What I’m Listening To
I must admit, I was SO against these music streaming platforms but I love having access to thousands of new music selections daily.
Lalah Hathaway Honestly
I love this album. One word that I can use to describe the sound of the entire album is digital. Lalah is known for her sultry soulful melodies but this project seems to take a new direction that is definitely welcomed. Standouts for myself include “change ya life”, “what u need” “y o y” and “let it go”.
Rhyon Pretty Girl
I don’t know how I stumbled upon Rhyon’s “California” but as soon as I watched the video I remembered her from the highly rated yet short lived tv series Lincoln Heights. She also recently starred in Surviving Compton as Michel’le. I had no idea that she was a singer in real life! I instantly feel in love with “California” and decided to give her album a try and it did not disappoint.
Jhene Aiko Trip
I love Jhene Aiko. Some people are on the fence about her but I’m here for her music so I was pleasantly surprised when she dropped her latest album Trip a few weeks back. Her honesty in her music is one of the main reasons why I can relate to it and her as an artist. Dealing with the recent deaths of two family members back to back, I can relate to the concept and overall vibe of this album. Along with the new album, there’s also a short film and book of poetry that can be pre ordered here. Standouts: the whole album is one giant standout however she’s talking that good ‘ole SHIT on “Never Call Me”. Give it a listen.
I recently took a late summer vacation and was able to fully digest the beautifully designed scripted 10 part audio drama “Bronzeville”. The cast is stellar: Laurence Fishburne, Larenz Tate, Tika Sumpter, Tracee Ellis Ross, Omari Hardwick, Wood Harris, Lahmard Tate, Cory Hardrick and more make up the characters that come to life in the series. “Bronzeville” brings to life 1940’s Chicago and the “policy” or numbers games that allowed this African American community to flourish. At the center of the drama we are introduced to members of the notorious Copeland family, including sister Lisa Copeland played by Tika sumpter, Jimmy Tillman played by Larnez Tate and Curtis Randolph played by Laurence Fishourne. Not only was I impressed with the sound design of the overall series, I couldn’t believe how quickly I was transformed to 1940’s Chicago via these auditory performances. It’s easy for me to binge a great tv series or fly through a good book but I’ve never been so engaged in a scripted audio series. I think a major reason why I was so invested and am supportive of the project is because it is not entirely a fictional project and a little know piece of American history. Bronzeville was an actual African American community in Chicago in the 1940’s whose money generated from the policy operation allowed the community to be self sufficient and produce schools, stores, banks and nightclubs. You can read a bit about its history and the policy operation here.
You can listen to all 10 episodes of season 1 here. Hopefully the cast is hard at work and gearing up for season 2!
A friend of mine put me onto “There Goes The Neighborhood” as they covered gentrification in East New York Brooklyn. Being from Brooklyn and witnessing its gentrification first hand, I was all in. The series talked to both local residents directly effected by new city plans and the infiltrating house flippers. I devoured every episode and eagerly awaited a new season to be posted. I had hoped the series would tackle another section of Brooklyn but they are instead taking the series to the West coast to discuss gentrification in Los Angeles. If the upcoming L.A. version is as good as the B.K. version, we’re all in for an eye opening treat.
I’m taking it back, way back! 10 years or so ago I created The B Side Show Podcast. The idea began with my frustration while a student at CSB (great school) with traditional FM radio and its limitations. The same songs being played every hour, the same dry talk breaks, interviews with artists who weren’t saying much with their music or in their interviews and hosts who didn’t ask the thought provoking questions that I thought should have been asked OR discussing topics that I felt were important enough for some air time. Back then, no one knew what a podcast was. People were still beginning to understand and accept the concept of satellite radio and paying for exclusive radio content so the idea of an online radio show kept many scratching their heads. Now, everyone and they mama has a podcast. I noticed the change in tide and began seeing the over saturation of the podcast platform early on, right around the time that I began expanding my brand and began falling in love with photography and video productions. By the time my last show aired, there were new podcasts by big named celebrities and public figures popping up weekly and the concept of playing music from artists not heard on traditional radio was something that had made its way into the mainstream. In short, everyone was doing it. I decided to cease production of the show (better to end on top) and rebrand the idea of the show to focus on my photography and visual arts. Thus thebsideshow.com became shavonmeyers.com and my popular podcast episodes remained idle on various external drives.
(Me at CSB as a student working on The B Side Show)
I recently started thinking about The B Side Show and how FIYAH it was (fire emoji). I will pat myself all the way on the back because I was a one woman band. I filled the role of creator, host, producer, engineer, editor, talent relations etc. I was the show! I contacted and interviewed every artist on the show, created every playlist, recorded every interview with the artists, held down the website and posted every edition of the show myself. I did all of that and promoted the show without any type of machine behind me. I managed to gain listeners across the country AND globe. People as far as Africa, Alaska and Asia have heard my voice via The B Side Show and for that I am forever grateful. Again, I have to stress, this was 10 years ago when it wasn’t as easy as it is now. There was a lot to learn but I managed to do it and put together some amazing radio content. Content so dope that the shows have a fantastic shelf life, which brings me to now: I’m posting old episodes of my show for those who have never heard it AND for the overnight “radio hosts” that pop up daily…because, levels. I also had a full time radio job at Sirius XM which kept me on my toes and my skills sharp because I worked on live radio broadcasts everyday. I don’t know who in the terrestrial FM radio world besides talk radio shows actually do FULL LIVE radio broadcasts everyday but being in that environment made me the radio beast that I became. So here we are. Me with tons of content a decade later and a platform to share it. I’m unlocking the vault and rereleasing some of my old shows for the next few months or until I get tired of hearing myself again. The first oldie but goodie comes at a perfect time. The year is 2007 and I decided to tackle the gay marriage conversation on my 8th show. MY 8TH SHOW EVER, lol. I went straight for the jugular clearly and despite the freedom of shows today, back then no one was really talking about these topics while playing “B Side” songs and songs from newer artists. The topic of gay marriage was quite controversial then, even our beloved President Obama at the time did not fully support it so my views were probably considered a little on the radical side since most people were not willing to say out loud on a public platform that they supported gay marriages. Other than the somewhat dated material, the show still sounds amazing technically, playlist is still fresh and I think I did a damn good job for it being my 8th completed show. Listen below and you be the judge!
Just in time for Pride month I present: The B Side Show #8 “Gay Marriages” Air Date: Winter 2007.
I don’t claim to keep up with any of the music that the young folk are bumping, at least not the rap music. I couldn’t tell you who Lil Uzi Vert is, what Lil Yachy sings (raps…whatever) or what Future or Migos latest hits are and I’m OKAY with that. It’s not for me, that is until I’ve had a few drinks or am at a club listening to their music at obnoxious levels because everything sounds AMAZING in the club at 2am. I do however seem to appreciate some of the r&b that’s being created by a couple of young ladies.
I recently discovered the sounds of an artist named H.E.R (twitter is good for something). What initially attracted me to the artist was the mystique of H.E.R.’s Vol. 1 ep cover, a simple silhouette of a woman against a blue background. I quickly discovered that the artwork added to the mysterious story of the woman behind it. Upon the release of her ep, her record label (RCA) sent out her promotional package with no information or photos of the artist. She dropped her ep, shook up the world and had everyone from Alicia Keys to Wyclef Jean talking about H.E.R. but no one knew who she was! Well, not exactly. A few Google searches and I found who most believe the mystery woman is *spoiler alert, this isn’t her first rodeo*. I spent the past weekend absorbing the 6 song EP and I love it! Her music is smooth, sensual and addictive. I’m no music journalist, so I’ll skip further trying to explain why I enjoy the ep, I just do. It sounds good to me and left me wanting more. Luckily, Vol. 2 is set to be released June 2nd and can be pre ordered here. Give it a listen.
Ever since I began my Tidal subscription I’ve been more open to trying new music that I probably wouldn’t have had it not been for its availability through the app. Occasionally, I make my way to the “Tidal Rising” section which features young up and coming musical talent and a young lady by the name of Zonnique caught my attention. What really caught my eye was the name of her ep: Love Jones. “What this girl know about Love Jones?” is what I was really thinking. The title alone seems like enough to generate interest from an older crowd and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. While listening, I discovered that she’s the 21 year old daughter of Tameka “Tiny” Cottle of the r&b group Xscape and step daughter of rapper T.I. Love Jones is the opposite of H.E.R.’s Vol. 1. It’s fast paced, catchy and has just the right balance of energy and melody. There’s no doubt that having the talent of her parental unit added to the sonic success of the project. After learning who she was, I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that I couldn’t get enough of the ep. Purchase or stream the project and let me know what you think. Happy listening 🙂
I’m a little tardy to the party on this one but better late than never. NAO hails from East London and might not be a new name to many but she is to me and her debut album For All We Know which dropped back in 2016 has been in heavy rotation in my household. I was first introduced to the artist, who for some reason I assumed was a band and not a solo artist, via a playlist on Tidal. NAO’s song “Girlfriend” was on the playlist and I instantly fell in love with her high pitched melodic tone. I really thought (and still do think) her voice was the product of a producer or engineer going a little too heavy on the effects, but it worked and I loved it. Whether it’s all her or a creative enhancement on her vocals, that unique sound that she seems to be well on her way to mastering is what works throughout For All We Know. Other standouts for me include Bad Blood, In The Morning, Blue Wine and (Feels Like) Perfume. As always, you be the judge and check out NAO for yourself.
This is my favorite playlist to date! Music to inspire, make you dance and keep you going. Enjoy!
Optimistic – Sounds of Blackness
Ghetto Heaven – The Family Stand
Back II Life (However Do You Want Me) – Soul II Soul
Keep on Movin’ – Soul II Soul
The Power – SNAP!
Don’t Make Me Over – Sybil
Don’t Walk Away – Jade
If You Love Me – Brownstone
Tennessee – Arrested Development
Mr. Wendal – Arrested Development
Revolution – Arrested Development
Fight The Power – Public Enemy
Finally – CeCe Peniston
Keep on Walkin’ – CeCe Peniston
Sending My Love – Zhane
Hey Mr. DJ – Zhane
Tell Me – Groove Theory
All Around The World – Lisa Stansfield
I Will Survive – Chantay Savage
People Everyday (Metamorphosis Mix) – Arrested Development
This is right on time. Give a listen to Rapsody’s latest EP “Crown” below or at iamrapsody.com
2016 has been a great year musically. Over the summer I caved in and got a Tidal subscription with my wonderful student discount (yay school) and it actually has allowed me to discover music from artists that I never even knew existed.
Most recently, I discovered Harlem rapper Dave East. I appreciate his mixtape Kairi Chanel because it’s that good ole’ New York rappity rap RAP that I’ve been missing. Never mind the almost comical fact that this is his 10th mixtape and I didn’t have a clue about this guy until a few weeks ago (I stopped keeping up with the rap Joneses a LONG time ago) or the fact that this mixtape plays like a solid debut album, but he’s gotten the attention of Mr. Illmatic himself, Nas, and is signed to his label Mass Appeal Records. That should be a solid enough co-sign to give this mixtape a listen.
Solange’s A Seat At The Table is FOR US! Seriously, just listen.
I love when clients put me on to new music! If you don’t know by now, I have a love affair with New Orleans. Everything from the people to the culture to the history to the music…I love it all! A client suggested that I listen to New Orleans native Christian Scott’s Christian aTunde Adjuah after a recent photo shoot and I was not disappointed. This isn’t his latest jazz project, this album was released in 2012 and is labeled as a 2 disc album so I am still digesting it (over 20 songs) but feel free to get lost in his many other bodies of work, you won’t be sorry.
Our President shared what will be his last summer playlist as President a few weeks ago. Someone finally decided to put the tracks together as a mixtape for our enjoyment. Yay! Listen below to the mixtape courtesy of Chi Duly and MICK.
Spotted @ Music Life Social
And for kicks, do remember…my President is BLACK!
As I enter month #2 of my Tidal subscription, I have to admit that I’ve happily consumed an enormous amount of new music in various genres. My latest gem is an artist by the name of Laura Mvula, a British soul singer whose latest album The Dreaming Room was one of the featured albums on my Tidal home page. I decided to give it a listen and was pleasantly surprised by this body of work. Check out the video for one of my favorites from the album “Overcome” featuring Nile Rodgers.