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NEWSPublished on Thursday, 14 November 2013 08:53
Holiday Exclusive—Up Close and Personal with R&B Star Ruben Studdard
By Shelah Moody
Ruben Studdard performs at the San Francisco Symphony’s Colors of Christmas Concert with Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester and Cece Winans, 8 p.m. Dec. 16-18, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, www.sfsymphony.org, (415) 864-6000.
“Silky, classy, sexy, romantic –bring you to your knees – this is how I describe the incredible voice of Ruben Studdard. He feels every note and every word he sings. He is a man with an extraordinary voice.”-David Foster, 16-time Grammy winning producer and chairman of Verve Records.
Ruben Studdard is one of those rare and gifted artists who has made the transition from reality television to international superstar. The Birmingham, Alabama native made history when he won the second season of Fox Television’s singing competition “American Idol” in 2003. As a guest judge on “American Idol,” R&B legend, Gladys Knight dubbed him the “Velvet Teddy Bear,” because of his robust vocals and flawless delivery. In 2004, Studdard received a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar.”
As an actor, Studdard starred as Fats Waller in a national tour revival of the Broadway musical “Ain't Misbehavin,” which generated a Grammy-nominated soundtrack. Recently, Studdard’s fans followed him through his courageous struggle with weight loss as a contestant on the NBC reality show, “The Biggest Loser.”
On Feb. 4, 2014, Studdard will release his highly anticipated studio album, “Unconditional Love,” produced by David Foster on Verve Records. “Unconditional Love” is Studdard’s first studio album in two years.
From Dec. 16-18, Studdard will join the annual Colors of Christmas celebration at the San Francisco Symphony, with R&B, gospel and pol music icons Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester and Cece Winans.
Streetwise Radio recently caught up with the delightful Ruben Studdard for a brief but insightful interview.
Shelah Moody: On Nov. 8, I was in the audience at the 2013 Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas, watching you and Candace Glover and some of the biggest stars in R&B pay tribute to Dionne Warwick. What was that experience like?
Ruben Studdard: That was great; I really enjoyed that. I’m a big fan of Candace. I wanted to sing with her. I really love her voice. My mom told me about her being on “American Idol,” so I had to watch and see what she was all about. I sent her a message on Twitter and told her that one day, we would sing together, and it happened. To be on stage with Gladys Knight, Ron Isley, Eddie Levert, Eric Benet and Kenny Lattimore, Chrisette Michelle—it was a great tribute. I’m glad that BET and Centric asked me to be a part of it.
SM: It was a truly moving moment when you and Candace sang “A House is Not a Home.”
RS: I’m glad that I can still move a crowd.
SM: Speaking of moving a crowd, how does it feel to be performing with one of your favorite singers, Peabo Bryson, on the Colors of Christmas tour this year? You covered “If Ever You’re in My Arms Again” on “American Idol” and now you will have a chance to duet with him.
RS: Oh, my God, you have no idea. There are a lot of great things that have happened for me, and one was winning “American Idol,” and being able to perform with people who I admire is something that continues to happen to me. I’m really thankful that I have an opportunity to perform with Peabo. I’m a really big fan of his voice and his music. I have a very eclectic musical palate, so I am a fan of Melissa Manchester; and who doesn’t love Bebe and Cece Winans? My cousin and I would do concerts, singing their music. I can’t wait to take a picture with Cece Winans and send it to my cousin!
SM: Tell me about your new ballad “Meant to Be,” the first single from your upcoming album, “Unconditional Love.” I just listened to the song and the lyrics, the arrangements are amazing.
RS: Thank you so much. It was written by me, and David Foster. We started writing the song while I was on “The Biggest Loser,” and we finished up after I was done. It’s really a great song; and I’m glad that it turned out as good as it did. I’m looking forward to getting all of the feedback from it.
SM: I really love the lyric in the song that says, “when we have love for ourselves, only then can we love someone else.”
RS: Right. That’s a really important thing. You know, a lot of times, we go around searching for love, but you’re really not able to love anyone until you really love yourself completely. That is a powerful line for me as well.
SM: What was it like working with David Foster, who also accompanied you on piano at the Soul Train Awards.
RS: We’ve been working together for the last five years and he’s been a mentor to me for the last five years. This is the first time that we’ve decided to do an album together. It’s been great; it’s like going to school, honestly. I was a music education major in college, but being around people like David is like going to a professional school. I took away a lot from his work ethic and how hard he works to produce a great product. I think everybody is going to be pleasantly surprised when they hear this album.
SM: There are certainly some romantic stunners on this album, including covers of the Carpenters “Close To You," which includes Stevie Wonder on harmonica, Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Teddy Pendergrass’ “Close The Door” and a duet with Laylah Hathaway on “With You I’m Born Again” originally recorded by the late Syreeta Wright and Billy Preston.
RS: Well, the title of the album is called “Unconditional Love,” and it’s all about timeless love songs. That’s what we wanted people to take away from this, that feeling of undying love that you have for somebody.
SM: Gladys Knight nicknamed you the Velvet Teddy Bear. Do you have a collection of velvet teddy bears that fans have given you?
RS: I do not (laughs).
SM: What advice would you give to aspiring singers who are trying to make it to large scale vocal competitions such as “American Idol?”
RS: You know, there really isn’t that much advice that you can give anybody. The most important thing is that you just have to do your best. There are people who go into auditions half-heartedly and won’t make it, so you have to always give everything on the audition tape.
SM: So, what are Ruben Studdard’s plans for the holidays?
RS: I will be working. On Christmas Eve, I have a show in West Palm Beach. I might just take a holiday from the holiday this year.
The Gershwin’s Tony Award Winning Broadway Musical “Porgy and Bess” Comes to San Francisco
By Shelah Moody
What: George and Ira Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”
When: Thru Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013
Where: SHN Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St. San Francisco,
This weekend, one of the year’s most celebrated events, the revival of the Gershwin’s Tony Award inning Broadway musical “Porgy and Bess,” ends its wildly popular run at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 8.
First Produced in 1935, “Porgy and Bess” deals with universal themes of poverty, alienation, drug addiction, violence, racism and above all, love. The stellar cast includes Alicia Hall Moran (Bess), Nathaniel Stampley (Porgy), Alvin Crawford (Crown) and Kingsley Leggs (Sporting Life).
Alicia Moran Hall (Bess) being interviewed by news anchor Melissa Culross at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre.
Opening night, Nov. 13, included a host of glitterati in the house including Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Susan Lori Parks, (“Top Dog/Underdog”) who adapted the book, “Porgy and Bess,” Diedre L. Murray (who adapted the musical score), San Francisco District 5 Supervisor London Breed, Thomas Robert Simpson, Jefferson Award winning artistic director of San Francisco’s AfroSolo Theatre Company, broadcast journalists/authors Belva Davis and Barbara Rogers, image consultant Kelly Armstrong and more.
Diedre L. Murray, Thomas Robert Simpson and Susan Lori Parks
Nathaniel Stampley (Porgy) and Thomas Robert Simpson, Artistic Director of the AfroSolo Theatre Company in San Francisco.
Indeed, the “Porgy and Bess” was made famous by incredible score, which includes jazz and opera standards such as “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “I Loves You, Porgy,” “Bess You is My Woman Now,” “I Got Plenty of Nothing,” and one of this writer’s all-time favorite compositions, “Summertime.”
Before the grand opening of “Porgy and Bess,” I spoke briefly with Michael Strunsky, Ira Gershwin’s nephew and executor of his musical estate.
Shelah Moody: What does it mean to you, to bring this classic production to San Francisco?
Michael Strunsky, nephew of Ira Gershwin
Michael Strunsky: The wonderful thing is that we’re actually bringing a new version of “Porgy and Bess.” It was first produced in 1935; George Gershwin wrote it as an opera. But you know, opera is a tough nut to crack for a lot of people. It’s not such as an exciting event as a Broadway style musical. My uncle, Ira, co-wrote the lyrics to all of the songs. Even though this is not a particularly happy story--it’s a sad story of how people survive--it appears more understandable to people in this form than in opera form. The music is just spectacular.
SM: What’s your favorite song from “Porgy and Bess?”
MS: If I had to take it as a song and not the theatrical piece itself, it would be “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” which the character Sporting Life sings to the villagers in the second act.
We are playing the song "Just Tell Me Now" by Shantel Robinson on
Shantel Robinson was born on November 16, 1990 and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She attended Hydel Preparatory and Immaculate Conception High Schools. She is currently a student at the University of Technology, Jamaica where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and majoring in Finance and Banking. Check out more of her bio here and see why we think she has a great future in the music world.
Up Close and Personal with Rising R&B Star DēP By Shelah Moody
“Think deep; and nothing is happenstance.” This is the motto of a former gospel singer, currently hot on the R&B scene, who goes by the name of DēP. As a songwriter, background vocalist and opening act, DēP has worked with the likes of Yolanda Adams, Kim Burrell, Kirk Franklin, Dave Hollister, Kelly Price, Avant, Brian McKnight, Scarface, Dwele, Solange Knowles, Michelle Williams, Fantasia, Fred Hammond and more. He has embarked on a successful solo career with songs such as “Something More,” “Contract” and “Celebrate” A southern gentleman, with a honey dripping accent, the sultry tenor hails from Houston, Texas.Click here for full interview.
I’ve never heard of Marlon Saunders until I heard his song “The Beginning of Never” on Streetwise Radio. I really like this soul, jazzy, R&B singer-songwriter from Chestertown Maryland. This talented artist has his own independent record label, called Black Honey. Check out the more of this brilliant artist here.
Up Close and Personal with L.J. Reynolds of the Dramatics By Shelah Moody
Peter Tosh Birthday Celebration at Ashkennaz Berkeley
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Sultry Reggae Singer Maxi Priest to Deliver the Gospel of Soul at Yoshi’s Oakland By Shelah Moody
Reggae on the River.
The San Jose Jazz Festival
The Monterey Bay Jazz Festival
GLORIA RY'ANN BIO: “Music is the fabric of my soul.”Published on Thursday, 04 July 2013 07:14
Not since Minnie Riperton has there been a more enchanting songstress with a glass-shattering high octave vocal-range. This show-stopping beauty Gloria Ry’ann is riding on the success of her current single releases “O.M.G.” and “Back With You”. Gloria is the treasured find for today’s music lovers. Entertaining crowds large and small across the country, Gloria has performed with the likes of pop princess Rihanna, Oscar-winner, Jennifer Hudson, legends Ashford & Simpson, Patti Labelle and the late Teddy Pendergrass.
Gloria has appeared on “The Today Show,” “106th & Park,” “The Mo’Nique Show,” The Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony and MTV European Music Awards as a supporting vocalist and as a soloist. “Music is the fabric of my soul,” Gloria says.
A Chicago-south-side-native, Gloria grew up with a love of music that was fostered by her mother who encouraged her to sing and perform for family and friends. Back then, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder and Teena Marie were among the vocal heroes of young Gloria who soon began lessons with the world-renowned composer Dr. Lena Mc Lin. Over time, Dr. Mc Lin helped Gloria nurture her skills as a artist that gave her the confidence to relocated to New York City and focus on her music career. “I knew moving to New York would be my push to pursue my dreams to make them my reality.”
Her determination is paying off. Emerging as a dynamic vocalist, with a four- octave range, Gloria Ry’ann has been featured throughout the country as a headlining music act. Her music has found a home on radio stations around the world. Listeners are flocking to her sound on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube as well as live performances that convey a style, which Gloria describes as “positive, vibrant, classy, sensual, and sometimes naughty.” “From middle voice to the whistle register, Gloria is in possession of a vocal tone that is simply beautiful,” says Carl Smith of GrownFolksMusic.com. “I, for one, have reserved a space in my musical radar screen for [her] and I think you should, too.”
Here are her links to her music and contact info:
TWITTER: hrefundefined@Gloriaryann" target="_blank">@Gloriaryann
FACEBOOK: Gloria Ryann
FB MUSIC PAGE: http://facebook.com/pages/Gloria-Ryann-Music/256607467688769
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