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Matt Simons’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

Our Acoustic Gold tapings in July went really well... After amazing sessions with Shaliek and Fredericks Brown we are presenting you our 11th recording: Matt Simons!   This terrific singer/songwriter/musician is based in New York and a true professional. Matt chose to play the Wurlitzer electric piano provided by ishlab studio and it perfectly matched with his voice. Enjoy "One Last Time" from his upcoming album Catch and Release, "Emotionally Involved"  and "Gone" from his current record Pieces. His performance was flawless and he is a pleasure to work with.   Matt was cool enough to actually follow our suggestion to collaborate with our upcoming Acoustic Gold release, Honey Larochelle. At the end of Matt's session they recorded a cover together, "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith. We can't wait to share it with you in a few days! Stay tuned!   In the meantime, check out Matt's NYCROPHONE Artist Page to learn more about him! Please share, like, comment and purchase his music to support him!

Blues from Ireland – Hozier

After one of our most loyal NYCROPHONE followers Christine told me about Hozier a little while ago and my other friend Kiki reminded me of him, I had to put together a little playlist with our favorites. This guy has been on the rise and his current international tour is almost sold out everywhere!   Andrew Hozier-Byrne (born March 17th 1990) is an Irish singer/songwriter/musician from Bray, County Wicklow. Growing up musically he quickly decided to pursue his passion full time and after touring with the band Anúna he gained real recognition through his breakthrough single "Take Me To Church". The song went viral on YouTube and Reddit and reached number one on the Irish iTunes singles chart.   Hozier has a distinct voice and sound, influenced by Blues, Jazz and other genres - a beautiful vibe that will penetrate your soul... Enjoy, share and support the artist! Check out his ARTIST PAGE to learn more about Hozier.

Aaliyah – Gone 13 Years

It's been 13 years since Aaliyah passed away in a tragic plane crash after shooting "Rock The Boat" in the Bahamas. Thirteen years...   NYCROPHONE wants to honor Aaliyah Dana Haughton with a 13 track playlist, a compilation of some of our favorites. Not easy since she had a vast amount of beautiful songs. Actually, I can't recall any Aaliyah song I didn't like - ever.  I can still listen to all of her stuff again and again.   Watching the video and hearing"Miss You" still makes me sad. I realize I've listened to her music a lot back then. I believe "One in a Million" was the first Aaliyah CD I owned. It had 4 different versions of the song on it.   We hope our playlist reflects her legacy. It's a mix of her earlier works, more recent hits, some lesser known tracks and a couple of post death releases. Additionally we added OhSoKOOL's 21 Love Salute, another tribute to her.   Aaliyah will always be missed and never replaced. She will always be a big part of that dope 90s R&B era and will not be forgotten.   January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001

Fredericks Brown’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

Acoustic Gold session #10 is here! This one - without taking anything away from our previous sessions - has to be my favorite so far! We had the honor of hosting Fredericks Brown, an incredible New York based band consistent of the two founders, Deva Mahal (Vocals & Percussion) and Stephanie "Tipsy" Brown (Keys & Vocals), joining forces with Fen Ikner (Drums & Vocals).   IMG_5758I came across this talented group at a "Celebrate Brooklyn" event at Prospect Park and was immediately impressed by their sound. I contacted Deva Mahal shortly after and invited Fredericks Brown to record with us. They quickly agreed and we had them in the studio a week later. The outcome is magnificent...         I knew we were in for a treat when they started with "Empire City." Beautifully arranged and paired with Deva's stunning voice and Steph's and Fen's harmonies, this song touched me from the first note, had me all emotional. Aaaaaanyways... It replaced my previous Fredericks Brown favorite, "Everywhere" which still comes in a close second! "Everybody Deserves to be Free" has a great gospel feel to it and as a cover they chose to interpret "Stay" by Rihanna.   IMG_5780This group has a very bright future ahead of them. If I'd hear "Empire City" on the radio, it would immediately grab my attention and stick in my head; Top 10 material - at least in my world. Please make sure to share the feature with your friends, leave a comment and purchase their music to support. They seriously deserve it!         To find out more about Fredericks Brown, check out their NYCROPHONE Artist Page as well, leading you to all of their social media and downloads. Thank you kindly for your attention!

Passenger – Beautiful Soul-Folk from England

IMG_6013Passenger is the epiphany of a true singer/songwriter/musician to me... He decided to leave school at age 17, determined to become a full time artist. After one band breakup, tons of gigs in small European pubs, countless hours of busking on the streets and releasing 5 albums, Mike Rosenberg finally has arrived, selling 1 million copies of his first big hit "Let Her Go".       Passenger is the kind of artist who can entertain an entire crowd - entirely by himself. Well, him and his guitar. He is the kind of singer who captures you not only with his distinct voice, but his incredible song-writing skills, his story telling and last but not least his wittiness and charm on stage. He is that guy you'd want to sit with by the camp fire, listening to his music, possibly chiming in with your friends...   IMG_6036This past Sunday he's brought out tons of fans and curious music lovers to Central Park to perform a beautiful set at SummerStage.   After Stu Larsen & Liam Bailey soulfully rocked their hearts out to heat up the crowd, Passenger took over to captivate the crowd with his new material from Whispers and some of his popular older songs. Even though most of his songs are rather on the chill and somewhat melancholy  side, there is never a dull moment. It seems like he was born with an acoustic guitar in his hands, singing about stories most people can relate with, underlining his voice and melodies with occasional left footed bass drum like stumping on the floor.  His music can make you think, laugh, cry and more...     IMG_6043We had a hard time creating the playlist because he simply has "too many" good songs to choose from. Enjoy our selection of some his newer and older material, acoustic and studio versions. To find out more about Passenger aka Mike Rosenberg check out his NYCROPHONE Artist Page. Download his music, explore his social media sites and share his gift with your friends. Enjoy!

The Real Deal: Gregory Porter in Concert

NYCROPHONE was in the house, well - in the park, for Gregory Porter's SummerStage appearance August 3rd, 2014. Needless to say, it was an experience. If you appreciate Jazz and Soul music, Gregory already is, or probably will be, on your playlist after reading Mocha Carter's review while listening to the YouTube playlist we've created for your convenience.   Enjoy, share and comment! To find out more about Gregory Porter, visit his NYCROPHONE Artist Page.
  We arrived at Central Park's SummerStage and collected our press passes, scurrying to find the press box. There was a small area directly in front of the stage but a three song minimum for each artist, for press to stand there. I was not interested in doing that. I wanted to sit and enjoy the show without having to move about too much.   We made our way to the bleachers and the usher exclaimed, "This is your area! This is where you should be!" We laughed and took our seats.   After stepping in a puddle while wearing flip flops, I was a little less than pleased when I realized I'd have to sit through the performances of two other acts before Gregory Porter performed.   While I had heard of Revive before, I was not there to hear the "big band" or Igmar Thomas and I certainly didn't want to sit through all those songs. Alas, I had no choice and they performed. I rolled my eyes as they geared up to do a third song. I couldn't help but tap my feet and sway to the tunes. They were good!   For another song they brought out Chris Turner, who is a back-up singer for Bilal. Together they performed "Levels," one of Bilal's more recent songs. This made me happy. I couldn't help but smile but I was getting antsy because it was getting cooler, the sun had set, I feared rain, and Porter hadn't performed yet. And THEN, when I thought I couldn't take one more song, they brought out Robert Glasper!!! I screamed with excitement! (If you have not heard of him I implore you to check out 'Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio, one and two.)   IMG_5874FINALLY, the moment arrived... His 6ft plus frame walked onto the stage sporting the funny hat that has become synonymous with Gregory Porter. I clapped my hands and squealed with delight as the crowd went wild. He wasted no time and went directly into "Painted on Canvas," "No Love Dying" and "Musical Genocide" which he ended with a high jump kick. The crowd roared.   The energy and emotion could be felt throughout the park as we sang along, people of all ages, economic and ethnic backgrounds. The inflections and obvious gospel influence present throughout his performance of "Liquid Spirit" and Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free" We laughed as he said, "Now yall know my mama was a preacher. You can tell huh?"   We groaned as he came to his final selection but people danced and sang in the makeshift aisles to "1960 What!" I looked around smiling at the diversity of the crowd. Old and young, black and white. I watched a white teen dance off beat with his mom. I watched an older black couple sing and gaze into each others eyes.   His voice mixed with the big band and Terrence Blanchard, going crazy on the trumpet, was the perfect combination for a wonderful evening of jazz in the park.   IMG_5881There is a certain, simple charm as his voice caresses the music. There is a certain warmth in the smooth voice that pours from the soul of his large frame. He's like a bear that you just want to hug while he sings you a lullaby of poetry that is simple and pure. I am a fan and I would see him a million times more.   - Mocha Carter -

Shaliek’s ACOUSTIC GOLD Live Recording

For our Acoustic Gold session #9  we had the Bronx native Shaliek at ishlab studio. We've met Shaliek at SOB's in  Manhattan where he promoted his current EP Blood, Sweat, Tears with an energetic performance. Convinced by his raspy voice and classic R&B feel we invited him to record with us.   IMG_5754Despite his strained vocal chords that day, caused by his loaded performance schedule, Shaliek and his guitarist Jameison Ledonio rocked through the session professionally, leaving us with a real nice set of 2 of his originals - "The Past" and "Ain't Supposed to Cry" - and his rendition of Michael Jackson's recently released "Love Never Felt So Good."       IMG_5756 Shaliek is a true performer with a strong management on his side. Don't be surprised to be seeing a lot more from this talented kid. If you ever get a chance to catch him on tour - do it! If you'd like to find out more about his story, make sure to check his NYCROPHONE Artist Page - including all links to his social media plus download links for his music, especially his most recent project Blood, Sweet, Tears.      

The monthly NYCROPHONE Music Video Playlist Feature –

Don’t Miss Out on Jennah Bell’s Talent

NYCROPHONE had the incredible honor to host three outstanding talents last night, for our first Acoustic Gold live concert. One of the artists gracing the stage was the amazingly talented singer/songwriter Jennah Bell! We had this young lady closing the show and she did nothing less than an incredible job, capturing the crowd from start to finish. Everybody truly loved her.   We can't wait to work with Jennah again, planning on recording her in the studio for our Acoustic Gold sessions. In the meanwhile here is a little feature to showcase her musical abilities. She shines through her heartfelt way of singing, beautifully controlling every tune escaping her lounges.   Please share Jennah Bell's music with your friends, download her EP right HERE and show your appreciation with a LIKE and/or COMMENT. If you'd like to find out more about her, feel free to visit her NYCROPHONE Artist Page including all links to her social media sites. Thank you!          

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!
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