She Is Focused

February 25, 2010

Fefe’s Return w/ Joy

Filed under: New Music — Felicia @ 6:00 pm

Canadian-born singer/songwriter Fefe Dobson finally returns to what she does best with a follow-up to her sophomore release Sunday Love . Her soon to be released third album Joy (Island Records) drops this May and will be her first album in almost 4 years of staying pretty low-key. First single “I Want You” will be making its rounds on March 2nd.

She’s currently scheduled to be featured on VH1’s You Oughta Know series starting on April 5th. In addition to the release of her own music she’s also penned hits for other artists including Miley Cyrus (“Start All Over”), Jordin Sparks (“Don’t Let It Go To Your Head”) and Selena Gomez (“As A Blonde”); amongst other titles.

I’ve been a fan of Fefe’s (for more reasons than one) since her debut album Fefe Dobson. She’s a very edgy artist who hasn’t fallen prey to the typical blueprint others usually follow to increase and maintain large album sales. She does it for the sheer enjoyment of music. These artists typically don’t get as much airtime as their auto tune, bodysuit-wearing counterparts, but their loyal fans like myself still appreciate them for appreciating the art. Stay tuned for more updates on Ms. Dobson!

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February 22, 2010

Keke Wyatt, Who Knew

Filed under: Uncategorized — Felicia @ 8:43 pm

Keke Wyatt Who Knew Shanachie Entertainment

Widely known for her singles with Avant “My First Love” and her smash hit “Nothing In This World” Keke Wyatt’s boisterous voice became popular in the urban market between 2001 – 07. Although both singles brought her familiarity amongst the industry and a move from MCA Records to Cash Money Records, her personal life eventually outshined her talent. Domestic abuse allegations came into play along with mismanagement accusations towards new label home TVT Records led to her album Ghetto Rose going unnoticed.

Keke is taking another crack at a successful album on February 23rd with the release of her first album in 3 years Who Knew under new label home Shanachie. First single “Who Knew” along with an accompanying video has been circulating and her vocal skills are still intact. Haven’t been hearing it much on the radio nor have there been much promotion. This of course typically equals poor album sales, but it’s still good to see her making music once again and hopefully her personal life is in a much better place. Check her video below:

February 10, 2010

Q&A w/ Olivia: G-Unit, New Movies and New Label Home

Filed under: Chat 'bout,Interviews — Felicia @ 12:21 pm
15 Minutes With Olivia: Life After G-Unit
Published 02/09/2010
By Felicia J. Barclay

(Original posting on BallerStatus.com)

Olivia wants everyone to know that she’s more than just a pretty girl. Signed to J Records in 2001, her self-titled debut, which birthed the hit “Bizounce”, was one of the hottest records of the year. Professional differences led to her split with J Records and move to Interscope, which brought along with it a new, yet brief, chapter in her career with G-Unit. Not only was she 50’s leading lady, she was also the only R&B artist in a group full of rappers, making it tough for her to be marketed fittingly.Leaving the group was the best move for her career, although rumors have been flaring that there was more behind the sudden departure. In a 15-minute conversation, BallerStatus fired off some questions to find out why her time with the guys wasn’t working out, her new label home and upcoming album and why she doesn’t follow the trends. 

BallerStatus.com: When your relationship dissolved with J Records, you found your way over to Interscope and G-Unit. At the time did you think a fair shot would be given to an R&B artist?

Olivia: I got to Interscope at 2003, so it was right after J Records. Then I signed with G-Unit 2003/04. It definitely was a political move, but it was something just to get me to the next plateau. So, I figured why not do it? 50 Cent was one of the hottest rappers at the time, so this might be a good thing. After sitting back and watching, we had no R&B presence at the label, so he was basically doing everything himself. He really didn’t know how to market an R&B artist because every artist there was all rappers. It was very new to him. He tried his best, but it just wasn’t working out. So I asked to leave and that’s what happened, amongst all the rumors that you heard.

BallerStatus.com: Did you consider your affiliation with Interscope/G-Unit a stepping stone to move on to other things?

Olivia: I don’t regret any of the things I did and I feel like I needed to do those moves to get where I’m at now … to be back and have the focus be back on myself. Doing what I want to do and being able to sing the music that I wanna sing, so I think every step was necessary to be where I’m at.

BallerStatus.com: What have you been up to since your absence from the public eye? I read that you started dabbling in acting.

Olivia: I’ve been overseas touring for the last two years and I did two movies last year also. One is called Peephole and the other one is Conspiracy X, so I have been working a lot. You just haven’t seen me in New York (laughs). Now I’m trying to be more visible in New York and let everybody know that I’m back doing what I do.

BallerStatus: What roles do you play in each movie?

Olivia: The first movie, Peephole, I actually play an aunt. It’s about a child who sees his mom get murdered in front of his house. It’s called Peephole because he lives his life not wanting to come out the house anymore. Towards the end of the movie, he has to make a choice whether to come outside or not when he sees something happen. The scene that I’m in I have to be really sensitive, caring and dramatic, so it was a different type of emotion for me to play on camera. Then [Conspiracy X], Shawn Baker directed that one and Kellita Smith was in that one. She played the wife on “The Bernie Mac Show.” She plays the judge in the movie and I play the girlfriend of the lead character. He gets let out of jail and somebody tries to pin something on him, that’s why its called Conspiracy X . It’s a really really good movie.

BallerStatus.com: They sound pretty good congratulations on that.

Olivia: Thank you very much.

BallerStatus: Was it an easy transition going from singing to acting? (more…)

February 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Dilla

Filed under: Chat 'bout,Flashback — Felicia @ 2:08 pm

Known as a producer’s producer, James Yancy p/k/a Jay Dee or J Dilla, wasn’t the type of  producer to repeatedly drop his name on his tracks. He’s quietly produced several popular records throughout the 90’s literally right up until his premature death in 2006. He’s responsible for providing the tracks on records such as The Pharcyde’s “Runnin”, Common’s “The Light”, De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High” and Janet Jackson’s “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” (to which proper credit has never been given) amongst several others.

Born and raised in Detroit, MI, he started his career with Slumm Village in 1988, then went on to pursue producing as his main hustle along with the Soulquarians which included fellow musicians James Poysner and ?uestlove of The Roots. He also released solo projects of his on Welcome 2 Detroit album in 2001 and Donuts in 2006, with the latter being his last work released a few days before his untimely death. Posthumous projects were released in the following years through 2009.

Dilla’s genius has been compared to the likes of Jazz heavyweight Charlie Parker, which says a lot about his work. Although he was never a household name during his tenure, and probably amongst many Hip-Hop fans today, he’s left his mark in music history that will forever be valued.

Happy Birthday Jay Dee!

The Pharcyde Runnin

Janet Jackson Got Til Its Gone

De La Soul Stakes Is High

February 2, 2010

Black History Highlight: Diahann Carroll

Filed under: Black History,Chat 'bout — Felicia @ 12:36 pm

In honor of Black History Month I’d like to highlight one of my favorite actresses of all time. For those who know me very well, you know that I absolutely love my old movies between the late 50s – 80s. That being said, I couldn’t imagine beginning with none other than the amazing Diahann Carroll.

Name: Carol Diahann Johnson

Stage Name: Diahann Carroll

Occupation: Actress/Singer

Active: 1954 – present

Career Highlights: Carmen Jones, Claudine, Dynasty, White Collar, etc.

Throughout her career Diahann Carroll has conquered many milestones as an African American actress. The New York native was the first African American actress to star in her own TV Series, Julia, as the lead actress. She won a Tony Award in 1962 for her role in the musical No Strings. Another first for a Black actress.

Although she was best known for her role in the series Julia her career expanded greatly throughout the 60’s and 70’s having won a Golden Globe Award and receiving nominations for an Emmy and Academy Award. Younger audiences may know her from appearing in television series’ such as A Different World, Grey’s Anatomy and most recently White Collar.

In her personal life Ms. Carroll has been married several times and is a breast cancer activist and survivor. She will be featured in a docudrama this year called 1 a Minute in recognition of breast cancer awareness.

February 1, 2010

Top Performances from the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards

Filed under: Chat 'bout — Felicia @ 1:54 pm

The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony took place last night. Like Jay-Z once did, I also told myself that I would ban the viewing of the Grammys or any other awards celebration for that matter. They’re too long and some performers you just don’t care to see. Like everyone else though I got caught up in the hype as tweeted comments on every performance. I’m not gonna post a slew of video recaps nor spend too much time dwelling on the evening’s winners. To even be considered for a Grammy is a great accomplishment in my book. So congratulations to all the nominees and the winners.

I did however want to spend time talking briefly about Lady Gaga & Elton John, Beyonce, the Michael Jackson tribute and Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli’s performances as these were the highlighted performances for me.

Lady Gaga & Elton John

Only Lady Gaga can get the legendary Elton John thrashed with dirt in his face and bedazzled shades. I thought their performance was a great way to start the evening of many more to come. Gaga donned a sparkly green high-waist leotard that left very little to the imagination. Her red carpet catwalk was a performance in its own. I definitely respect her creativity and originality. 2009 was her year for sure.

Beyonce

This woman continues to prove her pop icon status. Beyonce is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to her music. I don’t buy into the Sasha Fierce mess, but when she steps on stage something definitely comes over the usually shy girl from Houston. I’m a huge fan of Alanis Morissette and when Bey remixed “If I Were A Boy” with “You Oughta Know” that was it for me. When a contemporary artist pays homage to 90’s Pop/Rock/Hip-Hop/R&B artists you can never go wrong. Even Alanis had to take her hat off to that performance. Did anyone else breathe a sigh of *relief* when Beyonce acknowledged and thanked her husband, Jay-Z?

Michael Jackson Tribute

Usher, Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson did Michael proud. They each did an exceptional job collaborating with the late great on his hit “Earth Song” which was very benefitting for the affair. The tribute recognized Michael not only as a great artist, but as a great humanitarian and philanthropist. I also appreciated them having more than just R&B artist sing the honors. I dig Carrie Underwood and Carrie Taylor made it rain last night at the Grammys, so I hope you’re in the studio.

Mary J. Blige & Andrea Bocelli

Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli did an amazing rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” which was performed in recognition of the recent events in Haiti. Mary has done an array of collaborations with various artists and the lady of Soul held it down beautifully with Opera legend Bocelli. Definitely a moving performance from the two. I’m not a fan of forced collaborations but who ever thought of mixing the two artist together really hit the right note.

Other notable performances included Pink, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne featuring Eminem and Drake, Jamie Foxx and T-Pain. Fabulous night of events indeed.

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