Friday, June 29, 2007

Nu-Soul Art Show photos

Photos courtesy of Joey Carmelo

Check out all the photos here

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Photos from Elevation Sundays

If you haven't checked out Elevation Sundays at Room 5 Lounge you're trippin'. This Sunday we have special guest DJ Music Man Miles (Breakestra / Root Down), and performances by E Reece featuring NowOn, Noelle Scaggs featuring NowOn, Topher Mohr, Jewelz Da God, Michelle Shaprow, Joe Abrams and MANY OTHERS! Peep SOME of the folks who have come through the past few weeks...

Guilty Simpson

Rhettmatic, IX Lives, and House Shoes

Illa J

Michelle Shaprow


House Shoes and Haircut

Percee P

Elevation Crowd

Mr. J of the Procussions

Prozack Turner


Key To The City and Snowman

Noelle Scaggs and Rhettmatic

E Reece

Chrissy Depauw



Prozack and IX Lives

Shawn Jackson

Your hosts Now On


Chrisette Michele "I Am" Review

Chrisette Michele
I Am
Def Jam
7.0 out of 10
By Norman Mayers

Already drawing comparisons to artists like Billie Holiday, Alicia Keyes, and Jill Scott, Def Jam Recording artist Chrisette Michele seems poised to create a major name for herself. Having recently appeared on quality tracks by Jay-Z and Nas, Michele has a brilliant vocal style that recalls the days of jazz and blues, channeling everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Erykah Badu. At once timeless and modern, her voice immediately stands out from the pack. With I Am, her major label debut, Chrisette Michele has delivered a well-paced, polished product that announces her very individual style with confidence and strength. While I Am may lean heavy on the dramatic ballads it remains an impressive debut comparable to those of the aforementioned Keyes, Scott, and Badu.

The thing that will grab you about Chrisette Michelle is her voice. It’s a signature instrument that is as versatile as Jill Scott’s yet nasal like the great Billie Holiday. On I Am’s best songs Michele injects a classic jazz sensibility into up-tempo hip-hop flavored productions. Tracks such as “Like A Dream” and “Good Girl” will instantly click with listeners yet they sound exciting and fresh. Michele’s impressive vocal range and hip-hop swagger mesh to create an astounding new pop flavor. Will.I.Am produces a few tracks and the collaboration is brilliant. Michele turns out to be the perfect muse for the Black Eye Peas’ frontman whose productions always seem to mesh big band, jazz, and hip-hop. His touch is undeniable on the album’s best track “Let’s Rock”, which perfects the jazz/hip-hop/pop sound. Imagine Fergie’s boastful lyrics with a vocal style that reflects Sarah Vaughn or Billie Holiday. The sound is instantly iconic.

The slower songs don’t necessarily display the same stylized production as the more up-tempo work yet the quality remains consistent due to Michele’s strong songwriting and versatile voice. She gives you big voice R&B on “Work It Out”, intimate acoustic soul on “Your Joy”, and Broadway ballads such as “Love Is You”. While all the songs are great, you will probably crave more of the faster tracks such as the Mary J. Blige influenced “In This For You” and the jazzy “Be Ok”. Regardless, Chrisette Michele is a major talent who has announced her arrival. I Am will most likely go down as a classic debut of a classy artist.

Chrisette Michele's website

Chrisette Michele on Myspace

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

KQJ Photoshoot

Here are some preview images from my photoshoot with Kelvin Johnson, also known as KQJ or Jnawsh Photography. A lot of these concepts were mine. We were just going for the idea of me and my music and not much else. We did a lot of implied nudity, underwear shots or tasteful nudes. These shots were taken in the Valley off the 405 freeway. I think they came out pretty cool.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nu-Soul site update: Nick Thayer, DJ Spinna, 4 Hero and more

Nick Thayer

60s soul, rock anthems, Miami bass, crunk, classic hip-hop, and Missy Elliott. These are just some of the things you might hear when Nick Thayer is on the decks. This Australian DJ has created a signature style of breaks that seems to throw the rules of genre out the window.
Nick Thayer interview

New CD reviews

DJ Spinna - Intergalactic Soul

Brand New Heavies - Get Used To It

4 Hero - Play With The Changes

Vikter Duplaix - Bold and Beautiful

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Los Angeles Gay Pride Experience

I have always wanted to take part in a Pride parade. I got the chance this year as out of nowhere the people from Altoids contacted me and asked me to audition to be a part of the Pride parade float. Although I didn't get picked to be a naked sex object they did ask me to be a part of the team so I got to be a part of the parade and hold onto my dignity as well.

The guys on the float were nice for the most part. Some I knew, some I didn't, but everyone whether they were half naked or simply passing out samples of Altoids were full of energy. It was a blast and the easiest money I have ever made. It was also probably one of the gayest things I have ever done but in a good way.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Rihanna Review

Good Girl Gone Bad
Def Jam
6.0 out of 10
By Norman Mayers

Barbadian singer Rihanna blew up out of nowhere in 2005 with her dancehall-lite hit "Pon De Replay", then managed to secure another massive hit in 2006 with the 80s electro of "SOS". In an effort to maintain her hold on the popular consciousness, Def Jam is releasing a third Rihanna album in as many years. Whereas her two previous albums were very heavy on the syrupy ballads and Caribbean references, Good Girl Gone Bad takes its cues from "SOS" playing with uptempo 80s flavors. Although the album is far from consistent, often venturing into the cheesiest territories of pop music, this is Rihanna's strongest effort to date.

With artists like Beyonce and Ciara dominating the charts, it was only a matter time before Rihanna sexed up her image and took it to the dancefloor. The change definitely works for her as Good Girl Gone Bad is full of several dance-oriented tracks that, while not as sharp as those of her competition, are unique in their sound and style. The first single "Umbrella" featuring Jay-Z is just one example of the new adventurousness in Rihanna's sound. An urban track that soars during its chorus into wild synthetic layers "Umbrella" is sure to stand out among the year's best singles. The dance flavor is continued into the electro bass of "Push Up On Me" and the potential gay club anthem "Don't Stop The Music". Timbaland adds his skills to three standouts: the midtempo "Sell Me Candy", the marching band funk of "Lemme Get That", and the Justin Timberlake-penned "Rehab" (and no it's not as good as Amy Winehouse). The album veers into more mainstream territory with two tracks penned by Ne-Yo and the Kelly Clarkson-esque "Shut Up and Drive". The Ne-Yo tracks, while sure to be hits, are a bit cheesy and don't necessarily gel with the more club oriented material found throughout the album.

In just a short amount of time Rihanna has produced three albums of varying quality, but she is also streamlining her style to find what works and what doesn't. Though far from perfect, with Good Girl Gone Bad Rihanna seems to be finding her way.

Rihanna's myspace page

Purchase Rihanna Good Girl Gone Bad

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