Friday, April 22, 2011

When sistahs say, “That White boy can saaaang!”

As most of my friends know, I tend to get out and about “on the town” almost every weekend.  No more needs to be said here on that topic.

Early last month, my homegirls (yes I still use this term…exclusively actually to describe my “besties”, as my kids will say), and I were meeting up in the Village to celebrate the birthdays of two other homegirls.  First, we hit a comedy club to check out an old high school friend who was hosting for the night (Mike Britt in case you’re wondering).  He did his thing.  We laughed and drank (I was actually a little tipsy from a couple of vodkas at the salon beforehand), and continued on to our next stop to hit the party.  Without getting into details, we never quite made it into the full swing of things at the club and ended up leaving after spending only 15 minutes there (UGH!  I’m so mad at myself for that but hopefully I am forgiven by now).

Eventually we “landed” at a live music venue I used to frequent like a second home.  I hadn’t been there in a long bit, but it was close by and my homies were down to go and just wanted to get out of the cold.  I know just about every soul who works there and was happy to see everyone for the most part. 

Nothing had really changed.  I was pleased to hear the band singing a few new songs but what really struck a chord for the four of us, was this new White dude playing guitar in the back.  I personally didn’t pay him any mind; thinking he was just another pretty face they had found to fill the shoes of the former guitar player (who I actually love and respect) who used to play there.

It wasn’t until this dude opened his mouth, or larynx, or whatever the f*** he uses to sing, that all of our mouths dropped in unison to exclaim “Whoa! that White boy can saaaang!”  Needless to say (but since not all of my 13 readers know me personally, maybe it does need to be said), I am uber-critical and I typically hang with like-minded folks.  I don’t and won’t give props to anyone if I don’t like them.  Maybe they’ll get a silent nod that signifies, “hey, it looks like you’re trying your best buddy”, and I am a mother after all, so I’ve had a ton of  practice getting the nod just right.

Anyway, back to the scene.  I really can’t recall everything he sang but the cover of U2’s Carry Each Other was…OMG!!! (yep I went there…yuck.).

Normally I pay close attention to the deets on my new “finds”, but again, we were partying heavy, had one too many pineapple vodkas, and I left the place forgetting to find out “who the HAIL was THAT!”

It took me a few weeks before I remembered that there was a live stream from this club and I immediately made an appointment with my computer for the night, with the hope that this dude wasn’t just there sitting in for that night…and dreams really do come true…it CAN happen to you…

You MUST….nah you HAFTA click on his name.  I will not fill the rest of these pages tellin’ you anything else about him.  Once you click and listen, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Wait, wait, wait one more thing…and it kills me to do this…

You have to go and listen to him live.  I’m not going to tell you where.  Follow him…Facebook him…whatever…lemme know what you think.

Wait, wait, sorry one more thing; a disclaimer of sorts. His music is available on his website and I did download the free version, but what I did promise to do in return was to let my peeps know about him…I would have done it regardless.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Keepin’ it Real in Social Media…a long overdue note regarding high-profile and celebrity posts

The term is “social” media!  Not “stiff” media. 

I have held my tongue long enough.  I have been using all of the top social networks for quite a few years now.  A few years ago, I was even the “social voice” for a couple of famous recording artists, BUT my intention for those clients was to make sure they were set up technically and strategically to engage their fans without an intermediary.

I’m not trying to put social network promoters out of business.  I believe institutions like corporations, schools or churches should have someone in place to manage a centralized and consistent voice to the public, but I also strongly feel that individuals should speak with their own voice on social networks.  The beauty of these networks is that they allow you and your fans to feel more connected and by not speaking in your own voice, you’re gonna get busted (by me eventually) which may lead to a drop off in your following or lackluster engagement with your peeps.

I stay on Facebook and Twitter (I can hear my friends cheering, “yes yes it’s true!”) and I come across a myriad of posts and tweets from “celebrities” or high-profile individuals.  You can instantly tell who is really posting for themselves and who isn’t.  I have purposely refrained from naming names (I need a job!), but what I would love to advise those that aren’t posting for themselves is this…
Text your assistant or whomever you do have working on this for you, what you’re thinking throughout the day.  Let them post YOUR words for you (frankly if you have enough time to text someone, you should have the time to post the tidbit your damn self).
Here’s a link to a cool article on Black Enterprise magazine’s website (thanks to Alfred for finding this for me).  They offer some other great, more general, advice on “keeping it real”.

3 Simple Ways to Shine on Social Media - BLACK ENTERPRISE

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baby it's You! - when The Shirelles Made the Headlines...

In the 70's I was the lead singer of a girl group....

Unfortunately I can't recall the name of the group because I was only 8 or 9 years old at the time, but I do remember our #1 cover hit called: Sending Out an SOS (which was altered to include a special time sensitive militant message of course). Our rise and fall began and ended in a small classroom where we practiced under the tutelage of Atiba Coard*; a kid from one of the older grades who we thought was the Berry Gordy to our Supremes.

I think quite a few of you can relate. I often recall my high school homeboys harmonizing to It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday (the original of course) while we girls sat on the sidelines with supportive yet pained grins through their off key harmonizing sung with such bravado (and intoxication I must add) that they were completely unaware of the cracked high notes they were hitting...poor babies.

This "doowop" style of music is coveted by all and makes a resurgence quite often. That's what speaks to the style's timeless nature. Most modern day (50's to present) generations have a few holdin-that-hair-brush-in-front-of-the-mirror songs we tend to sing like we're big names on the marquee.  These memories are why I personally was so thrilled when I received an invite to see Baby it's You! last night at the Broadhurst Theatre. The tag line reads: The Shirelles made the headlines...She made the Shirelles. 

I made it a point not to read too much about the show in advance to avoid any spoilers. My skimpy knowledge of Shirelles music came from compilation CD commercials (Rhino Records) or more notably from TV shows like Happy Days and movies like American Graffiti as their songs played as a backdrop to the dialogue. Honestly, I had prepared myself to watch the classic band/music group story about a group of girls who grew up together singing in High School who were then discovered and hit the big time with of course a resulting clash of egos resulting in their demise. The story of the Shirelles has always been overshadowed by that of the Supremes and I couldn't wait to see the drama unfold.

My expectations didn't get met, but in a good way.  While there were some dramatic moments, what the audience actually gets to witness is an inspiring story of a suburban housewife by the name of Florence Greenberg wrapped in musical performances that make me mad I wasn't a child of he 50's and 60's.  I immediately found myself relating to Florence.  That may sound odd if anyone looked at our lives in parallel, but what one can take away from the very first scene, is that she had a grand desire to change, to live her dreams and to be free...who among us can't relate to that?

It was a good retrospective.  I loved the stage design treatment and clever costume changes (of which there were many), and I really enjoyed the music.  The voices were flawless and the cast paid close attention to the style of singing and choreography of that era.  I left with some of my favorites repeating themselves in my head during the train ride home and as I write this blog.  Ironically the only song I wasn't familiar with was the title hit Baby It's You...LOL

As an enticement for you to check it out, the folks over at Baby it's You! would like to extend the 40% OFF offer below:

Call 212-947-8844 and use code BBHLM28

Sending Out an SOS - The first song I sang as lead in my girl group.
* - A special note - RIP Atiba...I'll never forget you.

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday - The song my boys swear they were born to sing.

Rhino Records - Girl Group Greats - The commercial that put me on to this music.

My Favorites:
The song I wasn't familiar with: