Tag Archives: Music

R. Kelly Screening Evacuated

I talk about my experience at the R. Kelly Screening of the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.”  

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What Are You Listening To Explained – Teaser

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Writerjudy Asks “What Are You Listening to?”

Podcast, music, Writerjudy, writerjudys podcast

Podcast: Talking about music and what others are listening to. There is also talk about life, a few jokes and fun during the 15- minute talk.

Origin

I live in NYC and ride the subway daily. I also am a lover of music.  As soon as I walk out of the door and head to the subway I plug in my iPhone and turn on my music.  I always keep my channel on shuffle because I always like to be surprised, as to what might be coming up next.  It always fun.

The premise of the podcast

Who does not love music? I know I do and I have a very diverse musical taste.  When my iPhone shuffles, my songs can easily go from Jazz to New Age, Blues, R & B, Rock or Country to Hip Hop or R & B to Heavy Metal. In addition, I love songs from many decades.

In a world where lately many people feel divided, wouldn’t it be nice to get them together through music?

Well, I am in NYC and I take the subway daily.  Almost everyone on the train is listening to music.  I always wonder what others are listening to so wouldn’t it be cool to ask them and they tell you are you are surprised, learn something new or just break the ice.

This could strike up a friendship, introduce someone to new music, make the commute easier or nothing at all, but it will result in an encounter that you will not forget.

And let’s be honest, who does not love music?  Music brings back good memories and even sad memories, but it never fails that when your favorite song comes on you want to sing along or dance.

So keep listening to your music.  Maybe you want to keep what you listen to private, but believe me, there is someone else who may want to know “what are you are listening to?”

Copyright 2018

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Guordon Banks, Philadelphia Native Gains National Attention and Airplay

Image of singer Guordan Banks

Image of singer Guordan Banks

It is always a pleasure to discover great new music.  Guordan (pronounced Jour-dan) Banks, a Philadelphia-born singer/songwriter, earned his first Billboard No. 1 as his soulful “Keep you In Mind” rose 2-1 on the Adult R&B Songs Chart in the June 11th edition. The song ascended 6 percent in spins at the format according to Nielsen Music. The song continues to stay in the Top 5, remaining steady at No. 2 on the chart. His debut album, UNPOPULAR, will be released later this year on his own label, Bank On It Entertainment.

A solely independent artist, Banks’ “Keep You In Mind” has become a triumphant and unique indie label success story. The song has received an emphatic response from Urban Adult Contemporary radio programmers and has had a high showing on various music charts, including Billboard’s “Most Added” Chart and music industry trade, AllAccess.com charted the song among “Cool New Music.”

“Keep You In Mind” has increased air-time with major rotation in markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta. Streams on music platforms, such as Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud and Shazam, have increased significantly as a result of national airplay.

Banks’ second single, #WYWDT (Where You Wanna Do This?) featuring Dej Loaf, will impact urban mainstream radio on June 20th, but already showing early support and buzz from DJ Drama and DJ Sense on Sirius XM Shade 45.

Image of singer Guordan Banks

Image of singer Guordan Banks

Raised in an adverse environment, Banks’ parents, both preachers, surrounded their eight children with music and created a home within which music was a centerpiece. After being rejected from a school play due to a speech impediment, a young Banks was encouraged by his family to explore singing and songwriting. Undeterred by these early life experiences and buoyed by his family, Banks pursued a pathway that has led to his success.

Banks’ work has received critical acclaim and has effectively contributed to the resurgence and current elevation of R&B music. In high demand, Banks was one of the opening performers at the 2016 “BMI Trailblazers Show” and performed at the iHeartRadio concert on May 12 in New York City.

Banks also graced the stage at some of this year’s most visible events, including, the 20th Annual American Black Film Festival, at their awards show in Miami Beach on Saturday, June 18; House of Blues in New Orleans on June 30; a performance on the Sirius XM Heart & Soul Stage during Essence Festival on July 1; the 40th Anniversary of the African American Festival in Baltimore, MD on July 3; and at the V103 Summer Block Party in Chicago, IL, featuring Erykah Badu on July 15. He will also perform at the Arena Theatre in Houston, TX on July 17. He is set to perform in NYC for Harlem Week and start his tour in October 2016.  Look for him coming to a city near you soon. 

 

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Sheryl Lee Ralph Presents Divas Simply Singing! Philadelphia On August 20, 2016

SherylLeeRalphSheryl Lee Ralph and The Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware, D.I.V.A Foundation will celebrate its 2nd annual staging of DIVAS Simply Singing! in Philadelphia after 26 consecutive years in Los Angeles. This highly anticipated and much respected community health service charity concert began in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It now adds mental wellness, heart disease, diabetes and HepC and other life threatening diseases. The Foundation with the support of  Commissioner Sue Slawson and The Dell Theatre, will bring together some of the industry’s most talented artists and Divas to address the need for Health and Wellness awareness. A strong community is a healthy community.

The details are as follows:  DIVAS SIMPLY SINGING! Philadelphia, Saturday, August 20, 2016.
Dell Music Center, 2400 Strawberry Mansion Drive,  Philadelphia,  PA  19132  Doors open at 6pm; show to  7pm. Here is a sample video of the performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VwSSb_wTF4&feature=youtu.be  http://www.ticketmaster.com/Divas-Simply-Singing-tickets/artist/839859.  The MUSIC DIRECTOR: Henri Mc Millian Jr. and the MUSIC By: The Urban Guerilla Orchestra.

About The D.I.V.A. Foundation

The D.I.V.A. Foundation is a national not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1990 by honored AIDS activist and award winning actress, Sheryl Lee Ralph because of her deep concern for the lack of attention given to HIV/AIDS and it potential to become a health risk not only for men but women and children. DIVAS Simply Singing! was created as a loving memorial to the many friends she lost to AIDS as an original company member of DreamGirls on Broadway. The event utilizes the arts as a vehicle to raise awareness, funds  and erase stigma. After 25 years, DIVAS Simply Singing! continues to be the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the country and “One of the most highly anticipated HIV/AIDS benefits in Los Angeles.” DIVAS Simply Singing! serves as a loving beacon of hope, a constant voice in the dark for those infected and affected by HIV/ AIDS. Sheryl Lee Ralph has simply dared to care when others remained silent.

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Amber Riley Performs at the Pre-BET Experience Event on June 22, 2016

8b009bc0cfbda83128bf7a0e3ac4bfceOn Wednesday, June 22, 2016, B.O.E & Samurai presented “The MAJOR. Effect.” For the event, they presented singer Amber Riley and Grammy Award nominated mega-producer Harmony Samuel’s new artist MAJOR., as they performed exclusively at Hotel Café located at 1623 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028.

 Amber Riley as fans know, has appeared in shows such as Glee. She is also known for winning season 17 of Dancing with the Stars. MAJOR is the fresh new face and voice of soul-pop music, but he’s no stranger to the music industry having written for Ariana Grande, Nathan Sykes and EPIC Records’ “Think Like A Man Too” original motion picture soundtrack. Currently, MAJOR’s debut single “Why I Love You” is currently trending at #34 on the Urban AC Chart. There is a meaning behind his birth name MAJOR. (spelled with all caps and a period at the end) but even more purpose behind his music. The multi-faceted singer delivers a soulful-pop sound to the new age; while giving a mix between Bruno Mars meets John Legend with a hint of Maxwell on steroids. MAJOR.’s distinct voice and cool presence gives birth to a sexy aura that he exudes from the inside out.

This event is held just before the ground breaking BET Experience in LA. To listen to music by MAJOR, specifically, “Keep On” & “Why I Love You”, visit his page on Sound Cloud. For information on Amber, follow her on social media, via Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.
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Amateur Night at Apollo: Nothin’ But Soul with special guest star Deborah Cox

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Singer Deborah Cox sings during Amateur Night at the Apollo.

On Wednesday, June 15th, in celebration of Black Music Month, the world famous Apollo Theater presented an especially “soulful” edition of its signature show with Amateur Night: Nothin’ But Soul. During this themed Amateur Night contestants payed homage to Soul and R&B legends who have graced the Apollo stage by giving performances that are based on the root of soul music. As a treat, GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Deborah Cox performed during this soulful night for the fans.

Deborah Cox is an award-winning singer/songwriter, Broadway star and philanthropist best known for her 1998 breakout smash hit “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which set a record as the longest-running No. 1 R&B single in the United States, reigning the charts for 14 consecutive weeks. Deborah continued as a fixture on the top of the charts, with six Billboard Top 20 R&B singles in addition to an impressive 12 Billboard #1 U.S. Dance hits. Since then, the Grammy-nominated Canadian superstar has been pushing past boundaries, from her versatility as a vocalist to her activism work supporting charities for women in need and LGBTQ rights to starring in Broadway musicals Aida and Jekyll & Hyde. Her repertoire expands with her latest roles as two of her childhood heroes: the legendary Josephine Baker in the riveting Broadway-bound production Josephine and the Rachel Marron role in the upcoming live theatrical adaptation of The Bodyguard.

“Every year, during Black Music Month, we celebrate Amateur Night’s musical roots with our contestants all performing classic soul and R&B songs as a way of rekindling and preserving the rich musical history of soul music and its pioneers. We’re talking classics like James Brown, Chaka Khan, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and more,” said Amateur Night producer Marion J. Caffey. “And we are excited to welcome our special guest artist, Deborah Cox back to the Apollo stage. She’s a multi-talented artist and an incredible performer. It’s sure to be a soulful night!”

Comedian Capone hosts Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Comedian Capone hosts Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Since its inception in 1934, Amateur Night has been one of New York City’s most popular live entertainment experiences, launching the careers of thousands of performers and attracting audiences from all over the world. The Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feels the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience response can help make or break a career.

The show was hosted by comedian Capone. In addition, Amateur Night also featured staples like CP Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (the character who sweeps “booed” contestants off the stage), Joe Gray the “Set It Off Man,” and the Apollo’s Amateur Night house band led by music director, Michael Mitchell.

While Amateur Night draws a large crowd each week, there are some night the Apollo grants guests an extra special night which is really mostly what the world famous Apollo Theater has always been know to do.

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The 2016 Spring Gala at The Apollo Theater

On Monday, June 13, 2016 at 7pm, The Apollo Theater held it’s annual Spring Gala. This year, the gala featured a star-studded line up for its 11th Annual Spring Gala—its biggest fundraising event of the year. The concert portion of the evening featured performances by legendary R&B group, The O’Jays, and rising star Leon Bridges and Andra Day and was hosted by LL COOL J.

8dba700a2f48429504d4daaf5ab302f2The Apollo Theater is a launching pad for up-and-coming artists through programs like Amateur Night, Apollo Music Café, and the new Apollo Comedy Club and, at this year’s Spring Gala; we’re excited not only to showcase the legends that have paved the way, but to also give a platform to the voices and talent of today. In addition to artistic programming and initiatives, our annual Spring Gala helps to support our educational programs that help nurture the creative spirit of music and culture in Harlem and across the world,” stated Jonelle Procope, president & CEO of The Apollo Theater.

Each year at the Spring Gala, the Apollo also recognizes a corporation for its outstanding philanthropy and community leadership. This year’s recipient of the Corporate Award is Viacom. Philippe Dauman, executive chairman, president and CEO of Viacom, will accept on behalf of the organization. The Award portion of the evening will be hosted by Jonelle Procope with the Corporate Award being presented by Charles Phillips.

Mr. Dauman said, “It is a great honor to accept the corporate award for community leadership from an institution as legendary as the Apollo Theater. Our organizations share a deep commitment to advancing creative voices in American culture and honoring African-American artists, and Viacom applauds their outstanding work.”

Apollo Theater CEO Jonelle Procope and Entertainment exec Richard Parsons.

Apollo Theater CEO Jonelle Procope and Entertainment exec Richard Parsons.

The Theater also announced that it will induct the one and only Prince into its Walk of Fame in honor of his incomparable contributions to music over the course of 40 years.

Prince joins previous Apollo Walk of Fame inductees—all legendary musicians, artists, and entertainers whose paths to fame included the Apollo, including: Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard and Ella Fitzgerald. Inductees are honored with a plaque on the Apollo Walk of Fame, installed under the Theater’s iconic marquee on 125th Street.

Procope states, “The Apollo family was of course, devastated to hear about the loss of Prince. He is, hands down, one of the greatest artists of all time – an absolute genius – and his relationship with the Apollo dates back to 1993. Over the years, we’ve been honored to host him, whether for a seminal New York performance or as a guest in our audience, so we are beyond thrilled to kick off this year’s Spring Gala by inducting him into the Apollo Walk of Fame.”

The Apollo Spring Gala began with a special ceremony to induct legendary recording artist Prince into the Apollo Walk of Fame which was held that afternoon, and continued with red carpet arrivals followed by an award ceremony and a concert with Musical Director Ray Chew (Dancing with the Stars) at the helm. The evening also included special tributes to the trailblazing artists that have been lost in 2016. The night culminated with a much buzzed about after party held in a stylish tent created by celebrity event planner and Apollo board member Bronson van Wyck. This year’s after party featured a special Let’s Go Crazy Dance Tribute with DJ D-Nice spinning a dedicated set to the sounds of Prince’s diverse and extensive catalogue.

The 2016 Spring Gala event was a massive success with each year being as great as the next. For more information on the Apollo Theater, visit their website. You can also keep up with events via social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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TV One Presents Love Under New Management, The Miki Howard Story

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Sylvia Rhone, Miki Howard, Teyonah Parris, Darrius McCrary for the Miki Howard Story movie.

On Tuesday, June 7th at the AMC Empire 25, located on 42nd Street, there was a reception, red carpet and advance screening of the TV One original movie of “Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story.”

This film is the first “Unsung” movie produced by TV One. Miki Howard has been one of the artists to have been a featured on the groundbreaking music docuseries. Now as a result of the high ratings and success of her particular story, the TV One series “Unsung decided to take a step further and make a movie.”

The Miki Howard Story follows the life and times of powerhouse R&B vocalist Miki Howard will see the light of day in June via a television biopic, tentatively titled ‘Unsung: The Miki Howard Story.” For the TV film, ‘Chi-Raq’ star Teyonah Parris stars as the tortured songstress and ‘Family Matters’ alum Darius McCrary plays her lover/musical collaborator Gerald LeVert.

The story follows rise and fall of this talented singer, dealing with her turbulent relationship with her mother as well as her love relationships throughout her career. Howard might be seen as brave to reveal such intimate details of her life. Not only does the movie showcase Howard’s experience with domestic violence, but it also chronicles her fall and descent into using drugs.

After the screening Miki Howard herself, and the stars of the movie were on hand for a Q&A panel. Howard even showed she still had superb vocal ability when she serenaded the audience which was definitely a treat.

The Miki Howard story is set to air on TV One on Sunday, June 12, 2016. For more information visit their website and for more information on Miki Howard, visit her website.

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Singer Leigh West coming to you city soon in 2016

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Photo used with permission Leigh West.

Leigh West is truly a new breed of artist. She really is because she is a well-developed self-created rock star in the making. She has been playing the piano since she was 3 years old and has a four octave vocal range. In addition, she creates catchy melodies that float above unusual chord progressions with gritty baselines. Her music can only be defined as a hypnotic yet energetic sonic experience. As a classically trained pianist she was awarded 2nd place nationally for her original compositions. After years of classical songwriting Leigh West broke from music to pursue filmmaking. During that time, she encountered God who told her she was to be a rockstar. West began writing music again but this time on guitar instead of piano. In college at the University of Colorado Boulder she devoted herself to pop, teaching herself to record and engineer from her dorm room.

As a result, she released her 1st Demo “Free The Robot” under the artist name LiLi, inspired by K-pop sensation 2NE1. After college Leigh West moved to LA where she continued to develop as a songwriter-producer. She played local shows to extremely receptive crowds.Thinking back on her past performances West recalls “The audience always cheered for an encore …at every show. That really encouraged me.” In 2013, she moved back to Denver to form West Alan LLC., a licensing company to promote her own music and other local bands to her contacts back in LA. She also hosted and co-created a television series for Comcast Entertainment Television dedicated to promoting local artists.

Her debut single “Hello Estella” has received radio play on college radio across the nation as well as almost 40,000 views on YouTube. In 2016, she has decided to hit the road. Leigh West opened for AMZY, SF1 and Midnight Club on May 6, 2016 at The Gothic Theater.

For her first U.S. Tour in June 2016, she starts on the West Coast and soon will announcing dates for her East Coast leg of the tour. This original and groundbreaking young singer is talented with the vocals and the musical ability to continue to create memorable songs. Fan can check out Leigh West on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to discover when she plans to come to a city near you

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