The Mic Check

The purveyor of truth

Archive for the month “March, 2011”

Jessi Teich, “Barely There” review

Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughn, Janis Joplin, Muddy Waters, and BB King are some of the greatest singers and musicians of all time.  Fuse all of these artists together and envision a young woman in a vintage dress playing the piano.  The woman is no one other than Jessi Teich.  Raised in New Jersey, studied at Berklee College of Music, and now residing in Philadelphia, Jessi Teich is an old Blues, Jazz, and Soul singer trapped in a 20 something year old woman’s body.

Recently Jessi Teich released her debut album “Barely There.”  The album has an acoustic feel that will make you appreciate the beauty of musicianship.  Not only is Jessi an accomplished pianist, she is also a composer.  There is a spirit of Gershwin present throughout the album.  This is definitely an album to listen to when you are trying to relax.  It’s something very soothing about Jessi’s voice.

The album is about love and life. Each song is great in its own right.  The song “Mover and Shaker” describes the feeling when you wake up in the morning and the peace of mind you have before your feet hit the floor.  “I’m a mover and I’m a shaker, I ain’t got time for any haters.”  It’s empowering when you arise in the morning and realize that you have the ability to accomplish whatever you put your mind to.  Move and shake your way to the top!

“Layers of Love” is just one of those songs in which you can’t help but to close your eyes and let your mind wander.  It’s definitely a great song.  It definitely puts you in the mind of Norah Jones.  The pure melodies and unfettered beauty in her voice is incredible.  The song ends with Jessi singing acapella and it’s at that point where you realize how pure her voice is.  No superfluous runs, just singing from her heart and soul.

When listening to “Barely There” you will not get the pomp and circumstance caricature of music.  There is nothing exaggerated about Jessi Teich.  This album is definitely a great investment.   This album embodies everything that constitutes greatness, nice vocals, great lyrics, and real instruments.  Her album might be entitled “Barely There, but Jessi Teich is fully here and ready to take the world by storm.

Savannah Robinson sings with Jennifer Hudson

Today I watched 12 year old Savannah Robinson sing with Grammy Award and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.  I must say that Savannah has some pipes on her.  She reminds me of Bianca Ryan a few years ago.  “And I am telling you” has to be one of the hardest songs to sing, along with “I will always love you.”  Here is the video of Savannah and Jennifer singing on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Here is Bianca Ryan singing “And I am telling you” on America’s Got Talent

Now, I know they are young but both seem to have the IT factor.  I will say that Savannah has a little more control than Bianca, but I digress, both of these young ladies have amazing voices.  Honestly, they put some of these “singers’ to shame.  Kudos Savannah and Bianca!

Lupe Fiasco, “Lasers” a great album with hidden drama

After petitions and fan protesting in front of Atlantic Records, the third album from Lupe Fiasco was released on March 8, 2011.  “Lasers” is musically different that its predecessors “The Cool” and “Food and Liquor.”  While Lupe Fiasco didn’t change his rhetoric, he most certainly changed music.  It’s more commercial (example:  “Out of my head” featuring label mate Trey Songz) but still contains socially relevant and thought-provoking lyrics.

Lupe Fiasco is notorious for speaking his mind when it comes to society and the government.  This has been displayed in songs such as “Little Weapon,” “American Terrorist,” and “Dumb it down.”  This similar topic resonates throughout Lasers.  Hence his usage of the anarchy (disarray of political order due to the lack of governmental authority) symbol on the cover.

The first single from the album is “The show goes on.”  There was some criticism when this song was released because people felt that it didn’t “sound” like Lupe.  The reason is because he had absolutely nothing to do with the song.  It was written by Jonathan Brown and produced by Kane Beatz.  In an interview with complex Magazine he said that he had nothing to do with the song.  It was either record the song and make it the first single, or the album would be shelved.  Lupe gave into the fascism and did “The show goes on.”  The song has a great beat and was made for the radio.  From the title you would think that it was a song of triumph, alluding to the dissimilitude between Lupe Fiasco and Atlantic Records, but it’s not.  While it’s very different from anything Lupe has previously released, it’s still a great song.

The second single from the album is “Words I never said.”  Like, “the show goes on,” he had nothing to do with this song as well.  The only part of the song he had control over was the removal of a bridge because it was about relationships.  The song really isn’t different from other Lupe Fiasco songs.  He talks about his disdain towards the government and how he is anti-war.  Even though he had nothing to do with the song, it’s something that diehard fans will like.

Lasers is a backronym for “Love Always Shines Every time, Remember 2 Smile.”  It could be a subliminal reminder to himself, remembering that through the tension between him and his label, he must remember to smile continuously. While Lupe Fiasco isn’t happy with his album, it will probably be his best-selling album to date.  Aside from the hidden dissension and forcing Lupe Fiasco to change his style, “Lasers” is a great album.  The one thing that cannot be denied is that Lupe Fiasco is a great rapper.

Charles Butler and Trinity, “Untapped” submission. WOW!

Journalist Jawn Murray has teamed up with EMI Gospel for a cd entitled “Untapped.”  The cd will feature 10 unsigned artists, and one of the finalists will receive a recording contract with EMI Gospel.  I think this is a very good opportunity for aspiring Gospel artists.  Often times we listen to the radio and like clockwork we are often bombarded with the same artists at the same time.  Whether it be mainstream or Gospel radio, they still manage to only play a handful of artists.  Therefore, there are so many artists who are left unheard because of the politics of state-run radio.

I listened to one of the submissions on YouTube and was completely blown away.  Have you ever heard of Charles Butler and Trinity?  If you haven’t I highly suggest that you take advantage of Google and experience them!  They have impeccable harmony like you wouldn’t believe, the person leading the song didn’t do a lot of superfluous vocal runs, and the music itself was great!  “You can live, you can stand, it’s all over.”  If this song touches the airwaves I can see it becoming the “I trust you” (James Fortune and FIYA) of the radio.

Overall I must say that I really like the song and hope that it makes the final cut.  I would hate to see a song like this go unheard.  Check out the video and let me know what you think.  to check out more “Untapped” submissions please go to http://www.youtube.com/user/untapped

Evan Ross’ new song, “Yes Me.”

Recently Evan Ross released his first single, “Yes Me.”  It’s a cross between Pop and R&B (his words not mine).   As I listened to the song the first thing I realized was that Evan is not the best singer.  He sings from his nose and throat for the most part.  That trait seems to be very common with a lot of male “singers” today.  The song isn’t bad, but it’s nothing unique about it that distinguishes it from any other song by a male today.  I don’t hate the song at all.  I just think that it’s just another song.

Check out the song and let me know what you thought about it.

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