For the third year in a row, Fred Hammond has assembled a roster of artists, musicians and comedians to hit the road on his inspirational tour Festival of Praise. This year’s line up is nothing short of star power. Fred enlisted R&B turned Gospel artist Regina Bell, legendary Clark Sister Karen Clark Sheard, Israel Houghton known for his high-octane praise and worship, choir-master Hezekiah Walker, modern worshipper and newcomer Casey J and funny man Comedian Earthquake. The tour is rolling through the Midwest October 20 to 26 bringing a fresh wind of inspiration.
Chicago Mass Choir is a staple in Gospel music across the nation and around the world. This year, Chicago Mass Choir hit the road on their Summer of Praise Tour creating a joyful noise wherever they stopped. The Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards announced, September 1, nominations for 2016 and the Chicago Mass Choir has been nominated for two awards. Whether a television appearance or festival performance, Chicago Mass Choir ultimate goal is point their audience to the One, who made it possible for them to reach the masses, God.
Legendary hip hop artist Talib Kweli speaks to the heart of the socially conscious. While some may find it hard to articulate the concerns that face the African American race, he sees the cause and effect of the systemic oppression as looking through a glass-made house. The masterful work of setting socially charged lyrics to melodic beats has been Talib Kweli’s forte over two decades. Chicago was graced with his genius during the 4th of July weekend with two sold out shows at the City Winery.
Kenya has found a place in the hearts of UK listeners. Her single MakeUSmile, featuring Brandon McKenzie and remixed by Tom Glide, has steadily made its ascension to claim the #1 spot on the UK Soul Chart Top 30 (May 22). Kenya releases music that speaks to the listeners’ being and uplifts.
What sets Kenya apart from other artists is her work ethic. After wrapping up her show at St. James Live in Atlanta (May 13), Kenya continued to reach out to her loyal supporters via her 2016 Social Media Tour: Creating Crimson Conversations. Last Thursday, Kenya’s Twitter Party Finale was a success. Now, she is preparing for The 10 Indie Artist Commandments on Periscope.
While not on the road, Kenya imparts her expertise and experiences through her consulting business, Creating Crimson. As an Independent Artist, Kenya is very serious about education and knowing how to navigate the music industry. On her 2016 Social Media Tour: Creating Crimson Conversations, Kenya with her special Co-Hosts, Lil’ John Roberts, Gwendolyn Collins, William Kurk, LSH Books, Shana Tucker, Kendall Duffie (Kloud 9), Jamal Smallz and DeborahBond, gave their expert advice to those who sought to know more about creating a successful music career. In a fast pace world of constant changes in technology and music, it is most important to stay abreast of what is going on and be willing to invest in yourself as an artist.
Learn more about Kenya and Creating Crimson via their perspective websites. Follow Kenya on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Download Kenya’s new album My Own Skin on iTunes and other digital outlets. For more information on Kenya’s upcoming European Tour visit her website.
Miami-based ensemble Sensere recognizes a pivotal time in African American lives past and present. In retrospect, Martin Luther King peacefully fought for many liberties that are relevant to everyday existence. What has transpired over the recent past few years could be considered a “slap in the face”. The lives of those who have been violently snatched away because of police brutality are hanging in the balance because of injustices.
As we commemorate Martin Luther King’s Day, let us not forget the struggles endured, sacrifices made and advancements taken by those whose shoulders we stand on today. Remember that we all share in the responsibility in keeping his dream alive everyday, whether our contribution is great or small.
Listen to a snippet below.
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 Instagram, Twitter 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]
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]