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  Amel Larrieux (Biography)

few young singers from the nascent "new school" of conscious soul

possess the grace, maturity, strength and determination of amel larrieux,

whose epic solo debut infinite possibilities places her in a musical niche all

her own. drawing on a wealth of influences from jazz, hip-hop, gospel and

funky r&b, and with flashes of middle eastern, west african and indian

ethnic styles, amel has crafted a veritable concept album that explores an

endless range of promise and potential...lyrically, musically and personally.

reflecting the title she chose, infinite possibilities symbolizes a challenge,

not only to herself but to the self-limiting and thus incomplete definition of

what is commercially identified as black music and art today.

"i'm not worried about labels," amel says when asked about the term

"progressive r&b," which has been applied to many of today's artists. "some

folks need them for clarity. but the definition of 'black music' should be

looked at. if everyone knew how many kinds of music could technically fall

under this category, its use would be more justifiable. but most people just

don't know."

"what's really disturbing is that many artists are making forms of black

music blues, rock & roll, jazz, soul, but for some reason their music is not

categorized as 'black music.' so i wonder, does your skin color determine

what category you're in? in the end, it doesn't really matter what anyone

calls it. label it, that's fine--i just keep makin' 'amel's music.'"

amel already had adopted this unapologetic and confident stance a few

years back as lead siren and co-writer for the new york-based duo groove

theory. a collaborative effort with ex-mantronix member bryce wilson,

groove theory was described by one fired-up journalist as "...a quick fix for

even the most diehard of soul junkies." groove theory's eponymous debut

album for epic eventually went gold on the heels of the smash single "tell

me," which broke the top ten on the billboard hot 100 and the top five on

the r&b charts before being certified gold in october 1995. amel's voice and

writing also attracted the attention of former sade guitarist and

programmer stuart matthewman, who recruited her for two tracks on his

group sweetback's epic album in 1995.

"that whole time was an eye-opening experience for me," amel says now,

"because it taught me a lot, not just about making music but about the

business itself. even today, dealing with the business part of it...even dealing

with the music part...it's not exactly a battle, but there's some kind of

insinuation that somehow i can't write or produce myself because i'm a

woman. writing and singing are directly linked in my case. i couldn't imagine

doing one without the other."

"but i've learned from my family not to let things like this get to me. it's

extremely real, it exists, and it can really break your spirit down if you don't

believe in yourself as a person and already like what you do."

true to her convictions, amel co-wrote and co-produced the entirety of

infinite possibilities with her husband laru larrieux. "i 'n' i" can probably be

singled out as an anthem for her creative approachone that is based as

much in spiritual devotion to self and family as it is in the hoped-for up-

lifting of others. over tabla rhythms mixed with a lilting funk beat and an

infectious melody, amel paints a world where "they cannot define beautiful

to me/someone else's eyes don't see what i see." the song has its inspiration

in the words of a fashion editor who when asked about the scarcity of

black cover models said she knew of very few who were "pretty enough"--a

statement amel found disturbing, to say the least.

"one thing i would hope that people would get from this song is that being

individual and being yourself is fine. it's what god gave you and no one can

take that away from you, and as soon as you try to live up to a standard, then

you're doing an injustice to yourself and to your creator. you are yourself

for a reason, and someone telling you something different is just not

cool." this feeling of holding fast to one's individuality wends its way

through "shine," another dreamy, funk-laden tale of broken promises and

their inevitable redemption through inner strength and faith in experience.

"get up" bounces ahead over a warmed-up fender rhodes and a warning that

"all you got's your pride" when it comes to dealing with negative people.

compare these to the jazzy, jungle-inflected "down," which amel begins in a

husky lower register portraying a road-weary vulnerabilty akin to nina

simone and concludes with nearly arabesque trills. it's clear that this

woman's talent for vocal expression extends well beyond her 26 years.

amel attributes much of this to her experiences being raised in an artistic

and creative family, and her exposure to music as diverse as jimi hendrix, miles

davis, and ricki lee jones, to name only a few.

"i grew up in manhattan in a building called westbeth, which is an artists'

building in the west village. there were artists coming from all overfrom

uptown, from wyoming, wherever. my mom is a professor of performance

studies and a dance critic. she was an avant-garde performer before i was

born, and still did some poetry reading when i was young. she would take me

to all the shows she had to critique, and i truly loved them. i myself danced

for 12 years."  

"i basically grew up around my parents' artsy friends, played with their

children, and all of us were from various racial and economic backgrounds.

i just go the best experiences, the kind that continue to inspire me. i can even

remember being taken to a smoke-filled village vanguard to see don cherry

play when i was about eight years old." in starting a family and raising her

own children, this nurturing and supportive atmosphere has remained just

as crucial. "even if" is a poignant and tender gospel-tinged ballad written

for her daughter, while "makes me whole" is an equally inspirational and

personal ode to someone very special. "you just have to start crying, it's

like that kind of emotion," amel says, referring to the spiritual lift she can

get from her music. "i feel like music does that for me more than anything

else. it's totally spiritual and driven by a sense of devotion, a sense of giving

something good and uplifting to the listener." amel's drive to stretch the

expressive capabilities of music has strengthened her resolve to change

what she sees as an increasingly difficult environment for young people in

search of a direction. "as a people, we have overcome so many injustices and

yet still be so artistically prolific," she says. "we owe it to ourselves, and

most importantly to our kids, to start taking responsibility so that they're

aware of how much overall greatness and depth they come from and are

capable of."

"that's also why i chose infinite possibilities as the title. i have to remind

myself about what i'm here to do...i know that i only want to bring inspiration

and love and good things to other people, and it's just now that i'm starting

to learn who i am. so infinite possibilities is for me to remind myself: you've

got to live what you write." and with that, amel larrieux laughs almost self-

consciously--perhaps at the realization of yet another truth she's learned

along the way.
                                                                  © Sony Music Entertainment, Inc.

(Discography)

Groove Theory-1995

Infinite Possibilities-1999
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  Carlos Santana (Biography)

At the beginning of a new century and the dawn of a new millennium, Carlos

Santana is at the pinnacle of a remarkable recording and performing career.

Carlos’ music has spanned five decades, outlasted countless musical

trends, sold more than fifty million albums, played live to upwards of

thirty million fans, and garnered countless awards and honors, including

a 1998 induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall Of Fame. For over thirty

years, Santana has been tirelessly creating his own unique fusion

of passionate, guitar-powered music, creatively blending potent

rock ‘n roll with blues-driven elements, sensuous Afro-Cuban rhythms,

and infusions of numerous other global music idioms.

Long before ‘World Music’ was coined as a phrase, Santana was making it and

popularizing it—perhaps even defining it…and ever since Carlos and his band

exploded onto the stage with an electrifying performance at the original

1969 Woodstock Festival, the world has indeed been listening.

Carlos Santana’s latest album release, Supernatural, the 36th of his

career, spotlights a legendary artist at the peak of his powers.

Supernatural has sold in excess of ten million copies, and has been

officially certified ‘Dectillion Platinum’ – Diamond Status—by the R.I.A.A. It

won nine GRAMMYs at the 42nd Annual GRAMMY Awards in February 2000,

including Album Of the Year, Best Rock Album, and Record Of The Year and

Song Of The Year for ‘Smooth,’ Santana’s unforgettable collaboration

with alternative-rock favorite Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas. In 1999

anyone on the planet with a radio couldn’t help but feel the sultry groove

of this Latin flavored, mid-tempo rock masterpiece. Carlos explains that

"Some songs are just like tattoos for your brain…you hear them and they’re

affixed to you"—‘Smooth’ proved its staying power with a record 12

consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, making it the longest

running #1 single of 1999.

Supernatural’s second single, ‘Maria, Maria,’ co-written by Wyclef Jean (of

The Fugees and solo fame) and featuring on vocals, The Product G & B is an

infectious Spanish-textured stroll fusing Latin, African and pan-Caribbean

sounds—its multi-genre appeal won it ten weeks in the top slot on the Hot

100 as well as a GRAMMY for Best Performance By A Duo or Group With

Vocals. This eclectic tour de force album also guest stars multiple-

GRAMMY winning artist Lauryn Hill, the legendary Eric Clapton, Dave

Matthews, Everlast, Eagle Eye Cherry, and Maná, among others.

Supernatural, well, supernatually bridges cultural, generational and

musical realms, forging multi-dimensional, multi-cultural creative

partnerships. Carlos says that "Every musician who participated was on the

same wavelength and artistic energy as I was…Supernatual is a beautiful

example of synchronicity…making it was a truly glorious experience." The

album was Santana’s 1999 debut for Arista Records, where Carlos was

reunited with mentor Clive Davis thirty years after originally signing his very

first major label contract with the executive at Columbia in 1969. The

result is an instantly classic, powerhouse collection of incredibly diverse

songs and soulful vibes united by the spirit and musical passion of Carlos

Santana.

This most recent success is a tremendous high point of an artistic journey

that began some fifty years ago in the Mexican village of Autlan, where at

age five, Carlos was introduced to ‘traditional music,’ by his father José, an

accomplished mariachi violinist. The family moved to the border boom town

of Tijuana in 1955, where Carlos seriously took up guitar, studying and

emulating the sounds of B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, T. Bone Walker and

other greats he heard on the radio. As much as he was inspired by the early

training he received from his father in traditional musical form and theory,

Carlos soon realized his dream was to break free and play rock ‘n roll. He

began performing with local bands like The T.J.s, adding his own personal

flair to the popular songs of the 1950s. As he continued playing with

different bands up and down the bustling ‘Tijuana Strip,’ Carlos Santana

began to hone his considerable skills and invent his inimitable sound.

In 1961, he moved Stateside to San Francisco, joining his family, who had

relocated there the previous year. Destiny had most certainly brought

Carlos to the right place at the right time, planting him smack in the middle

of the of the burgeoning and hugely influential Bay Area music scene… as

well as in an era-defining melting pot of cultural, political, and artistic

change. In this climate, Carlos continued to evolve his unique, genre-

bending style, and in 1966, he took his music to the people with the debut

performance of the Santana Blues Band. For the next two years, the group

was swept up in a whirlwind of acclaim and popularity that carried them

from the boards of Bill Graham’s historic Fillmore West to the main stage at

the epochal Woodstock ‘Peace, Love, Music’ Festival, where on August 16,

1969, the Santana band’s gale-force Latin-flavored rock was delivered to

the masses.

The world embraced Carlos with a passion, captivated by music that was

always changing, exploring, and growing, yet always quintessentially and

unmistakably Santana, heralded by a guitar prowess that today remains

among the most distinctive ever. Each new release-- including to date eight

platinum and eight gold albums—emerged as a reflection of Carlos’

personal growth and artistic evolution. Fans also reveled in his

humanitarian messages and spiritual affirmations— subtle urgings towards

peace, joy, acceptance, compassion and understanding—that have been

consistently communicated in a gentle, heartfelt manner at live

performances around the globe.

The Santana Band achieved double-platinum status their first time out with

the 1969 Columbia debut album Santana, featuring the hit single ‘Evil Ways,’

and quadruple-platinum with Abraxas, the classic 1970 follow-up, which

boasted among its tracks ‘Black Magic Woman’ and the incomparable Tito

Puente’s composition ‘Oye Como Va.’ Other milestones in the Santana

discography include 1971’s Santana III featuring ‘Everything’s Coming Our

Way’; the 1974 Columbia Greatest Hits package; the 1997 2-CD collection

Live At The Fillmore featuring performances from their historic 1968

shows; the comprehensive 1995 Legacy boxed-set retrospective Dance Of

The Rainbow Serpent and their single-disc 1998 Best Of Santana distillation;

solo projects including the 1972 musical adventure Live With Buddy Miles

and the highly personal Blues For Salvador (1987); and adventurous Guts &

Grace/Island releases including 1994’s Brothers, which featured

collaborations with Carlos’ sibling Jorge and nephew Carlos Hernandez,

and Mystic Man, with Italian composer Paolo Rustichelli. Significant filmed

repertoire include the 1988 video retrospective Viva Santana, the 1993

South American concert video Sacred Fire, and 1997’s CD-ROM A History Of

Santana: The River Of Color And Sound. Most recently, FOX Television

aired the gala special A Supernatural Evening With Santana, a celebration

of the record-setting album featuring performances with Rob Thomas,

Lauryn Hill, Dave Matthews, and Sarah McLachlan, among others; Aviva

International and Image Entertainment will be releasing the DVD and video

of this memorable event in the near future. Whatever the medium or the

genre, Carlos’s uncompromising passion for his art shines clearly through.

This passion also paved the way for ventures into new musical and

geographic territories, including the scoring of the feature film La Bamba,

embarking on a 1988 tour with great jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and

participating in 1987’s Rock ‘n Roll Summit, the first-ever joint US-Soviet

rock concert. Carlos Santana has also contributed his talents to the

benefit of numerous charitable causes, among them Blues For Salvador,

San Francisco Earthquake Relief, Tijuana Orphans, Rights Of Indigenous

Peoples, and education for Latin youth in association with the Hispanic

Media & Education Group. He’s received numerous civic and humanitarian

commendations over the years.

Career recognition and kudos have been legion. The Santana Band was the

first to earn CBS Record’s Crystal Globe Award for sales of more than

five million albums internationally. Carlos has been voted Best Pop-Rock

Guitarist multiple times in Playboy Magazine’s annual Reader’s Poll. He

received a 1988 GRAMMY for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and was

the subject of a special Recording Academy (NARAS) tribute concert during

the 1996 GRAMMY Awards, in conjunction with his induction into the

Hollywood Rock Walk. He’s received ten Bay Area Music Awards, including

six Best Guitarist and three Musician Of The Year nods, and in 1997 was

among the select inaugural group-- along with Bill Graham and Jerry Garcia-

- inducted into the BAMMY Hall Of Fame; that same year, he was named Latino

Music Legend of the Year by the Chicano Music Awards. In 1996, Billboard

Magazine bestowed Carlos with the Century Award, their highest honor for

lifetime creative achievement, and in 1998, he was immortalized in the

entertainment world with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Today, millions of fans, new and old, enjoy the work of this extraordinary

musician, both through his extensive catalogue repertoire and via the

phenomenal impact of Supernatural and its accompanying world tour. Just

as Carlos Santana brought the work of Latin music icon Tito Puente to a

new generation of rock fans in 1970, he now completes the circle by

introducing his massive world music following to an exciting line-up of

rock, pop and hip hop personalities via Supernatural’s dynamic roster. More

than three decades into his career, Carlos Santana is more vital and

relevant than ever, one of the biggest musical forces on the planet. His

work unites our global village, transcending cultural, genre, and language

barriers….its soul-stirring celebration of life, spirit, brotherhood and

diversity is as powerful as its creator’s magical guitar virtuosity. Carlos

Santana is a jubilant 21st century man, and like the new century, he’s just

getting started.
© Copyright 1969-2000 Santana Management

(Discography)

The best of Santana Vol.2-2000

Supernatural-1999

Acapulco Sunrise-1999

Awakening-1998

Live at Fillmore 68-1997

Dance of the Rainbow-1995

Brothers-1995

Light Dance-1995

Jin-Go-Lo-Ba-1995

Soul Sacrifice-1994

Santana Jam-1994

Sacred Fire: Santana Live in South America-1993

Milagro-1992

Spirits Dancing in the Flesh-1990

Persuasion-1989

Early Magic-1989

Viva Santana!-1988

Blues for Salvador-1987

Freedom-1987

Live-1985

Beyond Appearances-1985

Havana Moon-1983

The Sound of Carlos-1982

Shango-1982

Zebop!-1981

The Swing of Delight-1980

Marathon-1979

Oneness: Silver Dreams Golden Realities-1979

Inner Secrets-1978

Moonflower-1977

Festival-1977

Amigos-1976

Greatest Hits-1974

Lotus [Live]-1974

Borboletta-1974

Illuminations-1974

Love Devotion Surrender-1973

Welcome-1973

Caravanserai-1972

Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!-1972

Santana III-1971

Abraxas-1970

Santana-1969
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  Luther Vandross (Biography)

A wearer of many hats, Luther Vandross made his mark on the music world

as a singer, songwriter and producer.

Born in New York in 1951, Vandross began his career writing and performing

jingles for television commercials. After spending the early '70s as a highly

skilled session vocalist, Vandross met up with David Bowie and contributed

backing vocals to Bowie's 1975 album Young Americans, as well as co-

writing Bowie's No.1 single "Fame."

Vandross rounded out the rest of the decade singing backup for such

luminaries as Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon and Donna Summer on tour and

in the studio. He also recorded two widely ignored albums under the name

Luther.

Seeking recognition as a solo artist, Vandross recorded two demos and was

signed to Epic Records in 1981. His debut album Never Too Much topped the

R&B charts and scored a No. 1 R&B single, also fairing well on the pop

charts. He released a series of solidly successful albums through the '80s,

including a 1989 greatest hits collection. Vandross finally saw his No. 1

R&B success matched on the pop charts in 1991 with the album Power of

Love, featuring the singles "Power of Love/Love Power" and "Don't Want

to Be a Fool." Notable is his 1994 album Songs, a collection of covers that

went double platinum.

Vandross' latest album, simply titled Luther Vandross, was released in 2001

on J Records, the fledgling imprint formed by former Arista Records head

Clive Davis.
©Copyright 2001 RollingStone.com

(Discography)

Never Too Much-1981

For Ever, For Always, For Love-1982

Busy Body-1983

The Night I Fell In Love-1985

Give Me the Reason-1986

Any Love-1988

Best of Love-1989

Power of Love-1991

Never Let Me Go-1993

Songs-1994

This Is Christmas-1995

Your Secret Love-1996

Best of Love Vol. 2-1997

I Know-1998
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  Erykah Badu (Biography)

HEN AN ARTIST so thoroughly changes the rules that she makes it hard to

remember what it was like before she was on the scene, it's safe to say that

she can be called "definitive." With her third album, Mama's Gun, Motown  

artist ERYKAH BADU is again defining the highest creative potential of

music. Erykah Badu fuses the jazz, R&B and hip-hop influences of a lifetime,

and does so not only with her voice, but with many talents: writing,

producing, directing, poetry, dance, drama, and visual art.

The leadoff single from the album, "Bag Lady," and her self-directed video

clip have returned her to the No.1 position in sales and airplay in advance of

the album release, serving notice that Erykah would not miss clearing the

bar that she herself raised. Deeply spiritual and rhythmically banging,

uplifting yet grounded, sensitive and sensual, it's one more example of the

multi-faceted expression we value in her. To her fans, peers, and even to

numerous of her own artistic idols, Badu is a new icon because her work

has proven not merely entertaining, but empowering.

Badu's debut album, Baduizm (Kedar/Universal, 1997), was both a personal

triumph and a landmark for R&B: entering the national album chart at No. 2,

it was the highest debut of a new female artist to that date, and it heralded

a talent that was fully-formed and mature, yet obviously destined to grow

even more. "While writing and creating this music, I continued to build

myself as a person, as a woman and as an African-American," Badu said that

year. "I wanted to share these experiences with everyone." Her love of

creativity and her belief in herself were palpable, and these qualities

proved to be every bit as irresistibly magnetic as the hit songs that came off

the album one by one.

"On and On" was a perfect career framing opening shot. The song drew

immediate vocal comparisons to Billie Holiday, and the video, a play on

scenes from The Color Purple, introduced a visual and personal style so

coherent that no one could mistake it for mere packaging, and a sense of

dramatic timing so obvious that we felt sure we'd see her on the big screen

sometime soon. Badu called upon her diverse training in theater, dance and

art - as well as her own sociopolitical and philosophical consciousness -- to

direct the succeeding videos, "Next Lifetime," and "Other Side of the Game,"

with results that were by turns emotional and imaginative, and playful, yet

heartfelt. Her voice resonated universally in a marketplace that had

become so severely polarized by age that few records were being heard by

both young and old.

Organic and undeniable, Baduizm sold a million copies within two months of  

its February 1997 release, out of an eventual 3 million. Just as quickly, her

stage impact on the Smokin' Grooves Tour and Lilith Fair so excited her new

following that, within months of Baduizm's release, Badu followed up with

Live! (Kedar/Universal, 1997), selling an astonishing 2 million copies,

sparked by a lightning rod of a song, "Tyrone." Improvised by Badu during a

swing through London, "Tyrone" demonstrated a screenwriter's ability to

elicit an off-the-hook response from the audience.

As the statistics built up, the awards followed: two Grammys (Best R&B

Album and Female R&B Vocal Performance), four Soul Train Awards, four

Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, two NAACP Image Awards and an American

Music Award in the first year; and in 2000, a return visit to the Grammy

podium with longtime collaborators The Roots. But the ripple effects

inside the community were equally important. Badu's work issued an implicit

call to every singer, rapper and musician to address the higher self, and

that call has been answered by many, transforming the landscape of music,

and bridging what, early in the Nineties, looked like insurmountable gaps

among both listeners and musicmakers. "I think and sing about what rap MCs

rap about," she told London's dotmusic website.

Born in 1972 in Dallas, where she continues to make her home base, Erykah

performed onstage at age four with her mother, Kolleen Wright, a

professional actress, and wrote her first song at seven on an old piano her

grandmother bought for her. In adolescence, she was encouraged in voice,

dance and art, all the while absorbing the R&B music of the '60s and '70s,

and the emerging hip-hop culture. At Booker T. Washington High, an arts-

oriented magnet school, she had a regular spot rapping on a local hip-hop

radio show, tagged "Apples." Then, seizing her own self-hood, she renamed

herself entirely, changing her name from Erica Wright to Erykah Badu, -

"kah" for the "inner self" and "ba-du," after the scat singing of the great

jazz vocalists.

Badu entered Grambling State University in Louisiana as a theater studies

major, but returned to Dallas to make her way in music, working jobs as a

dance and drama teacher and coffee house waitress. Teaming with her

cousin, Robert "Free" Bradford, they performed as the hip-hop duo Erykah

Free. A chance meeting with a manager while working on a local film led to

regular live work, opening for hip-hop's top names. Their 19-song demo

attracted major label interest, but an opening spot with D'Angelo put Badu

in touch with D'Angelo's manager and now Motown president, Kedar

Massenburg, with whom she ultimately signed a solo recording deal. While

mounting the landmarks and accomplishments of a whirlwind four years,

Erykah gave birth to Seven Sirius, her son with OutKast member Dre (Andre

Benjamin), at home with Andre, her mother and sisters on the same day that

her live album was released.

Although her second studio album was delayed repeatedly, Badu's live

appearances and regular guesting on record kept her high in the public

consciousness. Since appearing in D'Angelo's "Lady" video, and duetting

with him on "Your Precious Love" for the High School High soundtrack,

Badu also contributed to the song scores of Eve's Bayou ("A Child With the

Blues"), Hav Plenty ("Ye Yo") and Bamboozled (Chaka Khan's "Hollywood,"

and a duet with Common, "The Light"). Most recently Badu can be found

dueting with Guru on the track "Plenty" on his latest release, "Street

Soul." Her collaboration with the Roots, "You Got Me," was the song of

spring/summer 1999, and won Badu her third Grammy, Best Rap Performance

by a Duo or Group, in 2000.   

Badu's commanding on-screen presence, apparent from the first viewing of

"On and On," was repeatedly confirmed by her subsequent acting roles:

cameos on the daytime drama One Life To Live and  Blues Brothers 2000, and

especially her moving, honest work in The Cider House Rules.

Much has been said about Badu's brilliant synthesis of styles, from Billie

Holiday and Bessie Smith to Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Chaka Khan.

"There are millions and millions of atoms of their music in my music," Badu

told The Dallas Morning News, explaining to dotmusic: "It's not nostalgic;

it's real for me." And besides, she jubilantly added, "Chaka Khan gave her

approval (of Badu's dynamic revival of Khan's 'Stay'), so it don't matter what

nobody else say now!" But another of music's trailblazers, Roberta Flack,

zeroed in on the nature of Badu's own role modeling in Essence: "I love the

fact that her voice is unique...a very wonderful way to express herself

without doing what someone else has done." It was Badu's setting of high

standards, and her manifesting of an artistic vision so complete,

idiosyncratic and satisfying, that stood as an encouragement to other

artists not to copy her, but to amplify their own unique voice

The long-awaited Mama's Gun reflects not a "re-invention" in the

calculatedly self-conscious, marketing-driven sense that Hollywood or

the music industry at large might use the term, but, quite simply, growth,

evolution, learning. "This is my gift, my baby, my art," Badu told BET. "Power

comes with creativity because the innovator is the one who is remembered."

If, as Marvin Gaye once said, "What a person is, he brings with him when he

comes to music," then the growing talent, experience and insight of Erykah

Badu will be a continual pleasure, amazement and challenge to us all.

(Discography)

Mama's Gun-2000

Live-1997

Baduizm-1997
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  Musiq Soulchild (Biography)

Charging head first into an battlefield of black noise, the musical

revolution you're holding in your hands is Musiq Soulchild's stunning debut

Aijuswanaseing (I Just Want To Sing). Coming from the brotherly love

streets of Philadelphia, whose roots from jazz to hip hop runs deep, Musiq

Soulchild is on a mission to shatter the misconception that is dead. "In the

last few years the music has been watered down slightly," agrees Musiq.

"But I feel blessed to be making music at this time, because there is definitely

a renaissance going on in soul."

On his first single "Just Friends (Sunny)" its obvious that his moniker Musiq

Soulchild wasn't chosen in vain. Sleek as old-school black velveteen

poster hanging behind a jukebox "Just Friends," which first appeared on the

multiplatinum soundtrack Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, embraces the

listener with an innocent romanticism rarely heard on the radio. "The purity

of the song is the reality of me and the innocence is the inexperience of me,"

confesses Musiq, shyly. "I just wanted women to know, its not always about

sex. I can just be that boy that goes to the library with you."

Born and reared on the musically sweetback streets, Musiq says, "Although

I'm now aware of our deep musical history, growing up I wasn't that

knowledgeable about it." It wasn't until his early teen years that Musiq

discovered the blueprints to his own aural foundation. Milling at the

memory, he says, "It was my father--who also sang and played saxophone --who

introduced me to '70s soul, and I almost lost my mind." Lost in the grooves

of Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Sly Stone and countless others, Musiq

almost drowned in this ocean of sound. "After that experience, all I knew

was...I wanted to sing."

From awestruck to melancholy, the stunning Aijuswanaseing, which was

recorded mostly at Touch Of Jazz studios, is overflowing with the naked

power of Musiq's electric emotions. "Girl Next Door," featuring the vocals

of soul-sister Ayana of the duo Aaries, is a lovely gem dedicated to that

little tom-boy who grew-up to be fine as cherry wine on Saturday night. With

the laid back jazzy arrangement and sweet lyrics, "Girl Next Door" is a

tender testament of unrequited passion.

Musiq, brought to Def Soul by his management team, Mama's Boys, comprised

of Jerome Hipps and Michael McArthur, has performed at Philly showcases

like The Five Spot and Wilhemina's, where he worked hard to perfect his

skills. He says, "I'm still experimenting, because I don't believe soul is

something you can fake. I'm trying to make my music as real as possible,

because I feel this is my form of communicating with the world."

Musiq's extended soul-family also includes his songwriting partner Carvin

Haggins. "Me and Carvin are like a two-man Motown team," jokes Musiq. "We

mix our experiences and just try to keep the lyrics as real as possible.

Although an emotional track like "You & Me" might be more Carvin--he has a

flare for the sadness and dramatics--we usually balance each other

perfectly. It's a blessing." Working with producer James Poyser, who has

worked with Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo, was another blessing in the short

career of Musiq Soulchild. On the bouncy uptempo jam "My Girl," which

Poyser laced with breezy melodies and a simple bass line, Musiq's boyish

charm once again shines seductively.

Having come a long way from the days of beatboxing ("I used to mock my

favorite songs on the radio), Musiq says, "I think singing is about conviction.

I've been through a lot and I've grown a lot. The conviction I have comes

directly from my experiences." Indeed, that conviction is felt in the lushness

of "Love." On this ballad to the emotion love, Musiq's voice has an aching

quality that shivers through ones blood.

With Aijuswanaseing, Musiq Souldchild delivers with an emotional rawness

and purity that is rare in a debut disc.

Bio Courtesy of Def Soul Records

(Discography)

Aijuswanaseing-2000
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