Everybody's Got A Thing...

1 of my FAVORITE artists covering 1 of my FAVORITE songs by another 1 of my FAVORITE artists! When I saw this performance, I was in heaven. I'm talking complete BLISS. I have a feeling Pharrell is responsible for the song choice, and Ryan Tedder KILLS the vocals!

I will say, I feel like Ryan Tedder was using the moment to show off a bit, while Pharrell was simply having a good time honoring Stevie. Nevertheless, great performance! I'm so glad this happened!

Tell Me Something To Make Me Feel Better ...

There aren't enough words to explain how much I love this song.

If you believe in yourself
You’ll know the real you
It’s coming from within
Sincerely, sincerely

You subject yourself to being vulnerable
Not knowing why you fall in love
And so you become
What you are made to become
It’s not at all fair that I feel as I do
Tell me something to make me feel better

My sister, I am your mind. Within you there’s a never-ending magnitude of infinite strength, wisdom and will. You travel my roads through life never knowing your own true reality because my thoughts remain like distant quasars. You abuse me by never letting me say and do as I feel. Our thoughts split from love affairs to choice of friends. We argue like two enemies yet we are good friends.

Now, there are moments when we harmonize with each other, and become one with nature and reality. But these times are few. When after you have replenished yourself, the fear of the truth sets in. We split, and you start to run again. Running, running, running. Running through women, men, jobs, people and life looking for the answer when I had it all along. But I smile... because I am your mind.

I was your mind yesterday; I am your mind today; and I’ll be your mind tomorrow. And as our end draws near we will become closer. But you and I, you and I, we will never be one, for I will part from you and you will part from me; you finding another mind and I another soul. And we’ll travel on and on.

By the way, I need more than sex to nourish my equilibrium. But I do need sex. I also need sun, trees, stars, creativity and love. But you saturate my soul with too much of one and not enough of the other. Therefore I cry. But why do we cry? Because tears cleanse the windows of our minds. I am your mind.

Tell me something to make me feel better

All your thoughts inside your mind wanting to be free

Well, now you’ve got the chance to let your mind grow... and be free. Because the music is just trying to say things to free your mind. And if you let your mind be free, then you can understand mine. There’s no need to be afraid of me. I want to be your friend. I’m just trying to give you music from deep, deep, deep within.

And on and on, and on and on

Tell me something to make me feel better

All of your dreams can become reality. My dial reaches full, but you’ve only been turning me halfway. Turn me up, and alpha and theta waves will spew from your pores. Knowledge, peace, happiness and prosperity will be placed at your feet. Let’s, let’s create. Solve. Love. Accomplish. And unify.
— Roy Ayers

What I Thought I Knew, I Don't Seem To ...

Here I am again asking questions,
Waiting to be moved.
I am so unsure of my perception,
What I thought I knew I don’t seem to
Where is the turn so I can get back to what I believe in?
Back to the old me and

God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, please.

I am such a fool
How did I get here?
Played by all the rules
Then they changed
I am but a child to your vision
Standing in the cold and the rain
Lost here in the dark
I can’t see my foot to take a step,
What is happening?
Oh, this hurts so bad. I can hardly breathe.
I just want to leave so...

God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, oh, please, please.

God please hear my call.
I am afraid.
Love has turned me cold,
I need your healing.
Please, please, please, please, please, please.
— Jill Scott

Sippin on Some SZA

I just heard SZA's latest song, "Drew Barrymore" the other day, and that she's getting ready to release a new album, CTRL! 

I've been keeping up with SZA for years, and I'm liking her growth! Love her fashion sense, songwriting, voice, and big hair

1st video is the music video for one of my favorite songs by her, "Babylon":

2nd video is her recent live performance of her new song, "Drew Barrymore":

**Edit: Sza has since released a music video for the single, which features an apropos cameo by Drew Barrymore, and is featured below!**

What You Say To Me?

Aaaahhhh if only I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if they could "touch my hair?"

No one wants, or should be made, to feel like a novelty toy. There is a difference between appreciation/admiration and fetishization. Thank you Solange for using your creativity to make a simple, but profound statement!  

This song is laid-back, but groovy! This video is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for showcasing the versatility of natural African hair! Also, showing versatility in fashion and dance/movement! African culture across the diaspora is rich and diverse!

Well That's Exactly What I Came For!

Anderson .Paak ...

If you don't know ... watch this video so you can KNOW! I wrote a post featuring a song of his ("Suede") recently. Check that out if you haven't yet!

Sick drummer ... I LOVE his raspy, soulful voice ... love his rapping style and songwriting ...

This guy is dope, so please just ... take a listen to this NPR Tiny Desk Concert!

I LOVE the NPR Tiny Desk Concert Series, btw! Thank you NPR for getting them!

Gaga for Gaga! Superbowl LI Halftime Show!

I have recently regained my appreciation for Lady Gaga. She really is a true pop artist, and I'm glad she's out here kicking @$$ and taking names! I've watched this Superbowl halftime performance several times, and every time I watch it I'm engaged and happy to see her!

I love artists who stay true to who they are no matter the setting. Gaga stayed true to Gaga throughout this performance. I love that she goes into the audience to have physical contact with fans, shouts out her parents, and has unexpected leaps in the beginning and end of her performance - she keeps you guessing!

Thank you for your quirkiness, your AMAZING vocals, flamboyance and outrageousness! Go Gaga!

A Clue For the Clueless ...

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ooookay *sigh* ... Chrisette Michele has caught a lot of heat for agreeing to perform at Trump's inauguration, and for good reason.

I have followed Chrisette over the course of her career; this is not the first time she has done something confusing, but this particular situation is a bit unnerving.

There are reasons to take the opportunity, such as:

  • Exposure
  • $Money$
  • A Sense of High-Esteem/Bragging Rights - "Inauguration" is a BIG thing to add to an artist's resume...

Please notice I wrote a "sense of high-esteem"...

These reasons are cliche, but they are reasons nonetheless. Even with these 3 points (and there are probably others), in this case, there are still a ton of clear reasons to NOT take the gig. So many that instead of listing them, I have included a video that goes through them in depth. Not only is the YouTuber evocative, but for real, for real ...

I don't even want to begin to get into the list myself because it's so long that it could stand on its own as a think piece.

Check out the video below, and continue reading afterward!

As an artist, it can be easy to say "yes" to every gig offer, especially the more an artist loves to perform. Nevertheless, sometimes you have to say "NO".

Digressing briefly, I find it interesting that a lot of artists (Chrisette, especially) mention "being able to reach/connect with people" in their reasons of why they love performing, BUT get upset when they are held accountable for not acknowledging their audience. I mean if you value the connection you have with your supporters, show it! Chrisette put out a statement that she is acting as a "voice for voiceless". As far as I'm concerned, Chrisette has not only been silent regarding issues outside of herself, but she (arguably) has acted as an agent for the "Trump Agenda".

Without a doubt Chrisette Michele's audience is mostly comprised of "the voiceless": people Trump has condescended, disclosed intention to disable [in some form or fashion], and now is utilizing his power to follow through on those intentions -

Just today (Jan. 24 - Day 2 of Trump's official "president" status) Trump signed acts to approve the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines ...

Audience aside, Trump has made statements and actions that would presumably offend Chrisette Michele, herself, to the point that she would decline. Chrisette did not display any sense of conviction, or social-consciousness in her inauguration performance. She contradicted her statement about being a voice, which she tried to support with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

So okay ... you get to say you performed at the president's inauguration, but WHICH president did you help celebrate and welcome into the White House?

Chrisette's decision to accept the offer, as well as her reason to follow through with the performance, is unclear and naive. With artistry, it's imperative to have clear conviction and integrity. Your art should reflect the times, enhance your culture, and help push the culture forward. Your endeavors should highlight the status of your career, and be embarked upon with a vision to not only progress, but beyond that, excel.

Though the deed is done, there is still a lesson to be learned, especially for artists and public figures:

Be clear and consistent with your message. 

Also, deliver your message with compassion.

D'Angelo sets a great example in his performance of his song "The Charade" from his Saturday Night Live appearance last year. SNL, like the inauguration, is a MAJOR platform. If Chrisette came out on this tip ... this would be a different story.

Though Dr. King's quote is powerful, I think Chrisette's understanding and attempt to exemplify the sentiment of his quote was confused. Here is another quote with an analogy that might paint a clearer picture.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
— Desmond Tutu

Us "mice" don't appreciate your pseudo-hippie/peacemaker approach to this situation, Chrisette.

A Master Class By MJ

As a performer, I often run into issues with sound engineering. We (musicians) all do.

That is what made this performance especially resonate with me. MJ doesn't skip a beat! He doesn't show any frustration, or angst in his facial expressions or body language. He is in it!

The moment. The song. The music. That's it.

Now, who's to say who got a good verbal lashing once he got off stage? I have a feeling someone lost their job that day because c'mon ...


and the F%$k ups are CLEAR!

Still, Mike gave an AMAZING performance. He left his heart on the stage!

Thank you, MJ. 

Day By Day, and Night and Night!

This song has been STUCK in my head for some time now - I LOVE IT!

I always have enjoyed it, but lately this song has really met me where I'm at in terms of what my ears have been lending themselves to ... 

Personally, The System is underrated, but not by my mom! Shout out to her for introducing this band to me! 

A Gift of Love

We are trying
To say thank you
Through the message of
All the songs that
We’re giving you
All love
Is our music
Take this love we have
As a sign of our gratitude

We wanna thank y’all
Gift of love
And your faith in us
Your gift of love
— Kool & the Gang

Art (in this case, music) is a gift that keeps on giving, in many respects.

An artist's talent is often referred to as their "gift". Artists create something that they give to their audience. In the case of music, the audience gives a listen, and it goes on from there ...

My music and this blog are my "gifts of love". I hope you receive them with that intention.

"Gift of Love" is featured on Kool & the Gang's 8th studio album, "Open Sesame".

"Gift of Love" is featured on Kool & the Gang's 8th studio album, "Open Sesame".

No shirt +Shiny Pants + 5'o'clock Shadow + PORN-STACHE = 70s Soul Revival!

When I first saw this performance, there were things from a musically technical standpoint that got to me; HOWEVER ...

With art, sometimes you have to nix technicality! The process of creation, and the execution of performance are about the FEELING! Childish Gambino has got the feeling! 

I wasn't there for the 70s, so I can't say what they felt like, but I think Gambino would have been well received with the energy he's giving here.