When he first started recording as the Weeknd, Tesfaye was an unlikely star. "I was everything an R&B singer wasn't," he says. "I wasn't in shape. I wasn't a pretty boy. I was awkward as fuck. I didn't like the way I looked in pictures — when I saw myself on a digital camera, I was like, 'Eesh.'" Instead of his face, his album art and videos featured black-and-white photos of artful nudes — a topless girl in a bathtub, a woman's ass in a party dress. The aesthetic was American Apparel-style hipster catnip, right down to the Helvetica font.
Taking on the dreamy, compelling sound of the lost soul decades is a damn high bar to set for yourself. Soul revivalists usually don’t get very far in my book, because what’s the point of competing with the likes of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding? Listening to Leon Bridges made me do a 180 on that stance. See, if you actually can hold a candle to legends like Cooke and Redding — and Bridges can — then there’s no reason not to indulge in some nostalgia.NPR has a first listen of Coming Home, Bridges' debut album, and you can see and hear plenty more of him on YouTube, from a live cover of Cooke's "Nothing Can Change This Love" to a solo performance of "Lisa Sawyer," a reflective song about his mother. [more inside]
Lenis Guess was one of the pioneers in the Norfolk recording scene. This self-taught vocalist and musician was cranking out records from his 35th Street studio in Norfolk for many artists, including his own and himself. This, producer, singer, musician, performer was at the forefront of the Norfolk sound. With songs like, “I was Born to Be A Drummer,“ his funk band, The 35th Street Gang, were mainstays of the 70s in and around the Hampton Roads area. Lenis himself had hits like, “I Keep Coming Back for More,” and “Working for My Baby.” [more inside]
The trick is to give without looking to receive - to give of yourself to your family, your friends, your community, and the world community with love. The King of Rock and Soul Solomon Burke, Archbishop of the House of God For All People and member of the Hall of Fame died on a plane (2) after arriving in Amsterdam. [more inside]
Amy Winehouse has Emphysema. The 24 year old artist, whose career has netted multiple awards but has often been overshadowed by her drug use, now faces a lung condition that can be slowed but never reversed, with effects ranging from shortness of breath to cyanosis and heart faliure.