Category Archives: Soul Music

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Classic House | Donnie Mark – “Stand Up for The Soul”

Some house tracks have such a spiritual vibe to them. Even if it’s not gospel house, a track can still have this soulful spiritual vibe that gets you into the zone. It’s just something about the soulful vocals that have you singing high praises and shouting hallelujah!

If you’ve got a house track and add the vocals of Barbara Tucker, Kathy Brown, Jocelyn Brown, or Martha Wash, then it’s bound to have this gospel vibe to it. All those leading ladies of house have had there fair share of time being on tracks that are solemnly gospel, so it’s no surprise that that spiritual vibe carries over onto their house tracks. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve cried on Barbara Tucker’s “Most Precious Love.” Man, now that song right their is a revival! Honestly that song is perhaps one of my favorite songs (I’ll post it), along with “Inspiration” by Arnold Jarvis.

Some songs may not feature the big divas of house, but they are still classic tracks. One of those classic spiritual tracks is “Stand Up for The Soul” by Donnie Mark. The track originally came out 1993 on Simply Soul/Submerge Records. It’s one of those tracks you might not have heard unless you’re a major house music junkie and studied the history of house (unless you were alive in that era.) Sadly enough I’m only 20 and wasn’t alive during the days of the Paradise Garage, so my experience with house has been research, research, and appreciation. My constant researching is what makes me such a lover of house music, and I’m so happy when I run across classic tracks such as “Stand Up for The Soul.”

The track is so uplifting. You literally want to just “stand up for the soul.”  It’s a song that you want to listen to when hanging out with your friends or dancing with strangers a club, and the soulful sounds of house serenade your body. Everybody just has to come together for the love of house, for the of the spirit, and for the love of the soul. It’s house music baby. You can’t resist it, it’s a spiritual thang. So don’t let the worries of the day stress you out. The weekend is almost here, you’re alive and well, and at the end of the day you’ve just got to stand up for the feeling, the soul, and for the love of house music. Yeah, now that’s deep…..

©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com

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Life at a Slower BPM: Reef Project – “Adrift”

Moments in life filled with uneasiness often deserve a dedicated moment of silence. Yet I find it hard sometimes to sit down in a silent room and just reflect on my thoughts. Perhaps I’ve been conditioned by noise, which diverts me from being able to completely spend a silent moment alone. Unabridged silence makes me nervous. I don’t get nervous when it comes to meeting new people, first dates (that’s never a big deal,) performing on stage, or performing a “difficult” task, but lack of sound does put me edge.

I can sit in silence for awhile, which gives me time to reflect on life, but at a certain point I’m rushing to turn on a soundtrack for the moment. Every moment in my life is accompanied by music. There is something so intoxicating about the combination of sounds and rhythms that produce the basic essence of music. It’s nice to turn off the television, log off Facebook, turn off the phone, and just chill out listening to an artist that connects their soul to the world via their music. But when it comes to relaxing and truly tuning the world out, I find that down tempo music really aides in the relaxation.

Cafe Del Mar is a name you’ve most likely heard of. It’s known throughout the world, perhaps the entire universe(including the newly discovered Kepler 22-B) as a record label and club that has the best in down-tempo, lounge, and chill music. They’ve got a lot of good down-tempo music, but I recently ran across an artist by the name of Reef Project, and he isn’t even associated with Cafe Del Mar. Reef Project is the genius work of Thee-O (Jacob Oflias) and a majority of his music is downtempo, ambient, and chill room.

Reef Project has a lot of surreal songs that truly slow down time and focus on the beauty of emotion. Life can be so fast paced, and as humans we can become so detached from ourselves, our dreams, and are emotions. But tracks like Reef Project’s “Adrift” remind us to enjoy the beauty of life. It’s okay to slow it down and not always be hyped up. As Reef Project’s motto says, there is nothing wrong with enjoying “life at a slower bpm.” Slow it down sometimes and don’t stress out over convoluted misfortunes. If you can’t relax in complete silence, then find what works for you. Some ambient music, the sounds of nature, soulful house, and gospel always work for me, so have options. But if you need something to wash away the stress of this past week, then listen to Reef Project’s beautiful track “Adrift” and fall in love with the breathtaking video featuring vocalist Erin Powers.

©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com

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Deep House: Aki Bergen ft. Carmen Sherry – “Into My Soul (Spiritchaser Remix)”

All my fellow house music junkies need to check out The Future Is Fresh podcast with Fresh 27.  If you love that deep, soulful, and vocal house music, then The Future is Fresh is another podcast you should subscribe to. My daily dosages of house music are never running short, because I have my trusted podcasts that I know will bring forth that real house music. The podcasts that any house lover should check out are: Deeper Shades of Houses, Deep House Cat, SS Radio UK, Grant Nelson’s Housecall, Sweat Soulful House, DeepSoul Maison, and The Future is Fresh with Fresh 27.

All those podcasts are constantly being pumping out shows with great music, and a lot of the old shows will blow your mind. I still have so many episodes of The Future is Fresh I haven’t listened to, but I decided to switch up my workout playlist and listen to nonstop house. It’s nice to have a continuous mix while I’m on the elliptical, instead of songs that just randomly jump around and don’t have a transition. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Dance/Electronica playlist I put together, but something about the sounds of house make my workout more fun and less stressful.

Earlier today I was listening to the November 8th episode of The Future is Fresh and I heard this amazing song called “Into My Soul.” I had never heard of this track until today, but I couldn’t help but immediately fall in love with it. It’s so deep, so beautiful, so organic, and it’s that real house vibe that my soul craves. The song is by Aki Bergen and it features the vocals of Carmen Sherry. The original version of the track is quite beautiful, but the Spiritchaser Remix takes the song to an entirely new level; a dreamlike escape with deep rhythms, pulsating effects, and soulful vocals that could start a spiritual revival. There is just something so majestic about this track, and if you listen to it while working out, you’re bound to wanna hop of the machine and start housing dancing. Ah, it’s such an enticing track, the type of track that is truly a deep house lover’s delight. Man, can you imagine being in a lounge and having this spinning live? OMG, that would be heaven!

Check out the track below and download it for free from soundcloud!

P.S. All the podcast I mentioned can be subscribed to for free on iTunes. 

©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com

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Check Out Mary J. Blige’s “25/8″ Music Video, Jamile McGee Is in It!

Good afternoon!

It’s a wet and snowy day here in Maryland, but I plan on spending the day inside playing Battlefield 3( love the online play and amazing graphics) and doing some school work as well. I know a few weeks ago I posted information about my brother, dancer and choreographer Jamile McGee dancing with Gloria Estefan on The View, but he was also on The Rosie Show and Jay Leno. He did a great job performing and had a lot of fun working with Gloria and the other dancers, but I also forgot to mention that while he was in New York tapping on The View, he had gotten a direct hire to dance in Mary J. Blige’s video “25/8″.

Through out most of his dance career after making it big on season 1 of So You Think You Can Dance?, Jamz (Jamile) has had the opportunity to work with many great artists and appear in their music videos, as well as commercial, television, and tour work. He’s met some pretty cool people, but he did say that Mary J. Blige was very nice and so down to earth. Her new song “25/8″ is such a great song and the video features some pretty nice dance scenes as well. I’m so proud of Jamz for being such an amazing dancer and showing people that you can make a career out of dance, you just have to believe in yourself, and being insanely talented doesn’t hurt either. ;)

Check out the video below! You can see Jamile in some of the dance scenes. At one point he’s in front on the ground next to Mary J. Blige and she pushes his head back with her hand. I love how she looks in this video, so powerful, confident, and just doing her thing!

Mary J. Blige – 25/8

Johnny Graham

DMV Artist Spotlight: Jazz/R&B Musician Johnny Graham

On a nice fall day there is nothing I love better than sipping on some coffee, writing in my journal, and listening to the smooth sounds of jazz infused with R&B. Lately I’ve found myself getting lost in the creative sounds of Art of Noise, Marcus Anderson, JazzTronik,Acoustic Alchemy, Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz, David Benoit, Water Beasley, and so many other great musicians. I’ve always been a huge fan of smooth jazz artists, and I can recall so many days my mom driving me to school teaching me about different jazz musicians.

I grew up listening to a wide array of music, and thanks to the Internet I can know easily discover new music. It’s so easy to get lost on Youtube in search of great music, but my latest great find didn’t come from YouTube; I found this amazing artist watching NBC’s NonStop Scene:DC. I was watching the show about a week ago and they did a spotlight on this artist named Johnny Graham. His name alone sounds like the perfect name for a jazz musician, but when you hear him play the trumpet you realize he knows more about jazz then just having a suave name. This smooth guy has the knack for creating beautiful jazz that is infused with hints of R&B and hip-hop.

Johnny Graham is a talented Baltimore, Maryland native that is exceptionally skilled on the trumpet, piano, flugelhorn, and he has a gift for poetry. I first heard his music while watching NonStop Scene:DC and immediately had to find out who this amazing young man was. I meet so many young men that often tell me they are a musician, and I ask them which instrument they play, then they simply respond with “Oh, I’m a rapper.” Nothing wrong with being a rap artist or a singer, but since I played flute for seven years in band, I do enjoy the pure musicianship and skill that comes with cultivating an instrument and utilizing it to craft beautiful music.

Pure musicianship is a skill that takes a lot of time and effort, but Johnny seems to be so versatile in his musical approach. Even though he is currently working on a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Maryland as a Dean’s Scholar, this bright young man, at the age of 23, has a great future ahead of him in the arena of jazz and R&B. I don’t personally know Johnny, but I can tell from his music, his YouTube videos, and his very professional website that he is very dedicated to making his music a reality.

He’s already performed at countless numbers of venues up and down the East Coast, and his first solo project Coming of Age came out in summer 2010 and received great reviews from publications in the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan region(known to us locals as the DMV.) Johnny is already making a name for himself as a serious musician, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he eventually in the years to come became a popular figure in the jazz community.

Johnny Graham is a young brotha that showcases a level of class and style that exudes each time he plays the trumpet. His music is the perfect soundtrack for those breezy fall days; when you’re in search of some smooth comfort grab a book, a warm beverage, and chill out to the sounds of great jazz musicians, including the up and coming Johnny Graham. His music is truly a timeless escape that is filled with love, passion, courage, determination, and it’s the story of a young man from Baltimore trying to reach the world one note at a time…

Be sure to check out Johnny Graham’s website. I’ve contacted him on Twitter and from what I’ve heard, he’s got some new music on the way. So stay tuned for more from this talented musician!

http://www.johnnygrahammusic.com/

Find Your Love-Johnny Graham(Live Cover)

Hold My Love-Johnny Graham f. Seph Ade (Original Song)

©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com