The dead of winter hasn’t hit NYC yet but the lineup for the Essence Music Festival has us dreaming of warmer weather and beignets. Every year the EMF is held in New Orleans on Fourth of July weekend to celebrate black music and culture. Brandy, Jill Scott, Maxwell and Keyshia Cole are scheduled to hit the stage for the 19th annual event that takes over the city for four days.
Eight stages will rock with a myriad of artists including LL Cool J, New Edition and Charlie Wilson; and crowds will gather around smaller stages for Mint Condition, Blackstreet, Big Daddy Kane and others. Essence Music Festival is a big deal–“one of the most important forums for non-hip-hop black music and culture” according to the New York Times.
Last summer VH1 flew to New Orleans for the food, music and culture of the city and event. One of The Top 5 Most Entertaining Moments was Dru Hill reuniting on stage! How’s that for a trip down memory lane? Summer, we miss you. Come again soon.
Jill Scott, Keyshia Cole and Brandy to Headline 2013 Essence Festival [New York Times]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Alicia Keys and Maxwell on a record together sounds like pure joy. “Fire We Make” is the latest single to drop from Alicia’s forthcoming Girl On Fire, and it sounds exactly like its title. Alicia opens the track with breathy vocals. It’s airy almost to the point of a whisper, only her voice is anything but quiet. Maxwell takes over the second verse with his beautiful high pitched range–his signature. Read more…
As we’ve been noting all week, it’s
Coitus Cuffin’ Season, and there’s an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. As you woo your Cuff targets over the next few months, it’s important to stay confident and keep your eye on the prize. Flowers and romantic candlelit dinners are cute and all, but if you’re looking to successfully procure a lasting relationship partner who’s not shy in the bedroom, you’ve got to make sure that you’re ready to, borrowing wisdom from Cuban Link, make it hotter than lava when you climb up in the cama.
Don’t worry, you got this! And if you’re a smidge apprehensive, I got you. Monday we made some suggestions for dealing with Hopeless Romantics, and yesterday we brought up the topic of reeling-in the Distracted Workaholics. Today’s lesson though, is a bit more intimate. And naughty. And for you conventional types, potentially offensive. Below you’ll find Doin’ It Well: Bagging A No-Holds-Barred Freak, a Spotify playlist molded to rev your sexual engines in preparation for what happens “Between The Sheets.”
On the surface, Maxwell’s “Fistful of Tears” comes off as a song that’s urging a woman to shake her unnecessary insecurities and, in the process, perhaps save him some unnecessary grief. Lyrics like “all you got to do is raise up, face up, stay up, all things will heal” make sense under that context and resonate deeply, so when the sultry singer revealed to our VH1 Storytellers audience that the song’s inspiration was actually drawn from the war in the Middle East, we were taken aback. But as he explains in the above sneak, Maxwell’s song-writing is a “three-prong experience,” alllowing him to apply (1) what he’s going through personally, (2) what he sees going on in the world, and (3) what he hopes the listener will get out of it, and therefore, our previous interpretation may still stand.
Before performing the powerful ballad in this clip, Maxwell candidly opens up about his opinions on the “religious war” that has been waged by the US, advocating a peaceful coexistence for all. “I hate the fact that we’re fighting, I can’t wait for the troops to come back,” said the R&B veteran, adding, “If your God is name this, and my God is named that, I’m cool.” And despite the fact that Max hates to name drop, he delivered this information via a story about being in the studio with Mary J. Blige and Anthony Hamilton, taming his somewhat reclusive mystique and making the story all-the-more juicy. Just as we were nodding our heads in new-found understanding, however, the soul singer brought us back full circle, noting that the song is also about trying to show someone “how great they are, when they can’t see how great they are.” A-ha! Not only was our original theory right after all, but it seems Maxwell also stayed true to his trusty three prongs– touching on both his life and world observations, all while allowing us to decode and evaluate for ourselves.
The perfect man does not exist in reality, but if he did, he?d probably be a little sumthin? sumthin? like Maxwell. Harnessing the perfect concoction of modesty, confidence and unapologetic vulnerability (and did we mention the voice of an angel?), it?s no surprise that the soulful singer/songwriter maintains a fan base that is notorious for teeter-tottering into obsession. Last night, in a warm, packed room full of cooing and swooning in East Harlem, Maxwell brought the house down during a performance that, according to him, was literally ?fifteen years in the making.?
“We share a birthday,” announced VH1 Storytellers Executive Producer and show creator Bill Flanagan to the room of sweat-glistened super-fans during the taping?s introduction. And we do! Just as VH1 celebrates fifteen years of Storytellers, Maxwell celebrates the same milestone of time for surviving in the music industry- an achievement that started off when he was only a teenager. Making disclaimers about being nervous, scared, and reluctant to comfortably discuss his craft, the charismatic singer joked that he wished Oprah was there to help him verbalize his thoughts, openly confessing “this is not my forte” at the onset. But as he began knocking out a set list that was heavy with double-platinum, debut album Maxwell?s Urban Hang Suite tracks, ?Max? from Brooklyn, New York? loosened up quickly, comparing the experience to being on Twitter (but with real avatars), and began to discuss the moments in his career that birthed the baby-making music he?s heralded for.
Music lovers, rejoice! We’re bringing back one of our most popular music franchises, VH1 Storytellers, for its fifteenth season. And this time around, you’ll notice that the artists have a decidedly more indie slant than they have in previous years (which, considering Arcade Fire’s surprise triumph at the Grammys this weekend, makes perfect sense). Read all about it in this press release that just went out a few minutes ago…
VH1 ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR 15TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON OF ICONIC MUSIC SERIES VH1 STORYTELLERS PREMIERING THIS SPRING
Featured Artists Include Kings of Leon, Cee Lo Green, Death Cab For Cutie, Maxwell, My Morning Jacket and Ray LaMontagne
New York, NY, February 16, 2011 – VH1 announced today its lineup for the 15th anniversary season of the renowned music franchise VH1 Storytellers. Featured bands and artists this season will include Cee Lo Green, Death Cab For Cutie, Kings of Leon, Maxwell, My Morning Jacket and Ray LaMontagne. Hailing back to the show – ??s early roots, the new season will aim to provide a truly personal showcase for some of the greatest songwriters of today. The VH1 Storytellers music specials focus on the anecdotes, artistic musings and stories that inspired the artists and their music. These performers aren – ??t afraid to tell all as they expose the most intimate details of their creative process for the audience. Kings of Leon will kick off the new season of VH1 Storytellers beginning this May.