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PJ Morton
Monday 07/27
PJ Morton @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
“I feel that being on stage is my most natural habitat. I'm able to truly show the range of who I am as musician and artist,” explains Maroon 5 keyboardist/backing vocalist, PJ Morton. The multi-talented musicianis back with a new live album, Live Show Killer, which was recorded at the historic Henson Studiosin Los Angeles. The event, attended by fans and media alike, produced botha live album and DVD to be released in July of this summer. The highly anticipated album is comprised of fan favorites and hand-picked selections from his celebrated solo releases. “It was important for me to include songs that I knew the audience would sing along with because that's a big part of what my live show experience is and what I wanted to capture,” says Morton. A love and respect of music’s rich history attracted PJ Morton to Henson Studios.“I love history. I think it's all connected. We were in the room where 'We are the World' was recorded. All of my favorite artists and influences in one room. It definitely played a part in the experience we had recording there.” Boasting a legendary roster of alumni including: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Doors, The Ramones, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and more, the event was undoubtedly an experience that all in attendance won’t soon forget. “This is a live/in studio album,” explained Morton.“I wanted to do something unique. So while we had the live show aspect, we also had the studio aspect where we wereable to manipulate sounds etc. It doesn’t sound like just any live album you've heard before. Henson, with the big live room, was just the perfect size to have an intimate audience in there.” Live Show Killer’spredecessor,New Orleans(2013),was his major label debut, released via Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records. It hit #1 on the iTunes R&B Albums Chart and the Top 5 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Just one listen to Morton’s music quickly reveals why he is a favorite on the indie R&B circuit and an in-demand songwriter/producer. “Only One,”New Orleans’ lead single, featuresStevie Wonder and earned him a Grammy nomination (PRESS HERE). Armed with an infectious hook and a head-boppin’ groove, the up-tempo number showcases Morton’s velvety tenor, songwriting skills and musicianship, accented byWonder’s distinctive harmonica.“Steviejoining me on the track is the ultimate start.It’s my dream come true,” says Morton of teaming with Wonder. “I want to continue the legacy he represents: musicianship and positivity.” New Orleansitself stemmedfrom Morton’s acclaimed 2012 EP, Following My First Mind,featuring guest cameos from Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Lil Wayne and Jazmine Sullivan. Influenced by acts ranging from the Beatles and James Taylor to Wonder and Donny Hathaway, the New Orleans native is the son of gospel singer Paul S. Morton. His formal foray into the industry was as a member of the band Freestyle Nation, which debuted in the early 2000s. But it was as a songwriter/producer that Mortonleft his first indelible impression. He won a Grammy Award for his songwriting/production of India.Arie’s “Interested” from her 2002 album Voyage to India. That opened the door to more collaborations (Jermaine Dupri, LL Cool J, Monica, MusiqSoulchild, Trinitee 5:7) and additional accolades (Dove and Stellar Awards) for his work with gospel singer DeWayne Woods. Woods’ “Let Go, Let God” spent a record 70 weeks on the gospel chart. Along the way, Morton released several acclaimed indie solo albums. He also attracted the attention of Academy Award-winning producer AR Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who asked Morton to contribute a song (“Sajna”) to the soundtrack for the Vince Vaughn comedy “Couples Retreat.” Morton’s next big break occurred when he was asked to audition by friend and Maroon 5 music director, Adam Blackstone, for a spot in the band as its keyboardist/vocalist. Soon after, childhood friend and Young Money Entertainment president Mack Maine championed Morton’s music and vision to Cash Money co-CEO’s Roland “Slim”Williams and Bryan “Birdman” Williams. With the approval from co-signer, Lil Wayne, PJ Morton released New Orleans via Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records. As PJ Morton ventures into the next chapter of his career, he returns to his indie roots releasing Live Show Killervia the newly formed Morton Records.Fans can expect an album that captures the essence of his mesmerizing live performance, and will be delighted to hear his live take on the songs they have already grown to love.
Kyle Dunnigan
Wednesday 10/07
Kyle Dunnigan @ The Howard Theatre
$20 / $25
“One of the most innovative, clever and hysterical acts ever unleashed at the fest” said the Montreal Gazette of Kyle’s performance on a prestigious gala set at the 2013 Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. Most recently Kyle was hired to write and perform on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer for both seasons 1 and 2. In addition to this, Kyle has an animated pilot set-up at Nickelodeon, where he is set as the creator, Executive Producer and voice of the title character. Kyle’s original character “Craig” has garnered over 8 millions views on his YouTube channel, which currently has 27,000 subscribers. Kyle continues to build a following in the digital space with his weekly podcast, Professor Blastoff, which he co-hosts with Tig Notaro. In 2013 the podcast was all over the top ten iTunes Comedy Podcast Charts, and peaked at #1 numerous times. Furthermore, Kyle has been invited to perform at the most prestigious comedy and music festivals in 2013 such as Montreal and Chicago Just for Laughs, Bumbershoot, Bonnaroo, Vancouver, San Francisco Sketchfest, Fun Fun Fun Fest and Sasquatch is on the books for 2014. Kyle also released a comedy and music Christmas album last year, which heavily featured this original character “Craig” along with a host of other original characters and celebrity impressions. The album peaked at #6 on the iTunes comedy album charts. Kyle has been featured by prominent media outlets such as The Onion AV Club, Marvel Comics, Paste Magazine, Thought Catalogue, Social Times, Crave Online, New Media Rockstars, Laughspin and The Comics Comic. In previous years Kyle was cast in the pilot Garfunkel and Oates for HBO GO and recurred on Reno 911. As a stand-up comic Kyle has had his own half hour special on Comedy Central along with numerous late night performances (Conan, Kimmel, Leno).
Musiq Soulchild
Sunday 10/25
Musiq Soulchild @ The Howard Theatre
$37.50 / $45
Philadelphia native Taalib Johnson a.k.a Musiq Soulchild, is a soul artist whose unique style blends R&B, Soul, Funk, Rock, Blues, Jazz, and Hip Hop, creating a sound unlike any other. “I consider myself a soul artist because it encompasses all genres of music!" Musiq states “I like to make music that means something to people, nowadays there are so many categories and labels, I just wanna make music that matters!” Musiq is the eldest of nine children “I always saw myself as the black sheep of the family; I was always doing my own thing!” At a young age Musiq decided he would not continue his high school education, this proved to make his road to success much more difficult "I really wish I stayed, cause even though I didn't like it that much I still could've taken advantage of the many resources that being in school has to offer!” When Musiq was 17 he left home to live life on his own terms, finding himself having to depend on the kindness of friends, and sometimes strangers, as he struggled with everyday survival "Man, I did what I had to, I slept on couches, the bus, the train, the park, whatever, it didn't matter, I just knew things wasn't gonna be that way forever!” It was during that time Musiq started to build a reputation for being musically gifted, beat boxing for MC's, free styling on the open mic circuit, scatting at a jazz club, or just performing a cappella in the streets of Philadelphia, which is where he got the name " Musiq " and later he added " Soulchild " which is intended to respect and represent the legacy and traditions of past great soul stars. Musiq was introduced to the world in 2000 with his platinum debut album, Aijuswanaseing (I Just Want to Sing), which included the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop single, “Just Friends”. Musiq’s second single, “Love”, spent 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and has been described by many as a classic. Musiq’s 2002 album, Juslisen (Just Listen), debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Charts and quickly went platinum with hit singles, such as “Halfcrazy” and “Dontchange”. By the drop of his third album, Soulstar, in 2003, Musiq had established himself as one of the top R&B/Soul artists of his time. Soulstar included the hot singles “Forthenight” and “Whoknows”. A fter a four year break and changes in Managementto: Solqi Management and record label to: Atlantic records, Musiq knew that, in order for his success to continue, his sound would have to reflect his personal growth and journey. In 2007 Luvanmusiq (Love and Music) was released and included the hit singles “B.U.D.D.Y.”, “Teach Me”, and “Make you Happy”. Musiq Soulchild has had 2 platinum albums, 2 gold albums and 7 hit singles. He has received awards from Billboard, BET, ASCAP, BMI, and Soul Train. Musiq has also earned award nominations from MTV, American Music Awards, NAACP, and 9 Grammy nominations, including 3 for his 2007 album Luvanmusiq. Besides being a successful recording artist, Musiq is notable for his creative and unique way of titling his albums and songs. In addition to being a platinum selling artist, Musiq has garnered TV and print ads from Mc Donald’s, GAP, Coca Cola, Levi Strauss, and Nike. All of this talent, hard work, and determination have allowed Musiq to flourish into one of the few R&B soulful artists that still exist.
Shuggie Otis
Friday 07/31
Shuggie Otis @ The Howard Theatre
$35 / $40
Irony is a part of life. Though the music business may at times have nothing to do with "real" life, irony is a part of the biz. Just ask singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis. Shuggie Otis, for those not familiar with him through David Byrne's heroic disinterment of his 1974 album, Inspiration Information or through his authorship of the wonderful Strawberry Letter 23 - is the son of legendary R `n' B bandleader Johnny Otis. A musical prodigy he was playing with his father by the time he was 13 and from the word go displayed an uncanny mastery of the blues guitar. He wrote "Strawberry Letter 23," a gold single for the Brothers Johnson that went to number one R&B and number five pop in spring 1977. George Johnson was dating one of Otis' cousins who gave him a copy of Otis' 1971 Epic LP, Freedom Flight. Immediately, Johnson liked "Ice Cold Daydream" and "Strawberry Letter 23." The duo recommended it to their producer, Quincy Jones, and recorded a cover version that sticks pretty close to Otis' original version of "Strawberry Letter 23." By the time "Strawberry Letter 23" was a million-seller, Otis had been dropped from Epic three years earlier. The 24-year-old guitar virtuoso was sure he would get a new record deal. Ironically, the record executives would be impressed that he wrote a million-selling song, but they weren't interested in anything else he'd done. Disillusioned, Otis dropped out of the music business before returning to it in the late `80s, playing with his father, Johnny Otis' band. Later the axiom "good things come to those who wait" took effect. Spurred by sales and critical kudos of reissues of his 1974 Epic LP, Inspiration Information, from Sony Music Special Projects and David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, Otis performed "Strawberry Letter 23" on May 2001 appearances on Conan O'Brien and David Letterman. Though in recent years he has chosen to remain out of the spotlight, he continues to be revered through musical circles, as evidenced by his 2009 performance with Mos Def in LA. Feb 2013 sees the re-release of Inspiration Information via Sony distribution, complete as a double album package with a set of sought after unreleased masters. He will perform his first live dates outside America in over 20 years.