*“I needed to hear some music on the radio with real passion,” said R&B’s Eric Benet about his latest CD project “Lost in Time” (Reprise). “Musicianship and live authentic realism…my ears was not hearing that – not saying it wasn’t good music out there – but this CD is recorded live…with live strings…we used as little of modern technology (as possible).”

Eric Benet’s latest CD project debuted on the Billboard Charts at #11 and the single, “Sometimes I Cry,” debuted at #44. The official music video to the single has reach almost 350,000 views in two months.

Benet (44) executively produced “Lost in Time” and co-wrote/co-produced each song with his cousin George Nash, Jr., who was once in a group with Eric – along with Eric’s sister Lisa – called Benet in 1992. In 1993 he became a single father to his daughter born in 1992, after the tragic death of his daughters’ mother. A year later – in 1994 – he signed with Warner Bros Records and released a solo project, “True to Myself,” in 1996.

In 1999 he released “A Day in the Life” which garnered the hit single “Spend My Life” featuring Tamia. Eric received a Grammy Award nomination for that single and the CD. In 2005 he released “Hurricane” and by 2008 “Love and Life” was released garnering the #1 Adult R&B Song “You’re the Only One.”

If passion is what Eric wants to hear his first single “Sometimes I Cry,” one of my favorite cuts on the project, certainly provokes that feeling.

“I hope that and want a powerful reminder to the record companies and radio that people are hungry for real music,” Benet said this was his hope of what the project will produce from those that listen to it. “Real singers, real artists and craftsmanship – not to slight the auto-tune because that’s an art form too.”

Well I think it was very crafty how he and Nash combined the sounds of the 70s with the contemporary R&B (and Pop) sounds of today. I can clearly hear the influence of The Stylistics in several of the songs. Though the entire album is a treasure because of selections like “Feel Good” with Faith Evans and “Good Life” featuring Ledisi, my favorite cuts on the CD include – aside from the hit single – ”Never Want to Live Without You” because it’s reminiscent of the Stylistics’ “Betcha By Golly Wow” hit and it’s a sweet and honest confession of a bad move; “Always a Reason” has a 70s vibe too and Eric’s tenor capabilities is just amazing; “Paid,” featuring Eddie LaVert, took me back to the O’Jay’s vibe, and “Summer Love” an R&B/Pop selection featuring Eric’s daughter India – how sweet – she does a wonderful job harmonizing with her father.

“India is very talent,” Eric told me about his daughters’ skills. “She is a singer and songwriter…she is developing her own sound and direction.”

For more on Eric Benet log onto his website at www.EricBenet.net or you can follow him at www.twitter.com/ericbenet.

BET’s Celebration of Gospel, an extravaganza of Praise & Worship performances, to air January 30, 2011

 

Howard Hewitt on BET Celebration of Gospel red carpet arriving for his performance - photo credit Eunice Moseley

 

I was invited to cover the BET Celebration of Gospel, to air January 30, 2011, that started with an early-morning Prayer Breakfast where Dr. Bobby Jones and Dr. Jamal Bryant prayed briefly. Then it ended with the red carpet arrivals and the show which attracted enough people to fill The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles and form a line of anxiously – standing room only – hopeful attendees three blocks long.

There were over 22 artists there (Gospel and secular) to perform during the BET event such as Chaka Khan, Dr. Bobby Jones, Howard Hewitt, Israel Houghton, James Fortune, Kim Burrell, Smokie Norful and Mary Mary. The list just goes on and one with performances by Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin, El DeBarge, Donnie McClurkin, Beverly Crawford, Rance Allen Group, Kathy Taylor, Vashawn Mitchell and its all hosted, again this year, by the very funny Steve Harvey. It even has Whitney Houston surprising everyone when she appeared on stage to perform.

In between performances you will get encouraging words from the likes of Bishop T.D. Jakes, Angela Bassett, Hill Harper and Keith David.

“You’ll only be lonely at the top if you don’t take nobody with you,” Dr. Bobby Jones pointed out at the Prayer Breakfast.

If watching over 22 major artists perform with one thing in mind – praising God precious name – don’t uplift, inspirit or comfort you – I don’t know what will. So if you are ready to be inspired tune into BET’s Celebration of Gospel January 30, 2011. For more information on BET or the event log onto www.BET.net.

Trueful’s promo-tour takes him along the west coast corridor, stops by Club Aurora in Studio City

 

Trueful and the French Royalty Dancers - photo credit Eunice Moseley

 

I stop by one of the many performances of Trueful, R&B’s new singing/songwriting sensation, because I just love to see him perform – especially with his French Royalty Dancers. This particular performance was at Club Aurora in Studio City, part of his promo-tour to support his latest project “Taste of Class” (French Royalty Entertainment).

As usually the crowd seemed to be more excited about Trueful’s performance than anyone else – as was I was. We knew he was going to be entertaining, because this boy always puts his “all” into his performances – a true professional.

Trueful, who recently celebrated the release of his sophomore project with a CD release concert that featured platinum acts Dru Hill and H-Town, performed three selections from his CD that night:“Feeling You,” “Beast,” and “My Baby.”

Aside from his music, Trueful is also an actor – his latest role is in the Screen Gem film Easy A. For more information on performance dates or the CD log onto his www.myspace.com/BeTrueful or follow him at www.facebook.com/TruefulFrench.