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Goapele
Thursday 07/09
Goapele @ The Howard Theatre
$29.50 / $35
Goapele (pronounced gwa-puh-lay), which means “to move forward” in Setswana has been doing just that, moving forward and making her presence felt in the music industry since 2001 as an American soul and R&B singer/songwriter. She is currently gearing up for the release of her new album “Strong As Glass” on October 21st, 2014 featuring her single Hey Boy. Produced by Keith Harris, known for hits like “Meet Me Halfway” (Black Eyed Peas) and “American Boy” (Estelle) and a collaborative songwriting process, which included Estelle, Hey Boy is a fun, summer track with an up-tempo, flirty retro vibe that makes you want to dance. The new album Strong As Glass is being released on BMG Primary Wave / Skyblaze Recordings, and will be Goapele’s fourth studio album. She worked closely with executive producer Keith Harris, who helped push the songstress creatively, which you hear throughout the dynamic project. She also worked with R&B veteran Eric Benet and producer Demonte Posey to finish this genre-bending record. There are upbeat tracks mixed with powerful ballads, hard-hitting drums, classic Goapele vocals and even a duet with one of R&B’s top artists. Goapele’s upbringing in her hometown of Oakland, California combined with ethnic influences from her South African father and New York-born Israeli Jewish mother have created a unique artist with a passion for her music and her community. Once called the “spiritual love child of Sade and D’Angelo” by Rolling Stone magazine, Goapele has both a sensuous and serious voice that is making a difference in the music world by blending genres including jazz, soul, and hip-hop, infused with her own poetry. Following her time getting an education at Berklee College of Music, Goapele debuted her musical talent with a self-released album Closer in 2001. At its peak, Closer was #63 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. This would not be her only taste of the Billboard ranks. In 2004, her first nationally distributed album, Even Closer, reached #24 on the Billboard Charts for Top Independent Albums. Her other Billboard accolades include her 2006 album, Change it All, which was both #32 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart and #2 on the Top Heatseekers, while the single “First Love” reached #18 on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay. Goapele’s last album release in 2011, Break of Dawn, is her most diverse and exciting project to date. The music includes sophisticated songs revolving around love, loss, and all of life in between. “I came into this business as a young woman who wanted to be taken seriously for my music, but, now I’m more willing to share my sexiness as well. I realize that it’s possible to be both complex and provocative,” Goapele says. By collaborating with an array of creative folks including Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, Bobby Ozuma, Malay and Bedrock, this is also the first project Goapele has worked with other songwriters. Break of Dawn reveals many experiences that define Goapele, from the birth of her daughter, to tragic losses. Throughout her career Goapele has appeared on several well-known shows like Soul Train, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and has been praised in many prestigious magazines such as Rolling Stone, Nylon, Billboard, Essence and Vibe. Goapele has also proven to be a savvy businesswoman. She is a UNIQLO ambassador and is part of the UNIQLO campaign, which is a clothing company designed for people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, etc., as well as members of all communities and social groups. Perhaps, her most endearing quality is her constant work with the community to give back to people in need. She has performed at rallies, demonstrations, and various political events around the world. In 2006 the California-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights honored her with its first ever Human Rights Cultural Hero Award. Goapele’s love and passion for the world pours out into her music and her “smoky and sensual” voice, as described by Billboard magazine, is sure to make your day.
Kamasi Washington
Wednesday 08/26
Kamasi Washington @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $25
At the age of 13 Kamasi Washington decided to begin a life long quest of the many wonders to be found in music. He made this decision one night when after a rehearsal at his home his father left his soprano saxophone lying on the piano and left Kamasi with an uncontrollable curiosity of all the beauty he’d just heard come from it. So he took father’s horn, and even though he didn’t know anything about the saxophone, in fact he’d never even touched a saxophone, and played Wayne Shorter’s “Sleeping Dancer Sleep On”, his favorite song at the time. Kamasi was shocked he had been playing drums, piano, and clarinet for years but he’d never played the saxophone. Yet he was somehow able to play a song from his heart and in that received an early glimpse of the euphoria that music can bring. And at that moment he knew that music was his life’s quest and the saxophone was his voice. Within two years Kamasi earned the lead tenor saxophone chair in the top jazz ensemble at the prestigious Hamilton High School Music Academy. At the same time Kamasi joined the Multi School Jazz Band (MSJB) where he was reunited with several child hood friends who were well on their way on their own musical quest. During his senior year of high school Kamasi formed his first band with childhood friends Ronald and Stephen Bruner on drums and bass, along with pianist Cameron Graves. The group was called “The Young Jazz Giants”. After high school Kamasi went on to study ethnomusicology at UCLA were he received a full scholarship and was exposed to many of the non-western musical cultures around the world. In the summer after his freshman year Kamasi recorded his first album with “The Young Jazz Giants” a platform they used to spread the new sound of jazz all around the country. In his second year at UCLA Kamasi went on his first national tour with the west coast hip-hop legend Snoop Dog. Ironically this band was made of many of the most talented young jazz musicians in the country. Later that year Kamasi joined The Gerald Wilson orchestra. Gerald Wilson was his biggest hero compositionally and being a part of his orchestra motivated him to make composition the focus of his major at UCLA. In doing so Kamasi began studying many of the great American and European composers. After his senior year at UCLA Kamasi went on his first international tour with RnB legend Raphael Saadiq who had ¾ of “The Young Jazz Giants” in his band. Later that year he was given the honor of representing Gerald Wilson’s Los Angeles band on his album “In My Time” witch featured Wilson’s New York based orchestra. Over the next few years Kamasi was blessed to be able to perform and record with many of his musical heroes, from many different genres. He played with legendary jazz artist such as McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, and George Duke. At the same time he was working with artist such as Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Osborne, Mos Def, and Quincy Jones. During this same time Kamasi started his new band called “The Next Step”, a kind of modern spin on a big band, with two drummers, two bassist upright and electric, piano and keyboards, three horns and a vocalist. Recently Kamasi has been touring with legendary musicians Stanley Clarke, Harvey Mason, and Chaka Khan. He’s featured on Harvey Mason’s latest album “Chameleon” and will be featured on Stanley Clarke’s upcoming album as well. Kamasi also has a ground breaking new album coming out on the record label “Brainfeeder” with his band “The Next Step”. It’s a triple disc masterpiece appropriately titled “The Epic”.
Dru Hill feat. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz & Tao
Wednesday 09/09
Dru Hill feat. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz & Tao @ The Howard Theatre
$36.50 / $42
Years from now when it’s all said and done, music historians will surely debate the contributions of those who majorly impacted the genre of R&B. Icons guaranteed to be mentioned are industry stalwarts such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O’Jay’s, The Jackson Five, New Edition, Guy, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. However, any list that does not include the incomparable Dru Hill is grossly inaccurate. The torch bearers responsible for carrying R&B music into the new millennium was the labor of love for four immensely talented young singers who were and remain the quintessential example of superior entertainers. From their first single that asked the ever important question, “Tell Me” (what you want), Dru Hill has been giving fans what they need in the form of numerous classic love ballads and infectious dance songs that have provided countless beautiful memories for millions upon millions of music lovers the world over. Named after a popular Baltimore park, Dru Hill is comprised of Tamir Ruffin a/k/a Nokio, Mark Andrews a/k/a Sisqo, Larry Anthony a/k/a Jazz, and Antwuan Simpson a/k/a Tao, the newest addition the group replacing original member James “Big Woody” Green who left the group to pursue a solo gospel career. In a career that spans nearly two decades, Dru Hill, under the steadfast leadership of their long time and trusted manager Kevin Peck has accomplished literally everything an R&B/Pop group could dream of achieving. From having a string of Top 40 #1 hit singles, multi-platinum selling albums, movie and television appearances, headlining sold out concert tours around the world, to selling an eye-popping 30 million records worldwide, their star power has never been in question. Proof of their immense global following was most evident when their reality show entitled Keith Sweat’s Platinum House became the highest rated series in the Centric network’s history, proving their critics wrong that even after a significant absence from the public eye, fans still can’t get enough of Dru Hill. With a music library fit for royalty, that boasts some of the biggest selling and most popular R&B songs of all time to include “Tell Me”, “5 Steps”, “In My Bed”, “Never Make a Promise”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “These are the Times”, and “We’re Not Making Love No More”, that are considered by many music experts to be standards that help define the 90’s. Additionally, the group’s music has helped tremendously to bolster the sale of movies and soundtracks with their songs often having been the lead single for block buster films like “Eddie” starring Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg (Tell Me), “How to be a Player” starring comedian Bill Bellamy (She’s a Bad Mama Jama), “Rush Hour” starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker (How Deep is Your Love), Wild Wild West starring mega superstar Will Smith (Wild Wild West), and “Soul Food starring former Miss America Vanessa Williams (We’re Not Making Love No More). As their lead single “Back to the Future” off their fourth studio album “Indrupendence Day” heats up the clubs, radio, and the internet, the group’s vocal capabilities is greatly enhanced by the arrival of Tao. The Annapolis, Maryland native whose incredible singing range has him poised to do for Dru Hill what Johnny Gill did for New Edition, and that’s help take the group to new levels of greatness. All while Nokio continues to prove his genius as a songwriter, producer, and singer. Jazz supplies vocal versatility through his amazing voice and his unique ability to play an array of musical instruments. Rounding out the soon to be hall of fame foursome is none other than the Blonde/Silver haired rebel Sisqo, whose dancing and singing brilliance is timeless. Busier than ever performing at sold out venues around the globe for a whole new generation of adoring fans, is the life of Nokio, Tao, Jazz, and Sisqo who prove superior singing + undeniable talent + first rate showmanship = Dru Hill.