From Arrested Development to Liberated Soul: Dionne Farris

Dionne Farris’s debut solo album, Wild Seed-Wild Flower, is bound to become a classic for those of us who know that the slogan “It’s a black thang, you wouldn’t understand” has more to do with variety and complexity than with some secret, unified code dictated by melanin. This one’s for the cool in all of us who understand the mix: living in the ‘hood and summering in the Hamptons, rocking both the bob and the baldy, and growing up on steady diets of Aretha, the Eagles, the Police, and the Chi-Lites.

For those of you who still insist on viewing black music (and by extension, the black community) in tired, myopic terms, well, Dionne’s got something fo’ yo’ asses. Wild Seed-Wild Flower is an unprecedented melange of funkabilly (think Thelma & Louise black-girl style), blues, gospel, rock, Sweet Honey in the Rock-inspired a cappellas, a li'l lite FM, and a whole lotta soul. 

If her voice sounds familiar, it’s probably because we’re still experiencing flashbacks from the sweet aural caress Dionne blew on Arrested Development’s 1992 chart-busting single “Tennessee.” Her powerful, haunting vocals helped bring the group from underground sensation to worldwide multiplatinumdom, 

Dionne, engaged at the time to AD drummer Rasa Don, broke ties with the group just as its success was looming. More than a few friends told her she was crazy and that she should apologize and beg her way back, but Dionne felt she had to listen to her heart. She decided that her dream of a solo career was more important than being an “extended family member” of her fiance’s group—or even than being married. 

She second-guessed herself more than once. “Back then I thought that breaking up with Don was the worst thing in the world,” Dionne says with a chuckle and a knowing smile. “But when I look at it now, I have to thank him. I was about to jump into that whole marriage/baby thing without really knowing who I was." 

Now, with Wild Seed-Wild Flower, Dionne’s confidence is unshakable, though she’s a little annoyed by black radio’s tendency to dismiss music (like Me'Shell’s and Joi’s, for example) that can’t be easily classified. "It’s scary that black radio is so narrow,” she says. “I’m black. My mama’s black. So for anyone to tell me that I don’t do black music is bullshit. I do music for black people and anyone else who wants to listen.”

With the help of David Harris, her co-writer and producer, Dionne just wants to sing her songs. “Music is really music.” she says. “Why do people have to label it? Are they so afraid that we’ll ail just go free and there’ll be too much love in the world?”


David Ryan Harris - Coldplay (2016)


JM x DRH x Sean Hurley x Zane Carney – Slowing Dancing in a Burning Room (Hotel Cafe, 2016)

There will never be a time when I will not want to hear this song live. Ten days until the start of tour. I can’t wait to post new concert videos and pictures every night!

The John Mayer Experience

After five years of waiting, I got the chance to see my favorite musician perform live.

John Mayer has always been a big influence in my music.  I was in high school when my cousin made me listen to him. After he showed me his copy of JM’s ‘Where the Light Is” concert, I got hooked in his music. The way he compose the lyrics and puts a blues riff in every single song made me realized that he’s not just like a musician that everyone has seen because he’s intelligent when it comes to song writing.

Last year, John Mayer announced that he’s going to release a new album after a four-year hiatus, and when his first single of his new album came out, I freaked out. I’ve been waiting for some good music to come out for a long time. After releasing his ‘Love on the Weekend’ single, he also announced that he’s going to have a worldwide tour, and Chicago is one of the cities where he’s going to play.

That moment, I knew that I’m going to do everything in able to watch him perform live, so I took all the overtimes in my work to save money for a ticket.

April 11, 2017. It’s the day. I bought a ticket close to the stage. I also brought my brother with me but since he’s not that big fan of John Mayer, he decided to watch the show in the general admission area.

The concert will start at 7:30  so we need to be there at 6 or 6:30. I woke up at 11 in the morning that day, and left our house at 2. I was super excited.

The United Center, which the concert will take place, is an hour away from us so we need to ride the train to get there without spending a lot.

We arrived at the train station near the United Center at four but we still need to walk a thirty-minute distance to get there, but it’s not a big issue for us since it wasn’t that cold.

Once we got there, we were the first ones to wait at the gates. We waited for two hours to get inside. The purpose of waiting that long is for us to be the first ones to get his concert merchandise. I bought a ‘Love on the Weekend’ hoodie which I wore the entire concert.

The concert started at 7:30 which was front-acted by this band called ‘The Record Company.’ After listening to their music, I became a fan. 

They’re a three-piece band composed of Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocalist), Alex Stiff (bass, back-up vocals), and Mark Cazorla (drums). Their music is a mixture of rock and roll, countries, and blues. 

These guys are awesome. Despite of playing in front of a lot of people, I can still feel their humility and passion, and they really play good music. 

After the front-act, the lights went out and the whole place was filled with cheer. As the stage screen showed clips from their previous concerts, there was a loud applause from the crowd, and the man that I’ve been waiting to see for a long time is walking in the center stage.

Along with his ‘Where the Light Is’ team, John Mayer started the show with his new song called, ‘Moving On and Getting Over.’

Everyone went nuts.

John Mayer killing the show with his guitar solos with David Ryan Harris on the right and Pino Paladino on the back.

John Mayer with Steve Jordan.

John Mayer Trio.

The show was composed of five chapters which are:

Chapter One - Full Band

1. Moving On and Getting Over

2. Helpless

3. I Don’t Trust Myself with Loving You

4. Who Says

5. Changing

Chapter Two - Acoustic

6. XO

7. Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey

8. Daughters

9. Free Fallin’

Chapter Three - Trio

10. Who Did You Think I Was

11. Vultures

12. Crossroads

Chapter Four - Full Band

13. Why Georgia

14. Still Feel Like Your Man

15. If I Ever Get Around to Living

16. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

17. Waiting

Chapter Five - Encore

18. Gravity (He wasn’t supposed to play this song but we all started to turn on our lights, and the whole place looked like a sky full of stars so he told us that he’s going to play Gravity for us instead of following his set list)

19. You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me

The entire show will forever be a part of me, and I will always remember how his music changed me from the moment I started listening to him through my phone until the day I saw him play his music live.


JM Tour Band Rehearsal – Heartbreak Warfare (2.17.16) x