Thursday, December 30, 2010

Command Performance

The world mourned the loss of our blue eyed soul sister Teena Marie this week. Her life and legacy, will always be remembered as a 'chosen' gift that she honored GOD with every day of her life. Teena always believed in soul music and never desired for anything but that. The life of a artist is one where you hope other's will receive your delivery and more importantly you hope that your delivery is understood. I can talk about Teena forever, I fell in love with her music as a kid in junior high school, and the love affair never ended. Her catalog is so deep with lyrical meaning, it's hard to choose just one, but what I decided to showcase today, is a tender moment in 1990 when she dropped by BET to promote her "Ivory" CD, she sang "If I Were A Bell" and the quiet storm classic "Casanova Brown" which is featured here on my blog, how exquisite was this performance, the simplicity of just a piano and Teena's voice....ooh la la, when it's real talent that's all you need. 'Casanova Brown' was about her love affair with Rick James, at the time few knew the 'true' story. If you're not aware of Teena's musical legacy, you should start with "Irons In The Fire", "Passion Play", "Naked To The World" and "Ivory"....and don't stop until you have her entire catalog.
Though her life was interrupted, the love affair with her music never has to end. Enjoy

Sunday, December 26, 2010

R.I.P. Teena Marie...A True Soul Sister!!

I wrote this article about six months ago, for a special that I had in mind for Lady Tee, a artist who was honest, pure and true to the art of soul music, unfortunately the special tribute was never materialized. Ironically she was to 'resign' with Cash Money records to begin working on her 14Th CD! Rest In Peace!!

30+ years of Wild & Peaceful
Born Mary Christina Brockert on March 5-1956. The blue eyed soul singer later become known to the world as Teena Marie and some affectionately calls her Lady T. Marie was always destined for fame an early appearance on The Beverly Hillbillies tickled her dreams of stardom. She grew up in Venice California. As a young teen she with guitar in hand traveled to Hollywood to get discovered. Luckily for us a man name Berry Gordy said yes and signed her to Motown Records. A few false starts in various groups, Motown didn’t really know what to do with their eager signee. Iris Gordy came up with the idea of having label mate Punk Funkster Rick James to work with Marie, though reluctant James eventually gave in and the rest is musical history. He went on to produce her debut LP for Motown called ‘Wild & Peaceful, which included the monster hit and duet with James, called “I’m Just A Sucker For Your Love” and the quiet storm sleeper “De Ja Vu”.

Next up came the “Lady T” project produced by Richard Rudolph the husband of the late singer Minnie Riperton, though a solid project it was met with difficulty at radio, the highlight of that project produce a life time friendship with Richard Rudolph, who Marie credits for teaching her how to produce a textured richness in her music. In 1980 came the release of “Irons In The Fire” in which Marie decided to be the sole producer, she hit pay dirt with the single “I Need Your Lovin” and watched “Irons In The Fire” achieve gold status, she established herself as a force to be reckoned with. This was a great time in her life with the success of “Irons” Motown wanted Marie back in the studio. This time the triumph was even greater she released“It Must Be Magic” in May 1981 and had major success with another top ten song called “Square Biz”was all the rage and revealed another side to the phenomenal talent, this time she was rapping. Striking while the iron was hot Marie team up with label mate Rick James and went on tour selling out stadium after stadium breaking Elvis Presley attendance records as well as the Rolling Stones record in concert sales. Summer of 1981 you could not go anywhere and not hear something blazes on the radio from the “It Must Be Magic” project.

Into each life some rain must fall, trusting that Motown would honor their word giving Marie a verbal agreement to renew her contract. When that didn’t happen things turned sour and Motown and Marie ended up in litigation. Being steadfast to her beliefs, all musical artists has Teena Marie to thank for giving them contract security which is known as the Teena Marie bill, which states that if a artist is under contract without product in the market place, their record label must pay them. Sadly this would end her association with Motown, the lawsuit was held up until 1984. Teena Marie signed on to Epic Records and released her debut LP called “Robbery” in March 1984 a solid project, unfortunately the sales were not as strong as her glory days at Motown. Bound and determined to be a success Marie went back into the studio and released “Starchild” another solid effort through and through, this time around she struck gold again, and had the biggest crossover single of her career with “Lovergirl” which peaked at #4 on the pop charts and garnered her a best female soul Grammy nomination. Marie was fully back in the swing of things. Her success is quite astounding, when you consider that here is white female singing R&B music. She could’ve easily chosen to do rock music and follow in the footsteps of Janis Joplin, but that wasn’t the love that Marie had for music, she always loved soul music. Her never wavering is why she has the legion of fans that has followed her over the 30 plus years of her career. Never one to rest on her laurels, the consummate artist Marie went back into the studio to record the follow-up to “Starchild” this time she decided to really push the envelope releasing “Emerald City” which was heavily saturated in rock and Brazilian overtones, one of the guest on her project was Stevie Ray Vaughn who passed away shortly after working with Marie. “Emerald City” wasn’t as successful as its predecessor. Deciding to go back to what worked best for her Marie released “Naked To The World” which consisted of two top 10 R&B hits “Ooh La La” her first and only #1 record which was later largely sampled by the Fugee’s on Fu-gee-la and “Work It”.

Epic wanted larger successes from Marie and had hoped that would happened with “Ivory” which had the makings of a blockbuster project, unfortunately Epic released the wrongs singles at the wrong time. With lukewarm sales Epic and Marie mutually agreed to part ways. This time around Marie decided to start her own record label called Sarai and released “Passion Play” this project is truly for the die hard Marie fan. It was an independent label, which couldn’t handle the marketing and push that an artist of Marie’s caliber deserved. Deciding to leave the recording process alone for a while Marie continued to tour extensively and her fans never disappointed. She was able to make a living without having product in the market place. Always in high demand Cash Money records approached Marie and convinced her to return to recording. In 2004 La Dona was released and became her biggest LP/CD peaking at #6 on the pop charts, and quite frankly overwhelming Marie, who really didn’t know how truly loved she was. “La Dona” quickly went gold and reestablished Marie’s place and legacy in soul music. Two more releases “Sapphire” and “Congo Square” is a part of her this great lady’s tapestry and shows that her body of work, is timeless, exquisite and genuinely soulful. There is ONLY one Teena Marie and African American culture has welcomed her into our homes for over thirty years and will continue to do. Thanks Lady Tee for being a true trailblazing Soul Sister.

Biography written by Kevin Knighton

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Command Performance

This performance is HILARIOUS to me, but it shows you the innocence of youth and how you can later become jaded, troubled and drugged to the life of Hollywood, nonetheless, it shows the early beginnings of hard work and dedication. Paula Abdul, though not a singer, in her prime should could dance her *ss off.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where Were You The First Time...

That you heard the scream of Chaka Khan's classic pitch perfect vocals? Not only is she beautiful, with a gigantic piercing smile, but her legacy in music is unequaled. She can sing ANYTHING. The greatest award to longevity is the ability to continue to create new vehicles in your music to continue to charter new territory, and to not sound dated in the process. Believe it or not this little lady got her start at the early age of 17 and fronted the group Rufus for almost a decade. We will never forget the lyrics .... "I will love you anyway, even if you cannot stay, I think you are the one for me, here is where you ought to be" yes "Sweet Thing" will forever be a classic for the history books. Chaka Khan has praved the way for Whitney Houston, Sade, Anita Baker, Rahsaan Patterson, Ledisi, Natalie Cole,celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Fantasia, Christina Aguilera, Tamia, Lalah Hathaway and countless others. Her voice is still just as capitvating today as it was when she first set foot on the music scene...we love you Chaka, Chaka Khan and we'll always 'feel' for you.

Where Were You The First Time...

That you heard the voice of Anita Baker? Flashback of the times we had, some made us laugh and some made us's gets not better than those lyrics, listening to Anita Baker you always want that 'Same Ole Love'. When you hear her music its that of a familiar family friend. Her music has been the soundtrack to so many of our lives. You can always find comfort in her delivery and those timeless lyrics. She came on the music scene in the late seventies with her group Chapter Eight and in the mid eighties as a solo artist recording for the Beverly Glen record label which released her first single "Angel" and from that moment on started the love affair with La Baker!

Where Were You The First Time....

That you heard the group Sade? Sade Adu came along in 1985 with her sultry smokey vocals, and she wrapped us around her fingers, her music is classic and timeless. She records her masterpieces then she's gone with the wind to resume her life. She always leaves her audiences with anticipation of longing for her jazzy delivery. Twenty fives years later, her music has stood the test of time and she will go down in the history books as a solid consistant contribution to the world of jazz, r&b and pop culture.

Where Were You The First Time....

That you heard that magnificant voice.....and what has been your favorite memory thus far....
With record sales over 170 million copies sold Whitney Elizabeth History will go down in the history books as one of the best vocalist to have ever lived, and her contribution to the world of music can never be tarnished.


I can't help but laugh when I saw this ad, having recently watched Oprah's interview on the former president. I found the interview to be very informing and I was enlightened, Mr. Bush came across very charming, educated and he seem to possess a sense of humor about it all.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Queen of Soul .......

Aretha Franklin has been discharged from a Detroit hospital after undergoing surgery that her doctors deemed highly successful. The legendary soul singer is in great spirits and very happy to be home where she will be resting in anticipation of spending the upcoming holiday season with her family. “My family and friends who brought me home are taking great care of me. I also have a private nurse who visits on a daily basis. I’m hoping to be strong enough to go out and see the upcoming Sam Cooke play at the Music Hall in Downtown Detroit before January 2, as well as a performance of Dreamgirls at the Fox before it closes.” God bless her.

Friday, December 17, 2010

By Chance/TGIF

Happy Friday and Happy Holidays everyone, this is my last TGIF for 2010. Time has passed so very quickly over these past two years since I started sharing my little vision. Thanks for your support and I'll see you in 2011.

If encounters are a catalyst to life and just say by chance, you happen to meet,cross paths, teach, love and nourish, then the fruits of all the labor is wisdom. To be available is to be present, to be present is to acknowledge what you're witnessing, it helps to form your quilt to a fruitful life. Awareness is the realization that everything isn't for everyone.

Family and friends can help you to weather any storm, basking in the moment means that you understand what savoring means, soaking in the master's plan, by understanding what's next for you, and the most beautiful of all is your openness to the unknown of what is in store for you. To say yes I will take on this challenge and though I may not have all the faculties at the present, but you're willingness to do the homework to learn, and to gather your team. Honestly, you're only going to be as strong as the team you surround yourself with, and that's the best sign of someone who truly knows about mandate and delegation.

In a world that is not always meant for you, or your kind, to say that if by chance we meet, we laugh, we love and live. To say that I've learned that the person that I so richly feel should be for me, but that person is unavailably absent from what's right in front of them, for you to keep pressing forward ,to finding the absolute goodness for you and that one who may not make your heart flutter, but knows how to care and keep your heart beating, that is the true stuff that makes all the circumstances and disappointing times worth our afforded luxury to say yes I'm here, and I'm living my life in this moment.

What Are You Doing With Your Life?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Command Performance

This will go down in history as one of my all time favorite Soul Train Awards ceremony tributes. When you think of Anita Baker, geniune, warm, personable and talented all come to mind. It's rare that a show can get a tribute right, but I was elated to see that Debra Lee pulled it off. Here she collected some of the top 'real' singers of r&b all A-1 talent Chrisette Michelle, Tamia, Faith Evans, Rachelle Ferrell, Kem, Lalah Hathaway, Goapele and Dionne Farris. I'm still on a natural high from this performance. When you hear Anita Baker's music you just know that the world is just a little better and brighter because of her contributions.


This picture speaks for itself!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Record's NOT over.....

Legendary Superstar Whitney Houston brought the house down Saturday night at the taping of BET's Celebration of Gospel which airs in January. Houston sang her hit song "I Look To You" with her friend gospel sensation Kim Burrell!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Happy Friday,
I'm blessed to have received another gift from GOD, I'm grateful for birthdays, holidays, new days, and for the abundance of friendships that I have in my life. I realize more and more that no one gets there alone, and in getting there, it's about taking time to stop and smell the roses, but most importantly, its the ability to stand still, and pay attention to what you see and hear, for most of us, we're always moving too fast, could it be that we're afraid to stand still. In the stillness, growth happens, meditation happens, clarity happens, the inner voice speaks when it has a full chance of being heard.

In life little things that we take for granted are gifts, the ability to read, the ability to hear, see, touch, hurt, seek and a really important thing vision, to see the future, you can touch the future, you can choose your direction to the future, beaming eyes can bestow an opulent outlook on a deem situation. We are gifts to each other, and how nice that luxury doesn't cost a monetary value, it's a beneficial gain. Living life is to inspire, it's the achievement in goals reached, it's the believability that you can get the most out of whatever you put in. We fall down but the fear in that is also a strength because we get up. We LIVE because of the gifts that we take for granted, by assuming that it has to be this way.

What Are You Doing With Your Life?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Command Performance

Two living institutions and it gets NO better, the one and only Aretha Franklin and the one and only Stevie Wonder, what a perfect musical marriage.

**I DECIDED TO REVISIT THIS PERFORMANCE AS AN ENCORE, because Aretha is heavy on my heart**

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thinking Of You!!

The Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin doing her thing since 1957. That voice, those grammies, the spirit, her legacy, and the many memories of our lives, have largely been enriched by this ladies masterpieces. We pray for you during this moment of your life, and wish you a speedy recovery.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Happy Friday,
This is the time of year when everyone becomes more melancholy. The world seems more considerate and our tolerance is very well presented in our behavior. How nice is the feeling of love and care, people will always need people, and that person who seems unaffected by it all, is the person who needs the nurture and care the most. Witnessing December is another reassurance that time waits for no one, and it brings continuous focus on your path and purpose.

We all have the tools to get to the next phase of life, your intuition will not allow the smoke and mirrors to stifle you, ultimately you have to decide when is enough time dwelling on that sit and spin cycle. History only repeats itself, because the stubborn heads continue to get it wrong, your creativity gets us to a more advanced world, and it's a refined universe that I choose to believe that can exist.

Though time passes so very quickly, not a lot has changed, in the fact that progress is slow, so again, it's about staying present, and steadfast in your views and thinking outside the box. The beauty of individuality is finding your own greatness, and journeying on in new directions. Let us all bask in this mood setting month of winter and absorb what this new decade beholds, you only get what you put in and when you put out and don't get the reward that you feel deserving, continue to do the work that is right and consciously.

What Are You Doing With Your Life?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

POP Culture at a glance....and not in a glass!!

R&B crooner Eric Ben'et "Lost In Time" CD is on fire, it's truly a return to soul music, and it'a a feel good groove. The CD features Faith Evans and Eddie Levert. I hope this CD will redeem Ben'et career, seems that America gave him the shaft when he cheated on his ex-wifey Halle Berry.

The Grammy nominations came out yesterday...again the White Man supposedly saves the day. Drug addicted Eminem nab 10 nominations.....I'm mean 'really'? Lady Ga Ga received 6. Jay - Z received 6 also. Hova should win everything especially "Empire State of Mind" that song was a MONSTER, but if Grammies are true to form, they will reduce him to only the urban categories.

The Soul Train Awards tribute to Anita Baker was one of the best tributes that I've ever seen and so befitting, Chrisette Michelle, Tamia, Faith Evans, Kem, Rachelle Ferrell, Goapele, and Dionne Farris brought their A-Game, all performers sang LIVE...yes LIVE and it was awesome. R.Kelly's performance was amazing too, and it was nice to see Peobo Bryson, Jeffery Osbourne and Freddie Jackson saluting Ronald Isley.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost to Houston last night.

Is Angelina Jolie starting to lose her swag or is it me? She looks very hard and old for some reason. Her new movie "The Tourist" with Johnny Depp, doesn't look to be very interesting, but she and Depp normally kill @ the box office so maybe it's just me. I would love to see a sequel to Mr and Mrs that movie was FIRE!!

Eva Longoria and soon to be ex hubby Tony Parker, met for lunch yesterday in Beverly Hills. I'm sure that was a very tense convo. Call me crazy, but I hope that they can work out their problems.

Rapper/Singer Ceelo sang his F*CK YOU song(which received a song of the year grammy nod) unedited on the Ellen show yesterday. That's one bitter song, but we've all experienced those lyrics. LOL

Black Eye Peas reign may be over, that whack remake of "I Had The Time Of My Life" stalled @ #12 on Billboard and their new CD will not debut @ #1. Their first week numbers are less than stellar, only moving a little over a 100,000 units which is unheard of in the month of December which is the fourth quarter and the biggest money music month. Oh well maybe their CD will have legs.

Seems that Britney Spears is dealing with a Tina Turner and Rihanna situation. Recent tabloids have claimed that Spears boyfriend has been abusing her. Say it aint so.

Command Performance

So refreshing to see real LIVE performance coming back. R.Kelly is truly a staple of R&B. I love this performance, and I had the pleasure of seeing him live this past year, and I really didn't want to appreciate his artistry, but he had me sold, and clearly every female in the building were ready to give him some pom pom. LOL

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day....

The fight for a cure continues on. If our current administration has it's way with free health care for everyone. I wonder how quick will cures be found. Something to think about right?
We all have lost someone to AIDS or know someone who has been affected by this epidemic. Unfortunately people still are having unprotected sex, thinking that they are invincible. When you know better you do better, we must educate each other. It's your right to love yourself and treat yourself to the very best care that is possible. For anyone who battles HIV/AIDS, you are not alone, the world has not given up, tomorrow is a new day, and for those of us who lived to witness this day, and the ones who were less fortunate, we REMEMBER YOU! No rest is done, until the cure for AIDS has been found.