PS! I Love Stacy Barthe

If I say Stacy Barthe – does the name say you something? I guess your answer – sadly – is “No”
Unless I ask you if you know; Britney Spears, Rihanna, Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child, Kathy Perry, Cheryl Cole, Brandy and Miley Cyrus? I bet your answer is “Yes, I know those!”

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If you know or/and love one or more of those artists, you´d probably have heard the songs of Stacy Barthe. She has written for all those and a bunch of others. To mention a few male artists she has even worked with Rick Ross, Akon and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

…This is why i love Stacy Barthe

The first time you hear the voice of Stacy Barthe, close your eyes. What you hear is a voice so smooth and soulful. Deep and lush and it sounds like she has sung all her life. A mixture of Sade, Rihanna (as when she sings on her slow jams), and Nneka maybe?
I´m tempted to call her a female Drake because she, just like Drake on his “Thank Me Later” album strips down the melodies down to drums, percussion, sometimes a piano and/or a acoustic guitar – naked and organic sounds and full of air and allowing quietness to be a part of the music. The quietness in the music is important to let her fantastic warm voice be the main ingredient in the songs. She flirts sometimes with reggae – and it´s not over-the-top – and it works! When she slows things down and do a spoken word at the end of a couple of her songs. I´m sold again!

She has under her own name released three fantastic EPs “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe” in 2011. “In The Inbetween” and “PS! I Love You” in 2012. These three albums all together contains 25 tracks – and over 90 minutes of music. And before you ask; Just marvelous tracks, no fillers! That’s a huge smile and two huge thumbs up from me!

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All of the Stacy Barthe EPs can be bought on iTunes
and
You can stream parts of “PS! I Love You” , the complete “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe” and “In The InBetween” here through Spotify

On her first release under her own name, she even worked with one of 2012s best artists: Frank Ocean. He did vocals along with Stacy on the beautiful “Without You”, and Rick Ross joins her with a rap verse on “Hell Yeah!”. I could go into mention single songs, but with Stacy Barthe, it´s not any use to recommend some songs – because they´re all so damn good and by not mention anyone, no one is let out.

A few did-you-knows at the end:

  • Did you know it was Beyonce who made Stacy Barthe decide to release her debut EP, “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe”
  • Did you know Stacy Barthe is working with Miley Cyrus forthcoming album, which will (mark my word) be Mileys major mature breakthrough
  • Did you know she even knows and has worked with artists like Alicia Keys, Estelle, Andre 3000, Elle Warner, Brandy, Stephen Marley and T.I.

About the music of Stacy Barthe, she says it best on her own homepage
“You can find hurt and pain in my music while finding the light. It represents empowerment… I speak from a very truthful and sincere place…with love”

Helena Jesele – Is she this years Lana Del Rey?

Let´s cut to the chase at once; Helena Jesele and her debut album “Sweet Sticky Fix” is a great new discovery – and I´ll think you´ll be hearing a lot from her this year.

Think the Lana Del Rey sound stripped down a few layers and added sharper trip hop beats – in a 60s/early 70s spy movie with a bossa nova soundtrack produced by David Axelrod.

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Helena Jesele explains who she is perfect on her twitter profile;  Manchester born, Dublin raised singer and song-writer. Six foot-tall, full of Irish spirit, Loves New York soul (end quote). Probably the best and most on-point self description I´ve seen in a while

As you can understand, Helena Jesele has it all;

The Look:
The 60s chick – or dare I say chic – look! Huge deer-like blue eyes, black make-up, the pouting mouth, smoking a cigarette, the 60s haircut and black, classic-cut dress.

The music:
La-la background vocals, female and sometimes male. funky/jazzy drumming, a great horn section, heavy on strings. Guitar with a lot of soundtrack influence.

Her voice:
She sounds like Lana Del Rey, Dusty Springfield and Amy Winehouse is having a meeting with Sarah Cracknell (of Saint Etienne fame) and Roisin Murphy (of Moloko fame) – in a french inspired swinging London boardwalk cafe.

The album sleeve:
A simple – black and white photo of Helena Jesele walking barefooted with her shoes in her hand while glimpsing at the camera with a pouting mouth.  Her name is written in a Dymo-label maker style font on a black label – and the albums title in the same, but on a red label. You have probably seen a lot of those look-a-like pictures on Instagram where there is used the black-and-white filter – and the label app Labelbox to create a similar look. Great and highly recognizable! You and I could make a album cover like this any day on our smart phones! Simple and effective. I like it a lot.

This whole package is:
Funky, soulful and sexy smooth. Perfect music and songs when we say goodbye to the winter and welcomes the fall and upcoming summer. I can gladly see myself on the frontporch with a funky 70s cup full of black coffee while the birds sing and I watch the trees bloom.

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This was about it, while writing this my cup of tea has gotten cold – and need to be heated up again.

I push play once more and let myself dream away to the sound of Helena Jesele, who could become one of the biggest female soulful singer-songwriter names this year.

I just say; Lana Del Rey watch your back!

Oh! This is a soul record by Allen Stone!

2011/2012 was the year James Morrison got his big breakthrough – and he is now having a well-earned break.  Therefore it´s time to look and listen to a brand new talent! 

His name is Allen Stone, and this is going the year he and his music reaches out to the big masses. Allen Stone is one of these white american soul singers – that stick to the classic formula with great success. Through his sound and voice I feel I can draw a line from classic artists like Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and to “new” white soul men like Jay K from Jamiroquai, Jamie Lidell, Robin Ticke and James Morrison.

2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
Photo by Jason Tang http://www.jktang.com
2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
PHOTOS BY JASON TANG http://www.jktang.com
2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
Photo by Jason Tang http://www.jktang.com

Allen Stone is a 25-year-old soul singer/song-writer from Washington, US. According to his Wikipedia profile – he has sung almost since he was born, and sung in church at the age of three. Church has been like his second home – and the place he developed his love for music. Soul music was discovered later on, when he became a teenager, and started collecting soul albums from the 60s and 70s. At 15 he discovered Stevie Wonders fantastic “Innervisions”. A classic soul album and a reference to his musical landscape.

But he decided to make music his living – after hearing his teenage friend, artists Stacie Orrico – and this is so good that I quote as is the Wikipedia article “She was traveling, singing everywhere, and recording,” Stone says, “She was just a year older than me and I was like, “Man that would be so much fun to do, sing and actually have people listen” (This quote is taken from an Erica Thompson interview with Allen Stone in Rolling Stone magazine October 2012)

61665_430948563033_4693280_nYou can even find Allen Stone on Facebook (This picture is from his FB profile)
If you´d like to twitter, you´ll find him at twitter/allen_stone

It´s tempting to do another quote, from the Rolling Stone article (link here) about what Allen Stones fans can expect from his second album “Allen Stone”; “Sonically, it’s a soul record” and continues “But it’s the music that I really love making. It’s not my attempt to cover all this soul music, it’s just really to fit in there and play the music that I love” and he ends it like this “People will listen to it and be like; Oh, this is a soul record”.

According to the Rolling Stone interview Allen Stone is working with Raphael Saadiqs backing band and one of the late jazz legend Miles Davis keyboard players. The album is being recorder with producer Lior Goldenberg from L.A who has also worked with big name artist like Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow,  and son of late reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley!It must be so cool to work with big names like that – and that is only on the second album.

It makes me wonder; Whats next for Allen Stone?

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Back in 2009 he self-released his debut “Last To Speak” on his own label StickyStones records. His first album is a really soulful offering – containing 11 soulful singer/songwriter songs performed with mostly acoustic instruments and his fantastic voice – and he´s handling the guitar himself. I feel the album is representative with his self-confessed hippie with soul (link to Wikipedia) image and sound.

Allen Stones, new and second album – the self titled album “Allen Stone” – is ready for release at the end of february – and is already possible to pre-order in iTunes (which i off course have done). The original release of the album was back in 2011 – but it´s not available on iTunes until now in February. He has  already released the “Allen Stone EP” – a mini-album containing 4 tracks.

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You can hear Allen Stones second and self titled album here on Spotify – when it´s released

Since the only thing I have heard from Allen Stones upcoming album is his “Allen Stone EP” – I can’t tell too much about how his second album is going to sound, but if the EP is representative for that – it seems like the upcoming album is a bit more produced this time, more groovy – more classic sounding – and without taking off the loose feeling of his debut album.

The title of his debut album and last song on the same album is called “Last To Speak”. It´s tempting to use this as the final sentence of this blog post about the talented Allen Stone and answer it with “Ok, so you may be the last to speak – but make sure you’re not this is the last you sing” Because this is only the start of the amazing career of Allen Stone.

We need artist like Allen Stone! 
I need artists like Allen Stone!

New discovery: Lion Babe

What´s in a name? When it comes to Lion Babe the answer is everything!

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The voice reminiscence of Eryka Badu´ism and a bit Beyonce´ish 
The body of Beyonce and the hair of Tina Turner in the mid 80s multiplied with 10
The sound of  Massive Attack meets D´angelo kinda like trip hop meets nu-soul

 


Fun fact;

According to the webpage BCK; Black Celebrety Kids Lion Babes singer, Jillian Hervey is the daughter of actress and singer Vanessa Williams of Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewife fame!

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Lion Babe is a really nice package in disguised as a band; Fronted by singer Jillian Hervey and producer/musician Lucas Goodman

You can read and hear more and follow Lion Babe here:

LIONBABE.com
Twitter.com/lion_babe
Twitter.com/astro_raw (Lucas Goodman)
Twitter.com/jillonce (Jillian Hervey)
Facebook/Lion-BabeSoundcloud/lionbabe


Lion Babe is hot stuff! Grab pen and paper and take note of the name(s) at once!

How To Dress Well?!

To make it clear, this is NOT a blog post about neither clothes nor fashion or the hottest trends even if the title indicate something like it!

So, what is How To Dress Well?

Behind the sentence “how to dress well” is just another weird band name. I call it weird because the name could be the heading of a fashion magazine article, or maybe a blog post. The first thing that popped into my mind when I read the band name in a review of their latest album was something like; Was the name chosen to be found in search engines like Google? So I had to do a test and entered “how to dress well” in Google search field and pushed the search button…and too my big surprise the first thing I got up is the homepage of the band/artist – and other pages with articles about the group.

In other words; What a good choice of band name!

I found that How To Dress Well is not a band name, but the stage name of just one man, Tom Krell. He is also a graduate philosophy student and releases his music through small independent labels like Wierd World Records / Domino Records and Asephale Records.


Where can you listen to How To Dress Well?

Tom Krell has so far released two albums under his alter ego How To Dress Well.

The debut album “Love Remains” (left) was released back in 2010, his second and best album so far is out these days (released September 2012) and is named “Total Loss” (right).  Note: I focus on the latest album in this blogpost.

Buy or hear the album here:
On Itunes US here or Itunes (Nor) here, or listen to it on Spotify or LastFM

You´ll also find a great amount of mixtapes online that gives you a fine introduction to the music that inspires the sound of How To Dress Well. I’ll link to them at the bottom of this page.

How does How To Dress Well sound?

First of all – make sure you hear the album “Total Loss” on a stereo with a good pair of loudspeakers. Or sit down – even better lay down with a pair of headphones. Pump up the volume and let yourself be drawn into the soft and warm sound of “Total Loss”

Lurking in the shadows of soft dubstep and R&B names like James Blake and the soulful landscape of Jamie Woon – a line can also be drawn to The Weeknd. This is the easiest way to describe how How To Dress Well sounds.
The voice mostly falsetto – very soulful, multi-tracked voice, a bit like Bon Iver but with way better falsetto and airy piano not to far from the ambient, classical sounds of Craig Armstrong (the conductor of Massive Attacks “Protection” record and the original score to movies like Romeo & Juliet. Craig Armstrong has also released numerous records under his own name. All slow, orchestral, choral, ambient – soulful and soothing like trip hop at its best) But you also find danceable and funkier sounds on the “Total Loss” album. Even soul singers like the soft voice of Maxwell to more contemporary soul like Maria Carey can seem like a musical influence. Sometimes it sounds like a whole choir has entered the studio – other times it´s just one single voice singing in an empty church. The whole production is smoother, more open, maybe airy is the right description?! I can even hear inspiration from the orchestral part of Prince AOR ballad “Purple Rain” and some inspiration from “Nothing Compares To You” – but not the Sinead O´Connor version or Prince´ own version but the strings and almost a cappella original version by Prince protegé band The Family. If you happen love James Blakes cover of Feist “Limit To Your Love” and Jamie Woons stripped soulful productions; You´ll love to hear How To Dress Wells floating sounds, and their use of echoes, claps, soundscapes and beat boxing and throat voices layer upon layer to create this dream-like soul music.

Tom Krell and How To Dress Well should and could be this years Jamie Woon or Bon Iver. The record everyone should have!

His music might as well can be described as the best soundtrack to a film that has never been made! You wish never ends…until its over in just 46 minutes

Where can you hear more How To Dress Well?

As promised; The mixtapes! Instead of me writing page up and page down of references to the sound of Tom Krell and How To Dress Well listen to and/or download his mixes. Read more about the tracks and mixtapes here:

There is so many mixtapes out there online, and gives you, the reader and listener, a great insight into the world of How To Dress Well – search and you shall find!

You can follow and read more about How To Dress Well on his own pages!
Homepage http://howtodresswell.com
Twitter http://twitter.com/howtodresswell
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/howtodresswellmusic


I am so glad that How To Dress Well and Tom Krell don’t deal with style,
and instead he choose do steal and borrow with style!

The man with the golden voice: Daniel De Bourg

When you have a voice that sounds like a fine combination of Jamie Woon, Robin Ticke, Justin Timberlake and Drake – you know you got something really special.

If I had a voice like Daniel De Bourg I would really love to do what he does; do a capellas, remakes and covers and pay tribute to the artists I love, just like he does. What do you say about this list of artists? Prince, Justin Timberlake, D´angelo, Usher, Miguel, Trey Songz, Cee-Lo Green, and rappers like 50 Cent – and Lil Wayne. Even female artist like Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Adele and Lianne La Havas!.

Daniel De Bourgh actually does his own versions of all the best new and legendary performers out there. A real show off of who´s-who in soul, from nu-soul to funky and more danceable tracks.
He also does some of his own songs!

Did you know Daniel De Bourg has done one studio album 10 years ago, back in 2002 – and the last two years he has made three mixtapes. I haven´t heard his first album, but his three mixtapes have been played to death since the first time I heard them. All three mixtapes includes over three hours of music an a total of 60 songs all in all. You heard me right, 60 songs!

Maybe I should one day be making a mixtape of all the originals Daniel De Bourg covers and remakes. What do you think?

So who is this Daniel De Bourg?

He is from england, and another living proof that even white men got soul.
According to a wikipedia post about Daniel De Bourg, he has been a dancer and a model. After he had a knee injury he had to end his dancing career. During the year 2000 he started as a songwriter for other artist like Jamelia, and he worked with the late Heavy D – he even got at few tracks produced by bedrom-soul-king R. Kelly. His album that even entered the famous Billboard Charts. Then it all stopped – until 2007 when Daniel De Bourg entered the X-Factor, were he reached to be one of the last twelve – until he was eliminated by both the public and the judges.

Back in 2010 something really cool happened, Daniel De Bourg released his first mixtape, called “the DDB Mixtape Volume 1 – THE PRELUDE”. The album contained a great mix of covers and his own tunes, and this mixtape made him won an award for “Best R´n´B Mixtape 2010” at The Official “Mixtape Awards” at the start of 2011.
During the last 2 years he even released a second and until now third mixtape, In 2011 he released “The DDB Mixtape Volume 2 – THE BRIDGE” and in 2012 ” the third album The DDB Mixtape Volume 3 – OUTRO”. Rumor has it that Daniel De Bourg is now I the studio, working on his second official album!  

Would you like to check out Daniel De Bourgs mixtapes?
All three albums can be downloaded on Daniel De Bourgs Bandcamp page!

You can click the album covers to download the albums! 

Here´s some of the songs you´ll find on his fabulous mixtapes!

Alicia Keys “Sleeping With A Broken Heart” is a male response to her song of the same name.
The controversal “F*** You” by Cee Lo-Green is done in an all-vocal cover.
So is also the Prince classic “If I Was Your Girlfriend” from the legendary “Sign ´o´The Times” album.
Even Justin Timberlakes Prince-sque “Until The End Of Time” gets covered.
And while we´re talking about Prince, the “Purple Rain” sampled “Yo Side Of The Bed” by Trey Songz also has to be mentioned.
The last years queen-of-soul Adele and her songs “Rolling In The Deep” gets an a capella rework!
The already classic “How To Love” by Lil Wayne sounds really great in Daniel De Bourgs a capella soul arrangement.
You can move your feet to Enrique Inglesias “Tonite I´m Loving You”.
The smooth “Marvins Rooms” sounds great.
Musique Soulchilds “L.O.V.E” is actually that: love!
Latino indie jazz lady Lianne La Havas “No Room 4 Doubt”
And the first solo single from Frank Ocean “Swim Good” gets De Bourg-ified
Along with one of the last ten years greatest souls songs, D´angelos “Untitled (How Does It Feel) is done in a short edit.

Phew…and here I just mentioned 13 of the total 60 songs – the last 47 songs you can feel free to find out about yourself

Now you know what to do, check out Daniel De Bourgs music, read more and get to know him and his music through the following social media;
Like Daniel De Bourg on Facebook and Twitter make sure you check out his YouTube page – and last but not least, check out his music on Bandcamp

Happy listening!

I have heard the future…

…And her name is…

I heard about her a few years back; checked out her music then I forgot her because artists like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy – all three strong women (then) with a solid retrosoul backing – just like Kendras first EPs.

Kendra has so far released three EPs through iTunes – they can be downloaded here;

“Kendra Morris” 6 tracks released 2011

“Milk And Cookies Never Lie” 5 tracks, released 2008

“This Wont Heart A Bit” 5 tracks, released 2006

(no artwork found)

But now Kendra Morris is back, and she has two really strong tracks out – more about that later!

So, who is Kendra Morris?

She is a singer-songwriter from New York. Her parents record collection was full of some of the greatest soullegends; Stevie Wonder, The Spinners, War, Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, The Temptations and more! With this fabolous records playing and laying around in her parents house it did not take long time for a young Kendra to discover the joy of singing along – to some of the best artist ever!

Photos by Eric White, from Ladygunn.com

Even though she calls her self a singer-songwriter in her homepage I’ll promise you her parents record collection has made a great imprint in her sound! Kendra Morris soulful voice should make fans of Adele run for their money when she releases her debut album “Banshee” at the end of august 2012.

She has this hoarse like, soulful voice with more they one nod to the great soulsongers back in time. And if I should dare to call her a soul singer more than a singer songwriter I think no one would arrest me. If I could choose if I could sort the sound of Kendra Morris in the singer songwriter category or the soul genre there is no doubt where I would place her!

Kendra Morris upcoming 16 track debut album “Banshee” comes out 28th of august 2012 through Wax Poetics Records

She has now a on going project were she releases cover versions of well known singers and bands every tuesday – for free, through her homepage and her Kendra Morris Facebook page (you can also follow Kendra Morris on Twitter). So far she has released two fantastic cover versions of Chris Isaaks “Wicked Game” and Pink Floyds “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (Click to listen on the band and song names to listen to her versions of the songs).
I love cover versions were the artists make the songs sound like it´s their own, and Kendra has so far has done some really great versions of the two aforementioned artists/bands. The Pink Floyd song is closest to the original, but with Kendras strong voice she really owns the song. A quite funny thing is that her version of “Wicked Game” has more similarities with Pink Floyd than Chris Isaak. Both of the songs are really strong and soulful – and suits her voice and music really good!

Photos by Eric White, from Ladygunn.com

With a great taster and start like this I am so looking forward to the next weeks with new cover versions. And to not forget her full complete album when it´s being released.

Another cool thing about Kendra Morris is that she makes her own album cover collages inspired by old nature books, school books, encyclopedias and vintage porn! They have this cool retro psychedelic feel – and makes a nice package for her music.

When I drew comparisons with Adele and Amy – it was if Kendra Morris forthcoming album “Banshee”, sounds as great as her last releases there is a great chance for her to become the new Adele.

The year 2012 is going to be the year everyone will know who Kendra Morris is – and if the wind blows her way – she will become one of the really big names in 2012!

R. Kelly is back with; Write Me Back

It´s as simple as this!
When R. Kelly released his first single from his then upcoming new album “Write Me Back” by the way a follow up to his until then latest album “Love Letter” I knew it was a must-have album!

On “Share My Love” he was back, and this time with a loose disco-soul track that lots of nods to Barry White and other late 70s and early 80s kings of soul like; Barry White, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass, Alexander O´neal, Joe Smooth and Colonel Abrams

I have made a spotify that matches R. Kellys “Share My Love”. Just click the play button to play!


Have a look at “Share My Love” here!

Now his new album is finally here “Write Me Back” and his sounding better and greater than ever.

It´s a great retro-feel on the albumcover don´t you think!
Listen to the Deluxe-Edition by clicking the album cover underneath here!

Reviews all over the world – gives it the big thumb up (see reviews from metacritic.com a site that keeps score of entertainment, gives him 79 of totalt 100 points) – and gives R. Kelly the respect he deserves as one of the worlds greatest male singers! This time no guest singers or rappers, one track that´s using a sample, everwhere else a lot of real instruments – and a organic feel to the whole album.

If you prefer the deluxe-edition, this is how the cover looks!

He may has done some odd and strange things from time to time, and quite controversial things like the “Trapped In The Closet”s epic soul-opera. But still he always rises from the ashes and shows that he can do comeback like no one else can!

This time R. Kelly is back with a classic record that will stand out as a real classic years from now
R. Kelly is a artist that the press tries to knock-down. 
And he still does comebacks from time to time that shows the world who´s the man!

Frank Ocean "Channel Orange" 7/17/12

IT´S FINALLY HERE!

Frank Oceans official debut album, named “Channel Orange” to be released the 17th of July 2012.

YOU SHOULD MARK THAT DATE IN YOUR CALENDAR!

On his official homepage (tumblr btw!) http://frankocean.com/ you can see the front and back cover

It can contains as you can see – it´s first single “Pyramids” and the earlier released “Thinking About You”.

Guests include (for me, until now, unknown) Earl Sweatshirt fra Odd Future crewet som også Frank Ocean er en del av, the fabulous John Mayer and André 3000 from OutKast.

Have you checked out Frank Oceans unofficial debutalbum, the classic mix tape “Nostalgia, Ultra”, you can read more about it here – or download it for free on the datpiff mixtape page!

SO LOOKING FORWARD TO “CHANNEL ORANGE”! 
ARE YOU?