling the 3,000-seater sanctuary (sans microphone) every other Sunday with “I’ve got a feeling, I’ve got a feeling church, I’ve got a feeling the TUCC drill team’s gonna step for Christ.”
In college at Howard University, her focus was studying, but she did get to stretch her lungs out for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority as a song leader and briefly in Howard’s Gospel Choir, then led by Richard Smallwood. A year-long exchange at Stanford allowed the songstress to join the popular Everyday People a cappella with whom she toured and recorded an album.
Though music was never far from her mind, it took a few years of dedicated yet unfulfilling work in New York for her to step out onto the tightrope of her dreams. At the end of 2007, ArinMaya took the bold step of leaving her job to leave for Paris—city of light. While in Europe, she also visited Berlin so that by the time she was heading back to the states, she had explored and become more comfortable with performing solo for audiences at such venues as The Swan Bar, Le Blue Note, and Cotton Club Berlin, sharing the stage with artists like Mario Canonge, Catia Werneck, and Fumi Tokie.
ArinMaya’s return to the states only confirmed she had been traveling in the right direction and she has been writing, collaborating and performing ever since at venues such as Brooklyn’s Joloff Restaurant, D.C.’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, and New York’s world-famous Blue Note, to name a few.
Her debut recording, The Sound of ArinMaya, was released in Spring 2010 and continues to be well-received and downloaded by audiences worldwide. 2011 will prove to be even more exciting, as the singer plans to release her first full-length recording with long-time collaborator and guitarist, Nick Cassarino, as well as some other collaborative projects.
ArinMaya has grown and continues to grow into a widely sought after artist and looks forward to spreading her love for the craft and artistry of music to audiences worldwide.
Today we have the great blessing to speak with Avery*Sunshine and understand a little bit more about her wonderful voice, talent and positivity. With the release of her debut album last summer, she has brought an energy to the genre, that was lacking in my opinion. You can gather that vibe from her music, watching her perform or just hearing her in a voicemail. (Which I had the pleasure to receive, I will never delete):) Anyway, if you haven’t picked up the album please do, and give yourself a treat. Also, if you are in the Memphis, she will be performing at The Vine this Saturday January 15th. You know I will be there.
Soulified: With the release of your debut album last summer, how has your career changed?
Avery*Sunshine: We are definitely a lot busier!!! The album helps to increase awareness.
Soulified: What was the message that you were trying to convey to your fans with that album?
Avery*Sunshine: I wanted to encourage people to not be afraid of honesty. I hope that my honesty and “realness” (That word is not in the dictionary lol) encourages others to be honest and real. From that honesty will flow healing and from that healing will flow “SHINEABILITY”: the ability to SHINE! . (I made that word up too.) ;)
Soulified: As each song is an intimate creation of talent, heart and soul, what song had the most meaning to you on this album, if you had to narrow one down?
Avery*Sunshine: They are all very meaningful to me. If I’d have to pick, I’d choose UGLY. From that tune we were able to create an album. The vocals on that tune were recorded in my closet!!!!
Soulified: I really enjoyed your video “All In My Head”. What songs are next to make the transitions to a music video? Why was that one picked to be the first?
Avery*Sunshine: Thank you! We thought that the story of ALL IN MY HEAD would visually be interesting. We hope that it was! I GOT SUNSHINE and PININ’ will be next!
Soulified: I love that you are touring, even to the smaller cities like Memphis. How has the experience been for you?
Avery*Sunshine: The touring experience is very close to my heart. I am privileged to have the opportunity to travel the world doing what I love to do. BLESSED.
Soulified: Since you gave your fans such a great album last summer, what are you plans for the next album?
Avery*Sunshine: First of all, THANK YOU. Secondly, the thought of creating another album is TERRIFYING but a feat we intend to take on nonetheless!!! We, my music partner Dana Johnson and I, plan to write from our hearts again and see what happens. Wherever God leads, we’re gonna follow! Can’t go wrong that way. I’d like to have a few guest artists on the album too. (We’ll let you know if Prince agrees!!!) I’M KIDDING!!! well… ;)
Soulified: I can tell by your music, videos and just how you carry yourself. How do you keep your positive nature and outlook?
Avery*Sunshine: Prayer. My family. My friends. Music. Getting rest when I need it and being adamant about having personal time to “re-up”.
Soulified: With the growth of twitter and facebook as ways for artists to connect directly with the fans, what method do you prefer and what was the most surprising thing that you have noticed about the increased fan connection?
Avery*Sunshine: I am both a Twitter and Facebook junkie. When I first started, I was surprised that people were actually interested in the seemingly mundane things that I was doing!!! Now I realize that the social networks allow artists to have the necessary connection with the people who help to make the artists who they are. I was not a fan initially. Now, I’M SOLD!!!!
Soulified: So what are you plans for your music in 2011?
Avery*Sunshine: We intend to continue our touring to further increase awareness about the project. Of course we’ll be making more music too. ;)
Soulified: Thank your for your time, and best wishes.
Avery*Sunshine: Thank you Eric for your interest!!! I’m Honored!
As you may have noticed lately that things have kinda of slowed down on the site. With the holidays, my two other jobs and just less time available for me to spend like I did this summer, I’ve had to think about what do I want to do with Soulified. Then to have the shocker that SoulUK has decided to suspend operations for now. I’ve really wanted to make the right move. I’ve have thought about it, and want to get Soulified, back to it’s roots. At the start of the blog, almost two years ago I wanted to expose the unknown or unsigned Soul artist. After trying to push growth on the site, and have a Facebook page, twitter, Tumblr and so forth, it all gets diluted.
I’m not going to try to keep abreast of every single release, video debut, rumor of a new album that’s upcoming, or award shows. It makes me smile more to expose someone to Cilla K or Nakia Henry, than post a news snippet about a upcoming video or who won what award. There are a lot of choices for music news, and I’m not going to try to run the same stories that you can see on five other sites. You want each of the sites you visit to be something unique and worthwhile. So each week, I will focus Soulified on ONE Soul artist. In that week, I will have a bio, interview, showcase of their videos, albums, singles and hopefully a give away. I think that way you get a much more complete view of the artist, and not just a snapshot. So, there will be 52 artists showcased and detailed, this coming year. Hopefully it will be an artist that is new to you or you may discover something new about an old favorite.
I hope that you can understand my choice to take Soulified, in this direction and continue to visit for your Soul music needs. Thank you and Enjoy.
I know it’s only Tuesday, but you have to start getting ready for the weekend sometime. A great mixtape has been done by DJ Mars, Vikter Duplaix and DJ Doc. Very smooth and weekend approved. If you can’t get the vibe going with this, then you need your card pulled. Enjoy.
Was just put on to this talented artist, Kristopher Lamont. When I say this voice is out of the blue, I really mean out the blue. I’m a little partial to my female Soul artists, but listening to Kristopher’s voice has show me that there is hope on the male front. One main aspect I love about his voice, is that it conveys such power and feeling. There is meaning behind each verse. As if you were to peel back a layer or two, you would find some happiness, joy or sadness that he is pulling from, to give each verse it’s emotion.
Anyway, he has just dropped his debut single “Change”, and it’s here for you to listen. His debut album is scheduled to appear Spring of 2011. So, check him out, spread the word and enjoy some “Change”.
The dastardly trio comprised of Mechanism (white) I Fit The Description (black) and D.J. Jae Rawkwell (mexican)are white black at cha with a brand new EP for 2010 after a 2 year wait since they’re debut album “Manufactured” dropped in 2008. If your into dope versatile lyrics, production, arrangement, cartoon samples, flow, album artwork, and theme then click the download link below and add this bad boy to your I Pod touch or bootleg MP3 player because this EP comes correct with all thee above. The more I listen to it the more it get’s reminiscent of a classic Wu Tang album with a West Coast twist especially track #5 The Final Showdown. Got this bad boy on repeat at my spot. My only complaint is that it’s an EP with 5 songs and not a full album cause it def would of been nice to hear more.
Exact Opposites are “Quick Draw McGraw” and “Huckleberry Hound” in this story of two do-gooders from the Wild West who travel from venue to venue seeking to amend the quality of hip hop and it’s current state.“The Amazing Adventures of Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound” is a mini-series, showcasing the creative and versatile rap styles of Exact Opposites.
It’s been 2 years since we heard an album from Yeezy and this time he’s back to rapping! Yay! No more auto tuned singing and crying and 808’s etc etc. So how does it stack up? Well with the help of our very own in house Dj Smoke1 on the 1’s and 2’s and yours truly on the lap top keyboard lol were gonna let cha know before it drop’s on the 22nd of November.
My first impression of the album is seeing alllllllllll of the features that Kanye has and most of them are hella random too me not to mention majority of them are wack as hell and do the tracks no justice. In fact the only features I was feeling were RZA, Jay-Z, John Legend, and Chris Rock who wasn’t even mentioned on the track list but had one of the most memorable not to mention funny features on the album with his comedic “Yeezy Taught Me” insert towards the end of track # 11 Blame Game. And I thought for sure I was going to see a Drake feature. I mean he’s the hottest out right now and he was present with Kanye in Hawaii when they were recording on both they’re albums. West said that Maya Angelou, Gil Scott-Heron and Nina Simone were his musical inspirations for this album which are some pretty heavy figures to site and I just don’t hear it on this one at all. There’s not even a good sampled song which is one major things Kanye is known for.
I think the 2 things that kinda killed it for me with this album aside from Nicki Minaj speaking in a British accent doing spoken word in the intro is that when I first heard Yeezy was putting this album out and it wasn’t going to have auto tuned singing crap that his last one had and that he was going back to what put him on the map I expected to hear the raw hungry innovative genius that he all blessed us with on his first 2 albums with that super dope production and witty lyrics to follow but sadly I got none of that on this album. Second when I listened to the album I found myself skipping tracks because I had all ready heard them or had them with the immense saturation on the radio and leaks on the net so nothing was really new to me. It’s a solid album none the less with a good flow. Whats going to save this album are the visual’s that Kanye paints with the songs cause I give him mad props on that. From the 30 plus minute mini music film I featured in a later post here to his super dope Saturday Night Live performance which were by far thee best in SNL history in my mind down below…
Aside from the visual’s I lastly think that Kanye’s infamous rants and outspoken personality is going to get his album sales like the recent naked pictures of him floating around that Playboy turned down for $10,000 or the current Bush beef he has going on where Bush talks about Kanye in his new book in regards to being disgusted when Yeezy pretty much called him a racist live on MTV during the Katrina disaster. After hearing Bush’s view point and explanation on many show appearance’s like Oprah and Today along with Kanye’s apology I have a much better understanding and somewhat side with Bush on it. Especially after Kanye’s Matt Lauer interview…
Below you’ll notice 5 different album artwork covers. I’m not sure which one’s we’ll get when they hit stores but I do know the very first one we won’t as it’s been banned for obvious reason’s. Yeezy wasn’t to happy about as he clearly expressed via his twitter stating that back in the 60’s and 70’s they put real nakedness on they’re covers and that banning the cover takes away from his expression and creativity. He lastly went on to say that he said he didn’t make his album cover’s to please retailers like Walmart and Target who pretty much are the main sellers of his album. Smart one Yeezy *shakes head*
1. Dark Fantasy
2. Gorgeous (feat. Kid Cudi & Raekwon)
4. All of the Lights (Interlude)
5. All of the Lights
6. Monster (feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver)
7. So Appalled (feat. Jay-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beatz & The RZA)
8. Devil In a New Dress (feat. Rick Ross)
9. Runaway (feat. Pusha T)
10. Hell of a Life
11. Blame Game (feat. John Legend & Pusha T)
12. Lost In the World
13. Who Will Survive In America
Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy presented by Dj Smoke1…
Finally after playing the ish outta his single “Fuck You” I got my hands on the highly anticipated 3rd solo studio album by Cee Lo Green which drops November 9th, 2010 and you know I had to send it to our Dj Smoke1 to mix up for your listening pleasure.
Listening to the whole album it’s almost hard to believe this was recorded in 2010 because it has a very soulful Motown vintage feel from the many ways Cee Lo sings to the production arrangements that back his vocals. I sent the album over to my boy Shawn Harrison of the hit tv show Family Matters to get his thoughts on it and he even liked the album which is a pretty good compliment being that he’s not a Cee Lo fan and pretty much hate’s most the artist I love. lol My favorite song by far on the album aside from the hit single “Fuck You” has to be #10 “Fool For You.” The beat has a dope Earth Wind and Fire funk sound about it and Cee Lo’s singing style in this one is nuts the way he transitions from an in your face head sway style to convince everyone why he’s a fool for the woman he’s singing about to the smooth out crooner style when the hook comes to my favorite part via the way he sings the “YOU!” parts. This one has definitely been on repeat. Something I noticed that the version of #8 I Want You is totally different then the one I featured awhile ago. All the lyrics are the same he just sings them way different more at a slower tempo and the production to match. I def like the other version a lot better. Also his rendition of Georgia didn’t make the album that I featured here as well which makes no sense to me because that single is dope and totally reps the place where he comes from. Oh well you can download them both at that “here” and add them to the album when you purchase it.
I highly suggest picking this album up on the 9th if you want some “instant vintage” and to hear Cee Lo in a way and style like you’ve never really heard. Dude is mad talented and has come a long way since his hip hop group Goodie Mob.
1. The Lady Killer Theme (Intro)
2. Bright Lights Bigger City
3. Fuck You
6. Love Gun Ft. Lauren Bennett
8. I Want You
9. Cry Baby
10. Fool For You Ft. Philip Bailey
11. It’s OK
12. Old Fashioned 13. No One’s Gonna Love You
14. The Lady Killer Theme (Outro)
The super duo that make up The Foreign Exchange, Phonte (rapper/singer) and Nicolay (producer) are back 2 years later coming off they’re Grammy nominated sophomre album “Leace All Behind” with they’re 3rd installment “Authenticity.” And this time they have an official 3rd member in the group by the name of ZO! (singer/producer)
I know I’m a little tardy with my review on this album being that it dropped Oct 12th but couldn’t help the lap top issues I had but I’m black in business yall and had plenty of time to listen to this album and when I say I’ve listened to it I’m talking about playing it all day everyday since it came out. It’s that tight yall. As a matter of fact I’m going to go on record and call this one a masterpiece. All 11 tracks are dope. Whether your in love or out of love your going to dig this album and it’s going to get you through what ever mood your going through. It’s always a treat to hear Phonte sing because I’m so use to hearing him spit with his rap crew Little Brother and he truly show’s his vocal versatility on this one hitting high/ low notes and even some falsetto. Aside from the vocals the words behind them have great message, content, and meaning. Put all that together on top of the production from Nicolay with a sprinkle of ZO! and you have the masterpiece that I speak of.
When asked about the albums title Phonte speaks, “I think every band reaches that point when they come into their own and find a sound that is distinctively theirs. The title refers to me and Nic’s journey to find our own unique space within this vast musical landscape. The biggest challenge as a musician is to find that ‘thing’ that makes you who you are. But I think we’re getting there, and we’re finding our way more and more with each record.”
Since I have yet to catch a live performance here in Cali I’ve been on the hunt to find some recent video to get me by till they touch down and they’re all as dope live as they are in the studio. Here’s one of my favorite songs off the album called “Make Me A Fool.”
“Make Me A Fool” live in New York’s at B.B. King’s
1. The Last Fall
3. Eyes To The Sky
4. All Roads
5. Fight For Love
6. Maybe She’ll Dream Of Me
7. Don’t Wait feat. Darien Brockington
8. Make Me A Fool feat. Jesse Boykins III & Median
9. Everything Must Go
10. Laughing At Your Plans feat. Chantae Cann
11. This City Ain’t The Same Without You feat. YahZarah
For more info and to purchase the album go to The Foreign Exchange’s Official websitehere.
I finally got a chance to check out Kanyeezy’s long-form music film “Runaway” that premiered both on MTV and BET last Saturday. For those that got a chance to check it out on one of the networks I heard it wasn’t such a good experience because the networks interrupted the film on a number of occasions with commercial. If only I could hear how Kanye felt about that one cause this is def one of those films that has to flow all the way through to truly appreciate and understand.
I was pleasantly surprised by Kanye’s work cause I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The film is visually appealing with beautiful colors, effects, and a nice story line about a Phoenix that crashes down to earth in front of Kanye played by thee super gorgeous Selita Ebanks. And man let me tell yall! Her costume in this film is nuts! I swear through out the whole film I was hoping a feather or two would fall off. lol You’ll see what I mean. Anyways she pretty much falls in front of Kanyes car on the highway in the woods and he nurses her back to health, shows her our world, and falls for her in a nutshell.
What I really liked about this film is that it gives you a sneak peak of 9 songs from Yeezy’s forthcoming album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” with dope visual’s to go with each song as if the film has 9 mini videos. The whole film is suppose to be a metaphor for how Kanye feels he is different along with his music and how society views him and doesn’t understand him. It’s all around a dope film directed by Kanye and written by Hype William. Sounds like it should be the other way around huh? I’m sure Hype had his major hand in this film aside from writing it.
Lee? Yes, Lee. Don’t know him? Let me introduce you. Lee is a an artist that has no definitions or genres that bind him. He is a everything from a singer to poet to songwriter to rapper. The reason I’m introducing you to Lee, is not just because of his new album “Naked”, that is to be released on October 26th. It’s also to introduce you to an artist that has a body of work that allows you to draw from, and then listen to “Naked” with a reflection of how Lee arrived at this point musically.
Before his solo career, Lee was the front person for the band The Square Egg that was formed in 1999 in Miami. The band members included Lee with lead vocals, Mike Rens (bass player), Woody Quinn (guitarist), Jim Antonucci (saxophone), Russ Kleiner (drummer), Pete Clagett(trumpet), Rick Parker(trombone), Pat Firth (keyboards), and background singers Kristen Maxfield and Carol Brevard-Stern. This awesome collection of talent released four recordings which were:
Now, in 2008 Lee released his first solo album “Meet Lee (2008)“. This solo project set the fertile soil for the creative seed that bears fruit in the new album “Naked”. It was a 17 songs that really talents and the breadth of his reach musically. That’s another thing about Lee, that I truly admire. He gives you an album. Not a 6 or 8 song sampling, but a full album. His new album has 22 songs. When is the last time you picked up an album that wasn’t a greatest hits or mixtape what had 22 songs? Was it Prince’s B Sides release? :) Yes, it’s been that long.
To help spread the word of the new album’s release he has two singles. The first is “Alone” and then “? (Love)“. Out of the two, my favorite is “? (Love)”. Both should hold you till the album is released on the Tuesday, the 26th. Also while you’re waiting, check out the previous albums and take the time understand and appreciate Lee and The Square Egg. It will make the enjoyment of “Naked” so much more pleasant.