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Enter The Folgers® Jingle Contest For A Chance To Win $25,000!

Since its debut, the Folgers Jingle has been transformed into country, gospel, jazz, R & B, folk, Celtic, and a cappella versions. Over the years, many artists have put their own spin on the classic tune.

Now it’s your turn. Remix your very own version of the classic Jingle and enter this year’s Folgers Jingle Contest before March 6th, 2013 for a chance to win $25,000! Ten finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges and featured on Folgers.com for public voting between May 15th and June 19th, 2013. Only one will become the Grand Prize Winner – do you have what it takes?

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Post-Election Songs: From Hopeful To Head-Scratching

Given that President Barack Obama had the hip-hop vote pretty securely in the bag, it’s only fitting that the day after his re-election is awash in a wave of celebratory tracks from artists big and small. Here are three notable songs paying tribute to Obama’s second term that range from the inspiring to the incomprehensible.

 

Young Jeezy“We Done It Again”

The newly minted Senior Vice President of A&R at Atlantic Records manages to cram Trayvon Martin, Hurricane Katrina, and the trillion-dollar deficit into a mere two and a half minutes. In the spiritual successor to his 2008 track “My President Is Black,” Jeezy sends out his message to “every ghetto in the world / Every little boy and little girl.” Though the new track is more cautiously optimistic this time around (“Waiting on a savior, maybe Barack”), it still a clear show of the rapper’s full support of the president.

Continue reading ‘Post-Election Songs: From Hopeful To Head-Scratching’

Play At The Legendary Sarasota Blues Fest

Booker T. & The MG’s, Buddy Guy, Greg Allman, Dr. John and Ike Turner—what do these legends all have in common? They’ve all rocked the stage at the Sarasota Blues Fest. This year, you could too. All you have to do is enter the “Sarasota Blues Fest” Competition on OurStage!

Submit your song by July 25, 2011 for your chance to win. Five finalists will be selected from the Top 20 ranked artists in the competition to perform at The Gator Club on August 13, 2011. From there, the competition judges will choose one Grand Prize Winner to receive $750 cash and a performance at Sarasota Blues Fest on November 5, 2011! Don’t let the festival name fool you; the competition is open to all blues, soul, R&B, gospel, world, jazz, southern rock and funk artists, so get out there and enter!

Fans: For your tireless efforts ranking the best artists in Florida, we’ve got a little kickback in store. Judge by August 5, 2011, and you could be one of five fans to win two tickets to the festival. Enjoy the good tunes while basking in the beautiful Florida sun—it doesn’t get much better than that.

Soul Searching: Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy—this week’s Soul Searching pick and OurStage artist on the rise—hails from Canton, Ohio. With an extensive background in gospel music (thanks to an early start performing in church), Mike quickly found his soulful side and has perfected his craft over the years. His music frequently features an R&B style, and heartfelt lyrics that he attributes to his religious upbringing. Growing up, Mike frequently participated and succeeded in a number of local talent shows due to his stage skills and vocal abilities.

Fast-forward a few years later, Mike joined the Armed Forces. As fate would have it, he was selected by Army Entertainment to participate in the 2000 US Army show. From there, Mike traveled the world in order to perform and entertain the troops with his talent. Once his duties were complete, he gave New York a chance—showcasing his skills at popular nightclubs. During this time, Mike also teamed up with producer Hamza Lee and worked on a few tracks with the lead singer from the group Soul for Real.

The culmination of all this experience brings us to his recent full-length release Love. The album shows Mike’s personal vulnerability and features everything from ballads to club tracks. Mike has shown some great success on OurStage, ranking in the Top 10 in R&B and the Top 100 for “Best of ” Urban Channel.

Listen to Mike’s single “Hopeless”— a track about when someone is just not that into you and how hard this realization can be—below. The song is a prime example of Mike’s vocal ability.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Murphy as he continues to climb the ladder of success.

Q&A With Jim Henke, Vice President of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is home to an invaluable collection of information and artifacts from the world’s greatest rock artists. The nonprofit organization also exists as an educational institution to help teach music enthusiats of all ages.

In January of 2012, the Hall of Fame will be opening a brand new Library and Archives, which will be the world’s most comprehensive collection of documents, music and videos relating to rock music. We had the opportunity to speak with Jim Henke, Vice President of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs, to hear all about this incredible new building, as well as the amazing artifacts and educational opportunities at the Hall of Fame.

OS: What do you take into consideration when nominating artists for induction into the Hall of Fame?

JH: The only real rule is that they become eligible 25 years after the release of their first recording. From there, we try to take into account things like the longevity of their career, the impact they had on other artists, innovation, superiority in their style and technique and musical excellence. It’s not based on record sales, it’s basically based on how important of an artist they were and the quality of their body of work.

OS: How typically does the museum procure for its rare memorabilia collection? From private collections? Estates?

The exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

JH: Most of the stuff we have comes directly from the artists and their families or their managers. It varies, but I’d say that 25% of what we have on exhibit here comes from the artists, their families or people who are associated with them. For example, right now, we have an exhibit on Bruce Springsteen. Most of the items came from Bruce directly, but there were a couple collectors out there who had fairly decent collections, so we also borrowed some pieces from them to fill in some of the holes.

OS: What should we expect to see in the new archive/library?

JH: It’s going to operate on two levels. One level will be more of a normal library that the general public can go into, where we’ll have books, magazines, periodicals. People will also be able to access music over the computers, and we’ll also have a lot of videos. The museum itself has been open for fifteen years and we’ve done a lot of events here, and virtually all of them have been filmed. We do a program every year called American Music Masters, where we honor one of our inductees with a week-long series of events and various performances. We’ve done maybe ten of those and we filmed all of them, but that footage has never been available. We also have a program called The Hall of Fame Serieswhere we bring in the inductees and we’ll interview them and often they’ll perform. The archive part of it will be more for students, scholars, historians and journalists. You’ll make an appointment to come in and we’ll have certain collections from various people and it’s their private papers…it could be contracts, correspondence, set lists, manuscripts. So, if someone’s writing a book or if someone’s doing a thesis, they’ll have a private room with an archivist and they’ll be able to go through these people’s papers.

OS: Why, now, is the library starting this archive?

JH: We talked about having a library and archive ever since before we opened and originally it was going to be here at the museum, but we never had quite the proper space. But it’s always been something that’s been on our radar, and we’ve always wanted something where we could preserve the history of rock and roll and allow historians and scholars access to stuff. We looked at other places in the Cleveland area…and there’s a college here called Cuyahoga Community College. Their president has been on our board since day one and has been very active. They also have a program called Recording Arts and Technology and a music production program. It turns out they were building a new building for that program, so their president thought they could build a larger building and we could put our library in there. The building’s complete and we have staff in there now and they’re cataloging everything. It won’t be open to the public until sometime next year, but we’re getting everything up and running.

A look inside the Bruce Springsteen exhibit, on display until February 27, 2011

OS: The Hall has a lot of different educational programs, particularly in classroom settings. How are the topics for classes determined?

JH: We have a program called “Toddler Rock” that’s open to preschool kids. They come in and we use music to teach them, the alphabet and counting. Then we have a program called “Rockin’ the Schools,” which is [offered to students in] kindergarten through twelfth grade. Those classes are taught here at the museum in our theater upstairs. Basically, we take rock and roll and try to use it to each about other things. For our first grade to fourth grade kids, we have a class called “Tell Me Something Good: Music and the Language Arts.” They listen to music and hear some of the stories and they examine how lyrics can establish setting, introduce characters, develop plot and narrative. We have another class called “Rock and Roll and the Science of Sound” and that’s for grades five through eight…it looks more at the audio aspect of rock and roll and how sound travels into our ears. We have another class called “The Message: The Birth of Hip Hop Culture,” which talks about hip hop and what was going on in our culture when hip hop was developing back in the ’70s. We try to go beyond music and talk about sociology or mathematics or science. We also have a distance learning program called “On the Road,” where we use interactive video conferencing technology to go into schools all across the country. We also do college-level classes.

OS: How will the Archive factor into the educational initiatives?

JM: With the kinds of things we’ll have there and having these very personal papers from a lot of people, one of the things we talked about was doing academic conferences and maybe tying it back to an exhibit. It will definitely help us to expand our educational offerings.

OS: What are some of the more interesting,  rare and noteworthy acquisitions you’ve procured?

One of the museum's most impressive items: John Lennon's Sgt. Pepper uniform

JH: We have a great collection from Jim Morrison’s parents. It turns out that they kept every piece of paper related to his life, from the hospital bill from when his mother gave birth to him to virtually all of his school report cards. In an interview for Rolling Stone back in the 6’0s, they asked him what the first poem he ever wrote was, and he said it was called “The Pony Express”…they [his parents] actually had his hand written manuscript of that. So that’s one of our great collections because it really is very thorough. It goes through his college years and formation of  The Doors, Jim had a falling out with his father and when he was arrested for allegedly exposing himself on stage down in Florida, the probation officer down there wrote his father a letter, asking what Jim’s shape was. Jim’s father wrote back this really sad letter about how he hadn’t talked to his son in many years. So there’s this gap through part of The Doors’ years and there’s letters between his father and different legal officials, and then there’s the official announcement from the American embassy in France that he had died. That’s a really nice collection. Yoko Ono has been very good to the museum, we have a great representation of John Lennon. We have a Sgt. Pepper uniform, a lot of his handwritten lyrics, report cards, different correspondence, a couple of his guitars. Similarly, we have a very good relationship with Jimi Hendrix‘s estate. As a young man, he was interested in becoming an artist, so we have all these different paintings that he did when he was younger. It’s interesting because there are a couple of rock band pictures, but there are also a lot of sports drawings that he did. You don’t really think of Jimi Hendrix as being a football fan but he did these different drawings of football players. We have a great collection from U2 that goes back to record company rejection letters, when they were first sending around their demo tapes…those are funny. We have some correspondence between the different band members and some lyrics manuscripts, some guitars and stage outfits. There’s pretty much something for everyone, no matter what your tastes are. We have sections that deal with the roots of rock and roll, the blues and rhythm and blues and gospel and country and folk. We have another section that looks at different cities and the history of rock and roll. It starts with Memphis in the ’50s and then includes Detroit during the Motown years and San Francisco during the psychedelic era and Los Angeles during the singer/songwriter country rock era and it ends in Seattle during grunge. There’s a lot of stuff here!

OS: The new library is already garnering some notable media coverage. What do you hope it will do for the Rock  & Roll Hall of Fame’s already renowned collection?

JH: I think it expands what we’re looking for and the fact that we’re actively out collecting for the library and archives. We’re going to musicians and producers and people in the music business, trying to get their papers. I think it will deepen our collection and broaden the extent of what it is. We’ll have many more documents to show how a lot of the music developed.

Check out the video below to watch Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins induct Queen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001!

Soul Searching: Daryl Black

In our quest for soul, it’s not uncommon for us to run into an artist who got their start by singing in church. Gospel training tends to lend itself well to the soul genre. Daryl Black came up on our radar and we knew we had to feature him as this week’s Soul Searching artist. Yes, Daryl Black is someone who first trained as a singer in the church, but Daryl is more than a great vocalist. This artist is both a talented writer and producer as well. These three skills combined create original music that gives the listener a deeper sense of what the artist is trying to portray. Daryl hails from California, and works to prove himself as a serious artist everyday. He’s most certainly has some impressive accomplishments to add to the resume including opening and or performing for Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Coko, R. Kelly, Marvin Sapp, Daryl Coley, Prince, Shirley Caesar, J. Moss, Tonex just to name a few.

Daryl’s music has heavy pop influences that makes it ready for the mainstream market. Listen to his song “Radio” and you’ll see what we mean. We’ve added the song below for your convenience. Let us know what you think in the comments section and, as always, if you have suggestions for who we should feature next, let us know!

Hip Hop Habit: Tone Trezure

“Every child has a dance you understand/ every child has to grow into a woman.” At least that’s how Tone Trezure sees it. For her, the juvenile dance was rebellion, a dance fortunately accompanied by the dream of making it big in hip hop. Thanks in no small part to her dazzling vocals and unique beats, that dream stayed by her side during her transition into womanhood. If you think you’ve heard her shimmering pipes before, it’s probably because you have. A phenomenal blend of happenstance and talent has landed Tone Trezure (born Latonya Geneva Givens) some pretty amazing opportunities over the years, most noticeably the chance to sing backups on Snoop Dogg’s “Promise I” from 2004’s R&G(Rhythm & Gangsta) and Xzibit’s “Ride or Die” of his 2004 LP Weapons of Mass Destruction. But let’s not get distracted here, this is a hip hop column after all. Tone Trezure’s singing is gorgeous, but you wouldn’t be reading about her if she didn’t have an agile flow and intelligent rhymes to match.

Tone Trezure The autobiographical “My Destiny” is a first person narrative looking back on Tone’s cycle of ambition, from the inspired (“Since I could remember/ way back when I wanted fame and fortune/ used to stand in front of the mirror and portrait/ my brush was my mic and the fans was Moses”) to the discouraged (“but fabrication raised a bull-headed kid/ prevailed to rebel because I didn’t want the biz”). She was confused out of the gate, but got her shit straight when she saw the light, a truth spelled out in the chorus. The track’s disjointed instrumentals, consisting primarily of a purring bass and plucky guitar, are glued together by Givens’ warm resolved vocals when she sings and reliable verbal rhythm when she raps. Evidence of Tone’s musical talent and creativity—this “Mozart of drumming” plays 6 instruments, and is well versed in jazz, classical and modern gospel—is easily found here, predominantly in her ability to keep the track moving with minimal percussion (nothing but bass kicks on 1 and hand claps on 2&4) and repetitive half step modulations throughout to change things up. How many rap songs have a modulation?

Made it big? Not yet. But she’s on her way. On top of the aforementioned collaborations, she’s made music with Erykah Badu, Pharoahe Monche, Rick Ross, Quincy Jones and a slew of indie artists. Who can deny a resume like that? A line of EPs, including one featuring duets with her mother (gospel recording artist Cherry Givens), is in the works to lead up to her premier LP, which hopefully will hit shelves soon. Before her fame erupts, check her sound out in the player below and let us know what you think about her style in the comments!

DAUGHTER OF A PREACHER MAN

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The church has been the crucible for countless recording artists. Of course, not all who sing in the choir carry the spiritual theme over to their personal careers, but plenty do. In this case Kristine Alicia is the rule, not the exception.

Under the tutelage of her minister father (also a classical musician), Alicia and her five siblings grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, singing and playing the piano both at home and in church. It’s an upbringing that’s written all over the singer’s music. Breezy, Caribbean rhythms and textures permeate almost every song, most of which are low-tempo R&B/Reggae grooves. Blessed with a smoky contralto reminiscent of Toni Braxton and Sade, Alicia lends her silky island cadence to songs of worship and devotion. With lines like “Even if I hide from you / Your presences seems to find me” and “You are the king of my desire,” it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether Alicia is singing to God or lover.

Either way, all we can say is, “Amen.”

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