You many not have heard of Jheno Aiko, but you will. She is a talented singer/songwriter who has the looks of a supermodel, yet has a soulful voice. The multi-talented, multi-ethnic songstress got her start at an early age when producer Chris Stokes heard her sing. Aiko released a mixtape "Sailing Souls" via her website jheneaiko.com on March 16 of last year. She teamed up teamed up with producer, No I.D., who Vice President of A & R at Def Jam. She has an album coming out called "Souled Out", but it doesn't have a tentative release date yet. Check out her Youtube Channel and her Tumblr Page.
Singer D'Angelo has been added to the BET Roster of performers to perform at this years 2012 BET Awards. D has been gone from the music circuit for over a decade and he perhaps, has had one of the most anticipated comebacks in years. This will be the "Lady" singers first televised appearance in over a decade. The awards will be hosted by famed actor Samuel L. Jackson and other big acts set t to take the stage are Pusha T., Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Meek Mills, Usher, and more. The awards are set to air July 3, 2012.
Many people have been raving about the comeback of D'Angelo and the June GQ 2012 interview. GQ has released more outakes of the interview that didn't make the cut. With all the noise that this interview is making, we can't wait to see D back on the stage! Read some of the excerpts.
On how the "fame cycle" of the music business set D'Angelo back:
The guitarist Charlie Hunter, who played on the Voodoo album, says he blames not the "Untitled" video as much as what he calls the broader "fame cycle" of the music business. "There's so much money behind it now that there's very little room for humanity, for specialness," he says. "Who was more human than Aretha Franklin back in the day? You know, a real person who had a real message and whose weight went up and down and who was dealing with stuff." Today, he laments, too much music—and too many popular artists—"are just stamped at the same place in China that they make really cheap plastic toys. If you're someone like D'Angelo—just a music nerd, you know—who's a thinking individual and has some introspection and likes to have real interactions with human beings that aren't based on whether someone better has come into the room, then it's really the wrong place for you to be."
On Peter Edge, the former A & R man at J Records who is now the CEO of RCA Records, D'Angelo's label:
"He never gave up on me, man," D says. "And I love him for it."
Edge says it's a bet he had to make. "He can do his James Brown-influenced funk man thing. There are elements of Hendrix. And B.B. King. And obviously Prince. But he's never predictable. It's not like suddenly there's gonna be three other D'Angelos, and we're going to be like, 'Oh, well, we could have invested in these three guys.' He's worth investing in because there's nobody like him."
On what it was like for D to perform in Stockholm in January, his first concert in more than a decade:
"It was scary," D will tell me later, reflecting on playing the guitar in public for the first time. "I would feel comfortable when I was by myself, but actually getting onstage and playing was a different thing. My friend Raphael Saadiq was like, 'Yo, man, you've just got to jump in. Start swimming. Just jump in the pool, you know?' It was good advice. I was nervous up until the point where we started playing and singing, and then it just felt—it felt cool."
On Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson's role in D's career:
D asked Questlove to help him come up with the playlist for the European tour, just as D had asked for his help on his upcoming album. Like anything D-related, that took a lot of time (Questlove calls D'Angelo's painstaking process "beautifully frustrating"). Since the Roots drummer has a day job now (he's the bandleader on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), most of the work on the album has had to be done between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. After one seven-week stretch of pre-dawn sessions and little sleep, an exhausted Questlove contracted coxsackie virus. He wouldn't hesitate, he says, to do it again.
On D's upcoming third album:
Despite assurances that it's 97-percent done, D hasn't locked his third. Not yet. In Europe, he unveiled several songs he thinks will be on it. In addition to "Ain't That Easy" and the irresistible dance number, "Sugar Daddy," there is a song Questlove compares to Herbie Hancock called "The Charade." "Crawling through a systematic maze to demise," it begins, and D sings the line with a seething fury. When I catch a reference to "the deceiver," I can't help but think: this song—twisted, almost atonal, multi-layered—is about that forked-tongued devil, Fame.
D says I'm wrong. "It's about the disenfranchised," he says. "It's telling the powers that be, 'This is why we are justified in our stance.' There's another song on the album called 'A Thousand Deaths' that is the flip side of the coin. 'A Thousand Deaths' is just a fucking war cry. You know what I mean? The beheadings have commenced." It occurs to me that the Nat Turner Rebellion of 1831, in which slaves rose up and killed more than 50 white people, the only sustained slave rebellion in the South's history, took place in D's home state of Virginia. "Ain't no justice/It's just us/Ash to ashes/Dust to dust," D sang so insistently on Voodoo. I am beginning to get what he means.
I ask someone who has a closely-guarded copy to let me hear "1000 Deaths." It is dark, dense and mysterious and makes the most of D's newfound prowess on the guitar. The lead vocal is so distorted—like the moans and groans of a Negro spiritual—that D could almost be speaking in tongues. The song is compelling, maybe even profound, but it is the opposite of catchy. That's just fine with D. He tells me art, not commerce, is his fuel.