Tag: Mariah Carey

New Audio: Funk Legend Steve Arrington Releases a Shimmering and Much-Needed Bit of Spiritual Uplift

Dayton, OH-born and-based singer/songwriter and drummer, Steve Arrington got his start with the acclaimed Dayton-based funk and soul act Slave in the 70s, eventually becoming known for singing lead vocals on the act’s smash hits “Watching You,” and “Just a Touch of Love.” Continuing an incredible run of professional success, Arrington went solo, releasing a handful of albums before leaving the secular music world in 1991 to focus on spiritual and ministerial work.

As Arrington focused on the spiritual matters, an impressive and eclectic array of artists have been influenced by his work, with artists like Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharrell, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, N.W.A. and a lengthy list of others sampling his work in Slave and as a solo artist.

After nearly two decades away, Arrington returned to secular music in 2009 with the release of that year’s Pure Thang, which he followed up with 2013’s collaborative album with Dam-Funk, Higher, released through Stones Throw Records. Since then the Dayton-born and-based funk legend has had a number of attention-grabbing guest spots and collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Kool Moe Dee, George Clinton, and Thundercat.

The funk legend’s first solo full-length album in 11 years, Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions is slated for a Friday release through Stones Throw Records, and the album reportedly sees Arrington finding peace with himself and God, while casting an easygoing yet razor-sharp critical eye on the world around him. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the slow-burning Quiet Storm-like pimp strut “Soulful I Need That In My Life,” a song that offered prescriptive advice for listeners in a time of heightened anxiety, uncertainty, stress and despair — and proud and defiantly hopeful and shimmering “Make a Difference,” which reminds the listener that while we have achieved so much, we still have a lot of hard work to do to achieve Martin Luther King’s and John Lewis’ vision of America.

“The Joys of Love,” Down to the Lowest Terms’ fourth and latest single is a shimmering, neo-soul strut, centered around twinkling Rhodes, boom bap-like drumming, an infectious two step-inducing hook and Arrington’s imitable crooning. Considering the bleak and unending Kafkaesque hellscape that is our current world, this song is frankly a much-needed blast of spiritual uplift.

New Audio: Funk Legend Steve Arrington Returns with an Upbeat and Positive New Anthem

Steve Arrington is a Dayton, OH-born and-based singer/songwriter and drummer, who got his start with the acclaimed Dayton-based funk and soul act Slave in the 70s, eventually becoming known for being the lead singer on the act’s smash hits “Watching You,” and “Just a Touch of Love.” Continuing an incredible run of success, Arrington went solo, releasing a handful of albums before leaving the secular music world in 1991 to focus on spiritual and ministerial work.

An impressive and eclectic array of artists have drawn influence from Arrington’s work with artists like Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharrell, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J,Mariah Carey, N.W.A. and a lengthy list of others sampling his work in Slave and as a solo artist.

After nearly two decades away, Arrington returned to secular music in 2009 with the release of that year’s Pure Thang, which he followed up with 2013’s collaborative album with Dam-Funk, Higher, released through Stones Throw Records. Additionally during the past decade, the Dayton-born and-based has had a number of attention-grabbing guest spots with the aforementioned Snoop Dogg, Kool Moe Dee, George Clinton, and Thundercat.

Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions is the funk legend’s first solo full-length album in 11 years, and the album. which is slated for a September 18. 2020 release though Stones Throw Records reportedly sees Arrington finding peace with himself and God while casting an easygoing but still razor-sharp critical eye on notes world around him. Last month, I wrote about the album’s second single “Soulful I Need That In My Life,” a slow-burning, Quiet Storm-like pimp strut centered around twinkling and gurgling synths, a sinuous bass line, plucked bursts of guitar and Arrington’s sultry crooning. And while bearing a resemblance to his work in Slave, the song offered some advice for listeners in a time of uncertainty, stress and despair — “downshift,” slow down and take it easy. 

Produced by DJ Harrison, “Make a Difference,” Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions’ third and latest single continues a run of strutting and sinuous pimp struts  featuring a a shimmering arrangement of twinkling and reverb-drenched Rhodes, a sinuous bass line, sunny horn lines and a stuttering boom-bap like beat. But unlike its immediate predecessor, the track is centered by a proud and defiantly hopeful message: at its core, the song reminds us that although we haven’t quite achieved Martin’s promised land yet, we’ve made a lot of progress towards that — and we can’t let that go. That bright and glorious future is coming and we all need to work our asses off to get there. 

“Make a Difference” address “the current state of things in this country,” Arrington says. “As far as the racial tensions . . . so much of it is being promoted by politicians with agendas. And you have moments like Black Lives Matter, and different races coming together to say: ‘We’re not going back. We’re not stepping back into the forties and fifties.’ This song speaks to that. The great John Lewis — the message that he left for all of us, to understand and move forward, not making a difference for a few months, but a lifetime of living.” 

 

New Audio: Funk Legend Steve Arrington Gives Us Advice on Getting Through These Dark Times

Steve Arrington is a Dayton, OH-born and-based singer/songwriter and drummer, who got his start with the acclaimed Dayton-based funk and soul act Slave in the 70s, eventually becoming best known for being the lead singer on the act’s smash hits “Watching You,” and “Just a Touch of Love.” Continuing an incredible run of success, Arrington went solo, releasing a handful of albums before leaving the secular music world in 1991 to focus on spiritual and ministerial work. 

An impressive and eclectic array of artists have drawn influence from Arrington’s with artists like Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharrell, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, N.W.A. and a lengthy list of others sampling his work in Slave and as a solo artist. 

Arrington returned to secular music in 2009 with the release of that year’s Pure Thang, which he followed up with 2013’s collaborative album with Dam-Funk, Higher, released through Stones Throw Records. Additionally during the past decade, the Dayton-born and-based has had a number of attention-grabbing  guest spots with the aforementioned Snoop Dogg, Kool Moe Dee, George Clinton, and Thundercat. 

Slated for a September 18, 2020 release through Stones Throw Records, Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions is the funk legend’s first solo album in 11 years — and the album reportedly sees Arrington finding peace with himself and God while casting an easygoing but still razor-sharp critical eye on the world around him. The album’s second and latest single “Soulful I Need That In My Life” is a slow-burning, Quiet Storm-like pimp strut centered around twinkling and gurgling synths, a sinuous bass line, plucked bursts of guitar, and Arrington’s imitable crooning. While bearing a resemblance to Arrington’s famous work in Slave, the song offers prescriptive advice for listeners in at time of uncertainty, stress and despair — “downshift,” and slow it down. “Some nice, soulful music is going to bring some peace to this time of trouble and stress,” the funk legend says in press notes. And you know what? I suspect he’s right. 

Created by Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf and Jamma D, “Soulful I Need That In My Life” the song can trace its origins to when the song’s producer Jamma D ran into Wolf at the label’s Gold Line Bar during the early states of the album. Wolf invited Jamma D to share some beats. And after sending a bunch of beats over, Jamma was surprised to hear that the funk legend wanted to use a beat for the album.“A few months after that I was behind the board in a studio watching Steve in the booth write, record, and ad-lib the entire jam in about 3 hours.” Jamma D says. “It was the pleasure of a lifetime to bear witness to the funk in its purest undiluted form, the INVADE is upon you!”

Comprised of singer/songwriter Aluna Francis and producer George Reid, the renowned London-based electronic music duo AlunaGeorge can trace their origins back to 2009 when Reid remixed My Toys Like Me‘s  “Sweetheart“. And since their official formation in 2012, the duo have developed a reputation for a sound that slickly meshes 90s and 00s R&B, synth pop, house music and EDM inspired by the likes of Flying Lotus, Chris Clark, Hudson Mohawke, Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah and Mariah Carey among others.

The duo has spent most of the past year working on new material — but in the meantime, AlunaGeorge’s Aluna Francis teamed up with young, up-and-coming Liverpool-based electronic music producer, songwriter and electronic music artist SG Lewis on the house music club banger “Hurting,” a track centered around shimmering arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Francis’ sultry vocals singing about the raw, sexual yearnings of the post-breakup blues. Sonically speaking, the song is a slick and modern take on the classic house music sound, while revealing a careful attention to craft.

As Lewis says of the track, “Aluna and I met for the first time in LA earlier this year, and I was talking to her about the album concept, and in particular, Dark. Aluna has been a part of so many dance records that I love, so I knew I wanted to make a club track with her! After we ate burritos and hung out, we made ‘Hurting’ super quickly – the whole process was super natural between the two of us, and she has such an amazing ear for production.”

.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brampton, ON-born, Toronto, ON-based DJ, violinist, singer/songwriter, sync pop artist and JOVM mainstay Maya Killtron, and as you may recall Killtron first came to attention both nationally and Stateside with the 2012 release of her debut EP Hipster/Gangsta. As a result of the surrounding buzz around her debut EP, Killtron made the rounds across the North American festival circuit with appearances at Miami’s Winter Music ConferencePride TorontoThe Halifax Jazz Festival and CMJ. Adding to a growing profile, her collaboration with NYC-based production duo Love Taps “Back For More” received attention from the likes of Stereogum and Huffington Post for a sound that meshed moomba and R&B – and for visuals that showcased a sadly bygone NYC. Additionally, Smalltown DJs, The Slow WavesEyes Everywhere, Brothers In Arms and City Kid Soul have all have remixed “Back For More” — with the City Kid Soul remix being named in the Top 5 at Toronto’s Bestival.

Killtron’s latest single “Satin Sheets” will further cement her reputation for crafting thumping, 80s synth pop/synth funk and 90s dance music-inspired tracks — and while rooted in a sweet nostalgia for slow dances at the school dance, for creating mixtapes of your favorite jams straight from the radio or for that new sweetheart of yours. Sonically speaking her material immediately brings to mind the likes of (the oft-mentioned on this site), Cherelle, I Feel for You-era Chaka Khan, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, early Mariah Carey and so on, with a similar swaggering self-assuredness and an underlying heartbreaking angst — but bolstered by an incredibly slick modern production that’s both radio friendly and club friendly. As Killtron says of her  latest single “Satin Sheets,” “With this track I wanted to take it back to my hometown high school summers. Picture it: Brampton 1999, Cruisin’ along Queen St. on the 1A to Bramalea City Center, summer crushes at the Professor’s lake beach, tryin to catch the eye of the L-section babes for a slow jam at Rec dances, between pizza roll breaks, & bright summer afternoons crushing banquet burgers with the whole squad at Sunny’s. This song is high school Maya, the stacked vocal harmonies, the 90’s bass, the Brampton top down beat. As with all of the Never Dance Alone (my forthcoming Album) tracks, it’s the music I always wanted to make. Not just a nod or throwback, not disposable or following any trend. Its a real gateway into my musical past in ever bar. Syrupy, rich & full of R&B high school angst.”

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, you’d recall that New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Maura Lynch was a founding member of locally renowned indie rock band Darlings, an act that released three albums and played at the Whitney Museum, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Death by Audio and Shea Stadium — and had a brief stint in blogosphere attention-grabbing act Beverly; but with her latest project, Blush, Lynch was inspired by the her missing the simple act of making and sharing music with friends through a sporadic series of bedroom recorded demos (which she had filed as Blush on her computer). And as Lynch explained in press notes, the material she began writing was inspired by a love of straightforward and simple guitar pop with layered vocals, while lyrically the material reportedly was written as a sort of diary of its creator’s late 20s, with songs that focused on loving people who didn’t deserve it, loving people who did deserve it, of making sense of the monotony of the workday world and perhaps much more important, finding her own unique place in the world.

Last year, Lynch felt ready to finally make those demos into real songs  and she got together with her friends — Pop. 1280‘s Andy Chugg and Pill‘s Nick and Jon Campelo to flesh out the material, which was recorded over a series of nights and weekends at Chugg’s Gilded Audio Studio, and from the album’s first single “Daisy Chain,” Lynch and company specialize in a shimmering guitar pop that seemed influenced by Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound and Too True-era Dum Dum Girls — but with breakneck conciseness. Building on the attention that the band has received from their first single, their self-titled album’s second and latest single is a jangling, guitar pop cover of Mariah Carey‘s smash hit “Fantasy” that manages to retain the song’s swooning nature while being a unique and coquettish take on a familiar song.

Texas-born, New York-based singer/songwriter Melany Watson has been performing music for as long as she can probably remember — but she can trace the origins of her music career to two particular events: performing in school choirs and touring the Southeast Texas Ol’ Opry circuit alongside her mother, as the mother and daughter country music duo Melva Lee and Melany. According to Watson, her own artistic self-discovery was inspired by Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard soundtrack, and a lengthy list of 90s R&B vocalists, which naturally opened a new world of expression to her. After singing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at a local karaoke bar when she was 12, Watson had what she has called an epiphany — that she was singing and performing the music she had to devote her life to. And as a result, Watson realized that she needed to set out on her own path.

So far Watson has had quite an accomplished career, as she’s performed at PBSChristmas at Belmont with Trisha Yearwood while as an undergrad at Belmont University, was a Top 100 Finalist during Season 6 of NBC‘s The Voice and she recently backed YouTube pop sensation Tori Kelly during Kelly’s performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy FallonAnd among some within the music industry, Watson has been compared favorably to Etta James, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and others — but with a country music leaning towards lyrics that tell stories informed by her own experiences.

“Illuminate,” the first single off Watson’s forthcoming EP, Lilith in Virgo pairs Watson’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a slick, modern production comprised of skittering percussion, shimmering synths, swirling electronics and twinkling piano chords in a way that meshes 90s inspired R&B and soul, contemporary electro pop and a very subtle nod to the country music that Watson grew up listening to and performing. While possessing a dramatic and moody heft, as the song thematically discusses what it truly means to be in a relationship and to be someone’s soulmate, the ethereal production suits Watson’s vocals perfectly, as the arrangement allows room for Watson’s vocals to soar and dart through and above the mix.

If you’ve been following the blogosphere over the course of the past year, you’d likely know that this year has been a big year for pop music — and an even bigger year for women artists, as a number of women artists have dominated the attention of the blogosphere. And with the release of “Illuminate” Watson adds her name to a growing list of artists that are making a name for themselves.