*Sheryl Lee Ralph is on a steady roll with her annual World AIDS Day event – DIVAS Simply Singing!.
Each year the singer and former “Dreamgirls” star has wowed audiences and supporters with a phenomenal musical show and awards ceremony; to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
This year’s line up includes Oleta Adams, Faith Evans, A’ngela Winbush, Tramaine Hawkins, Lalah Hathaway, Jennifer Lewis, Kristinia DeBarge, and the Hill Sisters.
A special note about all of this year’s participants is that everyone has been impacted by HIV/AIDS in some way.
DIVAS Simply Singing! is an annual benefit concert, produced in conjunction with The DIVA Foundation to help raise money and awareness about HIV/AIDS.
DIVAS Simply Singing! is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit concert in the country, raising awareness and erasing stigma, one song at a time, to help and assist AIDS organizations in Los Angeles and around the world.
The 22nd annual DIVAS Simply Singing! will take place on Dec. 1 at Club Nokia L.A. LIVE at 7:30 p.m.
Musical visionary Lonny Bereal launches his own Qubeey channel
*You may not know his name yet, but you are, no doubt, well versed in his music! If you know Jamie Foxx’s “Love Brings Change,” you know Lonny Bereal.
If you know Keisha Cole’s “Thought You Should Know,” you know Lonny Bereal. If you’ve ever heard the Chris Brown joints “Wet the Bed,” featuring Ludacris,” “Transform Ya” and “Strip,” then you know Lonny Bereal.
As a musical visionary with a knack for nurturing talent, this singer/songwriter/producer is the man behind the music of many of the industry’s most brilliant stars.
It’s no surprise that Bereal sits squarely at the intersection where music and entertainment meet technology. He was one of the first artists to have his own Qubeey channel, a customized micro-site featuring exclusive photos, behind-the-scenes footage, music videos and more. Visit www.qubeey.com/lonnybereal.
The Lonny Bereal Qubeey channel also includes juicy, personal, insider information on the vocalist and industry associates, plus slammin’ hot videos like his sexy and seductive “Favor,” a duet with Kelly Rowland, with some of the most provocative dancers in the musical art form. Your VIP access is granted at www.qubeey.com/lonnybereal.
Joseph Alonzo Bereal, Jr., aka Lonny, always knew he was born to make music. He got his break at the tender age of 16 singing background for R&B recording artists K-Ci & JoJo. More background gigs for artists like Ruben Studdard, Teddy Riley, Brandy and Monica followed. However, before long, his penchant for songwriting put him right out front. Bereal has penned more than 65 songs, several of which have become number one hits for some of the biggest names in music.
He moved easily from songwriter to songwriter/producer, again, turning out hit after multi-platinum hit. In 2011 he launched his solo recording career, and earlier this year, dropped his first album, “The Love Train,” to rave reviews and critical applause. In addition to “Favor,” the album includes hit single “Make You Mine.”
A 2012 Grammy ® certificate winner, Bereal is also a five-time Grammy nominee and a two-time ASCAP winner! He has hit twice on the #1 Billboard charts with “Please Don’t Go” by Tank and “Under” by Pleasure P. Bereal’s music has also been included in several top film soundtracks including “The Seat Filler,” “Wifey,” and the critically-acclaimed Lebron James documentary “More Than a Game.” He earned an Emmy nomination for music he created for the HBO telefilm “Life Support,” and has contributed songs to Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns” and BET’s top-rated show, “The Game.” Bereal has come from the background and stepped into the limelight where his star continues to shine bright.
*Veteran R&B artist Gary Taylor is stepping his game up with his new website morningcrew.com. The moniker represents an inimitable level of R&B artistry that has long been supported with unflinching passion by a global fan base and has fans who’s numbers are growing in 19 different countries in Africa through the release of his product on Sony Records South Africa.
Taylor is one of those unforgettable artists who have worked with the likes of Anita Baker, the Whispers, and singer Vanessa Williams. But he’s a versatile guy and has dabbled in some of that neo soul with artists like Lalah Hathaway and Hip Hop artists like A Tribe Called Quest.
He’s definitely grown as a producer, but his distinct singing style and velvety voice set him apart from the rest. Some of his most notable tracks include “Blind To It All,” “Flirting With An Angel,” and “Woman of Color.”
Taylor’s current songwriting efforts have paired him with Najee (“Moon Over Carolina”), and co-writing with his good friend Will Downing (“Something Special”).
“Co-writing is something I had never done successfully until hooking up with friends like Doc Powell and Will Downing. I’ve always chosen to write alone because my lyrical thinking is a bit outside the box”, says the singer/writer/producer.
Check out Gary’s website for much more information, including mp3s, videos and contact information.
The live concert taping featured appearances by R&B veteran Jody Watley (who appears on “Bleuphoria” track “Ghost”); soul diva Lalah Hathaway (who appears on “Bleuphoria” track “6AM”) and Shanice, who’s featured on the CD’s new single “Crazy” alongside Faith Evans.
“Crazy,” by the way, is the second single from Patterson’s critically acclaimed new CD and is already receiving radio play at Urban Radio, Urban Adult Contemporary and XM/Sirius Satellite radio stations.
Also worthy of attention are the house mixes of “6 a.m.” produced by multiple Grammy-award winning producer and DJ Steve “Silk” Hurley. In fact, if you scroll down, you can watch Rahsaan and crew perform and have big fun with the catchy ditty.
Rahsaan Patterson performs the song “Ghost” with Jody Watley in a live performance during the DVD taping.
Rahsaan Patterson (center) poses alongside Jody Watley, Shanice, Lalah Hathaway and video director Kevin Swain.
Rahsaan Patterson is backed by three singers and his live band while performing his single '6AM.'
It pays homage to an immeasurably talented father and nods sweetly to an equally talented, loving and resilient mother. It is a deeply passionate conversation between the “first daughter of soul” and her devoted admirers who still believe that a soundtrack for real love requires real music.
With enchanting melodies and deep, rich tones, Hathaway’s brand new, highly anticipated album takes us back to a time where authentic music was the only music that mattered. From the evocatively delicious reboot of “I’m Coming Back” featuring Rachelle Ferrell to the R&B dance track “If You Want To”, this album delivers. It’s fresh, hip and downright sexy.
In between giving a powerhouse performance on Sirius Radio’s Heart & Soul with Cayman Kelly and patiently waiting to take the stage at a sold-out concert at the Birchmere dinner theater (in Northern Virginia), I had a chance to chat with Lalah about her new album, her “private” life and how, with a little help from twitter, she’s finally taking her undeniable place among the musical stars.
Currently on an aggressive tour that has her “spent like spare change”, I asked Lalah how important it was for her fans to experience her live show and musicianship.
“It’s 100% important” says Lalah. “I try to translate what I do onto records but it can never really translate until I do a live record. I think the energy live … I can’t explain what it is but there is a magic live. A little piece of something that somebody gives you can affect the way you say something. It’s a conversation that can’t be had other than in that moment.”
It’s that obvious appreciation for performing that has kept her fans eagerly awaiting her releases and faithfully attending her shows. “This album feels like a celebration” I tell her.
“It is that,” she responds. “You change and you grow. You wear jeans and t-shirts for a bunch of days and then you decide to put some shoes on. That’s all; I just put some shoes on.”
Lalah is considered to be among a small, elite class of artists with phenomenal talent, a loyal fan base and respectable record sales, but despite a 2010 Grammy nomination and a legendary last name, has somehow managed to stay inches below the mainstream success radar. She speaks candidly about the exposure that’s eluded her for so long.
“I really do want the chance at that really big commercial success,” Lalah confesses. “It doesn’t run my life and has less to do with money and more about exposure. I feel like if a million people could see what I did, maybe half of them would like it or a third”.
Often referred to as one of the most underrated singers by fans, peers and industry heavyweights, Lalah acknowledges their nods of approval, but doesn’t necessarily take ownership of the underrated label.
“I feel that people want me to win,” she states matter-of-factly. “I feel highly rated among people that rate me, but in the same way, I feel like an underdog. It’s interesting to be one of the fastest runners and you can’t get in the race.”
The notion that an artist as profoundly talented as Lalah has to campaign to become a larger part of the entertainment landscape is unbelievable. It’s like trying to sell a million dollars to a poor person – one would think it wouldn’t be that difficult. Yet, even with 21 solid years as an artist, Lalah isn’t complacent when it comes to her promotional grind. No stranger to technology, this self-proclaimed “gadget girl” cites social networking as an invaluable tool to promote her work, connect with fans and keep her finger on the pulse of what’s real in the industry.
“I have more momentum and support than I ever have,” she says while multi-tasking on her iPad. “It’s probably always been there but now I have the tool – social networking tools.” She added “I can see and hear people. I have a different kind of support now.”
With “Where it all Begins” reaching #7 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and back-to-back sold out concerts, the Twitter tweets, Facebook posts and lalahhathaway.com updates are clearly hitting their mark. And self-promotion is not the only goal of this creative quadruple-threat.
“I’m just trying to figure out what all of my other skillsets are. I have a radio show on The Foxxhole on Thursdays,” she mentions casually. Lalah is a radio show host – who knew? I asked how that came about. “I said to my management that I bet I could do that and was given the opportunity to do it,” she explains, “and at first, it was going to be a tool to let people know about the record, but I’m really trying to get good at it. I have the platform to try to help people like myself.”
Lalah mentions that she plays artists like The Foreign Exchange, Rahsaan Patterson, and Arro on her show. “To have these kinds of people on the radio – there’s a huge void in the market right now. Not to begrudge anyone but there’s a whole market for people that want to know what Rachelle Ferrell is doing,” she says. “I want to know what Ledesi is doing. Where’s Caryn Wheeler or Mica Paris? [There’s] a whole market of people looking for that kind of real.” What she describes is the difference between the current definition of love music and a love of real music.
Speaking of love, how does a singer, songwriter, radio show host and Twitter queen keep her private life, well, private? “My private life is my music life. My friends and mom are on the road with me. My life is very much about my career. I’m really trying to do something right now and it’s important.” She considers that for a moment and then adds “I have a piece of me that I keep.”
That small piece aside, Lalah states that she will be making an effort to share more with her fans by shortening the time between album releases.
In the meantime, she has a music hall full of fans waiting for her. Her makeup artist arrives and the backstage pre-show activity picks up as music plays on her iPad.
I return to my seat and immediately notice the energy in the room. It’s what Lalah couldn’t describe earlier in our interview and what I still can’t describe now. But when Lalah takes the stage, she’s greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation before singing the first note. I’m reminded of a quote Lalah states whenever she’s asked about the legacy of where it all began for her.
“My hope is to continue to make timeless art for people … in a way I feel like my dad came here in part so that I could get here and I am here so that he can stay here. I was born for this.”
As Lalah sings, I watch the people in the room — some in tears, and some with hands held high in old-school church fashion and others acknowledging the presence of greatness – swaying to real soul, real music and a real woman.
Angela has written for the entertainment industry for 10 years and is passionate in her support of the Arts. As a published author, public speaker and freelance writer, she has interviewed celebrities for several online publications with articles covering film, television, politics and music. She is a member of the Organization of Black Screenwriters (OBS) and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Angela can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @angelanichelle9. “Stand Strong. Love. Dream Big”
*Lalah Hathaway is all about spreading the word about her newest album and she’s doing it big.
The self-proclaimed “gadget girl and tech junkie” launched a Facebook campaign to promote her sixth studio album, “Where It All Begins.”
She’s offering fans to share an in-app request with four friends for a chance to win an autographed CD.
Her partners in the campaign, Fairwave Media, have helped the singer create a custom application and a mobile app that allows fans to listen to a featured track, comment about it, and share it with four of their friends.
“The app was built to simply ‘incentivize’ a share. While social design is a core component of most web initiatives today and one can share just about anything, this app allows us to tailor the experience across the Facebook platform and mobile,” said Ajani Sandridge, Strategist at Fairwave Media.
Between October 25 and November 27, more than 127,000 global Facebook fans will have an opportunity to dialog around each of Hathaway’s tracks and receive a signed CD almost every 72 hours. To learn more about the “Where It All Begins” Giveaway, go to http://facebook.com/LalahHathaway or by visiting www.lalahhathaway.com on your mobile device.
By the way, if you haven’t heard any of Lalah’s new music, you are in for a treat. Here she is with some very tasty samples: