Feel Good Music: Music that sends positive electric shocks throughout the body. Music for the mind, body and soul. Feel Good Music is music that makes you smile, sing and dance unwillingly.
Feel Good Music is the first thing that came to mind while listening to the new track by J Darius entitled, LOVER. LOVER tells the story of being head over hills for someone and doing everything that you can to win their heart. This attraction goes past the “puppy love” stage as the singer describes exactly what he wants. “Because I’m jealous. I want you and I love you. I want you to love me too.”
The song begins with an old school late 80’s early 90’s hip hop drum beat. This beat alone calls all the steppers and dancers out to the dance floor. Next J Darius summons the bass, “Bring the bass in.” From there you are introduced to an infectious bass line that is looped through out the song.
LOVER sounds like a summer time anthem. It reminds me of driving well over the speed limit in the car, with the windows rolled down with your best friends by your side. It sets the soundtrack to a great day that turns into an even greater night. Also trust me, this song will definitely make you dance. You have absolutely no choice. You will dance! I’m calling the sound Funky-Fresh. It gives you the funk of the 70’s with a modern vibe. More importantly, this song will put you in a good mood. With mainstream music being so hardcore and sometimes negative, it is like a breath of fresh air to hear something of the total opposite. I love that J Darius is singing about love. “Love me lover. Kiss and hug me lover“. Those simple lyrics showcase love and affection, things that we do not hear about everyday.
One of the most electrifying parts of the song is towards the end. J Darius serenades the listener with some falsetto ad libs, making the song even more magical. The song is taken from his debut EP, “Better Days” that is slated to drop very soon. For now you can listen to LOVER on all digital media outlets including, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal, Spotify and more! Let me know what you think!
Follow J Darius on Instagram! @Jdariusoffical
Before I begin, I must pay my respect to the legendary Icon Prince. What can I say about a man who unapologetically, trail blazed his way into mega super stardom. His artistry was one of a kind that can not be duplicated. A total full out musician that blurred the lines of gender acceptability. His music was heard blaring loudly in stadiums across the world. His lyrics moved people emotionally, resonating with all races. His showmanship was electrifying. He is the biggest example of being the best YOU that you can be. He didn’t hold back. He bared his soul for decades. He was the type of man that you had to respect. He joins other legends such as Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Whitney Houston in musical heaven. Thank you so much for YOU Prince. We thank you for your music catalog of hits that you blessed us with. RIP.
What makes a great artist? Is it their vocal ability? The amount of instruments they play? How well they can dance? How do we measure how successful an artist is? Album sales, billboard chart slots, world tour sales?
We live in a day in age where albums are not selling anymore. If an artist sells at least 70k copies its first week, we deem that as an accomplishment. Which it is a very big accomplishment with all the free streaming today. Artist ride singles rather that concentrating on a body of work. Artist follow trends, chasing what ever is hot and is guaranteed to sell at the time. Taking risk is too, well risky in today’s music industry. Understandable, music is not the big money making machine that it once was. Record companies and artist cant always take creative risk. It is much easier to stick to what works. Fans today have way too much control over their favorite artist. Fans dictate what kind of music their favorites sing. What the video should look like and even when albums should be released. The sense of fan entitlement has restrained the artist. In the 80’s, fans didn’t really know what the artist was up to and was not involved in the creative process. They respected the artist and gave the artist time to do what they did best. The fans felt honored when a Prince or a Michael Jackson dropped their albums. Today not so much. How many petitions did Rihanna and Beyonce fans make, demanding that the two artist release albums? There is no respect for the creative process anymore.
Going back to the question asked earlier. What makes a great artist? I guess that is all in the matter of perception. So to answer that question I have to make it personal. To give a taste (And I do mean a short taste) my favorite artist include, James Brown, Michael Jackson, The Pointer Sisters, Prince, Marvin Gaye, TLC, Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, En Vouge, Destiny’s Child, Lady Gaga, Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, Beyonce and Erykah Badu. And for real, that is just to name a few. All of these artist have made some sort of impact on my life through their music and musicianship. As a child, Michael Jackson was magic to me. He helped me escape from my own insecurities and hurt and allowed me to witness pure magic. He wasn’t human to me. He defied the laws of society, doing what was not expected of him. I admired that. I could tell that music and performing was his escape and healing. The same with Prince.
All the artist I listed above are all individuals. They did/do not conform and came into the scene already set apart and original. That is a major factor of what a true artist is. You have to be unique and UNAPOLOGETIC about who you are. The world already tries to put everyone in a box based on gender, race, religion, social status etc. The boxes in the entertainment industry are even smaller. So if an artist puts their foot down and vows to stay true to who they are, my respect for them soars. This makes their music sound different from others. Their style and delivery becomes unique, putting themselves in a self made lane that no one else can enter. Even when industry demands that they sing certain types of music, they refuse and stick to their guns. Berry Gordy refused to release Marvin Gaye’s “Whats Going On” album until Marvin threatened to never record again, and the rest is history.
Is vocal talent important? Of course it is. You use your singing to help tell your story. How the audience connects with a song, depends on how you delivered it. The coloring of your voice, the switching between high and low octaves brings passion into the song. Jazmine Sullivan sends me into a frenzy every time she opens her mouth because she can do so much with her voice. I can feel her pain as well as her happiness.
Now you might say that I am being a hypocrite regarding this vocal talent subject. You might say didn’t you list Janet Jackson as your favorite artist.🙂 It is no secrete that Janet is not the best singer but she performs her ass off, which leads me to my next point. Stage presence and creativity. Artist like Janet Jackson are legends because of their artistic imagery and creativity. What she lacked in vocals, she blazed in dancing, fashion and honesty. She (Along with others) made dancing a pure art form. The dancing was so impactful and powerful. It was just as important as the singing.
Stage presence is MAJOR. There are many huge mainstream artist past and present that lacked excitement and control on the stage. Stage presence does not just mean dancing and getting the audience hype. Jill Scott does neither but she commands your attention on that stage. Your eyes never leave her because she has such a great aura surrounding her. The way you captivate an audience is very important. True artist are storytellers. The audience feels like the artist is leading them on a journey. You can picture what they are singing about. You can place yourself in the very situation that they are speaking of.
Album sales do not and never have mattered to me. The dopest, most creative artist do not sell well. FACT. It can be hard to market true artist, so they don’t sell. Awards don’t matter either. Award shows are popularity contest. Musicianship doesn’t always come first.
Do real artist write their own songs? This is a tricky question for me. It is always a major plus if you are a songwriter. I mean writing your own material is big. Who better to write your story than you. I do feel that their is a special art form in singing other people’s lyrics and making it believable. For example, Whitney Houston did not write “I Will Always Love You”, but she embodied that song. She adopted that song and made it her own. Michael Jackson did not write “Thriller” but I mean come one. It’s freaking Thriller. So I can see all sides of that issue.
I never really liked the question, “What’s your favorite song from…”. In my opinion, if you have a favorite artist, you have to have more than one favorite song by them. I feel like I am doing the artist a disservice by picking one song from their massive catalog and naming it the best.
A true, real artist makes you think. Makes you emotional even when you did not want to be. They set trends and defy the norms. They walk to their own beat and everyone else just falls in line. They have a message and do not apologize. They command your respect and attention. They sing and dance with passion and soul. They create movements. Real artist do it because they love doing it. Not because they have to.
“I think they wanna end my knickers
Discontinue the trend, my knickers
Tryna bleach, tryna blend my knickers
Need to slow clap and command my knickers
They don’t even understand my knickers
Back in the day they used to brand my knickers
And now they wanna ban my niggas
Even though they got a Grammy in their hand, my niggas”
Don’t let the slick hair, pocket watch and the colorful suits fool you. Jidenna is not just a Classic Man but also a Conscious Man. I remember the first time I saw the Classic Man video. I immediately fell in love with the song because it was so different. Someone actually talking about having respect for yourself? In this day and age? Wow! Imagine that😀 The beat was so addictive, the hook was so catchy and Janelle Monae’s stamp of approval made it official. Before my eyes I saw this young man, dressed in what looked like attire from the early 1900s, walking around with swag out of this world. He was weird but cool at the same time. As we know, Classic Man went on to be a huge hit, winning a Soul Train and gaining a Grammy Nomination (I really hope he wins this weekend). So who is Jidenna?
Jidenna is a 30 year old Nigerian-American who was born in Italy, raised in Nigeria and moved to the states in 1995. In High School he was apart of a hip hop group where he first began writing and producing. After graduating from Stanford University in 2008, he decided to pursue his music career full time. Eight or Nine Years ago, Jidenna was hosting a masquerade ball where he ran into Janelle Monae who was performing that night. They kept in contact and the rest is history.
Earlier I said that Jidenna was not just a classic man, but a conscious man as well. This is why. In first clicking on this post you read some lyrics from his new song, “Knickers”. Knickers is a play on words, just say the word out loud and you will hear what it sounds like. In that excerpt he urges black people to stop trying to assimilate to mainstream culture. “Tryna bleach, tryna blend my knickers
Need to slow clap and command my knickers“. Why? Because mainstream culture has been “borrowing” from the black culture. ” This is seen in the first verse of “Knickers”:
“Wanna cuff, wanna hem my knickers
In the school they be tryna suspend my knickers
Their whole style, it depends on knickers
Y’all wanna talk, wanna dance like knickers
Fuck a mil’, I want the Lamb’, my nigga”
Tell the truth Jidenna! A society that rejects blacks but accepts the cultural movement. After hearing those lyrics, I knew that Jidenna was a very intelligent man. He gives you a clear message but in a way that is still commercial. He tells it like it is without apology. Something that is very much needed in the music industry today.
“Mama put a little money in the mattress
Taught me how to make a silver spoon out of plastic
You can either sink, swim or be the captain
Get the last word Ima get the last laugh in
Now they say “Jidenna why you dressing so classic?”
I don’t want my best dressed day in a casket”
Those are my favorite lines from his song, “Long live the Chief”. I know a lot of people can’t get over Jidenna’s look. New and different things can make us uncomfortable and I get that. However do not throw him away. Jidenna is a very dope artist and I am looking forward to his album dropping and hopefully a tour. For now you can check out all of Jidenna’s catalog on iTunes, Tidal, Spotify and more!
2016 has already proved to be the year of making moves. I am delighted to say that Detroit’s own Verzell Lez’on has dropped his first official single, “Love is Like A Drug”. I had the pleasure of meeting Verzell back in college where we sung together in the choir. I remember witnessing Verzell being surrounded by huge crowds as he sang and played the grand piano in the Student Center at his leisure. Always a superstar and always humble. Verzell Lez’on’s smooth soulful style offers listeners an enjoyable easy listening experience. Not only is Verzell a dope artist, but he is also an entrepreneur, owning his own T-shirt design and printing business in Belleville, Michigan. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you VERZELL LEZ’ON.
“Born and raised in the Soul music Mecca, that is Detroit, VERZELL (born Verzell Page Jr.) Found his passion and purpose early on, and very close to home. “My biggest influence is my Great Grandmother, Tarrie Lee, who introduced me to music as a toddler; teaching me how to play piano which eventually led me to playing for church.” Speaking on his musical beginnings. A beginning that would take him on his life’s journey and justification. He would go on to hone his found gift to fruition in his defined life’s purpose. “I’ve been an artist since the age of 18. I decided to do music because it was the only thing that I’m passionate about.” (Courtesy of Facebook.com)
Verzell Lez’on ‘s new video for his single, “Love is Like A Drug” premiered this week on Vevo. You can buy the single on iTunes and Google Play. Click the link below to check it out!