She Is Focused

April 14, 2010

New Music from Leela James

Filed under: New Music — Felicia @ 11:10 am

A petite lady with a virtuous sound is one way to describe Leela James. Another would be a soul diva whose art imitates life as each note she resonates touches you deep within. If you’ve never seen her perform live then you’re doing yourself a great injustice. Its one thing to feel an artist through their music, but to watch them perform live really showcases the joy, love and pain they lived when the song was written.

I saw James perform last year at BB Kings Club NYC and this woman lights up the room like any other artist twice her size. She’s one of those voices where after hearing one song of hers you’re a fan for life. Imagine watching her belt out such deep lyrics live.

Her 2009 album Let’s Do It Again although a covers-only album, saw her recreate past hits like produced “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and “I’d Rather Be With You”.  Her debut album A Change Is Gonna Come introduced James as a voice to watch, although she never caught much mainstream attention. Since her last studio album she’s been performing live as well as finding time to create new material like new single “Tell Me You Love Me”. Like many of her other songs its easy to listen to the words and relate. She really has a way of making you feel exactly where she’s coming from with her words.

To my surprise a video was shot and released. Unless you follow Leela James and her career its easy to carry on without hearing much about her or her talent. However she’s one R&B/Soul voice you can’t let slip under the radar. Check her video for “Tell Me You Love Me“.


March 29, 2010

Kelis Goes Acapella

Filed under: New Music — Felicia @ 8:06 am

Kelis releases her first video since 2006’s “Bossy” and “Blindfold Me” featuring then husband Nas. With all the divorce news that’s been surrounding her lately everyone’s focus on the Harlem-born songstress shifted from her actual singing career to her personal life. For her upcoming album Flesh Tone  the new mom has enlisted producer David Guetta on the first single, “Acapella” which was written about her son Knight. The album focuses more on a Dance, Electronica rhythm and also features production from DJ Ammo, Diplo, Will.I.Am and others. The album will also be released under new label home Interscope Records via Will.I.Am Music Group.

Besides Hip-Hop and R&B, Dance is one of my favorite genres of music. The combination of R&B and Dance with Kelis as the Master of Ceremonies seems like a hit in the making. Knight also makes his music video debut at the end.

Watch Kelis’ official video for “Acapellahere.


March 23, 2010

March Album Releases: Monica & Justin Bieber

Filed under: New Music — Felicia @ 6:39 pm

Another week of new releases from artists old and new. Let’s jump right in:

Monica Still Standing J Records

It’s been 4 years since we last heard from Monica musically. Since her 2006 album The Makings Of Me she’s since had two children, a cameo in 2006’s ATL and lended her vocal chops to other artists. Monica is known for her immense soulful sound. The release of her sophomore album The Boy Is Mine had many comparing her talents to that of Brandy’s, when the two ladies were at the height of their popularity. Monica was recently featured on Keyshia Cole’s “Trust” and it good to see that she’s still got it. The lead single “Everything To Me” which features a sample of Deniece Williams’ “Silly” had everyone anticipating the now released Still Standing. Monica couldn’t have come back at a better time when so many of her R&B counterparts are all copying each other so much that they’re looking, sounding and dressing the same.

Justin Bieber My World 2.0 Island Def Jam

After the initial release of Justin’s 2009 EP My World, the platinum selling teen was still a virtual unknown to the masses, but clearly had the appeal to capture the attention of audiences. After winning singing competitions in his local Ontario, he began posting videos on YouTube he caught the attention of a former So So Def executive who got him an audition with Usher. Both Usher and L.A. Reid was impressed and immediately signed him to Island/Def Jam. His debut was re-released today as My World 2.0. The rest is history…literally. I really don’t know much else about the guy except that everywhere he performs there’s an army of young girls who’s screams over power his singing.

March 16, 2010

Guetta’s Bringing Dance Back

Filed under: Get To Know,New Music — Felicia @ 11:30 pm

French House producer David Guetta is not the new kid on the block, although it may seem that way to American radio. The beat-maker who originally started his career as a House DJ in Paris nightclubs has an extensive career background in production and has released 4 albums between 2001 – 2009; the most recent being One Love. His latest album produced several hit records which featured American hit-makers Kelly Rowland, Akon, Ne-Yo, Kid Cudi and others. The most popular being “When Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland. In addition to keeping the beat going with his own records, Guetta has been collaborating with many of R&B and Pop’s favorite artists; influencing a shift back to Dance music.

His collaboration with Kelis, “Acapella” will be featured on her upcoming album Flesh Tone. It will be the first album for the “Milkshake” divorcee since 2006’s Kelis Was Here. In addition to Kelis, Guetta has projects in the works with Shakira, Ashanti and most recently Estelle’s “Freak”. The song which samples Soul II Soul’s “Keep On Movin'” is featured on her upcoming album All Of Me and the video has premiered on both her website and BET’s 106 & Park.

Haven’t heard a David Guetta track I disliked, so the fusion between House music and R&B/Pop (which is already wildly popular in the UK) will be a nice addition to American radio.

March 4, 2010

Finally, Drake’s Over

Filed under: New Music — Felicia @ 5:08 pm

After several mixtape releases and being featured on practically every hot single that came out during the past year, Drake is finally coming close to dropping his debut album Thank Me Later. Its strange referring to Drake’s highly anticipated album as a debut because he’s been around for a little while now. The first official single from the album has been released for download today called “Over”. The Boi-1da produced track is one of 5 confirmed tracks on the album which also includes “Fireworks”, “Light Up” featuring Jay Z, “Shut It Down” featuring The-Dream and “Afrika Boombatta” featuring Young Money general Lil Wayne.

The single can be downloaded here. I’m curious to see if Thank Me Later will out-sell Wayne’s Tha Carter III.

Comeback Kids: Courtney Love, Dru Hill, Eve

Filed under: New Music — Felicia @ 3:32 pm

Despite a 10-year lapse, Sade’s new album Soldier Of Love’s sales have remained in the top spot for the past 3 weeks. It was like she never took time away from her craft as her previous releases remained alive on various music soundtracks, radio stations and recent collaborations. There have been talks of Sade being featured on Drake’s soon to be released debut album.

Like Sade other artists from the past are making a return to the music scene with new albums. Former Hole lead singer Courtney Love is joining the comeback trail with her new album titled Nobody’s Daughter tentatively scheduled for an April release. The album will be released alongside her band Hole on Mercury Records. New single “Skinny Little Bitch” drops today and will be available digitally on March 18th although several sites including Love’s has the single for free download.

Next up is the once widely popular r&b quartet Dru Hill.  Jazz, Nokio, Sisqo and new member Tao have been doing promotional tours including an upcoming performance at the legendary Apollo Theatre on March 31st to promote Indrupendence, their new album set to come out in the coming months. Sisqo has been in and out of the blogosphere with his own controversies, but the guys are putting the negativity aside to return with hit-worthy music. New single and video for “Love MD” is out and you couldn’t even tell they have a new member in the group. There haven’t been much groups doing a lot in music recently, so the guys may have a shot of recapturing their old fan’s attention and grabbing some new one’s along the way.

E-V-E released “Tambourine” 2 years ago, but the album has been shelved. Everyone including myself was left hanging without any explanations or future release date. Eve recently told a local NY newspaper “unfortunately I’m caught up in a whole music label situation”. Matters have seemingly been resolved because she now has a new album and new label to call home. Flirt is scheduled for a summer release on Geffen Records and hopefully things will go as planned this time around. Because so much time has passed since her shelved album Here I Am some of the tracks have been re-recorded and will be featured on the Flirt. The change in name has been described as a change in Eve’s current state of mind. Earlier this year a Salaam Reemi produced track “Me N My (Up In The Club)” has been released, as for now Eve is currently featured on the remix to Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad”.

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!

January 26, 2010

Introducing once again, Nneka

Filed under: Get To Know,New Music — Felicia @ 1:32 pm

Nigerian-born Soul singer Nneka gets a second introduction because this isn’t the first time she’s debuted her music. She released an EP followed by two full length albums between 2005 – 2008. Currently featured as the highlighted artist this week on iTunes, Nneka returns with a fourth release, Concrete Jungle now available. The album features her popular hit “The Uncomfortable Truth” with helped bring her to rising eminence.

Nneka got her shot at the music business when she moved to Hamburg, Germany at the age of 19. A run in with popular DJ Farhot gave her the opportunity she needed to record her EP The Uncomfortable Truth. She’s been quoted as naming Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Mos Def, Lauryn Hill and others as her music influences. After gaining popularity by touring throughout 2005 – 06 she began laying down tracks for her 2008 album No Longer At Ease. When recently asked what inspired her music, she stated “I get inspired when I take a severe look at the things going on in our world today; especially in my country. How people live, suffer and endure pain, politics and religion, when I see all that man has evoked and created out of self-centeredness and devotion to material things.”

You can catch a performance by Nneka on David Letterman this February 3rd. Below is one of the singles from her latest release.

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