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October 29, 2010
Music Rewind: Remember This One???
UPL presents the weekly music rewind to remind us what music is all about. No fake MJ "Thriller" moment this Halloween weekend. We honor the King of Pop throughout the year! Let's stay true to the vibe of this here...now presenting Marvin Gaye live! "Got to Give It Up Pts. 1 & 2" - I dare you to stay still lol...
And I never saw this clip of Aaliyah covering this song. It's missing that uptempo vibe, but she sounds good and they superimposed Marvin into the video...
I came across this particular track by independent R&B artist Chandlar about a year ago. Please understand that indie music takes soooo much longer to break into the mainstream if it ever makes it at all. This is a great song by a great talent. This man can sang! He sounds great live and is one of very few singers who can actually sang a Prince song like "Adore" from start to finish (that includes the crazy falsetto parts).
Check out "Never Thought" below and let us know what you think!
As previously mentioned, hip-hop is not a major preference at UPL. However, we will from time to time cover something or someone in hip-hop who just cannot be ignored. Nicki Minaj cannot be ignored!
BET aired the My Mic Sounds Nice: Women in Hip-Hop special this past August, which discussed the female hip-hop movement (or lack there of). Where are they? Why are they not as prominent as they were in the '90s? Why does it take the co-sign of some male hip-hop superstar to validate the female emcee? And lastly, what is the future of female emcees in hip-hop? This latter question, of course, forced people to discuss the very eccentric Nicki Minaj and rightfully so.
Nicki Minaj represents everything that is right and wrong about hip-hop. On the right side - she is strong, lyrically talented (on some level), willing to battle any male rapper, realizes she is a female and hip-hop needs more of them, etc. On the wrong side - she has fake hair, fake personalities, and arguably a fake butt that is the reason why she has many male supporters. Nevertheless, she's succeeding and filling a void that has been vacant for over a decade. Music-wise, she is helping to redefine hip-hop. Much like Drake, Kanye and Lil Wayne, Nicki has the full respect of the streets as well as the suburbs. Her music can air on nearly every mainstream radio/video outlet whether they lean urban or pop (in other words, black or white). It's an obvious strategy and needs to be recognized as a positive thing in hip-hop.
Below is her new video for "Right Thru Me" from her Pink Friday debut album (which unfortunately has nothing to do with breast cancer awareness) to be released on November 22nd. This is a game changer and any change at this point is good for hip-hop! The acting in this video is not the best though lol...
I must admit. I didn't have much of a clue about songstress Tammi Terrell until I watched TV One's Unsung documentary special earlier this Fall. Tammi's duets with the legendary Marvin Gaye have stood the test of time and continue to be unforgettable. They had a bond vocally that is rare to find. I had no clue that she was poised to be bigger than Diana Ross. I had no clue that her real name was Thomasina Winifred Montgomery (instead of 'Thomas' as her parents originally wanted a son). I had no clue that she was so sultry and would sometimes openly use her femininity to get ahead. I had no clue that she was raped in her pre-teens and this is the point at which she became more sultry and rebellious. And I had no clue that she suffered from migraines throughout her childhood then succumb to brain cancer at the age of 24.
Well, 40 years later, Tammi Terrell: Come On and See Me - The Complete Solo Collection was released last week and represents the largest compilation of her material to date. She was much more than Marvin's duet partner. Marvin, himself, confessed that Tammi actually challenged him vocally on those recordings. Much like the precious Aaliyah, Tammi was gone far too soon.
Check out her version of Stevie Wonder's classic "All I Do (Is Think About You)"...
Prince has resurfaced with a grand announcement at a mysterious news conference held earlier today at New York's famed Apollo Theater. "Welcome 2 America" is the title of his Live Nation concert series launching this December. The concerts will feature a number of his favorite artists including Janelle Monae, Mint Condition, Maceo Parker, Cassandra Wilson, and Sheila E. He implied that he would curate these shows, but there was no guarantee. It also wasn't clear on whether Prince himself will be performing as well. Further details are supposed to be unveiled in the coming days.
The new wave of Dark-Pop is upon us and who better to guide the way than Ms. Natalia Kills? Having just completed her first full European tour with Kelis this Fall, Natalia will be touring the U.S. throughout the month of November to coincide with the premiere of her brand new video for "Mirrors" (written and directed by Ms. Kills) from her forthcoming album Perfectionist. Preview below!
Natalia Kills is a mysterious creature with a story to share through her music as well as through her films. She's creating visual art to accompany her music, which is the future of the recording business. It needs to sound good and also look especially good! You can view her Love, Kills xx saga on Youtube/Vevo. Below is episode 1 and it is indeed just the beginning!
Not Just A Band, But A NATION Gone AWOL! (UPL Music Moment)
Here’s what I like to refer to as an UPL Music Moment. It’s brand new, something different for the musical palate and worth a listen.
This is what music in the 21st century should be about (READ ON - it's worth it!):
It has been said that when Elvis Presley was being shot from the waist up on The Ed Sullivan Show, AWOL was ready to pull the plug. Others say it was the Rolling Stones nightmare at Altamont that pushed AWOL to ask Sex Pistols fans if they felt they were being cheated at their last show in San Francisco. When Madonna writhed around the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards singing “Like a Virgin,” AWOL was spotted in scrubs trying to save Bushwick Bill’s eyeball, before being last seen pushing Kurt Cobain onstage in a wheelchair to play Reading…
Like Peter Finch’s newsman Howard Beale in the movie Network, AWOL is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. Broke and with his world crumbling around him, he launched a NATION.
And indeed, what can a poor boy do… except make some of his toughest, hardest, most passionate music ever, slamming it with the most up-to-date hip-hop and electronic dance beats in a genre-blending mash-up that defines AWOLNATION. It’s not just music, but a crusade designed to fight all that’s fake, commercialized, compromised and debased in popular culture.
Like in “Burn It Down,” a sped-up blitz that goes from the yelps of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis through the punk of Black Flag, the Clash and Rage Against the Machine to the most modern techno-dance acts like Justice, Simian Mobile Disco and Boyz Noize, not preaching destruction, but cleansing past sins to make way for future hope. There’s a whole lot of shaking going on in AWOLNATION…
“If I’m going down in flames, it’ll be my way,” confesses AWOL. “Why do it if you’re not going to do it all-out? I wanted to do a song that was faster than I was comfortable doing, with a ferocious drum fill like some dude fell over his kit and landed on the one. I’ve always loved heavy music… people seem to get turned on by aggressive passion. It’s like channeling a hardcore breakdown with synthesizers instead of guitars”
And that’s what you get on new songs like “Sail,” a hip-hop beat driven wide-screen cinematic soundtrack that could be considered the R-rated version of the voyage Max takes in Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, which combines AWOL’s own obsessions with surfing, the ocean, John Lennon’s primal scream era and psychedelic Radiohead trips. “Blame it on my A.D.D.,” he sings. “This is how angels die.”
“I think very much like a kid in terms of fantasy and magic,” says AWOL. “I get rhythms, beats, colors and patterns from the transcendence of the ocean. I’m influenced by both its beauty and its absolute terror.”
Some say AWOL is the name he’d rap under while battling his friends free-style, a reference to the way he’d slip out of parties without saying goodbye (“I never liked the pressure of explaining why I’m leaving”) while Oakland Raiders fans contend that NATION comes from a devotion to the era of Bo Jackson and Howie Long. No one really knows the origin, but together they form a commitment to getting rid of life’s wreckage and building a trend based on honesty, commitment and, well, aggressive passion.
“It’s not a political statement,” insists AWOL. “My definition is to escape a situation you can’t handle. A way for all of us to get our aggression out, cry a little bit, or even laugh.”
In the self-lacerating “Guilty, Filthy Soul,” with its Queen/David Bowie “Under Pressure” harmonies by way of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, AWOL doesn’t point a finger, as much as he takes full responsibility for the situation he finds himself in.
“I built this not necessarily thinking anybody else would believe it but me, and now everybody else is starting to believe in it even more than I do,” he marvels. “I’ll agree to steer the ship, but it’s up to other people whether they get aboard or not.”
No, AWOL is no musical anarchist… When he says to “Burn It Down,” he’s talking about something that goes on within every one of us.
“It’s about killing the devil inside you,” he muses. “You have to be at your lowest point to feel God, to get real. When I wrote that song, I had nothing. There was nowhere else to go but to start over.”
“Burn It Down” to build it up. That’s AWOLNATION. Get down with it or get out of the way. Either way, it’s here.
During hard financial times, people become more desperate than ever before to simply survive. Competition becomes fiercely intense and it pushes everyone past their "perceived" breaking point. Here lies the problem. Each person's breaking point is different and it's ALWAYS much farther than one can possibly imagine. Don't throw up your hands in surrender...throw up your hands for HELP. Don't let the fear of asking for help take precedence over the fear of dying because I know you're scared.
NO ONE can survive on his/her own. Please know that no matter what you're going through YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Trust me...I speak from experience.
Joseph Jefferson was an intelligent, kind, fun-loving young man who did tons of great work within the New York LGBT community in his various positions over the years at POCC and GMAD. He also provided a critical helping hand in promoting some of the biggest events for the LGBT community by serving as a key street team rep for various promoters over the years including James Saunders, Men Are From Mars and myself.
Though the details are still coming in, Joseph apparently took his own life on Saturday. I will share details for the memorial arrangements and a fundraiser that's in the works as soon as I have them.
The song and performance speaks for itself. Anyone else feeling down please please don't give in to the lie...YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YOU ARE LOVED. LET ME, LET SOMEONE be your bridge over troubled water.
Stars are not born overnight. Yet, the music industry as a whole takes very little time to nurture new talent. You either have a hit song or you will be dropped from the label or even worse your album will get shelved until no one cares anymore about your career in music. So where does a new artist go to be groomed for long-term success? Who knows, but BET wants to help. They have launched a new campaign called Music Matters, which is supposedly dedicated to giving new artists the exposure they need to become tomorrow's superstars as well as bringing the romanticism back to R&B/soul music. The campaign consists of online features (music, music videos, bios etc), viral videos and live performances.
Washington D.C. native Kevin Ross is one of the chosen artists for BET Music Matters. He's a recent graduate from the Berklee College of Music where he majored in Songwriting.
Also, be on the lookout for a close friend of mine who seeks to do the same thing with his music. His name is Carl Bryan. He's a young independent singer/songwriter hailing from New Orleans. His goal is to bring back the soul in mainstream R&B (a la Babyface, Tyrese, and Joe). His independently shot video for "Sweetest Drug" is below, but he's also currently in the studio working on some fresh sounds...
I believe the tide is finally beginning to turn. More and more young people are craving real love songs from real singers, but they just want the 2010 versions. Can't wait to see who actually delivers!
According to the latest edition of US Weekly magazine:
Beyonce Knowles better brush up on her lullabies. The 29-year-old singer is pregnant with her first child, the new Us Weekly reports. Despite the happy news, no one was more surprised than the singer herself.
"B was shocked. She loves kids, but she wasn't ready to be a mother just yet," says a source of the singer, who married rapper Jay-Z in 2008. "She really wanted to get her album done and tour the world again."
Still, another insider says that the singer, who is in her first trimester, realizes that "this is a gift from God and she's so happy." Friends of the couple are already expressing their well-wishes for the parents-to-be. "Jay has been all about family since I met him, and he's always going to be," record executive Kevin Liles, who has known the rapper for years, tells Us. "I wish them the best." Knowles' sister Solange -- and mom to Julez, 6 -- agrees. "She's got the most beautiful heart," she tells Us of her big sis. "She'll be a great mom."
UPL wishes the happy couple well!
UPL UPDATE: Yesterday, Tina Knowles denied this rumor about her daughter's pregnancy. Denial is pretty common when it comes to celebrities so we'll just have to wait and see...
Ricky Day selected as an exhibiting artist in the first CURATE NYC JURIED ART EXHIBITION
I am very happy and very humbled to have been selected as an exhibiting artist in Curate NYC. The selection committee is staffed with a diverse group of industry professionals, nearly 1200 artists submitted entries and 150 artists were selected.
Below find some information about Curate NYC. Check out the project website (http://www.curatenyc.org/)and view the work of all the talented New York based artists who participated. You can view my entry here. Here is the complete list of the selected artists. CurateNYC
New York City is a global arts center, but maintaining that status means cultivating new talent.
To advance the cause, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Full Spectrum Experience Inc. bring you Curate NYC – a showcase for emerging New York City artistic talent.
Curate NYC is a multi-venue juried exhibition that will display postcard-sized reproductions of images by up to 150 artists selected by the project’s Curatorial Committee.
Each postcard will feature an artist's original image, bio and website address. All entries will remain on the Curate NYC website for ongoing review. Selected entries will be presented at three exhibitions held at venues across New York City.
Images were evaluated along four criteria: originality, technical skill, emergence of a personal vision or voice, and positive subjective impact upon the curators.
Entries were considered across all visual media, including photography, digital images, film/video stills, and photos of drawings, installations, mixed-media, paintings, printmaking and sculpture.
From October 21-31, 2010, CURATE NYC will exhibit 5x6" postcard reproductions of images by up to 150 artists at three shows:
Rush Arts Gallery & Resource Center
Exhibition Hours: Thursdays-Saturdays, 12:00-6:00 p.m.
Opening: Thursday, October 21, 5:30-9:00 p.m.
526 West 26th Street
[Between 10th & 11th Avenues, in Chelsea]
New York, NY 10001-5521
C/E train to 23rd Street
A program of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.
Essex Street Market
Exhibition Hours: Thursdays-Saturdays, 12:00-6:00 p.m
120 Essex Street
[at Delancey Street, on the Lower East Side]
New York, NY 10002
J & Z trains to Essex Street
F & M trains to Delancey Street
An NYCEDC-managed property.
Curate NYC Pop-Up Wall
Traveling on weekends between two locations:
La Marqueta Open Plaza
Saturdays, October 23 & 30
Exhibition Hours: 12:00-6:00 p.m.*
1607 Park Avenue
[between E. 115th & 116th Streets, in East Harlem]
New York, NY 10029
6 train to 116th Street
5 train to 125th Street
An NYCEDC-managed property.
St. George Yankees Minor League Stadium
Sundays, October 24 & 31
Exhibition Hours: 12:00-6:00 p.m.*
75 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, NY 10314
Short walk from Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
An NYCEDC-managed property.
* Note: The Curate NYC Pop-Up Wall will be unveiled at the Rush Arts Gallery opening on October 21 as cited above.
The Project Team
Brian Tate & Danny Simmons
Project Development, Strategy & Production
Website Development & Strategy
LaRonda Davis & Jana Jarosz
Graphic Design & Website Graphics
Artists Liaison & Social Media
Gallery Openings & Coordination
Photo by Kevin Irby
Project Development, Strategy & Production
Musician/marketing strategist Brian Tate is president of The Tate Group, a consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning, strategic marketing, cultural initiatives, and economic development. Clients have included Brooklyn Tourism, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, the Guggenheim Museum, WNYC Radio, and others. Tate is former executive director of the DC Committee to Promote Washington, a nonprofit organization that marketed the Nation's Capital around the world and generated $93 million per year in city revenues. He is creator/former producer of the Taste of DC Festival, which attracted 1.2 million people per year. He is also creator of the Brooklyn New Music Festival, the Dark Harvest Film Festival, and other projects.
Project Development, Strategy & Production
Painter/gallery owner/arts philanthropist Danny Simmons is Co-Founder/ Vice Chair of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which awards millions of dollars to arts-in-education programs for young people. He is creator of the Peabody- and Tony-award winning Def Poetry; the multi-venue Project Diversity art exhibitions, which showed work by hundreds of NYC artists; and the Brooklyn Alternate Learning Center Poetry Project, which brought arts workshops to underserved high school students. A champion of arts and culture, Simmons is Chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts. He serves on the Boards of Directors of BAM, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the National Conference of Artists.
Actress/radio producer/human rights activist/educator Judith Sloan is Co-Founder of EarSay, Inc, an artist-driven non-profit arts organization dedicated to uncovering and portraying stories of the uncelebrated. EarSay projects bridge the divide between documentary and expressive forms in books, exhibitions, on stage, in sound & electronic media. Committed to fostering understanding across cultures, generations, gender and class, through artistic productions and education. EarSay's Crossing the BLVD (co-created with Warren Lehrer) is a multimedia project about new immigrants and refugees won the Brendan Gill Prize among others. Sloan's solo performances have won multiple awards. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, in the New York Times, Washington Post and has received support from the Ford Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and arts in-education awards from various foundations and schools.
The Curatorial Committee
Assistant Curator, Studio Museum In Harlem
Curator/Creative Consultant; Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Vassar College;
Guest Professor, Barnard College/Columbia University and New York University
Curator, Y Gallery New York
Curator, The Kitchen
Artist/Curator; Director of Education, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation
Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator and Director of Arts Programs, Friends of the High Line
Executive Director, Visual AIDS
Curator, Location One's Abramovic Studio
Curator; Gallery Manager, Guild Art Gallery, NY; Art Critic, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu; Board Member, South Asian Women’s Creative Collective
Hank Willis Thomas
Kim Keever & David Maisel October 23 - December 4, 2010 at Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago
Kim Keever & David Maisel
October 23 - December 4, 2010
Carrie Secrist Gallery is pleased to announce Kim Keever & David Maisel, two solo exhibitions of new photography. There will be an opening on Saturday October 23rd from 4-7pm at the gallery with both artists present.
Kim Keever's large-scale photographs are created by meticulously constructing miniature topographies in a 200-gallon tank, which is then filled with water. These dioramas of fictitious environments are brought to life with colored lights and the dispersal of pigment, producing ephemeral atmospheres that he must quickly capture with his large-format camera.
Keever's painterly panoramas represent a continuation of the landscape tradition, as well as an evolution of the genre. Referencing a broad history of landscape painting, especially that of Romanticism, the Hudson River School and Luminism, they are imbued with a sense of the sublime. However, they also show a subversive side that deliberately acknowledges their contemporary contrivance and conceptual artifice. Keever's staged scenery is characterized by a psychology of timelessness. A combination of the real and the imaginary, they document places that somehow we know, but never were.
David Maisel's large-scaled photographs show the physical impact on the land from industrial efforts such as mining, logging, water reclamation, and military testing. Because the sites he works with are often remote and inaccessible, Maisel frequently works from an aerial perspective, thereby permitting images and photographic evidence that would be otherwise unattainable.
This exhibition will focus on "The Terminal Mirage" and "The Lake Project" series by Maisel. Both of these series survey the tensions between nature and culture, that are typical in Maisel's photographs. In The Lake Project (2001-2002), David Maisel documents the human destruction of California's Owens Lake, destroyed in 1926 by the Los Angeles Aqueducts. The aerial photographs of the lake present the viewer with images that are both awe inspiring and unsettling. The artist's aerial views scramble traditional depictions of the landscape, turning images of environmentally ravaged land into vast abstract fields. Terminal Mirage (2003-2005) continues the artist's investigation of the impacted environment transforming aerial views of polluted lands and bodies of water into planes of saturated color, belying their foreboding subject matter.
Kim Keever (b. 1955) lives & works in New York City and has a B.S. in Engineering from the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Recent exhibitions include Adamson Gallery (Washington D.C.), Kinz Tillou & Feigen (New York, NY), and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI). Group exhibitions include Peninsula Fine Arts Center (Newport News, VA), Tucson Museum of Art (Tucson, AZ), Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art (Portland, ME), Mixed Greens Gallery (New York, NY), Rockford Art Museum (Rockford, IL), Sun Valley Center for the Arts (Ketchum, ID), Brattleboro Museum Art Center (Brattleboro, VT) and the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Public collections include the Metropolitan Museum (New York), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Brooklyn Museum of Art (New York), Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, VA), the Nassau County Museum of Fine Art (Roslyn, NY) and the Hirschhorn Museum (Washington D.C.).
David Maisel (b.1961) received his BA from Princeton University, and his MFA from California College of the Arts, as well as studying at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Maisel has recently been an Artist in Residence at both the Getty Research Institute and at the Headlands Center for the Arts. He has been the recipient of an Individual Artist's Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a finalist for the Prix Pictet and the Albert Award in the Visual Arts. Maisel's photographs, multi-media projects, and public installations have been exhibited internationally, and are included in many permanent collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. His work has been the subject of three monographs: The Lake Project (Nazraeli Press, 2004), Oblivion (Nazraeli Press, 2006), and Library of Dust (Chronicle Books, 2008). A new monograph, History's Shadow, will be published by Nazraeli Press later this year. Maisel currently resides near San Francisco, CA.
Carrie Secrist Gallery
835 W Washington Blvd # 1B
Chicago, IL 60607-2763
(312) 491-0917 www.secristgallery.com
Here’s what I like to refer to as an UPL Music Moment. It’s brand new, something different for the musical palate and worth a listen.
It's the soul of singer/songwriter Darnell Levine hailing from Louisville, Kentucky by way of Nashville, Tennessee. I had the pleasure of coming across this man's music back in 2006 with his We Gon' Use What We Got album. It was a simple concept album about using the few resources he had (including making music with his mouth) to create beautiful music. The album afforded him the opportunity to begin touring independently and sharing the stage with legends such as Mint Condition, Lalah Hathaway and Sheila E.
Darnell doesn't just perform music. He studies it. He knows exactly what type of artist he is and his potential is limitless. Vocally, he's been compared to the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" singer Bobby McFerrin, but his music contains elements from jazz to soul to pop. Check out his bio and NEW music ("So Nice To Be Loved" and "Wake Up") through the links below!
Here's the official music video for Cee-Lo Green's first single from The Lady Killer album to be released on November 9. And did u know Bruno Mars co-wrote and produced the track with Cee-Lo? Nice one!
Mashed potatoes? Wigs? The washing machine spin cycle? B.o.B. recollects the best sex he ever had and let's just say it's a very unique experience. I first saw this PSA this past weekend while watching one of my DVR'd programs. I had no idea what it was about, but I LOL'd big time. Then when the true message came at the end, I realized just how incredible the commercial was. It forces you to get totally engaged and then hits you with a very relevant message that has real meaning. Check it out and spread it around to as many people as possible!
Check out the first installment of UPL's dear friend Kalup Linzy's great web series. Episode 1 of the web series by Kalup Linzy based on the 2007 video art film of the same title. Set in a record label ran by dame diva KK Queen (played by Linzy), Patience O'brien (also played by Linzy) continues her journey of being in love and singing. However, she soon realizes it is not the dream she dreamt.
By all accounts Ean Williams (Executive Producer & Director) of DC Fashion Week and his team put on a great show last month. DC Fashion week was a series of great events showcasing local fashion industry talent including designers and models. Lamonte Gwynne of Lamonte G. Photography was on hand to capture the energy of the week by photographing 2 great events for UPL. The events included the Corjor International show at The Park at Fourteenth which featured a special performance by Jeremih of “Birthday Sex” fame, a terrific Bridal Show at the Textile Museum in D.C featuring designers Alvin Thompson, Leighel Desiree, Ester Huffman and Elizabeth St. John,
Next year we plan to have a great presence at the events and to report in much more detail. For now take a look at what DC had to offer. Kudos to Ean Williams and his team, all the designers and of course the models, make-up artists, hair and wardrobe stylists and support staff for another successful series of events.
Last night, the UPL crew was invited to a private showcase for teen-pop recording artist Tiffany Dunn. She's currently signed to superproducer Rodney Jerkins' Darkchild/Epic Records imprint. After a brief introduction by Amanda Ghost (president of Epic Records), Tiffany sang and danced her way through a very energetic set of perky urban pop tunes reminiscent of early Britney and Christina. Tiffany is indeed a trained dancer mastering everything from jazz to breakdancing. According to her publicist, she was also the only girl on the Phoenix Suns' Soul Patrol dunk team! Some of her other "hobbies" include mountain biking, pole vaulting, and playing instruments like the guitar and piano.
Emerging singer-songwriter Nikko (who co-penned "Rear View Mirror" for Tiffany) was also in attendance as well as stylist/future UPL fashion contributor Ty Fajemisin and Flylife Inc. representative/publicist Martha Tang.
Check out her music through the link below and share your thoughts with us!
Driving across most of the country’s fifty states in an ordinary rental car, master photographer Lee Friedlander (b. 1934) applied the brilliantly simple conceit of deploying the sideview mirror, rearview mirror, the windshield, and the side windows as picture frames within which to record reflections of this country’s eccentricities and obsessions at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Friedlander’s method allows for fascinating effects in foreshortening, and wonderfully telling juxtapositions in which steering wheels, dashboards, and leatherette bump up against roadside bars, motels, churches, monuments, suspension bridges, essential American landscapes, and often Friedlander’s own image. Presented in the square crop format that has dominated his work in recent series, and taken over the past decade, the images in America by Car are among Friedlander’s finest, full of virtuoso freshness and clarity, while also revisiting themes from older bodies of work.
Lee Friedlander: America By Car is organized by Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography.
Whitney on site: Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger designs the third Whitney site-specific installation at 820 Washington Street on the corner of Washington and Gansevoort Streets. Kruger produces a dramatic intervention that addresses the viewer with powerful and enigmatic textual statements and engages with the social history of the site. The artist has described her motivation for her installation as follows: “Because I’ve spent so many years in lower Manhattan, the streets are rife with remembrance. So I’ve tried to mark the site with a gathering of words about history, value, and the pleasures and pains of social life.” The installation uses bold text to respond to the viewer’s visual and temporal experience of the site and its surroundings. Some of the statements are drawn from Kruger’s catalog of signature phrases like “YOU BELONG HERE” and “BELIEF + DOUBT = SANITY.” Other statements respond to the neighborhood’s shifting identity and address the changing industries that have inhabited it from meatpacking to fashion to art. Texts printed on vinyl are attached to surfaces around the site and are visible from the street and the High Line. Kruger’s installation elegantly and provocatively writes itself into the activity and history of the museum’s future downtown building.
Jimmy DeSana (1949-1990), Marker Cones, 1982. Silver dye bleach print. Courtesy the Jimmy DeSana Trust
The first installation in a two-part exhibition, Off the Wall: Part 1—Thirty Performative Actions, focuses on actions using the body in live performance, in front of the camera, or in relation to a photographic or printed surface, or drawing. Each action displaces the site of the artwork from an object to the body, acting in relation to, or directly onto, the physical space of the gallery. The wall and floor become the stage for these actions: walking on the wall, slamming doors, slapping hands against the wall, gathering sawdust up from the studio floor, walking on a painting, striding and crawling around a small cylindrical space, writing or drawing on the wall and floor, or performing a striptease behind the transparent plane of Duchamp’s Large Glass. The exhibition also includes a number of works that reveal the underlying theatricality of the performative action and the ways in which artists stage the self in images that question conventions of identity, gender, and the body.
The exhibition includes the re-performance of iconic early works by John Baldessari and Yoko Ono, as well as recent works by young artists. It includes work by Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Jonathan Borofsky, John Coplans, Jimmy DeSana, Trisha Donnelly, Simone Forti, Dara Friedman, David Hammons, Lyle Ashton Harris, Jenny Holzer, Peter Hujar, Joan Jonas, Kalup Linzy, Robert Longo, Nate Lowman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul McCarthy, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Yvonne Rainer, Martha Rosler, David Salle, Lucas Samaras, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Andy Warhol, Hannah Wilke, Jordan Wolfson, and Francesca Woodman.
Off the Wall: Part 2—Seven Works by Trisha Brown, features the Trisha Brown Dance Company, on the occasion of the company’s fortieth anniversary, performing iconic works from the 1970s, including the spectacular Walking on the Wall, originally performed at the Whitney in 1971; performance films and a sound installation, Skymap, will also be on view. Works will be performed daily from September 30 through October 3, 2010, in the Second Floor Galleries, Sculpture Court, and outside the Whitney Museum of American Art on East 75th Street. Planned performances include Man Walking Down the Side of a Building, Falling Duet I, Leaning Duets I and II, Spanish Dance, Floor of the Forest, and the sound installation Skymap.
Part 1 is curated by Chrissie Iles, the Whitney’s Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Curator. Part 2 is curated by Limor Tomer, the Whitney’s adjunct curator of performing arts.
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
New York, NY 10021
General Information: (212) 570-3600 email@example.com
General admission $18
Ages 19–25 $12
Ages 62 and over $12
Full-time students $12
Ages 18 and under FREE
One-day pass to the Kaufman Astoria Film & Video Gallery only $6
Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 6–9 pm
How to get there:
Subway: 6 Train to 77th Street
Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4 to 74th Street
Car: There are several parking garages nearby the Museum.
They used to call him Tonex, but as for now...prepare 2 B Slade
From controversial gospel music sensation to coming out and now this...BSlade (formerly Tonex) has released a mixtape and video heavily influenced by 70's disco and club hits. The single Get Over You is clearly an homage to Sylvester and all the disco divas of the 70's and to good soul music. Check out the video, and then check out the website and go get your free download of the mixtape A Brilliant Catastrophy. Oh did I mention he actually recorded a cover of the Sylvester classic (You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real? Check it all out and send in your comments.
This wildly successful UK sensation has a new music video! "Stay" is a beautiful ballad. I previously wrote about these guys last month and I can't seem to get enough! Music most certainly is an art form.
Stanley Lewis Recent Work October 13 - November 13, 2010 at Lohin Geduld Gallery
Porch Steps and Trees, Spring, 2009, oil on canvas, 17 x 24 inches
October 13 - November 13, 2010
Opening Reception Saturday, October 16, 4 to 6 pm
Lohin Geduld Gallery is proud to present our first solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Stanley Lewis.
Stanley Lewis is a perceptual landscape artist. He enters a painting or drawing with an attuned sense of openness to his surroundings. This sounds easy, but it's not. First, the artist must refuse all pictorial conventions that come to mind, and see what is actually in front of him. Next, he must invent a painting language to convey the ever-shifting chaos of light interacting with the physical world. Lewis turns this communion with his subject into a powerful artistic achievement.
Prosaic views of rural small town life are Lewis’ preferred subjects. Driveways, back porches and telephone lines are elevated to the stuff of high art by his intense scrutiny. Painting sessions can extend over the course of months and years. As seasons change, and winter gives way to spring, the artist is there bearing witness to the perceptual truths unfolding in front of him. Using local color as his muse, Lewis makes us feel a crisp blue winter sky pressing through bare trees, or the warmth of a patchy green lakeside lawn in high summer.
The physical build-up of Lewis’ paint surface becomes magisterial, reflecting the urgency of his activity as he labors to capture a passing cloud or lengthening afternoon shadow. The paint is thick, and additions of paper or canvas are occasionally added to the composition to edit or extend the artist’s line of vision. His drawings have an equal intensity. At times Lewis draws and corrects so vigorously that he tears through the paper. This physicality, in both the paintings and drawings, adds to the sense that one is looking at a scene over an extended period of time. These are not just pictures of places, but rather images infused with the energy of their making. They have a convincing sense of locale, but an even greater sense of the artist's passion for making them. By focusing on the objective task of capturing what he sees, Stanley Lewis has created a powerful vision of the world that is uniquely his own.
Stanley Lewis received an MFA and a BFA from Yale University, and a BA from Wesleyan University. His work has been exhibited and collected in New York and throughout the United States since the early 1970s. A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Lewis has held teaching positions at The American University, Washington, D.C.; Smith College, Northampton, MA; and The Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO. Lewis has served as a guest lecturer and visiting artist at numerous institutions including Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY, and the New York Studio School, New York, NY. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, Modern Painters, and The New Criterion, among other publications. Stanley Lewis resides in Leeds, MA, and works on-site at various locations.
Portsmouth Museum of Art :: LeBasse Projects Curated Exhibit
The Influence of Anime and Manga on Contemporary Art'
October 13th 2010 - January 16th 2011
LeBasse Projects is pleased to present 'SugiPOP!: The Influence of Anime and Manga onContemporary Art,' an exhibition curated by Director Beau Basse and PMA Curator Katherine Doyle. The exhibition opens on October 13th at the Portsmouth Museum of Art and features the work of approximately 30 artists tracing the originations of manga, the rise of JapaneseContemporary Art and shows how the art forms have influenced artists around the world.
The exhibition features an international roster of artists including Japanese mastersHokusai and Kuniyoshi in a display of original Edo period woodblock prints. The exhibitalso features Japanese Contemporary artists Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara,Yoshitaka Amano, Mr., Ai Yamaguchi, Junko Mizuno and Hisashi Tenmyouya. International artists contributing to the exhibit include KAWS, Gary Baseman, SimoneLegno, Audrey Kawasaki, Tomokazu Matsuyama, Yumiko Kayukawa, Seonna Hong, Hush,Morgan Slade, Edwin Ushiro, Luke Chueh, Andrew Hem, Mike Shinoda, SharkToof,Yoskay Yamamoto and more.
SugiPOP! at the Portsmouth Museum of Art
One Harbour Place
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 14th, 2010
For additional inquiries or preview please email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.558.0200
New sexy dance track, "Who's That Chick," from Rihanna featuring DJ/producer extraordinaire David Guetta. Her new album is shaping up to be fit perfectly for the clubs worldwide! And if you don't know who David Guetta is, then you just need some reminders. Kelly Rowland's "When Love Takes Over" and Akon's "Sexy Chick" from last year were both from his platinum-selling/Grammy-nominated One Love album...not to mention his work on the massive Black Eyed Peas' hit single "I Gotta Feeling." Give it a listen...:)
"Real Love" is the title of Macy Gray's new single from her independent album The Sellout in stores now! It features an extreeeemely unlikely male vocalist by the name of Bobby Brown. Yes...Bobby Brown. All jokes aside (and there are a few right off the top!), it's not a bad song about one of my favorite topics. Let me know what you think???
They Claim That Guns Don't Kill People, Lazers Do? (UPL Music Moment)
Here’s what I like to refer to as an UPL Music Moment. It’s brand new, something different for the musical palate and worth a listen. Check out the NEW music video for Major Lazer's remix of Cajmere's 1992 club CLASSIC "It's Time For The Percolator." This one is called "Percumajor" and the video features a ton of pop culture references especially from the early 90's.
(FYI - Besides being a collaborative music project between producers/DJs Diplo and Switch, Major Lazer is a fictional cartoon character who fought as a Jamaican commando. He lost his arm in a zombie war. He fights monsters, parties hard and has a rocket-powered hoverboard. GO FIGURE! HOORAY FOR CREATIVITY!)
YOAN CAPOTE / MENTAL STATES / OCTOBER 14 - NOVEMBER 13, 2010 at Jack Shainman Gallery
YOAN CAPOTE / MENTAL STATES / OCTOBER 14 - NOVEMBER 13, 2010
Opening reception for the artist, Thursday, October 14th, 6-8pm
Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce Mental States, the first solo exhibition at the gallery of new work by Cuban artist Yoan Capote. The exhibition opens October 14th, and runs through November 13th. A reception for the artist will take place on Thursday, October 14th, 6-8pm.
Capotes work is the result of psychological analysis of our daily experiences and issues related to the broader social and human experience. The artists process creates analogies between the visual poetry of objects and the intangible world of the mind. Capote utilizes various media and both traditional and unconventional materials, while also exploring multisensory possibilities in installation, photography and video.
Mental States is inspired by the artists first experience with American culture. Reflecting on fast living and the pursuit of success, where the prevailing fantasies of seduction have transformed into permanent obsessions or delusions. Capote is interested in the multiplicity of meanings that stimulate our thinking and internal discussions on behavior relating to social, political and economic interest.
The paintings made using fish hooks, oil paint, canvas and burlap use the materials as subjects in a primal symbolic dichotomy of attraction and repulsion. Using images that range from the iconic, postcard-like tropes to a seascape representing the artists first visage of America as a child, Capote plays with issues of obsessive desire and the risk and drama of migration characterized by the Cuban imagination.
Never solely situated in one geographical space, Capotes work uses the local as a means of addressing the intimate and the personal while investigating constructions that are based in power and difference. Yoan Capote translates the poetic longing of those who are dislocated from their place of identification, representing the contemporary individual as aberration experiencing forced mobility and alienation.
Yoan Capote lives and works in Havana, Cuba. He has exhibited extensively abroad, including in Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, France, England, Panama, Cuba and the United States. He participated in the 7th Havana Biennial and has been the recipient of numerous awards including International Fellowship Grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, a UNESCO Prize, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship and a residency at the Brownstone Foundation in Paris.
Upcoming exhibitions at the gallery include Odili Donald Odita: Body & Space, opening November 18th, on view through December 23rd, 2010. Deborah Luster and Carlos Vega will run concurrently, opening January 6th, 2011, on view through February 5th, 2011.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm. For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at email@example.com.
A NEW KIND OF BEAUTY — Phillip Toledano at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn NYC
It's been a busy kickoff to fall for me. In my recent travels to D.U.M.B.O. to scout locations for shoots I stopped in to Klompching Gallery to check out the current show "A New Kind Of Reality." Phillip Toledano's work is hauntingly (is that a word? lol) beautiful and elegant. I was also fortunate enough to meet and have a wonderful conversation with Debra Klomp Ching the warm and gracious co-owner of the gallery. We'll be speaking to Deborah in the coming weeks when we launch our new features on the blog. I am sure you will love her and the gallery as much as I do.
Please get out to Brooklyn and see Phillip's work for yourself and please tell Debra I sent you.
A NEW KIND OF BEAUTY — Phillip Toledano
SEPTEMBER 9 — OCTOBER 29, 2010
(NOTE - THE GALLERY IS CLOSED THIS WEEK, RE-OPEN 13 OCTOBER)
Brought together for the first time as a solo exhibition, these breathtaking and provocative portraits depict people who have reconfigured their bodies by means of extensive plastic surgery. The photographs raise questions about self-perception and social paragons relating to what constitutes perceived notions of beauty.
Shot against a stark black back-drop, the large-scale portraits present subjects that are stunningly rendered and isolated. Toledano’s highly-crafted images combine up-close physical observations that are imposing, detailed and display a dramatic illumination that is reminiscent of the chiaroscuro technique of Caravaggio.
Rather than presenting a study of physical augmentation, that simply shows an apparent eradication of individuality via the surgeon’s knife, Toledano’s artistic achievement is the humanity that quietly projects from behind the faces of each subject—pride, hope, sadness, fear, awkwardness and defiance all abound.
Despite their initial spectacle, the photographs emerge as gentle and respectful. Without a doubt, they engender a myriad of responses and debate. Toledano has set the stakes high, both in terms of what he is depicting and the artistic methodologies used.
Phillip Toledano (b. 1968) is a photographer living and working in New York City. Toledano's work is primarily socio-political and varies in medium, from photography to installation. His work can found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) and the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. His work has been widely exhibited in the US, China, France, Singapore and Spain. His first book, Bankrupt, was published by Twin Palms in 2005 and was followed in 2008 by Phonesex. His most recent monograph, Days With My Father, was published in Spring 2010 to critical acclaim. Days With My Father is a visually sincere and moving memoir of Toledano's life with his father, in the years prior to his father's passing, and will form a solo exhibition at Gallery 339 (Philadelphia) in Fall 2010.
Rush Arts Gallery is pleased to present FLOW, the work of Ed Clark. Rush Founder Danny Simmons says "Ed Clark, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of artist achievement. His abstraction is both beautiful and haunting, his innovation of using a broom to paint was key in furthering the development of abstract expressionism and he is a door-opener for artists of color to walk into the realm of abstraction". We look forward to seeing you there.
Works by Ed Clark
Curator: Vanessa Riding
Opening Reception Friday October 9, 2010
On View through October 28, 2010
Galerie Orange presents recent work by international renowned painter Deon Venter
October 14 to November 14, 2010
Opening on Thursday October 14, 6pm-9pm
Galerie Orange is proud to present the recent work by international renowned painter Deon Venter. Back in Montreal after a five year hiatus, the artist will unveil a new series of paintings for the first time at Galerie Orange. Deon Venter's work is defined by both the predominant socio-political content and traditional pictoral iconography, where both become inseparable from the contemporary idioms that caracterizes and at the same time distances itself from his work. Resulting in an audacious artistic corpus which invites a multitude of interpretations and meanings. Venter rather avoids imposing an overpowering narrative to give way to free observation and reading of his work.
Similarly, Venter awakens concepts such as belonging and nationalism through the illustration of tragic current events (Flight 182, Missing, Courtroom). Created in series, his works exploit controversial subjects covered and debated by the media, reproduced on linen canvases in a variation of heavy impasto, maskings and pastel colors.
In this present series, Venter's Olympia paintings refer to Manet's Olympia, Goya's La Maya des Nuda, Ingres La Grande Odalisque, Titian's Venus of Urbino, as well as the painting which influenced these artists – Georgioni's Sleeping Venus. As described by the art dealer Robin Relph (Robin Relph Contemporary, Zurich), Venter's figurative work is also in dialogue with, and extends the figurative concepts of artists as diverse as Soutine, Picasso, de Kooning and Lucian Freud. To quote Willem de Kooning – "Flesh is the reason why oil paint was invented."
It is NOT easy to cover a Michael Jackson song, but this guy deserves credit. He is Aloe Blacc singing "Billie Jean" - the soulful version...
You might recognize his voice from the opening theme song to HBO's How to Make It in America (see "I Need A Dollar" below). Also check out another one of his brilliant songs below called "I'm Beautiful." MEN don't sing about this ANYMORE! Why not???
There is something about Faith that I can't help but to love. I've loved her from day one and I never fell out of love...not once. I love Mary too, but my love for Faith is unconditional (lol). She's been consistent since the start and her voice does something special to me.
Today, Faith drops her sixth studio album Something About Faith with the lead single/video below "Gone Already." Again, this single is very consistent in her sound. It also reflects a level of maturity as this song seems to unapologetically speak to her core fan base of 25-35-year-olds and above.
With the release of Something About Faith, she has also been working on a reality series based on her life and the recording process for this new album. Full details TBD.
His Name Is Austin Brown (Mr. Jackson...if you're nasty!)
Biography below (I know it's long but I hope you think it's worth the read):
Austin Brown is a 24-year-old musician, singer, performer, producer, dancer and songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. He comes from one of the world's greatest musical families, the Jacksons, around whom he has grown up and developed his musical talents. He is the son of Maureen "Rebbie" Jackson, and the nephew of Michael, Janet and the other seven Jackson sisters and brothers.
Among Austin's major influences are ground breaking artist Prince, music legend George Michael, his uncle Michael Jackson (who helped him with his vocal, melodic, harmonic and dance development) and his uncle Randy Jackson (who helped build his instrumental skills and educated him in song structure). Randy is the youngest of the Jackson brothers, a multi-instrumentalist who wrote some of the Jacksons' greatest songs, including "Shake Your Body".
As a young man, Austin received encouragement from Prince when the musician overheard Austin playing the piano in his hotel suite. "He told me no matter what I did, to keep playing. He said 'by the time you're my age you'll be able to play anything you want.' I'll never forget that advice."
The combination of Austin's musicianship and work ethic has impressed many of the people who've collaborated with him. "As a persona, a talent, an entertainer and a singer Austin is quite remarkable," says his vocal coach Gary Catona, who has taught some of the greatest voices and talents in modern times, from Whitney Houston to Andrea Bocelli, from Brian Wilson to Seal. "On top of that he's been a devoted student and is totally committed to becoming a wonderful singer. He has this amazing vocal instrument with a range and power that's second to almost no-one in the pop industry."
Although he grew up at the heart of his famous musical family and went on tour with his uncle Michael and Aunt Janet, Austin's parents deliberately raised him out of the public spotlight. Austin, known as Auggie to his family and friends, was born in 1985 to mother Rebbie and father Nathaniel Brown. He lived with his parents and his older sisters Stacy (born 1971) and Yashi (born 1977) in Agoura Hills, California. Rebbie is the eldest of the nine Jackson siblings, and is a successful recording artist in her own right, best known for her platinum-selling 1984 R&B single "Centipede".
Austin credits his father Nathaniel as the driving force behind his early musical education, and while Nathaniel admits to paying for piano lessons, he says music was always on Austin's mind. "When it came to school he was always a good student but music was also a major thing for him," he says. "I didn't have to instil it because it just came naturally. From the day he was born he was more inclined to making music."
"I saw Austin's potential when he was very young," says Rebbie. "Austin was always a little nut. He loved to clown, he was the comedian in the family. Like my brother Tito and all his boys, when he would get around them he would crack jokes and imitate other artists and celebrities. He could make them crack up and fall out. And he wasn't shy. He's been with me to Osaka, Japan, on stage with Dionne Warwick and Ray Charles, he's travelled all over the world. I saw how he loved to dance, and loved to sing."
As a young adult during the heyday of the Jackson 5, Rebbie experienced firsthand how tough it can be to grow up in showbiz, and was determined to raise Austin and his sisters away from the pressure of publicity. She and Nathaniel, who have been married for more than 40 years, encouraged Austin to study hard and stay grounded.
"We come from an entertainment family and all too often you hear of people that are in the business, or were raised in it, who put themselves in a position where they think they're better than others. I hate that, I hate it with a passion," says Rebbie. "It's just a gift you may have as an entertainer. Whatever you have, it was given to us. You're no better than anybody else, and you don't have anything that can't be taken away from you."
Although he's enjoyed singing and dancing all his life, and began taking piano lessons when he was four, it wasn't until seventh grade that Austin first began to think seriously of a career in music when Rex Salas – Janet Jackson's musical director and the husband of Austin's sister Stacy – taught him how produce records. When, at the age of 12, he was brought onto the stage at Wembley Stadium in the UK by Michael Jackson he realized that his heart was set on following his uncle into music. He also spent time on tour with Janet Jackson as a child.
"Austin was raised out of the spotlight, but he was exposed to the entertainment world basically from the minute he was born," says Janet. "When he would visit me on tour, he was given an all-access pass. He would roam wherever he desired: backstage, front of stage, on stage, wardrobe room, sound board, video station, lighting etc. His schooling started very early."
From a young age Austin has focused on developing his skills as a performer and writer, including ghost-writing for several prominent artists, and he never stops working to improve in all areas. In addition to taking vocal, piano and guitar lessons, he continues to study gymnastics to help him develop his agility and dance technique.
"Austin is so level-headed," says his gymnastics coach JT Moyé. "He is a down-to-earth, humble guy who appreciates what he's trying to achieve."
Austin has been a dancer all his life. As a teenager he spent summers training and practicing with legendary street dancer Mr Wiggles (the Rock Steady Crew) and has recently been working closely with award-winning choreographer Jamal Sims ("Step Up 2: The Streets") to push his skills to the limit.
Scott says Austin's workrate and talents are enabling him to craft dance moves that haven't been seen before outside movies. "Whenever I put my body movement on dancers, the dancers accomplish it, but they hardly ever look like me doing it," Jamal Sims says. "I'm 6' 4" and I use all my length. I went in the studio and Austin was going hard. He didn't do the moves exactly right, because it was his first time learning it, but his body movement was like mine. I screamed and threw my hat against the mirror. It's something that doesn't come from doing a lot of choreography all your life, it comes from that swag, that funk, and he has it."
"We're definitely doing things that haven't been done, especially with an artist," Jamal continues. "There's things that have been done on film and you go 'oh wow, those dances are great,' but not with artists, and not singing at the same time."
One important lesson Austin has learned from his family's hard-earned experience is the value of taking control of your destiny at an early age. "Michael told me on numerous occasions how he bought his own music," Austin says. "He said no matter what you do in life, always make sure you have full control over everything."
"I learned about the importance of owning your intellectual properties by watching my brothers and having an open dialogue with them," says Janet Jackson. "I think Austin has followed suit."
Austin knows how important it is to work with the right people, from recording to music publishing and beyond, and with the proper financing, management and legal backup in place. With this in mind, Austin co-founded his own independent music label, The Royal Factory, in April 2008. In addition to becoming the label's first signed artist, Austin has an executive role with the company.
Austin has what a lot of other artists don't have: the right team behind him, according to Walter Afanasieff, the Grammy Award-winning songwriter who is co-writing and co-producing songs for his forthcoming album. "He has an adamant-to-win and very financially wise support team. And that's critical."
"We are honored that Austin and his family trust and respect the team that is helping him to structure and control his career, and build on the legacy of hard work that they have established," says Chester Aldridge, President and CEO of The Royal Factory. "We're delighted to be able to help Austin build a strong publishing label that will promote and protect his work and that of the other artists that we sign in the coming months and years."
"They're not reading from some imaginary business script," says Walter of The Royal Factory team. "They're very sincere, they're very honest and they know the obstacles and the do's and don'ts, and they certainly have a tremendous amount of reverence for the old saying that you have to pay your dues. Chester really has instilled that philosophy into Austin."
Most recently Austin has been in the studio, writing, recording and co-producing. Having worked with a variety of producers and performers as he developed his sound over the years, Austin says his recent collaboration with Grammy-Award-winning producer Rodney Jerkins (Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, George Michael) has finally delivered the perfect combination he's been looking for. Austin and Rodney have known each other for more than ten years, and have been working together since May 2009.
"The style we've achieved is a combination of the soul and harmony of late 70s R&B, with the rhythms of modern electronic pop, very influenced by French bands like Daft Punk," says Austin.
"The sound is very vintage," says Rodney. "It's a great hybrid of old and new. We have some stuff that has a late 70s/early 80s feel, some disco type records, but then we have one song, called Write it on the Floor, that feels like 2020, like what music should be in the next ten years."
"The real artists, the ones that last a long time, are the ones who have a serious musical background, the ones that really understand what they want as an artist, that really understand music. Not the ones who are saying 'Hey Rodney, I want another hit.' That happens to me with a lot of different people," says Rodney. "But the Beyoncés, the Michaels, the Janets who I work with, those are the artists that come to me with a vision for their project and a direction that they want. We study a lot of music together. That's exactly what Austin did as well. He's really impressed me on that front because sometimes when I view him, I almost think he's a veteran in the game, because he has an old soul. It's been awesome to be able to sit down with him and pick his brain, what he listens to, and what he likes. And then I can just complement his vision."
Walter Afanasieff says his song-writing partnership with Austin has been fruitful from the start, thanks to Austin's musicianship. "I start playing something and expect a melodist such as Austin to react right away, and he's just fabulous. I play literally just one chord and he'll start singing ideas right off that one chord. It's quite lovely actually, because sometimes [with other artists] it's like pulling teeth. It could be intimidation. Some artists are a little shy and reserved to start belting out a melody or ideas. Right away Austin was very vocal and melodic. He's very appreciative and respectful of music. He knows a lot of music in his brain and life experience, he's quite the music lover. I was very impressed with Austin's writing and melody ideas, right at the get-go."
Alongside Rodney Jerkins, Austin is currently at Rodney's DarkChild Studio, putting the finishing touches to Austin's forthcoming album, "85," named after the year Austin was born. Austin was working with Rodney on concepts and ideas for his album when he received the terrible news of his uncle Michael's passing in June 2009.
"It stopped me in my tracks," Austin says. "I took a long break from writing and recording and it changed the way I approached the music I was making." The knowledge that Michael would not have been happy to see Austin give up music spurred him on, and the album became his grieving process. "Michael worked harder and cared more about his music than anyone else I've ever known. I want to make sure that the album reflects the love I have for him."
JJ PEET Shadow September 12 – October 24, 2010 at On Stellar Rays in NYC
(Flash Action, 2010 - acrylic on panel - 7 by 11 inches)
September 12 – October 24, 2010
The Sunday Painter Show screenings:
Sunday, September 26th, noon / Sunday, October 3rd, noon / Sunday, October 24th, noon
“JJ PEET, Shadow”, Time Out NY
“Ten more must-sees this fall”, Time Out NY
On Stellar Rays is pleased to present Shadow, JJ PEET’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Shadow features PEET’s paintings, as well as related ceramics and bi-weekly video screenings.
While engaging in investigations and activities outside the studio, PEET gathers crushed ceramics and minerals, which are later mixed with pigments and paint and applied to handcrafted panels. The painting surfaces carry a material history that serve a broader narrative constructed by the artist over the past decade, weaving together real world events and social concerns with fictitious forces such as “The Resistants,” “Luxury Leader,” and more recently, “The Sunday Painter.” This narrative is suggested though PEET’s unique visual vocabulary; x-marks, floating heads, doubled forms, horizon lines, curtains, hats, glasses, and other utilitarian objects permeate landscapes, interiors, and ethereal spaces.
Political responsiveness is fundamental to all of PEET’s work, recently touching on topics such as the BP oil spill and America’s ongoing wars. For PEET, painting provides a more reflective and personal space to process a range of layered historical influences. He observes current affairs with more distance, in light of a longer history of America’s rise to super-power status and the questionable and often concealed political operatives that ensued. Fraught exploration of elitism, privilege and class in post-war American painting also pervade compositions.
Essential to the exhibition is a modular and mobile painting studio installed in the gallery’s downstairs, entitled Shadow, in which PEET has been working since June. Shadow is at once a laboratory – the space from which the paintings in this show emerge – and itself a work-in-progress that is constantly moving and changing. Its compactness and mutability allow it to be shipped wherever the artist is, and to create works in direct response to his environment and experiences. This mobility is crucial for PEET’s imperative to experience current events in real time.
In addition to the exhibition, PEET will present The Sunday Painter Show, ten-minute episodes that are structured with elements of painting in mind.
The Sunday Painter Show episodes will be broadcast in the gallery at the following times:
Sunday, September 26th, noon
Sunday, October 3rd, noon
Sunday, October 24th, noon
JJ PEET received his MFA from the Yale University School of Art in 2006 and his BFA from University of Minnesota in 1999. Shadow builds on his recent painting exhibition at Gallery Diet in Miami, FL (May 2010) and previous installations of sculpture, video and ceramics at On Stellar Rays (March 2009/January 2010).
Contact Candice Madey candice@OnStellarRays.com for more information.
Address / Contact
Here’s what I like to refer to as an UPL Music Moment. It’s brand new, something different for the musical palate and worth a listen. UPL isn't a big fan of Gucci Mane, but I like to give credit where credit is due. Most "hater" songs attack the haters with fire...I dig this one cause it's smooth and says "let's just all get along" - this is the message hip-hop needs...
Jazmine Sullivan is well on her way to establishing a long career in music. She has been very consistent in her soulful yet edgy sound. And no one can deny that voice! Here's her 2nd single, "10 Seconds," from her upcoming sophomore effort Love Me Back.
Oh and FYI, with all of the Mary J. Blige comparisons, Mary actually is one of Jazmine's biggest fans and I heard she will be featured on the album as well. In the meantime, check out their performance of "We Gon' Make It," which is a bonus track from Mary's 2009 Stronger With Each Tear album.