Tag: Madonna

New Video: Meshell Ndegeocello’s Soulful and Atmospheric Rendition of TLC’s Smash Hit “Waterfalls”

Born Michelle Lynn Johnson to US Army Sergeant Major Jacques Johnson, a saxophonist and Helen Johnson, a health care work, the Berlin, Germany-born, American-based singer/songwriter, rapper and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello was raised in Washington, DC where she attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Oxon Hill High School. When she turned 17, she adopted the name Meshell Ndegeocello, with the surname, as she has explained meaning “free like a bird in Swahili.”

In the late 80s, Ndegeocello gigged around DC’s go-go circuit, playing with bands like Prophecy, Little Bennie and the Masters, and Rare Essence before unsuccessfully trying out for Living Colour’s bassist spot, after Muzz Skillings left the band. Deciding to go solo, Ndegeocello, has the distinction of being Madonna’s Maverick Records first signings and while achieving a fair amount of commercial success. Her collaborative cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” with John Mellencamp peaked at #3 on the Billboard Charts in 1994 and “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)” peaked at #73 later that year. Adding to a rapidly rising profile, she collaborated with the legendary Herbie Hancock on a track for Red Hot Organization’s AIDS awareness, tribute compilation Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, which was named Time Magazine’s “Album of the Year.”  Her cover of Bill Withers‘ “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)” was a #1 Dance Hit in 1996 and was briefly featured in the major motion picture Jerry Maguire, and she landed Dance Top 20 hits with “Earth,” “Leviticus: Faggot,” and “Stay.” Along with that she collaborated with Madonna, playing bass on “I’d Rather Be Your Lover,” and contributing a verse at the last minute, after Tupac Shakur had criminal charges filed against him. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with Chaka Khan, rapping “Never Miss the Water,” a single that landed #1 on Billboard‘s Dance Club Charts and peaked at #36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with the likes of Basement Jaxx, Indigo Girls, Scritti Politti, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Rolling Stones, Alanis Morrissette and Zap Mama.

Ndeogecello has also had her music featured in the soundtracks of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Lost & Delirious, Batman & Robin, Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Talk to Me, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, The Best Man, Higher Learning, Down in the Delta, The Hurricane, Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom and Soul Men. And interestingly enough, Ndegeocello has managed the rare feat of achieving commercial success while arguably being one of the most uncompromisingly, iconoclastic and unique artists of the past 25 years. But perhaps more important Ndegeocello has been credited as being at the forefront of the neo-soul movement — thanks in part to a sound that routinely draws from hip-hop, classic soul, rock, reggae, jazz, and singer/songwriter/balladeer-like pop. She has also written and composed a musical influenced by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, titled Can I Get a Witness?: The Gospel of James Baldwin and she released a gorgeous tribute album to Nina Simone, which featured collaborations with JOVM mainstay Cody ChesnuTT and others, which add to her iconoclastic and difficult to pigeonhole reputation. 

The renowned bassist, singer/songwriter and rapper’s latest album Ventriloquism is slated for a March 16, 2018 release and the album will feature covers of songs by TLC, Janet Jackson, Tina Tuner, Prince and others, all of which have been influential to Ndeogeocello’s work — but with a unique take. And if you had been following this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about her folksy Harvest-era Neil Young/Fleetwood Mac-like cover of Force MD”s smash hit “Tender Love,” a rendition that eschewed the 80s keyboard pop cheesiness of the original, which made it so beloved and awkward — while retaining the song’s earnestness, pointing out that well-written songs can be interpreted in countless ways and still be as wonderful as we remember.  Ventriloquism’s latest single is a slow-burning, atmospheric cover of TLC’s smash hit “Waterfalls” that manages to slow the tempo and the melody down to the point that it turns the song into something familiar yet kind of alien, all while retaining the sense of loss and confusion of the original. (I should note that Left Eye’s verse is removed — perhaps for obvious reasons.) Much like it’s predecessor, Ventriloquism’s latest single continues Ndegeocello’s larger commentary on society’s narrow expectations of what Black American music should sound like, be like and thematically concern itself with. 

Produced by Inga Eiriksdottir, directed by Damani Baker and featuring gorgeously cinematic work by director of photography Thor Eliasson, the recently released video for Ndegeocello’s rendition of “Waterfalls,” features a diverse, international cast and although shot in Iceland, the video consists of surreal yet symbolic visuals that at points nods at the original. 

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New Audio: Meshell Ndegeocello Releases a Folksy Cover of Force MD’s “Tender Love”

Born Michelle Lynn Johnson to US Army Sergeant Major Jacques Johnson, a saxophonist and Helen Johnson, a health care work, the Berlin, Germany-born, American-based singer/songwriter, rapper and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello was raised in Washington, DC where she attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Oxon Hill High School. When she turned 17, she adopted the name Meshell Ndegeocello, with the surname, as she has explained meaning “free like a bird in Swahili.”

In the late 80s, Ndedgeocello gigged around DC’s go-go circuit, playing with bands like Prophecy, Little Bennie and the Masters, and Rare Essence before unsuccessfully trying out for Living Colour’s bassist spot, after Muzz Skillings left the band. Deciding to go solo, Ndegeocello, has the distinction of being Madonna’s Maverick Records first signings and while achieving a fair amount of commercial success. Her collaborative cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” with John Mellencamp peaked at #3 on the Billboard Charts in 1994 and “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)” peaked at #73 later that year. Adding to a rapidly rising profile, she collaborated with the legendary Herbie Hancock on a track for Red Hot Organization’s AIDS awareness, tribute compilation Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, which was named Time Magazine’s “Album of the Year.”  Her cover of Bill Withers’ “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)” was a #1 Dance Hit in 1996 and was briefly featured in the major motion picture Jerry Maguire, and she landed Dance Top 20 hits with “Earth,” “Leviticus: Faggot,” and “Stay.” Along with that she collaborated with Madonna, playing bass on “I’d Rather Be Your Lover,” and contributing a verse at the last minute, after Tupac Shakur had criminal charges filed against him. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with Chaka Khan, rapping “Never Miss the Water,” a single that landed #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Charts and peaked at #36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with the likes of Basement Jaxx, Indigo Girls, Scritti Politti, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Rolling Stones, Alanis Morrissette and Zap Mama.
Ndeogecello has also had her music featured in the soundtracks of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Lost & Delirious, Batman & Robin, Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Talk to Me, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, The Best Man, Higher Learning, Down in the Delta, The Hurricane, Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom and Soul Men.

Interestingly, Ndegeocello has managed the rare feat of achieving commercial success while arguably being one of the most uncompromisingly, iconoclastic and unique artists of the past 25 years — and she’s been credited as being at the forefront of the neo-soul movement, thanks in part to a genre defying and difficult to pigeonhole sound that draws from hip-hop, classic soul, rock, reggae, jazz and singer/songwriter pop. Adding to that iconoclastic nature, Ndegeocello has written and composed a musical influenced by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, titled Can I Get a Witness?: The Gospel of James Baldwin and she released a gorgeous tribute album to Nina Simone, which featured collaborations with JOVM mainstay Cody ChesnuTT and others.

The renowned bassist, singer/songwriter and rapper’s latest album Ventriloquism is slated for a March 16, 2018 release and the album will feature covers of songs by TLC, Janet Jackson, Tina Tuner, Prince and others, all of which have been influential to Ndeogeocello’s work — but with a unique take. The album’s first single, her cover of Force MD’s smash hit “Tender Love,” finds Ndegeocello turning the slow-burning 80s piano ballad classic into a folksy, Harvest-era Neil Young/Fleetwood Mac track, complete with shuffling drumming, twinkling Fender Rhodes and harmonica. In my mind, what makes Ndegeocello’s cover truly fascinating is that she manages to completely eschew the 80s pop ballad cheesiness of the song, which makes it endearing 30 years after its release but without doing away with the song’s earnestness — while pointing out that the song manages to possess something that listeners far removed from the song’s initial release can grasp and connect to on a very visceral level. That’s what separates the great, timeless songs from the countless songs that will be forgotten 6 months or more after they’ve been released.  And on another level, the song will continue the renowned and iconoclastic Ndegeocello’s commentary on society’s narrow expectations of what black music should sound and be like.

New Video: The Classic House Inspired Sounds and Visuals of Moon King’s “Ordinary Lover”

Initially begun as a solo recording project of its Toronto, ON-born creative mastermind, primary songwriter, multi-insrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, Moon King may arguably be best known for the several year period in which Benjamin collaborated with Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure last year, Benjamin has returned to his roots — recording as a solo project. Coincidentally, Benjamin also relocated to Detroit, MI around the same time as Wilde’s departure, and spent that year working and living in the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck. .

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired a new batch of material, Hamtramck 16, a mixtape that not only documents his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place, it also is a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, as the material on the mixtape captures the Canadian producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s growing obsession with electronic dance music. And while in Detroit, Benjamin began collaborating with local artists and musicians, until he formed a new band — with the intention of crafting a sound that currently draws from disco, classic, Detroit house, synth pop — and even pop.  Mixtape single “In & Out” found Benjamin pairing his dreamy falsetto with a dance floor-friendly production that channels Nile Rodgers-era Madonna (i.e.,  “Lucky Star” and “Holiday“), Tom Tom Club (i.e., “Genius of Love“) and Larry Levan-era house as a driving groove is paired with fluttering, shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor-like beats and a razor sharp hook. And much like the sound and period, Benjamin is drawing from, the song manages to be incredibly accessible; in fact, if it wasn’t for the subtly modern production, the listener may have been tricked into believing that the song may have been released in 1983.

The mixtape’s second and latest single “Ordinary Love” is a much more straightforward production and song as arpeggio bursts of keys, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and swirling electronics are paired with Benjamin’s falsetto vocals — and while seemingly influenced by Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” and classic house, the song manages to reveal a subtly modern production sheen that nods at Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves and the 100% Silk Records roster. 

Directed by Bronwyn Ford, the recently released music video manages to be a spot on ode to late 80s and early 90s dance music videos, as the video features a diverse and eclectic array of club-goers dancing to the club-baning track; and it’s shot on similar grainy video that will briefly trick some viewers into thinking that they’ve stumbled on to some rarely played house music gem. 

Initially begun as a solo recording project of its Toronto, ON-born creative mastermind, primary songwriter, multi-insrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, Moon King may arguably be best known for the several year period that it was known as a duo featuring Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure last year, the project has managed to return to its roots. Coincidentally, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI around the same time as Wilde’s departure  — notably, the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck, where he spent the better part of a year.

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired a new batch of material, Hamtramck 16, a mixtape that not only documents his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place, it also is a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, as the material on the mixtape captures the Canadian producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s growing obsession with electronic dance music.

Finally having some time to himself after years of relentless touring, Benjamin began collaborating with local artists and musicians, until he formed a new band — with the intention of crafting a sound that currently draws from disco, classic, Detroit house, synth pop — and even pop.  Mixtape single “In & Out” found Benjamin pairing his dreamy falsetto with a dance floor-friendly production that channels Nile Rodgers-era Madonna (i.e.,  “Lucky Star” and “Holiday“), Tom Tom Club (i.e., “Genius of Love“) and Larry Levan-era house as a driving groove is paired with fluttering, shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor-like beats and a razor sharp hook. And much like the sound and period, Benjamin is drawing from, the song manages to be incredibly accessible; in fact, if it wasn’t for the subtly modern production, the listener may have been tricked into believing that the song may have been released in 1983. The mixtape’s second and latest single “Ordinary Love” is a much more straightforward production, as arpeggio bursts of keys, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and swirling electronics are paired with Benjamin’s falsetto vocals — and while seemingly influenced by Nu Shooz‘s “I Can’t Wait” and classic house, the song manages to reveal a subtly modern productions been that nods at Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves and the 100% Silk Records roster.

The mixtape is slated for an August 4, 2017 release through Arbutus Records and Benjamin, along with his backing band will be on a mostly American tour throughout August and September to support the new effort, and it includes a September 8, 2017 stop at Silent Barn. Check out the rest of the tour dates below y’all.

 
TOUR DATES
08/11 – Baby G – TORONTO, ON 
08/12 – PN, MONTRÉAL, QC
08/18 – El Club, DETROIT, MI
09/02 – Schubas, CHICAGO, IL
09/03 – The Bishop, BLOOMINGTON, ID
09/04 – MOTR, CINCINNATI, OH
09/05 – Double Happiness, COLUMBUS, OH 
09/06 – Sound Hole, PHILADELPHIA, PA
09/07 – Charlies American Cafe, NORFOLK, VA
09/08 – Silent Barn, BROOKLYN, NY
09/11 – One Caroline, SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY 
09/12 – Bard College, ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY
09/13 – House Of Targ, OTTAWA, ON
09/14 – Le Cercle, QUEBEC, QC

New Video: The 80s-Inspired Sounds and Visuals for Moon King’s “In & Out”

Initially formed as a solo recording project of its Toronto, ON-born creative mastermind, primary songwriter, multi-insrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, Moon King may arguably be best known as a duo featuring Maddy Wilde (guitar, vocals) for the bulk of the project’s existence to date; but with Wilde’s departure from the project in 2016, the project has returned to its roots — as a solo project. And interestingly enough, around the same time, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI  — notably, the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck, which unsurprisingly inspired a new batch of material, Hamtramck 16, a mixtape that not only documents his arrival into a new and unfamiliar place but serves as a radical change in sonic direction for him, as the material on Hamtramck 16 captures Benjamin’s growing obsession with electronic dance music. 

Finally having some time to himself after years of relentless touring, Benjamin began collaborating with local artists and musicians, until he formed a new band — with the intention of crafting a sound that currently draws from disco, classic, Detroit house, synth pop — and even pop. In fact, as you’ll hear on Hamtramck 16’s latest single “In & Out,” Benjamin pairs his dreamy falsetto with a dance floor-friendly production that channels Nile Rodgers-era Madonna (i.e.,  “Lucky Star” and “Holiday”), Tom Tom Club (i.e., “Genius of Love”) and Larry Levan-era house as a driving groove is paired with fluttering, shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor-like beats and a razor sharp hook. And much like the sound and period, Benjamin is drawing from, the song manages to be incredibly accessible; in fact, if it wasn’t for the subtly modern production, the listener may have been tricked into believing that the song may have been released in 1983. 

The recently released visuals for “In & Out” feature neon-bright animation from Jordan Minkoff that channels the visuals for the aforementioned “Genius of Love” and George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog.” 

Over the past month or so, I’ve written about the first two singles off the border-crossing, synth pop compilation DRUG BLVD —  ACES‘ slow-burning and tender “Just Cut It Out,” and Astronautica‘s lush and dreamy “Reasons.” Interestingly, the album, which was mastered Barry Grint, who has worked with David BowieRadioheadPrinceOasisBeastie BoysMadonnaGuns ‘N’ Roses and others, the compilation will be the first release from new,  Istanbul, Turkey-based dream pop label Drug Boulevard, founded by Kubily Yigit, the founder of renowned Turkish progressive/trance label Blue Soho Records.

Serving as a Drug Boulevard’s in a attention-grabbing introduction, the record label’s compilation will also introduce global audiences to some up-and-coming talents within electro pop and dream pop including Sydney, Australia‘s Guy Brown. Best known as Mammals, Brown has received a growing profile for a production style that effortlessly shifts between indie rock and electronica, and Brown’s contribution to the compilation is shimmering, slow-burning and atmospheric cover of Telepopmusik’s “Breathe” that’s possesses a haunting, spectral feel.

 

 

 

 

 

Last month, I wrote about ACES‘ first single of 2017. “Just Cut It Out,” a single which will appear on an border-crossing synth pop compilation DRUG BLVD featuring contributions by artists from the US, Australia, the U.K, The Netherlands and elsewhere. Mastered by Barry Grint, who has worked with David Bowie, Radiohead, Prince, Oasis, Beastie Boys, Madonna, Guns ‘N’ Roses and others, the compilation will be the first release from new,  Istanbul, Turkey-based dream pop label Drug Boulevard, founded by Kubily Yigit, the founder of renowned Turkish progressive/trance label Blue Soho Records. The compilation’s second and latest single is a contribution from 23-year-old, Los Angeles, CA-based electronic music artist and producer Edrina K. Martinez, best known in electronic music circles as Astronautica. And as Astronautica, the young, up-and-coming Angelena is one of Alpha Pup Records newest addition to their roster, thanks to a lush and dreamy production style that channels Octo Octa’Between Two Selves and Sade, as you’ll hear on “Reasons” — but paired with thumping house music and 808-like beats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Single: Check Out the Slinky, Seductive and Soulful Electro Pop Sounds of Michigan’s Daniel Wilson

  Up-and-coming, 24 year-old, Michigan-based singer/songwriter and producer Daniel Wilson much like a number of pop artists grew up in a gospel music-loving home. Feeling inspired to create by using file-sharing programs, the Michigan-based Wilson […]