Influenced by the likes of James Brown, Donny Hathaway and Mavis Staples, talented singer-songwriter Leela James has been making her own winning mix of bluesy soul and R&B for more than a decade. Her sixth studio album, Did It for Love (stream it below), which explores all the different sides of love, came out just a few weeks ago. “I don’t really try to think of concepts when I make music, I just go with the natural flow of the evolution of the making of the album,” James tells Rated R&B. “As I’m recording, sometimes it’ll take a life of its own. When I’m writing the songs, they’re usually based off direct and indirect experiences. It kind of tells its own story.” Touring in support of the new music, James (above, performing “Don’t Want You Back” for Baeble Music) has been making her way across North America with English singer-songwriter Daley (below, doing “Alone Together” live in concert), who’s known for mashing together soul, electronic music and pop into his own unique sound—and has been compared to Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall. See them both on Saturday night at the world-famous Apollo Theater.
Tag Archives: Apollo Theater
The deck was stacked against her. The Best New Artist Grammy had never before been awarded to a jazz artist. Plus Bieber Fever was in full effect, and it wasn’t just Justin Bieber—all of the other nominees, Drake, Florence and the Machine and Mumford & Sons, were inarguably more famous than she. But nevertheless, 26-year-old Portland, Ore., native Esperanza Spalding strode up to the podium to collect her award in 2011. By that point, she’d already been playing music for more than 20 years. Spurred on by seeing Yo-Yo Ma play the cello on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood when she was just four, the precocious Spalding took up the violin when she was five. Not content with one instrument, she next conquered the oboe and clarinet before discovering the upright bass in high school. And if all of that weren’t enough, the talented performer began writing lyrics, and she could sing in English, Portuguese and Spanish. After spending time at Berklee College of Music, Spalding began touring in support of other musicians. And then upon graduation, she started teaching at the famed music school and recording her own albums. The third, Chamber Music Society (stream it below), caught people’s attention, eventually netting her that surprise Grammy. But it’s been her sixth studio full-length, Emily’s D+Evolution (stream it below), out last month, that’s returned Spalding (above, performing “Good Lava” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) to the spotlight, winning nearly universal praise. “Esperanza Spalding’s new recording, Emily’s D+Evolution, is an astonishing beauty, a set of a dozen songs that artfully and persuasively bridge genres. It is simultaneously the most forward work of the singer and bass player in the way it combines her musical influences with coherent and powerful lyrics and a project that feels rooted in a 1970s sensibility—reminding us of a time when pop, soul, jazz, rock, and singer-songwriter tradition were in constant dialogue,” according to PopMatters. “Because Spalding’s individual strengths as a fleet singer and superb instrumentalist are so perfectly set in these songs, they do not sound like throwbacks, however. Emily’s D+Evolution is a recording only Spalding could have made, and it shouts with invention, confidence and style.” Currently working her way down the East Coast, Spalding plays the world-famous Apollo Theater tomorrow night.
Tags: Apollo Theater, Chamber Music Society, Drake, Emily’s D+Evolution, Esperanza Spalding, Florence and the Machine, Harlem, Justin Bieber, Live Music, Mumford & Sons, Music, New York City, Preview, Video, Yo-Yo Ma
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Local favorites TV on the Radio release their fifth studio album, Seeds, today. And they’re celebrating its release with sold-out shows tonight at the Apollo Theater and Friday and Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg (plus an in-store appearance at Rough Trade NYC tomorrow). But the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets to see TV on the Radio on Saturday night in Brooklyn. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (TV on the Radio, 11/22) and a brief message explaining your favorite tune on the new album. Eddie Bruiser, who’s already got his favorites, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.
Tags: Apollo Theater, Contest, Eddie Bruiser, Free Tickets, Grow a Pair, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Rough Trade NYC, Seeds, TV on the Radio
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As one of the leading figures of the Mod revival, Paul Weller has been influencing English music for decades, first as frontman of the Jam, one of the most popular of the late-’70s/ early-’80s British punk and New Wave bands, and then as the leader of the R&B- and soul-tinged Style Council. Weller went solo back in 1992 with the release of an acclaimed self-titled LP. And the Modfather has remained active, touring and recording music, ever since. His most recent release, his 11th solo album, Sonik Kicks (stream it below), which the BBC says, “fizzes and spits from its first track,” came out last year. And the ever-busy Englishman (above, performing “Dragonfly” at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival for Festivo TV) has crossed the pond to play three New York City shows, tonight at the world famous Apollo Theater, tomorrow at Webster Hall and on Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg, which is sold out. We suggest you spend some time with him. (Singer-songwriter Matthew Ryan—who’s been glowingly compared to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen—opens each show.)
Tags: Apollo Theater, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Matthew Ryan, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Paul Weller, Preview, Style Council, the Jam, Tom Waits, Video, Webster Hall
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