Tag: American Idol

New Video: Kat Edmonson’s Dreamy Take on Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”

Kat Edmonson is an acclaimed Houston, TX-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, who can trace some of the origins of her musical career to her childhood: her mom adored the Great American songbook and ’40s and 50’s pop — and as a child, Edmonson grew up listening to her mom’s records. She wrote her first song when she was nine, while riding the school bus.

She spent a year, attending the College of Charleston before relocating to Austin, TX to pursue a music career. While in Austin, Edmonson auditioned for the second season of American Idol and wound up being one of the Top 48 contestants invited to Hollywood. After appearing on American Idol, the Houston-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter returned to Austin, where she spent several years performing regularly in local clubs. 

Her full-length debut, 2009’s Take to the Sky landed on the Top 20 of the Billboard Jazz Charts. Edmonson’s sophomore album, 2012’s Way Down Low was released to praise from The New York Times and NPR and reached #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Her third album, 2014’s The Big Picture continued an impressive run of critical and commercial success with the album reaching  #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart.  

The Houston-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter has opened for Jamie Cullum and Lyle Lovett, with whom she collaborated on a rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which appeared on Lovett’s 2012’s effort Release Me and again on “Long Way Home,” which appeared on Edmonson’s aforementioned sophomore album Way Down Low — and she has headlined the Taichung Jazz Festival in Taiwan and the New York City Jazz Festival.  In 2012, she appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series and Austin City Limits. During 2013 and 2014, Edmonson appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, playing the role of Cat Mandu for the show’s regular skit “Guy Noir, Private Eye.” And adding to a batch of high profile appearances and gigs, Edmonson has maintained a busy national and international touring schedule that has included Montreux Jazz Festival

Edmonson’s fourth album, 2018’s Old Fashioned Gal was conceived as an imaginary, classic Hollywood movie that largely took shape in her imagination,  and naturally, was inspired by the Great American Songbook. Interestingly, the acclaimed Houston-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter’s recently released fifth album Dreamers Do finds Edmonson tackling beloved mid-20th Century Disney songs — from Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Bedknobs on Broomsticks, Mary Poppins, Babes in Wonderland, familiar classics like “All I Do is Dream of You” from Singing in the Rain, Louis Armstrong’Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” and two Edmonson originals “Too Late to Dream” and “Someone’s in the House.” 

Structurally, the album’s material is meant to take place during a single night — from bedtime until morning. And as Edmonson explains in press notes, “It’s about our concepts around dreaming — all of the wonderful things and the fearful things, the things that keep us awake in the middle of the night. It’s also about the quiet power of merely having a dream . . . ” Dreamers Do’s latest single is a Edmonson’s rendition of Louis Armstrong’s beloved “What A Wonderful World” centered around a twinkling arrangement and Edmonson’s effortlessly gorgeous and old-timey vocal. And while managing to be a fairly straightforward rendition, Edmonson delivers a lullaby-like take that subtly hints at “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

Directed and edited by David Shultz, the recently released video for “What A Wonderful World” follows Edmonson in an empty studio space with a 35mm film camera — and while the viewer isn’t quite sure if she’s awake or dreaming, the video reveals Edmonson to be a beguiling and sweet natured presence. 

Rayvon Owen is a Richmond, VA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, who can trace the origins of his musical career to when he was a child; in fact, at a very young age, Owen sang in church choirs, toured with gospel musicians and performed in local musicals. Influenced byLionel Richie, (who has become Owen’s mentor) John Legend, Katy Perry, and Stevie Wonder, Owen has developed a reputation for being a introspective songwriter with an expressive and easy-going soulful vocal style. After studying at Belmont University. the Richmond, VA-born singer/songwriter spent time in Nashville, TN, where he spent his time writing and and performing with local musicians at a number of local events and showcase before relocating to Southern California, where he eventually wrote and recorded his debut EP  Cycles which featured his standout hit “Sweatshirt.”

However, Owen found national attention when he appeared on American Idols 14th season in which he was a “Twitter Save” champion and Top 4 finalist. And although, it’s been a while since I’ve personally written about him, his single “Can’t Fight It,” which was released on Valentine’s Day, featured visuals in which the singer/songwriter publicly came out as gay. As Owen say in press notes, “I was working on “Can’t Fight It”, and one of my close friends passed away. He was struggling with who he was and what he wanted to do, and never really accepted himself. And I really was thinking like- what legacy will I leave- is it going to be my authentic self?”

Interestingly, “Gold,” Owen’s latest single continues in a similar vein, as it’s a shimmering and anthemic club banger with a swooning and anthemic hook that captures the giddy sensation of finally finding the love you’ve been seeking for so long while simultaneously being a contented, celebratory “hell yes! this right here!”  As Owen told Billboard, “I wrote the song with my buddy Nate Merchant, who I worked with on “Can’t Fight It.” That day, we were feeling good. There was a good energy in the room. Whenever I write, it’s a stamp in time that captures the emotion of what I’m feeling that day. We were talking about coming out to L.A. and being out in the industry and how stressful that can be. He was kind of diggin’ someone, I had just started dating my boyfriend and exploring being a gay man — I’ve never felt that emotion before, being with someone like that. I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it. It’s been a long time coming for me to feel that. I know there’s so many other people who don’t get to feel that, but I’m hoping that they do when they come to terms with who they are.

So that fueled us, and I just wanted to say, “Hey, you got me feeling good as gold.” What better feeling do you have? Falling in love is such a beautiful thing. I love singing about love in general — the good and the bad — I write sad songs too, which will be on the future project too. You’ll kind of see the whole gamut. But in that moment, we were feeling good and thankful.”

New Video: Check Out the Roll Bounce-Inspired Video for Chicago-based Soul act The Main Squeeze’s New Single “Angelus”

Over the past couple of years, the Chicago-based neo-soul and funk quintet The Main Squeeze have become something got a mainstay act on this site as I’ve written about them on a handful of occasions. The quintet originally […]