Tag: Spotify

MUSIC MONDAY: That’s What Friends Are For: Stevie Wonder Duets (LISTEN)

As Good Black News continues its month-long tribute to Stevie Wonder in his 70th year on planet Earth, Marlon West has compiled a new Spotify playlist celebrating the times Wonder has graciously and successfully shared the spotlight with other artists.

Although Wonder’s collaborative skills are most famously remembered from the 1986 Grammy-winning chart topper “That’s What Friends Are For” with Dionne Warwick, Elton John and Gladys Knight that raised over $3 million dollars for AIDS research and prevention, he’s been at it for decades with a wide variety of artists and in the name of so many worthy causes and ideas.

Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney (photo via libraryofcongress.gov)

This playlist ranges from Stevie’s work with the Queen of the Beyhive (Beyoncé) on a heartfelt Luther Vandross tribute, to his duet with a former Beatle (Paul McCartney) to confront racism, a reworking one of his best-loved love songs with a Canadian diva (Celine Dion), to a loving back-and-forth with his first-born daughter (Aisha Morris, who famously made her debut on 1976’s “Isn’t She Lovely” when still a baby).

In Marlon’s words:

Hello and Happy Monday, you all! Stevie Wonder is one if the most distinctive and prolific voices in popular music. He is a singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist.

The brotha is one of greatest solo artists and bandleaders of our times. That said, Stevie Wonder has made many collaborations with other artists. He’s done duets, been a guest artist, and even a session musician one dozens of records. This playlist is devoted to Stevie Wonder’s duets. Do enjoy!

And as always, stay safe, sane, and kind!

Open in Spotify

(FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)

GBN’s MERRY MONTH OF STEVIE: Cover Songs In The Key Of Life (LISTEN)

by Jeff Meier (FB: Jeff.Meier.90)

Ever since this writer was elementary school age and first becoming aware of music, I’ve been obsessed with the artistic connections created by “cover” versions (“remakes,” in layman’s terms).

My father and I would routinely spend a Saturday night pairing together interesting playlists for each other comprised of original versions and their remakes, usually trying to find versions as far apart musically from the originals as possible.

Several decades ago, this was very labor intensive – we had to go ‘digging in the crates’ through our own vinyl, and we had to actually know and remember that the cover version had been done. Piecing it all together was half the fun.

Today, with Spotify and the internet, it’s much much easier to uncover covers. Just type in the song name and often you’ll find hundreds of options to pick from, especially when we’re talking about Stevie Wonder, who has literally had thousands of remakes done of his songs.

So many versions, in fact, that it’s impossible to weed through them all. (According to SecondHandSongs.com, a website devoted to ‘cover’ songs, Stevie is the most covered R&B artist of all time.)

So with today’s Stevie Wonder playlist from GBN, I’ve limited myself to covers of songs from his landmark 1976 double album “Songs in the Key of Life.” “Songs in the Key of Life” capped a prolific mid-1970s golden era for Stevie Wonder, winning him a remarkable third Grammy for Album of the Year – all three of his wins coming in just four years!  Many lists feature “Songs” as one of the best albums of all-time.

You may ask – why should I listen to cover versions when the originals are so perfect? I certainly won’t argue with the originals’ perfection. And I don’t think that any of the artists here would argue either that their version supersedes Stevie’s own.

What I would say is that cover versions can do several things.  First, they evoke the true songwriting abilities underlying the original song – a great ‘song’ should be able to stand up to multiple interpretations.

Second, when the cover version is in a different genre (and these are the most interesting ones, usually) – they can bring the listener to new places musically that they may not have ventured before. Third, after hearing an iconic album so many times that it becomes almost second nature, it can be refreshing to hear it again in a new way.

In this playlist, we’ve got the entire ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ song list, in the same order as the original – with the four ‘bonus tracks’ from the extra single included in the original release added to the end.

Each song has only one extra version – and each covering artist is limited to just one track. The mix spans jazz, folk, rock, Latin, soul, dance music and many more, including Luther Vandross, Thelma Houston, Najee, Mary J. Blige and James Taylor‘s brother Livingston Taylor. There’s even a Spice Girl in there if you look for her!

We hope you enjoy it.

R.I.P. Rock and R&B Music Legend Little Richard, 87

Little Richard (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

Known by many as “The Architect of Rock and Roll,” Richard Wayne Penniman aka Little Richard, was a pioneer of the popular music that came to dominate in the 1950s and beyond.

With a fusion of blues, boogie woogie and gospel stylings, Little Richard helped create the sound that swept the United States and ultimately the world.

Songs like “Rip It Up,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” ‘Ready Teddy,” “Tutti Frutti” combined with his energetic, rousing performances helped Little Richard set the stage and the bar for any and all rock and R&B superstars that came after him. To quote a recent New York Times article, Little Richard offered “An Ecstasy You Couldn’t Refuse.”

In honor of his life’s work GBN Contributor Marlon West put together a Spotify playlist celebrating Little Richard.

In Marlon’s words:

Vernon Reid Twittered this tribute to the late great, Little Richard:

“No Jimi, No Beatles No Bowie, No Bolan. NO GLAM, No Freddie, No Prince, No Elton, No Preston No Sly, No Stevie, WITHOUT Little Richard! They DON’T HAPPEN Without HIM BLAZING A TRAIL IN THE DARK.”

Little Richard’s talent and audaciousness was the springboard to so many. Here’s a collection of his music, and of a wide range of artists who he influenced greatly.

Little Richard was a standard-bearer for being whoever the eff you want.”

Enjoy!

Open in Spotify

 

MUSIC MONDAY: Weekly Playlist From GBN – A Collection of Stevie Wonder Covers

GBN contributor Marlon West is back and on point with a Spotify playlist he calls “Can I Get A Witness: A Collection of Stevie Wonder Covers” that is guaranteed to entertain and surprise.

In Marlon’s words:

“I’m thrilled to take part in Good Black News’ monthlong celebration of Stevland Hardaway Morris aka Stevie Wonder’s 70th Birthday.

My first offering is this collection of him performing covers and standards. Stevie Wonder’s songs have provided the soundtrack to our lives. Though he has been able to make so many other songs “his own.”

Starting with his childhood idol, Ray Charles, here’s a collection of songs by a wide-ranging batch of artists including Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Cher, B.B. King, Glenn Miller, The Doors, The Supremes and so many others.

Do enjoy. Stay safe, you all and “see” ya next week! Take care!!”

The Merry, Merry Month of Stevie: GBN Honors Stevie Wonder All Month in Celebration of His 70th on May 13 (LISTEN)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

On May 13, 1950 a celestial event occurred: musical genius and living legend Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan, and the world has reaped the benefits ever since.

In commemoration of our collective extraordinary fortune, Good Black News is offering not just a day, but a month’s worth of Stevie Wonder-related content and playlists.

GBN contributors Jeff Meier (“The Clark Sisters”), whose brilliant idea this was, Marlon West (“Afrofuturism”, “Hidden Jazz Figures”“Soul Jazz”) and I will be posting eclectic playlists and words about Stevie in the coming days and weeks, starting with my all-encompassing, comprehensive thoughtpiece:

STEVIE WONDER IS THE BEST MUSICIAN AND SONGWRITER ALIVE!!!!!!

That’s it.

Stevie Wonder (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

As Stevie’s music speaks for itself, to kick off GBN’s tribute I offer an 80-track Spotify playlist of his Billboard Chart hits across six decades, in chronological order, from “Fingertips” from 1963 all the way through his 21st century hits from his last studio album, 2005’s “A Time To Love” so listeners can 1) hear the evolution of Stevie’s genius from child prodigy working in within the Motown sound to adult visionary who revolutionizes it and 2) hear all the hits you know and love (and some you don’t!) in one, grand compilation.

(Track 81, called “Stevie’s Dream” from Janelle Monae‘s “Dirty Computer” was not a chart hit, I know, but I added it as a “one to grow on” because it’s Stevie speaking about his mission in music and for the planet and it’s beautiful!)

Enjoy!

MUSIC MONDAY: Weekly Playlist From GBN – Soul Jazz from Herbie Hancock, MeShell Ndegeocello, Art Blakey and More (LISTEN)

GBN Contributor Marlon West is back again this week with his excellent curation of a sub-genre known as “Soul Jazz.”

In Marlon’s words:

“Heavily influenced by funk, gospel, and R&B, Soul Jazz emerged in the late 1950 and ‘60s. Artists like Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, and Art Blakey were not going to take the popularity of soul music laying down. They created music designed for jukeboxes of the time, and is still endlessly sampled and influential today.”

Enjoy!

(FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)

Bringing The Sunshine: GBN Offers Clark Sisters Playlist to Celebrate Lifetime Biopic Airing Tonight (LISTEN)

by Jeff Meier (FB: Jeff.Meier.90)

Of course, it would take a superstar group of powerful Black women to sell and make a movie about The Clark Sisters, the pioneering Detroit siblings who are now in their fifth decade of rocking the gospel music world.

Tonight’s “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” (airing on Lifetime at 8PM) comes from executive producers Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott, co-executive producer Holly Davis Carter, writer Camille Tucker and director Christine Swanson.

I had my own Clark Sisters experience while working as an executive at TV One back in 2007-08, where The Clark Sisters were the subjects of one of the very first episodes of network’s successful biography series “UnSung,” a show I developed and initially oversaw.

At the time, I generally knew enough about The Clark Sisters to recognize their breakthroughs in transforming the gospel music sound – and I felt that the world had not generally afforded them enough credit for that. But I didn’t know much else about their personal story and ended up fascinated by the conflicts and struggle, and of course, all the music.  It’s not a surprise to me that producer Carter said she’s been trying to make this movie for 15 years – it is a worthy story to tell.

In honor of this movie accomplishment, Good Black News offers a career-spanning Spotify playlist below to allow you to keep enjoying the patented Clark Sister Sound all weekend long.

The Clark Sisters Playlist was crafted to include most of the key hits from The Clark Sisters – as well as highlights from the solo careers of Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Twinkie Clark, and even from next generation Clark family gospel superstar Kierra Sheard (who plays her mom Karen in the movie). For good measure, there’s also a rare solo track from Jacky Clark-Chisholm (a duet with movie exec producer Blige), and a coda from Dr. Mattie Moss Clark herself.

Jacky, Denise, Elbernita (Twinkie), Dorinda, and Karen were the five daughters of Mattie Moss Clark, a pioneering gospel music figure herself, who while raising her daughters also served as a minister of music for the Church of God In Christ, first at the local level in Michigan, but eventually at the national level.

Continue reading “Bringing The Sunshine: GBN Offers Clark Sisters Playlist to Celebrate Lifetime Biopic Airing Tonight (LISTEN)”

MUSICAL MONDAYS: GBN Offers Weekly Playlists to Help Keep Spirits Up and Bodies Moving (LISTEN)

by GBN Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Even though Stevie Wonder wrote and sang the words above in his 1976 release “Sir Duke” from his classic “Songs in the Key of Life” double album, they are words that have been true since the formation of life and the sounds from it emerged on this planet.

In good times and bad, music remains an indelible part of our souls and our existence. So even now, as the entire world faces a sobering scourge in the form of a viral pandemic, music has the power to help us cope. Music can help us relax, rejoice, reflect, rejuvenate… revolutionize.

In recent weeks, Good Black News has offered playlists in celebration of legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Manu Dibango, Ellis Marsalis and Wallace Roney. They have been met with such warm response, GBN has decided to make playlist offerings a weekly feature.

So every Monday, expect to see a new playlist posted here on our main page as well as across any of our social platforms that support them or links to them (eg. FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest).

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)

Today’s list comes from GBN Contributor Marlon West and has that island flair, reminding us we’re all in this struggle together, everywhere. In Marlon’s words:

“Back again with a shelter-at-home playlist. Enjoy this batch of reggae classics. Stay sane, safe and healthy, y’all.

From your pal and selector, Marlon.”

(FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Spotify to Host Sound Up Bootcamp for Aspiring Female Broadcasters of Color

(Image: Shutterstock)

by Sequoia Blodgett via blackenterprise.com

With successful podcasts going mainstream like 2 Dope Queens, a show that was recently picked up by HBO, Spotify sees a clear market opportunity when it comes to this new space for content creation. Even with the success of the show, a recent study showed that only 22% of podcasts are hosted by women, and the number’s even smaller when it comes to women of color. Spotify wants to change that.

The company is hosting Sound Up Bootcamp, a weeklong intensive program for aspiring female podcasters of color. The event will take place June 25–29, 2018, at Spotify’s New York City offices and Spotify is hand-selecting 10 attendees who will learn about the art of podcast creation, from initial ideation to editing, producing, and marketing from experts in the field.

Spotify is covering all expenses from the five-day workshop, which will include panels, and activities around podcasting, led by experts and professionals. Travel to New York City, six nights of hotel, and breakfast and lunch each day are all included.

According to a recent release, attendees will have the chance to pitch their podcast ideas to a panel of experts and professionals on the final day and the top three pitches will have the pilot process funded, up to $10,000. All expenses for the week will be paid by Spotify.

Training for the week will be led by radio and podcast veterans Rekha Murthy and Graham Griffith. According to Spotify, the two hold combined experience of decades working with the industry’s top shows in both radio and podcasting. They want to help discover new voices, and aid podcasters in reaching new, large, and loyal fan bases.

Spotify is specifically targeting anyone who self-identifies as a woman of color, is passionate about podcasting, and has a great idea. They do not require prior experience, in fact, they are leaning toward first-time and amateur podcasters. “We’re looking for the best ideas,” they said in a statement. Attendees are required to participate in all five full days of programming, as well as after-hours events on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, including mixers and dinners.

All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 10, 2018.

The post Spotify is Looking for New Female Podcasters of Color appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Paypal, ApplePay, Spotify and Other Tech Companies Purge White Supremacist Groups from Their Platforms

by Jessica Yarvin via pbs.org

After the violent protests in Charlottesville, tech companies are rethinking their roles in providing online services for hateful groups. The fight is only beginning, as far-right groups and freedom of speech advocates have argued that tech companies are infringing on their first amendment rights by blocking their access to these services. For now, here are the companies who have taken steps to remove white nationalist and other hate groups from their platforms:

GoDaddy: The web domain name provider cut off the neo-nazi website The Daily Stormer, citing that the website had “crossed the line from exercising freedom of speech to provoking further mayhem.”

Apple Pay: On Wednesday, Apple Pay blocked websites that sell white nationalist merchandise, such as clothing with nazi symbols from using their payment services. A day earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees where he said “hate is a cancer” and announced donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Discord: Members of the “alt-right” movement, whose beliefs are a mix of white nationalism, neo-Nazism and extreme populism, flocked to this group messaging service due to it’s privacy and anonymity; however, after the violence in Charlottesville, the company booted white nationalist groups and users off the app. In the days leading up to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the New York Times reported that some white supremacists used the app to organize transportation to and lodging for the event.

Spotify: The music streaming service removed dozens of white supremacist artists that the Southern Poverty Law Center had identified as hate music.

Facebook: Citing violations of the company’s guidelines, Facebook banned eight pages associated with the white nationalist movement, along with the personal page and Instagram account of a white nationalist featured in the Vice News documentary about the Charlottesville rally. Continue reading “Paypal, ApplePay, Spotify and Other Tech Companies Purge White Supremacist Groups from Their Platforms”