One of the most popular and highly recognized standup comedians on the road today has also made quite an impression in the television, film and radio arenas. D.L. was mostly recently heard on the New York airwaves, as host of the morning show on WRKS-FM. DL also serves as a weekly contributor to the nationally syndicated radio show, "The Tom Joyner Morning Show." First and foremost a standup comedian, he starred in his 5th stand-up special "Reset" which premiered on Showtime July 14, 2013. In addition, D.L's first humorous book title, I Want You to Shut the F*ck Up, is out in bookstores now.
In August 2013, Hughley signed to host a weekday radio broadcast, with a launch date of August 26, 2013. THE D.L. HUGHLEY SHOW, distributed by Reach Media, Inc. will be a daily themed, music intensive afternoon drive program from 3-7pm ET. "I think radio fits my sensibility. I want to be fast, I want to be funny, I want to be topical. I want to make people laugh a lot and think a little. Some people want to push the envelope – I want to see if I can singe it a little."
Known for being astute and politically savvy in true comedian style, D.L. served as host of his own late night talk show on CNN "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News." Proving he could, indeed break news, D.L. was able to uncover startling, news-making comments from such guests as former White House press secretaries Scott McClellan and Ari Fleischer, as well as RNC chair Michael Steele.
D.L. starred in his own one-hour special for HBO entitled "Unapologetic." The special, D.L.'s fourth for the network, is currently available on DVD. In 2007, D.L. starred on the NBC series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" and also HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" , as well as the BET series "S.O.B: Socially Offensive Behavior".
As the star and producer of his namesake television show that ran on ABC and UPN "The Hughleys," D.L. is also well known as one of the standout comedians on the hit comedy docu-film The Original Kings of Comedy. A veteran of numerous talk show appearances D.L. switched the tables in 2005, hosting his own talk show on Comedy Central "Weekends at the DL." He is a regular on the late night talk show circuit, including always-memorable appearances on "Real Time with Bill Maher," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Conan." He is frequently requested, and has even guest hosted on such shows as, "The View" and "Live with Regis & Kelly."
In addition, D.L. has headlined several comedy specials including "D.L. Hughley: Going Home," "D.L. Hughley Live", "Shocked & Appalled" and the recent "Unapologetic".
D.L.'s first love, always has been, and always will be, standup comedy. "From the minute I first walked onstage and picked up a microphone," he says, "I knew that it was what I was meant to do."
Rachelle Ferrell is unquestionably one of the most dynamic talents in contemporary pop music. Very few vocal artists in the industry have Ferrell's potent combination of range, phrasing, and musicianship. Ferrell first emerged in the states with her R&B debut Rachelle Ferrell (1992), a solid collection of self-penned originals that featured a striking duet with Will Downing ('Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This'). It was with the release of First Instrument in 1994 (recorded prior to Rachelle Ferrell) that audiences were really introduced to Ferrell's jazz sensibilities.
Rachelle Ferrell began singing at the age of six, which many speculate contributed to the "development of her startling six and change octave range." Her range also includes the ability to sing in the whistle register, as stated in an editorial review in which she references her highest notes in "It only took a minute" as "Minnie Riperton-like wailing". She received classical training in violin at an early age and by the time she was a teen, she was able to play the piano at a professional level. She enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston where she honed her musical abilities in arrangement, singing and songwriting.
Throughout 1988-1989, Rachelle Ferrell sang backup for Phyllis Hyman. Soon after, Ferrell's debut, First Instrument, was released in 1990 in Japan, five years prior to its US release. Recorded with bassist Tyrone Brown, pianist Eddie Green and drummer Doug Nally, an all-star cast of accompanists also leave their mark on her record. They include trumpeter Terence Blanchard, pianists Gil Goldstein and Michel Petrucciani, bassists Kenny Davis and Stanley Clarke, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter and keyboardist Pete Levin. Her unique take on now-standards like Sam Cooke's "You Send Me", Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love", and Rodgers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine", captured the hearts and souls of the Japanese jazz buying public.
The story of Trey Songz is the classic saga of taking a dream and making the impossible possible. It is a story of determination, faith, struggle, hard work and inspiration. With each chapter, Songz has held onto the best parts of what he offered previously, while continuously raising the bar and creating original and ground-breaking, yet classic, R&B music. Songz has poured his heart and soul into each chapter, showing growth as an artist, businessman and, most importantly, a man.
CHAPTER V, the fifth studio album from the Grammy-nominated international R&B superstar, is the latest chapter in this incredible story. "Musically, it's going to be my best album - sonically, vocally, and in respect to the songwriting," says Songz of CHAPTER V, "it is an album that will take you many places, emotionally and sensually."
CHAPTER V is the follow-up to the Petersburg, VA-bred singer's 2010 RIAA Gold-Certified album, "Passion, Pain & Pleasure," which featured the chart-topping, multi-platinum hits "Bottoms Up (feat. Nicki Minaj)" and "Can't Be Friends." Over the last two years, Songz, born Tremaine Neverson, has crafted a body of work that is a true testament to who he is, where he's been and where he's going.
"I have seen so many different places because of my music, and being able to come back and take my time and live life while recording has been amazing." He says, "This album is going to reflect growth, but at the same time will show exactly what it is that I've given to the game."
Although Trey's worldwide travels have helped him take his sound to a new level, CHAPTER V still embodies the classic "Trey Songz" sound that the world has come to know and love. "Anything I've given and anything you already love, you'll have. You'll have the records like 'Love Faces' and 'Say Aah,' but there will be new elements, as well," he says of the variety of songs and sounds on CHAPTER V. More than ever, Songz uses CHAPTER V as a way to show his love for all genres of music from all over the globe. This is most evident on the dance-friendly track "Ladies Go Wild," which Songz made after experiencing the international nightlife scene while traveling abroad.
For this new chapter in his career, Songz once again teamed up with the upper echelon of producers ranging from his longtime friend and production partner, Troy Taylor, to hit makers Benny Blanco, Eric Hudson and Rico Love. He tapped his younger brother, Alex, to produce "Don't Be Scared." "I'm excited for him to have that first moment because I remember all of my firsts in the music industry. The first time seeing my name in the credits and now having our names beside each other," Trey says of having his brother be a part of CHAPTER V. "It's something I'm very proud of."
Trey has also enlisted a roster of high-profile featured guests including T.I., Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Diddy and Meek Mill. "I've never really had more than 3 or 4 people on an album before. This is the album where I chose to utilize my friendships and make good on collaborating." Trey says on his decision to include more features than he has in the past.
As ever, Trey displays his ability to seamlessly create music that blurs the line between R&B and Hip-Hop, while still creating songs that evoke emotions and vary in subject matter; songs that appreciate women, songs for the club, songs that chronicle the highs and lows of love and relationships, and of course, songs for the bedroom. Trey's versatility is demonstrated on the sensual yet gritty "Hail Mary," a Lil Wayne & Young Jeezy-assisted cut that likens the pleasures of a woman to a 'hail mary' football throw.
Songs such as "Without A Woman," see Songz showing his appreciation for women over a classic 1970s R&B sound, while "Simply Amazing," showcases Trey's vocal range and melodic girth as he expresses his eternal love for his woman despite, and maybe because of, her imperfections. The album's first single, "Heart Attack," features a vulnerable Trey speaking on the trials and tribulations of love and heartache. On "Dive In," the most signature-sounding record on CHAPTER V, Songz uses his suave wordplay to compare his pending conquest of a woman's body to taking a dive in the pool.
Trey takes the time to remind listeners that one of his most cherished pastimes is hitting the club for a good time on the instant party classic, "2 Reasons," which features a bouncy verse from rap superstar T.I., and "Check Me Out," featuring Meek Mill & Diddy, a product that effortlessly combines Trey's rap flow and melodic skills.
The late Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, once professed Trey to be "among the most promising R&B artists we have had on Atlantic since we started the company 60 years ago." Since then, Trey has become an international superstar and one of R&B's brightest stars. He has used his gift of music as the launching pad to various philanthropic and entrepreneurial endeavors such as the "Angels With Heart Foundation" and the Trey's Angels clothing line, sold exclusively at Citi Trends.
Founded in 2010, Songz' "Angels With Heart Foundation" began as a call to action to engage his fan club and has now become a worldwide movement. Through this foundation, Trey encourages members to give back and, most importantly, have a positive impact in their neighborhood through community service with local charities and random acts of kindness.
Now, after selling a combined 14 million albums and singles worldwide, travelling the world on countless international tours, receiving a string of Grammy nominations, meeting President Barack Obama and topping every chart imaginable, Trey Songz has a lot to write about. And he is finally ready to present what may be the most intimate and important chapter he's ever written….CHAPTER V.
Once again, Rowland raises the bar this time around. The record straddles the line between raw R&B and seductive pop with a healthy dose of swaggering hip-hop thrown in for good measure. Always one to challenge the status quo, the diva opened up the floodgates with the offering's first single "Kisses Down Low". The smooth, sweaty, and sexed-up anthem proved to be a hit at radio and online. Shortly after its premiere, the music video racked up over 9.9 million YouTube/VEVO views and remains the bedroom jam for 2013.
On the other end of the spectrum, she opens up like never before on the tear-jerking ballad and second single "Dirty Laundry". It's a confessional, yet catchy rumination on jealousy punctuated by raw heartbreak. Given her tangible honesty, the track caught fire as soon as it went to airwaves. She powerfully sings, "When you're soaked in tears for years, it never airs out. When you make pain look this good, it never wears out".
Rowland also invited a bevy of high-profile friends to team up with her for this album and production comes courtesy of The Runners, Pharrell Williams, The-Dream, and more. As for the guests, Wiz Khalifa lights up a lithe verse on "Gone", and Pharrell Williams burns brightly alongside her on "Feet to the Fire". Pusha T adds true grit to the reggae bounce of "Street Life" as the singer's voice hits elegant heights. Then, there's "Freak" which is a deliciously dirty and danceable in all the right ways.
There's also a history-making moment on the album. "You Changed" reunites Rowland with her Destiny's Child sisters Beyoncé and Michelle Williams. Just before the three voices join in one more harmony, Rowland nods to their shared legacy asking, "Ladies, ya'll want to do it again?" You'll want to hear it again and again too.
For all of its boundary breaking and evolution, Talk A Good Game upholds a tradition of quality for the singer and performer. It arrives hot on the heels of her critically acclaimed chart-topping third offering, Here I Am. That LP debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200, surpassing sales of 77,000 first week and spawning the platinum-selling smash "Motivation" featuring Lil Wayne. Currently, the single's YouTube/VEVO views exceed an impressive 59 million. Her fan base exponentially grows at a rapid rate. Twitter followers exceed 5 million, Facebook likes surpassing 2.9 million, and Instagram followers are over 1.1 million. That's no surprise given the artist's legendary status though. Rowland earned the title of "legend" too. She elevated pop R&B to stratospheric heights as a member of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling groups of all time. She's been honored with five Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 15 Soul Train Awards, 4 American Music Awards, 2 MTV Video Music Awards, 1 BRIT Award, 1 BET Award, 1 NAACP Image Award, a Star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame", and more. Moving over 20 million albums worldwide, she reached multi-platinum superstar status in less than a decade. She's starred in numerous televisions shows and feature films including American Dreams, Freddy Vs. Jason, The Seat Filler, The Fashion Show alongside style icon Isaac Mizrahi, and as a judge on The X Factor UK.
Throughout her solo career, Rowland hasn't stopped churning out hits either. Her powerhouse vocals reverberated potently through Simply Deep and Ms. Kelly. She's also accrued a timeless catalog of her own songs including the Grammy Award-winning "Dilemma" featuring Nelly, "Like This" featuring Eve, "Stole", "Breathe Gentle" featuring Tiziana Ferro, "When Love Takes Over" featuring David Guetta, and more worldwide chart-dominating successes.
Although Kelly Rowland has a long list of accomplishments and accolades under her belt, she shows no signs of slowing down. She's not only going to continue playing the game but winning.
"I'm very confident in everything that's going on around me now," she says. "I've been in this business long enough to have a track record that says I have something to contribute, but the key difference now is that I feel more in control. It's a great feeling."
Three-time GRAMMY nominee Boney James has returned with a dynamic, genre-busting album "The Beat". One of the most successful instrumental artists of our time with sales totaling over 3 million records, James' new project fuses his R&B/Jazz roots with Latin rhythm and percussion.
"This record was born of my love for both Latin and R&B music and became a mash-up of the two genres. The initial inspiration for the record was Sergio Mendes' "Batucada (The Beat)," which I re-imagined as a funk tune." "Batucada (The Beat)" reunites Boney with trumpet great Rick Braun. "Rick and I have a wonderful history. There is a certain edge and energy that comes out when we play together that creates a really cool vibe."
Other special guests on the project include eclectic R&B soul singer Raheem DeVaughn and spoken word phenom The Floacist. The first Urban AC single, going for adds in mid-February, is "Maker of Love," a sexy, soulful song featuring DeVaughn. "Raheem is an artist I've wanted to work with for a long time and we actually met by following each other on Twitter! I sent him the track and he came back with an incredible lyric and finished vocal," says James.
UK poet and musician The Floacist (former partner of Marsha Ambrosius) brings a seductive flow to "The Midas (This is Why)" which adds to the World Music flavor of the album. James says, "This track is a real serious mash-up with the R&B groove, the shekere and conga percussion, coupled with the 'Euro' vibe from The Floacist!" Other treasures on the album include James' fresh take on Stevie Wonder's R&B/Latin classic "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," along with originals by James that run the gamut from subtle and sophisticated with tracks like "Acalento (Lullaby)" and "Mari's Song," to high energy with "Sunset Boulevard," and "Powerhouse."
In their review of The Beat, The New York Times said: "The relaxed charisma of Mr. James' tone, especially on alto and tenor, is one reason his approach works.... Another reason is his sturdy sense of phrase. Like Grover Washington, Jr., a pioneer in this field, he sounds at ease but alert, and he's capable of striking an imploring tone without an overdose of saccharine.
In addition to his GRAMMY nominations, James is a Soul Train Award winner (Best Jazz Album) and has been honored with an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Jazz Album. He has accumulated four RIAA Certified Gold Records. To date, nine of James' albums have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and two have reached the top 10 on the R&B Albums Chart, a rare feat for an instrumental artist.
Boney is also renowned for his compelling live performances. According to The Boston Globe: "Let's make something perfectly clear: James is not a smooth jazz player. Yeah, he is often grouped with people like Kenny G and Najee, but his music is muscular and gritty….James swaggers across the stage like a blacktop hero draining trays on an overmatched opponent. He even weaves his way through the crowd, all but daring them not to have a good time."
Boney will be on tour for all of 2013 following the release of The Beat.
Once upon a time there were great funk/R&B bands like Earth Wind & Fire, The Meters, War, Kool & The Gang, Slave, and numerous others who constantly broke down musical barriers. The musicality of these units was superior – they could rock or funk out as easily as they could move the crowd with a tenor soulful ballad. The rise of electronic music gradually undermined self-contained bands but in the 90s a dynamic young new band emerged—Mint Condition, now the greatest self-contained R&B band of our time. Anointed early on by superstar producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (formerly of the band The Time), Mint Condition does it all—delivering hard-bitten funk with a hip hop edge, rocking out with screaming lead guitar, and crooning lush, "baby-making" soul ballads. The much sought after band, who mark their 20th Anniversary this year, has amassed a string of hits and performs hundreds of live shows each year. In the Fall of 2010 when Prince took the podium at the legendary Apollo to announce his "Welcome To America," and his plans to feature his favorite artists, it was no shock to many that Mint Condition was among them. The only band on his list that day? Mint Condition. During the month of February, TV One tapped Mint Condition as the house band seen and heard every night on the show "Way Black When," which celebrated the biggest African American stars throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. With not one but two current hit singles on board—the sumptuous "Caught My Eye" and lead singer Stokley's duet with Kelly Price, "Not My Daddy," Mint Condition marks the 20th anniversary of its first chart hit with the release of 7… (Mint Condition's seventh studio album) due out on Shanachie Entertainment/Caged Bird April 5, 2011.
This time around we decided to not let ourselves become bogged down with strict thematic or musical boundaries," notes keyboard player Larry El. "We wanted, instead, to do a project that would be expressive of life's multi-facets. For the first time in our career, we looked back into our own musical catalogue for inspiration and resources. Without being a direct throwback, 7… weaves threads of nostalgia into the musical mix. It's kind of an ode to Minneapolis, Mint Condition style." 7… sounds unlike anything else in the R&B world -or any other world—today, once again demonstrating that Mint Condition is one of those rare artists on the scene with their own unique sound. Along with Mint Condition's bedrock funk and R&B balladry, elements of jazz, rock, and hip hop come into the mix. They have always delivered these elements live but here they are a part of their studio work. Nothing is formulaic or routine with Mint Condition, starting with the opening tracks "Can't Get Away" and "I Want It," which are seamlessly linked to play straight through, to "Twenty Years Later," an off-the-wall narrative depicting a 47 year-old addict wondering what happened to the last twenty years of his life, which opens with acoustic guitar and climaxes with an ironic jaunty Vegas-style vamp. It is the kind of organic creativity that only Mint Condition could achieve, an extra ingredient that years of playing together make it possible for them to deliver. In an era dominated by singles, 7… is truly an album, designed to be heard as a whole.
"Each member of the band is equally invested in both the music and the group itself," Larry El explains "So when performing we can more readily live on the edge, musically speaking, where its most interesting, and still not lose t he original spirit and intent of the songs. Any given member can readily play what any other member is thinking or feeling." It is this kind of organic, edgy creativity that has made Mint Condition one of Prince's favorite artists. "In many ways, he (Prince) continues to be a mentor for us," says guitarist O'Dell. "He's a musical genius yet is never condescending. He has a way of making you feel he's your biggest fan—we certainly are his! He's the best. Watching him perform always sends you back to the shed; you know you still have work to do." An unusual fact for a funk/R&B band that can also rock out, is that some of Mint Condition's biggest hits have been ballads and 7… delivers several more great ballads that are destined to be classics including the inspirational "Unsung," "Not My Daddy," the duet with Kelly Price and Stokley, with its unique lyric take on male/female relationships and, of course, the first hit single from the album, "Caught My Eye," with subtle lyrics that stand head and shoulders above the "sex you up" love ballads dominating the scene today. "The lyrics (of "Caught My Eye") tell it all," relates Stokley, who wrote the tune with Larry El. "It's a literal translation. But, at the heart of it all, is vulnerability. We have all felt those `first encounter' butterflies before. The band knew everybody would be able to relate to that."
The members of Mint Condition met as teenagers growing up in the Twin Cities—Minneapolis-St. Paul amidst a thriving music scene energized by Prince, The Time, Jam & Lewis, The Replacements, Soul Asylum and many other artists. Keyboardists Lawrence El and Keri Lewis, guitarist O'Dell, keyboardist/saxophonist Jef, drummer/vocalist Stokley, and bass player Ricky came together in the performing arts program at Central High School. Playing together in different combinations led to them forming Mint Condition; a gig at the famed First Avenue club in 1989 caught the attention of super-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, formerly of The Time, and they were signed to Jam & Lewis' Perspective Records. MEANT TO BE MINT, their debut album, was released in 1991. Their first single, a New Jack Swing-styled number, had only modest success but it was a ballad, "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)," which has become one of the classic R&B ballads of our time, that was their breakthrough, hitting #3 on the R&B charts and #6 on the Pop charts, with the follow-up "Forever In Your Eyes" hitting #7 on R&B charts. Mint Condition was established as a gold-selling act. Further hit singles and albums followed, with "U Send Me Swingin'," "Someone To Love" and "So Fine" all hitting from the FROM THE MINT FACTORY album, "What Kind Of Man Would I Be" (another acknowledged classic) and "You Don't Have To Hurt No More" from DEFINITION OF A BAND.
Meanwhile the band earned its spurs as a live act, touring relentlessly and, unlike so many artists, delivering not only a performance equal to their studio work but one which often surpassed it. As a result, their legions of fans would turn out for a Mint Condition show whether they had a current hit out or not. After Perspective Records folded, Mint Condition signed with Elektra, delivering more hits with "If You Love Me" and "Is This Pain Our Pleasure" from the LIFE'S AQUARIUM album. In the early 2000s the group took a break from their relentless recording and touring schedule. They resumed as a quintet with only keyboard player Keri Lewis absent (though he sometimes re-joined them for specific shows releasing a new album LIVING THE LUXURY BROWN on their own Caged Bird label in 2005, hitting again with "I'm Ready." Their high-energy live performance was captured with the release of LIVE AT THE 9:30 CLUB and then 2008's E-LIFE yielded another hit with "Nothing Left To Say. Two decades on, Mint Condition stands along with The Roots as the only high-profile examples of a self-contained, hit-making Black music band, and with Mint's emphasis on songs and great singing, the sole band carrying on the great tradition of R&B funk bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire, The Meters, War, The Commodores, Lakeside, Slave and many more that were an important, progressive element of the black music scene in the Seventies and Eighties. "We're fortunate that people have come to expect us to march to our own drum, musically speaking," says bassist Ricky. And even though we have carved out our own unique creative path, we've always been well embraced."