Well, first off.. It’s been a hell of a year! And that’s an understatement, and I mean that in the best way possible.. But it’s also been a great year, in fact one of the best and most thrilling years I can remember in a long time..
Remember that old adage “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it?” Well, it’s true.. I learned or rather had it firmly reinforced in my brain, and in my soul that if you say you want something, if you dream about or wish for something long…
Harlem, New York native Vivian Sessoms might not be a household name. But you've probably heard her voice or seen her live—and not even known it.
Sessoms has provided vocals for such stars as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer, Sinead O'Connor, Diddy, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Dayne, Rob Thomas, Joe Cocker and P!nk. With such a stellar and diverse resume, it's no surprise at how powerful and masterfully Sessoms' voice connects with any song she sings.
It could be the pop songs of the day, a veritable jazz standard, or a classy soul tune, whatever Nancy Wilson touched, became angelic. After almost 60 years in the business and dozens and dozens of timeless recordings, she left this world yesterday at age 81 after a long illness. She died at her home in Pioneertown, a community near Joshua Tree Park. Rest In Paradise Miss Nancy.
We’re spending the day listening to her artistry, always with a smile and with the highest esteem regarding her vast amount of…
Dear Family.. Grammy season is upon us, and my song See Line Woman, the first single from LIFE has been entered. If you are a Grammy member, I would be incredibly honored if you would consider voting for me. Please DM me across my social media channels or email me directly for category. If you aren’t a member, it would mean a lot if you would help me to spread the word. Please DM me for category. As always, thank you for all the love and support you guys have shown me since the single has been released…
Well, first off.. It’s been a very busy year! And that’s an understatement.. But it’s also been a great year, in fact one of the best and most thrilling years I can remember in a long time..
Remember that old adage “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it?” Well, it’s true.. I learned or rather had it firmly reinforced in my soul, and in my brain that if you say you want something, if you dream about or wish for something long enough, the universe will conspire to make sure…
Along with the new record (coming in the spring of 2018), I just signed with new a new booking agency, BASITOURS!! What this means is we will be in a town near you soon!! Honored to be working with Peter Basler and to be part of such a stellar roster of artists! Can't wait to see you guys!!
November 07, 2015
INDIEGOGO UPDATE 3!!
5 DAYS TO GO!!
Good morning loves! Vivian here with a next to last update on the Indiegogo Campaign. First I want give a huge thank you to all who have already contributed. You guys have no idea what your support means to me and I love you all so much for it!
It's been a busy month with getting the record and artwork finished and in addition to that, I just filmed my first feature music video this week! By feature, I mean the first video where I am the artist. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. Directed by Dwayne DC Coles, aka Epic DC, who by the way, is a friggin' genius, it's going to show me in several different lights, and not all of them pretty, but if you know me, then you know I get down to the nitty gritty sometimes, lol!
DC's team included camera man John, photographer Frank Blenman, assistant Jenny Cordero, and my team, record label head Alex Phayme, stylist Leon Greene, makeup artist Felicia Graham (who is also an amazing singer), and Caldwell on hair, my sisters, Sybil Johnson, Jenny Douglas Foote, my son Will, and of course my hubby. And let me tell you, my beauty team got me RIGHT TOGETHER! They had me look and feeling amazing.. I am literally beside myself and can't wait for you to see it!
But I am ashamed to say that in the midst of all the happenings I have been remiss in promoting my campaign, lol! So, if you haven't already, and you want to, or were planning to, now is the time, please take a few minutes to stop by and browse the Indiegogo campaign and do tell a friend..Vivians Indiegogo
In the meantime, here's a throwback video from a few years ago of a song I wrote and recorded with japanese artist - DJ Towa Tei, called Happy.
Thank you and remember, music can change the world.. It changed mine <3
Just wanna give you guys, my first contributors, a quick update on the campaign. First, thank you so much to all of you for being the first to support us! We love you and can't wait for you guys to hear the new music. And as you were the first contributors, you all will be the first to hear it. I uploaded a new video to the page a few days ago, of a live performance of one of the songs from the CD (People Make The World Go Round), so please click the link below to take a look. Vivian's Indiegogo Page
In a couple days, we'll be shooting the video for the first single, and I'll be previewing the cover art work for the CD very soon, so stay tuned.
We love you, and we look forward to seeing you all at the record release event!
And remember, music can change the world.. for the better..
Hello my loves! Vivian here with a quick update on my Indiegogo campaign. First, I just want to thank everyone who has contributed so far. Please know that your support means so much to all of us here at Team VIP, and we love you for it!
Next week we shoot the video for the first single! It's my first as a solo artist, and to be honest, I am all kinds of nervous, but I have a great team so I know I'm in capable hands. Can't wait to get the finished product in my hands to share with all of you.
In the meantime, here is a clip of a live performance of one of the songs from the new CD. Hope you like it! By all means, share if you do.
People Make The World Go Round By the way, if you haven't already, please go to my Indiegogo page and purchase your advance copy of the my new CD LIFE. With a purchase of the CD, you get tee shirt with the album art and a ticket to the record release. Vivian's Indiegogo Page Thank you for reading and remember.. music can change the world.. in all kinds of ways.. Love,
October 04, 2015
NEWS NEWS NEWS!!!
NEWS, NEWS & MORE NEWS!!
I GUESS YOU WONDER WHERE I'VE BEEN?
Family! Friends! My loves! Oh, how I’ve missed you so! I know, I know.. I’ve been a little slow with the emails lately, but with good reason. Honest, lol! First off, I took my show on the road at the beginning of 2014, and I’ve been going, going, going ever since! And I mean, I’ve been around the world and I, Yi, Yi! Lol.. But I must say, it has been nothing short of amazing so far. I’m kind of new to this aspect of the music business, but touring as an artist in my own right, is an incredibly rewarding experience. Don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed to work with some of the most talented superstars on the scene today, the best of the best, but in the end, I think the most exciting moment you can experience as an artist, is the chance to share your message, your ideas, and your music with the world. I am truly grateful to God for the wonderful experiences and opportunities I’ve been given/living these last couple years.
COMING SOON - LIFE!
Which leads me to the next reason I’ve been awol these last months, and a big piece of exciting news to boot! The new record LIFE, is on the way.. Finally!! Chris and I have been working every single day to get the new music to you! And I know I’ve promised 100 times that it was “coming soon”, or “just around the corner”, and “any day now”.. But this time, it really is true! Lol.. In order to get the record completed though, we need your help! I’ve started a pre-sale campaign on INDIEGOGO, and we will love you all forever, if you would go to our page and make a purchase. This is a pre-sale, so there are merchandise bundles available, as well as unique ARTIST/VIP experiences for purchase on the page, all tailored specifically for you guys, my VIP’s! I’ve been doing some thinking lately, and I’ve decided I don’t like the term fan. You guys have been supporting me and buying my music and coming out to shows for so long now, that you guys are more than fan’s to me.. You are VIP’s. So from now on loves, I’m gonna call you my VIP’s! <3 Click the link below to see the video, and hear first hand what the money from the sales will be used for, who is on the new record and other cool tidbits about the project.. Vivian's Indiegogo Page. And please, tell a friend..
I’m shooting the video for the first single next week and I CAN NOT wait for you guys to hear it! I am convinced this is my best work to date, and so far, everyone that I’ve asked to come on board and be a part of this prbvoject, after one listen has jumped on board, and there has been nothing but excitement, enthusiasm and love throughout my little team for the past few months.. We are all abuzz! I love these guys, every single one, from the musicians to my PR team to my management and everyone in between..
JOIN THE CLUB - THE VIPS!
One last piece of information I have for you, is that very soon I’ll be changing the way I interact with you all. I will still send email blasts from time to time, and I will still be on Instagram, and Twitter, but I will be switching my Facebook page from a personal page to an artist page, and while I will still be on FB now and then, I am trying something new. I’ve just signed up for a new platform called Superphone, the brainchild of hip hop artist and brilliant entrepreneur (imho), Ryan Leslie.. How this works, is that you text my Superphone number 646.798.2977 and you will immediately receive a prompt asking you to opt-in. By opting in, you will be asked to provide your name, email, phone number and birthday (optional). After that, you will be a VIP, where only those who have opted in will get special updates, giveaways, messages from and personal interactions with me, anytime, anywhere! Wanna’ ask me about new music? Hit me at 646.798.2977! Wanna’ know when the Record Release event is, and where? Hit me at 646.798.2977! The first 100 people to opt in, get the first single (due out in December) for FREE!!! That’s right, FREE!! So don’t forget to opt in. What’s that number again?? 646.798.2977! Lolol!
Thank you for reading.. Love you guys and I will see you all very soon! Look for the new record LIFE, coming in December.. And remember.. music can change the world.. it happens every day..
WHAT HAPPENED MISS SIMONE? THOUGHTS ON THE NINA SIMONE DOCUMENTARY
There is no way to watch this documentary and not have your heart broken.. it's just not possible.. When you understand the time and place in which Nina Simone was born and grew to womanhood.. When you hear of the things she had to endure, not all of which are talked about in this film.. Dealing with all those things artists have to deal with on a daily basis, and for her, being the first black or the first woman or the first black woman.. Enduring racial inequality.. The fire that burned in her to rail against the hatred we were all facing at that time.. There is a moment in the film when she is on stage singing a song dedicated to MLK Jr., the day after he was murdered, where she stops in the middle and says.. "They're leaving us.. They are all leaving us.. Martin.. Lorraine Hansberry, she was good friend of mine. Langston.. And they're beating us.. you might get beaten" .. Not her exact words, but.. You can hear the pain in her voice.. The bewilderment.. And your heart just breaks.. She basically took a decidedly left turn in her career, because she didn't have the desire to write or to sing about anything but civil rights while her people were fighting for their lives.. And when you comprehend that this is a portrait of a woman.. An artist, one among many, fighting racial inequality, political injustice, police brutality, blacks being murdered, churches being set ablaze in the 1960's.. The most devastating part? It's that we are still here today, in the same Goddamn place... #still fighting.. #mississippigoddamn #southcarolinagoddamn #baltimoregoddamn #statenisland #floridagoddamn #northcarolinagoddamn #churchesburning #andonandon
You can see why so many of our greatest artists were black & blue... Knowing they were our voices.. Our greatest hope.. They had to be.. Even while they were fighting and living and dying themselves.. You can understand why so many of our artists died before their time.. some very young.. Why they were willing to die trying to bring about change. Anyone who was a part of the civil rights movement and lived to talk about is a goddamn hero.. But you can always feel their blues.. #heroes #sheroes #ninasimone #littlegirlblue
It's strange and sad that the song Strange Fruit, orginally written in 1937 and recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939, was again recorded by Nina Simone in 1965, nearly 30 years later.. expressing the same outrage at the inequality of the time that more than likely prompted Billie Holiday to sing the song in the first place.. and here it is a full 50 years after Miss Simone's recording of the song, and we are yet again experiencing one of the most brutal periods of violence toward black citizens in the US in our history..
Last month, 9 prominent black people, all leaders of their communities, were gunned down in a church in SC.. 2 days later, confederate flag sales went up 2300 percent on Amazon.. 2300 PERCENT.. That is a statement. In the 3 weeks that followed 7 more black churches have burned down. America is this really the legacy we want to leave behind?
To the right are pictures of my Uncle Sam Smith (left) and his little brother Lemuel (my dad, on the the right). At age 15, my mom became pregnant with me. My Uncle Sam, realizing that my parents weren't equipped to raise me at that time in their lives, took it upon himself to help my grandmother support my mother & I, while still attending college. A few years later, he married my aunt Eleanor & they raised me during my early childhood so my mom and dad could get their lives together.
After graduating college, he joined the NYPD & served there until he was injured in a way that prevented him from continuing in his position. Afterward, he relocated to Las Vegas and worked for the LV fire department. While there he made several attempts to move up within the department, but sadly learned that moving up would not be achieved without a fight. And fight he did, every step of the way, until he became a fire inspector and eventually a chief fire inspector. He took the test to be one of the heads of the department more than 40 times and though he received a perfect score every single time, he was denied the position each and every time, eventually becoming a part of a class action suit against the LV fire department whose case was eventually settled for several million dollars, of which my uncle declined his share of. He chose to stay at his job in the new position of fire chief. To say he faced a fair amount of adversity while working for the fire dep't is clearly an understatement. He felt that minorities were routinely under hired, overlooked for advancement within the dep't, and generally mistreated, particularly black men, so he started a tutoring program aimed at helping black men pass the fire dep't entrance exams. Over time the class became so popular, full of black, asian, hispanic, and women students, it led him to start a mentoring program where minority students could get their equivalency diplomas and assistance with applying to colleges. He also owned & operated a book store Native Son, that focused on the black diaspora in Las Vegas. It wasn't a fancy place by any means, but it was a place where you could go to learn from the elders (The Gathering) & discuss the topics of the day. It was also a place to go if you got into trouble and needed help turning your life around. He did all this for no money, and very little recognition, yet he is personally responsible for assisting thousands in getting their HS diplomas, college degrees, or being hired by fire dep'ts.
Known affectionately as the Oracle or the Mayor of the Bistro, my uncle loved his people & keenly understood the often crippling handicaps black people are faced with every day. He was one of the strongest, most generous people I've ever known. He was also one of the strictest, most disciplined people I have ever known and did not suffer fools gladly. He did not care for excess & could not tolerate those who did not want to learn, or strive to be the best they could. He demanded excellence at all times from his children and from his students. When people would ask why he was so tough, he would answer "Because the world is tougher, especially on black people. The only thing we can use to our advantage are our minds and we must be educated to do that."
He was a man of few words and spent the better part of most days reading. He sat with politicians, paupers and everyone in between and treated all with dignity and respect. His most fervent wish was simply to uplift our race, one mind at a time, thereby changing our world view and in turn the worlds view of us. He was a great man, a born teacher, a mentor to many and something of a legend to most. To me he was a hero, and I tried to tell him so as often as I could.
There is no man or woman who has achieved greatness without some great form of sacrifice. The brunt of that sacrifice is usually bourne by the loved ones and families of those who have given their lives in service. To my cousins Marshall, Mercedes and Assata, know that you are part of the great legacy of a man who helped to save and shape hundreds of black lives. He did this because he wanted the world to be a better place for you. For all of us.. RIP Uncle Sam. Thank you for all that you've done for all of us.. I love you and I will never forget. We salute you #family #love #allblacklivesmatter #savinglivesoneatatime #attentionmustbepaid
Assata Smith, Sybil Johnson, Lincoln Sessoms, William Saunders, Maurice Sessoms, Shannon Wayt Sessoms, Jenny Dougla,s Trevor Johnson, Myeisha Rogers, Chris Parks, Ernest Johnson, NAACP-LV, Virginia M. Washington
ATTENTION Someone died today and Attention must be paid We fear death For in death We fear We shall not be remembered But I can never forget Though I myself will be forgotten in time Through the ages We have learned we do become immortal In the memories of the ones we leave behind And I now, can finally speak on it Because attention will be paid To the Ancestors near, far and wide They must be given their just due And we will say I remember you Someone died and so Attention must and will always be paid I and your children will live on in your name You will see the world through our eyes and through our children's eyes after us and so on We will honor you with love as We call your name And We will never forget Ashay & Amen.
May 29, 2014
UPCOMING SHOWS IN NY, ST LOUIS, DC & BOSTON
Oh how I've missed you summer! Is it just me, or did we go straight from winter to summer?? Finally, the long winter is over, and I am soooo dang happy! Hey everybody! Hope this email finds you all well and basking in the sun! :-)
I'll get right to the point so you can get back out in the sunshine. First off, I want to thank everyone that came out to my show at Vitello's in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago. It was a beautiful night and the band really did me proud. Special thank you's to Brad Roen, Joey Bybee and the rest of the Vitello's gang, you guys were wonderful to me <3 And to Matt Rohde, Maurice Ellis, Rayford Griffin and most especially JJ Sansaverino, you guys are incredible!
Next up.. The news.. I've got several shows happening all over the country in June and July, and chances are I'll be somewhere near you, so bring a date if you're free and come on out for a night of beautiful music, we'd love to see you!
THE BLUE NOTE | NEW YORK
This Sunday, June 1st, I'll be a doing a special jazz brunch at the Blue Note as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival, featuring: Oscar Perez - Piano Michael Blanco - Bass Donald Edwards - Drums
Shows are 11:30 AM & 1:30 PM and the brunch menu is excellent. It'll be a fun afternoon, of great music and great food.
MEET ME IN ST LOUIS
Then on Wednesday, June 4th I'll be headed to St Louis to be the special guest of pianist Peter Martin (Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride, Chris Botti) at the Whitaker Music Festival with:
Syd Rodway - Bass Montez Coleman - Drums
Then on Thursday, June 5th I will be at the Kranzberg Arts Center once again with the Peter Martin Trio. Come on out St Louis people, I wanna see you!
THE CAPITAL | I'M COMING TO DC
DC COME OUT AND PLAY! Finally making my way to DC, so if you're in DC, Philly, Baltimore or any where in the vicinity, you KNOW I wanna see you! On Monday, June 9th I'll be making my DC DEBUT at none other than Blues Alley! I am thrilled about it to say the least, and I wanna see all your beautiful faces in the house!
We'll have: Benjie Porecki - Keys Chris Parks - Bass Jay Williams - Drums and very special guests JJ SANSAVERINO and NATHAN MITCHELL. It's gonna be a night of fabulous music!
BOSTON HERE I COME
And last but by no means least.. MY BOSTON DEBUT AT REGATTABAR! Lolol! I know, I'm quite busy these days.. What can I say, God is good.. Everyday.. Stellar special guests - VICTOR BAILEY and JJ SANSAVERINO and an incredible band will make this a night to remember. Come out and join us!
With: Mark Copeland - Keys Chris Parks - Bass Coran Henley - Drums
Hope to see you at one of these and don't forget, tell/bring a friend. I'm loving meeting all of you after the show, so come up and say hi!
PHENOMENAL WOMAN You graced us with your inimitable style and your wonderfully generous spirit. You had nothing but kindness and words of wisdom and encouragement for all that crossed your path. You inspired multiple generations.. The first book I remember my grandmother, an aspiring writer, talk about with adulation and fervor is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. You will be adored, remembered, spoken of and missed for ages to come Ms. Angelou.
My mother said to me many times as a little girl, Music can change the world. Today I'm going to amend that to say Art can change the world.. and make it a better a place. Thank you Mom, Grandmom, Ms. Maya.. Thank you for reading.
Or rather, here I am! Got here 2 days ago and I haven't stopped moving since I arrived.. I’m thrilled to be here performing in LA for the first time! I’ve heard it's "the city of angels." That’s so interesting to me, I wonder how that story came about? Maybe it’s at an altitude with just the right amount of oxygen in the air where angels can dwell? Lol.. I wish I was going to be here long enough to go to the beach and really soak up the sun after the brutal winter we had in New York! Anyway, this will be a very special show as this will be my first in Los Angeles AND at Vitello's where I'll be meeting the Vitello's family! What's more, I’ll be joined onstage by one of my most favorite people and favorite musicians, the incredible JJ Sansaverino! Since LA has now become JJ's second home, I’ll have to ask him how long he’s been awake! If you know JJ, you know that is NOT a crazy question! Lol.. If you haven't seen JJ and I on a stage together, you are in for a real treat! So please join me for my Los Angeles debut at the beautiful Upstairs At Vitello's
Featuring: Matt Rohde on Keys Maurice Ellis on Bass Rayford Griffin on Drums and very special guest JJ Sansaverino
UPSTAIRS AT VITELLO'S 4349 Tujunga Avenue Studio City, CA 91604 818.769.0905
See you at Vitello's and remember.. Music can change the world. Hugs
April 22, 2014
This year marked a serious turning point for me. I knew with the release of my first record a few years ago, putting it out on my own was going to be huge undertaking. I also knew I needed to learn a lot and fast. In this digital age, I've see a great number of indie artists self release albums, a few do tremendously well. I think the key is realizing that releasing a CD, managing your own career, getting yourself booked in venues, all of it is a full time job. There are highs and of course, there are lows. I think it's safe to say in the beginning there are more lows than highs, and you're dedication and perseverance are severely tested on a regular basis, lol.. But little things and big things have kept me going along the way, booking a gig that took years to book (yes, sometimes it really does take that long :-)), getting a random note from someone saying how much your music/artistry has meant to them, watching my mailing list grow, having a fabulous show, working with musicians who literally take my breath away and inspire me to give them my best in return.. these are the things as an independent artist, that can really make your day. But there is something in particular that has been the truest beacon of light to me, and that is discovering great music by other indie artists. It is incredibly empowering to see other indie artist's do well, to see them connecting with their audiences in new and unusual ways, and it is especially gratifying when it's an artist I know & love. I watch, I learn, I get inspired, I feel encouraged.. I still live for music. There is nothing else I have ever wanted to do.. Watching these artists on their journeys has served as a reinforcement to me to stay on my path, often at times when I have felt like giving up.. I thank you..
Prince Ani DiFranco Ledisi Amel Larrieux Alice Smith Nikka Costa Rahsaan Patterson Trina Broussard Eric Roberson Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley Inaya Day Kelli Sae Sy Smith Sandra St. Victor Martha Redbone Karen Bernod Maya Acuzena Kimberly Nicole Kendra Ross Julian Velard Heavy Amma Whatt Honey Larochelle Cee-Lo Joi Yahzara Beyoncé (the last few album releases were a coup d'état) Betty Carter (..mm hmm.. Bet you didn't know she was the original indie artist, did ya'?)
Thanks for reading.. And remember.. Music can change the world.
March 23, 2014
NEWS FLASH - MARCH 2014
Hey Everyone! Happy Sunday and good morning to you. Long time no speak, hope you all are wonderful and looking forward to some fine spring weather. I have never been so happy to be done with the snow in all my life! ;-) If you're like me, I'm gonna enjoy this summer more than I ever have before! Lol.. Just got back from Russia last week where the weather was warmer in Russia than it was here in New York, now that's saying something!
Anyhow, just want to catch you up on the happenings and I hope to see your beautiful faces somewhere one of these nights...
First off, I'm continuing my residency at my second home..
I'm going to be here with a multitude of stellar musicians over the next 2 months includingTONIGHT! With James Weidman (piano), Ike Sturm (bass), Matt Slocum (drums)! Then next month with Oscar Perez (piano), Dmitry Gorodetsky (bass), Rodolfo Zuniga (drums) and my brand new band PARADIGM featuring Dave Archer (keys), Chris Parks (bass & guitar), & Eric Brown (vocals & drums). I'm featuring a different band for each performance and we have a good old time every time I'm there! Quick tip, if you plan on coming make a reservation, they usually sell out..
Next up, I'm taking my show on the road, TO MIAMI! For my Miami/Ft Lauderdale peeps, I've got 2 very special shows coming up with some of my favorite people..
Written by Iola & Dave Brubeck expressly as a vehicle for Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, and costarring a young Carmen McRae as the ingenue and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross rounding out the cast of characters, The Real Ambassadors has not been performed since it's debut at the Monterey Jazz Festival over 50 years ago. To commemorate the plays 50th anniversary, and as a celebration of the legendary Dave Brubeck, Jazz At Lincoln Center has commissioned a 2 night performance of The Real Ambassadors,
Featuring: Peter Martin - Piano/MD Bob Hurst - Bass Ulysses Owens - Drums James Zollar - Trumpet Roberta Gamborini - Vocal Soloist Brian Owens - Vocal Soloist Vivian Sessoms - Vocal Trio Ty Stephens - Vocal Trio Russell Graham - Vocal Trio Yolande Bavan - Narrator
This is gonna be an fantastic month of music for me with an all star cast of characters, I hope you'll share it with me..
In the meantime, please check out a few of my favorite artists, and remember.. Music can change the world..
What people are saying - "Look my fellow friends, I am a musician for a long time and throughout my career I've rarely seen such talent. JJ is not only one of the best American guitarists he is a rich composer and a impressive arranger, and it is all in display on his long waited debut album "Sunshine After Midnight". The best of all is the fact that all those skills mentioned above are never ahead of his art and artistry. The variety is very impressive as well, this is music you can dance, or work, or chill to while listening. Very relaxing and at the same time very enticing." Btw, be sure to check out JJ's newest single Back Talk produced by my hubby Chris Parks and saxophonist Ze Luis.
What people are saying - "The first single “No Use” is already receiving high praise, sending spine tingling, hair raising, making you throw your fist up in the air. It is sure to become an anthem. “Pure” is bold, unafraid, raw, gritty, beautiful. Finally, the wait is over."
What people are saying - “In a brilliant collision of cultures, the powerful blues and soul singer Martha Redbone has recorded an album called “The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake,” which was produced by John McEuen, of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In it, the mystical, humanistic words of the eighteenth-century English poet are fused with the melodies, drones, and rhythms of the Appalachian string-band music that Redbone absorbed as a child from her grandparents, in Black Mountain, Kentucky.” - The New Yorker
January 29, 2014
HAPPY 2014! TOP O' THE YEAR TO YA'!
Hey gang! Vivian here with big news!
First off, Happy New Year! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! We had a great time here with lots of love and good cheer, after which I promptly had to lay down for a WEEK! All that cooking and cleaning wore me all the way out! It's still my most favorite time of the year though, watching the kids open presents, hearing my favorite Christmas songs, egg nog, candy canes (love 'em), and being surrounded by friends, family and love. But real glad it comes only once a year!
I can finally say with certainty, that you will have new music from me this spring! Busy with artwork for the record now, and I am thrilled! New photo shoots, website overhaul, new EPK. And so far I'm booking some of my biggest and best shows yet, so stay tuned for several big performances from me this year, from solo shows to collaborative efforts, shaping up to be a great year! I've been using my time well.
So, couple of quick recaps.. On my b'day in December, I did a concert in Slovakia that was just breathtaking. a really incredible musical experience, with drummer Martin Valihora and his quartet Mikal Bugala on guitar, Eugene Vizivary on keys and on bass. This came about as a result of the show we did for the Bratislava Jazz Festival last summer. Honored to be invited back. Love these guys! Thank you Martin <3
After the new year, we took a trip to St Barths (an incredibly beautiful place by the way) to play at the Baz Bar with keyboardist Dave Archer and drummer Eric Brown, where we made some of the best music I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. It was really something special, so much so, that we decided to do a show upon our return, just because we wanted to keep playing together! Which bring me to my next point, I'd like to introduce you all to our new musical endeavor, PARADIGM featuring myself on vocals and percussion, Eric Brown on vocals, drums & percussion, Dave Archer on keys & synth and Chris Parks on bass, synth bass & guitar. If you like experimental, you will love this band. The music is a fusion of Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul & Rock with heavy dose of improvisation, and though it sounds like it would be difficult to fuse all those genres together, for us it just feels right and we have a ball while doing it, so if you're free tonight, we'll be making our debut at Rockwood Music Hall - Stage 2, we'd love to see you there.
PARADIGM at Rockwood Music Hall - Stage 2 - 9:30pm Free Show 196 Allen Street NYC
Then on Sunday, I'll be back at my little home away from home Smoke, up in Harlem. In fact, I'll be there this Sunday and again 2 Sundays from now on February 16th. This week I'll be there with the same stellar band that was with me at Kitano Jazz last fall, Oscar Perez on piano, Michael Blanco on bass and Donald Edwards on drums. The on the 16th I'll be there with Dred Scott, Michael Blanco on bass and Alvester Garnett on drums. Very excited to play with all these great musicians.
SMOKE Dinner & drinks required
Last but certainly not least, I'll be doing a Jazz Vespers concert at Saint Peters Church in Manhattan on Sunday afternoon, February 9th with Oscar Perez on piano, Chris Parks on bass and Kevin Bregande on drums.
SAINT PETERS CHURCH
After that I'm off to Russia for a few weeks with Premier Entertainment to play at the new nightclub FACE, featuring myself, Eric Merovitch on saxophone and special guest Clayton Bryant on vocals. If you're in Moscow stop by and say hi!
That's all for now! Remember, music can change the world and so can we.. Hugs, Vivian
September 13, 2013
GIG ALERT! AND OTHER NEWS!
Hey guys, 2 emails from me in one month, so you know that means I have lots of news for you! ;-) So let's get right to it! First, I want to thank everyone who stopped by my set at the Arts Midwest Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was 2 fabulous nights of music, the vibe was great, and the band was stellar. I want to give a very special shout out to Chip Vayenas who played drums, sang and put a killer band together for me, and to Dane Farnsworth on keys, Kevin Flatt on guitar & vocals, Aaron Hatmaker on bass, Crandall (show producer), John (soundman), Chris (stage manager) and all the wonderful staff under the Community Communications umbrella, including my agent Marty Sonnefeld! You guys were wonderful! Some interesting developements came out of this showcase, so stay tuned! Next up, the fabulous Ty Stephens and his band (The) SoulJaazz hit town tonite at the Blue Note and believe me when I say, you do not want to miss this show! If you're unfamiliar with Ty's work look him up on Youtube immediately, Ty is truly one of the most gifted singers I know. I could try and describe Ty's sound to you, but I wouldn't do him justice, so get yourself to the Blue Note tonite and witness him for yourself. It is my honor to be Ty's special guest so I will see you there!
Featuring: Richard Cummings (Keys/MD) Robert "RT" Taylor (Gtr), Ron "Rondew" Cordew (Bass) Tony Lewis (Drums) THE BLUE NOTE Date: Friday, Sept 13th, 2013 Time: 12:30 am *(be there early if you want to get a seat) Door: $20.00 131 West 3rd Street New York, NY 10012 212.475.8592 On Monday, September 16th I'm headed to Philly to perform at Chris' Jazz Cafe. My first performance in Philly so all my Philly folk and those nearby, come on out! Now's your chance ;-)
Featuring: Aaron Graves (Keys/Piano) Chris Parks (Bass/Gtr) Timmy Hudson (Drums) CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE Date: Monday, Sept 16th, 2013 Time: 8, 9:30 & 11pm Door: $10. with $5. minimum 1421 Sansom Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 215.568.3131 Then on Wednesday, September 25th I'll be in Nashville performing for the Performing Arts Exchange Conference, so if you're in Nashville stop on by.
Featuring: Kerry "KG" Greene (Keys) Steve Mackey (Bass) Louis Winfield (Drums) PAE CONFERENCE Date: Wednesday, Sept 25th, 2013 Door: Free Time: 10:15 601 Commerce Street Nashville, Tenn 37203 404.874.7244 And last, but certainly not least, on Wednesday, October 2nd I'll be making my Kitano Jazz debut with a stellar lineup of players. Make sure to make your reservations early 'cause this is an intimate little club with excellent food.
Featuring: Oscar Perez (Piano) Michael Blanco (Bass) Donald Edwards (Drums) KITANO Date: Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 2013 Door: $10. with $15. minimum Time: 8pm & 10pm 66 Park Avenue (East 38th St) New York, NY 10016 212.885.7000 By the way, look for me doing a couple things with Christina Aguilera in the next few weeks ;-)
Once again, lots of info, I know. In the meantime, keep up with the day to day shenanigans by joining me below (please follow & subscribe <3)
I'm taking my show on the road y'all! ' Cause mama said music can change the world. Love you ma!
Hope to see you guys at a show. Hugs Vivian
September 01, 2013
GIG ALERTS - NEWS UPDATE FROM VIVIAN..
Hey guys! Sorry, I've been out of the loop for a bit. I've been running to and fro but I'm back with lots of news for you ;-)
First, I want to thank everyone in Miami who came out to Van Van Dykes this past Friday. It was a fabulous night, the food was great, the vibe was great, and the music was stellar. I want to give a very special shout out to Martin Bejerano on Piano, Eric England on Bass, Rodolfo Zuniga on Keys, Bobby (soundman) and the wonderful staff at Van Dykes, you guys were AWESOME! Hopefully I'll be back in October, so stay tuned! Now for the news!
Thanks to the ever so wonderful Ty Stephens, I've spent most of the summer in Monte Carlo performing as a guest of his incredible band Soul Jaazz and let me tell you, we HAD A BALL!! What and amazing group of guys! So gifted, so gracious, so fun.. It was truly my honor to play with each and every one. So a big thank you to Richard Cummings (piano), Robert "RT" Taylor (gtr), Emanuel "Chulo" Gatewood (bass), George Gray (drums) & Ty Stephens, I've adopted you all for life! Look out for Ty, Soul Jaazz and myself on Friday, September 13th when Ty headlines the Late Night Series at the Blue Note with me as special guest!
Date: Friday, Sept 13th, 2013 Time: 12am Door: $20.00 131 West 3rd Street New York, NY 10012
Next up, on Sunday, September 8th I'll be back in Jersey for the South Orange International Blues Festival with Michael Hills Blues Mob at: Essex County South Mountain Reservation At Cherry Lane The Festival starts at 10am with many incredible artists, including Bill Sims Jr., Dave Stryker, and too many others to name but check out the list and performance times here:
Then on Tues & Wed, September 10th & 11th, I'll be performing at the Arts Midwest Conference in Austin, Texas!
Date: Tues & Wed, Sept 10th &11th Door: Free Time: 11:30pm 500 East 4th Street Austin, Texas 78701 612.341.0755
On Monday, September 16th I'm headed to Philly to perform at Chris' Jazz Cafe.
Date: Monday, Sept 16th, 2013 Time: 8pm Door: $10. 1421 Sansom Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 215.568.3131
September 21st, I'm headed back to Slovakia for a concert. Don't have all the details on this one yet but I'll keep you posted. And last but not least, on Wednesday, September 25th I'll be in Nashville for the Performing Arts Exchange:
Lots of info packed in a short time, I know. My next email will be full of road stories, I promise ;-) In the meantime, keep up with the day to day shenanigans by joining me below (please follow & subscribe <3)
I'm taking my show on the road y'all! Cause mama said music can change the world. Love you ma! Hope to see you guys at a show. Hugs Vivian
August 12, 2013
WANT.. i want -my god given right to choose who represents me
i want my god given right to live the life i call free i dont want to see any more naked black women on b/e/t i want black men to stop talking about how they don't respect me why should we let anyone tell us who we are only we know who we are and can be i will say these words til I'm dying 'cause i wont stop, i cant stop-til you hear me
people have lived and died so we can stand and walk tall feared for own their lives but somehow they kept going.. strong do we feel we owe nothing to them but to dress fly & party on and on?
i am so sick and tired of us living as though we are invisible look at the life of the man who fought & lived from day to day trying to figure out how to lead his people to the promised land, the PROMISED LAND leaving behind his young wife and children wrapped up in our pain and suffering (the world of the living) how do we repay him for all that he gained? by grown women clappin their asses and grown men refusing to take stances maybe this is a necessary ill maybe we are just letting off steam but i can't see how this is the answer people, this can not be the way
i'm talking to our mothers, fathers, sisters & brothers i'm talking to our children i'm talking about - black pride where is it? by any means necessary, when necessary by peaceful means when we can i'm asking if we think we are past fighting for our civil rights as though the movement has ended when in fact it has only (truly) just begun if our leaders of yesterday were here today, we would have marched to new orleans BUT FIRST, we would have marched after the 2 bush elections
are we not tired of being taken for granted in voting fraud scandals and by pop personalities who speak so cavalierly of lynching and nappy headed hoe's? of students who hang nooses from trees for sport, cops who maim and murder in the name of the law.. irate comedians who resort to racial slurs and epithets in a moment of panic and loss of self control, calling people nigger.. nigga? please you know what? i hereby refuse to call another black person nigga
in my dreams i see an image of a sleek black cat and in her resides the spirit of nefertiti like an angel she comes to me and softly chides "you were not sent here to simply just.. be, but to fight, raise hell and rebel for that which you believe
things haven't really changed for people like you and me young men sent to fight for a country that would rather see them die than educate their minds young women raising families without fathers is another sign of our times
WHERE ARE THE FUCKING BLACK MEN WHO WILL STAND BESIDE US?? we have the highest rate of aids, but are the ones who can least afford to see a dr we shop the most yet own the least 1 out of 9 black men is in prison.. but none of that will stop me from trying to make YOU // hear ME.. or rather, it is the very reason
why should we be so familiar with defeat? i want -my god given right to be protected by the police i want my god given right to have honest and fair representation by my govenrment i -want -my -for -ty -ac -res -and -a -mule don't you?
we live in a land where we can still encounter racism every day yet so few speak for us in a way that is not sensational but instead rational and with intellect and poise we forget that this fight is not over that the revolution MUST GO ON but this time the revolution WILL be televised
our heroes are dying or else they are slandered, ridiculed, and brought down before our very eyes yet we stand unmoved, unphased and unprepared the elders of our tribe disappear before us as our last line of defense but it is easier to build a monument than to start a movement
there is a pain in my heart that is hard to describe it is not unlike the feeling you get when love has betrayed you except it is a country that has failed me, failed all of us.. so i guess you could call it heartbreak it will begin with me
let the movement begin
the time is now to take a stand..
May 18, 2013
GIG ALERT - A QUICK UPDATE FROM VIVIAN..
Hey guys, If you missed The Family Room last week, we're so sorry for the inconvenience, we postponed last weeks live show as it was Mothers Day. But we're back! This week we've got a very special show planned with singer/songwriter Karen Bernod on vocals (Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu), James "Biscuit" Rouse on drums & vocals (Lauryn Hill), Raymond Angry on keys (the Roots), Sherrod Barnes on guitar (Roberta Flack, Whitney Houston) and of course Chris on bass and me on vocals. This is our first show back since February so we went all out with this awesome lineup! :-) From here on in, you can catch us every other month on Stageit.com Be sure to tune in to this weeks show by clicking on, or copying and pasting the link below in your browser window. This Sunday, May 19th, 7pm From our family room via Stageit to your house! http://www.stageit.com/vivian_sessoms_chris_parks_special_guests_karen_bernod_james_biscuit_rouse_and/the_family_room_presents/23918 Then on Sunday, May 26th I will be at Smoke with Emmet Cohen on Piano, Gaku Takanashi on Upright Bass and Jerome Jennings on drums. This wil be a stellar evening of music, please join us if you can. SMOKE Sunday, May 26th 2013 Sets at 7, 9 & 10:30 PM NO MUSIC CHARGE 2751 Broadway (corner of 106th st) NY, NY 10025 Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and remember, music can change the world. Vivian <3
April 30, 2013 WHAT'S NEW!
Hey everybody, Did ya' miss me? 'Cause I sure missed you ;-) I was away in April for a few shows so I didn't get to connect with you last month, but I'm back with lots of news. First a little about the trip. I did a show in Monte Carlo (home of Princess Grace Kelly) and since we haven't had a vacation in a while, Chris came with and we had a ball! Spent a lot of time being tourists, taking in the beauty of southern France, and its breath taking views. We stayed in a bed and breakfast with very lovely hosts so thank you to Tony and Amandine who looked out for us doing our trip! <3 We were in Nice part of the time and took a day trip to Cannes, home to the film festival, which is this month I think, so the town was all abuzz with excitement! Man I could totally live there.. (Sigh..) Luckily, I get to go back there in July, tell you more about it soon ;-) Then straight home to rehearse the very next day with Christina Aguilera for Times 100 Most Influential People.. And let me tell you, that is SOME list. Check it out here http://time100.time.com/ For this event I got to work with the amazing Rob Lewis, (MD for Christina, New Kids On The Block), the magnificent Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley, who is not only the most amazing singer I know, but one of the loveliest people you will ever meet, and another absolute doll Cossandra Kellam who sang her you know what off! As you can see by the picture above, there was lots of clowning, posing and general mayhem! Anyways, back to what's next.. Sooooooo... The unveiling of our new rock band! OPHELIA ONE Starring the stellar Jane Getter and myself, and featuring Chris Parks on bass, John Caban on guitar, and Kevin Bregande on drums! It's been a good minute since we rocked out so this will be a big release of pent up energy 'cause sometimes you really do just need to rock out and let yo' freak flag fly! Thursday, May 2nd 2013 9PM - $12.00 The Bitter End 147 Bleecker Street New York, NY 10012 If you're not hip to Jane Getter, go check her out pronto http://www.janegetter.com, she's been written up in Billboard, Jazz Times, in fact all over the place including last months Guitar Player Magazine. Excited about this new incarnation. Got some new material we'll throw in too. But the real countdown starts now for the release of my new record in July. Yep, you heard me, yep I said it, lol. And I'm gonna leave that right there.. For now ;-) Also on the agenda this month, is the next installment of The Family Room, a live broadcast from our family room featuring the wonderfully talented songstress Karen Bernod, and James "Biscuit" Rouse singing and playing drums, Chris on bass, and me chiming in on a song or 2. Check out Karen here http://www.karenbernod.com Check out James here http://www.jamesrousemusic.com/index The Family Room will air on Sunday, May 12th at 7PM. To view the live broadcast click the link below.. http://www.stageit.com/vivian_sessoms_chris_parks_special_guests_karen_bernod_and_james_biscuit_rouse/the_family_room_presents/23220 Well, I think that about does it for now, but stay tuned, more shows and more music coming very SOON! And remember, music can change the world..
March 17, 2013 NEW CD COMING SOON, ARE YOU READY?
Hey guys, Vivian here with lots of news. First, NEW MUSIC! Yep, it's almost here. No for real, it really is ;-) We've been busy busy busy in the studio, mixing, overdubbing, tweaking. It's coming out great and I'm so excited, I can hardly contain myself. We're thinking about a May/June release, but we'll be giving a single away before then and of course I'll keep you posted on all of that. Because I'm releasing 2 records this year (the 2nd CD to be released at the end of the year), there has been an enormous amount of work to take on, but I have to say it's been fun being on the creative end of things again. It's been such a long time since my last record came out that I forget how much we enjoy writing and producing. It's a challenge and it's positively thrilling to have a seed of an idea, then to keep building and building on that idea until you have a whole song and then an albums worth of material. I think you guys are really going to like what we have in store for you. It's a whole new side of me musically. Now for other news. First I want to thank everyone for coming out to our many events last month! We had a full house at the SOPAC Blues In The Loft Series in South Orange, NJ and a full house at the Lafayette Presbyterian Jazz Vespers in Brooklyn (we sold out of merchandise on that one!). The coordinator for Emmnanuel Baptist Church Jazz Vespers was in the audience for the show and loved it, so we'll be seeing you at Emmanual Baptist later in the year and Saint Peter's next year. God is good! Due to the amount of work going on with the record, we're not doing our Live From The Family Room series this month. Just too much going on to manage it all, but don't worry, we'll be back in April with very special guest Karen Bernod. In the meantime, if you wanna see me this month, below is a list of where you can find me for the rest of March! MONDAY, MARCH 18th, 2013 - MACANUDO Steve Weiles Band featuring Vivian Sessoms - 8pm 26 East 63rd Street New York New York 10065 USA (212) 752-8200 Price: Free Steve Weiles - Drums, â€¨Ron Afiff - Guitar, â€¨Gaku Takanashi - Bassâ€¨, Vivian Sessoms - Vocals THURSDAY, MARCH 21st, 2013 - SMOKE JAZZ & SUPPER CLUB The Vivian Sessoms Quintet - 7pm, 9pm, 10:30pm 2751 Broadway New York New York 10025 USA 212.864.6662 Price: Dinner & Drinks/ NO COVER Featuring Jim Pryor on Piano, Hilliard Greene on Bass, Clarence Penn on Drums and Keith Loftis on Sax. Fabulous dinner menu by executive Chef Patricia Williams. SATURDAY, MARCH 23rd, 2013 - HAT CITY KITCHEN South Orange International Blues Festival Winter Edition - 10pm 459 Valley Street Orange New Jersey 07050 USA 862.252.9147 Price: Call Venue Curator Mike Griot was so happy with our performance last month at his SOPAC's Blues In The Loft series, he's decided to have us back this month! We're excited to be part of the winter edition of Mr. Griot's renowned South Orange International Blues Festival in Orange NJ, opening with the Michael Hill Blues Mob and following up with Mike Griot, Dave Stryker, Al Gold and special guest Vivian Sessoms doing a special blues set. Stay tuned, lots more exciting stuff next month!
'Til then, hope to see you and remember, music can change the world. Vivian
February 01, 2013 UPCOMING SHOWS
FEBRUARY DATES Hey guys, Vivian here. Just a quick update to my last news letter. One or two of the dates have changed and a few new dates have been added. Check it out!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1st, 2013 THE STEVE WEILES BAND FEATURING VIVIAN SESSOMS - TONIGHT! MACANUDOS 26 East 63rd Street New York New York 10065 USA (212) 752-8200 Price: Free An upscale cigar that features live jazz every Monday and Friday featuring yours truly on vocals. The bar offers a fabulous selection of wines and yummy cocktails. A typical bar menu but the food is delicious. Be forewarned, it gets plenty smoky.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4th, 2013 THE FAMILY ROOM PRESENTS TOM BOSE (lead vocalist Tower of Power) - STAGEIT.COM 4pm & 6:30 pm Live on the Internet via Stageit.com Monday - 2/4 at 4pm and 6:30pm New Jersey Price: $6.00 Chris and I will host the 2nd installment of our live stream monthly series - The Family Room Presents (www.stageit.com). With special guests vocalist Tom Bose (Tower of Power), Sherrod Barnes (Whitney Houston) on guitar & Kevin Bregande joining in on drums & percussion and Chris on bass and guitar. Be sure to open an account with Stageit.com to purchase notes (notes - what you use to pay for shows), then - CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO VIEW EITHER SHOW 4pm Show (for our overseas friends): http://www.stageit.com/vivian_sessoms_chris_parks_special_guests_tom_bose_sherrod_barnes_and_kevin_bregande/the_family_room_presents_with_vivian_sessoms_chris_parks/18102 7pm Show: http://www.stageit.com/vivian_sessoms_chris_parks_special_guest_tom_bose_and_kevin_bregande/the_family_room_presents_with_vivian_sessoms_chris_parks/17803
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10th 2013 BLUES IN THE LOFT PRESENTS VIVIAN SESSOMS An evening of blues with Vivian for SOPAC's Blues In The Loft Series South Orange Performing Arts Center - 7pm 20 Valley St. South Orange New Jersey 07079 US (973) 275-1114 Price: $20 Featuring: Chris Parks - Bass Sherrod Barnes - Guitar Mark Eckroth - Organ Kevin Bregande - Drums
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15th, 2013 THE FABULOUS JANE GETTER'S RECORD RELEASE PARTY FOR "three" ShapeShifter Lab - 9pm 1 8 Whitwell Place Brooklyn New York 11215 USA Price: $15. featuring: Jane Getter - Guitar & Vox Adam Holtzman - Keys James Genus - Bass Anton Fig - Drums Vivian Sessoms - Vox Written up in every guitar and music magazine there is, Jane getter is one of the baddest guitarists on the scene today, she's rocked the stage with everyone from Victor Bailey to Jack McDuff to Saturday Night Live and the list goes on. Honored to be a part of this special event! It's gonna' be a BLAST! Don't miss it!
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20th, 2013 KELLI SAE PRESENTS - BROOKLYN GRIND ShapeShifter Lab - 8pm 18 Whitwell Place Brooklyn New York 11215 USA Price: $10. Kelli Sae and I are at it again! This time Kelli is hosting the first show in her new series KELLI SAE PRESENTS - BROOKLYN GRIND, with special guests Karen Bernod, Shae Fiol, Daniel Ward, Hunter Jambor, Hard Hittin' Harry, Bugnanas and myself.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24th, 2013 THE LAFAYETTE JAZZ VESPERS PRESENTS VIVIAN SESSOMS IN CONCERT - 4PM Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church 85 South Oxford Street Brooklyn New York 11217 US - (718) 625-7515 Price: Donation Chris Parks - Bass Sherrod Barnes - Guitar John Roggie - Keys Kevin Bregande - Drums Clayton Bryant - Vox
I'll be doing a gospel concert in Brooklyn so if you live nearby stop in for some good ole' fashioned praise and worship! Thats all for now. Hope to see you ;-) And remember, music can change the world <3 Vivian
January 11, 2013 JANUARY NEWS..
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I weigh about 5 pounds more than I should but I'm happy. I enjoy cooking for the holidays. Being with family and friends has so much more meaning for me now than ever before. We exchanged maybe 3 gifts this year which is completely out of character for us, usually it's a gift giving frenzy, but it seemed like the whole family was feeling more like just being together than run around or spend hours on the internet shopping. So be it, less stress. We are off to the races this year, starting with Chris and I taking our brand new band to the APAP Conference at the Hilton Hotel. If you haven't heard of the APAP Conference, it's where talent buyers from all over the country converge to view established and up and coming talent to fill their venues concert calenders. We'll be performing over 2 days and we've added strings and horns to the band, they sound incredible! Our performance schedule is below (scroll down): Saturday, January 12th - 9:45 pm Sunday, January 13th - 4:45 pm If you're free stop on by, but beware, these are very short performances ;-) APAP CONFERENCE at the Hilton Hotel - Sutton Center, 2nd fl. 1335 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019 USA 212.586.7000 Price: Free
By the way, if you're in the area I will also be at Macanudos Cigar Bar every Monday this month EXCEPT January 14th, and it's FREE :-) MACANUDOS 26 East 63rd Street NEW York, NY USA 212.752.8200 Price: Free Steve Weiles Band featuring Vivian Sessoms - 8pm Steve Weiles - Drums Mark Eckroth - Keys Ron Afiff - Bass Vivian Sessoms - Vocals Last month, for my birthday, we aired our first ever live broadcast The Family Room Presents via Stageit.com and it was awesome! Really awesome! We had the fabulous Kelli Sae on vocals, the super talented Julian Velard on piano and vocals, and the stellar Stephen Bard on guitar and vocals along with Chris on bass and my favorite Eric Brown on drums and percussion. It was a blowout! Behind the scenes, we had my fabulous assistant Shirlise Castille fielding comments and questions from viewers, my cousin and assistant director Maurice Sessoms filming & directing, and my son and editor Will Saunders, assistant directing and teching. What an amazing crew.. The next live broadcast is scheduled Monday, February 4th, with a surprise special guest. ;-) This time we'll do 2 broadcasts the same day, with an early show starting at 4pm (for our overseas people), which is Eastern Standard time (9pm London time, 10pm German time, 12pm Australia) and a late show at 7pm. 4PM SHOW: http://www.stageit.com/vivian_sessoms_chris_parks_eric_brown/the_family_room_presents_with_vivian_sessoms_chris_parks/18102 6:30PM SHOW: http://www.stageit.com/vivian_sessoms_with_special_guests/the_family_room/17803 So many big things planned for this year with a new record release and so much more. Stay tuned lovelies, and check in often 'cause you don't wanna' miss any of it! May all your dreams come true this year! <3 and remember.. music can change the world Vivian
December 17, 2012
VIVIAN SESSOMS HAS A SHOW ON STAGEIT!
Hang with Chris & Viv as they host the first show in a new monthly series called The Family Room. The series will feature musician friends of the two, interesting artists, music, poetry, and everything in between. Joining Chris & Vivian this week are 3 brilliant recording artists, each with their own very unique styles, Julian Velard (www.julianvelard.com), Kelli Sae (www.kellisae.com), and Stephen Bard (www.stephenbard.com) with Eric Brown on drums and percussion.. We wanted shake it up a bit with distinctly different talents for this first show! Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 - Pay what you can First Set - 8pm to 8:30pm, Second Set - 8:30pm to 9pm What is Stageit? Stageit is an online venue that allows musicians to stream exclusive LIVE concerts to fans over the internet. The vibe is incredibly intimate often featuring performers playing from their homes, directly from their laptop. Here's how it works! Go to http://www.stageit.com/julian_velard_kelli_sae_stephen_bard_vivian_sessoms/the_christmas_show/17353, click signup to set up an account and then click the BUY button. You will then have an opportunity to purchase credits (which Stageit calls "Notes" ; 10 Notes = $1.00). Notes allow you to pay for tickets to see shows and to tip performers during the show. This show is "Pay What You Can," which means you can pay whatever you can afford (minimum 1 Note). Once you have Notes, they can be used for any show! THERE WILL BE GIVEAWAYS! The top 5 tippers will get a signed CD from me, and the highest tipper will get a signed CD from Julian, Kelli & me along with a Sunny One Day tee shirt! This is the very first show in the series and there aren't many tickets available so if you want to tune in and you don't already have a ticket, you can grab one here: http://www.stageit.com/julian_velard_kelli_sae_stephen_bard_vivian_sessoms/the_christmas_show/17353 See you this Tuesday on the internet! Then on December 28th Jenny and Vivian will be appearing with the fabulous Dana Fuchs (Across The Universe) at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17 St., NYC 10011. Tickets are $25. 212.620.5000 And last, but by no means least, Vivian will be debuting at Smoke Jazz Nightclub this NEW YEARS EVE as a special guest of jazz legend Harold Mabern (pianist) and renowned saxophonist Erik Alexander, with John Webber on upright and Joe Farnsworth on drums. This will be Just One Of Those Nights you won't want to miss! Get tickets here http://smokejazz.com/ On a more serious note, let's remember to spread as much joy, love and warmth as we can this holiday season, and to lend our support whenever and where ever we can. We really never know what anyone is going through at any given moment, or what pain they might be living with. There has been such a tremendous amount of tragedy in these last months. We must remind ourselves to be grateful for every single blessing and for all the good things in our lives <3 And remember, music can change the world.. Have yourself a merry little Christmas! Love, Vivian
December 10, 2012 WE LOVE YOU JILL..
She was as caring as she was lovely. One of the kindest, most gentle people I've ever known. I wish I had told her that. You're leaving breaks my heart in two. I will miss you. <3 http://news.bluemusicgroup.com/?n=406
June 22, 2012 HARLEM, THE ST NICHOLAS PROJECTS & THE MUSIC OF MARVIN GAYE..
This is the story of the first band I was in and our very first show, a shared memory as told to me by my 6th grade classmate Gerald McDonald, who I had a huge crush on ;-) Some of you may remember I started posting this last year, but I never posted the end, so as you've requested here is the complete story. Thank you Gerald for reminding me of this, of course I've never forgotten it, as it was so outrageous I could never forget, but being a little girl at the time, I've often wondered if it happened exactly the way I remembered. Turns out, it did.. READ ON..
Where I'm From..
Without mentioning the year, I'll say that the culmination of this event took place during the summer of my last year in elementary school. I'd always loved music and wanted to play an instrument badly. So, in the beginning of that school year I joined the P.S. 92, Mary McCloud Bethune School's Orchestra. I had no idea what instrument to choose. The music instructor, Mrs. Stratfield, suggested the cello, and I agreed. From cello I went on to play bass guitar. A great friend of mine, Julian Green, who lived in the St. Nicholas Projects (I lived in Lionel Hampton Houses), and his brother Tim Green, had already been playing guitar professionally in Funk bands and performing all over Europe. Well, Tim began to teach Julian guitar and me the bass. We learned pretty quickly too.
By the end of the spring we'd formed a band with two brothers, also from the St. Nicholas Projects, Kenny and Everett Veasley. Their older brother Freddy played Funk keyboards professionally. He taught Everett keys, and Kenny taught himself to play drums by ear - and he was funky. After joining forces we still needed a place to practice and someway or another, we got Mr. Byrd, to give us open access to a room in the St. Nicholas Projects Community Center, of which he was in charge.
By mid summer we'd already had a few songs down pat and were pretty tight! We added a percussionist, Big Larry to the band and were well on our way to stardom, LOL!!! The only thing that we needed were singers. Before I go any further, I must take you back to the beginning of the school year. Our teacher that year, Mrs. Judy Evans, our 6th grade teacher was amazingly educated and Afro-centric. She taught us as if she were teaching adults, giving us the gumption to reach for whatever we wanted in life. We were the TOP class for that year. Well, a couple days after the school year had begun, Mrs. Evans made an announcement to the class that we'd be having a new student, that had been skipped a couple of grades, joining our class. You can imagine the chatter in the room. Seemed as if no one wanted a Nerd joining our class and we were about to give this new kid hell! But, on that day, in walked the cutest, prettiest little girl I'd ever seen. She was scared and timid to the point of being terrified, but, she was beautiful. That was the first time I had ever set eyes on Vivian Sessoms.
Now, back to the story! We needed singers, so we put out the word in our "Hood" that a spot was open. I can't remember who, but someone suggested 'Lil Vivian from 200 (200 was the building Vivian grew up in). She had sung in our class production of The Wiz and she was GREAT!!! At first her mother objected to her being in the play (I'd later find out that her mother sung professionally also), but I guess with a little nudging from Mrs. Evans, she landed the role of Dorothy. When we held auditions for the singing spots and little Vivian blew the other girls out of the water!!!! We had our Star!! One problem though, just as when she starred in our school play, Vivian was still afraid of singing in front of people. Well, unbeknownst to a few of the guys and me, Vivian would quickly lose that fear.
At the beginning of her first practice with us, Vivian walked in the band room guided by one of the biggest, smoothest dudes I had ever seen around our side of town. It was her Uncle Lincoln. We started out pretty slow, but needless to say, by the end of that practice we'd all done pretty well. Within two weeks we had about 5 songs down pat. The tightest of them all was Diana Ross's Love Hangover. Vivian sang the ---- out of that song. And, of course, I held the bass line right in the pocket, LOL.
During those days, trips from NYC to Atlantic City were well awaited for when summer hit. Mr. Byrd gave an annual bus ride to AC every year. Since he'd given us access to a room for rehearsal, he considered us to be "His Band", so he often checked in on us. Well, it was during one of Mr. Byrd's unannounced visits, that he brought us some of the best news a bunch of kids from the projects could ever expect to hear: we would be the opening act for Marvin Gaye (at the old Coliseum) in Atlantic City. I will never be able to explain the excitement we all felt; I'll say this though, it was over the top. We practiced hard, and though I honestly don't remember the set we'd put together, I remember it being tight! We reached out to some of the guys in the projects who were already playing professionally by that time and they made sure that we had it right. Julian had his brother Tim (who was already a guitar virtuoso, touring Europe with a Funk band), Everett had his oldest brother Freddy (who had started out playing in the same band as Tim, but was doing a lot of keyboard work in the studios at that time) and I had the help of two bass players (John, who had begun his bass career playing funk with Tim and Freddy, but had crossed-over to Gospel when he got Saved, and Jerome, who was touring Europe with Tim). Kenny was a natural and his ear was amazing! Though he couldn't read a lick of drum music, Kenny could pick up the drum line stroke for stroke - by listening to the LP's. Yeah, we got it right! We got it tight!! Besides Vivian, we had two other girl singers. If I'm correct, one's name was Valerie and the other was Caroline. To be honest, they were only there to fill in space because Vivian had the vocals locked!! LOL!!!
As we prepped ourselves for the big day someone came up with the idea of us all dressing in a similar style. I wasn't too keen on this, but I finally gave in. Anyway, we chipped-in a few dollars each and one of the girls went and brought a lot of African print material. I remember that material had a bright, light blue background. So, all of us fella's had Daishikis made, and the girls had floor length dresses, all with the same material. Boy, (LOL!!!) I can't get that picture out of my mind, now!!!! We looked like a Black version of the Partridge Family! LMAO!!!! Well, that hot summer day arrived, and needless to say, we were all nervous as hell! We loaded the bus with Mr. Byrd (and everyone else) encouraging us to perform well. Yeah, they knew too that we were ready. It was a pretty long trip to Atlantic City, but being young, we made the best of it. Julian and I practiced half the way. We were escorted to The Coliseum and, boy, was I both amazed and afraid. If any of you have ever been to that place, you know what I'm talking about. The Coliseum was on it's last leg. As hot as it was outside, the place was hotter and gloomy. on the inside. It was also HUGE! We were told that a regulation football field could be placed inside. Putting our nervousness on the side, we did as told and began to set-up our equipment. John had let me burrow his acoustic amp for this gig, which I thought was the coolest thing ever.
The day flew by pretty quickly and the people began to pour into The Coliseum. As big as this place was, it became standing-room full quickly. My fear was heightened until I looked out from stage left and noticed my Moms down front. Yeah, Showtime!!! That's right.. and my biggest fan had made it!!! As Mr. Byrd walked out onto the stage to introduce us, I looked at Vivian. She was scared!!! The other girls were trying to console her but she appeared to be horrified. Well, the band went out before the girls and played our opening numbers. The crowd showed us love too! I mean, they knew we were just opening for Marvin Gaye and that this wasn't the Apollo, so I guess they showed us some mercy!! LMAO!!!
Then it was time for the girls to come out. After their introduction, we went right into Love Hangover. As she always did back then, Vivian had a nervous jitter in her voice for the first couple of bars. But by the time we got to the bridge, it was all she wrote. The crowd genuinely responded to this little girl. She had them on their feet!!! And, to boot, she got us tight!!! If any of you has ever performed in front of an extra-large crowd, you'd know what I'm talking about. Once Vivian broke out of her shell, she unleashed a flow of energy that we had no choice but to follow! That's REAL! Mind you, she was only about 8 or 9 years old. Her voice was so naturally smooth and strong that one would think she'd been singing professionally for years. VIVIAN ROCKED!!!! And because of that, WE ROCKED!!!! Then, to top it all, when Marvin Gaye came out (he had about a 29 piece band), right after he completed his Intro, he called us back out onto the stage and carried Vivian out on his shoulders, to congratulate us on a job well done. But most of all, he praised Vivian, and that voice. Yeah... that was really cool!!!
Thanks Viv, for a memory I'll never forget!
April 15, 2012
OH, YOU FANCY HUH?
Trying new things is a good thing.. I've been seeing some really great looking e-mails and e-flyers lately and I've wondered how people were making their emails look so fly.. Now I know ;-) I should have tried this a long time ago, but kept putting it off because I thought it would be difficult and I didn't have time for difficult. Well, it was easy, in fact so easy, I thought I'd send you guys an update to let you know what's going on over here in Viv-land. BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! First off, got a show coming up, in fact a few shows coming up this year. The next one will be at Feinsteins. I did a show here last year, and it was amazing, so I'm going back for round two! FEINSTEINS at LOEWS REGENCY Sunday, April 22nd - 8:30pm Park Avenue and 61st Street, NY. NY Premium Seating - $35. *(with additional $25. minimum) Regular Seating - $25. *(with additional $25. minimum)
THE INCREDIBLE BAND: Chris Parks - upright, electric bass, acoustic guitar Mike Mancini - piano, keys Noam Dworman - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, vocals Eric Brown - drums, percussion, vocals Jeff Pierce - trumpet Click here to buy tickets: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=4356575 Click here for the Feinstein's website: http://feinsteinsattheregency.com/performance.php?id=475
NEW MUSIC! Looking at summer release for the new record and man, I am SO excited!! It really has been a long time coming, much too long, so stay tuned. NEW VIDEOS! Just put a bunch of new videos on Youtube. You can check them out here! My Youtube page http://www.youtube.com/chynadall INDIE ARTISTS! Check out my new Indie Artists page, where I feature the works of artists I love, from musicians to painters to designers & authors, etc. New features for this month are Kelli Sae with her new album PURE, Martha Redbone with her new album GARDEN OF LOVE - Featuring the Songs of William Blake, Sy Smith with her new album FAST & FURIOUS and last, but most definitely not least Gary Foote with his new album HARLEM WORKS That's all for now, but there's lots of exciting news coming soon, so tune in and we hope to see you at Feinsteins! Thank you for supporting independent music, and remember, music can change the world. Enjoy the sunshine! Vivian Â
April 07, 2012
HERE WE GO AGAIN.. But I'm coming back this time with something completely different! Stay tuned..
As the daughter of two prominent musicians and the niece of jazz legend Nancy Wilson, Vivian has been sought out by some of the music industries brightest and best. As a teen she was approached by Melba Moore, Teddy Riley and Stevie Wonder. She then went on to work with Joe Cocker, Rob Thomas, Patti Austin, Patti Labelle, Sinead O'Conner and most recently Cher to name a few. "Vivian Sessoms is one of the most dynamic sexy and soulful singers that I've worked with" - Taylor Dayne
April 03, 2012
HAPPY - TOWA TEI FEATUING VIVIAN & BAHAMADIA
April 03, 2012
Poster for the movie Moonlight Serenade, which we had a song in, Things You Do. Starring Amy Adams, Alec Newman and directed by Giancarlo Tallarico. Released in 2009, the premise of the film is a piano player discovers that the lovely girl at the coat-check of a jazz club has the voice of an angel, and persuades her to form a musical act with him.
February 09, 2012
So vibrant So beautiful Those golden days When you were my whole world
A time when I was loved so completely without thought or understanding from me Just beautiful sunshine and bright clean snow and italian ices and bowling and the drive in movie Your warmth and love surrounding me Matching dresses, me with hands on my hips standing on a table reciting nursery rhymes
Kisses and Hersheys chocolates and rummaging through your pocket books that smelled of chewing gum, tobacco and your perfume Me trying to play your giant guitar, you singing to me, me walking around the house in your shoes, you reading to me anytime but bedtime The park, the summers, the open fire hydrant Christmas time, birthday parties Pancakes for breakfast and home made rolls on Sundays The Blaupunkt stereo playing in the living room Learning to write my name at the kitchen table
I wonder what you would think of this world now Would it make you happy or sad? I can make it through the day without falling down now I have someone who loves me thoroughly, he can't live without me I can string several days together without thinking about it But every now and then.. I miss you so much it breaks my heart
September 11, 2011
LITTLE PINK HOUSES FOR YOU AND ME..
Hey there good people! So there I was yesterday in another airport ;-) On my way to a gig in Nantucket, if you're overseas and unfamiliar, it's a little island in Massachusetts. This state is known for it's quant little islands, all very rustic and romantic. I'm doing a wedding for the family of Susan Tedeschi, an amazing blues singer, if you don't know her, look for her music on iTunes. Maybe she'll sit in on a tune, that would be awesome.. And it'll be nice to see the scenery for a day.
A sweetheart girlfriend of mine (Hey Jill), who works at Jet Blue hooked me up with a free ticket, so I'm all set. Just found out my flight is delayed, so I've got time to roam the new and improved JFK Airport, it's quite impressive. The design is very streamlined so you don't have to wait in lots of long lines and, some of it is set up so you go straight thru security directly to your gate, lots of cute shops and restaurants, etc. And of course Jet Blue has become so large that they have their own terminal.
I had a room at a bed and breakfast which I LOVED. Hubby and I have been talking about a vacay in the fall, now I'm thinking it would be quite lovely to do a bed and breakfast tour up the east coast for a week or two. Lots of them have fabulous restaurants, and if you go in the fall, the discounts would be great, but knowing my boy, he will want to go to the sunshine. He is a true boy of summer, you know, the ones who start wearing shorts in May? He would try for flip-flops if I didn't catch him at the door.
Although fall is my favorite season, and I really do love the fall with all of it's colours and smells and textures, the sweaters and tweed blazers coming out, it's so special.. but this year, I'm really sad to see summer go.. It's taken many years but in the last few years or so, I've really come to love the summer too, and have become more in tune with the whole timing and pacing of life and it's seasons.. Planting and growing and blooming and dying and rebirth. Maybe it's because last winter just seemed to go on and on forever. It just feels like life shouldn't be that hard, shoveling feet and feet of snow in the freezing cold. Maybe it's because this summer seemed really short with all the rain, I dont know. I just know I crave more sunshine... So maybe Chris has the right idea..
Anyways, lots of you have been asking about the live show, and of course I should have written before now, BUT here's an update. The show is postponed until the first week of October, so sorry to disappoint you guys, I really am, but it was just impossible to get all the people I wanted to be involved with everyone's schedule being so hectic, so I thought moving the date back a few weeks might be a good idea, but don't fret, it is STILL going to happen the first week of October and of course I'll post it everywhere and keep you all in the loop. I really want it to be special, so hang tight. If you're waiting for part 3 of my last blog, I will post that next week, in the meantime enjoy the sunshine, enjoy your loved ones, ENJOY LIFE!
Love to the families of the victims of 9/11. Love, Vivian
August 13, 2011
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU..
Hey guys, Just a little note to thank all of you who came out to the show last Sunday. It was a fabulous, fabulous show. In fact, it may have been my best show ever! The band was fantastic and the turnout was awesome! People were dancing, singing and having a good old time! So thank you everyone, for supporting us and making this our best show ever. If you missed the show, you're in luck! We're doing another show next month. It will be a Live Broadcast via the internet, and we're holding a contest so the viewers can pick the time, date and price of the show. Stay tuned for the details, or go here to vote on the particulars: http://indiestaradventures.blogspot.com/
Part 2 of my latest blog is below.. Thank you again, and remember.. music can change the world.. Enjoy the summer!
WHERE I'M FROM.. "Now! Back to the story! We needed singers, so we put out the word in our "Hood" that a spot was open. I can't remember who, but someone suggested Lil' Vivian from 200 (200 was the building Vivian grew up in). She had sung in our class production of The Wiz and she was GREAT!!! At first her mother objected (I'd later find out that her mother sung professionally also), but I guess with a little nudging from Mrs. Evans, she landed the role of Dorothy. When we held auditions for the singing spots Vivian blew the other girls out of the water!!!! We had our Star!! One problem though, just as when she starred in our school play, Vivian was still afraid of singing in front of people. Well, unbeknownst to a few of the guys and me, Vivian would quickly lose that fear.
At the beginning of her first practice with us, Vivian walked in the band room guided by on of the biggest, smoothest dudes I had ever seen around our side of town. It was her Uncle Lincoln. We started out pretty slow, but needless to say, by the end of that practice we'd all done pretty well. Within two weeks we had about 5 songs down pat. The tightest of them all was Diana Ross's Love Hangover. Vivian sang the ---- out of that song. And, of course, I held the bass line right in the pocket, LOL.
During those days, trips from NYC to Atlantic City were well awaited when summer hit. Mr. Byrd gave an annual bus ride to AC every year. Since he'd given us access to a room for rehearsal, he considered us to be "His Band", so he often checked in on us. Well, it was during one of Mr. Byrd's unannounced visits, that he brought us some of the best news a bunch of kids from the projects could ever expect to hear: we would be the opening act for Marvin Gaye at the old Coliseum in Atlantic City. I will never be able to explain the excitement we all felt; I will say this though, it was over the top. We practiced hard, and though I honestly don't remember the set we'd put together, I remember it being tight! We reached out to some of the guys in the projects who were already playing professionally by that time and they made sure that we had it right. Julian had his brother Tim (who was already a guitar virtuoso, touring Europe with a Funk band), and Everett had his oldest brother Freddy (who had started out playing in the same band as Tim, but was doing a lot of keyboard work in the studios at that time) and I had the help of two bass players (John, who had begun his bass career playing funk with Tim and Freddy, but had crossed-over to Gospel when he got Saved, and Jerome, who was touring Europe with Tim). Kenny was a natural and his ear was amazing! Though he couldn't read a lick of drum music, Kenny could pick up the drum line stroke for stroke - by listening to the LP's. Yeah, we got it right! We got it tight!! Besides Vivian, we had two other girl singers. If I'm correct, one's name was Valerie and the other was Caroline. To be honest, they were only there to fill in space because Vivian had the vocals locked!! LOL!!!"
Stay tuned for part 3!
August 03, 2011 FEINSTEINS AT LOEWS REGENCY PRESENTS VIVIAN SESSOMS IN CONCERT Hello, Hello, HELLO!! It's been such a long time I know! All I can say is, I miss you guys so much! I've run into so many of you around NYC, I've gotten emails, etc, asking, "Why haven't I been getting emails from you? When are you performing? Where have you been?" Well, here I am ;-)
Actually, to be more accurate, I've been keeping my head down making headway with this new record, which I'm not even going to talk about since I don't have the new record in my hands ready for you to hear (guilty).
I have been busy though. I toured with Joe Cocker last summer in support of his new record, Hard Knocks, which I also submitted songs for (none of my songs made it, next time though..). After that I worked with Cher at Caesars Palace in Vegas in the fall. Then I did the Capitol Jazz Cruise. In the spring of this year I did a workshop for a new play directed by THE Bill T. Jones (Fela). So I have definitely been busy. In fact, I have a show coming up this very weekend at the lovely Feinsteins Nightclub. This will be my first show in two and a half years and I'm hoping to see all of you there.. The information is below.
FEINSTEINS AT LOEWS REGENCY PRESENTS
VIVIAN SESSOMS IN CONCERT
This Sunday, August 7th, 2011 - 8pm 540 Park Avenue (corner of 61st Street) 212.339.4095 $20. Advance/ $25. Door (Dinner required) Featuring: Chris Parks - bass Sherrod Barnes - guitar Ron Thompson - piano Eric Brown - drums Tim Ries - saxophone Mark McGowan - trumpet Clark Gayton - trombone The show is called I Am Music. I called it that because I still love music as much today, as when I was a kid sitting in front of the record player. I'll be featuring new music from 2 different records, songs from the last CD, Sunny One Day, and music I've written for other artists. I have a KILLER band and you guys know I don't do things halfway, so you know we will be JAMMING up in Feinsteins. Make your reservations quick because tickets are going fast. 'Til Sunday, here's a little something (further below) for you to read, my latest blog post, written by a childhood friend of mine, Gerald McDonald, about our first band together.
See you Sunday, and remember, music can change the world.. Vivian
WHERE I'M FROM!! (Pt 1).. "Without mentioning the year, Id like say that the culmination of this event took place during the summer of my last year in elementary school. I'd always loved music and wanted to play and instrument badly. So, in the beginning of that school year I joined the P.S. 92, Mary McCloud Bethune School's Orchestra. I had no idea what instrument to choose. The music instructor, Mrs. Stratfield, suggested the cello, and I agreed. From cello I went on to play bass guitar. A great friend of mine, Julian Green, who lived in the St. Nicholas Projects (I lived in Lionel Hampton Houses), and his brother, Tim Green, had already been playing guitar professionally in Funk bands and performing all over Europe. Well Tim began to teach Julian guitar and me Bass. We learned pretty quickly too. By the end of the spring we'd formed a band with two brothers, also from the St. Nicholas Projects: Kenny and Everett Veasley. Their older brother Freddy played Funk keyboards professionally. He taught Everett keys, and Kenny taught himself to play drums by ear - and he was funky. After joining forces we still needed a place to practice and someway or another, we got Mr. Byrd to give us open access to a room in the St. Nicholas Projects Community Center, of which he was in charge. By mid summer we'd already had a few songs down pat and were pretty tight! We added a percussionist, Big Larry to the band and were well on our way to stardom, LOL!!! The only thing that we needed were singers. Before I go any further, I must take you back to the beginning of the school year. Our teacher that year, Mrs. Judy Evans, was amazingly educated and Afro-centric. She taught us as if she were teaching adults, giving us the gumption to reach for whatever we wanted in life. We were the school's TOP 6th grade class for that year. Well, a couple days after the school year had begun, Mrs. Evans made an announcement to the class that we'd be having a new student, that had been skipped a couple of grades, joining our class. You can imagine the chatter in the room. Seemed as if no one wanted a nerd joining our class and we were about to give this new kid hell! But, on that day, in walked the cutest, prettiest little girl I'd ever seen. She was scared and timid to the point of being terrified. But, She was beautiful. That was the first time I had ever set eye on Vivian Sessoms. Now! Back to the story!"
Check back next week for Part 2.. ;-)
June 11, 2011
SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMERTIME!!
Come out and celebrate with us! It's SUMMERTIME!! First off, I've got some new digs.. I'm doing Sunday Brunch at a new place called O'Hara's Grill in downtown Jersey City - June 12th - featuring Miss Rosalyn McClore on piano June 19th - featuring Chris Parks on guitar & June 26th - featuring Chris Parks on guitar. Then Thursday night, June 23rd - Rock and Soul jam at O'Hara's featuring Chris Parks on bass and Maurice Watson on drums, with special guest Mark Dollar on guitar. Then come on across the water Friday night, June 24th and catch me up in Harlem at Billie's Black for their anniversary party with a fabulous list of performers including: Ra Re Valverde Kimberly Nicole Gloria Ry'ann Mika Adina Nyree Mike Hammond Lorenda Robinson Russell Taylor Abby Dobson Chester Gregory Kevin Anthony & Darius Booker You REALLY don't want to miss this! Lastly, you can catch me a few nights a week at The Darby (244 West 14th St. Bet'n 8th & 9th Ave), formerly known as Nell's, with the magnificent Ron Grant and Kimberly Davis, and with a who's who of musicians and singers stopping by to round out the evening. When I tell you I know a place and WE WILL TAKE YOU THERE, I am NOT playing. If you're ready, come go with me.. June came in with a bang and it's gonna be hot and heavy y'all!! Have a great summer babies!
April 16, 2011 NEW DIGS..
Hey guys.. I've been keeping extra busy these days working at a new restaurant/nightclub called The Darby located on 14th street where the old Nells used to be. If you're a native New Yorker, you will definitely remember Nells.. Almost as popular as Studio 54 although maybe not as famous, but definitely at the height of its popularity, was one of THE places to be.. A few celebrity owners though not quite sure who all of them are, but the same owners also own Butter and both restaurants boast excellent menus, designed by renowned chef Alexandra Guarneschelli (Food Network)..
The decor is beautiful, red walls, velvet banquettes and settees accented with chandeliers from Hudson furniture. Live music everyday of the week and downstairs is an after hours room with DJ and 2 full bars which even though just opened, is already shaping up to be one of the jewels of Highline District.. New york is fly again y'all and after the long and dreary winter we've had, this summer is looking to be one of the sexiest and most sultry ever! Whoa oh oh oh... I'm a native New Yorker.. See you there.. http://www.thedarbynyc.com http://www.butterrestaurant.com
March 12, 2011
PINK REVOLVER (AKA FEM FUZE)
Gig with new band featuring myself, Jane Getter (Jack McDuff), Rachel Z (Peter Gabriel), Camille Gainer, Julie Slick (Adrian Belew), Kaleen Reading (Burnside, Dr Know), Geena Lucibello..
March 07, 2011 WANT..
i want -my god given right to choose who represents me i want my god given right to live the life i call free i dont want to see any more naked black women on b/e/t i want black men to stop talking about how they dont respect me why should we let anyone tell us who we are only we know who we can be i will say these words til i'm dying cuz i wont stop, i cant stop - til you hear me people have lived and died so we can stand and walk tall feared for their own lives but somehow they kept going.. strong do we feel we owe nothing to them but to dress fly & party on and on? i am so sick and tired of us living as though we are invisible look at the life of the black man who fought & lived from day to day trying to figure out how to lead his people to the promised land, the PROMISED LAND leaving behind his young wife and children
wrapped up in our pain and suffering (the world of the living) how do we repay him for all that he gained by grown women clappin their asses and grown men refusing to take stances maybe this is a necessary ill maybe we are just lettin off steam but i cant see how this is the answer people, this can not be the way im talkin to our mothers, fathers, sisters & brothers im talking to our children im talking about - black pride where is it? by any means necessary, when necessary by peaceful means when we can im asking if we think we are past fighting for our civil rights as though the movement has ended when in fact it has only (truly) just begun if our leaders of yesterday were here today, we would have marched to new orleans BUT FIRST, we would have marched after the 2 bush elections are we not tired of being taken for granted in voting fraud scandals and by pop personalities who speak so cavalierly of lynching and nappy headed hoes? of students who hang nooses from trees for sport, cops who maim and murder in the name of the law.. irate comedians who resort to racial slurs and epithets in a moment of panic and loss of self control, calling people nigger.. nigga? please you know what? i hereby refuse to call another black person nigga in my dreams i often see an image of a sleek black cat and in her resides the spirit of nefertiti like an angel she comes to me and softly chides you were not sent here to simply just.. be but to fight, raise hell and rebel for that which you believe things haven't really changed for people like you and me young men sent to fight for a country that would rather see them die than educate their minds young women raising families without fathers is another sign of our times WHERE ARE THE FUCKING BLACK MEN WHO WILL STAND BESIDE US?? we have the highest rate of aids, but are the ones who can least afford to see a doctor we shop the most yet own the least 1 out of 9 black men is in prison.. but none of that will stop me from trying to make YOU // hear ME.. why should we be so familar with defeat? i want - my god given right to be protected by the police i want my god given right to have honest and fair representation by my governrment i - want - my - for - ty - ac - res - and - a - mule dont you? we live in a land where we can still encounter racism every day yet so few speak for us in a way that is not sensational but instead rational and with intellect and poise we forget that this fight is not over that the revolution MUST GO ON because the revolution will NOW be televised our heroes are dying in large numbers or else they are slandered, ridiculed, and brought down before our very eyes yet we stand unmoved, unfazed and unprepared the elders of our tribe disappear before us as our last line of defense but it is easier to build a monument than to start a movement there is a pain in my heart that is difficult to describe it is not unlike the feeling you get when love has betrayed you except it is a country that has failed me, failed all of us.. so i guess you could call it heartbreak it will begin with me let the movement begin the time is now to take a stand
December 09, 2010 SHORT BLOG
Ok, so I had a blog all written up and ready for you guys since last week but it was kinda dark and I haven't written in a while so I didn't want to come back after a month or 2 of silence with a gloomy entry (will post next week).. And I'm off to new adventures so I figured this is definitely part of the Indie Star part. As you all know, I've been working on a new record for the last 2 years. The thing with me though, is that I've become very indecisive over the last few years. Hell, even before the last record came out, I had another one practically finished and ready to go. Naturally that makes it very hard to decide what my next move should be all the time because I'm always second guessing myself and not having anyone to reign me in (like a manager or label). Which just means I keep procrastinating and starting new ideas and projects. This is the kind of thing that is a pitfall (or a curse) for an independent artist. It doesn't matter that you can do a lot of things well or how versatile you are. What matters is getting your product out there and keeping your artistry in the forefront of the minds and hearts of your fan base. This is key! And it certainly doesn't help being a perfectionist.. Perfection is an anathema to creativity. Anyhow, let's just say that I'm starting to move forward and I might FINALLY have some very much needed help which is a good thing, actually it's a great thing! So under advice of my perspective new associates, I'm looking for songs. I write, of course, and produce, but in an effort to get out of my own way and to try something new, I'm taking songs from other writers and so I've been listening to a lot of songs for the last month and oh boy, is it EVER hard to find a good song! That's a whole other blog, but let's just say that it's really surprising to me, how even with the internet being the tool it is and people having as much freedom and creative control as they would like, that there's still not so much originality. Everyone still wants to write and sound like everyone else.. Even songs from the pro's. Not knocking it, well I guess I am in a way, but they weren't all bad, just thought I'd get a lot of variation and fresh ideas, but really, not so much. I will say this, searching for songs has put me in touch with a few people I haven't spoken to in years. Some are people I've always been fond of and, or admired so it' been awesome to reconnect with them and it actually makes my heart glad. And to my delight, they had great songs! I recently reconnected with my high school best friend as well and another guy I was in my first ever band with who was reminding me of some of our childhood escapades and whoa! These are great stories! I'll be sending some your way soon because you will get a kick out of hearing some of these! Boy, I'll tell ya' when I'm done with the music, I'm gonna' write a book! By the way, look for some new stuff on Youtube soon and let me know what you think. Hey, my birthday is in 2 weeks. I'm a Christmas baby ;-) May you all know comfort, joy and peace this holiday season. Anyway's, all for now.. will keep you posted. Oh, and I'm trying out a new tagline.. Love, light & music <3
October 07, 2010 ON THE SOFA WITH VIVIAN SESSOMS & JOSEPH RILEY LAND
BILLIES BLACK & POLLEN NATION PRESENTS
On The Sofa With Joseph Riley Land Featuring Vivian Sessoms Up & coming journalist, Joseph Riley Land, will do an Oprah style interview with yours truly, Vivian Sessoms next Wednesday, October 13th at 7pm. We'll be discussing the making of the new record, due out in the spring of 2011, latest tour schedule, upcoming shows, love, life and everything in between. Chris and I will perform a few new songs as well, which will be our first performance in 2 years so you don't want to miss this! Date: Wednesday, 10/13/10 Time: 7:00 pm Cover: $0 Food & Drink: $10 Minimum Address: 271 W 119th Street Phone: 212.280.2248 *Bring 2 people, get an Albright tee shirt, for FREE! I know, I know... It's been a really long time.. Too long in fact, so make your way on over to Billie's Black next Wednesday evening to hear all the latest Check out my latest blog here: http://indiestaradventures.blogspot.com/ And my Twitter page here: http://twitter.com/viviansessoms Youtube page here: http://www.youtube.com/chynadall Looking forward to seeing you there, and remember.. music can change the world.
July 30, 2010
FLYING HIGH IN HEELS OR FLYING IN HIGH HEELS, THAT IS THE QUESTION?
I always gaze at other travelers who are packed so efficiently and lightly with such envy. They are usually crisply pressed and well dressed to boot, which makes it even worse. Then there are the woman in high heels, the light makeup, the freshly coiffed hair or perfectly windswept locks, and her smart little travel outfit, be it jeans, shorts or what have you, which usually just makes me stop and stare in silent awe and admiration. It reminds me a little of when my grandmother used to talk about how people would get dressed up to travel. They wore hats and gloves and stockings and matching coats and dresses and shoes and bags. It was all so very MAD MEN. Of course, no one really dresses up that much anymore to travel, but mind you, I'm still on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I can usually be found wandering around the airport looking slightly disheveled in a doo rag, with a hat hastily thrown on, scruffy uggs, and tattered sweats (that double as pajamas when I'm home, I'm sad to say). Sometimes they might be a snug fit (Juicy's if they're clean when I'm packing), but that's usually about all the sexy I can muster on a flight that's more than 3 hours long and those will usually be worn with my scruffy (read: dirty) Uggs (as in fucking ugly boots). Needless to say I get a lot of suspect looks from airport staff and security.. I have a friend that insists when I come to see him anywhere, I must not where those things on my feet! Of course he is my gay best friend but I'm pretty sure he's only echoing the sentiment of most, if not all straight men.
But on the other hand, there is nothing worse than trying to be cute while you're traveling and being totally miserable the entire time and worn the hell out by the time you arrive. I remember only too well traveling with my mom when I was kid and getting smacked upside the head for the smallest thing because her feet hurt. Still, whenever I see other people arriving at their destinations looking so fly, so fresh and so clean, it makes me wonder why I always choose to run around looking like a damn homeless person. Especially when I am as PASSIONATE ABOUT FASHION as I am.. I mean, I am running around with my head tied up in a rag up under a hat, so I'm not messing up my hair, no makeup (ok, every once in a while I will do lipstick and mascara), layers of sweats so I don't get cold on the plane (it does get damn cold on planes), uggs, and way too much damn luggage to boot!
Another point to consider though, is how people treat you when you're dressed well, or just decently, as opposed to dressed like a bum. As I observe this strange breed of people I admire so much, I notice they are usually treated very well. They ask for something and behave in a way that suggests they expect their request to be granted. I, on the other hand, ask for something nicely, am told no, then ask again only to be told no again, then insist, then demand, then start screaming for the damn manager. Only when the person attending to me is told that I too am traveling in business class (somehow the person waiting on me missed that little piece of info), just like the well dressed person before me, do they concede and realize that my request isn't so ridiculous after all (hahahahahahaha). And that's only some of the time, sometimes the person will be like "git yo' raggedy ass on outta here, hell naw I aint updatin' you're mileage account, heffa you know you ain't got no damn mileage account", or "you know you don't belong in the executive lounge, now git!" Other passengers roll over my feet with their luggage, men often DO NOT offer to help me put my bag in the overhead, even though I am 5'2" and visibly struggling trying to get a bag more than half my size (yeah, I know *sighh*) higher than my head. They will however, offer to help the well dressed woman, even though she may be 5'11" and carrying a suitcase the size of a computer case and a pocket book the size of a wallet. And I plan out all my outfits down to the undies, lol, I mean how do they travel with so little? Do they buy clothes on the road?
It's ridiculous, and of course it's not something I'm unaware of, hell I'm in the music business. It's just that I think I've kind of gotten in the mindset that where travel is concerned, it's comfort first and worry about looking good when I get off the damn plane, ergo heavy bags. But I'm learning that I may need to rethink this whole travel effect.. So I've decided to try a little experiment, stay tuned..
The shoes I wore on the plane (to the left)
June 16, 2010
THE BEAUTY OF THE LANSCAPE.. For some reason each time I visit Canada, it always reminds me of the 60's or 70's.. Like the US, but like I remember it as a little girl.. There's just something about it that takes me back to a time... Sometimes it reminds me of France a little.. Hearing people speaking french in the French-Canadian regions.. Sometimes it even reminds me of Australia with the Provinces and all that.. But mostly it reminds me of the US about 30 years ago..
Obviously, it is a lot like the United States because of the close proximity to us and the ability to observe, learn, and borrow so easily from one another.. Being our neighbors and allies we're able to go back and forth extremely easily.. Gonna pause for a bit, I'm about to watch a movie. So on a sidenote, I saw a great french film called Micmacs.. It's adorable! Go see it, great cast, funny, sweet.. You'll love it. You won't even mind reading the subtitles, promise..
Back to Canada, whenever I visit, I always find that I see so many things that remind of being a little girl, mostly products (I saw a can of Tab cola today, when is the last time you saw that?), TV programs, old buildings.. Remember when there use to be a red fire alarm stand on every street corner in the US? I don't know if I'm saying Canada is behind because it does seem very modern, it seems to have every comfort we're used to at home. In fact, compared to a lot of places I've traveled to, it is one of the closest to the US in having technological modernization available to all with the exception of Germany, Switzerland and Japan, I think (some other smaller European countries should be included in that as well).. And yet, there is something a little old fashioned about the place and I don't mean that in a bad way.. It's something to do with the people.. They are very kind, they're interested.. The pace of life seems slower.. Even in the fast paced cities.. I don't know... Maybe I'm talking out of my ass but it really reminds me of when I was a little girl.. . I not saying people dont care in the states, not at all.. but I don't know.. It just feels sometimes as though we've become so inundated with information and technology and 9/11 and the war and Katrina and the BP oil spill.. Presidents getting impeached and accused of cheating.. And everything in between.. You just become immune after a while... numb..
It doesn't feel like that here.. This country is big as hell and yet, everywhere you go, feels like a small town.. I'm not that up to date with Canadian politics and I know no one person, or place is perfect, so I'm sure Canada has had it share of scandals and disasters just like us.. But hey.. they've got healthcare too.. This isn't an argument for or against Canada.. And it certainly isn't a comparison by any means.. Or at least, not meant to be.. Its just my own little observation. But there is something very lovely and quiet and quaint about Canada that feels warm and familiar to me.. And it makes me smile
June 04, 2010
HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME..
There is no place like NY in the summertime, love it, love it, loves it!! Every place is jumpin' off and poppin', opportunities knockin', I'm running into friends, old and new.. The sun feels good on my skin..I got a new do.. I'm pullin' out the strappy sandals and the sleeveless tops and tight jeans (well actually.. I never really put the tight jeans away) and the miniskirts and sundresses..
Hello fellow sunworshippers.. Got a lotta catchin' up.. Sorry for the long silence. Been on hiatus for a while, just takin' it easy and reflecting.. Making a lot of life changes, still some to go. Revamping my interiors and exteriors you could say, and it was high time.. Figuring out what doesn't work anymore can be hard sometimes, I seem to get used to things and want them to stay same 'cause it's what I know, what I'm used to and so it feels comfortable. Even when it starts to get uncomfortable.. Hopefully you understand where I'm coming from a little..
I decided I'm going to take time to reach out and get to know a few people I've been admiring from afar and see if I can forge a few new friendships.. To my great surprise I got a few totally unexpected calls from people saying "You know, we should hang out sometime.. I've always liked your vibe and been wanting to reach out to you". Seems they'd been making an effort to reach out to people they want to get to know too! Life is funny like that sometimes.. You say you want to make a change and try something new and all the doors open and the phone starts ringing to that end! God or Fate or the Universe or whatever you want to call it.. I've decided to say NO more to doing things that don't make me happy, even if those things are attached to a lot of $$ at the other end.. I plan to start putting 90% of my energy into my music instead of my usual divvying up between the work that pays and the things I love which has been leaving less time for me.. The thing about doing your own music is you make less money (at least in the beginning) but whatever.. I'm preparing to work with less even though I'm praying and hoping for more :-) This is a big change for me but I'm ready for it.. I want to make time for the people and things that I love and I finally figured out that A. I can't do everything and B. The time is now... I had a bad car accident last week.. 10 car pile up.. Wasn't hurt bad.. Just bruised up, concussion, really sore.. Scared the hell outta me though.. Totaled my car.. Brand new Mini :-( In fact, this whole year has kinda been like that.. A lot of big changes.. Not always smooth.. But que sera sera (one of my favorite songs.. check out the Sly Stone version, *sidenote: did you know that Sly Stone dated Doris Day?). Kinda helps put things in perspective.. The important things just become crystal clear..
Album 1 is complete.. Album 2 about 70% done with the music. Need to finish vocals, artwork, photo shoots etc.. Still haven't decided which one to release first.. I ran into my friend and publicist Kat, yesterday at the movies (Sex and the City).. I know that's a sign.. ;-) Anyhoo, heading out on the road again with the legendary Joe Cocker.. whom I adore.. I can listen to him sing all day and nite.. I don't even want to hear myself sing all day OR nite... Lol We'll be opening for Tom Petty who I also love! If you see us heading to your town, come out and see us.. Look for the new record in the fall.. Promise. 'Til then, if you get the chance, check out new music by these artists.. because they're awesome.. And because music can change the world.. Sandra St. Victor - Sinner Child Kimberly Nicole - The Yellow Brick Journey Colin Smith - The Wilderness Lots of love..
See you somewhere soon..
December 20, 2009
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS VIVIAN..
My nephew and his dad in front of the Rockerfeller Center Tree.. As my friend Kevin Harewood would say, where in the world is Vivian Sessoms? He's always telling me "You should write about your adventures and keep people posted on what you're doing. People are interested in knowing where you are and who you're working with" and all that jazz. You know, I get on these tangents sometimes, where I say I'm gonna' write a blog and I have all these ideas in my head but I don't sit down right away and put anything down and then I forget what I wanted to write about. My memory has gone to hell.. Anyways, hey you guys! I know it's been a while, sorry about that. I expect we're all getting ready as best we can for Christmas what with the snow and all. I, for once, did all my shopping early this year, as I planned to be out of town for Xmas. Actually, I planned to see Rob Thomas for my birthday and then spend the holiday with my nephew and fam, but alas work calls so here I am in snowy Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia). It's a beautiful country, and I'm working very little while I'm here, so I'm getting to see a lot of the city I'm in (Bratislava). It's only 40 minutes from Vienna (where I used to live some years back), and I'm performing with truly gifted musicians which is a real treat. For Christmas I will head to London for a few days and spend time with a few of my closest friends and their family. One of the great things about being on the road is making new friends and keeping up with old friends. One of my closest, Everton Nelson is a brilliant violinist, who plays on practically every movie soundtrack we hear today. His wife Julia is a wonderful artist/graphic designer/singer who can cook her you know what off, so can Everton for that matter, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing them both. They have a beautiful little girl named Sienna who absolutely melts my heart every time I hear her voice with her little British accent, it's too friggin' adorable. Must pick up presents before I leave. Enough with the travelogue for now. Let's talk about music for a bit shall we? So the new record is, I would say, over half done. Thing is, I've been dragging my feet on it because I really want to do some things differently this time around so I've been spending time researching and doing my homework. Also, been seriously thinking about moving to LA next year so that might take a little time. In the meantime, for all of you who have been asking when is the record coming out, I'm going to preview some new tracks and pics from the new record in February, so stay tuned for that. You can also look forward to a few unreleased tracks from the last record even sooner and of course, I'll keep you posted on all that good stuff. On another note, we got a very nice album review from our friends over at SoulTalk/BlogTalk Radio (thanks Duane ;-)), which you can read below. Duane has invited me to be a guest DJ on the show over the next few weeks. When I get the dates I'll let you guys know so you can tune in. Usually at this time of year I do a list of my favorite albums for the year but this year I will count it down on the show so make sure to tune in. I'm giving shout outs to a real eclectic mix of albums and artists this year as a nod to my changing genres with this next record.. I'm feeling something very different musically these days which I just can't wait to share with you all. I'm planning to do a show in February and I'll be promoting a couple shows this spring as well so check the site for those dates. Last but not least, I wanna' give a heartfelt thanks to everyone for all the lovely birthday wishes. I got calls, and emails and messages on fb and every other mode of communication I can think of, AND it was awesome! Totally awesome!! Thank you to everyone for remembering me on my birthday. In return, I'd like to wish you all lots of love and joy this holiday season. May you be fruitful and prosperous in the New Year. And remember, music can change the world..
Vivian Reviewed by DAS aka Soul Talk 12/02/09 Albright - Sunny One Day The talented duo of Vivian Sessoms & Chris Parks brings a very unique kind of soul sound to your ears; the smooth production with Vivian's beautiful voice is very refreshing. Vivian takes you on a lyrical and vocal journey that speaks directly to your soul; she has a voice that seems to travel from jazz to soft R&B. The melodies and chord arrangements of the tracks are nicely done, just right for relaxed listening. On this CD entitled Sunny One Day it is difficult to pick a particular favorite because each has its own element. Oh Baby gives you the sexy, crooning side of Vivian's voice, where the title track Sunny One Day has a warm inviting feeling. It's Alright is a very soothing song with an upbeat tempo. The writing style of these two artists is sure to continue getting attention and garnering fans. Of the many female vocalists out there I would say that Vivian is definitely among the best of them.
Hello.. Long time no speak.. Sorry about that. I've been off for the summer, so I decided to take it easy for a while. I haven't been home for the summer in a very long time, and it's been a rather strange one with the crazy weather and all that's been happening in the world.. The loss of some of our greatest musical icons.. The summer has become my favorite season of the year (sometimes autumn still wins out), but this summer with all of the rain and sad news brought out the introspective side of me. While I've been hard at work on a new record, I also feel strangely detached from music lately. I feel very passionately that this record is some of our best work to date, but still I've needed to take long breaks from recording to pursue other interests and to stop and reflect now and again.. Its been refreshing.. I've also discovered lots of new music which I'll share with you soon. I got a dog this summer too, whom I absolutely adore :-) We rescued her from a shelter and she is an angel.. We've been going for long walks and getting to know one another..
On another note, it occurred to me recently that you guys don't know that much about my musical history, so I thought I'd share a funny story with you.. One of the things you don't know for instance, is that I have a great love for standards and for big bands in particular. I'm a huge fan of all the greats.. Ella, Sarah, Billie, Nina, Dinah.. The list goes on, but I also listen to a lot Duke and Count and a few others. The reason this is so is because of my grandmother. This was the music of my grandmothers era.. She played it in the house all while I was growing up. She would sing her favorite songs to me and stand me on the coffee table to teach me how to dance. As a kid I would sing an Ella Fitzgerald song just as easily as I would a Chaka Khan or Michael Jackson song.
A few years back I became completely obsessed with finding big bands in New York to hear and to sit in with.. I was unaware that there was whole movement dedicated to keeping the music alive and once I discovered that, I was ecstatic and enthralled.. I dedicated myself right away to trying to establish myself on the scene, buying big band arrangements which I didn't realize are crazy expensive! I had a nice collection of vintage dresses, now I had a chance to use them.. It was an exciting time and I made a lot of new friends and learned a lot of new and wonderful music and my whole musical lexicon just expanded in a very awesome way.. The interesting and cool thing about being a part of this scene was that when you went to a concert there was always dancing and the crowd would be a mix of people ranging in age from 20 all the way up to 70 and 80 year olds including the legendary Frankie Manning (the man credited with inventing the Lindy Hop), and Dawn Hampton (another incredible and much sought after dancer and singer in her own right). In this way young people got to mix with people who actually were around in the 1930's and 40's and lived to tell about it, and believe me, these were great and often colorful stories to be sure! In the midst of this I also met many great musicians and their wives and girlfriends.. It was one of these musicians whose girlfriend Amy said to me one day, 'I want to introduce you to Les Paul'.
Now before I go on with the story, let me interject.. I am a Jimi Hendrix fan.. I LOVE this man... If there was anyone that I could go back in time and meet, there are a few but Jimi would be at the top of that list, ok? Ok, so suffice it to say that I've read many books on Jimi Hendrix and in reading about Jimi, I learned a lot about Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar, inventor of the multi-tracking tape machine, both of which revolutionized music and the recording industry forever.. (A little known fact, Les Paul tried to sign Jimi to his record company right around the time moved to England to record his first record.)
So back to the story.. My friend Amy had said she wanted to take me to meet Les Paul and more specifically, she wanted him to hear me.. Of course I was very excited and honored but I was starting to tour a lot so finding the time became difficult.. Eventually, I had a break one spring and was hanging out in the city to see one of my favorite big bands, the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra. Amy was there and said 'Hey let's run over and see Les, you want to?' And of course I said yes.. Now for some reason, I was wearing my hair in Indian styled braids then.. You know, 2 long Pocahontas plaits, one on each side.. Maybe I was just lazy but it was summertime and it was easy and saved me time but it made me look 12 years old.. :-) Anyway, we get inside the club and go back stage before the show and Amy introduces me to Les and he was very nice, really nice, but of course he meets lots of people everyday, and he kept forgetting my name a little. Normally I would have attributed this to his being a little older but the man was so sharp and so witty, I mean he had such a hilarious sense of humor and you just know that no one is that funny or astute without having all their faculties straight. I'm sure he was just tired of having to meet and greet people that night, which I totally understood. I was still very excited about meeting him none the less.. If you've never seen Les Paul, he used to do every Monday night at the Iridium night club in New York. I think he must have been doing this for about 20 - 25 years though it could be longer.. He'd play guitar along with upright bass, piano and another guitar.. No drums.. And he played beautifully, I mean I've never heard anything like it.. His touch, his phrasing, just beautiful.. I'd heard that he'd suffered a stroke several years back and couldn't play for a while and after he resumed playing he didn't think his playing was as good but I totally disagree. After seeing him that first evening, I bought a few of his records and I swear I couldn't tell the difference. The club was packed and it was a who's who of famous guitarists and other musicians as well. I think the guitarist from Bon Jovi or Aerosmith was there..
In any case, Les told story after story, playing songs in between, and inviting various guests up to sit in. Toward the the end of the set, he leaned over to ask the guitarist a question, to which the guitarist shrugged his shoulders. Then he leaned over and asked the pianist, probably the same question and he also shrugged.. He then leaned in to the mike and said, "I'd like to invite a young lady up right now, but I'm embarrassed to say, I don't remember her name... Is the little colored girl still here? There was a little colored girl backstage earlier, with 2 long plaits, are you still here young lady?" As I looked around, I realized I was the only colored girl in the room and realized to my surprise, he was talking about me.. Hahahaha.. I had a good chuckle then got up and made my way to the stage.. As we hadn't paid to get in, Amy and I were sitting in the back of the club, so it took me a few minutes to get to the stage, all the while Les was still calling out for the little colored girl.. Then went into another story while waiting for me to come up (it really was that hard to get to the stage). Finally, he finished the story, invited me up and said "Well young lady, tell us who you are" to which I replied "Hi everybody, I'm the little colored girl"... the audience roared! Then I sang a song, and Les said it was wonderful and asked me to do another and then another, and then he said something I'll never forget.. He said, "You know Miss, I'd like to invite you back to do a whole evening featuring you on vocals with the band, would you like that?" And I said I would like that very much, and then I thanked him and left the stage.. My friend Amy said Les never let's people he doesn't know sing more than one song so I should feel honored, and I did.. That is my Les Paul Story.. We've lost some great ones this year.. But they will always be remembered for what they gave us.. Thank you for reading..
Below is a partial list of famous guitarists who play a Les Paul guitar Duane Allman - Sunburst, Goldtop Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) - Junior Martin Barre (Jethro Tull) - Standard Sunburst Jeff Beck - Standard Sunburst Fran Beecher (Bill Haley and His Comets) - Custom Ariel Bender (Mott the Hoople) - Junior Chuck Berry - Custom Dickey Betts (Allman Bros.) - 59 Standard Sunburst, 57 Goldtop Marc Bolan (T.Rex) - Standard Sunburst Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn) - Standard Buckethead - Custom Bumblefoot (Guns & Roses) Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) - Custom Chester Burnett "Howlin' Wolf" - Goldtop Toy Caldwell (Marshall Tucker) - Standard Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) - Standard Graham Coxon (Blur) - Custom Charlie Daniels - 58 Standard Eric Clapton - Standard Sunburst, 61 SG-style, Custom Steve Clark (Def Leppard) - Standard Bill Connors (Return to Forever) - Custom Sheryl Crow - Special Dave Davies (The Kinks) - Custom, Goldtop Al Di Meola - Custom Rick Derringer (Johnny Winter And, Edgar Winter Group) - Goldtop Andy Dunlop (Travis) - Deluxe Elliot Easton (Cars) - Goldtop David "The Edge" Evans (U2) - Custom, Goldtop Don Felder (Eagles) - Standard John Fogerty - Custom, Goldtop, Standard Peter Frampton - Custom "Black Beauty" Ace Frehley (Kiss) - Custom Robert Fripp (King Crimson) - Custom Black Beauty John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) - 69 Custom Noel Gallagher (Oasis) - Standard Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead) - Goldtop Billy Gibbons (Z.Z. Top) - 59 Sunburst David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) - 56 Goldtop w/Bigsby Ray Gomez (Stanley Clarke) - Standard Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) - Standard Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) - 59 Standard Sunburst Steve Hackett (Genesis) - Goldtop Kirk Hammett (Metallica) - 68 Custom "Black Beauty" George Harrison - Plain top Standard Warren Haynes (Allman Bros, Gov't Mule) - Standard, Les Paul 12-string Jimi Hendrix - Custom James Hetfield (Metallica) - Custom Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) - Custom James Honeyman-Scott (The Pretenders) - Standard John Lee Hooker - Goldtop Steve Hunter (Lou Reed, Alice Cooper) - Special Davey Johnstone (Elton John) - Custom Adam Jones (Tool) - Custom Billy Jones (The Outlaws) - Custom Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones) - Goldtop Mick Jones (The Clash) - Junior, Custom Mick Jones (Foreigner) - Custom, 61 SG-style Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) - Custom, Special, Sunburst Terry Kath (Chicago) - Les Paul Recording Danny Kirwan (Fleetwood Mac) - Custom Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) LP seen in "Money for Nothing" video Allen Lanier (Blue Oyster Cult) - Standard Albert Lee - Custom Frank Lero (My Chemical Romance) - Epiphone Standard Alex Lifeson (Rush) - Standard, Custom Kerry Livgren (Kansas) - 69 Deluxe Thin Lizzy (Scott Gorham - Deluxe; Brian Robertson - Deluxe; Gary Moore - Standard; Snowy White - Goldtop; John Sykes - Custom) Steve Lukather (Toto, sessions) - Standard Sunburst Harvey Mandel (Canned Heat) Paul McCartney - Standard Sunburst, Goldtop (both left-handed) John McLaughlin - Custom Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) - Standard Henry McCullough (Joe Cocker, Wings) - Goldtop Bob Marley - Special Sonny Mayo (Amen) - Custom Steve Miller - Goldtop, Standard Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) - Standard, Goldtop Jimmy Page - 58 and 59 Standard Sunburst Les Paul - a bunch of em, but especially the Les Paul Recording Carl Perkins - Goldtop Joe Perry (Aerosmith) - Standard Sunburst Vicki Peterson (The Bangles) - Custom Rod Price (Foghat) - Custom Mick Ralphs (Mott the Hoople, Bad Company) - Junior Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) - Standard Randy Rhoads - Custom Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) - Standard, Custom Gary Richrath (R.E.O. Speedwagon) - Standard, Goldtop, Custom Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (Blue Oyster Cult) - Standard Mick Ronson (David Bowie) - Custom Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd) - 59 Custom Todd Rundgren -61 SG/Les Paul Carlos Santana - Special Joey Santiago (The Pixies) - Custom Joe Satriani - Standard Boz Scaggs - Goldtop Tom Scholz (Boston) - Goldtop Neal Schon (Santana, Journey) - Standard Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Standard Slash (Guns N Roses) - Standard Sunburst Earl Slick (David Bowie) - Custom Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) - Standard Steve Stills - Custom with Bigsby Joe Strummer (The Clash) - Junior Hubert Sumlin - Goldtop Mick Taylor (The Rolling Stones) - Standard Sunburst Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls) - Junior Pete Townshend (The Who) - Deluxe Ted Turner (Wishbone Ash) - Junior Joe Walsh (James Gang, Eagles) - Standard Sunburst Muddy Waters - Goldtop Jeff Watson (Night Ranger) - 56 Goldtop Leslie West (Mountain) - Junior Whitesnake (Adrian Vandenberg; Mick Moody; Bernie Marsden; Mel Galley) Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) - Standard Sunburst Nancy Wilson (Heart) - Epiphone Les Paul Ultra Johnny Winter - Goldtop Ron Wood (Faces, The Rolling Stones) - Custom Zakk Wylde - Special Neil Young - 56 Goldtop painted black Frank Zappa - Goldto
July 05, 2009 LOVE TO YOU
A long, long time ago... I can still remember how, the music used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance, and maybe, they'd be happy for a while.. I can't remember if I cried, when I read about his widowed bride, but something touched me deep inside, the day the music died..
- Don McLean
When I was a very little girl, I would hear this song on the radio and it would make me cry. I didn't understand why, I was too little to understand the concept of death or dying and I didn't really know what to song was about. There was just something about the 'music dying' that seemed awful and forever to me. To this day that song still makes me sad.
Hey guys, Sorry I've been away so long. Been busy as you all know, working on new music but I felt like I needed to stop for a few days. The music just left my head. Feels like I can't hear anything. The day I heard the news I was so stunned, hell everyone in the world was stunned, but I thought in a day or so it won't seem like such a shock. Even though it felt like I just lost a brother, it felt odd to be grieving so much for someone I've never even met. At first I thought "I'm not going to watch any programs or news, or listen any radio stations playing his music, at least not for a while". I taped a lot of stuff but I still haven't watched, it feels too hard. I still remember when Donny Hathaway died and feeling so sad and I was just a little kid then. I understood the concept of death better but up to that point I had never lost anyone close to me or even been to a funeral. I knew it was a tragedy and though I didn't understand how or why he died, I was very sad. Even though I was a kid, I somehow instinctively knew that music would be very different without him. Maybe thatâ€™s because I can remember the first time I heard Mr. Hathaway. It was Christmas, and I was going to take my first plane trip to California to visit my aunt. I was going with my father and his parents and I was beside myself with excitement. When we arrived, the entire car ride from the airport to the house, all my aunt talked about were these two new artists that had a brand new sound, who were making something really different, and really beautiful. It was music for black people, young, hip, beautiful soul music for young, hip, beautiful black people. Of course that wasn't exactly what she said, but it was something very like that.. And it's how I remember it, it was definitely what she conveyed. It was music that people actually sat and listened to without talking at first. It seemed to me, now thinking back on it, to be a new kind of blues if you will, very heady, dark and rich, their voices, both so soulful and so full of yearning. Those artists were Donny Hathaway and Al Green. During that vacation which lasted several weeks, there was almost no other music played in the house, and I mean that.. Those albums were what we listened to every day for weeks. And not much else. But all of this was shaping me and I still remember it as one of the best Christmas' I ever spent with my dad and his family. Somehow listening to those two artists still remind me of my dad to this day, so I was very sad when Donny died, even though my dad was still alive then.
I also remember the day Marvin died. The shock of hearing of his death and how he died, I remember feeling ripped apart by that. By that time, I could really and truly understand, having begun to lose people I loved. I also knew by then that I would never be able to do anything with my life but music, and was so completely engrossed in all things musical. More importantly though, I had met Marvin Gaye a few times and he was always so very kind to me. Furthermore, not so long before, my parents, and my childhood friends and I spent an entire summer dancing to Got To Give It Up. It was one of those records that defined a period in our lives, and we never stopped playing it the entire summer long, literally.
Now I knew music would never be the same. Then three years ago James Brown passed and again we were all shocked and devastated. Where as Donny, Al, and Marvin might have been my mother's or the "young folks" music, James Brown, like Aretha, was everyone's music, young and old. You danced your ass off listening to James Brown, he kept it grimy, gritty, and soulful. It was soul of the rawest kind, not polished and beautiful but very honest and very real. When I was a really little girl I was completely, and I mean completely consumed with two artists, one of whom was the spectacular James Brown. Now please believe me when I say this is the truth, my father played percussion with James Brown, (that's not the part I want you to believe, though it is the truth), but before that, before I could even read, I could read the name James Brown, don't ask me how because I don't know. I just know that growing up in the St Nick projects, which is only a few blocks from 125th street (a major thoroughfare and shopping street in Harlem) we used to pass by the Apollo on a regular basis. If I passed that Apollo Theatre and saw the name James Brown on the marquee and my mother said we weren't going, I raised holy hell right there in the middle of the street. Now here's something else I really want you to understand. You DO NOT have temper tantrums in the middle of the street with a black mother, ok?? You just don't do it, but that's on the level, how much I had, not wanted, had to see James Brown. The funny thing is, and this is really funny, sometimes we would have tickets and my mother would be trying to explain to me that we were going to go but the show wasn't that day or that he wasn't even in town yet, he might be coming the following week or month but I would be standing in the middle of 125th street screaming at the top of my lungs and my mother would literally have to drag me away form the Apollo. After my dad started playing with him I got to see him very often (which, when I finally understood that my dad played with him, was made even better by getting to see my dad too) for as long as my dad had that gig, which wasn't a very long time but long enough for me to have seen lots of shows. I still don't know why I was so mesmerized by James Brown, I suspect it might have been his dancing, but he was such a powerhouse, I really was awestruck... I would stand on my seat and watch the whole show (I was only 3 or 4) and not move until it was over. I was star struck and I wasn't the only one as evidenced by the many artists he influenced from George Clinton, to Jackie Wilson, to Prince, to Michael, to Janelle.
The other group/artist I was obsessed with at that time was the Jackson 5 and particularly Michael. Here at last was music, that even though everyone loved it, seemed perfectly geared toward black kids especially. In truth, it reached all kids black and white, so much so that the Jackson's white counterpart, The Osmond Brothers came quickly after. I was too young to remember Little Stevie Wonder, he was before my time, had I been a little older, I might have been daydreaming about Stevie but as fate would have it James Brown and the Jackson 5 are the ones who really struck me the hardest. Theirs are the first songs that I can actually remember besides songs I learned in school and the ones my mother would sing around the house or teach me. My mother who was also a singer, taught me many songs as a kid, particularly a lot of Doo Wop and Motown songs. I couldn't read or write yet but I could sing some harmonies with my mother. I guess you could say that I already had the bug at that point, having seen my dad on stage and watching my mom singing. I'd be in the mirror, with hair brush in hand singing with Michael, trying do the steps. When the Jackson's were on television, everyone in the building watched. Actually, if any black person was on television we'd all be glued to the tv, but Michael was different because he was this little kid, maybe 7 or 8 years old doing all this incredible stuff. I, like thousands of other little black girls thought I was gonna marry MJ. No for real, I thought I was gonna marry Michael, I'm not joking. I realized last week that for every phase of my life there was a Jackson 5, or Michael Jackson record to go with it. All through my childhood, my teenage years, and even after I became an adult and was falling in love for real, it was to a Michael Jackson song. Even my son became obsessed with Michael Jackson. I remember being absolutely mesmerized the first time I heard Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough. I would sit in front of the stereo and play that song and that album over and over and over again. I would study it. And then, when we thought he couldn't top himself, he came back with Thriller. He looked totally different and we were all shocked, but we didn't give a damn. And then he outdid himself and everyone else by moon walking on the Motown 25th anniversary show.
My heart has been aching since I heard the news and hasn't stopped. I feel like a fool but there it is. My sister in law told me when she goes to sleep, she grieves in her stomach for Michael. I know what she means. I'm trying to figure out why I'm so devastated over the death of someone I never knew. I wonder if it's because it seems to me like he never got to have the childhood he deserved and had to sacrifice so much of his personal life to be what he was to all of us. Or maybe I feel awful because it seems like he never got to have much happiness in his life, growing up with Joe Jackson for a father, then being harassed and torn down in the prime of his career by greedy, shameless people who took advantage of him and did irreparable damage to the reputation and the spirit of one of the greatest musical icons to ever live (now the kid comes forward and says Michael never touched him... disgusting). One of my closest friends says everyone on this earth feels exactly as I do because when Michael died our childhoods died with him. Beautifully said.. I think it's that the music died.. at least for me.. for now.
Dear Michael, No artist in the world has ever been able to touch the hearts of so many and no one has ever been loved more.. I hope you see..
God bless you.
We Love YOU..
June 12, 2009
LADIES & GENTLEMEN, JEREMY BLAKE.. I'd like, if I may, to introduce you guys to some of the most visually stunning art I have ever seen. The art of Jeremy Blake. I remember the first time I saw the movie Punch Drunk Love, and being so in love with that movie for so many different reasons. I thought the music was just magical, and oh so lovely.. so much so, that I bought the soundtrack the next day, particularly for the song "He Needs Me". To my surprise I discovered the soundtrack had been done by Jon Brion, who is my dream producer and at the top of my list as far as producers go (Elliott Smith, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, Kanye, Keane, Dido - all artists I love.. you can see him every Friday at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles). I also found that the song "He Needs Me" was written by Harry Nilsson for the movie Popeye and was sung by Shelley Duvall. Harry Nilsson is one of my all time favorite artists for having what I think is one of THE most beautiful voices of the century (though I love them all, my favorite album by him is Nilsson sings Newman). Shelley Duvall is also one of my all time favorite actresses.. Kismet..
The soundtrack overall though, just has an old world charm to it, and a little bit of a foreign film feel to it. It is a delight. As for the cinematography, breathtaking.. I couldn't stop watching. I love it when a movie grips me the way that Punch Drunk Love did, on the one hand, it wasn't just a sweet story, which it most certainly was, but the characters involved were all really kooky, and exuberant.. with Adam Sandler in a way we've never seen him and Emily Watson who was lovely and refreshing.
In my opinion, the past 10 years has seen a whole spate of films by a new kind of director, guys that want to tell a story in a whole new way and shoot film in a very different way, that to my mind, has made film so much more interesting and engrossing, directors like; Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia) Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore) Michel Gondry (The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) David O Russell (I Heart Huckabees) Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands) The Hughes Brothers (From Hell) The Wachowski Brothers (V for Vendetta, The Matrix) The Coen Brothers (O Brother, Where Art Thou, Fargo) Ryan Murphy (Running with Scissors) But the thing that always set Punch Drunk Love apart for me was how visually stunning the film was.
The film was literally interspersed with these out of focus, really colourful, beautiful shots and I always wondered how the hell they did that, I thought perhaps they just made the camera go out of focus and that was what you'd see, these colourful shapes but I've asked people in the industry about this and they all say no. I think I might have seen that film in 2003.. Fast forward to 2008.. I'm sitting in my Dr's office waiting to be seen and pick up a copy of the New Yorker Magazine. It was a special fashion issue and it had very beautiful clothes in it, all designed by relatively unknown designers. When I was ready to leave, I asked if I could take the magazine with me and they said yes. I carried it around in my bag for weeks. It was full of all kinds of interesting stuff but one of the last stories I read in it was the story of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake.
Their story went a little something like this; 2 young and amazingly gifted artists meet in their early 20's in New York and find an immediate attraction between them. Before long they are inseparable, Theresa becoming a successful video game creator (Chop Suey, Smarty Pants, and Zero Zero), and Jeremy beginning to find his way in the art world. Theresa begins to write screenplays and the 2 eventually move to LA, where Theresa begins to shop her film ideas. Jeremy in turn begins to find his own voice and style through a somewhat new medium that he is partially credited with creating. I don't know that I really understand it, but it would seem that it is a kind of graphic design using film and computers. Some of the works he created are used in the film Punch Drunk Love (the ones I always wondered about). The 2 are beloved by many and seem to be at the center of their own universe when after 12 years together, the unthinkable happens, Theresa commits suicide. One week later Jeremy follows in her footsteps. Their untimely deaths rock the art world, film world etc. It is possible I may not be telling their story correctly so I mean no disrespect to any who might read this having known the couple, nor do I mean for this story to be a downer. I just finally found the answer to a plaguing question and in finding Mr Blake, have discovered a brilliant artist who's work deserves to live on.. Let's celebrate him shall we? You can see his works here http://www.ktfineart.com/artists/jeremy_blake/ Epilogue.. Sometimes being an artist is not at all glamourous, it is hard fucking work.. It can be stressful, and disappointing and even.. downright depressing sometimes.. But if you truly love what you do and strive to be the best YOU can be, there are rare moments of intense clarity, of dreams being realized and of stunning beauty.. Sometimes that is enough, sometimes not.. What we hope, is that the beautiful works will live on..
Thank you for reading..
"In many ways the work of a critic is easy, we risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves for our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read, but the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations and new needs friends.." -Ratatouille
June 06, 2009
INDIE STAR ADVENTURES (ISA): EP2
Henry Hey everybody, Viv here with the next ep of the ISA. Today I'm going to talk a little bit more about prospective managers. Using The Secret and all the other principles I know to draw the right manager to me, lol, I've been spending time talking to people, asking questions, brainstorming, etc. What I've been finding is that the best candidates are coming up in the most unlikely places. Part of the reason for this is that most established managers in the industry are looking for a very established artist (mainly in record sales and or following) to work with, thereby missing out on the potential great artist that may unwittingly cross their path. Of course this is understandable, tried and tested is always preferable albeit not always available these days. While most of us musicians and music lovers have heard nothing but how much the industry is changing for the last 3 or 4 years, and indeed it has changed greatly, I still think that it has changed in our favour (independent musicians). I think there are more opportunities available to indie artists than ever before, but it's also harder to know what's out there, when we probably have more artists making music now, than ever before in the history of music. Another reason to look in unlikely places, is that being independent, you can probably be better guided by someone who isn't chained to outdated modes and ideals. Someone thinking completely out of the box at this time, is probably just the thing that's needed, considering the fact that at this time in the music business, almost anything goes.. fresh ideas, new approaches and independent thinking are welcome. With that, I'll tell you about my 2 latest prospects. Long shots to say the least, but two very different people who I believe with the right amount of hard work & vision could be absolutely perfect partners for steering this venture. They are both women. The first is a seasoned former exec with many years of experience in the music industry, having worked at Viacom, Sony, a few other companies I can't remember and lastly as the GM of a large independent record/management company. She quit because she didn't care for the label heads business practices and modus operandi (INTEGRITY, gotta love her for that). She has an entrepreneurial spirit which she showed in opening up her own restaurant a few years ago (which means she has valuable experience in other areas of business), she's funny, and smart, charming as hell and a true people person, which for me is an absolute plus since I'm a shy type. Plus she's a go-getter so it's almost a no brainer. The downside is she has a young family and lots of family stuff happening (which isn't a downside for me at all, but could be hard to balance as a wife and mother). Still, she's a woman who carved out a niche for herself in a predominately male run industry and climbed up the corporate ladder all on her own. I should preface this next paragraph by stating that the second candidate doesn't seem to want manage, or rather doesn't know if she'd make a good one, although it's pretty much what she does all day. Let's just say she's an amazing coordinator and/or orchestrator. She works in marketing outside the music business but has a deep and intuitive love for music and musicians. She is one of those keepers of the flames so to speak. It's crystal clear to me, as it probably is to most everyone that come into contact with her, that she should be doing something in the entertainment industry, but just what that is, she's still unclear about. Still she is one of those people that enters a room and will know a little something about everyone before she leaves it and what's more, everyone that comes into contact with her wants to know her and enjoys her company as she is knowledgeable in just about everything. That's a gift. You can call her up and ask for a contact to any person anywhere in the music business and she will either know someone or find someone who does. Now that's what I call SPARK! Plus she's a people person as well and has a natural curiosity and a sharp wit. The downside as I said earlier, is that she doesn't see herself as manager exactly. 2 brilliant and accomplished prospective managers none the less. Stay tuned and look for the first video blog next week featuring new music.
Thanks for reading,
remember.. music can change the world.
May 16, 2009
TILLMAN'S BAR & LOUNGE'S SELECTIVE (AKA RACIST) DOOR POLICY..
Reposted from http://thekatalist.blogspot.com/
On Saturday night two friends and I went out for a late night hang. In search of a place where we could chill out and catch-up, I suggested Tillman's Bar and Lounge for no other reason than the fact that it was close to our meeting point and I knew they would be open late. While friend number one searched for parking I got out and asked the bouncer a few basic questions that progressed (or digressed actually) like this:
Q - Can we park on this block after 1(AM)?
A - No. They ticket and tow.
Q - How late is the kitchen open?
A - 2AM, but we're only accepting reservations right now.
Q - Reservations? Er so you mean there is no room at the bar either?
A - No only reservations for the bar too...
Q - So basically your saying we can't get in huh?
A - That's right.
Initially, I wasn't THAT taken aback by the downward spiral of this conversation. I figured the place was packed; unusual yes in these times, but hey you never know. So I tried unsuccessfully to reach my other friend by cell so she wouldn't waste her time searching for a spot but she eventually came strolling up and after hearing that they wouldn't take us, she decided to make a second attempt. At just that same moment, the hostess came out and my friend asked her instead about the availability and contrary to my exchange with the bouncer, she welcomed us all in with a smile. Hmmmmmm.
So we enter the vestibule; not forgetting to give the bouncer a dirty look as we stepped inside. We walk through the short dark hall and right before we pull back the the heavy drapes to enter the establishment, I started preparing for my push through the crowd only to find...Tada! The place was empty!! Ok, OK they had a few bar stools and tables filled, but in no way filled to capacity. You know what I did? I left it alone...I figured I would make a small complaint to the manager on my way out and chalk the incident up to a misunderstanding or misjudgement on the part of the bouncer. We ate. We drank. We were merry. Upon leaving we found the manager. I described what had happened and asked him for an explanation. Here's what he had to say (paraphrased of course): We DO only take reservations on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. Management has the right to be selective. Well you got in didn't you? (More like a question than an answer, but arrogant nonetheless) No denial. No apology. My reaction?? I posed this question to myself: WWOD? What Would Obama Do? (I borrowed this phrase from and give full credit to my best friend Kemba for this one). Well I really don't know what he would do but the question at least calmed me down enough to keep it moving. Knowing plenty of bouncers and club owners personally, I pretty much know the rules of the velvet rope; no sneakers, no single men, no drunk people and since none of these applied to us, I could only assume that the folks over at Tillman's seem to have found a new one; The "No damn reason at all except for the bouncers' own prejudice and ignorance" policy. In this day and age; during a time when most restaurants are going under, Tillman's has taken it upon themselves to hold tight to some randomly subjective velvet rope code that only they can decipher. If one chooses to spend their money wisely (my thanks to AC for the drinks btw) then, I think we too as patrons should practice a variation on Tillman's policy of: Being Selective I hope you too will join me in Being Selective by "selecting" some other place and NOT Tillman's when making future plans for a night out in NYC. Ciao for now... The Katalist Epilogue
- I just got off the phone with my homegurl, that was with me that night (I wanted to fact-check what I described above) and she got me all fired up again about what went down only two nights ago. This is MY blog DAMMIT and if I can't write about what I'm thinkin' then WTF! Now for the real deal about all the thoughts I had regarding this incident: Tillman's Bar and Lounge is a racist Black-owned establishment...That's right I'm taking it there. And for those of you who don't know me...I'M BLACK! and I looked DAMN GOOD that night as did my two friends. So why in the world did this bouncer screen us, no! a better term would be PROFILE us as a "DO NOT ALLOW"? Believe it or not, I don't have many personal accounts of being a victim of blatant racial discrimination...knowingly anyway. I got a few - security following me in a department store, poor service in a restaurant, job application rejections and not being able to catch a cab, but this one is some bullshit! Why? Because it was my own people who were behaving badly this time. You don't agree with me?? Maybe I'm over reacting?? Listen my anger is a base reaction; meaning, I don't need historical or psychological rhetoric to back me up or justify my feelings. It was insulting and shameful behavior of two black men who under different circumstances would probably be friends of mine in a parallel Universe (like Brooklyn or Harlem). I jest only to alleviate and counteract my anger. So now it ends (or maybe begins for that matter) with me having to use my powers for evil instead of good. This blog along with a viral e-mail campaign are kindling and I intend to spread the word about Tillman's. I don't care about an apology anymore. I looked for that on Saturday night. I use this vehicle to vent and I've accomplished that BUT if anyone reading this would like to make a comment to Tillman's about their "screening" policies, I've included their contact information below for your convenience....just in case you'd like for them to know your opinion. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 212.627.8320
What's up Amus? Haven't holla'd in awhile so I thought that now would be a good time to re-open our lines of communication. I have to admit, I stopped listening to your albums. Well, I still listen to FRANK. Sometimes I can't help it. It reminds of me of how it used to be.. Ahem. Wow. The FRANK LP---those were good times. I remember when you gave me the single for "In My Bed". I was floored. Your jack of Nasir's "Made You Look" had me open. Actually I think I was more amazed by the fact that Salaam "I-Gave-The-Fugees-Their-Hottest-Track" Remi produced a heater for Nasir in 2002 and turned around and gave you the SAME track in 2003. Even greater than that? I couldn't say sh*t---the song was diggy diggy DOPE! Considering the fact that I was kinda disgusted that Nas flipped the beat from "Thief's Theme" and turned around and used it for "Hip Hop Is Dead" (shame on you, Will. I. Am.). I mean, I'm not against "artistic" beat-jacking---but gottdammit Nas! You jacked your own music for your lead single, ON YOUR VERY NEXT ALBUM....damn you ESCO!!!
I digress. This isn't about Nasty Nas/Nastradamus. This is about you---isn't it, Aim? [NOTE]: I did decipher that you had a "jones" (no pun intended) for Nasir WAYYYY before anyone could put that sh*t together. I mean c'mon; you used his music for your single, on the first album, then on your follow-up album you recorded a song "Me and Mr. Jones". I was all over that shit like gottdamned Magnum P.I. My sleuthing skills are bar none.....with the exception of Shaggy and Scooby.] Anyhoo...... (BTW, this is really how you use the word "anyhoo". You internet numb nuts need to get your sh*t together) As I was saying..... I was feeling you Amus. 'In My Bed' took me back to a time when a young Mary Blige was rocking over break beats. Whereas Mary marked the evolution of "New Jack Swing" to "Hip Hop Soul", you provided "Retro Soul" as an alternative to Bubblegum/Crunk/Insta-Soul music. [Note: I speak of these terms as phases and NOT sub-genres. I will not make the same mistakes Kedar made.] I remember when you sent me the link to the Ghostface promo. It was a commercial for GFK's 'More Fish' album. I dug the commercial. C'mon, it was Ghost! In the background of the 30 second spot, somebody was singing. Wait a minute....that ain't Ghost (obviously)?!?! Hold up.....who's that singing in the background? Commercial.....Ghostface.....background music.....ol' school sounding...female singer....kinda sounds like Shirley Bassey......hold the hell up! Oh Sh*t!!! Amus, that's you!!! Oh snap!!! That's why you sent me the link! Damn ziti...duh??? I stood there, grabbing my heart like Fred G. Sanford. December 2006. I copped the 'More Fish' album. I listened to "You Know I'm No Good" a million frigging times. A less than stellar 2006 was redeemed with one supreme collab. Ghostface+Wineface? That was the one-two punch of the year.
January 2007. Your peoples at Universal sent me a DVD. Ahhh, I remember it like it was yesterday; I'd just got home and I really wanted to wolf down the hoagie that Monica, from the deli, made for me. Actually, after seeing Monica, I wanted to jump in the shower and......AHEM (dammit Ziti....get a hold of yerfself)!!! Anyway, I popped in the DVD, opened my sandwich and ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh shitttttttt!!!!! A video! F*cking Eureka! It was for the song "You Know I'm No Good". Even though this version was Ghost-less, I was stunned, nonetheless. You looked different since the last time we saw each other. You had an enormous bee-hive. You lost a little weight. You had these crazy, biker chick tattoos. One of your tats even featured a naked woman. That put you in good with one of my babes. She secretly wants to have a lesbian encounter. She doesn't think I know. Shhhhhhh. I loved you. You were a cross between The Supremes and Alanis Morrisette; You had the flair, image and pipes of Diana and the girls. You had the truth and I-Don't-Give-A-F*ck attitude of Alanis. You were old AND new at the same time. You were going to run the second leg of a race that Erykah, D'Angelo and Jill had started. In the video, you were slinking around in that tub, showing off rug burns to a jilted lover. You could sing (or sang --- i.e. "that heifer Amy Winehouse can SANG"). You were going to raise the bar for these other Nickelodeon pop tart singer hoes. Maybe that was too much to ask for. *(to be con't..)
May 01, 2009
LOST ONES.. AN OPEN LOVE LETTER.. (PT II)
(*note - reprinted from viviansessoms.com - feb 2008)
..And what about you D? How much longer do we have to wait for the next one? We all know you recorded about 10 albums worth of material when you did 'Voodoo'. Can't we just get an EP? A single leaked to the internet?? Somethin'? I've just about played the words of 'Brown Sugar' and 'Voodoo'. You know you single handedly changed the the sound of R&B music in the nineties, don't you?
There are many that have done great things in music but you are one of the few that gave us a brand new sound.. New for us anyways.. Let's see... before you, there was Scott Joplin, Little Richard (or) Chuck Berry (don't know which of the 2 of them is credited with bringing rock and roll to the world), Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gilespie, Bob Marley, Teddy Riley and you.. Now there were many other groundbreaking artists who came before.. Sly Stone, Jimi Hendryx, Miles Davis, Ella & Sarah, Duke, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Michael, Stevie, Curtis, Marvin, Al, Earth Wind & Fire, and on & on, not to mention Ludwig Von Beethoven, as black artists who have been forward thinking and unique, but there are only a few that we can truly say started a genre or had a musical term coined after their music.. You are one of the few..
One of the things that I think makes you great, that makes you different is that you openly admit you've studied and learned from the masters and freely share with us who our greatest masters are and who we should be listening to, if we didn't already know.... Sadly, some of us didn't. You encouraged us to go back and listen and learn by sharing the adventures of the 'Soulquarians'. Didn't we all wanna be up in those sessions? Up in tha' house that Jimi Hendryx built, watching videos of Curtis and Sly, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Donny & Prince, smoking a joint, having a lil' taste of Jesus juice and then jamming for 'bout 8 or 9 hours straight.. You know what I'm sayin'?
Sometimes an artist comes along and makes everybody that isn't black want to be black so bad, if only for a short time, just to have that real, true black experience of our music , our culture, and being a part of something so soulful... so smoky... so earthy...and beautiful... that when that artist sings their song, black people everywhere look at everybody else with that knowing look in their eyes, their heads cocked to the side like 'we have a secret and the secret is, yeah...it's good to be in our skin, you hear that song? You hear what he said? You see that video? That's what we look like, that's what we do when we party, that represents us and we know you wanna be us!' 'Brown Sugar' is still one of those songs that if you hear it in the club or at a house party, when it starts with tha' 'ba-down ba-down'.. er'body in tha' room gets a crick in they neck (yeah I said 'they',) a hump in they back, arms go up in the air and asses gits up off tha' chair... 'uh uh uh uhhh, oooh wa oooh wa oooooh, clack' you put that song on and even the most unfunky, unsoulful mofo's in tha world become instantly cool as they get transported to the scene of Marvin Gayes 'I Want You' album cover or the 'Got 'Til It's Gone' video by Ms. Janet..
I've only run up to the front of the stage for 2 concerts in my ENtar life.. One was for Al green (with a hilarious story that goes along with that) and yours.. I was at your show with my boyfriend and it was understood that even though HE purchased those tickets and I was there with HIM, I WAS going to be up at the front of the stage and would kick another bitches ass (although I'm usually very loving to my sisters) if she don't (that's right I said ain't ) move over! Lol..
We've been hearing for a couple years now that there's an album in the works.. We hope to God that's true.. That would make my year for music! Last week I was checking out the October edition of Vibe magazine with Chris Brown on it's cover. Lot of good stories in there but one that really caught me was the story on the rise and fall of the Debarge family, a most beloved first family of r&b music. It was a tragic story of fame and drugs followed by a fall from grace, & behind that, an extremely abusive father, a passive mother, lawsuits, prison, death AND underneath all of that...a most beautiful legacy of music that the survivors in the family struggle to keep alive. Don't be that D, please, we beg of you... don't ever be that.. Don't be that star who shined so brightly and then burned out too quickly leaving us all here with crushing memories of what you could have been, should have been... Black people live that reality all too often. Our Icons give us hope, someone to look up to, something to strive for.. Especially the musical ones because you give us a song to sing and to put in our hearts, a soundtrack to live our lives to... *Note - Just heard.. Lauryn Hill posted new concert dates on her website & D'Angelo is planning his new release for the summer!! Prayers answered.. Year made.. Awesome & inspiring..
April 20, 2009
LOST ONES.. AN OPEN LOVE LETTER.. (PT I)
(*note - reprinted from viviansessoms.com - feb 2008)
Dear Lauren & D.. I just gotta ask..... Where are you? Do you know we miss you? Do you know we are all here waiting patiently for the 2 of you to return and grace us with your music? Do you know how much you are loved, championed, and adored by the rest of us? Lauren.. We've all heard the stories.. We know it's hard living your life out in the open for all the world to see and sometimes judge, but I promise you, the people that judge you are not your people or at least not your best fans. We know you had real dramas with your former co-producers and writers but did you know... we don't care? Do you know how many of us don't give a damn if you didn't write a fucking word on 'Miseducation' because the bottom line is NOBODY could sing them songs like you? And I'm not even saying you didn't write those songs, I'm just saying most of us really don't care what people say, or believe! Because your voice, your presentation, YOU are such a magical and magnificent talent, you could sing tha' fuq'n phonebook and I'd still be first in line to buy it! I still listen to 'Miseducation' and your 'MTV Unplugged' cd's today and I still love them every bit as much today as I did when I first heard them. More.. I remember the first time I heard 'Lost Ones', I was in a store in Greenwhich Village in New York. I was in a fitting room trying on clothes, that song came on and I was like 'OH SHIT!' I came out of the fitting room and started dancing.. (I put my clothes back on 1st, haha) When that song went off I walked right over to Tower Records to find out when the album would be released and if the single was available. That was back in the day when you could still buy a cd single and if it wasn't out yet you'd wait patiently for the song to come on the radio. I remember how people used to talk about 'Miseducation' being groundbreaking and innovative and fresh, and it was, it was all that and more. People were comparing it to Bob Marley and the Beatles. Maybe there have been personal dramas in your life, demons you've had to put to rest.. We understand and respect your need for private time and a personal life but PLEASE don't let whatever those issues are make you stay away from us forever. We need your thoughts, your ideas and your emotion, we need your voice. We need you.. Ain't nobody like you Lauryn.. (To be con't..)
April 10, 2009
FILE SHARING AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE MUSIC BIZ..
To working musicians everywhere,
I have a teenage son who tells me pirating music is no big deal. Since he is a musician himself, I point out to him that someday that could be his money people are stealing. But he remains unphased. He tells me the record sales make money for the record label, not the artist. He says that the artists make all their money from touring and live concerts. He thinks the pirated music promotes the concerts and therefore helps the artist make more money. I still don't allow pirating in my house. But tell me what you think - as artists out there having your work shared, are you just glad to have it being enjoyed, or does it bother you? Admittedly, kids (and adults) are stealing music that is recorded by major record labels, so maybe it is different than the independent musician working for his living. But I'd still like to hear what you think. Thanks,
My name is Vivian and my husband and I are both workimg musicians. About 8 years ago when pirating seemed to really start to catching on, I used to be completly paranoid that someone would come to our house and drag my husband out by the scruff of his neck. He pirated music day and night.. At that time, people were getting fined and arrested for pirating, there was one kid that was sued by a record company for several thousands of dollars. Their point was to try to make an example out of the poor kid. Of course my husband kept right on downloading music and never ended up in jail or fined.. (Yet, that is..) Just because he didn't, doesn't make it alright.
A couple of years ago now, my husband and I independently released our own cd, and of course, our music has also been pirated along with many other recordings I've done for, and with various artists over the years. Ironically, this is a fact that my husband has had a bit of a hard time dealing with, while I, on the other hand have come to accept this as a way of life. While it's not exactly true that artists don't make $$ from record sales, it is true that most artists, especially newer artists, or lesser known or established artists do make the bulk of their $$ from touring and performing, but they also make a chunk of $$ from publishing which is also drying up due to lack of record sales which is a direct result of pirating. And obviously for independent artists like ourselves, we stand to lose a bigger percentage of $$ from pirating because we get to keep the biggest percentage of $$ from record sales. This is the way independent music stores are set up, to aid the independent musician. The internet has irrevocably changed the face of music forever and in many ways, this change is absolutely for the better. The amount of opportunites available to independent musicians, to have our music heard and sold are becoming endless.. The amount of work that goes with these opportunities, might also be greater one day.
On the one hand the internet has opened many doors for me as an artist as well as a consumer, on the other hand the internet has made stealing intellectual properties relatively easy. What we have is a double edged sword. Seriously though, when I think back on the stranglehold record companies had on the music industry for the last 60 years or so, I'd say all in all, I absolutely prefer things the way they are now, and where they're headed, with this much more level playing field. I don't now, nor have I ever believed that being an artist should be the crap shoot it has been. I've seen many a limited talent individual reach super star status while so many truly gifted, inspired, and incredibly unique artists go unnoticed.. I've seen artist after artist be cheated, stolen from or treated horribly by their labels. I personally have been told by a few label execs that I need to copy the style of this or that artist if I ever wanted make it in this business or have a chance of being signed to a label.. Depressing.. It's this shift in the music business that has, without a doubt, inspired me to want to create music.. In this arena, I actually feel like I have the ability to find my own voice, and the platform to find my own audience and on my own terms, and though I'd like to be paid for my music, I'm happy to know that people are listening and interested, whether they pay for it or not.
Thank you for reading..
mama said music can change the world..
April 03, 2009
THE INDIE STAR ADVENTURES (ISA: EP-1)
Vivian here with the first ep of The Indie Star Adventures..
So.. I got some Tribe filtering through my NEW speakers. Yeah, I had to go out and get some new speakers today. The ones I had were really compact and lightweight which is perfect for travel but had no bass.. You know you can't be rocking Tribe without the low end, right? I was on a Biggie rampage last week, trying to eek some low end out of them damn speakers, I just couldn't do it. So, I guess I'm gon' be that ghetto chick that always has too many bags, 'cause I gots to have me a bottle of Red Devil hot sauce, my giant ass speakers, hair grease, flat iron, too many pair of shoes, the kitchen sink, whatevs..
For real though, I forget sometimes how much I love Tribe and Biggie and then I put them on and it's like I discover this music all over again and I have to listen to every record. I just get in a zone.. but I had to give Tips Renainssance a rest, I have played that cd to death. Is it just me, or is that the dopest record out right now, still?? If not, please tell me what is 'cause I damn sho' need another record to play.. (and please don't holla at me about nan a record that aint banging' from start to finish, k?)
Ok .. So, I have been getting scolded left and right about my lackadaisical blogging.. Kevin, my girl Kat, even my boy Will.. I know.. I've been terrible, I'm gonna do better.. Promise.. I even got a new camcorder (do we still call them that?) and I'm gonna start a vlog.. Just let me get my i-movie skills together.
And now, here is the latest..
First up, the P!nk tour is going fabulously well, and that might be an understatement. So far every show has been sold out. Now, I don't wanna' give too much away , 'cause I want you all to come out and see the show, because honestly? This is the baddest show I have ever seen, much less been blessed enough to be a part of! And that is no lie, just the straight truth. If you weren't a P!nk fan before, you will absolutely be one after you see this show.. She puts all the other divas TO SHAME. First of all, the costumes are by Bob Mackie (Carol Burnett, Cher, and what a gentleman) and they are stunning and show off P!nk's fierce ass figure. The music is stellar and has something for everyone. The entire band is showcased, and we kick major ass every night, while P!nk sings her ass off. The dancers are beautiful, every single one of them.. so graceful and so talented. The lights, the movie screens and stage design are nothing short of spectacular, seriously.. The thing I hear the most from people, folks I know and strangers alike, is "I have to see it again, there was so much to see, I just couldn't choose one thing to look at".. Plus, I'm out here with Jenny, so you know.. we stay in trouble! Hahahaha. I should probably be calling this blog "The Adventures of the Shopaholics" (someone used that already, didn't they?) It was Jen's birthday last month so I treated her to a pair of Choo's. All of y'all better know what a Choo is (lol). I try to spoil her whenever I can,'cause she is my idol!
Honestly, we have our down days too. So far, everyone's been sick with a cold or the stomach flu. In fact I was patting myself on the back that I managed to escape unscathed, only to succumb last nite to the worst stomach flu I've had in a long time. Boy I went down hard. Let me tell you, it is not fun to have to perform when all you want to do is hug the toilet So there you have it, it's not all fun, games and glamour. All the travel can wear you down sometimes, but we have so much fun, and you couldn't pray for a more beautiful, or more fun group of people to be out here with.
Moving right along.. The new LP is shaping up nicely.. Now, I know this is probably going to be hilarious to some of you, but I can't decide what genre I want to do next so in typical Sagittarian form, I'm doing 2 records.. (haha). I know, I am crazy, but some days I wake up and feel like "˜This is the direction I want to go in", and then other days I wake up and feel like "No no no, THIS is the way to go.. so now you know, I'm indecisive sometimes, lol.. I'm even going so far as doing separate artwork and the whole nine. Hopefully, as I get closer to the release date I'll have a clue but until then, I'm just reveling in the music.
Chris is out here with me, (twice so far) recording, writing, brainstorming and getting in some quiet time ;-) Got a couple of photo shoots coming up, starting to get pics together for the artwork and what have you. Getting all my ducks in a row for the next release. There is a ton of stuff that has to happen to put a record out, even as an indie, and being the perfectionist that I am, that means double or triple the work for me, so you most definitely need an awesome team. Coming up in the next few blog I'll talk a little bit about the team we've put together so far, but in a nutshell, we have an excellent PR firm that did great work for us with the last record. Everywhere you saw us, they had a hand in it.
-Through our PR company, we met and had several meetings with a great marketing firm, so hopefully you'll hear us on the radio with this next record.
-An amazing graphic artist that I found on Myspace whose work is stunning. He'll be doing the artwork for the cd and revamping the website.
-Our attorney, who is an absolute Godsend and goes so far above and beyond what is usually asked of an attorney.
-We are signing on with a new internet PR company who comes highly recommended the folks over at CDBaby. We have a few other key players who are signing on to assist in various ways, as well. The only 2 missing, but very key pieces to this puzzle are a booking agent and/or a manager. Like most indie artists, these are the 2 most needed, yet hardest to fill positions in an artists career. Honestly, as an independent artist, if you have one, (either a manager or a booking agent) and they are really good, you usually don't need both. It would be great to find a good booking agent, but I feel like with all we've learned in the last 2 years, releasing and promoting our own music, we would do better to find a really good manager so my goal is to get someone on board before the year is out and hopefully, in time, for the release of the new record.
What are the things we want in a manager? -
Honesty has to be first, right? No brainer there.
-Ear to the ground, needs to know what's happening.
-Needs to get me, I want someone to see me and be like "Yep, I get it!æ (Is that too much to ask?)
-HUNGRY/driven, that one is important, I think.. Lots of get up and go.
-Charming/people person, natural schmoozer (that's a gift, not everyone can do it, I, for one cannot!).
-Has to have contacts and connections or know how to get them.
-Kind, if you have to talk to someone on a daily, that would be nice, plus I guess I'm kind of the sensitive artist type, lol..
-Patient/stick-to-itiveness 'cause I'm also kind of stupid sometimes, (sad but true), also comes in handy when it comes to waiting for answers, etc.
-Killer instinct, 'cause people always say that's a good thing to have in a manager but I want it to be known that I would only appreciate that trait if it's not directed at me, lol. (I felt like Woody Allen writing that).
-Funny, (I just threw that one in.. lol)).
Maybe attentiveness would be better? Funny goes a long way sometimes, though..
-Fair, also very important and although you wouldn't think it, it's not the same thing as honesty. HEY! This almost sounds like a list for a husband! I wonder if I could convince Chris to manage me? Pretty sure he'd never go for it. Then again, you know one of those people who does everything so damn good they can't never get nothing done? I'm just sayin'. So that probably wouldn't work no how..
Anyhoo, stay tuned for the next episode of the "Indie Star Adventures" to find out how the search goes..
And as always, drop us a line, anytime..
Peace & love,
Btw, music can change the world.
December 17, 2008
ALBRIGHT NEWS - GOODBYE TO 2008
I really have to stop letting so much time go by between updates but you know how it is, the Christmas tree, the presents, my birthday, yada yada.. So I haven't spoken to you guys since our new president got elected!! Is anybody going to DC for the Inauguration? Boy, I'm really thinking about it and trying to figure out how I can finagle my way in there. I'm talking tap dancing, singing for free, WHATEVER! Y'all feel me? Lol.. Seriously though, I cried, I laughed, I screamed and yelled!! I called everybody I could and tried to feel the love in the states through family & friends 'cause I was overseas and was so bummed to be missing this moment in US History!! What an amazing time to be black in America..
Anyhoo, Viv here with latest Albright news.. Gig Alert.. That's right, we are doing a show next Tuesday, December 23rd at 8pm (the day before Christmas Eve), AND it'll be our last show.. EVER.. so come out and hang with us next Tuesday at The Bitter End and find out what all the fuss is about! The Albright Farewell Christmas Show.. With very special guest ROGIERS, and hosted by K.Lamonte! Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at The Bitter End - 8pm 147 Bleecker Street (Bet'n LaGuardia & Thompson) New York NY 10012 212.673.7030 Price: $12.00 Featuring: Ainsley Taylor/drums, Sherrod Barnes/guitar, Bahnamous Bowie/keys, Mike Hammond/vox, Carlos Ricketts/vox, & of course Chris Parks on bass and Vivian Sessoms 9me ;)) on lead vocals..
It's Official.. I'm hard at work on my next release, actually, I'm about a third of the way through and working on the artwork and what have you.. Can't say when the release will be yet, 'cause you all know how these things go, everything's fine 'til you start trying to predict what's going to happen and then nothing you said would happen, does.. so I'll just keep you guys posted but things are looking good.
AND.. Chris is working on his own release too! The only thing we do know, is that his release will probably be ready before mine 'cause he's very close to being done. It will probably be a digital release only, with some remixes on vinyl (keeping it oldskool).. We'll def keep you posted on that as well. Also.. Chris is either in or about to go into the studio with Finnish pop artist Janita, Twilite Tone (Common), U-God (Wu-Tang), Ra Re Valverde, Sherrod Barnes (Roberta Flack, Whitney Houston), and Jeff Kashiwa (jazz artist).. so he's keeping busy. And.. I'm back on the P!nk tour in March so if you see us coming thru your town, hit me up on Myspace or Facebook and gimme a holla. Or sign up to our Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/viviansessoms) and follow my escapades on the P!nk tour.. There's so much other exciting stuff stuff going on, lots of which is still in the works, but of course, as soon as it's ready we'll hit you guys with it first, just like always!
Just wanna' take a minute to say an end of the year thank you to a few people who have been tremendously supportive to us this past year..
-Kevin Harewood of Edclectic Entertainment, who's basically been acting as a silent manager to both Chris and myself in the last year, and always has a minute to listen or help analyze what we could and should be doing..
-Our tireless attorney Brett Green, who advises us so well and truly fights the good fight on our behalf..
-Our PR person Katrina Boswell at Katwalk Media, who talks about us to absolutely anyone who will listen..
-Tom Paul, the one man information network and audiophile, for his wonderful support and for always helping us to get the word out..
-My sister Jenny, whom I adore and who literally carries our cd's around in her pocketbook and gives them to anyone she thinks will dig us..
-Joe Riley of Kitchen Sofa.Inc, who constantly advertises for us and shouts us out on his monthly blog - joelands 20 questions (which incidentally is funny as hell and is also chock full of great information, both useful and interesting.. check him out at www.kitchensofa.com)
-Kateria Niambi, who is both brilliant and a born PR person though she insists on wasting time doing everything but what she was born to do.. as a career, that is.. But is always there when we ask for or need her help..
-And to all of you.. for coming out, writing in, keeping up with us, and for supporting independent music.. we thank you!
This is going to be a crazy year in light of all that has taken place in these last few months with this economy, but let's hold onto one another and remember to reach out when we can, to whomever we can, and remind each other to keep our heads and keep our faith in tact.
Remember, we've elected the right man for the job..
Thank you for listening..
Merry Christmas Viv & Chris
November 01, 2008
SONG FOR A HEROINE..
I love you.. always, your little girl..
October 30, 2008
Happy Birthday Daddy.. I love you.
October 30, 2008
LOVE, MUSIC & POLITICS..
Love, Music & Politics. . Hey everybody.. Viv here with Albright updates.. So we're just getting warmed up on the P!nk promo tour! So far we've hit the UK (where I reconnected with my boy Julian Velard), Australia, Cananda, Germany, and Switzerland. We've done American Idol in Australia and the MTV awards in both the US & Australia. . This week the band will hit NY minus me though, as I am in Denmark doing shows with super talent and musical cohort Mads Baerentzen.. You might remember I did a short tour in Denmark with Mads last year around this time, and the year before, I was a guest on his cd 'The New York Project (http://cdbaby.com/cd/madsbaerentzen). We played to a packed house last night and the venue expects double the crowd tonight.. Not too shabby I dare say, but I do wonder where they'll put all the people ;-) Anyways, just wanna' fill you guys in on all that's new with Albright. We've got 5 or 6 shows planned for December, two of which will be in NY. Since these will be two of our only shows in the Big Apple this year we're gonna' have a contest so you can win tickets and some very cool prizes but first, we're gonna' test your Albright knowledge so you might wanna' poke around the site a little and hone in on your Chris & Viv factoids. We'll keep you posted on the contest. Honestly, I can't wait to come home and do a live show.. I miss you guys. In other news.. we had a song placed in a movie a while back. It took some time but the movie is finally set to be released this fall.. It's called Moonlight Serenade and features a song we wrote and produced for jazz artist Khani Cole. The song is called 'Things You Do', and you can find the track on Khani Cole's album, Lifetime (itunes, Amazon). The movie features jazz organist Joey Defrancesco in the lead role and is about a composer who, after having writers block comes up with a melody for a love song and ours is the song he composes. The song actually winds up being used as a musical theme throughout the film. We owe a big thanks to Mike Florio, Joey Defrancesco and Khani Cole for making this happen. Stop by Khani's site for a visit and say hi.. (http://www.khanicole.com) Next up, Albright in AMC movie theatres across the US.. So many of you have written to say you saw or heard us while you were at the movies these past few months.. Well, we'll be back in theatres starting in November but this time we'll be in 10,000 theatres across the US featuring a new song from our album called 'Dunno What'. Look for us and be sure to drop us a line if you hear our song, that's how we know where we're playing and who's listening.. Moving right along.. Your girl Viv is in the movies!! Yep, little ole' me.. But if you blink you will definitely miss me so, you know... don't blink, or move or anything! Hahaha.. I wrote about this a few weeks back but the release date is near so check me out in Cadillac Records this December, starring Beyonce Knowles, Alicia Keys, Gabrielle Union, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def (loves him!), Cedric the Entertainer & Adrian Brody. The part is really tiny but hey, I'm in excellent company. I think I kind of like this acting thing, lol. Also in the works, a solo record from Chris P, which if you know Chris will be some outerspaceness for ya! He describes it as hip hop meets electronica meets fusion, so.... um.. you know, you'll just have to wait to hear what that combination equals but I can guarantee ya', it'll be a stone gas! In addition to his solo project, Chris is working with DJ and hip hop producer Twilite Tone (Common), and fixin' to mix U-God of Wu Tangs next disc. He's working on a track with producer Robin Danar, who produced a great album last year called Altered State and is also recording with Finish soul/pop artist Janita. I don't know how he keeps it all straight but go on Chris, go 'head, git' down! Last but not least, Albright has 2 new homes on the net.. the first one, Twitter (http://twitter.com/viviansessoms) is a cool place where you can subscribe to our feed and get up to the minute Albright blurbs about where we are, what's new and how the new record is coming (did I say that? 4 songs in.. shhhh ...) You'll definitely wanna' follow along over the next few months, there are lots of changes happening as we prepare to take over the world! And don't forget our other new home is on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/ALBRIGHT-feat-Vivian-Sessoms/29486263741). I have to admit, at first I didn't know what all the fuss was about. It's just another myspace or so I thought, but noooo ... it's so much more and I'm really digging it, hopefully you will too, so stop on byyy, you know you're welcome ;-) Well I think that' s about all the news fit to print, I guess we'll see you on the other side of the election, fingers crossed, prayers sent up.. Everything's in motion now.. Darlings, please don't forget to vote! I voted early for the first time in my life this week. Still time to make a last minute donation (http://my.barackobama.com/page/outreach/view/main/viv). Remember, music, art, film, books or anyone with a voice or a pen can change the world. Thank you for your love & support Albright aka Viv & Chris
September 19, 2008
SHOW ALERT & ALBRIGHT NEWS
Hello, hello, hello beautiful people! Vivian of Albright here.. It's been such a long time, I know, and for that I am truly sorry. To make up for it I have lots of news which should bring you all up to speed.. LATEST TOUR INFO - First off, I just finished up an incredible tour with the legendary Joe Cocker who co-headlined with the Steve Miller band. It was a truly amazing experience watching Joe every night, just thrilling, especially when we played Woodstock. The town of Woodstock just opened up an interactive museum in which Joe features prominently. The museum had video clips and interviews of people who were at the original Woodstock, clips of the performances, original posters, news paper articles and reviews. Still, the highlight of the entire tour was hearing Joe sing By With A Little Help From My Friends every night. In between the Joe Cocker tour, I managed to squeeze in a few gigs with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti as well as Patti Labelle on the CBS early show, who looked and sounded absolutely flawless at 5 am in the morning!
Chris has picked up the acoustic bass and been backing Deborah Cox since the spring, who by the way, is as lovely in person as you can imagine. I went straight from Joe Cocker back to rehearse with P!nk who is gearing up to release her new cd this fall, so if you see us in your town be sure to come check us out!
LATEST SUNNY ONE DAY INFO - In other news, Sunny One Day is now being distributed by Select-O-Hits here in the states, thanks to our friend and marketing person Kevin Harewood of Edclectic Entertainment. We're also being distributed in Japan by P-Vine Records so hopefully you should be able to find us in bigger stores over the next few months, if not, just ask for the cd and the store will order it. Stay tuned for details on distribution in the UK! Lastly, check out new reviews up in the press section of our website and a brand new interview with Tom Paul over at our favorite internet hangout, SOUL TRACKS..
http://www.soultracks.com/story-tp-albright ALBRIGHT ON THE RADIO! - We just got a lot of station adds across the country. If you want to know where, go to the news section of our site where I will post a list of stations playing us in a bit. You can also hear us in AMC Movie Theatres and Subway Sandwich Shops where our second single In Between Worlds is being played, along with a short bio on Albright.
LATEST SHOW INFO - We have shows in the works in LA, Mass, Tenn and DC and we're planning a live taping for a dvd release next year. Got a lot of good stuff planned in upcoming months and we'll keep you posted on all the details but for now,
BE SURE TO CHECK ALBRIGHT OUT THIS SATURDAY along with SHAE FIOL & REEL PEOPLE at:
Nu Soul Saturday's/Frank's Lounge Time - 9pm Cover - $10.00
660 Fulton St, Bklyn NY, 12217 (718) 625-9339
Hope To See You There!! 'Til then take care, thanks for listening and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!! http://my.barackobama.com/page/outreach/view/main/viv
August 31, 2008
SUNNY ONE DAY ON SALE NOW!! $6.99!!
NOW FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!
Get your copy of 'Sunny One Day' for just $6.99!!
That's right, for JUST $6.99 you can get 'Sunny One Day' as part of an experimental promotion which we'd like you to be a part of..
August 28, 2008
THOUGHTS ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
Dear friends & family.. It's not often in one's lifetime that we get to witness a political campaign that inspires, that empowers, that has been inclusive of so many, as the one we are witnessing now. Perhaps that's because it's rare that a candidate comes along that we as a people feel we can believe in wholeheartedly. A candidate that we believe will do exactly as he says, says exactly what he means, and whose intellect, compassion and sincerity resonate with so many of us. Though I know there have been many, in my lifetime, I have only seen two such candidates. I watched when Jimmy Carter came into office and even though I wasn't old enough to vote or to even fully understand the true merit of a President like Jimmy Carter, I understood through numerous family discussions and their subsequent reaction to his winning that it was an important time in the world. I only began to understand much later the kinds of changes that Jimmy Carter was able to implement in this country economically, environmentally and diplomatically. Later on, I came of voting age during Bill Clinton's campaign and was so thrilled to be able to vote for a candidate that I actually believed in! One who's brilliance, generosity of spirit and love for the people of this country was palpable and heartwarming. What's striking about this to me now, is that I had already become jaded enough to be prepared not to believe in any candidate. After President Clinton's departure from office, I am saddened to say that I personally became so disinterested, then disgusted with, and finally, completely without hope in the democratic process. In the last 8 years I have witnessed things within the current administration that have made me feel angry, ashamed, disheartened and incredulous. More importantly, I'd begun to feel disenfranchised enough to wonder if perhaps my vote didn't even matter. And then out of nowhere came a breath of fresh air.. a ray of light.. a sliver of hope.. and his name was Barack Obama.. After witnessing atrocities like 9/11, the aftermath of Katrina and the Iraqi war, I think we can all understand what it means to begin to have a sense of hope again. I, like so many of you, have found Barack to be a voice of reason, a voice that has reminded us that the political process IS OURS to shape as we will. A voice that has encouraged and inspired me to remember that my vote is important, that I CAN make a difference and that we can stop this madness that the Republican party has unleashed on each and everyone of us! Now, once again I have the feeling of important changes taking place within our nation and of being a part of something bigger. I have that feeling of bearing witness to that rarest of things.. a campaign headed by a candidate who not only restores my faith in the political process, but who makes me feel as though HE believes in AND understands the power of that process. A process, he reminds us, that each of us has the right to be a part of. Here, at last, is a candidate who makes me want to get up, go out and find others who will join me in making our overwhelming need for change a reality. Barack Obama has proven he is committed to changing the political process by building a campaign founded on a broad base of support from ordinary Americans like ourselves. For Barack this campaign is NOT about winning the "prize" (as stated by Senator McCain), but instead about putting the people's interests ahead of the special interests, and to do that, Barack needs help from people like us. In light of all this, I decided I needed to do something, to get involved somehow, so I've started a fund raising page on the Barack Obama website. I've set my own personal fund raising goal for the campaign, which you will see when you visit the page. Will you click the thermometer to make a donation and help us reach our goal? I have no doubt that many of you have more than likely already contributed to the Obama campaign, but if you haven't or even if you have, let us put our money where our mouths are and not just watch this historical time in politics but be an active part of it as well.
If we want to see change, why not let that change start with us..
Please give what you can.
Go to: http://my.barackobama.com/page/outreach/view/main/viv
Thank you for listening,
Vivian Sessoms for Barack Obama
June 10, 2008
Hey gang, Long time no speak! Hope you all are enjoying the summer so far, or at least keeping cool in this heat. Just a couple news flashes.. First, be sure to catch Vivian, Jenny Douglas McRae and Keith Fluitt backing up the incomparable Patti Labelle on the CBS Morning show this Thursday, June 12th. Check your guide for the time.. On Friday night catch Vivian & Chris up at Billie's Black in Harlem doing a tribute to his purple badness, Prince. We will also be ringing the champagne glasses for our boy (and beloved bass player) Carlos Henderson, and we gon' PARTY LIKE IT'S 1999!! Don't miss it! Friday, June 13th Billie's Black 271 West 119th Street (Bet'n Fredrick Douglass & St. Nicholas Blvd.) 7:30 pm $5.00 cover (per set) $15.00 minimum at tables (Great Food!) Then catch Vivian back on the summer tour with the legendary JOE COCKER, check your Timeout listings for ticket info. Last but not least, check us out in the spring issue of UPTOWN MAGAZINE.. Have a great summer everybody, see you in the fall.. Viv & Chris
May 21, 2008
THE TRUMUSIC PRESENTS ROSALYN MCCLORE TONITE..
The TRUMUSIC Series is proud to present the fabulous Miss Rosalyn McClore performing tonite at: Rockwood Music Hall - 6pm 196 Allen Street (Bet'n Houston & Stanton) NY NY, 10002 (No Cover) Wednesday, May 21st Born in Memphis, Tennessee , Rosalyn grew up playing gospel music in church every Sunday starting at the age of 13. Formal instruction began at age seven, "My parents were constantly seeking out more challenging learning environments for me." By the time Rosalyn reached Memphis State University, she had discovered a deep love for jazz. In addition to studying with a classical instructor as well as a jazz instructor, Rosalyn studied privately with the great jazz pianists, Phinneaus Newborne Jr, and Mulgrew Miller. "It was then that I started listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Nancy Wilson". This is where Rosalyn developed a love for cabaret style singing and performing. Since moving to NY Rosalyn has performed for Sting, Micheal Jordan, Martha Stewart, the Kennedy family, and Ron Perelman. In addition she has also performed at Helen's Hideaway Lounge and other major venues in NY where she has received stellar reviews. John Hoglund of Backstage Magazine has said "After spotting exciting newcomer Rosalyn McClore at this years' Cabaret Convention, I felt compelled to see more. From her two numbers on stage at Lincoln Center, it was obvious she knew her way around a hot keyboard and a song. Her show, featuring the songs of Stephen Sondheim and Nina Simone and backed by a three-piece band, proved a serious step towards gaining recognition. She is sassy, dramatic, sensual, and fully committed to her material. And not only can she sing well, she can interpret with style and bring new meaning to familiar tunes. - Nov 2005 You don't wanna miss this show.. See you there.
March 28, 2008
VIVIAN SESSOMS PRESENTS
THE TRUMUSIC SERIES FEATURING JENNY DOUGLAS MCRAE & CHEVY
Dear Albright Family, Having been in the music business for many years, the stage had been set perfectly for the release of Vivian Sessoms and Chris Parks cd Sunny One Day. Owning & operating their own label baby Buddha Records has required the two to learn to be many things including producer, manager, accountant, etc.. But here's a little something you didn't know about Vivian Sessoms, she's also a promoter.. A few years back she was hired by the owners of The Village Underground to bring soul and R&B artists into the club, and she loved it! It gave Vivian the opportunity to share with other artists, musicians & friends the wonderful artistry she was discovering along the way. During her time there she booked artists as diverse as Roberta Flack, Lalah Hathaway & Patti Austin to Heavy, Sara Divine, and Abby Dobson to name a few. The state of the music business being what it is these days, you will hear many say the music business is dying, but for for those of us with the independent & entrepreneurial spirit, we know it is being reborn at this exact moment in time. If you need proof then make sure to be at The Bitter End this Tuesday evening for the premiere of Vivian's TRUMUSIC SERIES. The TRUMUSIC SERIES is a series of shows that Vivian will promote over the next few years showcasing music and artists that Vivian both admires and wants to support. The series is meant to focus on the truth and beauty in music, the uniting & healing powers and the ministry & magic of music. The artists featured are ones that Vivian feels get to the heart & truth of music. The first artists to be presented are the magnificent JENNY DOUGLAS McRAE, and incredible CHEVY bringing their own brands of funky ass rock & roll to the scene. Tuesday April 1st The Bitter End 147 Bleecker Street NY. NY 10012 7pm $6.00 Jenny Douglas McRae has worked with everyone under the sun from Janet to Cher, to Tina to P!nk to everyone in between. She has written for Lalah Hathaway as well as Vivian, she's acted on and off Broadway and is an all around brilliant talent and beautiful person as you will see for yourself on Tuesday as she hypnotizes you with her song. Chevy, built to last and here to stay, is the new comer on the scene and is making her debut on Tuesday evening. For those of you who don't know, Chevy has worked with Chaka Khan, Beyonce, Mary J Blige & Faith Evans and is about to shine in her own light.. You don't wanna miss it. We hope to see you on Tuesday, & please stay tuned for more info on the TRUMUSIC SERIES.
Thank you for supporting independent music because...music really can change the world..
March 13, 2008
GIG ALERT/ PHILLY IN STORE
Hey Everybody, Viv here with a quick reminder.. This Saturday, March 15th at 3pm, we'll be doing the In-Store for Sound of Market Records in Philly. Tell your friends in Philly to drop by and hang with us.. Sound of Market 15 South 11th Street 2nd Floor Phila PA, 19107 Also, on Tuesday, March 18th at 7pm, Chris and I will be doing an acoustic set at:
Rockwood Music Hall
196 Allen Street (bet'n. Houston & Stanton) NY NY, 10002
See you there,
February 27, 2008
PRINCE TRIBUTE/THE TRUTH..
Hey everybody ;-) Viv with a quick update of upcoming ALBRIGHT events in March. This is gonna be a packed month starting with this weekend, when James 'Biscuit' Rouse (Drummer/Vocalist/Producer) and myself will do a PRINCE tribute at: Solomons Porch Cafe 307 Stuyvesant Avenue Brooklyn NY, 11233 Saturday, March 1st 8pm (2 sets) $10.00 featuring: Stan Davis Jr. on Guitar/Keys & Carlos Henderson on Bass Then on Saturday, March 15th at 3pm, we've rescehduled the In-Store for Sound of Market record store in Philly. Tell all your friends in Philly to come check us out.. Sound of Market 15 South 11th Street 2nd Floor Phila PA, 19107 On Tuesday, March 18th at 7pm, Chris and I will do an acoustic set at: Rockwood Music Hall 196 Allen Street (bet'n. Houston & Stanton) NY NY, 10002 On Thursday, March 20th at 7pm, I will be on WBAI radio as part of an independent artist's panel which will also inlcude the wonderful Cheryl 'Pepsii' Riley, Nicole Shelly of Blackbushe and Maya Azucena to discuss the state of independent music. Hosted by Basir Mchawi, be sure to tune in.. On Friday evening, March 21st, I'll be doing a jazz hit with a whole cast of characters at: Ruthie Mae's Restaurant 90 West Palisade Avenue Englewood NJ, 07631 Then finally, to wrap it all up Chris and I will do our last acoustic set of the month with David Keaton & the Organix Soul crew up in Springfield Mass at the:
Holiday Inn/ Panorama Restaurant
711 Dwight Street Springfield Mass, 01104
Lot of good music going on this month, hope you can make it out to see some..
Peace & love thanks for reading,
February 22, 2008
ALBRIGHT IN-STORE POSTPONED..
Hey Everybody, Viv here with an update on tomorrows In-Store at Sound of Market Record Store in Philly. Due to the inclement weather the In-Store has been postponed but I will let you all know as soon as it's rescheduled so hang tight! Looks like we were gonna see a lot of familiar faces tomorrow too, by the looks of the e-mails Chris & I were getting so be on the the lookout for a new date in the next week or 2.
'Til then stay warm & be happy..
February 21, 2008
ALBRIGHT DOING AN IN-STORE IN PHILLY..
Hey everybody, Hope you're all well and keeping warm. It's Viv here, with a bit of Albright news.. We're doing our very first in store with a live acoustic performance by Chris and myself: This Saturday, Feb. 23rd, 2008 Time: 3pm Place: Sound of Market Record Store 15 South 11th Street, 2nd Fl. Philadelphia Pa, 19107 Phone: (215) 925-3150 For those of you who don't know, I grew up in Philly for part of my childhood. My dad was from Philly and my granparents are still there. So to all my Philly people come out and hang with us and bring a friend. We'll be signing cd's after the performance so stick around and say hello.. We've got a lot of exciting stuff coming up this year, too much to tell you all about it now, but for a quick bit of news, Chris and I will be doing 2 acoustic sets, one at Rockwood Music Hall & the other at Organix Soul (Springfield, Mass) next month.. Also, I'll be promoting a couple shows this year as well, starting with Jenny Douglas McRae/ & Chevis Packer at the Bitter End in March. You all do not wanna miss this show so stay tuned for more info.
'Til then be well, and see you soon..
February 10, 2008
AN OPEN LETTER TO..
Dear Lauren & D.. I just gotta ask..... Where are you? Do you know we miss you both? Do you know we are all here waiting patiently for the 2 of you to return and grace us with your presence? Your artistry? Do you know how much you are loved, honored, and adored by the rest of us? Lauren.. We've all heard the stories.. We know it's hard living your life out in the open for all the world to see and sometimes judge, but I promise you, the people that judge you are not your real fans or at least not your best fans. We know you had unpleasant dramas with your former co-producers and writers but did you know... we don't care? Do you know how many of us don't give a damn if you didn't write a fucking word on 'Miseducation' because the bottom line is NOBODY could sing those songs like you do? And I'm not even saying you didn't write those songs, I'm just saying most of us don't care! Because your voice, your presentation, YOU are such a magnificent talent, you could sing tha' damn phonebook and I'd still be first in line to buy it! I still listen to 'Miseducation' and your 'MTV Unplugged' cd's today and I still love them every bit as much today as I did when I first heard them. I remember the first time I heard 'Lost Ones', I was in a store in Greenwhich Village in New York. I was in a fitting room trying on clothes, that song came on and I was like 'OH SHIT!' I came out of the fitting room and started dancing.. (I put my clothes back on 1st, haha) When that song went off I walked right over to Tower Records to find out when the album would be released and if the single was available. That was back in the day when you could still buy a cd single and if it wasn't out yet you'd wait patiently for the song to come on the radio. I remember how people used to talk about 'Miseducation' being groundbreaking and innovative and fresh, and it was, it was all that and more. People were comparing it to Bob Marley and the Beatles. Maybe there have been other personal dramas in your life, demons you've had to put to rest.. We all understand the need for private time and a personal life but PLEASE don't let whatever those issues are make you stay away from us forever. We need your thoughts, your ideas and your emotion, we need that voice. We need you.. ..And what about you D? How much longer do we have to wait for the next one? We all know you recorded about 10 albums worth of material when you did 'Voodoo'. Can't we just get an EP? A single leaked to the internet?? Somethin'? I've just about played the words of 'Brown Sugar' and 'Voodoo'. You know you single handedly changed the the sound of R&B music in the nineties, don't you? There are many others that have done great things in music but you are one of the few that gave us a brand new sound.. New for us anyways.. Let's see... before you, there was Scott Joplin, Little Richard (or) Chuck Berry (don't know which of the 2 of them is credited with bringing rock and roll to the world), Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gilespie, Bob Marley, Teddy Riley and you.. Now there were many other folks who came before you.. Sly Stone, Jimi Hendryx, Miles Davis, Ella & Sarah, Duke, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Michael, Stevie, Curtis, Marvin, Al, Earth Wind & Fire, and on & on, not to mention Ludwig Von Beethoven, as black artists who have been groundbreaking and forward thinking but there are only a few that we can truly say started a genre or had a musical term coined after their music.. You are one of the few.. One of the things that makes you different is that you openly admit you've studied and learned from the masters and freely share with us who our masters are and who we should be listening to, if we didn't already know.... Sadly, some of us didn't. You encouraged us to go back and listen and learn by sharing the adventures of the 'Soulquarians'. Didn't we all wanna be up in those sessions? Up in tha' house that Jimi Hendryx built, watching videos of Curtis and Sly, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Donny & Prince, smoking a joint, having a lil' taste of Jesus juice and then jamming for 'bout 8 or 9 hours straight.. You know what I'm sayin'? Sometimes an artist comes along and makes everybody that isn't black want to be black so badly, if only for a time, just to have that real true black experience of our music , our culture, and being a part of something so soulful... so smoky... so earthy...and beautiful... that when that artist sings their song, black people everywhere look at everybody else with that knowing look in their eyes, their heads cocked to the side like 'we have a secret and the secret is, yeah...it's good to be us, you heard that song, you heard what he said, you seen the video, that's what we look like, that's what we do when we party, that represents us and we know you wanna be us!' 'Brown Sugar' is still one of those songs that if you hear it in the club or at a house party, when it starts with tha' 'ba-down ba-down'.. er'body in tha' room gets a crick in they neck (yeah I said 'they',) a hump in they back, arms go up in the air and asses gits up off tha' chair... 'uh uh uh uhhh, oooh wa oooh wa oooooh, clack' you put that song on and even the most unfunky, unsoulful mofo's in tha world become instantly cool as they get transported to the scene of Marvin Gayes 'I Want You' album cover or the 'Got 'Til It's Gone' video by Ms. Janet.. I've only run up to the front of the stage for 2 concerts in my ENtar life.. One was for Al green (there is a hilarious story that goes along with that ep) and yours.. I was at your show with my boyfriend and it was understood that even though HE bought the tickets and I was there with HIM, HE WOULD have to get over it 'cuase I WAS going up to the front of the stage and would kick another bitches ass (I'm usually very loving to my sisters) if she ain't (that's right I said ain't ) move over! We've been hearing for a couple years now that there's an album in the works.. We hope to God that's true.. That would make my year for music! Last week I was checking out the October edition of Vibe magazine with Chris Brown on it's cover. Lot of good stories in there but one that really caught me was the story on the rise and fall of the Debarge family, a most beloved first family of r&b music. It was a tragic story of fame and drugs followed by a fall from grace, & behind that, an extremely abusive father, a passive mother, lawsuits, prison, death AND underneath all of that...a most beautiful legacy of music that the survivors in the family struggle to keep alive. Don't be that D, please, we beg of you... don't ever be that.. Don't be that star who shined so brightly and then burned out too quickly leaving us all here with crushing memories of what you could have been, should have been... Black people live that reality all too often. Our Icons give us hope, someone to look up to, something to strive for.. Especially the musical ones because you give us a song to sing and to put in our hearts, a soundtrack to live our lives to...
happy birthday D..
WE love and miss you both
February 03, 2008
TO YOU.. dear grandmom,
the first blog i ever posted was in honor of you.
all that i am is all because of you.
happy birthday my love..
December 24, 2007
CHRISTMAS WISHES.. I want to take a few moments to thank everyone for coming out and celebrating my birthday with me last Wednesday. We had an awesome time and it was an incredible evening, made even more special by our guests Africa Miranda & TL Cross. Friends I haven't seen in years came by to say happy birthday, and our publicist Katrina surprised me on stage with a beautiful cake! It had my picture on it! How did she do that? lol.. We have lots of pictures from the evening so take a look in the photo and journal sections when you get a chance. More importantly though, I want to thank all of you for your wonderful support throughout the year. We've gotten lots of emails from family, old friends & new friends about the cd and we appreciate all the love you guys have shown us these past months. All in all, it's been a crazy year, but I wouldn't trade one minute of it. We've met many incredible people, did things we only dreamed were possible and got to do the thing we love best, make music we believe in. I can't wait to see what the new year will bring and of course we hope you all will be sharing it with us. From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I gotta go tend to my greens now, ;-)
Peace, blessings & love
Vivian & Chris
December 21, 2007
INTERVIEW ON CAMDEN COMMUNITY RADIO
Check an interview with host Wayne Boucaud of Camden Community Radio and Chris & Vivian, as they talk about the making of Sunny One Day, their respective careers and all things Albright. Shout out to Wayne & the CC Radio Family. Wayne was so awesome to talk to, he put us right at ease and we had such a good time, we stayed in the pub talking for hours after the interview! Click the link below for the stream,
December 21, 2007
Hello all, I just wanted to post something on a movie I watched today and was so moved by. If you have a chance, please watch it or buy it (available on dvd January 2008).
SAND AND SORROW
Darfur, Sudan Offered exclusive and unparalleled access to the situation on the ground inside Darfur, Peabody award-winning filmmaker, Paul Freedman ("Rwanda - Do Scars Ever Fade?"), joins a contingent of African Union peacekeeping forces in Darfur while a tragic and disturbing chapter in human history unfolds. While the heroic men and women of this undermanned and under-funded mission brave harsh conditions and unfettered violence, as many as 2.5 million displaced persons have no choice but to settle inside squalid camps to wait and hope. (An estimated four-hundred thousand civilians have perished so far.)
The Documentary While analyzing the historical events that have given rise to an Arab-dominated government's willingness to kill and displace its own indigenous African people, "Sand and Sorrow" also examines the international community's "legacy of failure" to respond to such profound crimes against humanity in the past. But while immersed in the despairing crisis of our time, Freedman manages to give voice to the ever-growing and inspiring movement of those who wish to make "Never Again" finally mean something.
John Prendergast, Samantha Power, and New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, lead the viewer through burgeoning refugee camps along the Chad-Sudan border, past mass graves inside Darfur itself, and into offices of the United States Senate to plead on behalf of the innocents of Darfur. This impassioned trio inspires a growing and vocal advocacy movement that extends from rural high schools to big time college campuses, all the way to the halls of power in the US and beyond. Freedman's camera is there to capture the heroic struggle between politics and humanity.
Addis Ababa, Khartoum, New York, Londonâ€”Freedman's subjects are as varied as his stunning locations. Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, U.S. Senators Barak Obama and Sam Brownback, Sudan scholars Alex de Waal and Gerard Prunier, and rebel leader Minni Minawi, provide powerful and touching insight into the conflict. Exclusive, behind-the-scenes coverage of the historic, but failed Darfur peace signing in Abuja, Nigeria, and the inspiring rally on the Washington Mall, confront the viewer with the power of hope and the face of evil.
As Freedman ventures deep inside the vast and violent Internally Displaced Persons camps of Darfur, he comes face to face with the collective sorrow of a people devastated by others' political unwillingness and shameful indifference. These people have joined the growing spectral chorus of others who waited for help in genocides pastâ€”help that we know may never come.
December 11, 2007
HAPPY HOLIDAYS Hey Everybody, Hope this holiday season finds you all happy and in the Christmas spirit. Just a little note to share some news with you. We are FINALLY having the official release party for Sunny One Day! Now I know we had a couple listening parties and shows but no, this is it.. so come out and hang with us, as we celebrate the release of our cd and.... my birthday Place: Cielo Club Date: Next Wednesday, December 19th Address: 18 Little West 12th Street New York NY, 10014 Door: $10.00 Time: 8pm With special guests TL Cross, Africa Miranda (winner of the Grammy/ Justin Timberlake contest), and Louie Vega & The Roots crew spinning afterward. Of course there will be lots of shenanigans going on that evening and we hope to see you there. On another note, if you get a chance, check us out in the January edition of Ebony Magazine at the link below. That's all for now, stay warm and see you soon..
The first time I heard Albright's Sunny One Day, I was literally blown away. The first track, Dunno What grabbed me and would not let go. The music of Vivian Sessoms and Chris Parks is splendid from top to bottom and if you're a lover of great music, it is recommended that you get a copy of this CD as soon as you read this article. Representing Harlem, New York, Vivian has worked (live or in studio) with a plethora of talent that includes Michael Jackson, Diddy, Sinead O'Connor, and Stevie Wonder. Her skills have taken her all over the world and with the release of Sunny One Day, this is only the beginning of what's to come from this intelligent young lady. SOBO recently had the chance to talk to Vivian where she discussed her musical family, her love of James Brown, and her partnership with Parks.
CW: Vivian, when did you discover your gift of music?
VS: Both of my parents are musicians and I have a lot of musicians in my family as well. I don't know if I really discovered it but I know that I've always loved to sing and we always sung around the house. It was very normal for us every weekend to have people over playing music. My father was a percussionist and he was a very talented self-taught musician. My mother and my grandmother were both singers and I was always singing. In all honesty, that's really how it was.
CW: So I take it that your exposure to music was very vast, right?
VS: I grew up around a lot of jazz musicians because both of my parents were in the music industry. I think I was always in love with Rufus, Donna Summer, and Natalie Cole. When I saw Natalie Cole, she was singing Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds, and I felt like I wanted to do that. However, in my house we listened to everything! My mother listened to Elton John, Electric Light Orchestra, and Chicago and all of that influenced me.
CW: Did you attend any special training to enhance your talents? Yes I did. I took piano for many years and I had a classical voice teacher as well. When I went to college it wasn't for music because at that point I didn't think that I would be doing music.
CW: According to your bio, your father played with James Brown, am I correct?
VS: That's correct. He did play with James Brown for a time.
CW: Did you ever get to see the Godfather of Soul in action?
VS: Let me tell you something, if you really wanna talk about who influenced me then you can say James Brown! People in my family can attest to this because I was absolutely, positively obsessed with James Brown. I've seen him maybe a hundred times. This was before, during, and after my father played with him because I was always mesmerized by James Brown. When I learned to read and I could see James Brown's name on the Apollo marquee, my mother knew she better have some tickets! It was like that!
CW: James Brown is a genius, Vivian. He's the man.
VS: I do believe that he is a genius. He is the founder and innovator of what a lot of artists do today.
CW: Tell me about your experience working with Ryuichi Sakamoto.
VS: That was a great learning experience for me. It wasn't my first tour, but it was a different kind of tour because I would be touring all over Asia and I had never been there before. It required me to sing songs in Japanese and theoretically I had to do things in music that I had never done. It was challenging for me and I was with other musicians on that tour that I really didn't know. However, being around all those great musicians taught me a lot about music and presentation. Since I didn't go to school for music it was an exciting time for me.
CW: Did you find it difficult learning how to sing in Japanese?
VS: Not so much because I did it kind of phonetically. Sakamoto taught it to me and sounded it out for me and it wasn't difficult at all. Since then I've sung in Russian, German, Italian, and Spanish to name a few.
CW: So how did Albright come together?
VS: Albright is my grandmother's maiden name and I named the group as a tribute to her. She believed in me and always supported me and she was my ace in the hole. Chris Parks and I came together through mutual friends. He was producing a record and I was one of the guest vocalists. Afterwards, we struck up a friendship and continued to work together the next couple of years and one day, I told him that I wanted to do an album because I liked the work that he did. At the time I was more on a rock thing and I had only heard him do R&B and jazz. We had a meeting, he played me a lot of stuff, and we started writing.
CW: Sunny One Day is one of those records in which you can't skip songs because everyone of them is so good.
VS: That is so sweet. Thank you very much for that. Chris and I did what we felt and it's nice to hear people say that they like it.
CW: My favorite track is Love Can Turn You Around, which I think is so beautiful. What inspired this song?
VS: To be honest, I tell people that I wrote that song for Chris but that's not actually true. There are some songs on here that I wrote many years ago and that was one of them. I have always loved that track and just never let it go, but after we started dating, I pulled it out and kind of revamped it with him in my mind.
CW: People write in all the time and say that's their favorite song! What can we expect from Albright in the future?
VS: You can expect many things. I have a lot of surprises up my sleeve and that's the brunt of what I'm gonna say right now! Always look to be surprised!
CW: Vivian, thank you for speaking to us here at SOBO. We wish you and Chris much success with Sunny One Day and will look forward to what you have to offer in the future.
VS: Thank you so much and I appreciate talking to you. Thank you for your compliments and much love to you and your wife and SOBO Magazine.
November 28, 2007
CD PARTY UPDATE.. Hello my people! ...And Happy Holidays to you. Viv & Chris here with Albright news.. Do you really need more news after the novel I sent you guys last month? Probably not (lol), but since many of you have been writing to ask, I realize that I have been remiss in not letting you all know that our CD Release Party has been postponed, but only for a few weeks. The new date is Wednesday, December 19th which incidentally is my birthday, so you know it's gon' be on and poppin'! For those of you that don't know what that means... It'll be a blast! The party will take place at Cielo Club on West 12th Street (meat packing district), and Louie Vega will be spinning after our show so, um yeah, it will be poppin'. Anyhoo, that's all for now, oh.. and by the way, check out our latest review in Billboard. http://ats.viviansessoms.com/press.html
See you soon..
mama said music can change the world.
November 02, 2007
NEWS FROM ALBRIGHT..
Hello, Hello, Hello to one and all! Hope this holiday season finds you well and ringing in the festivities nicely. I know it's early but I always think of the holiday season as starting with Halloween and moving right on up through my mom & dads b'day's & Thanksgiving to Xmas, maybe 'cause I'm a Christmas baby ;-)..
By the way, it's my mami up above.. (so beautiful). Before I go any further, I'd really like to share something with you guys.. This has been an incredible year for both Chris and myself with the release of the cd, among other things. There have been many ups and honestly there have been a few downs too.. Times when we wondered if we were crazy to attempt releasing our own cd.. We've had to learn an incredible amount in a very short time, we've met some really wonderful and caring people along the way, made some blunders, learned how to step up our game and why we even needed to do that, and kept up a continuous hustle and flow the whole time. All the while, we've been aided, abetted and supported by some of the most talented and creative people within our industry, some of whom have dedicated themselves specifically to the Soul Music genre and scene.
- We've had the chance to work with Chris Rizik of Soul Tracks who has been nothing short of spectacular and extremely supportive to us throughout the release of our cd..
- We met the lovely ladies of ONUTSS, Pam & Detrel, who hosted a listening party for us as well as the ever so talented JUA..
- We had the opportunity to be interviewed and reviewed by Chris Whaley of SOBO Magazine, who is also so supportive and just all around good people..
- We met Kevin Harewood, who, among other things, does a monthly newsletter called the ORANGE SOUL SHEET which is distributed amongst the 1000's of retailers across the US discussing all the new music being released each month, and what store owners should be on the lookout for..
- There's Teddy Crockett, manager of Alison Crockett, Black-I, Nick Rolphe and HEAvy, who has so generously shared his circle of friends and opened so many doors for us.
- In London, we met Tunji Adebowale who just worked miracles for us, also Greg aka Son Of Soul and, Dave W, all 3, just great guys, from STARPOINT RADIO who have been giving the cd a lot of love.
- There's Katrina Boswell and Kateria Niambi who have been working their publicity magic on our behalf.
- There's also Alex Vitoulis, Christina Tunzi & the rest of the crew over at Billboard Magazine, who had us as guests on their show.
- Derek, Michelle & all the guys at CDBaby who are always so wonderful and supportive no matter how many silly questions we ask.
- All our family over at the Village Underground, and our buddy Marshall, whom we love dearly, and a whole host of other folks really just too numerous to mention. I say all this to say that the music industry has changed in the past few years, and for the absolute better where independent music is concerned. The people I mention above are just a few of the people who are helping to implement these changes and I, like hundreds of other indie artists, are indebted to these folks and others like them for supporting and believing in this music, and the artists that create it. I know a lot of you may not have heard of all these people but we want to say Thank You to all those who have shown us so much love and support over the past year and have had a hand in helping us to get our music heard. We are, and will always be forever grateful.. Now for the latest.. Lots & lots of news starting with this..
- I just wrapped up an amazing 3 week tour in Denmark with the Mads Baerentzen trio where we performed songs from the cd, The New York Project, which we recorded together in 2005 (I'm on 4 tracks) and was released last year. If you don't have it be sure to pick it up on CDBaby, as it really is a beautiful cd. Every show was sold out and the tour extremely well, so well in fact, that I've been invited back to do some festivals next summer and Mads' record company has asked that we do an entire cd together. We will probably begin recording that next year as well. After Denmark, Chris & I met up in ye' olde London Towne, where we've been promoting the cd, networking and catching up with friends, and you know, just making merry (Halloween, b;day parties, etc) -Chris and I did a taping of our first single, Dunno' What, along with an interview for Billboard Underground (Billboard Magazine) last month, and it just went up on their site a couple of days ago, so do go and check it out: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1126070790/bctid1258399777
- We've been nominated for a Soul Tracks Award, we're also #2 in the Soul Tracks Top 10 CD's of the month and we're number 5 in the Soul Tracks popularity index. http://soultracks.com
- We have a few new reviews from Echoes Magazine (UK), Black Men Magazine, Dusty Groove America, & Soul Brother Records which you can check out here:
We are getting played by the following radio & internet stations: Kazi Fm 88.7 (Austin) Starpoint Radio Camden Community Radio Afternoon Groove Radio The Unsigned Artist Show Project Vibe Radio Sound Rotation at Swanksociety.com
We've been interviewed by Sobo Magazine (Chris Whaley) which I think will be available next month.
We did a few radio interviews with Jez Bishop of Starpoint Radio & Wayne Boucaud of Camden Community Radio (this might be up in a few weeks).
We also have another interview with New York Nights Online (DJ Gamal...) Check all the interviews out below: http://newyorknightsonline.com/ViewUptownArticle.aspx?aid=106 http://www.starpointradio.com/ http://www.ccradio.org/programmes/music.htm
You can find Sunny One Day in the following stores and internet outlets:
CDBaby Amazon itunes Soul Tracks Dr Wax - (Chicago) Dusty Groove - (Chicago) Soul Brother - (UK) Justin's Music - (Detroit) Moodie's Music - (White Plains, NY) Birdels - (Bkln, NY) Record City - (Pasaic, NJ) Nikki's Music - (Cleveland, OH) BK Music - (Richmond, VA) Kemp Mill Music - (DC)
Within 2 to 3 weeks it will also be available in these stores as well: M&M Records (Tyler TX) Music Mania (Austin TX) Music Depot #1 (Houston) Serious Sounds (Houston) Orange Music (Orange NJ) Sound of Trenton (Trenton NJ) Armands (Philly) Music Box Record Shop (Philly) Sound of Market (Philly) Sound of Norristown (Norristown PA) Pearl's Music (Detroit) Shantinique's Music (Detroit) Aces Jams (Detroit) Ear Wax Records (Atlanta) Music Trader (San Diego)
As you can see we've been busy the past few months, but we have lots more to come, and will definitely keep you posted so.. Stay tuned..
Thanks for reading.. peace&love viv&chris aka albright ..mama said music can change the world..
happy b'day mami.
October 02, 2007
Hey Everybody!! It s been a long time, I know, and we have so much to tell you, I almost don't know where to start. Ok, first things first, THE CD IS HERE!! If you came out to our listening party in June you might have picked one up, as we had a few advance copies for sale then, but the official release is October 9th (release party in Nov). That's when the cd will be for sale in several stores across the country and available on many more digital download sites (itunes, amazon, napster, etc.), so if you haven't bought one yet be sure to stop by our page on CDbaby and pick one up. Just click (or cut & paste) the link below: http://www.cdbaby.com/albrightvivian Ok, next order of business, if you haven't been by lately, be sure and check out our updated website and myspace page: http://www.viviansessoms.com http://www.myspace.com/albrightmusic Lots of new stuff, videos, links, music.. go ahead and take a look. We've gotten some great reviews from Urban Network.com, Rolling Out.com, and Soul Tracks.com, to name a few. We also have an interview posted from Just Soul.net with Dwight Barrett. Click the links below to see the reviews or interview: http://ats.viviansessoms.com/press.html http://www.viviansessoms.com/news.html Speaking of Soul Tracks, our CD is Soul Tracks CD of the month for October so you can buy our cd there too, AND we've been nominated for a Soul Track Award by the readers of Soul Tracks for best new group or duo. If you wanna vote for us just click the link below: http://wwwsoultracks.com/2007_Readers_Choice_Finalists I know...it's a lot of info, right?? But wait, theres more...lol... Ok, so there's gonna be a listening party.. I know, I know.. we already had a listening party but this this one will be hosted by the lovely ladies, Pam and Detrel of Onutss (One Nation Under The Soul Shack). We're gonna do a very short acoustic set so if you're free we hope to see you there: When: Monday, October 8th, 2007 Place: The Shrine World Music Venue Time: 5:30 to 8:30 pm Price: FREE Where: 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., NY NY 10031 (Bet'n 133rd & 134th St & 7th Ave) I've been touring a lot this year, in fact I just finished up a tour with P!nk, (check out the blogs to hear all about it) so we haven't had the chance to do many shows. Just think of this party as a little something to tide you over until the cd release in November which I promise will be a BLOWOUT (more about that soon!). Well, I think thats just about everything.. We just finished a few tapings for a TV show and magazine, have a few more reviews and interviews coming up too, but I'll keep you guys posted on all that. In the meantime, drop us a line, let us know what you think about the cd, and thanks for reading.
Thank you for supporting independent music.
Viv&Chris aka Albright
mama said music can change the world..
September 12, 2007
"They tell me that our brothers over there refuse to work in the mines, They may not get the news but they need to know we're on their side. Now sometimes distance brings misunderstanding, but deep in my heart I'm demanding;
Somebody tell me what's the word? Sister/woman have you heard 'bout Johannesburg? What's the word? Tell me brother, have you heard from Johannesburg? "
- Johannesburg - Gil Scott Heron
"Please don't change your uniform And start to mourn the thousands dead. And please wear what you've always worn, And don't be drawn by what I've said."
- Johannesburg - Housemartins
Well.. I'm finally here.. I've dreamed of coming here my whole life. There are many places in Africa I dream of seeing, The Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Somalia (the place where people ask constantly if I am from), but South Africa has always been #1 on my list. This longing is probably an extension of my mother and grandmothers dream that was passed down to me (both of whom were African Studies majors, obsessed and enthralled with African culture). When you dream of something, the real life experience rarely ends up being like your dreams. I've read a lot about Africa especially South Africa. I've seen many films. I wrote a blog some months back (Jan, I think) about Oprahs new school which got me thinking a lot about South Africa, but nothing really prepares you. I am sad to say it is has been a very sobering experience and somewhat difficult to digest everything I've seen.
There are many forces at work here. I am in what must be a 4 or 5 star hotel, and I am speaking of old world charm with all the amenities and then some. Pure english butler type service, which is lavish and a treat to the senses. In fact, all of the accomodations, service and treatment on this tour have been excellent, it's just that when it's in such stark contrast to such abject poverty, the kind you commonly see in South Africa, it stings, and it is heartbreaking to see. It leaves you spent to pass some of the poorer places where there are nothing but shacks and shantytowns (row upon row of tin shacks). I'm only here for 5 days and there is so much to see and take in, on the other hand there's only so much you can absorb in the way of subtlety in 5 days. I can't help myself, I just have to ask my people (at least that's how I feel about them) what it's like to live here in the aftermath of apartheid, hotel workers, restaurant staff, maids (not many in managerial or executive positons, although this aspect did seem better in Jo-burg). Many were very friendly but shy about answering such questions, but who would know better? A few just smiled with a hollow look like "why do you ask, what can you do?" The ones that do answer tell me they are instructed not to discuss such things but speak honestly and say that nothing has changed really, racism is rampant, which I have the opportunity to witness firsthand when a white South Afrikaan skips ahead of me in line at a hotel. When I inform him that I was ahead of him in line, he speaks with such authority and condescension, "You were not", without even looking in my direction. You know the attitude, entitlement, birth right, that sort of thing. Of course, being one to never back down, he got a piece and was put firmly in line.
Overall, they seem to still be operating on a caste system here (though I'll bet the South African gov't would deny this) so I'm sure the 'gentleman' thought I was African. They run Human Rights public announcements regularly on television so that should tell you something. I tried to post this blog while I was there and it was censored so THAT should tell you something else. Against all of this, you have the magnificent backdrop of the South African countryside whispering to you. It is overwhelming and majestic and...simply breathtaking. Hills and mountains for as far as the eye can see.. I feel blessed to have the chance to be here and have to thank God for giving me this incredible opportunity. I feel as though I visit the land of my forefathers. It is sentimental, I know, but it's how I really feel.
We went on safari and had elephants walk right up to our caravan, so close you could reach out and touch them and I know within myself at moments like this, there is a God. I want to ask him why in the midst of such beauty do we have atrocities like Rwanda and Darfur, and aids and apartheid. The BBC reports that by the year 2000, half the world's poor were in Africa. Deep huh? They continue on to say it is the only continent to have become poorer in the past 25 years and list the following reasons: -Borrowing money -Growing cash crops -Dictatorship -Fighting -Population growth -Land ownership -Climate change -Dirty water My friends say we have racism and extreme poverty in America and it is true, we do, and never more evidenced than in the aftermath of Katrina, but somehow, this is worse, much worse. It's dismal.. And the most awful part seems to me, to be treated as a second class citizen in your own country which is very different from racism in America. Though America belongs to all its citizens, America did not belong to my ancestors, they were taken to America. Africa BELONGS to black African people and it has always been so. To see South Africa ruled by white Afrikaans is just wrong, and that is not a racist comment it is just a hard truth. I feel like I need to do something, to get involved, to help make it better. I will think on this. Still, I wouldn't trade this experience ever, the people here are beautiful, truly beautiful. Graceful and dignified. I hope to come back soon, again and again. The following is a poem by my Grandmother, she never got here, I am here in her stead 'Mama said music can change the world' look mama, music took me all the way to South Africa...
Thank you for reading
"Oh Africa.. Oh Africa, most ancient land where pyramids were built by strong black hands in your dense and mysterious jungles I yearn to be for mother nature over there has beckoned unto me Remember how they snatched our kings and queens and deliberately scattered all of our dreams? Why, they treated our people like cattle, it's true and dared us to become homesick for you, Some day I plan to return to you, the land of milk and honey where our forefathers grew can't you see the ship drifting in? Even the animals shall greet us and say 'where have you been?' The Queen of Sheba may rise from her grave and whisper 'dear children you have been brave"
Vivian Cora Albright Sessoms
September 11, 2007
JUST SOUL | DWIGHT BARRETT INTERVIEW
Below is the transcript of an interview we did 2 weeks ago with Dwight Barrett of Justsoul.net.
"Vivian Sessoms and Chris Parks formed the group Albright and recorded the new album entitled "Sunny One Day", which will be officially released on October 9th.
Dwight: I first want to thank you for doing this interview with me and also congratulations on your new album: Sunny One Day.
Vivian Sessoms: Thank you for having us and for a really wonderful review. It was our first and we were really excited to read it, so thank you for your good words.
Dwight: How difficult was it for you to produce this album?
Vivian Sessoms: I'd say it was pretty hard, I think the next time will be easier, first of all, we've done it before with this one, so we've now got some experience of what to look for and what to expect. Also, I lost my mom, my grandmother and a really good friend while making this one, so that kept me low for a while. The record took on a few different underlying tones at times. Then we watched in shock with the rest of the world, as Katrina unfolded. That was a real wake-up call, which also brought up a lot of emotions, but toward the end of making the record some time had finally passed between losing my mom and grandmom. I started feeling more like my self again, more uplifted, and more positive. We wrote a few new songs and the record kind of took on a new direction.
Dwight: Vivian, you come from a highly musical background. Your mother was a session/jingle singer and your father was a percussionist/flautist for artists such as James Brown. What is it like to come from such a highly musically oriented background?
Vivian Sessoms: It was just a way of life for me. Most of what I knew about music up to a certain age I learned from my mother and father. I studied piano and voice as a kid and was in the Eubie Blake/ Amas repertory company which was a lot of fun, but that was later when I was a teenager. As a little girl I just remember how my mom sang in the house all day, everyday. She loved music and so did my father. In fact, even the people in my family who weren't very musically inclined had such great love for music, so I think it was inevitable that I ended up in music. I was very proud of my mother & father but particularly of my father because I didn't get to see my mom sing that much, except around the house, but everyone in the neighborhood knew my dad and there are still people in Harlem today, and in Philly (my dad was a gypsy y'all) that remember him as the conga player that walked the streets of the city and parks in the summertime stopping to play for people, collecting money and then moving on. He had a drumming partner named Poobie. Sometimes my dad would pull out his Fife or Flute and play, while Poobie played drums or sometimes they'd play conga's together. I remember my dad tuning his drums at night and practicing. He had the biggest hands I've ever seen, to this day I haven't seen many guys with hands that span the size of my dads when he opened his hand with his fingers splayed (he was about 6'4" or so). His hands felt like leather or carved wood. I don't know if I can ever really convey what it was like to be a little girl growing up in a household where almost every weekend our apartment would be crowded with relatives, musicians and artists, writers, photographers, politicians, Jehovahs Witnesses, Moonies, really, my family did not discriminate. If you let it be known that you had any kind of talent or ability, even being a good speaker, you were invited to participate in the goings on, which was usually a very entertaining mayhem. Everyone was encouraged and supported. All ideas were given creedence and a chance to be debated on and music was always a big part of those evenings. Actually, you'd think all this activity would have made me a much more outgoing person, but I grew up an only child to my mom (though I have brothers & sisters by my dad), so it made me more shy being around so many people. What it did do though, was make me appreciate different cultures, art and literature, film... It made me worldly and it made me dream bigger and want to see outside the walls of my own little world. It made me appreciate people's differences.
Dwight: How was it like to work with legends such as Michael Jackson and Donna Summer and Sinead O'Connor?
Vivian Sessoms: It was an honor. Actually doing the session for Michael Jackson was through Kaygee of Naughty By Nature. I was signed to Kaygee as an artist at that time but I was also a writer for him and he kind of took me under his wing. He was very kind to me and taught me a lot, I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. He tried to keep me involved in a lot of things he was doing so I got a lot of experience. One of the things he was asked to do was sing on a remix for Michael Jackson, and I got to go along to sing backing vocals but Michael wasn't at the session when I was recording so I didn't get to meet him personally, still it was a great experience. Sinead O'Connor I found to be very lovely. I've always been a fan and it was another shaping experience. She sang great and she looked beautiful. I remember my sister and I seeing the make-up artist Kevin Aucoin there to do Sinead's make up. We were like "Kevin, Kevin, Kevin! We love you, come in here and talk to us?" And would you believe? He did?! He was so sweet and warm and friendly, he probably sat in there with us for 15 minutes or so while we oohed and ahhed over him. With Donna Summer, I had been asked to sing bv's at a birthday party for a talent broker. Some of the guests at this party were Dionne Warwick, Ashford & Simpson, Bebe Winans, Natalie Cole, Tony Bennet, Stevie Wonder, and Donna Summer, all of whom were scheduled to perform. So you could say that was a tremendous experience working with all those people!
Dwight: And Sean "P.Diddy" Combs? How did that come about?
Vivian Sessoms: Well a couple friend and I had auditioned for Mary J. Blige a short time before, and her manager also managed Sean Combs so when he needed someone for Sean he called us again.
Dwight: Chris, you've worked with artists such as Brandy, Regina Carter and Tamia just to name a few. Tell us how your experience was to work with these artists.
Chris Parks: The experience was amazing because I had just moved back to New York (after being in Boston for 10 years), and I was doing at lot of producing and also remixes for different singles, which was the case for Brandy and Tamia. I had been hanging out with Keith Crouch (whom I had met through Lalah Hathaway) and I was a huge fan of his beats and musicality so to get a chance to do a remix for one of his songs was huge for me. Remember, Brandy had just come out, and I had been in LA, hearing her stuff through Keith. Then I got back to Brooklyn and heard her on the radio, and the buzz was electrifying. She had a very fresh sound at that time. I didn't get to meet her, I just got a dat of the vocals , and did the remix, which was a dancehall vibe for the song Best Friend. It was a different story with Regina Carter. I had just finished working on a couple of albums with guitarist extradonaire Rohn Lawrence for Atlantic Records, and Eulis Cathey (who is now on the air at WBLS - the NY area station) was A&R for Rohn as well as Regina. Eulis liked the work I'd done with Rohn in the past, so he set it up for Regina to work with me at my studio in Brooklyn. Although Regina is probably best known for her straight ahead and traditional jazz material, the tracks that we did were more suited for radio, more contemporary jazz.
Dwight: You also did some music for commercials as well right?
Chris Parks: Yes, I've been a freelancer, writing jingles for houses such as Fluid Post, Hell's Kitchen Music, Elias Arts and Tom & Andy. I've played guitar and bass on many national spots too.
Dwight: Chris, you have had a lot of musical influence too. How did music become a huge part of your life and career?
Chris Parks: For some reason as a kid, I had a burning desire to play the drums, but I lived in an apt building in a quiet neighborhood, and there was absolutely no way my parents were going to let me have a kit in our apt, so my dad took me down to 48th street in Manhattan, and got me an acoustic guitar, and I just kind of took to it, started having lessons, playing and singing. I was really into Paul Simon, John Denver and Cat Stevens. Then through my adolescence I had a variety of teachers, eventually progressing into jazz, but I always had friends that I jammed with, and was in a few bands that would occasionally play a show at school or something. At that time I was heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Rush, Aerosmith, Queen, and others, in addition to whatever was on the radio at the time. My stepmother was East-coast publicist at Mercury Records , and she took me to my first concert when I was about 8 yrs old, Bachman Turner Overdrive and Little Richard at the Fillmore East and many other shows after that as well, so I was hooked after experiencing all this great music at such a young age. When I got into high school I joined the jazz band, but they had a guitarist already, so the leader, Mr. Benjamin, who was also a huge influence on my development both musically and spiritually, told me that they didn't have a bassist and that if I played the bass guitar for one semester, that I could switch over to guitar, the following year, so he let me borrow the school's bass, and I took it home and had 2 weeks to get it together. At the time I had just started to get into jazz-fusion, listening to the likes of Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Return To Forever, Weather Report and Stanley Clarke. From that day forward, I was just as intrigued by the bass as I had been by the guitar, and I put a lot of time in, in local bands, honing my chops and building my stamina, until I was ready for college, and I just knew that I had to continue this journey, to try and make a career out of music. It wasn't until later on after school that I graduated to writing and producing and out of necessity taught myself engineering.
Dwight: How did this album project start?
Vivian Sessoms: Well Chris and I started working together on a solo project for me which back then was more of a rock or rock funk project. Over the years we kept writing and producing and eventually I thought I would like to do a more soulful kind of record, not that rock can't be soulful but we just got more into a groove and felt like we wanted to go in another direction although we do have plans to release a rock project at some point in the not too distant future.
Chris Parks: It kind of grew out of some songs we were writing for other artists, as well as some others written for ourselves that were more quirky, yet they all kind of fit together. We formulated the concept of a band or group who could contribute ideas, and build the project together. Although we had many a hiatus due to work and touring, we kept on plugging away until we had almost 30 songs, that we chose the 14 from.
Dwight: Where do you get inspirations to write your songs?
Vivian Sessoms: Life experiences mostly, mine or other peoples, things I read about in books, in the newspaper. Some days I just wake up with a song in my head. Chris on the other hand writes 3 or 4 tunes a day sometimes, he is a very prolific writer, I am much less so.
Chris Parks: When I'm in the groove of writing on a daily basis, and have the time and freedom to get in the studio or pick up an instrument, writing comes very naturally and is an extension of all the music I digest on a daily basis combined with my own spontaniety and creativity. I think this stage is my most favorite of all, when an idea happens and is documented, and repeated listening just gets me excited about what direction to take a song in, or what melodies will complete it and make it a finished song.
Dwight: Vivian, are there any other artists who you would like to collaborate with?
Vivian Sessoms: Oh yes, too many.. ?uestlove & James Poyser, D'Angelo, Lewis Taylor, Raphael Saddiq, Brendan O'Brien, Rufus Wainwright, Jon Brion, Kaygee. I'd love to sing with Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, or Billy Joel, a tall list , lol!
Dwight: And Chris?
Chris Parks: Van Hunt, Squarepusher, Amon Tobin, Lewis Taylor, David Ryan Harris, ?uestlove & James Poyser, D'Angelo, Common, Jeff Lee Johnson, Vikter Duplaix, Mark De Clive Lowe, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Sia, Zero 7, Prince, Me'shell Ndege Ocello, John Mayer, I could go on for a long time.
Dwight: I really enjoy your remake version of Tainted. What was the inspiration of doing this? Has Slum Village or Dwele ever got a chance to hear this?
Vivian Sessoms: No I don't think so, man I sure hope they approve.. It's just a song we both loved by Slum Village, it may be the first song we worked on for the record. I had an idea that I'd like to do something with the track, I thought maybe write new lyrics then one day I said to Chris "Wouldn't it be funny if I sang the Tainted Love lyrics by Soft Cell (the track from SOS used by Rihanna) over this music?" So I started singing it in the studio and then I was like "Hmm, let me go home and work on this some". Came back in a few days later and laid it down and that was how the whole record began, really.
Dwight: Do both of you feel because you have worked with such legendary musical artists that there is a lot of pressure for you to produce not only high quantity but high quality music?
Vivian Sessoms: Absolutely! But I think we both also have incredibly high standards to begin with. Between the 2 of us, our tastes are pretty varied and broad, so there's a lot of ground we'd like to cover and a lot of exploring and experimenting we like to do. We try to please ourselves first, with an eye toward the listener. Still, if we don't agree something is good, we keep working.
Dwight: Vivian, besides R&B music what other kind of music do you like to listen to or enjoy?
Chris Parks: I like a lot of music from the 70's however obscure whether it be funk or classic rock, a lot of dance music, bluegrass, blues, folk, latin, and lately getting into more classical and third stream.
Vivian Sessoms: I listen to a lot of rock, and artsy folks, Radiohead, Aqualung Rufus Wainwright, Seal. But I also listen to Jill and Erykah, Dwele. I am a huge fan of Lauryn Hill. I listen to classic soul and classic rock. Hip hop naturally, and house music, and Ella and Nina, Sarah. I loooove finding new music or being turned on to new stuff through other people.
Dwight: Any final words to our justsoul listeners?
Vivian Sessoms: We hope this music speaks to you and that you'll grow to love it as much as we do. We especially hope you'll come and check us out when we're playing in or near your town. We love to hear from you. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. Dwight, thanks again for an awesome review. Peace.
August 08, 2007
HELP ALBRIGHT CHOOSE THEIR NEXT SINGLE!! Alright y'all, Check it out.. It's time for all our people's to get involved! The good folks at Soul Tracks are conducting a contest to help us decide what our first single should be. You can check it out on SoulTracks.com (or click on the link below). If you wanna' be down you can go there and cast your vote today. Go on, take part, get involved. And stay tuned for our cd release on October 9th and the cd release party in October too. We love you and we'll be back soon! Remember.. keep supporting indie music.. peace&luv Miss V
June 22, 2007
Y'ALL ROCKED THE EFFIN' JAWN
Photos courtesy of Chip Williford (more in the photo section). Hey everybody, Just wanna take this time to say how much it meant to us to see all your beautiful faces in tha' house last Tuesday evening! It was just an incredible turnout and there was sooo much love in the room, I can't even tell you!! We had a ball, and you guys were right there with us tearin' it down :) The band was in awesome form (which is why I adore them) and even the newcomers Meku (percussion), Yatta Beasley (trumpet) & Keith Loftis (sax) were killing it dead! So many of you wrote e-mails, posted comments and took photos, btw, I wanna give a special thank you to Chip Williford, & Michael Cuthberston for the awesome photographs. You guys made the evening a smash and we just want to say thank you. We love you guys, you're the best. If you missed it, hang tight, 'cause we're doing it again in September with another show for the official release of the cd. Below is a review by our buddy Tom Paul (thanks Tom, *check his website, Chris is co-producing his new cd), who was at the show on Tuesday. In other news, I just arrived here on the Pink tour (joinin' Jenny) and I can already tell it's gonna be a blast! The band is incredible, AND they're really nice too (which is hard to find) plus the music is slamming and P!nk is mad cool, very down to earth. Signing off now.. but before I go, thank you to all of you once again for showing your love and support. 'til we see you again, be good to one another.. keep supporting indie music.. thanks for reading.
"Y'All, Last night I saw Vivian Sessoms and Chris Parks new band 'Albright' at The Village Underground and the show was off tha hook!!! If you were not there, then Yes U missed it big time. I wished everyone who knew Vivian and Chris were up in the room to see this show. First of all the room was packed just like you'd want for your CD Release Party with their fans who came out in love and support of the new CD 'Sunny One Day' from all around the Northeast. Sherrod Barnes opened up with a great set of songs, killin' guitar playing and gritty vocals backed by the Albright band. The band: Chris Parks: Bass/MD Sherrod Barnes - Guitar Eric Brown - Drums Meku - Percussion Casey Benjamin - Keys Kenyatta Beasley - Trumpet Keith Loftis - Tenor Sax When Vivian took the stage she was joined by background vocalists Keith Fluitt, Keesha Gumbs, and Darius Booker doing an accapella version of Back To Life from Soul II Soul which had the whole room up in a deep lather. The band then dropped some of the nastiest funk out of a rhythm section I've heard in a long time with crafty backup vocal arrangements on "Tainted", "Dunno' know", "Searchin", & "Ghettoland." All the while Vivian sang like it was her last show on Earth. She put her whole style, personna, and vocal expertise out there on a rope and served it up to the audience song after song for an hour and half, with hoots and holla's from the many heavy backup singers in audience urging Vivian on..."Sang Vivian!!! You know what...she did...Viv brought the house down on several occasions throughout this amazing evening of music. There were some amazing arrangements of cover songs that got the audience excited over the classic tunes. The first full band cover was the Curtis Mayfield gem "Move On Up", followed by Alice Smith's "Woodstock" (amazing CD go buy it...now!!!), then a stripped down version of Sheryl Crow's "Stong Enough" and closing out the eve with a cover of my favorite version of "Stop On By" written by Bobby Womack, which Rufus featuring Chaka Khan made famous. Keith Fluitt on backing vocals nailed the Tony Maiden (Rufus) like harmonies just as if it was Rufus droppin' the funk up in the spot. The band played their asses off song after song, they were tight and were taking amazing solo's throughout the evening. The most memorable was by the fine percussionist Meku on "Move On Up" and Tenor Saxist Keith Loftis on "Stop On By", which Vivian called him over to the center of the stage and proceeded to sing Jazz standard melodies one after the other over the killin' groove. This brought the audience to their feet as Sessoms was scatting her ass off trading licks with Loftis as the band grooved deep. For me the most beautiful moment of the evening was Vivian singing a song she professed she wrote about her husband Chris called "Love can turn you around". I wish every singer could have been there to hear how she delivered this song with such passion and depth of soul. I think after that song everyone was feelin' the love that needs to transcend within all of us on a daily basis. As usual Albright left us wanting more, more, more, but until the next show we will all have to wait. Soooooo...the next time Albright is playin' get yo ass down to the show. If you were there, I'm glad we all took in that Experience, 'cos it was something else."
Peace and One Love,
May 29, 2007
THE BIG NEWS.. Alas.... It is time to announce.. Finally.. The cd is here, almost.. Just kidding, :) Seriously though, here's what's going on. Albright is having a listening party for 'Sunny One Day', June 19th at The Village Underground where we will also do a live performance. If you haven't seen us play live before, this is your chance 'cause it will be one of our only shows this year. We WILL have advance cd's for sale (YAAYYYYY!!) but you better come early if you wanna get one 'cause we won't have a whole lot and thats for real! Now let me clue you guys in on all that's been happening with us. Btw, sorry I've been so bad about keeping you guys up to snuff with latest, it's been kinda hectic around here.. So we wrapped up the 'Sunny' cd and were in the midst of mixing it when I got a few interesting calls. One, from my friend Mads Baerentzen from Denmark to do a tour in the fall. You might remember me talking about Mads, I did 5 songs with Mads & his trio on their latest cd 'The New York Project'. The next was from Chris Botti (jazz trumpeter) to do some dates, which I did write about a few weeks back (see? I haven't been so bad), and the last call was from Pinks management to tour this summer (with Jenny, yayyy!). Naturally they needed me to come out a few months BEFORE the release date was originally planned. This meant we had to move everything up and go into warp speed, however, did I mention we just hired 2 incredible PR people? Yeah, we're pretty fancy.. (in our minds anyway). Glenn Miller from Coup De Grace PR & Katrina Boswell from Kat Walk Media Inc. Glenn concentrates on local media, college media & radio, and the internet. Katrina concentrates on national & international media (ps shout out to my girls Kateria, Abby, Shirlise & Sussan for all the extra pr work, graphic design, etc). Anyway, our PR people wanna do it up big for us and that means really getting the promo buzz circulating so they requested that we push the release date back to give them time to promote, promote, promote, Which means THE OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE IS SEPTEMBER 10, 2007. However, since I'm leaving to go on the road for the rest of the year, we figured we'd do a little something to catch up with all of you, give you a slammin' ass show, leak a few cd's and just strut our stuff one good time before I hit the road! We reasoned that since we'll pretty much be doing one show (maybe one more later this year, still working it out) we should at least leave you guys with some music to remeber us by, right? So, like I said, if you wanna get your copy of 'Sunny', we'll see you on June 19th. More News... On another note, we're just finishing up the follow up cd 'Sundown' and I will say this much, it has far surpassed any expectations I had when we started it. The musicianship, the comraderie all come through in the music. We're ecstatic about the whole thing. We're going to shop it to a few labels so keep your fingers crossed and we'll keep you posted. There's so much more we wanna' tell you guys, like how we're gonna be featuerd on Billboard.com's Artist To Watch in September and lots of other good stuff, but for now I think I'll save some for later. Be back with more news soon, Thanks for reading..
May 22, 2007
Look out for Chris Parks featured on the new Amel Larrieux cd of classic jazz standards entitled 'Lovely Standards'. Chris is playing guitar on the 'Shadow of Your Smile' track but the whole cd is truly a beautiful selection of ballads with sultry arrangements and warm vocals from Amel.
Release Date 05.22.07
April 21, 2007
LATE BREAKING NEWS.. Ok.. So I know this is tad bit late but we were featured on one of the 'Afternoon Groove' podcasts last month along with a few other talented types like Musinah, Bilal, Floetry & Angela Johnson, volume # 88. Hopefully you'll be able to click on the link below to go to the exact spot on the website to download. Enjoy! PS Keep supporting independent music.
Here we come..
April 18, 2007
UPDATE! New Music!
It's coming soon, Stay Tuned
March 08, 2007
CHECK THIS OUT GUYS
So check this out, we hired a new pr person about a week ago, and he was surfing around the internet and found this little tidbit on 'The Rock Boat - Rockin' Women Thread'.. 'I can't believe I forgot to mention her but a few weeks back I saw Julian Velard and he had this opener - Vivian Sessoms. Blown away does not even begin to describe my reaction to this girl. I'm not a fan of Norah Jones, but Vivian did a cover of a song from Norah's newest album..and it made me want to be a Norah Jones fan. Her voice is absolutely gorgeous.' Awesome huh? I gotta thank this girl.. really.. anyhoo, thanks for reading Peace
March 05, 2007 NEWS UPDATE..
Hey everbody, Viv here with the latest happenings. First, did I mention that I did bv's for Rob Thomas on a single for the up coming Disney movie 'Meet The Robinson's'? I think it's gonna' be released this summer so watch out for it. We had a blast, Frankie (for those of you who don't know Frankie, he's the guitarist in Rob's band) drove down from philly, we had lots of japanese, and good wine. It was a party as a always. Next up, Chris and I wanna' thank everyone who came out to the Julian Velard extravaganza. He was absolutely amazing in every way AND he sang his ass off. I just love him to bits, he had some suit types down to check out his show and I think he really knocked them out, so outstanding all around. His audience was so warm and receptive to Chris and I as the opening act, really wonderful, thanks again Jules. To find out more about that show keep reading, there's a review at the end of this blog posted by our good buddy Marshall (Thanks Marshall).
BTW, if you haven't already, be sure to pick up the latest Amel Larrieux cd 'Morning', Chris is all over that little gem on guitar. Lastly, I posted a bunch of video clips on Youtube last month, and we're getting a lot of hits on them. I have some posted here in the music section too, so stop by and have a look. Some of them are a little jumpy, but we're learning as we go, they'll get better, we promise. We're gonna shoot a high end video this summer, we'll keep you posted on that. Last but not least...(drumroll please!) It's coming, sooner than you think, 'SUNNY ONE DAY'!!! We'll be mixing in less than a month. Stay tuned.. Thanks for reading
Artists: Julian Velard / Vivian Sessoms Performance: February 22, 2007 at Joe's Pub, New York, NY Written by Marshall Shephardson. Fully bedecked in faux-'60s regalia (complete with pomade-aided coiffure-quash), and backed up by his gang of none-too-rough-looking henchmen, Julian Velard rolled into Joe's Pub on Thursday to annex it to his turf, once and for all. With a one-two combo of powerhouse sets, he knocked out a gang off geezers eyein' him at seven, and an uppity crowd of wiseguys who tested him at ten. Looking (almost) as cool as the giant likeness of Steve McQueen floating above and the theater-lobby stand-up James Dean on stage left, Velard floored everyone in his path. His moves were roundly spectacular. "Little Demons" had equal punch in its spare, solo form as it did in its racing, full-band version. "Joni" and "Gonna Do It Alone" were sterling-perfect in both sets. And, of course, "Jimmy Dean and Steve McQueen" bumped humongously, especially in the first set, where it concluded with a funktastic breakdown outro. Plus, each performance was sprinkled with unique surprises, like the first set's "Darker Shade of Love" (one of the best lyrics/song titles I've ever heard) and the second set's fan-commanded "Way You Make Me Feel." The most pleasing of the night's surprises was the level of presence by Mr. Velard's beautiful frequent collaborator, Vivian Sessoms, who sang several duets with the bandleader, as well as the oh-so-crucial backup parts in songs like "Joni." In between Julian's shows, Vivian also did a solo set, accompanied only by her other half, Chris Parks, on guitar. As usual, she spent equal time plugging other artists (giving instant interpretations of their newest work) and showing off her own tunes, including "Don't Go," which would be devastatingly heartbreaking if the words weren't couched in such an irresistibly fun Sesame Street bounce. She ended her brief time in the spotlight with the absolutely precious "Heart," the unmistakable Parks/Sessoms classic. It's one of those songs that you feel you've known your whole life the first time you hear it, and as soon as it's over you want to hear it again. Peace&Luv V
February 03, 2007
A FEW WORDS ON LOVE..
I find glory in a golden sky.. The seed was planted in stealth with great care and before I realized, the affair began to take shape. It started with little things but more than anything, it was how much She loved you..adored you even. I suppose that would make any lover infinitely more attractive, to be adored by one such as her, that was the first thing. Oh.. how she spoke of you often & with pride, eyes gleaming as she did. I can remember how depressing that used to seem to me, her loving you so, after all, what had you ever given her but heartache? I now journey down a long, dark tunnel at the end of which is the smallest, faintest light hurtling toward me faster than I can control and I collide with it in a big, huge BANG!! Into nothingness...except for blinding.. white.. light. Here, I can see everything...vividly, how is that possible? I have these big bangs & as I grow older they seem to happen with more frequency where daydreams & nightdreams, conversations & memories, history, philosophy & bits of collective consciousness all coincide with life force. For a split second who I am/what I am does not matter. I am nothing and yet see all, know all, not with my mind but on my skin. The hair on my arms and the back of my neck raise in awareness that I am part and parcel of something else. Something so large, so beyond me....and here is the key to it all.. Love.. is the Thing.. that thing that is the constant underlying thread to all humanity, and oh.. God.. how glorious are the dreams, how wonderful! They're like a drug to me, the beauty, the peace, the souls who only visit in dreams. I feel a warmth in the pit of my stomach, it's the feeling of coming home to a place I never want to leave... and that glorious golden sky.. I am secure as I journey through the space-time continuum.. Writer, dreamer, know thyself and from whence thy came, that you may see what you shall, and must become, for it is you who shall lead the masses. She insisted, no demanded that I know myself at all times and in all places even when I would rather shrink from my jet black, golden brown, light skinned, beautiful, ugly self. Those times I was lost and thought I didn't care. She said there was a place for me, for us, a time that would embrace us, & we would be guided and oh..how she loved you so..even as she mourned you and the weight she carried.. we carried.. The betrayals, the travesties, loved you through your suffering and so did she, suffer I mean, albeit silently. She said I must love you as well, but then again I hated you sometimes too. I suppose you seemed all consuming to me then, you sure sucked the life out of her and so many others before. I often wonder if she wondered had she done all she could. No matter, it's all over now but the shoutin' and by the way she could scream & shout too! Liked to shout about you to any & all who'd listen. Who could deserve this much love especially when you behaved like a son of a bitch, beating her ass in the street for whatever reason, uplifting you or some such thing. But she said I must be gentle with you and that I must know you & love you as myself for you would one day be me & mine. The young are so impatient, so angry and impetuous, but not she. It always comes back to her, my model, my mentor, my muse. She believed us to be the last vestiges of hope and faith who could remind the world of that constant, yet invisible, underlying thread. Like her belief in God she believed in us.... and loved us so
Happy birthday grandma, I love you
January 24, 2007 A LETTER FROM TYLER PERRY ON OPRAH WINFREY...
Every now & then I like to print things here that have some meaning to me outside of music. The following is a letter from Tyler Perry on being invited to the opening of a new school built by Oprah Winfrey in South Africa... 'It's Sunday morning. I'm sitting here in South Africa watching the sun rise. I'm aware that the time is seven hours ahead of the east coast and that most of America is asleep, but I wish that I could wake you all up to see this. It is so peaceful here. In a few hours I will be heading home and I will take from these ten days a lifetime of memories. It started with the invitation from Oprah to join her here for the opening of her school. I was a little reluctant to come and spend New Year's here because I have been in church every New Year's night since I can remember. Well, I can honestly say that this was truly more spiritual than being in any watch night service that I've ever been in. This entire trip has been unbelievable. From the time that I left, I have been having unforgettable memories. Like, getting to have several conversations with the most eloquent man that I have ever met--Mr. Sidney Poitier. He has so much class and grace. The wisdoms that he left me with on this trip were worth the trip alone. Then getting to this continent and being greeted by African drums? WOW! And the spirit of all the invited guests. It seemed that everybody that I spoke with left me with something that I could use in my life. I know that God was here.
The New Year's Eve bash was too much for your senses to take in. I can't even begin to explain how beautiful it was. It started with an African choir singing native songs and then ending with "Amazing Grace" and "Oh Happy Day". It was the clearest night that I had ever seen and with the biggest moon. It was as if God, Himself, wanted to show off the heavens to us. At midnight I stepped away and said a prayer. When I turned around Mary J Blige was taking the stage and she rocked the place. Then there were several impromptu performances--Patti Labelle then Baby Face. He sang "If I Could Change The World". This was all unsolicited mind you. Then India Arie sang, then Tina Turner closed the show with "Simply The Best". I danced until the sun came up.
The next day we left Sun City and headed to Johannesburg. We drove through some of the townships. The poverty was heartbreaking, but the children were so happy. Someone said to me, "I wonder what they dream about". It didn't take me long to find out. As many of you know, after educating thousands of children in America, Oprah has opened a school here for girls. And when I saw these children, my God, you had to see their faces and hear their stories to understand. When we got to the school, these girls (12 and 13 years old) talked about how they dreamed about not just becoming doctors and teachers, but discovering the cure for AIDS, or becoming President, or the Minister of Education. I have never in my life seen so much gratitude and so much hope.
Then the next day I got to meet Madiba Nelson Mandella! Life changing, life changing is all I can say. I also went to Robben Island and saw where he was in prison. I stood in his cell. I don't think that my life will ever be the same after that visit. I know that this is a long e-mail this time, but hear me when I say this--Let 2007 be the year that you follow your dream. Don't let anybody tell you what you can't do. With the help, grace and favor of God you can live your dream and bring it to pass. Believe in yourself. All of you who have stopped dreaming, go find it, dust it off, get back at it. It's never too late. That dream that has been nagging you and won't let you rest will lead you to your destiny. It's how God moves. Go for it! It is possible! Faith can take you to fruition.. when you believe.' - Tyler
Naturally (albeit unfortunately), the press is having a field day: 'Jan. 13, 2007 I Winfrey's unguarded comments about the opening of her school revealed the degree to which arguably the most influential woman in the United States is still driven by the specter of her own beginnings as a poor, sexually abused child in Mississippi, and her seemingly endless spiral of desire to set the world right not simply for other young women, but for her own prepubescent self. For a moment, her self-spin veered out of control, and we got a brief snapshot not just of Winfrey's good intentions, but of the loneliness and solitude experienced by a woman who is historically and culturally unique in her power, wealth, life story and position in the world. People magazine described the fluffy duvets that will cover the beds of the girls -- who will pair up in dorm rooms, each of which features a kitchen and a small balcony. CNN reported on the cafeteria's marble tabletops, and Winfrey crowed to every reporter in earshot about how she had chosen "every brick, tile, sheet and spoon" for the school. There are murals and a yoga studio, and trees under which the girls can read, and they will sleep on 200-thread-count sheets. Winfrey told Newsweek, "These girls deserve to be surrounded by beauty, and beauty does inspire." Winfrey might have known that news of her students' swank surroundings might not wash with American critics, who don't bat an eye at white hotel heiresses dancing on banquettes, or reality shows about sweet-16 parties with budgets that could build a home for a Katrina victim. But impoverished black girls sleeping on nice-ish sheets? That didn't go over so well. The affronted sense that these girls deserved only bare-minimum accommodations and that a private citizen's money should have been used to educating them in bulk rather than in gracious individual style reflects our own beliefs that the bare minimum is all poor (black) girls need. And in part, it's surely that kind of attitude that has fueled Winfrey's obsession with aesthetics.
She told several publications that South African builders initially sent plans that made the school look like a chicken coop. "It was clear that the attitude was 'These are poor African girls. Why spend all this on them?'" she told Newsweek. "It was unbelievably upsetting." Indeed, criticism of the Leadership Academy's luxury is practically immoral. It's Winfrey's money and should she want to use it to provide six randomly selected babies with a lifetime supply of Rolos, then no one outside of the babies' families and dentists would really be in a morally sound position to object. But that Winfrey did not see this reaction coming, and thus did not temper the admittedly wacky emphasis on the aesthetic and the decorative aspects of her project, is unusually unperceptive. She walked right into this -- with the tawny bricks and embroidered O's -- and in doing so, revealed the extent to which she is still shaped by her own emotional hunger, despite all the money and influence in the world.'
Unbelievable, isn't it!? Who gives a damn, really, what her reasons are? I print these excerpts because I am utterly amazed at how racist and small minded people can be, how unforgiving and cruel particularly toward a country that has been through as much as Africa (Rwanda, Darfur..). The woman is singlehandedly changing the face of a nation. To really grasp the magnitude of poverty in South Africa, and what a school like this will mean for underpriveledged families & underserved communities, communities that have been ravaged by their lack of education, aparthied and AIDS please check out the links below:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6224001.stm http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2007-01-02-winfrey-school_x.htm?POE=LIFISVA http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0105/p01s03-woaf.html may we all be so inspired, may God bless you Ms. Winfrey.. thank you for reading.. peace&love *steps down off soap box*
January 22, 2007 LATEST HAPPENINGS...
Ok, so.... Where to begin? I have been BUSY... Alright, first, did I mention that on New Years eve Chris & I went to Levon Helms Midnite Ramble up in Woodstock? It was sooo awesome!! If you don't know who Levon Helm is, he is one of the founders, lead singers and drummer for 70's supergroup The Band. Martin Scorcese did a documentary on The Bands farewell tour in the 70's, called 'The Last Waltz' in which Levon talks about the Midnite Rambles of his childhood where musicians from town and neighboring towns would gather in a local barn, each person bringing an instrument and a dish and just jam 'til the mroning hours. He started his own Midnite Rambles about 2 years ago in his recording studio/barn and they've grown out of control, never an empty seat in the house! If you're up to making the drive up to Woodstock you won't be disappointed, there's always special guests dropping in, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Steel Dan, Elvis Costello, & the list goes on. Check out Levon Helms website: http://www.levonhelm.com
The following week my bud Julian Velard called me and said there was gonna be a hush show at Rockwood Music Hall featuring Amos Lee (I'm a big fan) so I hustled over to see the man and his music (I was in me nappies at the time), and I'm really glad I did 'cause he was beautiful. Beautiful smile, beautiful voice, great songs. We met my other friends Matty Beck and his lovely wife Barbara there after which we proceeded to get nice and toasty, lol. Check me out with Amos, Julian & Matt:
Next stop, Boston, Mass. where Kim Davis, Keith Fluitt and I backed up Patti Austin for the Inaugural Ball of the first black Governor of Massachusettes, Deval Patrick. He gave one of the most moving speeches I've ever heard. It was a great honor to be there watching history being made. We have come a long way..
Lastly, I spent part of last week in the Bahamas at the Michael Jordan Golf Tournament. I went there to backup the incomparable Jennifer Holiday (the original dreamgirl) and believe me, she was nothing short of INCREDIBLE! She sang 'And I am telling you' and brought THE house down!! While I was there I met a few awesome people including Ricky Lawson (drummer extroadinaire), Greg Philligaines (he's worked with everybody y'all), Michael Beardon (bad boy on the keys, same b'day as me :)), Alex Al (sweetie pie on the bass), Greg Moore (fawnkee guitarist) & his wife, author Toy Moore (check out her website guys), and last but not least, the lovely Lisa Vaughn, who was also there to do backups for Jennifer. Lisa has worked with Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, CeCe Winans and many others. She was the BOMB y'all!! Loved working with her! Stop by Toy & Lisa's websites if you get a chance: http://www.toymoore.com http://www.lisavaughnmusic.com.
Told you I'd been busy, hahaha.. Ok, so I know I promised my next blog would be about the 'Sundown' recording like, 3 blogs ago, but I promise it's coming. By the way, just posted some video of live performances on the myspace page and I'm gonna' put some on this site too in a day or so, so do be sure to stop back by & check them out.
Before I sign off I just wanna say how much we miss you guys and we promise we'll be back soon. We don't have any Albright shows for a while but I will be sitting with a few folks, and I'll keep you all posted right here. Thanks for reading & please keep supporting independent music.. Peace&love
January 10, 2007 A MEETING BETWEEN BEETHOVEN & LISZT..
Beethoven meets young Liszt "The most memorable time I experienced with Liszt was when he told me of his meeting with Beethoven. 'I was about eleven years old', he began, 'when my highly esteemed teacher Czerny introduced me to Beethoven. He had long before told him about me and had asked him to hear me play. But Beethoven had aversions against prodigies and for a long time refused to hear me. Finally though he was persuaded by my indefatigable teacher Czerny and said: 'Then for God's sake“ bring the little rascal'. It was one morning about ten o'clock when we entered the two small rooms of the Schwarzspanierhaus, where Beethoven lived. I was somewhat embarrassed“ but Czerny kindly encouraged me. Beethoven was sitting by the window at a long narrow table working. For a moment he looked at us with a serious face, said a couple of quick words to Czerny but turned silent as my dear teacher signaled to me to go to the piano. First I played a small piece of [Ferdinand] Ries [another pupil of Beethoven]. When I had finished Beethoven asked if I could play a fugue by Bach. I chose the C minor fugue from Wohltemperiertes Klavier. 'Can you transpose this fugue', Beethoven asked. Fortunately I could. After the finishing chord I looked up. Beethoven's deep glowing eyes rested upon me but suddenly a light smile flew over his otherwise serious face. He approached me and stroked me several times over my head with affection. 'Well I'll be blowed' he whispered, 'such a little devil'. Suddenly my courage rose: 'May I play one of your pieces?' I asked with audacity. Beethoven nodded with a smile. I played the first movement of his C major piano concerto [nr. 1]. When I had finished Beethoven stretched out his arms, kissed me on my forehead and said in a soft voice: 'You go on ahead. You are one of the lucky ones! It will be your destiny to bring joy and delight to many people and that is the greatest happiness one can achieve'. Liszt told me this with great emotion; his voice trembled but you could feel what divine joy these simple words had given him. Never did Liszt the human being make a greater impression on me. The flamboyant man-of-the-world, the revered artist was gone; this great moment he had experienced in his childhood still resounded in his soul. For a little while he was silent, then he said quietly: 'This was the proudest moment in my life, the inauguration to my life as artist. I tell this very rarely, and only to special friends."
January 05, 2007 A NEW YEAR..
Hey guys, Viv here with lots of news. Honestly, I have so much to tell you, I don't know where to begin! Whew.. Ok let's start with our last gig at Rockwood Music Hall. I know, i know..I shoulda posted this weeks ago. It was beautiful..acoustic music is something I really love doing, I really do. The intimacy, being able to be heard so clearly, every word, every little breath. Songs seem to take on a new life performed that way and it's funny how well certain songs lend themselves to that setting. A big thanks to the guys over at Rockwood, Ken & Tommy and to you guys, we had a nice crowd that evening. I had Chris Parks on acoustic guitar & electric bass and Sherrod Barnes on acoustic & electric guitar that evening with my good friend Noam Dworman sitting in on 1 song. You know, I never thought people cared about this stuff but a lot of people write in and ask me what the setlist was so I'll try to remember from time to time to list it here. The setlist for that evening was as follows: 1.sundown (title track of our new cd) 2.hair of the dog (mike viola) 3.brighter than sunshine (aqualung) 4.holdin' on (ours) 5.what have I done (ours aka vivid) 6.dreamin with a broken heart (john mayer) 7.unwell (rob thomas) 8.don't go (ours) 9.here comes the sun (beatles) 10.heart (ours) We threw in a lot of covers 'cause there's just so much great music out there now and it seems like acoustic music in particular is on a steady rise lately. (check out the sirius radio station 'coffehouse') Check out a couple of pics from Rockwood below..
After Rockwoods, I dashed up to the Sugar Bar and did backing vox for Black-i, our drummers band and we had a BALL, in fact we had such a good time that Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson stopped in and wound up staying for the whole show. It's so fun playing with Black-i 'cause they're sooo funky, I told you about them already but if you don't rememeber, check out their site www.black-i.com. Imagine Prince x Sly Stone, add in fresh & new and there you have it, BLACK I. Check out a few pics from the Black-i show below with Chris Fischer, Mike Griot, Teddy Crockett, Eric Brown (whom you can't see) & me..
After that (told you I had a lot to tell you), me & the crew headed back downtown to the Bluenote to see Stokley of Mint Condition perform with Chris Dave, Sheddrick Mitchell, & Derrick Hodge where he proceeded to kick ass and believe me when I tell you he killed it!!! Every singer worth their measure was in the house to see Stokley!! It was a packed house. Check out a couple pics from the evening below, the 1st one is of Queen Aaminah, Stokley & myself and the 2nd is of Melonie Daniels, Queen Aaminah, Camiile Gaynor & me..
Ok, so I know I haven't been the best at keeping this blog up to date but since we're not gonna do any shows for a while, we're gonna keep you guys updated on all the happenings with us right here, so check in often. Next entry: 'The Sundown Recordings'. Peace&love
On November 27, 2006 THE CUTTING ROOM
Viv & Keith Fluitt belting out their version of 'Stop On By' by Rufus & Chaka.. Hey People, Hope your holiday was wonderful and you're all recovering nicely from the extra turkey and pumpkin pie ya couldn't pass up :) I gained a few pounds myself so I'm sitting here dreaming about the gym, haha.. Dreaming, I say...
Just wanna take a moment to thank you all for showing your love and support by coming out to the Cutting Room last week! As promised it was a killing show, in fact one of our best! We've never gotten so many e-mails before from people saying how much they enjoyed the show! Needless to say we had a ball and you guys all made it so, so THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!! We wanna give a special thanks to Marlon Saunders and his crew (Arif, Biti, & Joe) for doing their thang, and to his manager Michael Dumas, who was so awesome throughout. Also wanna thank designer Leon Greene for the fabulous red lace dress I had on that evening, and photographer Arnold Gadson for wonderful photos he took (stop by the photo gallery & and take a look), and my buddy Tom Paul for promoting and handling the mailing list (you're awesome).
Can I just take a moment to talk about my new band?? Can I?? 'Cause they are truly OFF THA' CHAIN!! Sherrod Barnes Eric Brown Casey Benjamin Chris Parks Queen Aaminah Keith Fluitt & Darius Booker Have you ever heard of a band that has so much fun playing together, that when you try ending a song they keep right on playing!! Have you? Every one of 'em big uppin' each other and having a ball, lol.. They're really something else.. Sooo damn funky the only word that comes to mind is EXPLOSIVE!!
Anyhoo, we've got a lot of exciting stuff we wanna' tell you about coming soon. The cd release, which is getting really close (we're making plans for it now), & we'll be sending out an e-mail shortly. Also, our last gig of the year, and some dates in early January, after which we'll be taking a short break to tie up all the loose ends with the cd. We'll be playing at Rockwood Music Hall next month on December 15th, where Chris and I will be doing an acoustic set. We were scheduled to be at The Canal Room in December too, but that date got postponed 'til February so keep checking back on our site for that info.
Lastly, I'll be opening for my buddy Julian Velard (remember him? he played with me at the Jazz Standard last month) for a little mini tour doing more acoustic sets which is a totally new thing for me. I love doing the acoustic thing 'cause you can really stretch out and get into the music on a more intimate level. These dates will be sometime in the beginning of January. So stay tuned and thank you again for all your love and support throughout the year. Lots of love & remember to keep supporting independent music! Happy Holidays....fa la la lah V&C
On October 10, 2006 THE JAZZ STANDARD REVIEW
Hey people, Just wanted to take time to thank you all for coming out to the Jazz Standard last Monday night. It was such a pleasure and we really had a blast. So far the best crowd yet! I didn't know what to expect presenting this new material which is so different from Albright but you guys put me right at ease, and I have to add that I had the most stellar band ever!! So many people were asking for cd's after the show, we promise they're coming soon so hang in there with us, we're really close. :)
If you didn't make it to the show there's a review posted below by our buddy Marshall Shephardson (Thanks Marshall <3) Also, stay tuned next month for a couple shows we have in store starting with Chris and myself doing an acoustic set at Rockwood Music Hall on November 2nd where I'll be opening for Julian Velard. In case you don't remember, Julian's the guy that sang with me last week at the Standard, where so many of you raved about his voice. We'll follow that up with an Albright show at the Cutting Room on November 17th, where we will again be opening for the ever soulful Marlon Saunders and have as a special guest Sherrod Barnes. Again, thank you all so much for coming out & supporting us, it was truly awesome to see so many friendly faces in the crowd. See you soon, and keep supporting independent music.. Peace Vivian
"AS A TESTAMENT TO HER UNFETTERED AMBITION.." The solo performance of Vivian Sessoms at The Jazz Standard on October 2 was a perfect testament to her unfettered ambition. While we all still salivate over the ever-postponed release of her (still!) forthcoming Sunny One Day, Vivian is already promoting that album's follow-up: Sundown. And if the two sets at the Jazz Standard accurately predicted the timbre of Sundown, it'll be a more acoustic, more contemplative companion to the funky groove of Sunny One Day. Each set featured a mix of covers and originals, but Vivian as always made every song her own, turning the entire song list into something exciting & novel. Most memorably, Vivian's honey-slow take on the Beach Boys 'God Only Knows' and sweeping space-age exploration of Allison Krauss 'You Will Be Mine Ain' True Love', each would doubtless have brought a tear to its composer's eye to see how wonderfully their brainchild had grown up since setting off into the world. But no less rich and mature were Vivian's newly-minted compositions, which are still waiting to be set free into the hearts of another generation of creative listeners (hint, hint). And the players were as varied and dynamic as the songs: Chris Parks, this time on guitar, seamlessly alternated between crisp acoustic plucking and slick electric sizzle; multi-stringer Matt Beck let fly with woozy lap-steel and glittering mandolin solos; Misha Tsiganov's piano and keyboards traversed the entire terrain from tinkly trills to lush cascades, usually over the course of one song; Eric brown crisply shuffled and marched on the skins; and Carlos Henderson's work on both stand-up and electric bass was consistently solo-worthy, no matter who was soloing. Finally, Julian Velard stepped in to contribute deft back-up vocals and to join Vivian for some stirring duets. In the middle of it all, Vivian's voice and presence served to draw together and focus each element into one pure musical message. She was clearly as humbled by the sterling musicianship surrounding her as she was proud that her vision had brought it all together.
Hey guys.. I know this is kinda late, but check this out. The review below was submitted by our buddy Marshall Shepardson. Marshall, whom I consider to be a real music buff, has been hanging out with us since the days of our first band 'VIVID' and is one of our most supportive & loyal friends. Thank you Marshall for the beautiful words and for always coming out! I also wanna thank Christian for having us at the Blue Note, my sister Sybil for contributing pictures from the show (more in the gallery), and our most awesome band! ..And if you haven't heard, Jenny just left to go on the road with pop artist Pink, go jen (she's my idol)!! So get out to a show and show her some love :)
"ALBRIGHT PLAYS THE BLUE NOTE, SEPTEMBER 1st, 2006" It was raining, and well past midnight in New York's Greenwich Village, and a crowd was gathered in the city's premiere jazz venue. But, rather than the detached coolness you might expect at an event called the Blue Note Late Night Groove Series, the feeling at Albright's second full-length show was as warm as a hearth-heated family reunion. Fans of all the many projects, side-projects, and collaborations of the impossibly prolific Vivian Sessoms and Chris Parks had gathered to hear the duo take center stage. And, as you might expect, the crowd was as varied as Albright's influences: from dapperly-clad night-outers down to your studiedly grungy village hipsters. Apparently unaware of her own genre-transcending magnetism, Vivian was as always the consummately humble superstar, insistent upon plugging every album in the folk-soul indieverse, except her band's own long-awaited Sunny One Day. Of course, nothing could sell Albright's upcoming album better than the songs: from the shuffling bump of A Day in the Park to the wrenching soul of Heroin, each of Albright's songs is an exquisite groove, subtly girded by dramatic storytelling. In addition to the band's own gems, they also put their unique soul-rock twist on a handful of grateful classics, like Soft Cell's/Slum Village Tainted Love, Sheryl Crow's Strong Enough and Gnarls Barkley's instaclassic, Crazy. Tonight's surprise gem was a haunting rendition of Roberta Flack's rarity, 25th of Last December, and in its discriminating diversity, Albright's repertoire comprised an unmistakable vision: at once darkly daring, and luminously hopeful. It's music that acknowledges that things may not be perpetually sunny, but that always something bright waits beyond the horizon." Marshall Shepardson- thanks for reading.. http://www.queenaaminah.com http://www.myspace.com/jennydouglas
Ok... so sometimes we get a little bored over here seeing the same old thing.. then again, we've got a good reason to change up our outfit, chris has got himself a new bio, so go check it out and read all about him. by the way, i owe you all a write-up on the bluenote, i haven't forgotten. back in a jif with that. the cover art you see above is the cd cover for my friend tim reis' latest work "the stones project" which is a refreshing and lovely re-working of some classic rolling stones tunes (with whom he is also currently touring as saxophonist). the album features norah jones, sheryl crow, lisa fisher and a few of the stones pitching in their efforts to make this a real gem. i've been performing these songs with tim over the last year and in fact we played the Iridium Jazz Club last week. i've had a splendid time meeting all the brilliant musicians tim keeps company with. whether you're a stones fan or not, i promise you will love this cd so treat yourselves to something new when you get a chance, and be sure to check out his site. that's all for now.. thanks for reading :) www.timreis.com
August 18, 2006
LIFE ALTERING... There are shows and then.... there are SHOWS.. Some performances are good, some performances are great.. some will change your life... I once saw Labelle at summer stage and it changed my life.. forever.. It was the thing that made me absolutely positive I wanted to do music. Seeing Prince live did that for me, seeing D'angelo & Marvin Gaye did that for me, I've seen footage of Ella, and Sarah, or Sly & early Natalie Cole on Don Kirschners Rock Concert as a kid and I knew.. Last night I saw Michael McDonald open up for Steely Dan and believe me when I tell you it was one of the most remarkable shows for sheer talent and execution of great music I have ever witnessed. The music was as good as, and most of the time better than the recordings, I kid you not, and that is not something you see often and most certainly not something you see in artists today. I went on Donald Fagens site when I got home to read up on the man. He had a whole blog on Ray Charles and how much Ray had inspired him while growing up and how to him, Ray changed the face of music. I love when an artist you admire and respect speaks so well of another performers artistry. He also said in another blog that nothing new & exciting has happened to music since Bob Marley & reggae. hmm... I almost agree.. I am a reggae/ska fanatic myself.
Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Michael McDonald are heroes to me. I didn't know I had heroes.. I will not tell you about the show itself, you MUST go see it! Last night inspired me.. it changed me.. I am better for it.. That is the power of music. mama said " in my time, we thought music could change the world if people listened"
Thank you for listening.. www.steelydan.com www.michaelmcdonald.com
August 13, 2006
ALBRIGHT FEATURED ON RADIO SHOW & PODCAST THIS WEEK!! DJ Vinnie over at Afternoon Groove Radio featured us in the first hour of his broadcast this past Wednesday, playing our song "Dunno What". The show aired already but if you wanna check it out e-mail the folks at Afternoon Groove Radio to request it. So far Afternoon Groove was an internet broadcast but we heard through the grapevine that the show is moving to over FM and the show we're featured on will be the first FM broadcast! Congrats to everyone over at Afternoon Groove, we wish you much love & success with the new format!!
We're also on The Unsigned Artist Showcase podcast this week and you can go to their website listed below and listen to the show from the site or download the show. They're playing the title track from our forthcoming cd "Sunny One Day". By the way, our friends Heavy (awesome band! check out their website) were invited to be the featured dj's for the global soul podcast last month and they played one of the songs from our cd, "He Who Knows" (written & produced by Heavy). You can go to the website to download that show also. So check us out, we're getting around! We wanna' give a big shout out to DJ Vinnie, Reg T. & Heavy for supporting us & playing our music.
In other news you can hear partner Chris on guitar on the latest Amel Larrieux cd's including the newest one "Morning" & her last cd "Bravebird". Chris is also in the studio with Heavy working on their latest cd which is pure fiyah, stay tuned for it! More later y'all, Thanks for checkin' in.. Peace www.unsignedartistshow.com www.afternoongrooveradio.com www.globalsoulmedia.com www.heavymusic.net www.amellarrieux.com
August 06, 2006 ALBUM RELEASE!!
Earlier in this blog, I mentioned that Tim Ries (Rolling Stones saxophonist) & I were featured guests on our friend Mads Baerentzen's c.d., an extremely gifted pianist & arranger from Denmark. Well, I am happy to say that finally the c.d. has just been released. I don't know if you can purchase it here in the states yet as it is a European release but it will be available soon! You can also go to Mads website www.madsbaerentzen.com to order the c.d. directly. It is a really beautiful record written and arranged by both Mads & Tim and we had so much fun doing it. I just got a copy and I've been playing it over & over. By the way Mads & Tim are also doing a few arrangements for my "other" c.d. More about that later. Stay tuned..
August 04, 2006 NEW PICTURES UP
just a quick note to let you know we have a few new pics posted of the village underground show. a big to thanks to tom paul (check out his website by the way), my sis sybil & dawn for the wonderful photos. we're hard at work on our second c.d. , we'll keep you posted! back in a minute :)
July 29, 2006 THE VILLAGE UNDERGROUND SHOW
ok, first things first.. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!! hey everybody, viv here sending out a tremendous thanx to everyone who came out to the village underground last thursday!!! it was our best crowd yet and that is most definitely thanks to all of you, so thank you, thank you, thank you! i was a little nervous about everything going smoothly but i have to say everything went off without a hitch.
sherrod barnes opened for us and judging from your comments and e-mails he won all of you over just like i knew he would. what a wonderful musician, and all around guy, we truly love him. he said he'd never performed his own show before but you would never have been able to tell that. to put it simply, he amazed everyone, and believe me, you will see him with us again very soon!
as for our show, we started out with "oh baby" and the night sped off from there!! we covered a lot of ground, talked about a lot, and made a lot of music. so many of our good friends, family, and people we admire were there to support which made the night very special indeed. we had people from as far as australia, and florida. there was a lot of hugging and picture taking afterwards (val, i looked for you but you disappeared), catching up with friends we don't see enough of, making new friends, etc.
i wanna give a special thanks to limited tyme p.r. (((shirl&abby;))), bella starr (shae-muah), my buddies tom p., mike c., noam d., & cisco for the use of their e-mail lists & for helping to spread the word. i also wanna give a shout out to my boy marshall who has been hanging around since the "vivid" days (our first band) and never waits to chat after, he just glides in & glides out after, lol (you're a doll)... i also wanna thank dawn waski for the beautiful pics of the rt tour posted in the photo gallery.
SO... if you didn't make it out this time, don't fret, we've got more shows coming up soon. the first one is: Friday, September 1st, 2006 at The Blue Note http://www.bluenote.net 12 Midnite 131 West 3rd Street, NYC, NY 10012 Price: $12.00 the bluenote, as you can imagine is a big deal for us and we really want to fill the place up, so mark your calendars, set your bberries & get ready 'cause we're gonna add a bunch of new songs and we'll be smokin' by then!! we've got all kinds of stuff in the works, so stay tuned and once again, thanks for helping us make thursday our best night yet!! lots of love & remember to keep supporting independent music!! bye for now ;)
July 12, 2006 SOMETIMES IT REALLY IS SO HARD TO SAY GOODBYE..
I swear it feels like the last day of high school around here. Everyone is buy turns missing their home lives but at the same time sad to be leaving each other for what we know will be a long while.. I've been on some long tours, made lifelong friends, had loads of fun, (and shopped til' i nearly dropped) but I never went home feeling like this before.. I'm gonna miss these guys..
May 14, 2006 LATEST NEWS
VIVIAN ON TOUR WITH ROB THOMAS You can catch Vivian and Jenny Douglas McRae singing with Rob Thomas of matchbox twenty performing his solo album "Something To Be". Check out live performances including Live8, Fashion Rocks & The American Music Awards on: Launch.com Sessions@aol VH1.com mtv.com itunes
LALAH HATHAWAY/OUTRUN THE SKY Vivian & Chris wrote and produced 3 songs on the latest Lalah Hathaway disc entitled "Outrun the Sky". Get your copy now 'cuz it sells out fast!
DAVID MORALES/2 WORLDS COLLIDE Vivian is one of the co-writers and featured vocalists on the new David Morales album entitled "2 Worlds Collide". Be sure to pick up a copy.
MADS BAERENTZEN TRIO Due out this fall, Vivian is one of the featured artist on Danish composer/pianist Mads Baerentzens album, along with saxophonist/composer Tim Ries. Stunning arrangements of gems like the Duke Ellington classic "Come Sunday", and the standard "Tenderly" contributed by both Mads & Tim will make this cd a must have. Stay tuned!
KHANI COLE/LIFETIME Vivian & Chris produce jazz singer Khani Cole's latest effort entitled "Lifetime" on Expansion Records.
V&C GET SONG IN FEATURE FILM Vivian & Chris have a song featured in an upcoming independent film entitled "Moonlight Serenade" set in the '40's, about a composer who writes a ballad that becomes a hit song, their song is the featured song. Stay tuned for more info!
LOOK FOR CHRIS SOLO RELEASE Thats right! Look for Chris to do his thing on his upcoming release MUDBOY/"BeatJunkie" in the spring/2007.
V&C WORK WITH STARSEARCH RUNNER UP Freedom Bremner, 2x Star Search runner up is starting work on his project with Viv & Chris @ SuprDupr. You can find Freedom's current single "Cuddly Toy" on cdbaby.com or on his site houseofreedom.com
May 14, 2006 WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF ABRIGHTMUSIC
There's lots to see here, so kick back & stay a while. For instance, if you go to dates, you'll be able to see what Chris and I are up to on a weekly basis, if we're playing anywhere and who with. In news, you can get the all the info on our latest projects, who we're writing with or producing, any press. In case you didn't know, Chris and I have been working on a record for the last 3 years and finally it's ALMOST finished. We're so proud of this offering and hope all our friends, old and new, will go out and buy it (in a few months if you click on buy, you'll be able to purchase your very own albright cd right from home). This music is a departure for us artistically, but we felt like it was time for a change and the change feels right. It's soulful, it's bluesy, there's an experimental feel to some of it, in that we played with a lot of elements, though overall it is a soul/r&b record, or maybe it's a jazz/hip hop record, I don't know. It just has a warm, laid back, ride in your car feel to it. We hope you like it!
For all my VIVID people, there's something on the cd for you too, but hang tight cuz' we'll definitely be doing more rock stuff in the future. Also, since so many of you ask if there is a VIVID cd and there isn't one yet (sorry), there are a few VIVID tracks in the music section, along with some other goodies we think you'll like so be sure & check it out.
Stop back often, cuz' we're busy at work on lots of things and have so much exciting stuff lined up. One of the things we'll be working on is a cd for Jenny. Those of you who know me surely know Jenny Douglas-McRae, as we are practically one anothers shadow. Jenny is an amazing singer-songwriter whom we hope to start work with early next year. For those of you who don't know her, she's worked with Janet Jackson, Joe Cocker, and Glenn Lewis to name just a few.
Chris has started work on his solo offering as well and knowing Chris that'll be a real eclectic mish-mosh of rock/hip-hop/electronica Just about everyone we know is talented and I mean EVERYONE, so if you're looking for an outlet reach out to us. We're usually in the middle of 3 or 4 projects at a time and always need a good song, a good lyric, or just a plain old good idea. It really is amazing what the internet allows people to do! It gives all of us who normally wouldn't have a way to reach people, an outlet and a voice! Thanks for checkin' in, PEACE&LOVE
February 03, 2006 QUESTIONS..
we've gotten some letters from people asking where the name "albright" came from. albright is my maternal grandmothers maiden name, and in fact, i was named after her. for as long as i can remember she wrote short stories and poetry but was never published though it was her life's dream. naming our band albright felt like a fitting way to remember her for her writing and for her love of words. She in turn passed that love on to me...