Welcome to June!
May was a long month for me. Most of the time months just zoom by, but I feel May took it's sweet time. Most likely because I was mostly unemployed for the month. I also spent some time with friends and family back home, so life slowed just a bit for a week in the middle of May. Learning the ropes at two new part time jobs has been grueling for me (I hate not knowing what I'm doing) so that made the days drag some as well. Needless to say, I'm happy June is here.
Another reason June is fantabulous? It's Black Music Month, or "African American Music Appreciation Month" according to Barack Obama. The observance started back in the early 70's when President Jimmy Carter decided we should celebrate black music. When you think of the 60's it's evident: black music ruled the airwaves those days.
Throughout the month I'm going to highlight artists who I feel are doing big things in black music. But first it's probably a good idea to (try to) define what "black music" is.
Early on, black music was a sound. It was your Motown, your doo-wop, the things you would expect to hear from African American artists. Of course there were people of other races creating similar sound, but in the 40's, 50's, and even the 60's there was a great deal of
borrowing stealing from African American originators.
Now that genres aren't so defined by where you're from or what you look like, what classifies as "black music" has evolved. There are African Americans making country music and rap music, electronica and blues. There are no boundaries.
To kick off the month, I want to spotlight an artist I have loved since he first broke onto the scene years ago. An artists who makes me swoon with the first line of every song. A singer who's talents transcend the strict boxes of "genre."
|Via Rolling Stone|
It's been said that Miguel is one of few current artists bringing true R&B back to life. Let the Los Angeles crooner tell it, however, and you'll find that his goal is to be an artist never confined by one genre. Miguel infuses rock, blues, jazz, pop, and a buffet of interesting sounds into his music. His albums are works of art, perfectly complementing his drive to spotlight local artists through his #artgang campaign. You've heard his voice on Jay Z and Kanye's "No Church In The Wild," and on Mariah Carey's "Beautiful," until she kicked him off for the remix. Bad move, Mimi. You saw Kelly Clarkson (embarrassingly) admit she had no clue who he was at the GRAMMYs, and if you're a "GIRLS" fan, you heard his delicate jam "Simple Things."
If you're not as familiar with Miguel, I urge you to check out my favorite tracks. This was a difficult pick for me, so I hope you actually listen to these. If you don't all of my tallying and choosing will be for naught. Then I'll be sad. Then I'll just listen to more Miguel. Then I'll be satisfied, but a bit disappointed in you. Just sayin'. I picked songs you can find easily on Spotify, to make it easier for you. (No excuses!)
1. "Do You..." You've already heard "Adorn" and I hope you've heard "Simple Things." Therefore "Do You..." is my first pick. It's how every man should hit on a woman. OK maybe not. All I know is it would work on me.
2. "Girls Like You" This song made me fall in love with Miguel. 'Nuff said. Much like Ne-Yo, Miguel knows how to write a song to a woman. Miguel tends to put a little more sensuality in his lyrics in comparison to Ne-Yo, though, and we could all use a little more of that in life. Amirite?
3. "Teach Me" and "Arch & Point" I couldn't do it. I couldn't choose. I wrote that last 'graph and got to thinking about being sensual and Miguel's sexy music and I couldn't make my self toss either aside. "Teach Me" has a 90's slow jam feel with a dose of Prince-y synths. Wait for the high note. It gets me every time. "Arch & Point" is riddled with sexy audible bites. Miguel really gets into his music (as any artist should) and it shows on this one.
Have fun and stay tuned for more Black Music month goodies from yours truly!