Your Music My World

We recently caught up with singer/songwriter Kevin Ross who is celebrating the success of his first indie single Looking For Love, which was the #1 added song on Adult R&B radio and continues to rise. In our new interview with Kevin, we talk to him about his recent change with going the Indie route, surviving the pandemic, and what he has in store for the future.

YMMW: Last year the world took a pause due to the global pandemic, being an artist and songwriter what were some of the challenges you’ve experienced with staying in a creative and metal headspace?

Kevin Ross: Honestly, when It hit I had taken a month or two to figure out what the hell was going on, so I wasn’t doing much creating. I was calling people checking in. What I will say what it allowed me to do was to be more vulnerable and connect more once I understood that we were going to be shut down for a while so, it allowed me to engage with people a lot more.

YMMW: Nowadays being an indie artist have more opportunities with getting their music out than it was before the social media and streaming days. Talk to us about what being an indie artist means to you? And what advice would you give an up-and-coming artist who’s going in the indie artist?

Kevin Ross: I would think the biggest thing being indie means for me is artistic freedom, being able to understand your brand and your business, understanding your worth, and understanding how to monetize it as well. That would also be my biggest advice to any up-and-coming artist is to understand your worth, before you partner up with anybody. You have to understand the power you have before you give it away, so that would be my advice.

YMMW: Your new single Looking for Love was the #1 added song on Adult R&B continues to rise on Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay charts. With going the indie route tell us How are you feeling about the success this single is doing, and what was the inspiration for this single?

Kevin Ross : It’s expensive (Laughs) but no, it feels great! We’re competitors with major labels who have the major label dollars, but the power of music and the power of belief within my team and being able to go after the things we desire because we understand it’s a bigger picture. You know I say this all the time to my team “For the things that we can’t control and the things we can’t handle for the rooms we can be in God will speak on our behalf and I truly believe in that and I stand in that because it’s just certain things that are just out of our hands. People are going to come around when they come around but at the end of the day it’s all about divine alignment and once you get that alignment in place that’s when you start to see things change in your life and the product of Looking for love is an example of that.  The inspiration for this single the core of it is accountability. It’s a temporary love story and it’s just saying whether it’s a male or female it’s like you can’t ask for something you’re not ready for. If you say you want a man that’s this and that or a woman that is like this and that, and you’re still out here in these streets. So when that man or woman approaches you, you’re not even ready mentally or physically ready for what you asked for. So this song is a story about a man who is actually ready to commit and his woman is not, she pretending like she is. So he’s holding her accountable.

YMMW: I like that, a lot of people sing about love either it’s about a love gone wrong or being in love you never hear a song where someone is not really ready for the type of love they ask for so I love the direction you took that song. With looking for love out single and video out and having its success, do you have a follow-up single planned? If so what can you tell us about this new single?

Kevin Ross: Oh yea we have a collaboration coming soon, it’s called Wave Runner featuring Rotimi and Afro B, so it will be my first R&B/Afrobeat song. I’m grateful to these brothers for hopping on this record and really bringing it to life. I’m truly excited about it. Drive 2 comes out on October 29th right at the end of October. I’m excited for everybody to get it into these vibes. It’s been a lot of growth for me as an artist and a businessman.

YMMW: Speaking of Drive 2 . Tell us more about this project and what fans can expect.

Kevin Ross: Drive 2 it’s more of an all-purpose kind of record meaning, you can wake up in the morning and play it straight through or you can go to sleep at night and play it straight through. You can play this record at any time, you know you have those records where you’re like Ah I’ll only play this when I go to the club or when it’s sleepy time or whatever. This record is truly an all-purpose kind of vibe so I’m very excited for people to take it in just to see what they think and to see where I’m at. The beauty of music is subjective so everybody’s not going to like it but for the people who are into it, I just hope that it serves their lifestyle and they have a couple of songs to add to the soundtrack of whatever at in life.

YMMW: You mentioned your song Waverunner with Rotimi will you have any other collaborations on the album or are you keeping that a secret for now?

Kevin Ross: You know what honestly, I was grateful to get those two, It’s interesting when you reach out to other artists sometimes when you reach out to other artists it can get a little tricky. Everybody’s either releasing around the same time or whatever the case may be but, as It stands because this record is being mastered now but as it stands it’s just Rotimi and Afro B on there, which is fine because I don’t do too many features so to get these two it’s awesome, but I’m looking to collaborate with whoever wants to work.

YMMW: You’ve worked with a lot of legends such as Trey Songz, Nicki Minaj, SWV, Toni Braxton, and Johnny Gill who have had longevity in the music industry. As an artist what were some of the things you’ve learned from them that you’ve used in your own career?

Kevin Ross: Trey’s work ethic is on another level in the sense of his ability to balance, to be able to live life but also to work extremely hard. With an OG like Johnny Gill he’s a comedian he is funny as hell honestly so for him it’s like not take life too seriously while you’re still grinding you can still have fun and you can laugh even when things aren’t all the way right. SWV those are three incredibly independent songwriting women who know what they want and understand why they’re successful and the reason why their legacy works is because of the fact they understand each other and understand what role they pay as far as keeping the group together and I think that’s very important, I’m not in a group for as far as a team everybody understanding their role. With Tank his resilience in a sense of despite everything the narrative of his career in the sense of him catching his biggest record 15 years into the business says a lot of him being patient waiting. Of course, he’s written number one records and classics but to have written your own that’s just a sign of resilience. Each artist I have worked with possesses something truly successful.

 

YMMW: You’re the owner of your own label Art Society Music Group, tell us more about what having ownership over your music means to you, and What are some of the advantages and struggles that you’ve experienced with running your own label?

Kevin Ross: I’ll start with the struggles first, the struggle is that now you have to delegate your power to other people you have to trust other people to get things done, it’s like these are my babies take care of them you know? Also, when it’s time for you to release an album and you’re doing production agreements and signing off on writer splits all that stuff you really get to see people’s characters as well. It’s like are you going to stick to what we agreed to over the phone or are you going to switch up once your lawyer is involved. With major labels, you’re just like I wrote the record and perform it y’all take care of the rest but, being the Owner you have to make sure taking care of the well-being of that. Usually, with major labels, they take care of all of that stuff, with being the owner you have to make sure every step of the process is being taken care of so that you can take care of the people that are there for you. The great success and the positive of it is you get to see what you’re actually making I noticed I was making more than what I was told. You also get to learn more beyond streams you get to know more about licensing and you get to know how s Terrestrial radio and satellite radio it’s so many different avenues where the masters of your records can go and that’s the major positive it’s like when you’re making this money are you investing back into yourself are you betting on yourself are you doing the things that need to be done to grow and to prosper cause as in indie you wait to be able to sail and to grow into a sizable company. That’s where it all starts the master and the investment and investing back into yourself when you see a great return, so I think it’s a lot of upsides more than it is the negative that you can enjoy as an indie artist. It’s a grind it’s work but if it’s working that encourages you to push forward.

YMMW: With working with the great artist, you have worked with so far, who are some artists that you would love to collaborate with or write for that you haven’t yet?

Kevin Ross:  I’m down to work, it doesn’t necessarily matter who it is or I just love the process of collaborating.

YMMW: I would say my favorite coloration you’ve done is the one with you and Jade Novah for the song Bulletproof.  I love that song

Kevin Ross: Ah yes, I remember that day I remember that day more than I do recording the song to be quite honest all kudos and love to Jade and her husband Devin they already had the song done so when they asked me It wasn’t like I had to write anything I just had to come in and sing. We recorded out in California, they brought me into the vegan lifestyle, we had vegan tacos and a whole lot of tequila. That’s the thing I look forward to not the tequila (laughs) more so the collaboration the memories that you make getting to know these people on a different level. It allowed me to have a greater appreciation for your fellow artist, your peers.

YMMW: With the world slowly opening up again will you be heading on the road to tour anytime soon to promote Drive 2?

Kevin Ross: My ass is on the road now! I just got off-road like two or three days ago, I was in Chicago we did a show out there in City winery. We have a show in Oakland on October 13th. We have a show in Houston on October 15th. We have a show in Wilmington Delaware on October 29th. Then we have a show in DC on November 5th and then we have a show in Atlanta on November 20th. It’s certain dates that we are filling out and making it make sense, but we are back on the road already we just getting prepared for 2022. All these shows we are doing we are working out the kinks while we are on stage.

YMMW: With covid going on have you seen any differences doing shows pre-covid to now?

Kevin Ross: Its big differences especially in the market that I serve I’m doing 300-500 seaters so it’s a lot more intimate than festivals, so for these things it’s a lot of covid restrictions so you got to be vaccinated or you have to have a test that you can prove you are covid free. It’s a different kind of energy going into it where you may not keep everybody coming out because of their personal preference about how they want to handle the vaccine or how they want to handle anything when it pertains to their bodies when it comes to the pandemic, so you have to respect that. Also making sure that you’re one of the front runners as an artist despite however I may feel or whatever my thoughts are, as an artist it is my duty to be vaccinated it’s my duty to get the boosters. I may not necessarily completely agree but if I’m going to be traveling city to city I don’t want to pose myself as a super spreader. If someone’s auntie or grandma comes to see me I don’t want to be the reason If I sing to them or touch their hand that they are In the hospital because of me. We have to as artists and performers we are in the service industry and not in a bad way, but we are here to serve the people. We get paid to be of service. We are people that move around quite a lot and we can be high risk to anyone, so we have to do what we need to do and think about the people we are around and think about their families. We just have to change our mindset as artists and forget all that conspiracy theory stuff. I’ve lost people to covid and so have others. These strains are real and it’s up to us about where we are going to do about it.

 

 

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KIRBY plays a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.

While we all are still home, rising artists Kirby and Baby Rose continue to serenade us as they both performed a 3 setlist for NPR’s Tiny Desk Home Concert. If you’re not familiar with these ladies you may remember their songs as their music has appeared on this season of Insecure.

Baby Rose kicked things off yesterday as she performed her songs “Pressure,” “Marmot” and “Show You.”
then today Kirby’s at home concert dropped as she performed Kool Aid,” “Apple” and “Velvet” (feat. Lucky Daye). Check out both performances below.

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Known for crafting hit for a huge range of artists from Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and more. While creating hits for others, Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony also make up the group Louis York. Since creating the duo group in 2015, the two have released their EP trilogy Masterpiece Theater Act I, Act II, and Act III. Back in October Louis York unleashed their full-length LP The American Griots. A few weeks back we got a chance to speak to hitmakers, Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony as they spoke about their new album and more. Check out the interview below.

YMMW: Right now, in music, it feels like a lot of artists especially new artists are afraid to make a new sound and try something different for Louis York’s debut project American Griots you guys were not afraid to step outside the box. Tell us about the process when making this album and the story Louis York wanted to for the debut project?

Louis York: The reason we joined forces to become Louis York was to operate without fear. Too much is done to please critics rather than move the people. We wanted to add to the solution, not the problem. We approached our debut album, American Griots, with the intention of getting all the music we hear in our heads out into the world. That meant beautiful melodies, poetry, chord changes, horn arrangements, live strings, undeniable hooks, soulful grooves. We are making the music we craved and couldn’t find. It’s light music.

YMMW: As successful songwriters and writing for a lot of artists, how does Louis York create the fresh sound that we heard on American Griots without sounding like anything we heard on the radio?

Louis York: We are fans of music, FIRST. Writing for some of the biggest artists in the world was like getting a master’s degree in music creation. We learned from the very best how to create memorable music that also makes you feel something real. We also are students of all kinds of music so it was our goal with our own album to create something that the world is missing.

YMMW: You both have written and produced many hits for a lot of huge stars, do you both feel that standards are set higher or there is more pressure for songwriters and producers who step out from behind the scene to becoming the artist? 

Louis York: There is definitely a lot of pressure for us to be great but that pressure doesn’t come from outside opinions. As the masterminds behind some well-known songs, it would be ridiculous if we didn’t bring the heat for our own artistry. That’s why we are our biggest critics. We are not interested in repeating trends or being cookie-cutter artists so we work extra hard to be excellent. People know of us for amazing music & storytelling, it’s our job to keep raising the bar. I think we are doing that.

YMMW: I saw you both make a cameo on Love and Hip Hop Hollywood talking to K.Michelle about her country music. Will you both be working with K.Michelle on her country project?  

Louis York: We love K. Michelle and have known her for years. We’ve been talking about her country roots for years so we’re glad the world got to see that side of all of us on Love & Hip-Hop. We’ll absolutely be getting in the studio with her to make that dream a reality…K doing country has the potential to be massive.

YMMW: Speaking of country music, we all seen Lil Nas X break barriers in country music, but we haven’t seen any black women take over country music like that yet, do you guys think black women can break into country music? 

Louis York: A black woman can and WILL break into country. Nashville is diversifying every day. It’s taken a long time and it ain’t easy but it will happen. We are at the frontlines of that effort. We live in Franklin, TN and moved our company Weirdo Workshop here to be a part of that change.

YMMW: Now that American Griots is out what else can we see coming from Louis York? Can fans expect a tour?  

Louis York: American Griots is still only our debut album. We will definitely be touring this music, and sharing our stories. We also have many new projects mapped out in our heads so there is always new art coming! This is the beginning of the journey.

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Last year B2K had fans returning back to their childhood when they announced the Millennium Tour. As we all are quarantined inside, B2K aims to give us all that nostalgic feeling as The Millennium Tour Live will air on Zeus network this Sunday.

This is one of the many projects Omarion has coming with his new partnership with Zeus to produce original and existing content from the singer. “We are excited to work with Omarion to bring original content, music, and entertainment to Zeus,” said the company’s President and CEO Lemuel Plummer. “Zeus is a pop-culture platform that continues to push the envelope to bring the best in entertainment to our audience. By working with creators like Omarion, we are able to give our viewers relevant programming that keeps them coming back for more.” Check out the trailer below.

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In our last spotlight interview we spoke yo Dutch-born rising singer CIMO, this week we’re shining a light on singer/dancer Jess Lamarre. As she gears up to release her debut EP Phases of Love, we caught up with this rising talent to talk more about her new music, her background in the industry and more.

YMMW: To a lot are new to you but you have been in the industry for a while. Tell us about your upcoming in music and dance, and what artists have influenced you growing up?

JESS: I’ve been singing and dancing since I was a little girl. I started training in dance at 3 and realized that I had the gift of singing at around 7 or 8. I grew up wanting to perform like Micheal Jackson and sing like Whitney Houston. My siblings and I would make up dances and perform in front of the family so I knew then, that I wanted to be a performer, and I kept at it. It hasn’t always been easy and sometimes a struggle, but you have to keep on believing in yourself. I’m influenced by so many, but to name a few… Micheal Jackson, Janet Jackson Sade, Aaliyah, Selena and Charlie Wilson. I also love listening to gospel.

YMMW: You worked with the legendary Mariah Carey and Charlie Wilson, what was the experience like working with the both of them and what lessons have learned from them with having longevity in music?

JESS: Yes the living legends! lol. It is and was a blast being able to work with them. I did one show with Mariah but I grew up loving her music so it was a “pinch me” experience. I tour with Charlie so I’m able to learn and experience more closely with him. Both Mariah and Charlie have been in the industry for years and have seen the ups and downs of the business. Who better to learn from? It takes a certain resilience to be in this industry and you simply have to do it because you love it. It’s like survival of the fittest – if you enjoy it and love it deep enough, you’ll withstand the ups and downs of it. I also think it’s important to have a great team behind you.

YMMWW: You’re working on a debut project titled Phases of Love, tell us more about your debut and the sound we can expect to hear?

JESS: Yes “Phases of” will be my first solo music baby. I’m very excited for people to hear the music and enjoy it. You can expect to relate, being that I’m singing mostly about the ups and downs of relationships. The sound for this particular project is R&B/Pop. I’m influenced by a lot, like my Haitian background and dancing skills so I try my hardest to make sure my music reflects that.

YMMW: With Phases of Love coming out next year what producers and songwriters have you worked with on it?

JESS:I had the pleasure of writing and working with the Hitbangaz who connected me to some amazing producers, Smurv, Davix and Sean 2 Miles. I’ve also collaborated with two other dope writers Que Sylve and The Art Teacher out of Atlanta, Ashley Rose, and producer Tim Boski from Detroit. All of them are so incredibly talented.

YMMW: There are a lot of new artists these days but only a few get attention from big streaming companies such as Apple Music and Shazam, How does it feel to be recognized companies such as these and getting such a great response on your new single Contact?

JESS: It makes me feel like I’ve achieved something. I’m very proud of that and humbled by it. There are so many new and upcoming artist in the world and they chose me to highlight. So it feels great and makes me want to work harder.

YMMW: What do you want fans to know about Jess Lamarre and who you are as an entertainer?

JESS: I want all the people that have been supporting me since day one to know that I appreciate them so much, their support keeps me going. As an entertainer, I’ve always looked as my pursuit in music being bigger than myself. I do it for the people who need to feel inspired, loved and not alone, so it’s much bigger than me.

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As we continue to shed more light on upcoming artists, we recently caught up with Cimo Frankel. Cimo already has a huge following overseas but now, the dutch born singer is breaking into the US scene. Already making a mark by working with Darkchild and his new song with ARTY. Cimo spoke about what we can expect and more.

YMMW:Back in June, you released your EP Stay the Night, talk to us more about this project and your influence behind it.

CIMO: Some songs are written a long time ago and some are brand new, some are vibey and others are dancy and catchy even though I feel like they go well together. Expect an 80s/90s feel with a modern twist on all of the records.

YMMW:This past summer you headlined a show in London in association with Live Nation, tell us more about that night and what was that experience like.

CIMO:It was amazing, I love up close & personal shows like this. I could really connect with the audience. The guitarist really followed my lead on impulsive modifications to the songs. I felt at home on that stage.

YMMW: As a Dutch-born singer who recently located to LA, what are some of the challenges you have experienced and overcome with making your mark in the US music industry?

CIMO: The US industry is way bigger so that is a huge challenge. On the other hand, for that same reason, there is more room for new artists. It’s a higher mountain to climb but what’s life without challenges.

YMMW: The video game Fortnite which is a massive video game, what was your reaction when you found out your music was going to be featured on the game?

CIMO: That was incredible. It was a song I never expected to come back in such a huge way. I thought the ship had sailed on that song. A big surprise.

YMMW: Just last week your collaboration with ARTY, how did that collaboration come about and what was it like working on that song with ARTY?

CIMO: I wrote the song with Sophie Hintze and my songwriting partner Rik Annema. Him on guitar, me on vocals like a folky pop song. Sophie sent it to Arty’s manager. We met a couple of times in Amsterdam and LA before this release and are working on other stuff now too. It’s fun working with Arty and his team because they really appreciate heartfelt songs and don’t care too much about the whole formulated industry. Arty can turn an acoustic song into an EDM record without destroying its heart.

YMMW: We know you’re working with Darkchild who has worked with everybody from Brandy, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson and more. What is it like working with him and tell us about the music you have been working on with him?

CIMO: It is such an unbelievable honor working with a legend like this. We have been working on a couple of records for pitch that I really love. Pop/R&B stuff. I look forward to working with him again.

YMMW: Tell us about some of the projects you have coming out in the future and what can fans expect to hear to see soon.

CIMO: I am working on solo records that are more moody, I have been experimenting with big Q&A type backing vocals. I also wanna make another dance-able record so I will definitely work on that in the near future too

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Music has a new artist bubbling on the scene and her name is Janine The Machine. Hailing from Detroit, MI, Janine recently released her debut EP High Places produced by Tricky Stewart. We recently caught up with JTM as she talked about her start in music, being signed to Tricky Stewart’s RedZone Entertainment and more.

YMMW: You recently released your debut EP High Places, as a new artist what does this EP mean to you and what will new fans learn most about you after listening to High Places?

JTM: High Places is my introduction to the world! I love it because it shows so many different sides of my personality. Women are complex…multifaceted. We’re not just the sexy girl or the tomboy, or the boss chick…we can be all three. There are like 5 personalities inside me at any given time, so on this project, I really got to be myself and let all those characters out! I want new fans to know that I am authentic. I write my own songs so when you hear my music, you’re really hearing me.

YMMW: Not only are you a singer but you also own the studio from writing, engineering, and mixing your own vocals. With having those skills do you feel they have helped you better craft your own sound as a new artist and knowing what you want when collaborating with other producers and artists?

JTM: Absolutely! If you don’t take control of your life, someone else will do it for you. That applies to music as well. You have to be the master of your sound.

YMMW: You’re also signed with Tricky Stewart’s imprint RedZone Entertainment. How did you guys meet and what was it like working someone who’s produced songs with big names such as Rihanna, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, work with you on your debut EP.

JTM: Working with Tricky is amazing! We met through my good friend Raja Kumari. Raja’s a really dope artist signed to Epic. I flew to Atlanta to write with her for her project…that’s where I met Tricky. We immediately connected on a musical level and next on a business level- which is why we decided to create a partnership!

YMMW: High Places has a lot of summertime bops on it such as Origami, Classy, Manana, and Gully. Which song would you say is your favorite from your debut EP.

JTM: All of them are my favorites! They’re like my babies…you wouldn’t choose one kid over the other, would you? I’m kidding! I think I have a different favorite depending on the mood I’m in. I’ve been playing “Origami” a lot lately.

YMMW: A few weeks ago, you released the video for Manana, can fans expect to see any more videos coming out soon? If not which song from your debut EP would you love to make a video for?

JTM: I’m creating a visual for every song from the project. I have so many cool ideas swirling around in my head, I can’t wait to share them with the world!

YMMW: Now that your debut EP is out, what else can we expect to see and hear from Janine The Machine in the future?

JTM: You can expect creativity and innovation…but most of all, you can expect greatness!

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Hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan, brothers Ayleo and Mateo Bowles (a.k.a. AYO and TEO) have been dancing and competing at dance since elementary school. Influenced by greats such as Michael Jackson, Usher, Missy Elliot and Chris Brown, the duo quickly developed their own unique brand of dancing and began to upload Youtube videos from their basement and living room. With zero promotion, and strictly through the power of social media, they began to gain mass appeal by creating and having their “dance challenges” reposted to some of Instagram’s most popular dance pages.

Recognizing this as their main outlet, the youngest brother (Teo) created what has become a instant phenomenon and their moniker – “THE REVERSE”. Simply reversing the steps to some of world’s best dance crazes, their Reverse of the “Nae Nae” went viral overnight, on every posted outlet, and received over 150 MILLION VIEWS! Kicked off by with a number of pics and vids reposted by Chris Brown, the two are now rubbing elbows and sharing stages with the very people that influenced them the most. Most recently being invited and flown out to perform by Usher himself, the boys shared the 2016 BET Awards stage with the r&b phenom.

A video posted by 1 YOU ❤️ 2 HATE (@chrisbrownofficial) on

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As the year is coming to an end we all are celebrating the holidays with our friends and families. Some of us make those New Year’s resolutions that most people never keep. Myself, on the other hand, take this time to look back on the music of the year and which songs stood out the most to me. I don’t pick my stand out songs based on how many views the song has on Youtube, what number it is currently sitting on the Billboard charts or how many times we’ve all heard the same song on the radio. Nope! This list is just based off the love I have for music. Every artist I am about mention impacted my musical journey of 2015. Check out part 1 below.

1. Bryson Tiller – Don’t
Before this song became the huge radio hit that is today, I remember hearing Don’t on apple music R&B station. It was something about this song that was so different from the music on my phone and the radio. When I flipped my phone over I was introduced to Bryson Tiller. Don’t began to rise up the charts and brought more listeners wanting to know more about this young singer from Louisville, Kentucky. On October 2nd Bryson released debut solo album Trap soul, if you want to know what Bryson has to offer besides Don’t, check out his other stand out tracks like Exchange and Right My Wrongs.

2. Erykah Badu – Cel U Lar Device (HotLine Bling Remix)
Not just anybody can remix a song that was remixed from another song and still make a hot and unique song out of it? Erykah Badu did exactly just that when released Cel U Lar her version of Drake’s hotline Bling. Infusing the song with her signature Baduizm and recruiting her son to co-write the song, Erykah made is all forget this song was even a booty call anthem.

3. Kehlani – You Should Be Here
2015 was a huge year for singer/songwriter Kehlani, as she released her second mixtape “You Should Be Here,” which had lot of people opening their eyes and ears to this young singer from Oakland California. We can expect a lot from Kehlani in 2016 as her mixtape was nominated for a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album and the singer’s debut album, is also slated to be released early next year as well.

4. Sevyn Streeter – Don’t Kill The Fun
If there is one artist out there that’s doing it all from singing, dancing and writing a hit songs, Sevyn Streeter definitely comes to mind. Since releasing her debut single I Like It back in 2012, Sevyn Streeter has been on a roll, establishing herself as an artist and behind the scenes as a songwriter. At the top of 2015 Sevyn released Don’t Kill The Fun, and when I first heart the full single I instantly feel in love with the song. What I love most about this song was that Sevyn was not afraid of bringing a different sound to mainstream music. Don’t Kill The Fun proved that Sevyn has a lot to offer musically and I cannot wait to see what she has to offer in 2016.

5. Dawn – Dance
Since Danity Kane disbanded for a second time in 2014, Dawn has not looked back since. The singer/songwriter got right back to her solo career and she did not disappoint. While wasting no time Dawn Released her sophomore album BlackHeart. A few months after releasing the album, Dawn was ready to start working on the final chapter of her Heart themed trilogy album. In September of 2015 Dawn unleashed her Ester Dean penned single “Dance,” which is a little more mainstream than what we are used to from Dawn’s solo music, but it works. Dawn did not stray to far away from the sound that fans love her for. If Dance is any indication of what we can expect to hear on Redemption Heart, this might be one of Dawn’s best album from the trilogy.

 

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The annual 2015 ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola®, , now among the largest consumer live events in the country with more than 550,000 attendees, today revealed the first round of its all-star line-up of performers for the nighttime concerts at the 21st annual celebration, taking place in New Orleans, LA, from July 2-5.

“On the heels of the ESSENCE Festival’s® epic 20th anniversary celebration in 2014, we’re delighted to announce a selection of the best artists and biggest names in entertainment who will take the stage at the Superdome this summer,’ said ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks. “From first-time Festival performer Kendrick Lamar to return appearances from fan favorites like Kevin Hart, Common and Mary J. Blige, the ESSENCE Festival® offers the definitive entertainment and cultural experience for our passionate ESSENCE Festival® community every Fourth of July weekend.”

Artists confirmed to perform at the 2015 ESSENCE® Festival nighttime concerts at the Superdome include:

Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige, India.Arie, Trombone Shorty, Floetry, Common, Erykah Badu, Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, Mystikal, Slick Rick, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Nico & Vinz, Lianne La Havas, Elle Varner, Esperanza Spalding, SZA, Dee-1, Tonya Bond Cannon, Leon Bridges, Andra Day, Kelly Price, Raheem DeVaughn, Mali Music, Eric Roberson, Teedra Moses, Avery*Sunshine, Kindred The Family Soul, Goapele, Robert Glasper, Tweet, Jeff Bradshaw, Bilal, Tank & The Bangas and more to be announced soon.

Plus ESSENCE® Now Playing presents Kevin Hart’s WHAT NOW? Tour, Thursday, July 2. Tickets go on-sale Wednesday, February 25.

Comedians Nephew Tommy from The Steve Harvey Morning Show and Luenell to host Festival weekend.

To Celebrate the 2015 Essence Festival® we are giving away tickets to this year’s concert. The prize will be for pair of tickets for the Thursday night show (Kevin Hart, Lecrae, Trey Songz), for one winner and a friend. *Travel or lodging is not provided* All you have to do is write in the comments below or simply tweet us @YrMusicMyWorld using the hashtag  #ESSENCEFEST winners for this contest will be selected by June 26.