Jessica Betts’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

We really couldn't wait to release our Acoustic Gold session with Jessica Betts! This young lady was a total delight to work with in the studio... Great vibes with her and her team, very humble and professional! So much fun!   Jessica delivers with her beautiful warm voice, her tone goes with her fun but vulnerable personality - and so do the lyrics. Her rendition of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" is a wonderful one, more of a serious approach compared to the original fun version. "Sleep in the Morning" is about the life of an artist that a lot of creatives can probably relate to.  "Missing You More" and "Feel So Good" are equally great, all worth your time! The talented Vo Era accompanied Jess for all four songs and really created the perfect sound for her, sometimes even breaking out into an almost "Spanish guitar" type of style!   If you'd like to find out more about Jessica, make sure to check her NYCROPHONE Artist Page - including all links to her social media plus download links for her music, especially her most recent project titled LL Cool Jess.   Please make sure to LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT to support this gifted woman!

An Australian Full of Soul: Matt Corby

How did I come across this guy from OZ..?! Hmmm... Sometimes I can't even really track it anymore but I think someone did a cover of one of his songs and I looked up the original. Super glad to have found him... Matt Corby really is a young gifted singer-songwriter from Sydney, Australia.   Interestingly enough Matt grew up appreciating gospel music, at some point even touring with a church band... After receiving music scholarships and taking part in talent shows he sort of lost his way until traveling overseas triggered his love for music again, familiarizing himself with the art of songwriting....   Matt Corby's fourth EP Into The Flame brought him some commercial success. His 2011 single "Brother" and his 2013 single "Resolution" both won ARIA Awards for "Song of the Year."   I personally love his cover of "The Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys, "Resolution" and also "Made of Stone" a lot. Check out this wonderful artist, share his music, LIKE and COMMENT to leave your digital footprint with us. Please don't be an invisible spectator! ;-) Enjoy!  

Qool DJ Marv: Gramaphone on NYCROPHONE – Episode #03

Qool DJ Marv's third exclusive mix  is ready - another episode of our monthly Gramaphone on NYCROPHONE!   I can't emphasize enough how much we appreciate Marvin's selections. His passion and knowledge in music is priceless, the love and energy he puts into his craft immense.   We are truly lucky that this man decided to provide NYCROPHONE with a blend of beautiful music once a month. Each time he updates himself with what's happening on our blog, to then develop a theme around us, the way he feels and the vibe of the current season. He gathers 50+ songs, listening through all of them, narrowing it down to what perfectly works in his mind and eventually our ears. This is just to give you a slight idea of the creative process behind this...   This month's set is inspired by Qool DJ Marv's trips to Croatia to play at a music festival.  "DJs were on from noon and you could hear a set like this during the afternoon. I went there in the visualization and that's what you hear."   In Marvin's words: "This mix is for the sun worshipers. It's length is long enough to play once or twice during an afternoon of drinking vitamin D through your skin. Songs of love and encouragement braided with songs that enhance your daydreams and give you that far away look in your face. It whistles along, dances in polyrhythm and soothes like the softest reassuring eyes. For the deep bronze or the magnificent mahogany play this twice - once for your face and once more for your bass."   To DOWNLOAD the mix as a PODCAST, click right HERE!   INFO: NYCROPHONE is extremely proud to announce our first DJ collaboration! We are pleased to welcome soul brother Qool DJ Marv, an extremely experienced, versatile and talented disk jockey from New York City.   Marvin will provide an exclusive monthly mix for NYCROPHONE called "Qool DJ Marv's Gramaphone", showcasing his unique skills as a DJ and music connoisseur, honoring the soulful spirit and content of our site.   Enjoy his wicked May 2014 edition! You will not be disappointed. To find out more about Qool DJ Marv, please visit his NYCROPHONE artist and personal page including various of his terrific mixes and podcasts to download!   "Creative is the tone emanating from Qool DJ Marv's Gramaphone. The shine on the groove reflects the soul of the people's music. Horn of plenty talent well known, unknown - songs of pretty humanity showing you their how-they-be sides. Featuring old friends and new family."

Ki Ki Hawkins’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

More Acoustic Gold for your spoiled ears... For the 7th edition of our successful series we had the pleasure of recording the energetic singer/songwriter "The Ki Ki Experience" aka Keyontia "Ki Ki" Hawkins, alongside Angela "Asa Lovechild" Arnold and Darius Booker on vocals, accompanied by Jerome Jordan on guitar. What a hot and sweaty performance, great vibes in our cozy ishlab studio!   The Ki Ki Experience performed three of her originals which include "Revelation", "Power of My KiKi" and "Beautiful Day" plus a great cover of Madonna's "Like A Virgin". Miss Hawkins is nothing less than amazing. Her vocal ability easily covers gospel, R&B, jazz, rock and classical music. Trained at The Juilliard School of Music, Ki Ki has been touring with amazing artists such as Nona Hendryx, Patti LaBelle, Amel Larrieux and many more.   Oh, and if you're wondering what the meaning is behind the tile "Power of My Ki Ki", here is the definition of "Ki Ki": "A brand new sound of alternative rock, funk, infused into one, adding a unique blend of soulful sounds enriched with breathtaking warm yet powerful vocals." There you have it! Now share, comment and LIKE to support the POWER OF OUR KIKI!

Time for some J Boog Reggae Music…

My friend Tiffany aka Butch Diva (fashion designer) told me about J Boog a little while ago, a California born Reggae artist with Samoan roots. I immediately put him on our watch list and felt like today was the perfect day to create a little J Boog music video playlist for you.   From a young age J (Born Jerry Afemata) was fascinated with music, inspired by his sister practicing the piano. He started singing along and learning about music and the power of his voice.   Things have been going well for this talented man. Look up his story and familiarize yourself with his music. Enjoy, share and comment on this list of his tracks we've put together with you. Acoustic or studio, J Boog always has a beautiful, rich and smooth sound. It's the type of Reggae we love at NYCROPHONE, making your soul feel right!

The Multi-Talented Mister Mayer Hawthorne

Mayer Hawthorne apparently always had love for music, but by the time he actually got signed around 2006, he still hasn't had any previous vocal training. So I guess you can say Mayer is a natural.   Besides being an awesome singer, you can add producing, songwriting, arranging, audio engineering, spinning records and rapping to his multi faceted skills. His musical influences he draws from artists like Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Barry White, Smokey Robinson and many more... You can tell by Mayer's throwback sound, however, he is open to all sorts of genres and actually producing parts of his upcoming album with beat wizzard Pharrell Williams.   We love this guy's music because it's unexpected, fresh, funky and Mayer Hawthorne also loves putting creative music videos out there. Enough reason to expose him to a few more music lovers! Enjoy!

Bradd Marquis’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

Here is the new edition of our Acoustic Gold live sessions, this time featuring the seasoned R&B vocalist Bradd Marquis from New Jersey. This young man was a delight to work with in the studio, professional and with a great sense of humor. On the piano you will have the pleasure of experiencing the talented Wallace Awall Smith Jr.!   Check out Bradd's 5 track set including "Thank You", "B4 I knew You", "Happy Home" and "Love Will Find a Way" from his Thank You album and a cover of "A House is Not a Home" by Luther Vandross.   Another song you should definitely check out is "Break Up", a powerful R&B ballad featuring another incredible talent - Seattle's Tess Henley. We are providing the Soundcloud link down below for your convenience!   Please share, comment and like to support Bradd Marquis. To find out more about his life and music, make sure to also visit his NYCROPHONE Artist Page. Enjoy!      

Tricky Throwback For You Trip Hop Heads

Tricky's "Hell Is Round the Corner" was one of my first "Single CD's", back when that was a thing. I've always loved this song for its dark mood, Tricky's voice and melody in general.   Recently I discovered "Nothing Matters" which is featuring the dope German-Nigerian soul singer Nneka. So I decided to create a little playlist with my favorite songs from Tricky's albums Maxinquaye (1995) and False Idols (2013).   We hope you can appreciate our picks. Make sure to look into the work of this diverse artist, he's created quite a bit of music over the years, representing many different moods and styles.   “I can be anything I want when I do an album,” Tricky says. “I could be a woman, I could be a man. It’s great to be able to be all these different things.”

South Africa’s Soul Sensation Miss Lira

IMG_5627We discovered the platinum-selling South African singer Lira through SOB's, a New York venue for a lot of great soul music. Intrigued by their ads announcing Lira's Rise Again album release tour in NY, we took a closer look at her music, immediately captivated by her stunning voice. We HAD to see her live!         Lira did NOT disappoint. Her sound was flawless, her delivery entertaining and her appearance beautiful. The crowd loved her, singing along their favorite songs. There is no doubt that this soulful lady will soon to be as successful here as she is in Africa and Europe.   IMG_5629Lira appeals to a wide range of listeners with her unique voice, cruising through different genres like Jazz, R&B, World Music and Pop. Her star qualities clearly show through her flawlessly executed concerts and professionalism. She may be a South African soul diva, but nonetheless accessible for her fans and also being engaged in different charity projects.   IMG_5640       Enjoy this 5 track playlist including our favorite selections. To learn more about Lira, check her NYCROPHONE artist page right HERE!   Share, LIKE and comment to support the artist and NYCROPHONE.

Ddendyl’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

Here is another ACOUSTIC GOLD edition, hosting another magnificent talent! We are very proud to be presenting the beautiful Ddendyl, a talented singer/songwriter from Washington, DC.   We first discovered this gifted singer watching her on the sixth season of NBC's successful casting show The Voice, immediately captured by her sultry voice, her captivating mix of powerful and soft vocals.   Truly a pleasure witnessing Ddendyl working the piano at ishlab studio masterfully, performing her originals "More" and "You Don't Deserve My Love" and a cover version of Norah Jones's (originally by Nina Simone) "Turn Me On". The fact that this young lady wasn't feeling well that day, bothered by a cold, it's even more amazing how this session turned out. This was her performing while sick?! Good lord, what will happen when we catch her at 100% next time?!   To find out more about Ddendyl, check out her NYCROPHONE Artist Page which will lead you to all of her official pages online.   Please SHARE and LIKE this post and feel free to leave a comment for the artist!

Paolo Nutini’s Unique Voice

Paolo Nutini - a unique sounding singer/songwriter from Scotland! We've had this young man featured in the past, actually in the beginning stages of NYCROPHONE.   His most recent release "Iron Sky" is a meaningful and powerful song, carried by Paolo's great voice perfectly. This song had us looking into his music again and we put together a music video playlist of our Nutini favorites, including "Last Request" which we had featured in our older post.   Adele has recently praised Paolo Nutini for his stunning performanc of Iron Sky at the famous Abbey Road Studios, saying 'One of the best things I've ever seen in my life'. It's the second track released from Paolo's third studio album Caustic Love. Listen and see for yourself!

A Janelle Monáe BEST OF

We believe Janelle Monáe does not need further introduction... But for those who missed the memo, here is a quick summary: 5'0 feet tall package of musical dynamite & soulfulness, fashion icon extravaganza. There you go! ;-)   NYCROPHONE recently witnessed Janelle's (always) energetic and outstanding performance at the Celebrate Brooklyn free season-opening concert in Prospect Park. Our writer Danielle Roberson put together a nice little summary of the evening for you and we also created a BEST OF playlist (1 hour and 20 minutes long!) after asking some NYCROPHONE followers for their favorites, including my personal fav "You Are My Everything". Enjoy!         JennaSalvagin_016As "Suite IV Electric Overture" was playing in the background via the band, Janelle Monáe was rolled out onto the Bandshell stage in a white straitjacket on the opening night of Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. Kicking off her headlining set with "Give Em What They Love" from her most recent album The Electric Lady, Janelle sang both her and Prince's verses giving the audience just that- what they love.     Keeping the energy up with "Dance Apocalyptic" followed by "Sincerely, Jane" from her debut EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) and other The Electric Lady tracks ("Q.U.E.E.N.", "Electric Lady", "Ghetto Woman"), Janelle then got the crowd further amped with a Jackson 5 medley that included their hits "I Want You Back" and "ABC"; this included her successfully doing Michael Jackson's moonwalk and his other classic moves with the group. The crowd participated not missing a beat with arms flaring back and forth to the music and strangers dancing amongst each other at times even with each other.   JennaSalvagin_020After performing two hits, "Cold War" and "Tightrope" from her first studio album The ArchAndroid, Janelle Monáe left the stage for a quick outfit change and to literally let her hair down, shocking many in the audience as we are used to her ever so popular pompadour hairstyles. She let loose as she belted out the love song "Primetime" sans Miguel and without hesitation picked the energy back up with a cover of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy". The hair whipping performance sent the crowd in a frenzy as she went on to perform an extended version of "Come Alive (The War of the Roses)" from The ArchAndroid. This energetic performance had Janelle call up an audience member for an impromptu dance battle. The young lady who was invited to the challenge danced her way onto the stage matching Janelle's energy from both their random dance moves to classic old school hip-hop moves.   JennaSalvagin_021Janelle Monáe properly ended the show with the song "What an Experience" (The Electric Lady), which was the perfect way to describe this fun, energetic, vocally powered show put on by the electric lady herself.           Her voice lit up Brooklyn on the early evening, sending New Yorkers home wanting more and still dancing along with the positive vibes bestowed unto them through the music.   By Danielle Roberson Photos by Jenna Salvagin

Maya Azucena’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

What an honor to have this beautiful and powerful singer come through to ishlab studio for our Acoustic Gold live session - Maya Azucena! Accompanied by her longtime collaborators and superb musicians, Christian Ver Halen on guitar and Ivan "Ive09" Katz on percussions, Maya performed the perfect set of originals and cover songs.   Enjoy this balanced mix starting off with Maya's original and recent single "Fearless" followed by a terrific cover version of Jack White's "Freedom at 21". She also performs another beautiful original from her most recent album Cry Love called "Belong to the Sun". After that you'll hear Maya's rendition of "Hallelujah", one of my personal favorites. She finishes off with "Near", another track from Cry Love, and a unique version of  the 90s hit "Crazy", originated by Seal.   Maya Azucena's soulful voice, her level of artistry and social engagement is rare to find. She touches people's hearts wherever she performs, represents real music globally and empowers women in more than one way. If you'd like to find out more about Maya's music, missions and endeavors, check out her NYCROPHONE Artist Page and visit her sites through the links provided.   Photo by Robert Adam Mayer Photo Banner in slideshow by Rae Maxwell

FKA Twigs Has Us Trippin’…

FKA Twigs (Tahliah Barnett) is a singer/dancer from Gloucestershire in the UK, currently based in London. Her father is Jamaican and her mother part Spanish. The "FKA" stands for Formerly Known As, which she added to her stage name after another artist called Twigs complained about the use of the name.   Besides being a dancer and singer, FKA Twigs is known for her unique and sometimes daring videos. If you'd ask me how to describer her style, I would say it's unique but maybe a mix of Bjork, a little bit of a female version of a more twisted "The Weekend", a soft voice with trippy beats and melodies, partially on the darker side.   One my favorite tracks is "How's That". The video is by Jesse Kanda, using crazy morphing animations, really cool to look at. "Water Me", directed by Jesse, is also quite interesting to say the least...   Check out FKA Twigs' music and videos which The Guardian described as "The UK's best example to date of ethereal, twisted R&B." Get ready for an audible and visual challenge... Some of you may think of her or her music as too weird, but NYCROPHONE likes weird and different at times... Stay open-minded and give her a chance. Oh - and make sure to connect some speakers for the full sound!

The monthly NYCROPHONE Music Video Playlist Feature –

May Cheung’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

To finish this exciting month of May, here now our third release of our "Acoustic Gold" live recording series - an artist who represents this month perfectly! This young singer/songwriter's name is May Cheung and she delighted us by performing three songs on the acoustic guitar, including 2 of her originals plus a beautiful cover of Feist's song "Gatekeeper"!   I've met May years ago while she was performing at a small lounge in Brooklyn. I really loved her voice and chill vibe so I made sure to remember her name. We've ran into each other a few times after that and kept in touch. I am pleased that she blessed NYCROPHONE with her soulful performances for Acoustic Gold. Besides her Feist cover we really do love her originals as well. Check out all 3 videos!   Please share, comment and like - to support the artist! We also provide you with his iTunes and Amazon download links!   To read a fun write up by our dope writer MOCHA CARTER about how our ACOUSTIC GOLD recording session went, CLICK HERE!

Qool DJ Marv: Gramaphone on NYCROPHONE – Episode #02

We are truly happy to be releasing the second edition of our exclusive monthly "Qool DJ Marv's Gramaphone" mix! Holding high expectations Marvin provided us with the first one, he easily exceeded those. What a smooth, soulful and eclectic blend of current and earlier - but nonetheless relevant - sounds, keeping your ears busy and your mind at ease. I promise, you will become a fan of this soul music wizard named Qool DJ Marv!   To DOWNLOAD the mix as a PODCAST, click right HERE!   INFO: NYCROPHONE is extremely proud to announce our first DJ collaboration! We are pleased to welcome soul brother Qool DJ Marv, an extremely experienced, versatile and talented disk jockey from New York City.   Marvin will provide an exclusive monthly mix for NYCROPHONE called "Qool DJ Marv's Gramaphone", showcasing his unique skills as a DJ and music connoisseur, honoring the soulful spirit and content of our site.   Enjoy his wicked May 2014 edition! You will not be disappointed. To find out more about Qool DJ Marv, please visit his NYCROPHONE artist and personal page including various of his terrific mixes and podcasts to download!   "Creative is the tone emanating from Qool DJ Marv's Gramaphone. The shine on the groove reflects the soul of the people's music. Horn of plenty talent well known, unknown - songs of pretty humanity showing you their how-they-be sides. Featuring old friends and new family."

New music by Kina Grannis

We've been following Kina Grannis for quite some time now and actually had her featured twice on here already. Since she keeps pushing out beautiful music, Kina is becoming somewhat of a regular on NYCROPHONE. We were lucky enough to catch her on her "Elements" album release tour in Brooklyn.   "Elements" is Kina's sophomore album, written by her and produced by Matt Hales from Aqualung, released via Kina Grannis Records. One of my personal favorites is "Winter", second track on the playlist we've provided you. We added some songs from the new album but also some older hits.   Her show in Brooklyn took place at the Bell House, a beautifully converted warehouse in Gowanus. IMG_5321The artist "Imaginary Future" (not only her partner musically) warmed up the crowd with his soothing voice, beautiful melodies and good sense of humor. If you haven't heard of him yet, make sure to get familiar with his music asap. One my favorites was "Chasing Ghosts." Really nice - and also added to this playlist!         IMG_5324 After his set Kina took the stage, including her female drummer, the keyboardist and - Imaginary Future as her guitar player - all of them equipped with vocal mics as well. I loved how she kept the set up really small and simple, but got the best out of it since everybody was backing her up while she was singing and playing the guitar as well.         Kina in concertPerforming mainly her new material from "Elements", Kina guided us through her set with ease, telling cute little stories in between. Her voice is on point, sharp and soft at the same time, beautifully haunting in a way. After 4 or 5 songs Kina performed by herself for a bit while the band took a little break.             Her last two songs were "Message From Your Heart" and fittingly "The One You Say Good Night To" - including a really attentive and seemingly pleased crowd singing along with her.     IMG_5342Kina Grannis is one of those artists that can't seem to write/sing a bad song, everything she touches turns to gold. She sounds equally as flawless in the studio or on the stage. Her success comes at no surprise. Feel good music, give it a listen and purchase her new album Elements via our iTunes or Amazon link up here!

To Bilal – a singer/songwriter on the next level!

Our wicked writer Mocha Carter went to Bilal's concert in New York this week and created an awesome write up on this man, who happens to be one of her favorite artists ever. On top of that she had photographer Ron Specs take some vibrant pictures of the show, which we don't want to hide from you!   Bilal is an artist who is undoubtedly on that "next level ish", his voice, his songwriting, his compositions - he is the essence of a soul artist, totally embodying is craft in every note and performance. Mocha and I created a YouTube playlist for you including some of our dearest tracks from this soul man. Feel free to get lost in his music... Oh, and thank you Mocha, I discovered "Think It Over" through you! In love with that acoustic version!   If you'd like to find out more about Bilal, make sure to read up on him on our official NYCROPHONE artist page soon.   Below you'll find Mocha Carter's review/revisit of Bilal's concert at Stage 48 in NY, May 9th 2014:   DSC_0094If you know one thing about me, know that I am absolutely infatuated with Bilal. For a long period I did not miss a performance if he was in NYC. I have been a fan from the very beginning. His album "First Born Second" is a gift from heaven. After some label problems, "All for Love" was shelved but somehow made it's way into my collection and along with every single thing that he has recorded solidified his place as my number one.   His mouth is a musical instrument that produces the most amazing sounds. Some so out of this world that you're looking around wondering, did he just do that? I've watched his style evolve from neo soul with traces of jazz to what can only be described as futuristic with a touch of rock.   DSC_0178I don't know if you've ever seen Bilal perform but there is a point when you can almost see the music taking over him and he loses all control of himself. He is lost is sounds and melodies, hips gyrating and body leaning so far back it's as if he's caught in the matrix.   When I walked into Stage 48, he had already taken the stage. I walked hurriedly up the stairs and stood looking from the mezzanine area designated for press. I went to the restroom but nearly broke my neck trying to get back when he began singing, "All for Love." I watched as he gripped the mic and leaned back so far it's a wonder he didn't fall. He belted out song after song with the help of one background singer. I swayed and rocked and sang along.   I needed to be closer. I needed to feel his energy. I went down to the main floor and stood at the bar. I still didn't feel the energy. I inched closer to the stage as they began an extended (nine minute) version of "Back to Love". I felt the energy! the last five minutes it's as if they have forgotten the audience is there and they are having a good old fashioned jam session in a studio or a garage. JAMMING! Not only does each band member do a solo but Bilal and the other vocalist get into a skat battle! It's wonderful! After this he asks, "Any requests?" The room erupted with excited screams of his most popular tracks, "Sing 'Sometimes'!", "Do 'All for Love'!", "Soul Sista!!!", I laughed with everyone as he said, "Oh shit, did I say that out loud? &*$# ya'll!" LMAO   DSC_0383I waited excitedly for him to start the next song. I felt a rush as the first few notes of "Butterfly" (featuring Robert Glasper) played on the keyboard. He sang so beautifully, my eyes filled with tears. I love this song.           And just like that, it was over! They left the stage. We all stood there waiting for them to return to the stage. The crowd began to yell, " Encore!" We waited. The venue lights came on. The stage crew came to remove the mics.   Most of us stood in disbelief. Surely he would return, I mean, he hadn't sung, "Sometimes" But alas, he did not. We all walked out, dejected. Wondering why he had forsaken us. LOL. Such a low after the high energy of the show.   DSC_0345In the streets groups of friends sang, the words, off key:   - "I wish I wasn't me, SOMETIMES! I wish I was drug free, SOMETIMES!" -   I laughed and although disappointed that he didn't perform "Sometimes" it was still a great set that I was happy to experience.   - Mocha Carter -
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