Totally 4 Him keeps it hip, fresh and ‘quartemporary’

New groups, such as Totally 4 Him, are putting a new face on what was known to be our grandparent’s Gospel music. These guys have coined their music as “Quartemporary” (Quartet + Contemporary) for the now generation of Quartet music enthusiasts. Totally 4 Him speaks about their sound and vision for their group in a recent interview.

Two sets of brothers joined forces bringing together a sound that is sweeping the radio airwaves and captivating a multi-generational audience. After a record deal fell threw earlier in their music career, the guys regrouped and are now working with one of the most sought after award winning producers in the Gospel/Quartet music game, Stan Jones. It was “God ordained favor” that they were able to catch the attention of Jones. “If anybody knows Stan, he just don’t work with anybody…any artists,” group member Dante said amusingly. They knew of Jones playing drums with The Williams Brothers and had been admiring him for awhile. Jones listened to their first project sparking his interest; from there his “vision and [their] vision collided and we put [them] together and this is what you have today,” recalled lead singer Carlos.

Totally 4 Him’s sound closes the music divide between the older and younger generations mixing Quartet and Contemporary Gospel music with their new single “All We Need Is Love.” “We’re not boxed in. That’s what we mean by ‘Quartemporary.’ We’re traditional from our hearts, but we’re not stuck in that traditional box. We call it ‘Quartemporary,’ because we can appeal to all generations. A lot of young people have started listening to Quartet because of us,” explained Dante.

The group’s influences range from Rafael Saddiq to the Canton Spirituals. These guys are multi-faceted. While they each have their specific part to play within the group at any given time one of them could jump on the drum kit or sing another harmony part. They are a well-oiled machine in that sense.

Carlos, Dante, Michael and Jesse have their minds focused on taking the brand to the next level. They’re looking forward to working more with producer Stan Jones on the rest of their project and are eager to get on the road with their new music. “I believe the next phase for Totally 4 Him is basically breaking larger barriers in our Gospel community. That’s our mission. That’s our goal is to break a lot of traditional barriers, bridge a lot of gaps, [and] bring more souls to the body of Christ,” Dante shared.

Totally 4 Him are definitely on the right track to accomplish their goals and bring their vision to fruition. To stay abreast the of their latest happenings, follow them on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. Download their single “All We Need Is Love” on iTunes. Keep your ears open for their full project soon.

[Original article on Examiner.com by Latrea Morrow]

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Billie Holiday: Chicago Jazz Festival to commemorate 100 years

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) along with the Jazz Institute of Chicago recently released the four day Jazz Fest line up, which includes a tribute to the great Billie Holiday, affectionately “Lady Day.” Celebrating 100 years of the birth of a vocal virtuoso, April 7, 1915 Eleanora Fagan made her debut into the world. Chicago prepares to honor Ms. Holiday, recognize other legends and showcase upcoming artists. Labor Day weekend Jazz music will fill downtown’s Millennium Park with thousand of enthusiasts.

The life of such of a revered presence ended abruptly at the age of 44. Despite her tumultuous battle with substance abuse and domestic abuse, Billie Holiday left crowds swooning and entranced with her vocals. Billie worked with some of the most influential musicians and singers in the business. Traveling the country with the Count Basie Band, performing with her mentor Louis Armstrong, writing, arranging and acting in films. Her life of musical triumphs lives on in her songs Strange Fruit, Summertime, God Bless the Child, and others.

Jazz heads from around the country will enjoy the reflective renditions of NPR radio host Dee Dee Bridgewater with newcomer Jose James paying homage to the late legend Billie Holiday. Among the Jazz Fest line up, the Muhal Richard Abrams Experimental Band will reunite giving honor and celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Association of the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The Chicago Jazz Orchestra will pay homage to the legacy of William Thomas “Billy” Strayhorn with fresh rearrangements of his repertoire. For more information visit DCASE’s website for the complete line up.

[Original article on AXS.com by Latrea Morrow]

[photo courtesy of the Chicago Jazz Festival; used with permission]
[photo courtesy of the Chicago Jazz Festival; used with permission]

Dana Divine: Her gift, her Lord and her desire to remain true to herself

On top of her game, Dana Divine was the Gospel House Music Diva in the early 2000s. Her hot dance track “Gospel Slide” hit the airwaves and Dana was the “it girl” for getting crowds out of their seats in Jesus’ name. As in anything, there were critics and naysayers, however she stayed true to who she was musically. In a recent interview, Dana Divine talked about her music and being a cancer survivor.

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Deitrick Haddon and Michelle Williams fixing choirs or attitudes on Oxygen’s new reality show?

Oxygen Media’s new reality series “Fix My Choir” aired the first episode of season one Wednesday, Nov. 5. Famed multi-award winner Gospel music singer and Preachers of L.A. cast member, Deitrick Haddon, tackles keeping harmony within choirs with multi-award winning R&B group Destiny’s Child former member turned Gospel music singer, Michelle Williams. With one episode under their belt, will viewers see more attitude fixing or choirs actually being made better?

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Chosen: Living the life they sing about

A family oriented group out of St. Petersburg, FL, two siblings and two friends come together to bring back good ol’ church group “sangin'”. Humbled and willing to give God their all, Chosen is determined to have their lives and music on the same page. Thus, their testimony in song and new single “We Won’t Hold Back“. Fresh from the Dove Awards, in Nashville, TN, Chosen shares their group’s vision.

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Aniba Hotep & The Sol Collective steps on the pulse of Soul Music with new album ‘Sol Genetics’

Chicago has always been known for great music. Many artists have come from obscurity into the limelight on the underground music scene. Dave Hollister, R. Kelly, Carl Thomas, Common and Jennifer Hudson, to name some, have their musical roots in Chicago and Aniba Hotep & The Sol Collective are among them.

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‘Champions’: Five V Men, five voices, one sound

New contemporary Gospel male group Five V Men (MBM Entertainment Group) burst on the scene, Tuesday, Oct. 21, with one of the best albums of 2014. Gospel music legends Doug and Melvin Williams, Wess Morgan, Shawn McLemore and R & B crooner Christopher Williams have banded together to create a sound of melodious harmony. Under the direction of multi-award winning super producer Stan Jones, Five V Men’s album is a mix of varied styles to please the followers of each member.

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