Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

LEDISI RECEIVES two 2010 Grammy Nominations


BEST R&B FEMALE VOCAL PERFORMANCE FOR "GOING THRU CHANGES"
BEST R&B ALBUM FOR "TURN ME LOOSE"

52nd GRAMMY AWARDS
JANUARY 31, 2010
8pm ET/PT CBS


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Home: BACK TO MY ROOTS

I love Oakland, California that is where I was raised.  I am from New Orleans LA. There is nothing  like going home to your roots. There is something special about where I'm from, all the history it carries and so many childhood memories. I could not help but swell up in tears as I visited my old stomping grounds. After the Essence Festival this year, I decided to stay in New Orleans and really take a look around for myself.

     I was filled with so many different emotions throughout my entire stay, seeing the 9th Ward and many parts of the city patched up, yet still in disarray. I could not get over how four years later people are still living in trailer homes and there are abandoned homes with numbers.  Despite the sadness and disbelief I felt at times, there were great examples of people who reminded me to be resilient.

    Seeing people still there surviving, living in their homes and holding on after Katrina shook me. Whatever problems I have is nothing compared to what they are living through everyday. Seeing their strength made me proud to be from New Orleans.  I have always come home and even received a key to the city by the Mayor.  Still, I never really had time to stay long enough to reconnect with the place of my birth after Katrina.  This time was the perfect opportunity.

I walked everywhere, saw everything, dined in every restaurant, in every neighborhood and the level of hospitality was consistent everywhere I went.  I expected nothing less.  The people were beautiful and helpful.  I found myself reverting to my childhood ways of saying yes ma'am or yes sir.  That was weird for me, I only do that around my elders, but I found myself saying it everywhere(laughing).

   I went to church and listened to Bishop Lester Love preach and it felt like home.  I was so overwhelmed with joy.  It's like I had never left.  I  then realized something, I will always be connected to New Orleans even if I am not physically there all the time.No matter where you go if you are from there it's always going to be with you.

     After church, which was my final day, I had to see the last place I lived before moving to California. When I finally arrived, I was almost breathless.  I could not believe the place where I grew up was still standing. All those memories as a child came back to me.  Through my eyes as a child, this place was bigger than life. Now it was small and I wondered how we all lived in this little house. I thought about how in the hot summers we would go fishing and when the water and soda ran out, we would sneak and drink hot beer ( laughing).  We would come home and I would watch my step-dad clean fish on that porch, then my mom would fry it in cornmeal.  We would play in the yard or watch my mom and her band perform in the neighborhood park across the street once a year.

I was such a tomboy, climbing trees and I'd always came home late after the streetlight came on.  We had to be in before dark, but I never made it in on time, which led to me getting a switch from the fig tree that grew in the backyard.  Fig tree branches have little knots in them.  Those branches would hurt for days!  I remember my first crush on my best friend.  After years of being friends, I finally told him how much I liked him, after that he stopped talking to me (laughing).

I had to catch my breath a couple of times as I looked around my neighborhood.  While looking around, I began to cry.  Wow, look how far I have come...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A FAN at The Waffle House 3am in The Big Easy!

video Having a late at night out during my vacation, my tour manager Roland and I decided to get something to eat.While dining at the Waffle House for breakfast, we encountered a fan who could not believe I was me. Surely, I would not be hanging out at the Waffle House.Lol!

Listen To The Legend: George Duke

What inspires you and why?Unconditional love, which is the greatest love of all
Is there anything you wish you could do over again?No.all my experiences good and bad have lead me to where I am today.
What is the best part of what you do?The ability to reach people where it really counts
What is the best advice you would give an artist, producer or instrumentalist?
Develop your craft - find out who you are - have faith in that knowledge and don't be afraid to show and act on that individuality. In the end that statement of musical independence and identity will contribute to your longevity.
What is your favorite song?The next one I write
What is your favorite word?love
What is your favorite sound?That primal sound  a woman makes while making love - hello (smile)

photo by Bobby Holland

Behind It All: Video Shoot for Goin' Thru Changes

video

Before Me: Nina Simone

"I'm gonna go where people love me. I'm gonna stay where people love me."- Nina Simone
Thank you David Nathan for the reminder. I am doing it Right!

In Detroit Headlining at Chene Park: Amazing!

video

The Reason Why I sing: PJ MORTON

PJ Morton is a prodigious singer-songwriter and producer in the gospel and r&b genres.  He has written songs for Grammy Award winning songtress India Arie and Stella Award Winner DeWayne Woods.  He has recently decided to add "author" to his credits, releasing his new book entitled, "Why Can't I Sing About Love?"

In keeping with family tradition, PJ Morton creates his own lane, taking risks and saying all the things we wish we could say...

What do you know about love? i know that it takes work like any other thing you want to be successful at..
What do you think is missing in songwriting today? the stories
Is there something that you haven't done that you hope to do one day?if so what would it be and why? proabably win a grammy as an artist. its an accomplishment when your peers honor you.
How would you describe your music? soulful pop music
Why did you become an author? really wasn't planning on it. I just had something i really wanted to say and was passionate about. I knew I didn't want to say it in song form. I wanted to be something that people could take around and reference. That ended up being a book. 
What is your favorite song? hmm wow.. probably summersoft by stevie wonder.
What is your favorite word? free
What is your favorite sound? perfect harmony 

Monday, August 3, 2009

LIFE WORDS

Photo by BunnyBoots Photography 2007
"You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love. How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word. Accept your own divinity. Everything is a manifestation of God. When you know that, the power that is LIFE is inside you, you accept your own divinity, and yet you are humble, because you see that see the same divinity in everyone else."- Don Miguel Ruiz
 

"You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."- Paulo Coehlo
 
"There's no sense in making life seem like it's a struggle, because that doesn't make anybody feel better."
"I definitely believe that if you stop working at relationships, they go away." - Ashton Kutcher
 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Singer To Singer: Sandra St. Victor

Sandra St. Victor is one of my favorite female rockers. She can sing jazz, r&b, funk and rock out with the best of the great female rock 'n' roll singers. Singing is but one element of her greatness. She is a legend in New York City, a songwriter who recently wrote songs for Lalah Hathaway, lead singer of Family Stand, founder of one of the biggest events held in Amsterdam, "Daughters of Soul," activist, mommy, wife and a mentor to singers like me. I begged SSV. to take a minute to share some of the conversations she and I have shared over the years. Her kitchen in Amsterdam was our place to hang out and talk about our positions in life. Hearing about her journey inspired me to go beyond the walls of gospel and r&b. She doesn’t know this, but our talk led me to study Joyce Kennedy, Tina Turner and Bettye LaVette. I began to discover that soul lives in everything. Sandra St. Victor's life makes me believe I can do it all! Here is a woman who celebrated the real meaning of Afro-Funk and lives a life most singers dream of. She is my Rock Star...
Okay, so let's get the basic journalist-type questions out of the way. What is your story, how did you to get where you are right now? Tell the younger generation who might not know of you, why you are Legendary in our business of music.
The first thing that comes to mind is that I took chances. I felt I needed to be where stuff happened. At the time that wasn't in Dallas where I grew up. So I chose NewYork, or New York chose me. Roy Ayers offered me a gig touring with him. From there I got the gig with Chaka Khan, then hooked up with Peter & Jeff with Family Stand. We wrote & produced several songs for two Paula Abdul albums. Things flowed naturally for me as a solo artist, and from there, toward song writing for other artists, Chaka & Prince being the biggest. My most treasured credit is a duet with the Late, Most Great, Curtis Mayfield on his final CD. Priceless...
Who are some of the big influences in your music and why?
This list would be so long if I named them all! But off the top, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, & Earth, Wind & Fire for their truth , sincerity & bravery. They did what they wanted, said what they felt and felt what they said. Janis Joplin, Tina, Chaka, and Linda Jones for their singing from the ass up, nah mean?! Bernie Taupin, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Don McLean, Maurice White & again Stevie Wonder for poignant introspective lyrical brilliance. Last but not least, Ella Fitzgerald, Maria Callas, and Leontyne Price for vocal awesomeness & control.
How would you describe yourself and your music to someone who knows nothing about you?
My music depends on my mood. That is of course, a problem for our industry! I try to be as honest as possible, which means expressing feelings that sometimes are best explored through different genres. I can find myself in soul, soul/rock, jazz, R&B. It all feels right at times to me. Actually, I believe that’s part of being a Gemini. I also learned not to confine myself to perfection. Again, sometimes an emotion releases sincerely, but not perfectly in tune, or with the clearest tone. But you FELT it. I keep those takes real.
What have you learned that you wish someone told you about before you got into the business?
It takes a helluva lot more than talent. It takes a spine of steel, pinpoint focus, and an almost insane belief in yourself.
What inspires you?
Wow, just about anything. Sometimes, everything around me can inspire a song. An expression on a stranger’s face, the sound of a pile driver in the street, my own memory surprising me and refreshing an old emotion. But also, listening to someone talk about themselves, their life, their story. That’s always inspiring.
The first time you heard music who was it and what was that like for you?
The first time I remember knowing that I heard music was listening to my cousins singing at Thanksgiving dinners in Dallas. The entire family was musically inclined. Uncle Danny played sax, and all his kids sang and played piano. I thought they were the coolest people on the planet. I was awe-struck. I was too shy, and I felt I could never stand there next to them and join in, but I wanted too so bad! I knew that was ‘my thing’.
What is the best part about being on stage?
Feeling so connected to so many people at once. It feels like they know me, they ‘get’ me. It’s fulfilling and addictive.
So what was it like recording your first album without Family Stand?
Scary as hell! Freeing though. Peter and Jeff were/are my musical soul-mates. Being in the studio with them is kind of like one being with 3 heads. But doing the solo thing was the moment for me to find out what my creative voice sounded like alone. Major growth in the confidence department.
What is next for SSV?
More growth! My goal is simply to have an opportunity to do what I love to do as long as I’m here. To have people appreciate that, feel something real from it, and hopefully add a few memorable experiences to their lives.
What are you looking for that you haven't found yet? Or have you found it?
I keep wondering if a day will come when I’m no longer restless. If I’m meant to feel perfect peace. Or perhaps I’m supposed to always feel the urge to move, to keep it going etc... Sometimes I think I’m there, then I wanna do something else again.
What is the recording process for you?
Very special. I set my environment beforehand, and just like before a show, I need the space and time to get in my zone. I don’t like or need an entourage buzzing about right before a performance or recording. I need solitude.
What was the hardest song you have ever recorded and why?
It must be this song I did for a producer in New York years ago. It was a demo. He was some guy who had hits in the 70’s with Gloria Gaynor and a few other folks. He was so effing full of himself. He didn’t like anything I did, he just kept making me do it over and over until I was literally in tears. I was young and just left feeling like I sucked! Later I realized that this dude was just crazy!
What do you wish you could have done over now that you have been in the business for a while?
I wished I’d never done anything musically or creatively that someone had to talk me into.
What advice would you give other artists who are deciding to embark on a career in the music business?
Be completely prepared. Come as ready for any and everything within your power, and most of all, be completely sure you know what you’re getting into at all times.
Do you like being a songwriter more than being an artist?
I’d have to say yes, but I know I still have the NEED to be an artist. I need that to feel whole.
What's important to you now?
Making sure that people that mean something to me, know it.
Do you have any regrets about your life or your music?
Regret is a heavy word. I’d say perhaps, second thoughts. Still, I’m a true believer that everything happens that’s supposed to happen. So with that in mind, it’s all good.
Sometimes we as artists go through a period in our lives where we reach a breaking point, where we wanna give up. Have you ever had one of those?
Absolutely! More than once. When the business becomes bigger than the music, it gets pretty dark for me, but I try to accept that it’s all part of the process, and take the bitter with the sweet. But there’s always something in me that fights to survive, and pulls me up and out. The Creator of it all, takes care of it as well.
What do you think is missing in music today?
There’s always been folks into being famous, but now the balance is just way off. Too many artists just want a lifestyle, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get that. So I guess what I’m missing is ... more heart.
What do you hope to leave people with when they experience your music?
A feeling of self-assurance. A warmth that grows lovelier even days after a concert. A spirit of belonging, understanding. I could go on. I want people to feel good, hopeful, perhaps a bit giddy initially.
Favorite sound?
My kids’ laughter.
Favorite Book?
It prolly sounds cliché, but my most recent favorite book is "Dreams From My Father." My all-time most special book would probably be "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying."
Favorite Album?
Ella - Live In Hollywood (Verve 1961)
Favorite Song?
Oh, come on now, don’t ask me that!!! One song??? Yeah, right. "They Won’t Go When I Go"(Stevie Wonder), "Memory Lane" (Minnie Riperton), "Hey Joe"(Jimi Hendrix), "Deacon Blues"(Steely Dan), "Chant A Psalm" (Steele Pulse), "Flashlight"(Parliament), "Funky Motion" (Roy Ayers), "Roll Me Through the Rushes" (Chaka Khan), "The Rose" (Bette Midler), "American Pie" (Don McLean), "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (Elton John)... I’ll stop now.
Favorite Word? We.
http://www.sandrastvictor.com/

CALL ME CrAzY BUT....

- Variety shows made people famous, is reality tv the new modern day variety show ?
- Is it me or is every ladies restroom just as filthy as the mens restroom? (Don't ask me how I know that! lol!)
 - Is it just me but do you miss Jill Scott like I do?
 - Why are ice cream and chocolate so euphoric?
 - How come people who don't like you, never call or answer your calls, in person talk to you like you are best friends? Explain that somebody!
- Why is it that the movie "All About Eve" is still one of the best movies in the World?It's been a hit for 50years.
- Why do artists say they don't care about what people think when they really do?
 - Why is there always traffic in LA, when there is no place else to go but straight ahead or off to the right or left?