Awww…the summer of 2001 brought us this great female singer — Res. I stumbled onto her debut album, How I Do, and instantly fell in love.
Of course, I bullied my friends into checking her out — and the same thing happened. Actually, one of them went out to buy her album even after I burned her a copy. You saw her being pushed by Best Buy, she was all over MTV. She toured the country — hitting small venues like “Club 9:30” in Washington, DC. Yes….she is that good. And then, she did a Keyser Soze and…..disappeared.
What happened? I couldn’t tell you for sure. However, I firmly believe Res is the perfect example of artists who don’t fit into the normal categories record and radio execs have made up. Therefor they’re left on the shelves to collect dust. Thankfully, these artists – and I can name ALOT of them (see a parial list below) — now have a voice on the internet, and a great friend named “Pandora.” I honestly believe Pandora is responsible for about 70% of my music purchases the past 6 months.
I still play How I Do like it came out yesterday and was excited when I started receiving email announcements about Res performing in Philadelphia and also working on an album. The album “Black Girls Rock” has been released — but not in the US. Good lord…..
So, to make sure her music gets out there, Res has been smart enough to release some singles, for free, on her website. To follow up her initial release, “Say You Will” — a collaboration with Talib Kweli and Ab Liva — Res is dropping another song from her upcoming album tomorrow (February 4th). Take a quick visit to her website — http://the1res.com/ — to listen to the new tracks and get a feeling about who she is as an artist. You don’t regret it, trust me.
Ok…so here are some other artists who I believe have been ignored by the US music industry as a whole (I’ll get myself worked up to do a rant about the US music industry vs. the world at a later date): **This is at the top of my head, so I can go and watch the end of NCIS**
- Alice Smith
- MeShell NdgeO’cello (she has a huge following, but it’s very niche)
- Raul Midon
- Dan Dyer
- Amel Larrieux
- Angela Johnson
- Chrisette Michele
This is not to say, these artists do not have a dedicated following or even get radio play — a couple on that list actually do, mostly on alternative/indie or even adult contemporary stations — but they haven’t been able to break out in a major way or even able to release a follow up album because a labels A&R team are more interested in how many times a song makes it on the Hot 100 on a Clear Channel station.
What kills me though, is when an artist makes the round on the talk shows and finally gets picked up and then just disappears — like what happened with Res or even Alice Smith (who was nominated for a Grammy for God’s sake). Alice Smith’s sophomore album was scheduled to be released two summers ago……and nothing. A friend met her after a show in NYC last summer and asked when it was coming out. Alice’s response: “I don’t have the faintest, call my label and tell them to release it.” We all know that happens more than not — yet, when I have the radio on I hear Drake five times in an hour. Lovely
Commuting Mix Songs on repeat:
- Adele – Rolling in the Deep
- In the Colors — Ben Harper
- No One’s Gonna Love You — Cee Lo Green
- Off the Ground — Citizen Cope
- Only Thing Missing Was You — Michael Franti
PS — This is now my second post. If you’re reading this, please comment….the more the merrier. I’m a feedback junky.