Interviews

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Watch Charlotte's Sinners & Saints Sing Sweet Harmonies

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 12:42 PM


On the cover of Creative Loafing Charlotte this week: Pat Moran writes about Mark Baran and Perry Fowler of the Charlotte acoustic duo Sinners & Saints. Check out his video clip of them doing what they do best: harmonizing on a sweet country-folk tune.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

New music video series coming to CL in January

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Starting Jan. 5, 2016, we'll be premiering a new music profile series hosted by Lara Americo. Each episode in the series, which is called Untitled, will be broken up into two parts — one with a live performance a la the Tiny Desk concert series, and one with an interview.

Check out the trailer, and be sure to come back on Jan. 5 for the first episode: 


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Interview: Chatting with The Foreign Exchange

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 2:26 PM

FOREIGN-ERS: The Foreign Exchange — Phonte (front) and Nicolay
  • FOREIGN-ERS: The Foreign Exchange — Phonte (front) and Nicolay

The Foreign Exchange — the Grammy-nominated, Durham-based musical duo — doesn’t hit Charlotte that often. And that’s a shame. This city needs more of the melodic, hip-hop-flavored soul sounds that FE members Phonte and Nicolay are famous for creating. We recently caught up with the pair via telephone and grilled them about the upcoming show and why they don't visit the Q.C. more often.

Creative Loafing: Last time you guys were in town was a few years ago at the Double Door Inn for a free summer show. And there was one point in the show when a guy actually jumped onstage. You remember that?
Phonte: I remember that. What the fuck, yo? I just hesitated at first because I thought maybe it might have been somebody ... like he might have been cool or something — somebody from the club that was like coming on stage to fix something because he had on all black. I was like, “Maybe it's somebody from the crew or something.” So, then he just got up, and I kept going. And then I just saw him going, and I was like “What the fuck?!” That was a wild one.

With this new date you have coming up, what kind of stuff can people expect from the show?
Nicolay: We revamped the show since the last album Authenticity, which came out last October. So the show now is largely focused on that album [and] material from that album. We have a new lineup that we actually think is our best yet. So we've been really doing this show pretty much since the beginning of the year — and we've done a lot of them — in the United States as well as in Europe. We definitely have a very seasoned and tight unit right now … people can definitely expect a great show and definitely hear a lot of our recent music.

OK, so why don't y'all hit Charlotte more often?
Phonte: For me, I've just seen over the years that you kind of have to keep your own town … you gotta be kind of scarce, because people take it for granted. They just really think: "Oh I can see him anytime.” When you're performing in your backyard, it's hard to shake that “local” stigma. You kind of have to keep it scarce. So, when you do a show at home, it’s an event and it's not just, “Oh I can see him Thursday again at the supermarket.” You have to have some exclusivity, I think.

Be sure to catch the group when they hit town on Sept. 10 for a rare (and undoubtedly awesome) performance. $20-$25. 10:30 p.m. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E 36th St. www.neighborhoodtheatre.com.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Charlotte — it’s time to Percolate! Green Velvet (aka Cajmere) brings his live house music show to Dharma Lounge on July 30

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Even if you know nothing about house music, I guaran-damn-tee you’re familiar with the song “It's Time for the Percolator.” That tune has been the staple of non-house DJ’s house music sets for around 20 years now. It’s one of those songs that house-heads vilify for its popularity and “played out-ness,” yet still jack their bodies to it when it’s played at a party. The man responsible for that anthem, DJ/producer (and former chemical engineering major) Green Velvet (aka Cajmere), will be spinning at Dharma Lounge on July 30 … this is what he had to say for himself:

Creative Loafing: What makes a chemical engineering student decide to quit school and do music?

Green Velvet: Well, my love and passion for music is mainly what won me over. I did the chemical engineering because I was good in math and wanted to make some money. But at the end of the day, I talked to the Lord, and I said that I just want to do what I really love to do … thank God it worked!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Q&A: Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men (set to play the Lake, Land & Lyrics event July 23) talks music, life and more

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

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When organizers are planning charitable events, they want you to break out your checkbook and support their cause. And sometimes they offer you an incredible experience for your money. That’s the case with Lake, Land & Lyrics, which takes place Saturday, July 23 at Queen’s Landing on Lake Norman.

The event is a fundraiser for Autism Services of Mecklenburg County, which supports adults and children with autism, traumatic brain injury, and other developmental disabilities. In an effort to raise $250,000, this jam-packed evening features three dinner options (two dinner cruises on the lake and one dinner on land), the Brentson A. Buckner Celebrity Poker Tournament, a concert at the outdoor amphitheater featuring Boyz II Men and Jim Quick & Coastline, and several celebrity guest appearances. Packages range from $100-$400 and each of the festivities features an open bar. Visit www.lakelandandlyrics.org for details.

With Boyz II Men headlining this event, we caught up with group member Shawn Stockman. Younger audiences might recognize him more as a judge for NBC’s The Sing-Off, but most of us adults know him as one-fourth of the most successful R&B group of all time, whom many of us grew up listening to, danced to at proms, and may have even tried to dress like in the early-90s (ahem, the buttoned-down shirt, tie, and jean shorts).

What can fans expect from the Boyz II Men concert on July 23?

The fans can expect that we’ll bring 100 percent as we always do. We bring a ton of energy and a ton of enthusiasm, and all of the hits.

Do you tailor your song selections to the audience you anticipate attending your shows?

Our song catalog is universal. We do mix it up, but we make sure to play all of the hits and some covers as well. We play a little bit of everything. We really like to put on an all-inclusive show.

Which songs seem to be the most popular?

We’ve had a number of songs that have really resonated with people. They probably know us best for songs like “End of the Road,” “On Bended Knee,” and “I’ll Make Love to You.”

This year marked 20 years since the release of your debut album, Cooleyhighharmony. How have you grown from boys to men?

I wouldn't say that our sound has changed over the past 20 years, but I would say that we have. We are older now, more mature with families and different views on life. That was a really exciting time for us — it was thrilling to be recording our first album and to be working as a group to create something great.

Compare R&B music in 1991 to R&B music in 2011.

The sad truth is that not many artists are creating great R&B records anymore, and if they are those are the songs that the labels are weeding out in the album finalization process in fear of the sound being dated. While many artists have their fans grow old with them, our fans grow old but they also pass our music down to their children, which allows our fan base to skew much younger than one would think. Given the fact that the sound of music has changed so much over the past 20 years, introducing our music to younger fans is almost like introducing a brand-new style of music.

Why do you think there are so few R&B groups (compared to solo artists) in music today?

We’re lucky enough to have incredible chemistry and we never lose sight of the fact that we’re a team. It’s easy to let disputes and drama and egos come between you as a group, which is why a lot of people go solo. But we still know why we do it — and that’s because we truly love it. That is the key to being here 20 years. Things have not been 100-percent great for 20 years, but we know that is how life is. We were taught early to prepare for the down times because they always come, and because of that we’ve known what to expect.

You all released a statement last year informing fans that Michael McCary, who’d been on hiatus for several years, wouldn’t be returning to the group. Have there been any new developments?

As always, we wish Michael nothing but the best. Who knows what the future holds, but as it stands, there are no developments to report.

Congratulations on the recent announcement that Boyz II Men will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Thank you. It’s a wonderful honor. It’s an incredible validation of all the time and passion and love that we’ve been putting into this for two decades. We’re proud of all that we’ve done — and we would be regardless — but to have our own star on the Walk of Fame is truly amazing.

What new material or projects are you all working on?

We’re releasing an all-new album this fall and I can tell you this: the fans won’t be disappointed. We’re truly excited about this. We’re back in the studio with many of the guys who’ve given us some of our biggest records as well as some new, younger producers. So it will be classic Boyz II Men with a twist.

— Jarvis Holliday

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interview: Getting real with Siggy 'Dealz' Jackson

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Dealz Jackson

From their humble beginnings in Gary, Ind., to their rise to the top of the pop charts, the Jackson family has been a force to be reckoned with for decades. Their contribution to music has helped shaped the industry over the years — and they show no signs of stopping. The Jackson's new generation is moving into the spotlight, but one in particular is venturing into his own lane ... by stepping outside of the singing roots of the family. Siggy "Dealz" Jackson, son of original J5 member Jackie, is introducing the Jackson flavor to the world of hip-hop.

“Music has always been a part of me, but I decided to pursue it because I wanted to bring a change to music. It’s not about the money or material things, for me music is more about helping others; if the people listening get something out of my music, then I’ve done my job,” says Dealz. “When I was a kid, we used to do talent shows for the family. Everyone else was singing, and I always rapped. Rap is in my heart, always has been, to me it’s more poetic. Rap has always been considered as 'gangsta' music, but it’s actually just more passionate than anything.”

That passion is evident in his new single “That’s How I Feel,” which features his father Jackie and his uncle Jermaine. "The song is me basically telling my father how I feel about women," Dealz says. "You don’t have to call women names and degrade them just to have a song.”

Dealz isn’t new to the music game; he released a self-titled mixtape in 2007, and a new album is expected this summer. And despite having a famous last name, he isn't relying on his familial notoriety to open doors or propel his career forward.

“Nothing has ever been handed to me; I have worked hard for everything that I have. I started out doing street promotions for artists and have worked my way up from there,” says Dealz. “It’s important that I do continue to represent my family, but more importantly continue to respect the name and brand that they have worked to build.”

This year marks the two-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. Dealz is using his passion for fast cars and motorcycles to honor his uncle’s memory. “My friend Porkchop and I just unveiled a custom dedication bike that has pictures of my uncle on it. I also built a custom dedication vehicle for him named 'Melody.' It’s a 2005 black-and-red Mustang with custom interior, with about 550 Horsepower under the hood.”

As fans around the world continue to mourn the loss of the King of Pop, Dealz hopes they keep one thing in mind, “I hope people remember my uncle at his best and for the good man that he was. He genuinely cared about everyone.”

To learn more about Dealz Jackson check out his website www.officialdealz.com.

— Shameika Rene

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chatting with Al Jarreau

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Singer Al Jarreau is one of only a handful of jazz artists who has managed to successfully reach a mass audience while still staying true to his musical roots. Serious jazz heads know him for tunes like his groundbreaking rendition of “Take Five” — while more mainstream music fans know him as the dude who sang the theme song for the old Moonlighting TV show. However you know Jarreau, be sure to check him out when he stops through Charlotte on March 20 (show information at the bottom of this artcile); he promises to put on a genre-bending show full of hits, both big and small (yes, even “Moonlighting”). We caught up with Al last week via telephone and chatted with him about his multifaceted career.

Creative Loafing: I was online a few weeks ago checking out performance videos of you online and found you doing your version of “Take Five” in 1976 (See video below). So far it’s been viewed more than 1,000,000 times. Do you have any particular recollections of that performance?

Al Jarreau: Well, a couple of things. It’s Al Jarreau just working on the scene, and it’s Al Jarreau doing some very unusual music for a singer at that time — and perhaps any time. I mean “Take Five” is a very special piece of music that takes a kind of special approach and understanding and ability to get comfortable with this rather unusually written, eclectic piece of music. I tell the story today on stage that whenever I see Dave Brubeck I tell him: “I know you wrote that song, but I’ve been doing it as long as you have — and I feel like you owe me some money!” (Laughs) Which is not the truth. But the truth is, I might have played that song as much as he has.

The way you were singing that song, it was kind of like you were mixing — similar to a hip-hop DJ, which came years later. It’s kind of interesting that you did that before hip-hop existed.

Isn’t that interesting? (Laughs) Al doing that stuff 20 years before it became the thing to do. Isn’t that interesting? Hello folks! Do I have to turn the spotlight on myself and drum roll? Gotdamn! Was Al a forerunner? Yeah he was … way out there. Ahead of the pack! (Laughs)

It’s funny to think that back in the day — with songs like “Moonlighting” and such — you were a pop star yourself. What do you think of the current state of pop music?

Oh my … man. I don’t recognize this sector of the universe! I don’t know what I would do coming along these days with my brand of music. I mean, the Esperanza Spladings are rarities; still, it’s encouraging to find that there are some young people who are seeing through to the real deal … seeing through the kind of haze of other stuff that can be “music.” Yeah, it’s a really different time. I just tell young people these days: “Just do it cause you love it.” … That’s been my approach.

So what do you have coming up?

George Duke and I have a little CD coming from 1965. In 1965, we played at a place called the Half Note [in San Francisco]. George was a student at the conservatory, and I was a social worker living in San Francisco and singing nights. We recorded on one or two nights. We just went through those tapes, and there’s some stuff there that we think is important for people to hear — Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio 1965, doing some music that they’ve never heard me or George ever do. That’s coming toward the end of the month. And I’m gearing up for a big summer tour. And we’re working on a new studio record … brand-new material. We’re just really grinning about that. Ohhh wait till you hear this!

Show info: $38.50-$75.50. 7 p.m. Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. www.carolinatix.org.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

El and back: DeBarge performs in the Q.C. Friday, Oct. 29

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 10:25 AM

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If, like me, you’ve grown tired of hearing DJs spin the Notorious B.I.G.’s hip-hop hit “One More Chance,” you should check out the man who provided the musical foundation for this and other tunes: El DeBarge.

Over the years, rappers like Biggie and Rich Boy (of “Throw Some D’s” fame ... see video below) have sampled classic songs by El and the DeBarge family. But, as he battled drug addiction, the legendary vocalist pretty much disappeared from the spotlight. (In a recent interview, El told me: “It took me 22 years to get hooked on drugs and 25 years to get off.”)

Now, however, he’s back with a brand-new album (Second Chance), and a smooth new sound (According to El, Polow Da Don, the producer of “Throw Some D’s” that features a snippet from the beloved track “I Call Your Name” — by the first DeBarge family group, Switch — recently created some tracks for his new album. While in the studio El said to Polow: “I like what you did for Rich Boy. Now let’s see what you can do for me!”), which you can hear live when he makes a stop in Charlotte tonight to perform new, and vintage, material.

$35-$65. 7:30 p.m. CPCC’s Halton Theater, 1206 Elizabeth Ave. For more information, visit www.thesolkitchen.com.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A chat with Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 11:06 AM

The last time I spoke with Bear Rinehart, lead singer of the band Needtobreathe, he was excited that the band was finally starting to play larger venues. Its first trips to Charlotte were to venues like the Neighborhood Theatre. In April, they were able to sell out the larger Amos’.

This time around, it’s the Fillmore — Oct. 28. “It’s really insane,” says an excited Bear. “When this thing started 10 years ago, we were amazed to see the crowd go from 20 people to 50. Now, we’re selling out legit venues. It’s unbelievable.”

And larger venues isn’t the only thing that’s changed since we last saw the group in April. The band just returned from a trip to Europe to promote its highly successful, critically acclaimed album The Outsiders.

“Europe was wild,” Bear explains. “We’d never been before and had no idea what to expect. The album literally was released just a few days before we got there so we weren’t sure what type of response we’d have. It was great. Everyone knew the songs and had been listening to our old album The Heat for years. The response was amazing. We were blown away.”

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lady Gaga bares all in Rolling Stone

Posted By on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 11:33 AM

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There's a lot of chatter about the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. First, people are talking about the cover of the magazine which features Lady Gaga in machine guns and little else.

Second, they're talking about the article itself which discusses Gaga's desire to keep up an image and always portray Lady Gaga — whether she's on stage or leaving a hospital. She says she won't even drink water on stage so that people will stay focused on the music.

Yep, she's a character alright...

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