To assist musicians as they express themselves on their chosen platform, is very purpose driven. Tip of the hat to your willingness to serve those you relate so well with. You will do exceptionally well, enjoy your journey as you without doubt will uplift others! wade-bergner.com. Namaste, Wade
Freedom For Musicians is well into changing the world of “Notes”.
Seems to be an affair of the heart where you are pouring in everything you have. And the results are coming through load and crystal clear.
Amazing how proud you should be the emotions behind which are like music to my ears.
Susan Patricia Connor Lewis
Director / firstname.lastname@example.org
What an amazing site!
I love the energy of it! I am not a musician myself, but I do love music. Your site is easy to navigate and it’s easy to find everything I was looking for. The best thing is I have found some new music that I really love – the artists are amazing and I’ll be keeping a close on the updates! I look forward to checking through more of some of your amazing music. Thankyou!
Karen and Jacky
Thanks for providing a fabulous platform
As a musician myself I really love what I’m seeing here. I don’t perform professionally any more but did so for many years with my partner. These days we still write, record and play and are in the process of creating an archive website for our back catalog to live on. We were slogging away way before Facebook, Youtube and all the other social platforms existed.
A Quiet Revolution
Freedom for Musicians seems like a really innovative concept for musicians to promote and distribute their digital music. I admire the work you are doing in this industry to solve the problem of exploitation by the big labels and distributors. I look forward to seeing the success of Freedom for Musicians.
In December 2013, my dance music producer friend Andrew was riding the New York City subway when a homeless teenage guy stepped into his train car and started singing R&B. The soulful Christmas mashup so moved Andrew that at the next stop, he followed the singer off the train and offered to record him a demo for free. The kid bit, and the two became fast friends.
I thought this was one of the cooler things I’d ever heard, so I asked if I could buy them coffee and hear more about it. In our interview, Andrew and Julian discuss their chance meeting, unlikely similarities, and musical futures.
Julian Brannon (the teenage guy): Well, my goal is to be the best, so let’s just get that out there. There’s no one in the industry that looks like me or sounds like me right now, and I think they need me.
Andrew Toews (the producer): You are unflappable!
Me: Wow, quite an intro! Could we back up for a sec? How did you guys meet?
AT: Sure. It was just before Christmas last year. I was on the train, and Julian got on and introduced himself and started singing sort of a holiday medley, in an R&B, soul style. I think it was: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and…
JB: And “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.
AT: You can tell when someone has something to pitch you on the train and you’re like, “Dude. Seriously. Don’t.” But I liked this guy, I liked his energy. There was this spark. I actually thought, “I want to hang out with this guy!” He was making my day a better day.
JB: You know, I relate to that. I know I’m there making money, practicing, getting over stage fright. But at the end of the day, I want to make people feel better. I want them to call their mother after I sing Boyz II Men “A Song for Mama.” I know I can do that for people.
AT: So I thought about it for a second and chased him off the train. I thought he might think I was a sexual predator, or otherwise a weirdo; there was definitely fear of rejection in the air. But this was a case where my talents were uniquely suited to you — you’re not a guy with a trap kit who I liked listening to but wouldn’t know what do with in the studio. You’re a singer. So I gave him my email address. I didn’t think he’d bite.
JB: Well, most people don’t respond to me! Guess it goes both ways. I thought, “I don’t know what kind of experience this guy has, but it’s practice.”
AT: It was practice for me, too. Better than spending the afternoon drinking beers, if you ask me.
JB: It was my very first time being in a studio. By the way, your studio was small! I was thinking, “This is not Cadillac Records!” But hey, this is where I’m at. I just knew I should sing into the mic. Andrew told me to just try some a cappella covers, so I did some Mario, some Adele, Guy Sebastian, and The Fray. I put it all on the Internet and it’s gotten me a couple gigs. It’s made me money! It’s badass.
AT: I didn’t want to overcommit to a bunch of studio work; didn’t want to have to tune things later. We’re selling his voice, after all, so we just went for it straight up. We kept the imperfections.
JB: I wanted to keep the personality in it as well. I put some new runs in the songs, which were great, I thought.
AT: I liked when I asked you who you listen to and the first person you said was Adele. She’s one of the only people on the radio now who doesn’t have Auto-Tune on her voice.
JB: Yeah, her and Beyonce: who won seven Grammys and who won six? Know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, raw talent will always win out over good looks.
Me: Can you rewind a bit, Julian, and tell me your backstory?
JB: Sure. I’m from Houston. I used to weigh 300 pounds. I came to New York to sing. I’m a good singer and I can easily act, but I didn’t want to do Broadway. I wanted to be a real artist, go solo. My friends would do talent shows, and I’d say, “Okay, that’s cool — you do you, but I’ma do me.” Don’t get me wrong — musical theater moves people, too. But every note is perfect; there’s no life, no meat. That’s why I like R&B, soul… That music knows how to make people feel things.
I also wanted to get a better education, be with like-minded people, live at a fast pace, not have a car… And when I came here, I sure got all of that! But I also experienced what I would call… a graceful fall.
Long story short, I enrolled in Pace University in 2012, and the classes were easy enough — except algebra; I’ve never been a math whiz — and I was able to network a lot there. But I had to leave prematurely when I couldn’t get enough loans. I even dressed up in a suit one day and canvassed Wall Street to ask people for loans — nothing!
So I needed something, and I got this crazy pyramid scheme direct marketing job right away. I became the number one sales rep in no time. I was on fire, I had no choice. I have many talents besides singing — I’m good at sales, drawing, art. If I tapped into any art, I could master it, but music is what I care about.
Am I talking too fast? No? Okay.
So when I got kicked out of the dorm, I got into a cab and went to a hostel. I told FEMA my house got blown away in a storm so they’d pay me! Then I moved into an apartment in Harlem, where I was suddenly partying with adults, people age 25 to 45, and some of them were very wealthy. Then my company wanted me to open their new office in Texas, so I moved back there to do that. But there was some shadiness, some managerial shadiness, and suddenly my paychecks were much smaller.
So I moved back to New York again to get away from all that, but I was super broke. I stayed with friends for a few months, but wound up in a shelter. It’s a shelter right in the middle of NYC, though! And it keeps me not feeling homeless. It’s not an apartment; it’s a shared room and bathroom. And I’m choosy about who I associate with there — it is a shelter, mind you. If I get signed or put into a financial place where I can afford it, sure, I’ll move out. But other than that, it’s fine; it works.
Anyway, I found I could make more money singing on the train than working at Bill’s Burger. $50 an hour! Your minimum wage for a day is what I can make in an hour! So I was doing that a lot toward the end of last year, and I got a lot of attention from people on the train — producers, etc. I was auditioning for showcases and all that. I’m actually going to an audition right after this, and I’m doing Amateur Night At the Apollo this coming week.
I surround myself with people who are going to help me get where I need to get. It’s all about progressing. We know it will take hard work to live a privileged life, and we can be an inspiration to each other.
But here’s the thing: when you hit rock bottom — when no one’s answering your calls, when no one will let you sleep on their couch — you realize what you still have to offer. When I was singing on the train, I was thinking, “This is all I have.” But that was a good thing. That’s when I realized that’s what I really have to give in this life.
Plus, when I get rejected, it’s a positive thing, because when I get big, that’s one more person who’s going to be like, “Damn! I missed that one.”
Me: Does your family worry about you?
JB: Family? My mother, yes, it stresses her out. She’s stressed out to the max.
AT: I can imagine!
JB: But I tell her that I’m a survivor, and that I survive with dignity. It’s a struggle. But I try to do it with dignity — ask don’t steal.
AT: Reminds me of conversations I had with my mom when I was around your age — 18 or 20. I moved to L.A. with no plan. I got kicked out of a warehouse squat; was sleeping on roofs… My mom was living overseas and I called her and said, “Okay, I’m sleeping on rooftops, but I have a job, I have a car. Sure, I’m spending a lot of time in McDonald’s bathrooms scrubbing my armpits, but I’m not a scumbag and I’m not on drugs. I could do something different, but this is what I’m doing right now. I’m keeping it together.”
JB: One time my mom got a call from the police because someone found my wallet. She thought I had been killed, murdered, stabbed… But I was just at work. At the end of the day, my mother is my best friend, she supports me.
I’ve never been in love, or anything like that. I’ve been alone all my life. Not that I haven’t been close to people or they haven’t showed me love, but not intimately.
Me: Wow. Drew, would you record another singer like this?
AT: Yeah. Not right now because I’m super busy and I don’t have a studio outside my house anymore, but in theory sure. Then, if I had the time and the opportunity showed itself.
I tend to be a fearful guy. I always make myself do stuff, but it never comes easy. So this was good practice presenting to people. You don’t have to be the best in the world. I don’t want to say, “If I’m not going to be Beyonce, I’ll just quit.” That’s not the attitude I want to have.
JB: You learn certain things in life. I believe in the law of averages. No matter what you try to do, it will happen — it’s just a matter of time. If you shop yourself to 1,000 people, one of them will like you. Life is a numbers game. I’m just waiting for the date. I’m trying to set up a foundation to build upon. I want to go a record label and say, “This is what I got; what can you do for me?”
AT: It’s a big world, and it does take a certain brashness. Fear of failure is rampant, so to see someone who’s willing to rock a crowd is really good. I became a producer in part because I can be a part of that balls-out performance experience while still having a measure of control.
JB: I want to open up my own studio one day. Then I want to be a pastor in my later years. I can relate to a lot of people, I can elevate them.
AT: You grew up singing in church, right?
JB: A little bit. But my mother didn’t take me to church that much.
[I zoned out for a minute here and stopped taking notes.]
JB: Yeah, drinking. The struggle is so real; we all have to cope. But I try not to drink too much. I mean, I smoke weed. But at the end of the day, I do what I do because it’s artistically helpful.
AT: Oh man — you burn? We could have burned!
JB: We could have burned?? If we could have burned, we would have been burnin’!
AT: We need to do a follow-up session.
I asked Andrew and Julian what they’ve been doing since our interview last winter. Here’s what they said:
Andrew: “Drew has been keeping the disco fires burning at his new home studio in Bed-Stuy. He stays DJing dance parties, producing original material for a handful of artists, cranking out edits and remixes, and building a small sound design and production business. He’s also offering private music production lessons, with an emphasis on Ableton Live techniques and workflow.” Get at him via fakemoneynyc.com or drewjoy.com.
Julian: “I’ve been working in music. Planning to work with a close friend to produce our first project for my EP. Also starting a wedding singing group to support the financial aspect of producing an EP and a potential album come this time next year. I’m still living in Hell’s Kitchen saving up to move. I am currently working as a barista at FIKA in Chelsea. Great filler job while I focus on my real dream.”
Born in a notebook and shared with the world. Eva & The Perrin Fontanas are an uplifting mix of soul, singer songwriter and funk deeply rooted in lyricism. Designed to make you feel good and engage your mind.
If anything, though, the BPI is actually underplaying the success of streaming, as it relies on data from the Official Charts Company, which does not currently count music played on YouTube towards its figures.
It has been estimated that if YouTube was included, the number of streams accessed by music fans in the UK would double.
Most-streamed artists of 2017
1) Ed Sheeran
3) Little Mix
5) The Weeknd
6) Calvin Harris
8) Kendrick Lamar
10) Post Malone
Overall, sales of music generated £1.2 billion for the UK economy last year, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association.
At the opposite end of the technological scale, sales of vinyl continued to grow, with 4.1 million LPs purchased in 2017.
Again, Ed Sheeran was the most popular artist on the format – closely followed by Liam Gallagher and Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, which featured in the top five vinyl albums for the third year in a row.
CD sales down
However, vinyl only accounts for 3% of the overall music market, and its success is in stark contrast to the decline in CDs and downloads.
CD sales, which peaked at 162.4 million in 2004, now languish at 41.6 million.
Digital downloads are also on the way out, with just 13.8 million albums bought on stores like iTunes and Amazon last year, a drop of 23%.
Overall, music consumption was up by 8.7% – the fastest rise since 1998.
Sales and streams contributed £1.2 billion to the UK economy, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).
Apart from Sheeran, the UK’s biggest artists included Rag N Bone Man, whose album Human shifted more than 885,000 copies by the end of the year.
Little Mix’s Glory Days continued to sell well, while Pink and Drake were the best-selling international artists.
It was also a better year for new artists after a dismal 2016, where only one British debut album (Bradley Walsh’s Chasing Dreams) went gold.
2017 saw the likes of Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Harry Styles and J Hus achieve the 100,000 sales milestone.
Top 10 albums of 2017 (combined sales and streams)
Juvinile – Closer [Music Video] please [YOUTUBE LINK https://youtu.be/yeal515xnAk] Watch Like Comment & Share also @/Tag 2 or more People in the comment section that may like it 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥[FREE DOWNLOAD LINK SOUNDCLOUD https://soundcloud.com/klpjuvinile/closer]
“The result of the black-pop continuum, jazz and soul and hip-hop and R&B, slow-cooked for more than 50 years.”
(I’m actually only 39 so that’s technically impossible, but thanks guys!)
I have made a career out of experimentation, freely embracing or discarding sounds, traditions and expectations. I learned from jazz legends like Junior Mance, Chico Hamilton and McCoy Tyner and then branched out to work with artists as diverse as Flying Lotus, Goldie and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Now, a decade after my debut album “The Dreamer” was released people are wondering, “Who is the real José James?”
Here’s the truth: It’s me. It’s all me. Everything that I’ve written, sung, recorded, produced and conceived is from me. No one put a gun to my head or a piece of paper in front of me and said, “Son, this’ll make you famous,” or, “Do this OR ELSE!”
I know you might have your favorites. I have mine, too. While You Were Sleeping is the closest to my heart. That was the most “José James” you’re gonna get. I produced, conceived and wrote that album along with a genius all-star cast and I’m proud of that one. Yes, it was moody. Yes, it’s kind of dark. I needed an outlet from the hell of going through a divorce and that’s what came out.
In 2011 I decided to take artistic control of my life. I had no label, no management, no idea of home. I had lived as an adult in both London and New York and the only home I knew was the road. My life is the stage. I invested my savings in a session with Pino Palladino, Chris Dave and Robert Glasper. With Russ Elevado engineering. Bad boiz. We recorded at the now defunct Magic Shop NYC (RIP!!!!! All cozy condos now!! Wow, gentrification is ruining NY, London and every culture mecca the world has. But I digress).I also did a session with the amazing Hindi Zahra in Paris, again on my own dime, without a label.
I took the mixes to Don Was, the new president of Blue Note Records, and I became his first signee (thanks, Don!). It was and is an honor to be on such a legendary music label. I went straight back into the studio, this time working with producer Brian Bender to create my first Blue Note album, “No Beginning No End.”
This was 2011 still. I was so happy and in love it was disgusting. That’s what you hear in songs like “Come to My Door,” “Trouble” and “Do You Feel.” Pure optimism. I know that’s why my fans want me to keep making albums like that. Everyone does. I want Obama back in the White House and the UK to have voted “remain,” but life moves on. I moved on. We all moved on. There was no way, no possibility, no chance that I would be able to make that album again. It was a moment, an artistic moment. A beautiful moment, and I cherish that moment, but that moment is gone.
Still with me? This is the un-fun part, the bad stuff, the mess that no one talks about unless you’re famous and you go on Oprah. I’m not famous and I didn’t go on Oprah. Instead I went through one of the most painful experiences a human being can have, my divorce. I’m getting over it now 4 years later, thus the explanation. I can’t go back y’all, but you deserve to know why.
At some point in my career, I became known for my blend of jazz, R&B and hip-hop. I enjoyed the press and the love. “The return of jazz.” All that shit. I even coined the description “The jazz singer for the hip-hop generation.” I was that. I was. But I’m not anymore.
A lot of things happened, some simple, some complex. Mostly I realized that although the art form of jazz — the only true original American art form??!! — is open to endless variation, study and exploration, the jazz industry is not. The collection of managers, promoters, agents, lawyers, labels, artistic directors, impresarios, collectors and producers. The people that exist between the artists, the musicians and their fans.
Someday I will write a book that will include all the racist and sexist things I have felt, heard and seen in the industry, but not today. But believe me that stuff pushes one roughly towards a door marked “jaded.” I have not yet opened the door, but I know its color, shape and size. My hand has rested on the doorknob, and I know all too well what waits on the other side. Misery. Gloom. Sadness. Depression. Hatred. Anger. Failure. We have all seen artists that we cherish, love and adore walk through that door. I don’t want to be one of them.
Where does that leave my fans? A lot of you feel as though you know the “real” José James. There he is, on The Dreamer. No, he’s the crooner singing jazz in a tux in the 50 Shades Darker film. Nope!! He’s that bad mf who collaborated with Gilles Peterson and Moodymann and Taylor McFerrin and only exists on vinyl!!! (180 gram, if you please). Wrong again, he’s the next step in post jazz neo-soul with No Beginning No End! Making jazz cool again with no solos and Emily King features! Hmm he’s definitely not the tortured guy trying to sing indie rock. Or trap. Or whatever goddam future R&B shit he’s trying to ruin his God-given voice on these days (yeah I know some of you guys didn’t dig LIATOM, let’s all move on shall we?).
Where does this leave me? Who is José James?
Is he the awkward mixed race/biracial kid that grew up in the white, blue-collar NE Minneapolis 80’s where everyone seemed to hate him? Yes. Is he the kid who loved jazz because his dad did, made his daddy’s dreams his own to try to get attention and then surpassed him? Hell yeah. Is he the Black kid who was raised white so he didn’t fit in anywhere but loved everything and all music? Does he see himself in all others? Is he defined by an absence, by not belonging? Did he hate school and all that it stood for (including music school)? Love the nightlife and clubs? Was he a genius giant fuckup until he wrote “The Dreamer” at age 27?
Still with me? What if anything does this have to do with jazz, with R&B and with Black culture? Everything, everything, everything. Train tracks and guitars. Sirens and red and blue lights. Getting pulled over for a violent frisk and grope by Minneapolis’ finest. Prince and Michael Jackson dying of overdoses. My dreams expressed in a Thelonious Monk solo. In Eric Dolphy’s horn. In Coltrane’s search. In Miles’ bloody collar. In Nat Cole’s smile. In Billie’s cry. Why not Dead Prez? OutKast? Nirvana? Rage Against the Machine? Bjork? Maria Callas? Joni Mitchell? Sufjan Stevens? Baden Powell? SZA? Kehlani? Drake, Snoop, Pac, Digable Planets, Al Green, Marvin, Baldwin, Twain, Whitman and Toni Morrison?
“Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world”
I’m not turning my back on jazz. I am jazz. I am the son of a jazz musician. How fucking dare you. I will always be the music, which has existed since before we had words, definitions, cages for it. I have given my life, my heart, my everything to the stage and to the One. Amen.
And now I want to go home y’all. No not America, land of the greed and home of the slave. I was born here, probably gon’ die here (with a song on my lips — cue violins!).
“Sittin’ in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had.”
I can’t go back and neither can you, but we can go forward, together. That is my wish for us. One family, a human family. Naive definitely, but I’d rather believe in a dream that includes all.
I’m sorry if I confused you, misled you, perplexed you or disappointed you with my music. I assure you I had (and have!) the best intentions. But I hear you. “Pick a gottdam lane, shit!!” Lmao. It’s true though, you’re entitled to that. I hear you.
So I offer, in the spirit of brotherhood, of sisterhood, the music of Bill Withers. A music of pride, of community. Of Grandma’s Hands, unwed mothers, apple cores and a piece ‘a candy. Of overcoming discrimination, obstacles, boundaries. A music of love and of friendship.
Shit is real right now. So real. We are in trouble and we need to unite to save ourselves and save the planet. We need to believe women and people of color. We need to listen and be honest with ourselves and with each other. We need to understand how our words and our actions impact the world that we live in and are creating/destroying. We need to value each other’s voices and stories.
I thank you for riding with me this far. I hope I sang a song or two that made you laugh, cry, think, shout, feel and dance in the last ten years. Thank you for the beautiful nights and stages in the last decade. The full houses, empty houses, walkouts and standing ovations. For everything. I love you and I love music. Now let’s go make this world a better place, together.
By the sound of them, you would have thought Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings started making funk-threaded soul music together in the 1960s. Few devotedly retro acts were as convincing. Few singers as skilled as Sharon Jones at stuffing notes with ache and meaning would be willing to invest in a sound so fully occupied by the likes of Bettye LaVette and Tina Turner in the Ike years, too.
But what Jones brought to the funkified table had legs of its own — eight of them, to be exact — and they belonged to Binky Griptite, Bugaloo Velez, Homer Steinweiss, and Dave Guy — her Dap-Kings.
Jones, like James Brown, was born in Augusta, Georgia; there she sang in her church choir, and from fellow parishioners picked up the kind of back-patting she needed to convince her to go mainstream. As a teenager, she moved with her family to Brooklyn, where she immersed herself in 1970s disco and funk with an eye toward cutting a record of her own.
Instead, studios came calling and with them steady work — by her twenties, Jones was turning in backup vocals for gospel, soul, disco, and blues artists, most of it uncredited. In the ’80s, however, Jones’ sound was deemed unfashionable, and instead of pushing ahead with her soul diva’s dream she went back to church singing. She also took a job as a corrections officer at New York’s Rikers Island.
It wouldn’t be until 1996 that Desco Records would rediscover Jones’ sweat-basted, lived-in talent. With that label’s house band, the Soul Providers, Jones released several singles in the late ’90s; their warmth and genuineness propelled the act across the Atlantic, and Jones picked up a moniker — the queen of funk — that stuck.
Jones released her first full-length with the Dap-Kings, Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, after signing with Daptone Records in 2002. Years of touring behind it, as well as cutting singles with other artists (including Greyboy) ensued. In 2005, Jones re-teamed with the Dap-Kings for the winking groovefest that is Naturally, following it up two years later with 100 Days, 100 Nights. Jones also had a bit part in The Great Debaters as the singer Lila. A new studio effort, I Learned the Hard Way, appeared in 2010.
In 2013, Jones revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer — initially in the bile ducts, and later stage two pancreatic cancer — but she continued to perform as often as her therapy schedule would permit, sometimes appearing on-stage with a bald head after chemotherapy caused her hair to fall out.
In late 2013, Jones was well enough to complete work on the next Dap-Kings album, and Give the People What They Want appeared in 2014. Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple premiered a film about the vocalist, Miss Sharon Jones!, at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; Jones was in attendance for the debut screening, and revealed that her cancer had returned but defiantly added, “I’m gonna keep fighting, we got a long way to go.” Fittingly, the determined Jones and the Dap-Kings returned in October 2015 with a collection of Christmas and Hanukkah tunes titled It’s a Holiday Soul Party.
As the film Miss Sharon Jones! was poised to go into theatrical release, in August 2016 Daptone Records released an original soundtrack album. The Miss Sharon Jones! album featured a selection of Jones’ most memorable performances along with a new track, the autobiographical “I’m Still Here.” Sadly, however, she would lose her valiant battle with cancer, which took her life, at age 60, in November of that year. Shortly before her death, Jones completed vocals for a final album with the Dap-Kings. That album, Soul of a Woman, was released in November 2017, a year after her death. ~ Tammy La Gorce
Jj Appleby brings us his great new album ‘Sweetest Thing’. The album includes a few covers with Jj’s reggae flavour as well as some of his original music. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face, ‘Sweetest Thing’ will transport you to the sunny Caribbean.