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New Music Friday – June 12-19

Cover Art – PJ – Element

I made a comment on Facebook that Oprah is to books as Issa Rae is to music. What I was trying to get at is Oprah has been known for the past decade and some change is she puts books in the consciousness of America (and maybe the world). When she says you need to read this, people believe she has a point and her opinions on it are normally on the money. What I’ve noticed on the the time the show Insecure has been on, Issa Rae and her team of music curators for the show has been pulling out great soundtracks. This song from PJ is a gem among gems. What I appreciate from her as an artist is that she doesn’t have a filter. Raw emotions and her lyrics are about scenarios about everyday people. And among all this, she gives you the energy that you never knew you had. Sorta like audio senzu beans (ask someone who has seen Dragon Ball about that meaning). Among the crowd of songs that has the outpouring of emotions of the current state of affairs, the content of Element really made it standout.

3 Artists To Mention…

Leon Bridges, Terrace Martin – Sweeter

This past week we got to see how the music community wanted to express themselves about the current climate of global consciousness of police brutality and racism. I had to hear this song several times for the lyrics started to connect and it is sort of grim, but real. This is a beautiful song as he talks about the perspective of another victim of racism and sadness that a sweeter life turned into the same sad story. A lot of the songs gets you to think about the current state of affairs, but Leon gets you to empathize with the victim. He does it well.

Zeina El Shazly – Mahbous (Imprisoned)

When I first heard this song, I felt raw emotion from the voice of Zeina. She’s very talented and you can hear it about :50 into the song. She has so much power that you can hear her self filter it and doesn’t come off bad at all. I’ve always wondered how Arabic would come off in an R&B setting. I’ve heard it in Reggaetone and Dancehall, but I think this is the first time I’ve heard singing like this in Arabic. I’ve fallen in love. Too bad I can’t get any lyrics because I would love to know more about this song. From what I can tell, the title translates into Imprisoned.

Chita, ONIRIA – Llueve Adentro (It Rains Inside)

The producer of this track, ONIRIA, really sets the mood with this one. It’s very light and lustful and Chita really fits the setting. She misses the guy who left. How can you not feel for her? The third line is something and I don’t know if it sets the tone, but it goes (using Google translate so I hope it’s accurate) “If we hit each other ‘I start to feel, That time stops bleeding”. And goes on that it’s normal. Now I could looking too deep and say she’s talking about being in an abusive relationship or not so deep and say their relationship was too rocky for a lot of reasons. But love is a real emotion and if you can give it, it hurts that much more when it’s not reciprocated. The song that would precede this in my imaginary playlist would be Can You Stand The Rain from New Edition. Clearly, the guy couldn’t and bounced, thus this song.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been thinking on how to close these post because I don’t want to take up the time just rehashing names and songs that you will listen to on the playlist. So I’m going to try and go broad strokes because the standout artists are the ones I want to get across to you all. Like if you don’t care to listen to the playlist (I hope that’s not case), just listen to those songs. So what I will say is that this week there is a lot of love from Latin America and some hits from the Middle East and Egypt. The tone that you’ll get is there is a lot of upbeat songs, but again the music industry is well aware of the current state of affairs. Police brutality and racism are real things and through their talents, they want you to know. Take action or empathize, but overall to be a better person in knowing than to walk oblivious and ignorant.

I’ll try and do better next time.

Cover Artist Nominees featuring PJ

New Music Friday June 5-12

Cover Art – Chung Ha & pH-1 – My Friend

I think this might be my first time putting a K-Pop song on the cover. I also think this week was a contested fight in my mind as who deserved the title. I appreciate the simplicity of the lyrics of an aspect of life that happens from time to time. I, myself, can relate.

The translated lyrics, in a summary, suggests that if it’s too tough to say what’s on your mind, take a piece of paper and a pen and write your thoughts. That you don’t have to worry that it’ll go beyond this moment as after we’re done with it, we’ll toss it away so no one will have to know. The facial expressions you make can’t hide your feelings. Better to get them out in a safe space.

That’s my take away and it’s a message I support. Sometimes I had to do in a text even as the other person is sitting a a breath’s distance away, but writing and typing is easier to do. It’s good to know that someone recognizes that there is more than one way to speak your mind and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use your voice to accomplish that.

Three people I wan’t to shout out…

Agnez Mo. I never recall hearing her music or just her as a person/singer. The Indonesian-artists from Jakarta is internationally known as she’s worked with artists all across the world. So the love that her fans gave on twitter should have been known, but to me, was unexpected. Her single Promises, is heartfelt about to love of God that (s)he always kept their promises despite the consistent failures and shortcomings trying to do things on their own. In a current state of the world, to acknowledge less of themselves and more in their creator is a testament to their own faith.

Dua Saleh. I’m excited to listen to Sudanese-born artist and her new album. You can hear in the beginning and end of the song of a recording of a woman clearly upset of police entering her home without permission in which the officer, you hear, apologizing. Dua Saleh expands on this scenario in a broader sense with how do you cope. How do you cope after being on the other side of this? How do you feel? Or how about when you see others in that situation as you “look across the porch, it’s almost scenic…”? I’ve only heard two songs from her and I’ve gather a thought that she expresses (her) life through pain and an empathy attuned for sorrow and sadness. One of the most powerful statements to come from this century is that “It’s okay to not be okay.” What more does Saleh have to share.

Jevin Julian. Fellow compatriot of Agnez Mo, this Indonesian artist released Teori Segalanya (translated to Theory of Everything). The vibes that I get from this song is akin to Saulo Souls’s Desejo. It puts your mind and heart in a trance. I admit that it was hard to follow at first, but the more I listened to it, I got the rhythm and I felt comfortable enough to not try to force the song, but let it be. Sound very philosophical, but I know there are song that you hear and it take awhile for it to click. But when it does it becomes one of your favorites. Maybe there is something to the songs that aren’t just likable instantaneously, but the ones where it works on you and shapes your ideas of how music and production can be and further expands what those limits are. I am curious of who the “You” is in the song. “You, Theories of all, beyond the limits of logic, until the end of the eternal period.”

Final shoutouts to Spainish artist Dellafuente and Rels B (coming back from a previous cover art) and another hit Pa Que No Te Duermas. I am starting to see the brand of Spain and how diverse it is within this genre. I love it and I want more. Mexican artist Sofia Thompson and a new single Se cae el Cielo (The Sky Is Falling). T-Pain lending his talent to a Dany Neville (DJ/Producer born in UAE) is a club hit Next Day with Afro-pop singer Happi from the UK. I wonder how this relationship came about. Unexpected, but I like it. Contemporary gospel artist Sal Ly from Nigerian has a new single All Love that talks about being thankful for the family to keeping her sane during the pandemic. Varsha, who at 18 years of age from America, has lived more than most going across the world based on her singing talents. Her single Synergy from her EP of the same title is a powerful piece. It feels more folksy which may have to do with the acoustic guitar and stripped down production. A new group (to me) Momocurly consisting of a French man and Japanese women making the best of music. I had no idea that their single, Smile, is a cover of Lalah Hathaway’s original song. What in the world? How did this connection happen? We are all better for it.

Thanks to the love from Keeka on twitter and her song Hold Up, Turkish artist Emir Taha, releasing another hit 7 cigs, the remix from Coastal on the Kellitechnis song Running. Canadian artist Chantal Kreviazuk and her song Keep Going from her new album Get to You and finally, Italian artist and La Vox alum Amelie No and her song Release from her new EP, Part II.

OMG, The playlist is embedded!!!!!
Cover Artist Nominees featuring ChungHa and pH-1

New Music Friday – May 22-29

Cover Art – Superficial – AVA NOVA

This week (and next week) will be busy. Lot of work work getting done. Doesn’t mean I don’t have time to enjoy some good music. This week is represented by AVA NOVA from The Hauge, Netherlands and her single Superficial. From her own bio, she says her music combines hip hop and sythpop. Interesting combination, but you can’t argue with the results. It feels very light, easy to cruise to as you are driving down the highway, and has a nice groove in the background. I do fancy the guitars in the production as well. I also get the message. As you mature as a person, you have to consistently try to leave to worst parts of yourself to continually grow as a better person. It’s a simple dream to aspire for. Just be better than yesterday. You see in the music video she gradually leaves where she’s at to end up, being behind a veil in some shots, to getting to the beach to start living her best life. Maybe it’s too much of a read, but there’s something symbolic to it, at least for me.

Three others I want to hightlight starting with Vietnamese singer Bich Phurong with a title too long to type, but roughly translates to Have You Quit Smoking Yet? This is a classic example of when you understand the lyrics, you get a better appreciation of the entire track/project. I’ll leave it there. I have a post upcoming about this song. It was one of my favorites this week.

Teyana Taylor and her song Made It. What can you say? In the year of our Lord (what whatever deity you worship) 2020, we’ve seen enough to make a trilogy of movies on Planet Earth. But Taylor has really claimed it to be hers. I appreciate the concept to really show her appreciation to the graduating students of whichever level of school they were at. And like vintage Taylor, it’s gotta get the body rocking. Might be a new graduation song theme for schools everywhere and might get a playback at the end of the year. Because I think when we get to January 1 2021, we are all going to celebrate that we Made It.

Dounia, Moroccan-American from Queens NYC and Colors performer, is someone I have no idea existed. But I was/am feeling her energy. She reminds me a lot of Freya Kirk. She cuts through the nonsense with the lyrics and tells you what she wants. Ambiguity doesn’t exist in the world Dounia and I’m here for it. My other takeaway is that it is refreshing that there is a female singer who can shine in the Alt-R&B space with the OVO sound sub-genre. She has all the pieces that makes her shine. I want to get to know more about what she’s about. And the music videos shot in 60fps is *chef’s kiss* beautiful.

I want to give kudos to Kennedy Rd. I love her voice and I want to hear more music from her. Eric Ryan and his song Close. That song had me singing in my not-so-good voice. Lovely groove and it’ll make you just wanna slow dance with somebody. Full Crate comes again with Magnetic ft. Susan Carol and Sergiio pulling out the TalkBox for this song. I love those things. A more authentic auto-tune. Shoutout to Thierry Ganz from the Netherlands, Gaia Gozzi from Italy, Misterwives (again from Queens), Nigerian-born Netherlands singer Jaskelis, Turkish singer Emir Taha (if not please correct me)

I call it like I see iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt singer from North Carolina, PJ has that energy that I want when I wake up from her single Counterfiet. Finnish singer Evelina, Filipina singer VERA, rising star, Japanese singer Fujii Kaze, South African artists Garde and Sir Tcee, and Moroccan artist Draganov and Manal.

And a final shout out to UMI, who is dropping singles her new EP, Introspection, on June 21 and Lianna La Havas who never puts out bad songs.

R&B Worldwide May 22-29 New Music Playlist – Spotify

Cover Artist Nominee Thursday feature AVA NOVA

New Music Friday May 8-15

Cover Art – Jacob Banks – Like You’ll Never See Me Again

This week was a hard choice. I think I could have gone either way, but giving a tie would be a cop out. The winner this week is British artist Jacob Banks and his rendition of Alicia Keys’ song, Like You’ll Never See Me Again. His voice, his voice really comes from the soul. I mean he was digging deep even though it’s just a cover, it’s his own all the same. He has a very powerful voice. It grabs you and makes you wanna hear it more.

The other artist that was just there was Thai artist Jaonaay with his song เธอมีเขา meaning She Has Him (I hope I got it right). It’s heartbreaking to see at the end of the music video that after all he tries to win her heart back, she ends up walking off with someone else. I mean he’s serenading her in her living room (or his?) for goodness sake. It wasn’t meant to be.

Shoutout to some of the other notable artists this week. Yebba comes to mind with her single Distance. She is the personification of “quality over quantity”. Not many songs, but when you hear one, it’s like a gift you don’t deserve, but you take it anyhow. Danish artist Freja Kirk bringing out a song from her latest EP Sloppy Seconds called Ms. Right.

Belgian artist Cyra Gwynth and her single High. Also brand new artist to Warner Bros Belgium as of this week. So congrats to her on the news. A duo from Portugal, Diana Lima and Junior Lord with Bagagem. Indonesian artist Nisa Haryanti and her single Sepi Dalam Keramaian was one of the first singles this week that really blew me away.

Special shoutout to John Legend. I think he’s one of those artists that has the ability to do whatever he wants in music. Can weave in-and-out of whichever genre and sometimes he’s out of the reach of my own comprehension no matter how hard I try. And that’s okay because he has more talent in his pinky than I could muster. But sometimes he comes down and gives us one and one he did with Buju Banton and Memories. I heard the first note and I knew I could keep this one.

Thank you to all of the artists for your contributions this past week. And as usual, I’ll try and do better next time.

New Music Playlist – May 8-15

Second week in a row the won’t let me embed the new playlist. Why won’t they let me be great.

Cover Artist Nominees feat Jacob Banks

New Music Friday – May 1-8

Cover Art – Saulo Soul – Desejo

There was this feeling that I haven’t felt since the late 90s during the birth of neo-soul. And even then there was a standout artist within the genre that gave a sound that was unique within. It was Maxwell. There really wasn’t a singer quite like him. The production was different. The way he tackled the songs and uses his voice (at least to me) was different. The charisma that he had was eye-grabbing and ear-catching. I believe Saulo Soul from Brazil has those same qualities in this song. Could it be a one-off type of thing? I dunno, but just to hear it really puts you in a good mood. His voice is bold, crisp, and powerful. It matches so well with the production that even though the song among most is (feels) unique, it just grabs you. I can’t speak highly enough of him, this song, and all the people who worked on putting this together.

Shout out to Benny Sings and his song Sunny Afternoon. The aesthetic in the cover art of him in his style of beachwear in front of the boat and the song are perfect together. There was a catchy song called Cheating with God from Luca Stereo from Denmark. It’s about never getting to spend time with his girlfriend on Sundays because she’s at church. It could be worse situations. Fellow compatriots Phlake, Mercedes the Virus, and Awinbeh also put out an track called Sleepwalker. It’ll get you in the mood if you find yourself driving on empty roads at night. It’s the same feeling alluded in GHOST TOWN from Nigerian artist WurlD. It seems as though the topic of Covid-19 has crossed over in the R&B genre in it’s lyrics and not just how production of music videos are made.

For one in the latter category, Kehlani’s F&MU fits it well as she produced the music video all in the house. And for a minimalist production forced due to stay-at-home orders, Skylar Grey gives us a shadow production (quite literally) in Dark Thoughts. She really puts you in a mood after hearing it a couple of times.

Also I want to recognize the first artists’ music I was digging this week, Ymagik and Nov.47 with Lights On. Wanting to get his life back, Jon Chua JX is really trying to reason with the woman of his right now on Give It Back. And not to forget Grammy nominated Mexican artist Ximena Sarinana with Una Vez Mas as with one commenter said about the music video, it’s a house of love.

R&B Worldwide May 1 2020, a playlist by Kenneth K-dubs Williams on Spotify

WordPress embed process was being trash so I had to whip out ingenuity and HTML code to make this work. Why do we have to make it harder to give the people what they want? Please enjoy the playlist.

The Spotify preview seems to be down at the moment so we have to use a work around until then. I’ll try and do better next time.

Cover Artist Nominees feat Saulo Soul

New Music Friday April 24-May 1

Cover Art – SBCNSLY – Black Coffee feat. Sabrina Claudio

I tend to say during the middle of the week that the hits aren’t coming. As I listen to the new music, you eventually get to a point where you’ve said, “I’ve heard this song for the 20th time. It’s not making me change my mind on the skip button.” Now there was a few exceptions to this rule and this is one of them. When I heard this song, it really captured me. South African DJ Black Coffee really put his heart and soul into this track and getting Sabrina Claudio to do vocals really put the cherry on top. In a broader light, I’ve noticed a trend these past few months that there is a BIG dj scene coming from South Africa. You heard international stars like Skrillex, Calvin Harris, and Marshmello. Well maybe these connoisseurs of musica del club needs to listen to what’s hot in South Africa and maybe Black Coffee needs to be in that conversation.

This week had a lot of hot music from Africa. We have Moonga K. (Zambia) with fool’s gold, Paxton (South Africa) with Good Company with production from Jaydon Lewis, and Kekelingo and Ami Faku (South Africa) with Khonza.

Masengo returns with another track called Veg Out (Wasting Thyme) that has a neat quarantine video to go along it. Another artist that I wrote about, Baila Fauri has a new song called 3 Dots. It took me about several listens to make all the connections. It another song that has its lyrics embedded withe technology we use today and correlating it with situations and relationships we experience. It’s good song, something we all can relate to. If you’ve been following me on Twitter than you know how much I’ve respected Jojo with another great track called Lonely Hearts. It’s such a sad song. To go through so much that you’ll rather not risk it and take the safe route in just not dealing with a relationship.

There are some upbeat tracks like Riley Lanez and Foul Play. Souly Had and Melii with Crush. I like their music video too. German artists Remoe and Nura with Bist du dabei? and fellow compatriot Viki Gabor with Getaway. One final shoutout to Elisha and Vic Shinobi from Demark and their song Richer. Such a good song. It’ll just make you wanna sit back in your thinking chair and contemplate how bad you REALLY wanna be with the one you’re with now. If your life going be better or worse for it.

By the end of the week, we really hit a stride. I’ll try and do better next week.

Spotify New Music Playlist April 24 – May 1

Cover Artist Nominees feat Black Coffee and Sabrina Claudio

New Music Friday – March 20-27

Feature Image is Masego – King’s Rant

My first blog post that features the backbone of my mission is now life. This week features a track from The Weeknd’s new album, two singles from Baltimore-born 6LACK, and Lous and The Yakuza (be on the lookout tomorrow for post on her). Two strong showings from Denmark, a debut from N3LLY (keep him in your radar) and Ayoe Angelica. A smooth groove from Chloe Bodur hailing from London. A Moroccan duo Mocci and Wiam El Boukhrissi that has a song I wasn’t a fan, but for whatever reason just got better every time I played it. Then a song that I was a fan from the first play and still has gotten better over time, King’s Rant from Masego. And finally, a song that just sneaked up on me from the intro of the song to when the bass dropped, Goodbye from BBY NABE from Japan. I won’t give you a wall of text, but just listen to the songs yourself. And I’ll try and do better next time.

Spotify New Music Playlist – March 20-27

Cover Artist of the Week – Masego