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Category Archives: Featured Music Artist

Kenny Wesley

Kenny Wesley

New York, NY (October 20, 2011) Soul music lovers in the nation’s capital know the name Kenny Wesley as a passionate purveyor of ballads who has opened shows for the likes of Stephanie Mills, Carl Thomas and Anthony David. But he’s taking a turn for the funkier on his official launch single “The Window,” a collaboration with L.A.- based Noah Lifschey, widely respected within the industry as a prolific producer of sizzling music for TV shows such as “America’s Best Dance Crew” and the MTV Movie and Music Awards programs.

“The Window” weds a thumpin’ groove to a self-affirming message that Wesley rocks with a righteous and uplifting vengeance. The song represents a sonic revolution as part throwback and homage, part contemporary slam jam. “R&B is so overproduced and pre- manufactured now,” Wesley states. “It’s missing the grit that it used to have. Noah and I are trying to bring it back yet keep it relevant.” Lifschey affirms, “I’ve always wanted to take music with the `70s funk feel of Graham Central Station, Sly & The Family Stone and Stevie Wonder but rock it with a modern feel of bigger drums and slamming vibe to keep it from just sounding retro and old.”

As the lead-off single of a yet-to-be-titled contemporary soul concept album, “The Window” has an intriguing point of origin. “It began as a 40-second piece of music – a partial verse and a chorus – I wrote for a contestant on ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’” multi-instrumentalist Lifschey confesses. “The song got a

lot of great write-in feedback from viewers wanting to know what it was and where they could get it. Because I’d already been working with Kenny since June, I completed the music with live guitars, keys and custom programmed drums, then invited him to help me finish the lyrics. I’m a big fan of Seal who’s known for his lyrics being a bit vague. Generally speaking, ‘The Window’ is about being in the moment instead of allowing yourself to get caught up in a train wreck of thoughts that stifle you.” Wesley, who contributed to the lyrics and arrangement of the melody, adds, “It’s about taking an introspective look at one’s self and being honest and unpretentious with the people around you – something there isn’t enough of in the music business today.”

For a guy whose early vocal influences were Burt Bacharach-produced Dionne Warwick and the late, great Luther Vandross, Kenny Wesley is embracing the edgier sound quite nicely. “I guess I’m going all the way back to my original vocal roots,” Wesley concludes with a chuckle. “My mom always said I came out the womb screaming!”

“The Window” is available on itunes, CD Baby, Amazon.com and many other retail outlets.

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Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson

For 17 years she’s made it look easy: marriage, motherhood, music career, and managing the enviable feat of becoming one of the most consistently sought-after producers and songwriters in independent soul. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also a knockout. For 17 years, Angela Johnson has been the real-life Superwoman of Independent Music. One of the first Indie Queens of Soul to reign, Johnson has released six albums of guilty pleasures that have caused thousands of souls to sing and feet to move around the globe. Building on the momentum established from her first two critically-acclaimed projects with Cooly’s hot-box, Johnson has become an international sensation in the UK and Japan and credibly positioned herself as a bankable brand with companies seeking fresh and innovative artists-partners. After years of sharing only the smiling siren behind the keys, with her latest Purpose Music release, It’s Personal, Johnson is now ready to reveal the truth behind the image and finally share the intimate secret to her fan’s #1 question: How does she do it?

Johnson will be the first to tell you that at least half of the reason she’s able to do it is her solid Utica, New York upbringing. A musical child prodigy, Johnson was playing piano by age four and violin by nine. The eldest of four, Johnson was supported throughout her formative years by a loving family in her most evident passion. Johnson’s Baptist church family added another layer of encouragement, giving her those crucial first opportunities to rock an audience as a choir director, organist and eventual star performer. At her spiritual and musical training ground, Johnson refined the ear arresting rhythms of her heart and the voice that echoed the notes endlessly playing in her head. Multi-hyphenated personal icons like Patrice Rushen and Angela Winbush set a path for Johnson in sound and illuminated the possible for a blue-collar girl who knew a multi-faceted musical destiny awaited her.

Born for music, Johnson enrolled in the State University of New York at Purchase (SUNY) to further study violin. At SUNY, she met her future Cooly’s hot-box bandmates and songwriting partner, Christian Urich. Together the eclectic soul and acid jazz band landed a deal with Polygram Records that ended almost before it begun. A trifecta of dance hits (“We Don’t Have To Be Alone,” “What A Surprise,”  and “Make Me Happy”) earned the band an international reputation for earnest, soulful grooves. In 2002, the group inked a new deal with Virgin Records, and released their critically acclaimed debut album, Take It. While honing her production and songwriting chops on the Cooly’s Hot Box debut album, Johnson decided it was time to express the woman she is alone and simultaneously recorded her solo debut, They Don’t Know (Purpose). Immediately distinguishing her sound from Cooly’s, Johnson’s solo debut, and its radio hit “Ordinary Things” loudly announced exactly what the industry should know: that Angela Johnson was here to stay. The industry listened. Songs from They Don’t Knowand its intimate follow-up, Got To Let It Go (Purpose), were licensed by HBO’s The Wire, UPN’s Kevin Hill, FX’s The Shield, and the WB’s Roswell. As a featured spokesperson Angela was also appearing in Japanese car commercials for Nissan. In 2004 Angela briefly reunited with Cooly’s hot-box to record  their sophomore album, Don’t Be Afraid-Get On (Purpose).  In early 2005 the band was featured in a  national TV advertising campaign for SBCglobal.net (AT&T/Cingular). That same year Johnson departed the band who’d later become Tortured Soul. As a front woman for Cooly’s hot-box, Johnson had toured the world, now it was time to conquer it as an artistic force in her own right.

More than a pretty face, Johnson began penning hits for artists like Conya Doss (“Emotions”), Seek (“Journey Into Day”), Laurnea (“No Shame”), Monét (“Wanna Kiss You”), Reel People (“Can’t Stop”), and Japanese R&B superstar Double, for whom Johnson landed a 2001 top ten, gold selling hit, “Angel.” Her achievements as a producer and songwriter earned her the respect of artists’ artists like Maysa, Frank McComb, Eric Roberson, Rahsaan Patterson, Gordon Chambers, Marlon Saunders, and Claude McKnight, among others. All of whom graciously performed on Johnson’s last project, the single producer compilation, A Woman’s Touch, yielding the radio hit “Let Me Know (featuring Eric Roberson)” and three Soul Tracks Readers’ Choice Award nominations, including “Album of the Year.”

On stages from Kyoto to Briton, Johnson’s success, powerful performances, and Madison Avenue appeal helped to cultivate the alluring image of the dynamic Superwoman who was handling life with sass and aplomb, but there was always much more to Johnson’s woman next door persona than met the eye. In addition to her strong family upbringing, the secret weapon that has allowed Johnson to keep so many balls afloat over the last 17 years is her marriage to her manager and Purpose Music co-founder Russell Johnson. The dynamic duo has demonstrated the anti-thesis of every stereotype about Black love, Black family, and the legendary horror stories surrounding female artists with managing husbands. Angela’s comic sensibilities and creative chaos are complemented by Russell’s straight man stability and orderly business savvy. The Johnson’s yin and yang work because there are no leaders, only partners in business and in love. Together raising a daughter, who’s getting her own global education, the Johnson’s take co-parenting as seriously on tour as they do in their Newark, New Jersey home. With her newest project It’s Personal, it was important to Johnson to share her family and marriage experiences on songs like “Days,” “For You” and “Only One,” once and for all smashing the lone woman persona to share all of Angela Johnson with her fans.

After delivering nearly two decades of honest music, Angela Johnson has nothing left to prove. A newly liberated Johnson returns ready to party. Culling the funky sounds of that twilight period between the end of disco and the height of the funk era, Johnson’s production on It’s Personal rediscovers the rhythmic grooves, propulsive basslines, and memorable chords that once poured from live instruments instead of technology. Club bangers like the lead single “Better” and “Hurts Like Hell” fuses warm harmonies and infectious hooks with personal lyrics that tell Angie’s uncompromising truths. Throughout, Johnson gifts her listeners with that rare music her fans can both step to and be moved by, the kind once commonplace “On The Radio.”

With lyrical revelations like “Be Myself” and “Get Myself Together,” not since Got To Let It Go’s “Got To Let It Go,” Johnson’s personal testimony about surviving her mother’s homegoing, has Johnson bared so much of her soul in song. Even on the Eric Roberson’s penned “The Indie In Me,” the only lyric not written by Johnson, Roberson’s take on the joys and trials of life on the road as an artist resonate with Johnson’s story. As does the lifeblood of her marital love on the single, “All In Me,” with up and coming crooner, Darien, serving as a stand-in for Russell on a sultry duet that’s already steaming up the airwaves.

With It’s Personal, Angela tears down the final wall between her perfected image for the stage and the real-life woman who works hard and sometimes stumbles in her effort to keep it sexy for her husband, be a shining example for her daughter, maintain the esteem of her industry, and deliver the kind of music and performances that contributes something real in the lives of her fans. No more illusion, just Angie.

For tour and updates follow Angela Johnson on FacebookTwitterMySpaceReverb Nation or on her website:http://www.angelajohnson.com/fr_home.cfm/. For bookings and inquiries: contact Russell Johnson @ The Purpose Music Group @ 973.688.8129 or purposemusicgroup@gmail.com.

www.angelajohnson.com

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Vinx

Vinx

Who is Vinx? Most people know him as…One man. One voice. One drum. As you will discover, Vinx is much more. Vinx’s music transcends languages and borders. This is evident from his international touring schedule and cult-like popularity. Vinx has taken the wisdom of his mother to heart. She often told him that “You can’t sing of life unless you live.”

So… the journey starts in 1976, when Vinx attended Kansas State University on a track scholarship. In 1977, hate nearly took away Vinx’s athletic career and his life when racists burned down his house, along with the home of another black family living in his Kansas City suburb. Vinx was severely burnt by the fire. He overcame his injuries and three years later made the world’s second longest leap in the triple jump. This qualified Vinx for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. When President Jimmy Carter called for an Olympic boycott that year, Vinx’s athletic goals were put on hold.

A deejay in college, Vinx also performed with the Kansas State Jazz Band. In 1978, Taj Mahal invited Vinx to perform with him at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. When Vinx’s Olympic dream was deferred, he turned his back on track, but after two years returned as an assistant coach for the women’s track team at the University of Texas. In Texas, Vinx rediscovered his Olympic ambitions and began working toward the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. After an injury at the trials took him out of the running for the ’84 Olympics, Vinx stayed in Los Angeles and began working as a fitness trainer for the rich and famous. His clients included Stevie Wonder, George Hamilton and Marisa Tomei.

Vinx’s early years in Los Angeles brought him much triumph and tragedy as he transitioned from his athletic past to his musical future. In 1987, Vinx landed his first recording session with Ernie Watts on his Grammy awarded Musican project. Following Tom Jones’ recording of Vinx’s ballad “Touch My Heart,” Vinx toured extensively with the likes of Rickie Lee Jones, The Bus Boys, Teena Marie, Toni Childs and Robben Ford. His commercial agency work included appearances in both Sprite and Levi’s 501 Blues ads.

In 1989, Vinx’s father, Leslie Jackson Parrette Sr. (Vinx’s greatest musical influence) was mugged and murdered during a family vacation in Detroit.

Vinx left the United States for Europe with his all drum band. Vinx and the Barkin’ Feet played to capacity audiences at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, performing after Miles Davis and before Wayne Shorter. Back in the states, Herbie Hancock invited Vinx to perform on his Showtime Coast to Coast TV Special, where Vinx played with Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, Lou Reed, B.B. King, Herbie Hancock, Kenny G. and Woody Harrelson.

In 1990, Sting and Miles Copeland signed Vinx to Pangaea/I.R.S. Records. Following Vinx’s performance on Sting’s Soul Cages CD, Vinx recorded his first release (Rooms In My Fatha’s House) for Pangaea. The album featured guest performances from Sheryl Crow, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, Branford Marsalis, Roscoe Lee Brown and Mother’s Finest. Vinx toured for 13 months with Sting’s “Soul Cages” tour as the solo opening act and the percussionist/ background vocalist. The tour ended with a Carnegie Hall taping of MTV Unplugged with Sting. Vinx’s “While The City Sleeps” was used in the opening dance sequence of the prime time TV show In Living Color.

In 1992, Vinx moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and released his 2nd CD titled I Love My Job. The album featured Zap Mama, Patrice Rushen and Dan Kuramato. Vinx toured the world jazz festival circuit with great response and returned to the States for an appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show and The Tonight Show with old friend Branford Marsalis. Vinx’s song “There I Go Again” was chosen for the highest rated episode of the hit TV series Northern Exposure. The network received so many calls about the song that it was chosen for an album release of Northern Exposure’s most requested music. In 1993, Vinx released his 3rd CD, The Storyteller, which featured Stevie Wonder, George Howard, Cassandra Wilson and Omar. Vinx toured the world and recorded on Cassandra Wilson’s award winning CD Blue Light Til Dawn.

In 1994, Vinx moved to Boston and started the year with the Stewart Copeland and the Rhythmatists tour. The summer brought Vinx out for a three month tour with the Spin Doctors, Cracker and the Gin Blossoms, an appearance on the Bertice Berry Show, and performances and CO-MC work for all three days of Woodstock’ 94. In 19941995 and 1996, Vinx was invited by Miles Copeland to his 12th Century French castle for a writer’s retreat. Vinx co-wrote at the castle with such notables as Brenda Russell, Cher, Michelle Shocked, Jil Sobule and Patty Smyth. 1995 brought Vinx to Africa for a five week tour of nine countries in West and Central Africa. Vinx and his drum trio were cultural attaches for the U.S. State Department. On his return, Vinx recorded on Stevie Wonder’s Conversation Peace CD.

In 1996, Vinx was inducted into the Kansas State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Vinx released his 4th CD titled Lips Stretched Out. Vinx-the-painter got a rep and held his first gallery showing of his paintings. Vinx headed to Atlanta for his performance at the 1996 Olympiad.

Vinx created an innovative Euro dance project called Jungle Funk which featured ex-Living Colour rhythm section musicians Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbish. 1997 – 1999 brought Vinx and Jungle Funk to over 150 shows throughout Europe and Australia with the release of Jungle Funk’s first limited edition disc; highlighting the early days of the band. Vinx returned to the U.S. for work with the Baltimore based dance guru’s “The Basement Boys” and some recording on Crystal Waters’ track “Mama Told Me.” In 1998, Jungle Funk got signed to the German label, ESC Records (Zebra/Warner Brothers in the U.S.) with a new release, recorded live in Austria. Vinx received a grant from AT&T to work with Washington D.C.’s famed Eastern High School Choir.

In 1999, Vinx traveled to Berlin to record an album with Traumton Records titled Big ‘n’ Round. Vinx relocated back to Los Angeles to co-write with Brenda Russell, Stewart Copeland, and Darius Rucker. Vinx established his own StankFish Recording Studio, Midnight Archer Publishing Co. and a film production company — Dreamsicle Arts & Entertainment. In 2000, Vinx’s recording studio was robbed with a loss of over $100,000 of recording equipment and masters…

2002-2004, Will Downing recorded “Don’t Talk To Me Like That” – written by Vinx and Brenda Russell – on his Sensual Journey (Universal) release. Vinx lent his background vocals to the track, which was chosen as the single and charted on the Urban AC charts.

Vinx and Peermusic Publishing have released a standards record comprised of Hoagy Carmichael ballads and other classic songs written by songwriters on the Peer roster. Vinx has added his eclectic twist to songs like “Stardust”, “Sway”, “Skylark”, “Georgia” and “Up The Lazy River” to name a few.

2004-2006, Vinx continued working with the US State Department as a Cultural Attache’ steering his efforts towards HIV awareness in Mozambique. In between his European tours Vinx produced GROOVE EXOTICA a percussion project that teams him up with Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident and EOTO) and Tony Phillips (Seal,Lion King) and a young artist named Samantha Stephens, she shows great promise. Vinx and Native Vibe recently toured Sierra Leone to raise funds for the Ballanta Music School in Freetown. This school was destroyed from the countries brutal cival war. Vinx traveled to Accra, Ghana to perform during the 49th birthday of Ghana’s independence. Vinx continued with his many social and cultural projects. Vinx was honored to produce Druzina, the award winning Slovak folkloric band. Professor Vinx joined the faculty at BERKLEE SCHOOL OF MUSIC in Boston for the summer sessions.

2007-2009 Vinx returned to Accra Ghana as artistic director… 50th independence day of Ghana Nu Jazz Festival.  Vinx turns 50 and completes “50 Memoirs of a Hip Old black Man”  A 4 volume CD  with 50 new songs. Songwriter Soul Kitchen goes International with a week long workshop in Riga, Latvia. 2008 He launches the Troubadours Gathering Festival which met with great success. Vinx founded this event that focuses on singer-songwriters. 2009 vol 2 of “50 memoirs of a hip ole black man” is released…. Vinx the educator conducts a 2 week creativity project at the East New York/ Brooklyn charter school for the entire 4th grade.  Vinx continues teaching summers at Berklee College of Music in Boston and continues to help area track coaches as a Triple Jump specialist and consultant .. this year was the University of Maine.

2010 Vinx moves to the northeast (Vermont and New Hampshire). Forms the European super group GROOVE HEROES and begins touring.  Soul Kitchen travel to Regensburg, Germany.  Vinx’s parent company Dreamsicle Arts & Entertainment creates a community-building and rural cultural exchange program at the Rivendell Academy in Orford, New Hampshire. The Dreamsicle team led by Jennifer Lambert and Vinx, directed the students through the process of creating their first (student-run) music festival “ICE JAMZ” which was successful beyond expectations!

2011 the Songwriter Soul Kitchen moves to New Hampshire with events in Keene NH, Belize, Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Lakeside Michigan. In between European tours solo and with Groove Heroes, Vinx produced Keene, NH Indie/Americana band “Girl and Piano” on their new release and Poppy, aka Jim Boyd, with a children’s lullaby CD called “soundtrack for dreamers”. On the coaching front, Vinx worked with the Concord High School triple jump team. Vinx travels again to Accra Ghana to work with World Fusion stars Native Vibe. Plans for the rest of the year include Recording and touring with “Hiroshima” ..a 3rd Troubadours Gathering and an international DRUM/DANCE Festival in Vermont. AND the release of a Groove Heroes CD and the long awaited vol 3 of “50 memoirs of a hip ole black man”   With Vinx…..  the best is yet to come………

www.vinx.com

 

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Szjerdene

Szjerdene

Born and raised in the Hackney neighborhood of North London, 22-year-old Szjerdene (pronounced JhurDEEN) has quietly commanded the attention of music lovers, journalists and artists.

Citing Mariah Carey as her sole childhood inspiration, Szjerdene credits the superstar with introducing her to a life-long love of music. “I listened to her most of my childhood,” she reveals, “I didn’t care for anyone else really. I was aware that others existed but my early influences came from classic albums such as Music Box.”

But as Szjerdene’s musical taste evolved past pop, she found herself immersed into the world of jazz. “I fell in love with Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, and Dusty Springfield” she shares. Equally important were her fellow UK songstresses like Corrine Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse. This mix of modern pop influences combined with yesteryear blues/jazz illustrates Szjerdene’s eclectic sound. “It’s old, but fresh…Very pure vocals and honest lyrical content”.

This purity is easily understood when Szjerdene divulges what inspires her the most: “Sounds, light, colours, space, time, nature, and silence. I enjoy nothingness—it’s just as important as sound. People take silence for granted.”

After graduating in 2010 from the University of Westminster with a degree in Commercial Music Performance, Szjerdene walked away with one important realization: “There are formulas for being a pop star,” she divulges, “if you follow the criteria you’ll do okay. But I learned that it’s not the route for me. I respect those who choose it; but I would rather write my own material, and collaborate with artists spanning different genres/languages while making music that’s not always conventional to the commercial ear”.

And that’s exactly what Szjerdene set out to do when she reached out to Robin Hannibal of the Danish duo Quadron (Plug Research Music) to join forces. Having already been familiar with her work through members of the Boom Clap Bachelors collective, Hannibal was eager to work with the talented songstress. “She has ‘it’” he says of Szjerdene. “She isn’t the typical R&B singer. The way she phrases over a melody or chords…her voice dances like a feather in the wind”.

After breezing through two tracks together (the forthcoming “Lead the Way” and “If 6 was 8”), Hannibal introduced his Plug Research Music family to Szjerdene and the rest is, as they say, history. Szjerdene is currently working on her first official album release which she says will be “Conceptual, folk inspired, electronically manipulated, but pure sounds and vocals–A spectrum of my abilities in songwriting and arranging”.

With Szjerdene’s natural talent, global influences, and innovative sound – she’s not only gearing up for an impressive debut album – she’s out to redefine the formula for stardom. /www.szjerdene.com

Written By Aliya Ewing
Grab This free download rght now!

http://szjerdene.bandcamp.com/track/leilas-tale

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Teri Tobin

Teri Tobin

Born on Valentine’s Day, this Arizona-born songstress, songwriter & producer had sounds of soul music flowing through her veins at an early age. While voice training in those days started at her grandmother’s church, her professional singing career began as a child when she was chosen to sing background vocals for the legendary Jeffrey Osborne, and for the Rock Band Yes. The former beauty pageant winner decided long ago while singing along with Natalie Cole’s “Our Love” that music was her true passion and has set her sights on her dream ever since.  While studying classical voice at Howard University, Tobin gained stage experiences performing with the school’s Chorale in which during President Clinton’s Inaugural Gala on the National Mall, performing background for Diana Ross, Whitley Phipps, and shared the stage with

LaBelle, Luther Vandross, Shai and many others Patti.

Having performed demos and background vocals for artists such as Joe, Chico DeBarge, Coolio, Chante Moore, Korea-based Uptown, Coco Lee and Mica Paris has prepared her for her moment to shine as a solo artist.  She also appears on James Tobin’s sophomore release entitled “Late Nite” and co-wrote the title track.  In addition, Tobin is a featured artist on the independent film “Fathers of the Sport” Soundtrack.

Although most of her influences are male singers like Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Prince, and Donny Hathaway, Tobin is reminiscent of the sultry sounds and richness of R&B or Jazz singers of yesterday.

“I feel like this is what I was put on this earth to do…” – T. Tobin

Tobin’s newly released debut album entitled “Love Infinity” tells the story of love from romantic love on “I’m in Love” and “Touch the Sky” to brotherly love on the lead single “Free”. She punctuates each line with heart and soul, speaking to every generation with each melodic phrase. Prepare to be touched by her honesty as she expresses her unwavering admiration of her first true love…….music.

“Love Infinity” is available at CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, etc.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/teritobin

 

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