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Aaliyah - One of the greatest artists of the 90's
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: golden era rb sensation aaliyah word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Signed to a recording contract at the age of 12, Aaliyah became an overnight R&B sensation. At the height of her stardom, a fatal plane crash ended her life.

Brooklyn-born Aaliyah Dana Haughton started voice lessons shortly after she learned to talk. Determined to be a star, she signed a contract with Jive Records at the age of 12 and came to popular acclaim in 1994. On her way home from a music video shoot in 2001, a plane crash killed Aaliyah and eight members of her film crew. She was 22 years old at the time of her death.

Singer and actress Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born on January 16, 1979, in Brooklyn, New York. Raised in Detroit, Michigan, the young singer competed unsuccessfully on the television program Star Search at age 11. Later that same year, she performed with R&B legend Gladys Knight, the former wife of her uncle and manager, Barry Hankerson, at a five-night stand in Las Vegas.

In 1994, at the age of 15, Aaliyah catapulted onto the R&B charts herself with her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing But a Number. Produced by the successful singer R. Kelly, the album quickly sold a million copies and eventually earned platinum status based largely on the success of two hit singles, "Back and Forth" and "At Your Best (You Are Love)." Later that year, tabloid reports surfaced claiming that the sultry teen singer had married the 27-year-old Kelly, but Aaliyah denied the union and the marriage was reportedly annulled.

Arts (she graduated in 1997), Aaliyah released her sophomore album, One in a Million (1996). Helmed by the well-known pop producer Timbaland and featuring rap performer Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, One in a Million portrayed the 17-year-old singer as a sultry hip-hop chanteuse with a self-confidence well beyond her years. The album garnered favorable reviews and sold two million copies.

Commercial Success

Aaliyah gained even more recognition in 1997 when she recorded "Journey to the Past," the Academy Award-nominated theme song to the animated feature Anastasia. She also performed the song for the Oscar telecast in 1998. Her next soundtrack effort, "Are You That Somebody?" for 1998's Dr. Dolittle, starring Eddie Murphy, went to No. 1 on the R&B charts, was a pop crossover hit, and earned Aaliyah her first Grammy Award nomination.

Budding Film Career

In 2000, Aaliyah made her acting debut in the surprise action hit Romeo Must Die, starring opposite martial arts star Jet Li in a Romeo and Juliet-inspired story set in modern-day Los Angeles. She was also an executive producer of the movie's soundtrack and performed the hit single "Try Again," which netted her a second Grammy nomination as well as two MTV Music Video Awards for Best Female Video and Best Video From a Film.

Her third album, Aaliyah, was released in July 2001 and reached No. 2 on the Billboard album chart. Also in 2001, she played the title role in Queen of the Damned, based on the bestselling novel by Anne Rice and set for release in 2002. She scored a major casting coup when she signed to appear in two upcoming sequels to the blockbuster sci-fi thriller The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne.

Tragic Death

Tragically, Aaliyah was killed on August 25, 2001, when a small Cessna passenger plane carrying the singer and her video crew crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Abaco Island in the Bahamas, where they had just completed work on a video. The plane was headed for Miami, Florida. Aaliyah and seven other people, including the pilot, were believed to have died instantly, while a ninth passenger died later at a Bahamian hospital. Aaliyah was 22 years old at the time of her death. She is survived by her parents, Diane and Michael Haughton, and an older brother, Rashaad.

Source: Biography.com  

R&B and Soul Legends - Blue Magic Tags: rb soul legends blue magic word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Blue Magic is an American R&B/soul music group and one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. Founded in 1972, the group's original members included lead singer Ted Mills with Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, Keith Beaton, and Richard Pratt. Their most notable songs included smooth soul ballads such as "Sideshow", "Spell", "What’s Come Over Me", "Three Ring Circus" and "Stop to Start."

Blue Magic was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972 when former member of The Delfonics Randy Cain brought in singer-songwriter Ted Mills to do some writing with the Philly-based WMOT production company to create a new band. A short time later the group Shades of Love, featuring Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer and his brother Wendell, came in to audition. (According to Marc Taylor in his book 'A Touch of Classic Soul of the Early 1970s',"although the group performed admirably, they lacked a standout lead singer".) The execs decided to replace the Toppicks, the act Mills recorded with. They inserted Shades of Love (which they owned contractually) with Ted Mills and retitled the group Blue Magic. They were signed with Atco Records through WMOT in the same year.

The group was one of the earliest acts produced by Norman Harris, a Philadelphia recording veteran. The group's harmonies were supported by the MFSB studio house band. Their first early song release in 1974 was "Spell" which went onto the Billboard R&B charts at number 30 (it was written and co-produced by Mills).

Their second release became their first Billboard US Top 10 hit single, "Sideshow". It was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1974. It climbed to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart. A follow-up, "Three Ring Circus" also sold well, reaching #36 in the pop chart and #5 R&B. MFSB guitarist Bobby Eli wrote both "Sideshow" and "Three Ring Circus". Their debut self-titled album was released later in the year.

Because their first three singles releases were slower songs, the group became known mostly for their ballads.

The album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane in 1975 maintained the group's popularity and spawned their version of the popular dance number "We're On The Right Track", as well as the ballad "Chasing Rainbows". The song "What's Come Over Me" from their debut album was re-worked as a duet with Margie Joseph dubbed in alongside Mills' original lead vocals. The new approach saw the song climb to #11 on the R&B chart again in 1975.In total the group had two R&B chart singles in 1975 and four in 1976.

The group had their first world tour that year which lasted for 42 weeks. The tour included 48 states in the United States, five countries in Europe and a 10-day stay in the Philippines. They concluded their tour with a two-week engagement in the Virgin Islands.

Blue Magic were known also for their choreography. As a visually oriented group, they had several major television appearances, including Soul Train, The Mike Douglas Show, The Jerry Blavat Show, Dancin' On Air, and A.M. Philadelphia.

In April 1975, they were chosen as the best new group of the year which earned two Ebony Awards. The first was presented in New York by Aretha Franklin, the second in Florida by the female recording artist Vanity.

They have shared the stage with other performers such as The Jacksons, Lionel Richie, The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Spinners, Earth, Wind & Fire, New Edition, The Stylistics, Mick Jagger and others.

The group also contributed background vocals for Alyson Williams and the Rolling Stones (on the song "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" from the album It's Only Rock 'n' Roll).

By 1977, the group's popularity was faded with the rise of disco music and changing music styles, and despite the group continuing to record consistently they failed to chart. Subsequent label moves to Capitol Records for a reunion with Norman Harris (who had left two years earlier) and then the smaller label Mirage resulted in some smaller R&B charting, but no major success.

Background singer Richard Pratt left in the early 1980s. After singers Vernon and Wendell Sawyer left, the remaining two members Mills and Beaton hired two other singers and traveled to Los Angeles, California to record with Skip Scarborough and some members of the popular group Earth Wind & Fire on the album "Message from the Magic."

In 1988, the original group got back together and had some renewed popularity in late 1989 with the album, "From Out of the Blue."

In 1990, The Amsterdam News carried the story of Mills' near-fatal car accident. The other members of the group brought in new lead Rod Wayne (real name Roderick Bronaugh), who remained with the group until 2004. Bronaugh now teaches at Tennessee State University. After Rod Wayne, Wade Elliot and Leemy Walters, other leads. Ted Mills has reunited with Wendall Sawyer and Keith Beaton. Both Vernon Sawyer and Richard Pratt have their own groups.

After surgery in 1996, Mills returned to the music scene as a solo act, recording an album for Casablanca Records that year entitled "This Magic Is Real", featuring the remake of "Tear It Down."

Mills appeared in the touring play, "Girl, He Ain't Worth It" with The Manhattans, Meli'sa Morgan and Tito Jackson, and appeared in the play "Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places". In 2007, Mills recorded the album "3 Tenors of Soul" with Russell Thompkins, Jr. and William Hart, released on Shanachie Records and produced by Bobbi Eli.

Officially, the group known as "Blue Magic", featuring members Keith Beaton, Wendell Sawyer, Fernando Kee, and lead vocalist Leemy Waiters tour worldwide. Waiters replaced Wade Eliot, who had replaced Rod Wayne in 2004. The name was formally trademarked by Wendell Sawyer and Keith Beaton some years earlier. Ted Mills has reunited with Wendell Sawyer and Keith Beaton May 2013.

Vernon Sawyer tours with his own Blue Magic group, with members Freddie Ingleton, Bennie "BJ" Dixon and Reynardo. Richard Pratt has his own group as well.

Source: Wikipedia

R&B and Soul Legend - Brian McKnight
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: rb soul hip hop urban love ballads word life production new qualtiy entertainment

One of the most consistent and versatile adult contemporary R&B artists, Brian McKnight placed seven albums across 15 years -- from the early '90s through the first decade of the 2000s -- within the Top Ten of Billboard's R&B albums chart. Whether he wrote and produced for himself or collaborated with the likes of Diddy, the Underdogs, and Tim & Bob, he enjoyed moderate commercial success without ever quite becoming a superstar. This, along with a down-to-earth personality and a catalog heavy on mellow material, may have helped McKnight for the sake of longevity; he made his first mark during the tail-end of the new jack swing era and, nearly 20 years later, shared chart space with singers half his age. He holds a Grammy record for 16 nominations without a win.
 

McKnight, a native of Buffalo, New York, grew up in a family where music came naturally. He was a member of the church choir along with his immediate family; his grandfather was the director. With a gospel upbringing, McKnight explored other genres of music. Still in his early teens, he exercised his writing ambitions by penning instrumentals (soft jazz, easy listening); he learned to play several instruments. He formed a band and began performing his originals at local venues. By the age of 18, McKnight had secured a publishing deal. His calling to the national scene manifested itself when his older brother Claude and the group he was a member of, Take 6, signed a recording contract with a major label.

After sending out numerous demos to various record companies, McKnight's tape drew the interest of Mercury Records president Ed Eckstine (son of Billy Eckstine). Eckstine was so impressed with McKnight's sound that the young artist was signed to a deal within two weeks. McKnight's first release on Mercury was 1992's "The Way Love Goes," peaking at number 11 after 19 weeks on the Billboard R&B chart. His two follow-up singles barely cracked the Billboard R&B Top 60, and included "Love Is," a duet with Vanessa Williams featured on Beverly Hills 90210. Ironically, that single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, introducing McKnight to a crossover audience. His self-titled album made a minor splash.

I Remember You

Though there was a fair amount of buzz around McKnight as a promising up-and-comer, nearly three years passed between his debut and his second album, I Remember You (1995). His first Top Ten R&B album, it contained a pair of Top 20 R&B singles: a cover of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" and the relatively contemporary "On the Down Low." A very young Robin Thicke, whose admiration ran so deep that he was jokingly nicknamed "Brian McWhite" by friends, co-wrote one of the album's other songs. On Anytime (1997), McKnight shook up his sound by collaborating with Diddy and Trackmasters; the former produced "You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time)," which crossed into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 and featured Mase. A Christmas album, Bethlehem, followed in 1998 -- the first of five albums he released on Motown. A year later, McKnight returned with Back at One; its title track reached the top of the Hot 100. Superhero, from 2001, kicked off with the surprisingly rock-ish title track and a list of featured guests -- Justin Timberlake, Nate Dogg, Nelly's St. Lunatics -- made it look like a rap mixtape. Released in 2003, U Turn was a fairly straightforward and ballad-filled affair.

Gemini

Some time playing basketball for the ABA's Ontario Warriors helped keep McKnight out of the musical picture for a couple years. Gemini (2005), his final set for Motown, was released in 2005 and contained some of his most overtly sexual songwriting. Ten, a Warner Bros. release, followed quickly the next year, sporting a handful of Tim & Bob collaborations among otherwise self-produced material. A second Christmas album, I'll Be Home for Christmas, was released in 2008. Evolution of a Man, for the most part a self-sufficient collection, was released in 2009 on E1 (aka Koch). This wasn't merely one of McKnight's most productive phases from a musical standpoint. He hosted a radio program on a Los Angeles radio station, performed on Broadway in Chicago, and competed on the second season of Celebrity Apprentice. The following decade, he released the split live/studio set Just Me (2011), as well as More Than Words (2013).

Source: AllMusic

Bob Marley: Live in Santa Barbara Tags: bob marley live santa barbara word life production video month

Total-All Girl R&B group that was a huge part of the Golden Era
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: rb golden era music industry word life production feature weekly blog

Total, an American R&B girl group and one of the signature acts of Sean Combs' Bad Boy Records imprint during the 1990s. The group consisted of members Kima Raynor, Keisha Spivey, and Pamela Long. Total is best known for there hits Kissing You, Can't You See feat. The Notorious B.I.G & Trippin feat. Missy Elliott.

New Jersey R&B trio Total made their first appearance singing the hook on The Notorious B.I.G.'s debut single, "Juicy". Garnering attention for the new group, they were also featured on the original version and "Hip Hop Remix" of his next single "One More Chance". They then immediately hit the studio with Bad Boy Records CEO Sean "Puffy" Combs and began work on their debut album. The first single "Can't You See?" first appeared on the soundtrack to 1995 motion picture "New Jersey Drive". The song featured The Notorious B.I.G. and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as #2 on the R&B Chart. Their self-titled debut album was released nearly a year after the single. Total produced two more R&B top ten singles, "No One Else" (and its remix featuring Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim and Da Brat) and '"Kissing You" (and its remix featuring Sean "Puffy" Combs). The album was certified platinum by the RIAA

While recording their second album, they appeared on numerous top ten singles, including LL Cool J's "Loungin'/Who Do U Love?", Foxy Brown's "I Can't", and Mase's "What You Want" and Pamela Long was the feature on the massive hit "Hypnotize" by The Notorious B.I.G.. The group also released another single, the Missy Elliott and Timbaland track "What About Us?" from the Soul Food soundtrack.

Their follow-up album, Kima, Keisha, and Pam, debuted to strong reviews, sales, and was certified gold by the RIAA. The first single, another Missy Elliott collaboration, "Trippin'", reached the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their next release, "Sitting Home", which made Top 10 of the Billboard R&B Singles did not garner the same attention. While in heavy rotation on video networks like BET, radio chose not to play the song. A remix of the track featured rap artist Shyne.

After the release of Kima, Keisha, and Pam, the girls sang the chorus to rap duo Gang Starr's 1999 single "Discipline" and in 2000 they were featured on the Tony Touch single "(I Wonder Why) He's the Greatest DJ". They also contributed to the songs "Crave" to 3 Strikes and the songs "Quick Rush" to Bait movie soundtrack.

In their last official appearance together, they were thanked in the credits for their collaboration with Da Beatminerz and Talib Kweli - Anti-Love Movement in 2001 from their album Brace 4 Impak.

Pamela Long stated on her official Twitter account that Total is currently in the studio, recording new material. On November 12, 2013, Pamela Long officially announced that Total will be performing live with Changing Faces, Tony! Toni! Tone!, En Vogue, Blackstreet and Mint Condition at The Show R&B Superstar Valentines Show at the Wembley Arena in London, England on February 15, 2014.

Other information

September 20th, 2013 Pamela announced her marriage to singer J. Long.[1] From 2008-2011 J.Long was a part of the r&b/hip hop group Pretty Ricky.[2] September 29th, 2013 Pamela released a single produced & written by J.Long entitled "Sweet Thang". Pamela is currently working on a new album entitled Undeniable scheduled for release sometime in 2014.

Pamela Long attended The 2012 BET Awards, alongside her manager Zion of Legacy Management.

 Long's debut single "By Myself" off her debut solo album Undeniable is currently available for download on iTunes.[3]

  Keisha Spivey married actor Omar Epps in 2006 and is living in California. They have two children together, daughter K'marie Epps (July 2004) and son Amir Epps (Dec 2007), as well as Epps' daughter Aiyanna Epps from a previous relationship.

Kima featuring her sister, rapper Vita, called "What U Want," Dyson, and they reside in Monmouth Junction.

Source: Wikipedia

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