contemporary soul

“A Leap to the Subconsciousness” (SOLD)| 

“Learning from within” hold all your experiences connected to make your intuitive mind more powerful. It’s a sudden rise of the soul that is not understandable for a rational mind and not connected to the heart…

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In a single hour, Beyoncé’s Lemonade re-wrote the textbook definition of what a visual album should look like. The genre-bending music it introduced will define the struggles a generation was enduring in 2016, specifically for black women. The project transcends every definition pop has ever had; blending R&B, contemporary rock, country, reggae, soul and hip-hop in its 12 tracks, occasionally fusing several of these into a single song. The previous shoe-in for Album of the Year has nothing on this.

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On this day in music history: March 20, 1986 - “Rapture”, the second album by Anita Baker is released. Produced by Michael J. Powell, Marti Sharron and Gary Skardina, it is recorded at Yamaha R&D Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Music Grinder Studios in Hollywood, CA and United Sound Studios in Detroit, MI from Mid 1985 - Early 1986. After making a solid impression with her debut album “The Songstress” in 1983, Anita Baker finds her career progress halted when she becomes mired in a lawsuit with Beverly Glen Records. Seeking to end her relationship with the label for non-payment of royalties, the label counter sues her for breach of contract. The case takes nearly two years to settle, but it is in Baker’s favor, allowing her to field offers from other record labels. Anita is signed to Elektra Records in 1985, giving her more autonomy and creative control. To produce her major label debut, Baker enlists Michael J. Powell, her former Chapter 8 band mate to work on the project. Initially, A&R at Elektra are not pleased, feeling that a “name” producer should work with her, but label president Bob Krasnow allows the singer to go with her original choice.  Powell assembles a team of top studio musicians including  bassists Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson), Jimmy Haslip (The Yellowjackets), Nathan East (Eric Clapton), “Ready” Freddie Washington (Patrice Rushen), Neil Stubenhaus, Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Don Myrick, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., drummers John Robinson (Rufus), Ricky Lawson (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Steely Dan), and keyboardists Greg Phillinganes, Vernon Fails, Sir Dean Gant and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. Spending six months in the studio, recording wraps in early 1986. When the first single “Watch Your Step” (#23 R&B) receives a muted response from radio, Elektra quickly follows it up with “Sweet Love” (#2 R&B, #3 AC, #8 Pop). The ballad is a multi-format smash, giving Anita Baker her long awaited breakthrough. The albums seamless blend of R&B, jazz and pop proves irresistible, standing out dramatically in an era dominated by sterile over-produced recordings. “Rapture” cements her status with her core R&B fan base, broadening her audience. It spins off a total of five singles including “Same Ole Love (365 Days A Year)” (#8 R&B, #6 AC, #44 Pop), “No One In The World” (#5 R&B, #9 AC, #44 Pop) and the title track “Caught Up In The Rapture” (#6 R&B, #9 AC, #37 Pop). Though not released as singles, “You Bring Me Joy” and “Mystery” also become R&B airplay favorites as well. The album wins Anita Baker her first two Grammy Awards including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (for the full album) and Best R&B Song (“Sweet Love”) in 1987. “Rapture” spends three weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number eleven on the Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

It’s said that Tamaraebi, in but a few short months, has quickly become known as London’s underground latest soul secret. It becomes clear why this might be so just a few seconds into new original Innocence. His falsettos are exceptional. They’re milky and creamy yet raspy and emotive, all at the same time, like Milosh but raw and immediate instead of like a distant foggy dream. Tamaraebi is also reportedly influenced by Nina Simone, Prince, and Bob Dylan, which can all be found to some extent on this supple hovering fusion of atmospheric production and gently simmering guitar. 

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On this day in music history: March 18, 1974 - “You Make Me Feel Brand New” by The Stylistics is released. Written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed, it is the tenth single release for the R&B vocal group from Philadelphia, PA. By 1973, The Stylistics are one of the top R&B groups, having ridden a string of back to back hits beginning with their first top hit “You’re A Big Girl Now” in 1971. Nearly all of the group’s hits are written by producer, arranger and songwriter Thom Bell and lyricist Linda Creed. The narrative of “You Make Me Feel Brand New” is about a man expressing gratitude to his woman for all of the many blessings she has bestowed upon him, and how her love rejuvenates him emotionally and spiritually. The track for “Brand New” is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with members of MFSB providing musical support, and The Sweethearts Of Sigma (Linda Creed, Barbara Ingram, Evette Benton and Carla Benson) providing additional background vocals. Unlike many other Stylistics singles that featured only lead singer Russell Thompkins, Jr.’s distinctive falsetto voice front and center, “You Make Me Feel Brand New” also features baritone Airrion Love sharing lead vocal duties. The contrast in vocal timbres provides a unique point and counterpoint to each other. The song originally appears on The Stylistics third album “Rockin’ Roll Baby” released in November of 1973, with the LP version clocking in at nearly five and a half minutes. When the song begins receiving airplay as an album cut while the title track is climbing the chart, Avco Records decides to issue it as a single right after. The single version of “You Make Me Feel Brand New” is remixed, slightly sped up and edited down to under five minutes. This newly remixed version is also included on the groups next album “Let’s Put It All Together” in May of 1974. A multi-format smash, “Brand New” hits the pop, R&B and Adult Contemporary charts at virtually the same time. The single peaks at #5 on the R&B singles chart, #6 on the AC chart, and spends two weeks at #2 on the Hot 100 in June of 1974, unable to unseat Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods’ “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” from the top spot. Over the years, “You Make Me Feel Brand New” has not only become one of The Stylistics’ signature songs, but a pop and R&B standard and a staple of the Quiet Storm radio format. The song has also been covered numerous times over the years, with versions by Babyface, Boyz II Men, Rod Stewart & Mary J. Blige, Ronnie Milsap, Norman Brown and Larry Carlton. “You Make Me Feel Brand New” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.