Posts Tagged ‘Earth Wind and Fire’

Conscious, quality music gains speed @ 2008 Grammy Awards!

January 7, 2008
It’s official – 2008 may just be the year we finally see the popular music industry wake UP, if the decent presence of some of our favorite artists among this year’s nominees is any gauge. It seems that we have all been working so hard for so long on attaining this goal, that we hardly know what to do with it when it is actually upon us. We here at Fusicology could not be more ecstatic about some of the nominations, especially those for some of our friends like Dwele, Vikter Duplaix, Ledisi, Raheem DeVaughn, Carl Craig, The White Stripes, and of course… yet again, our boy J Dilla behind the beats of Common & Kanye.
Yet, it is always refreshing to see classics such as Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Prince, and Spyro Gyra back in the game as well. It’s not all about ‘Ye this year, though it may seem so. Taking a peek at his liner notes will yield more familiar names – all of which helped West earn all 8 of his nominations. But we’re not mad at him, not in the least. Somebody had to open that door for us. Thank GOODness we have “graduated” to the next level, at last.
Speaking of ruling the noms, that poor, tortured British Rehab soul we have grown to both love and feel sorry for, Amy Winehouse boasts 6 nominations this year for “Back to Black.” Which leads us to another liner-note expose… a story we are still intrigued by, yet not surprised about. That sound behind Winehouse’s gravelly croon that swept us all this past year (just admit it) – an age-old formula based on Northern Soul and executed flawlessly by a humble Brooklyn jazz-funk band… hm, could this be the real meaning of “Back to Black” ? Back to black music? Real soul music in 2008? Could it be true? Would Berry and Gamble & Huff be proud? Let’s just hope Amy can stay sober long enough to make to LA next month to claim that Grammy.
Inspired by both Winehouse’s and Common & Kanye’s behind-the-production 2007 liner notes, Fusicology takes this opportunity to cover pre- and post-Grammy info that we think you’ll find interesting, and if nothing else, create a place for us all to brag that we knew some of these cats “back in the day.” We also want to know what some of our esteemed nominees are thinking right about now, so each week we’ll feature interviews with and factoids about those we know.
We’ll actually be biting our nails over the next 4 weeks, as we count down to the 50th Annual Grammy Awards…
***And finally – the moment we’ve all been waiting for… our Fusicology 2008 Grammy Weekend Wrap-Up! Our fearless Editor, Asya Shein, blogs about our whirlwind weekend in Los Angeles:

GRAMMY Weekend in LA was filled with what we coin as the Soul Diaspora Movement. Pre-Grammy Events like Sounds of Change with Jerry Lee Lewis, Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild (perfecting Bob Marley), Ryan Shaw, DJ Hapa and others celebrated the Music Preservation Project and Living Histories event based on the music for social change and the Civil Rights Movement.

Friday night Kiss N’ Grind Live put on by Garth Trinidad and GRAMMY nominee Vikter Duplaix featured The Brand New Heavies, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul, Eric Roberson and DJ Rashida, a great musical journey!

The 5th Annual Roots Jam Session on Saturday sponsored by Rock The Vote featured The Roots playing with the likes of Seal, Doug E Fresh w/ MC Lyte, Bilal, Corrine Bailey Ray, J*DaVeY, Alice Smith, Travis Barker, Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Raheem DeVaughn, Jimi James and other guests. View Bilal kill Led Zeppelin and Radiohead covers at

Our friends @ Hybrid Roots, eco-friendly clothing & design firm based in LA, wrapped up their Grammy weekend with green-gifting @ the 1st Annual “Green with Music” VIP Retreat, where they schmoozed with celebs like Mr. Malik (The Roots), Eldar, Omarosa, and more, all the while raising funds for Brad Pitt’s “Make It Right campaign to re-build the 9th Ward in New Orleans. Full Story | Fusicology Green Blog

Congratulations to all the soulful artists nominated and winning GRAMMY’s including award winner Jill Scott. Check out her Jill Scott: Live In Paris + DVD.

Until next year…

Winehouse Update: Academy officials announced today that 6-time Grammy Nominee, Amy Winehouse, will not appear in Los Angeles this Sunday at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, due to the US Embassy’s denial of her application for a Visa to travel from London to LA to perform as scheduled with the Dap-Kings. Apparently, Amy’s caretakers at her drug rehabilitation facility in London report that she is not rehabilitated enough yet to travel, and therefore, upon recommendation, the US Embassy denied her entrance to the States to attend the Grammys.
Academy officials say that they have arranged instead for Winehouse to perform via satellite instead.
*Dang, Amy.
– Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.

Philly’s VIKTER DUPLAIX is nominated this year in the following Grammy Award categories:

#27 : Best Urban / Alternative Performance for “Make A Baby” off his new album, “Bold and Beautiful”

[Up against our boy Dwele, as well as Lupe Fiasco & Jill Scott, Me’Shell N’Degeocello, and Alice Smith]

Vikter - Bold&Beautiful

*The City of Brotherly Love has bred many a talented Soul artist, but since the era of Gamble & Huff, there has been a bit of a different dynamic going on in Philadelphia’s music scene. Not-so-new producer / DJ / vocalist, Vikter Duplaix, has had an interesting experience with the ins and outs of how to make it in this crazy, cut-throat industry. He takes the time out with us here at Fusicology to reveal why he chose the indy road over the mainstream one, and how he stood up and opened the window a bit for conscious, quality music in the powerful realm of the Grammy Academy.

Duplaix has thick roots in Philly’s music community, with vocal training in boys choirs, and heavy involvement with some of the city’s renowned artists, coming of age around the likes of Jazzy Jeff and groups like Boyz II Men, and hanging and producing with folks such as Jill Scott, The Roots & ?uestlove, and good friends King Britt and Rich Medina, among others.

So again, we venture to play 10 Questions with 2008 Grammy Award Nominee, Vikter Duplaix:

FUSICOLOGY: So I heard your song, “Make A Baby,” on the radio in New Orleans last week, on an R&B station, fairly commercial, 102.9FM. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard your music (and your name – they were announcing excitedly like 3 times), on a commercial radio station…

Really? You did? I didn’t even know! That’s interesting, because we’re not supposed to go to the air with that single until the end of this month…

F: Well, someone got an advance copy. 😉 You’ve got a video out for that single, right? Where is it in rotation now? Everyone seems to be talking about the video…

V: Yeah. [laughs] On BET-J, and VH1 Soul I think.

F: When did you begin working on that video? And how long before it came out after that?

V: I think it was like this past September and October we shot it, and then it came out like the following month in November. You know, there are some delays when you’re producing things with a more independent resources, it kinda comes out when it comes out, but you gotta work with what you have.

F: What role do you think music videos play in an artist’s career? Or how do you think they affect it?

V: Well, it they’re executed properly, and represent the music well, then they’re a good thing to promote an already good song. But if it’s just about making an expensive video, then no, a video can’t save a bad song. At the end of the day, it’s still about quality. For example, I saw this gorgeous Janet Jackson video recently – it was a great, obviously expensive, video – but it was for a bad song – the song was terrible, and the video just couldn’t save the song.

F: So what do you think it is that really helped obtain this nomination for you?

V: Definitely support from the music community at large. You know, I’ve been making music for a long time without getting paid for real. I’ve had no face, but a good reputation among the music community for a long time. I had opportunities to go commercial, but I chose to stay independent.

F: So what about the Grammys doing this national outreach campaign this year – as if they’ve realized that they’ve lost touch with the “real” music – and hosting all these mixer events with local and independent talent?

V: Yeah, well it’s like when I stood up at this recruiting event put on by the Academy, and was the first one to voice that this is all garbage – the way they do things – I told them that they are no different than the AMA’s [American Music Awards], that they don’t care about the artists… they just care about what’s the Top 5 in the charts. That was like almost 9 months ago. I wanted to put it on blast that we need to change the way the vote goes. And I was like the first one there that stood up to say it.

F: What can you say about the 2008 Grammy nominations? Is there any artist in particular that you would like to see win?

V: Oh no, I mean, I don’t want to leave anyone out. But like, for artists like Ledisi, for example, that’s a big award for a small, independent artist. It’s a big deal for independents with no money to be in the same category as major-label-related artists. That’s a big one. Best New Artist.

F: How do you feel growing up in the post-Gamble & Huff, re-building – era Philadelphia affected who you are, what you do, and how you do it in music?

V: Well, all those artists – Teddy Pendergrass, all the Gamble & Huff artists – they were an example of what we all wanted to become – we were striving for that. And then came the modern explosion Hip-Hop and R&B artists like Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff, Boyz II Men – we thought we could be like that. And then we set-up the studio on King [Britt] and Rich’s [Medina] block, where we helped produce Jill [Scott] and The Roots. It was amazing to come from a small place and be a part of touching a universal, global community. That experience is phenomenal.

F: Do you feel you got support from home first? Or from abroad first?

V: We had our ups and downs. When we were young we were kinda competing, and didn’t really know how to communicate. But now that we’re older and more mature, we all support each other.

F: You were personally mentored by Kenny Gamble, is that right? What did you learn from him that you take with you today?

V: Yeah. That’s hard, because there is so much. But always striving for quality – that’s big. Always trying to make a song as immaculate as possible. You know, making music that will last forever.

F: Music that is timeless.

V: Absolutely.

F: Lastly, how old were you when you first imagined yourself winning a Grammy?

V: Oh, I’m not even at that point yet… it’s all still unbelievable.


–> Stay posted on Vikter’s new album due out this Spring on BBE @

Interview by Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.



Detroit’s DWELE is nominated for the following Grammy categories this year:

#2: Album of the Year – Kanye West : “Graduation”

#27: Best Urban / Alternative Performance – “Interpretations : Earth, Wind and Fire” for “That’s the Way of the World”

DWELE - horn

*Unsung Detroit Soul / R&B artist, DWELE, finally gets some dues at this year’s 50th Grammy Awards. And he didn’t enter in a small way either – he’s up as a collaborator on Kanye West’s potential Album of the Year, “Graduation,” (not to mention his contribution to Common’s also-nominated album, “Finding Forever” for “The People”) as well as for his interpretation of his favorite EWF song, “That’s the Way of the World,” from this past year’s star-packed compilation, “Interpretations : Earth, Wind, and Fire,” which also features heavy hitters like fellow-Grammy-nominees Chaka Khan, Angie Stone, Me’Shell N’Degeocello, Musiq Soulchild, Ledisi, and legends like The Commodores and Lalah Hathaway & newbies Mint Condition.

For all of us (you smart Fusicology readers, that is), Dwele is no new kid on the block – he’s been out here for a minute now. Unfortunately for the mainstream though, he’s just breaking ground… and it’s about time. For Andwele captures the best of yesterday, today, and tomorrow with his versatile Soul voice, truly building bridges between the classic Soul and R&B of years past with conscious, grassroots Hip-Hop and that controversial “Neo” Soul of today.

Yes, many will attribute Dwele’s rise to semi-fame as a featured vocalist of Detroit’s Hip-Hop super-group, Slum Village, and subsequently an oft-produced singer/songwriter of the late, great J Dilla, fellow Detroiter and SV collaborator. Yet, Andwele’s quality and longevity are not solely rooted in those projects, but rather in what these artists shared as common experiences growing up in urban Detroit… like listening to Earth, Wind and Fire on Sunday afternoons or Friday nights.

So, we decided it would be a good idea to play 10 Questions with 2008 Grammy-Nominee, Dwele:

FUSICOLOGY: Were you expecting a Grammy nomination this year?


F: So, you’re up for the Earth, Wind and Fire tribute track, yes?

D: Yeah… like 2 or 3 actually… and the big one with Kanye’s album.

F: Oh yeah, that little one. 😉 What was the first EWF song you remember hearing as a kid?

D: Oh, man, I can’t remember – there’s too many. But the song I did [ “That’s the Way of the World” ] is my favorite. And it was a tough project because it’s like those songs are already perfect, so it’s hard to spin it, you know?

F: Totally. How did this EWF project some about anyway? How did that hook up?

D: Through my A&R, Colin, and through management.

F: How do you feel growing up in post-Motown, post-boom, Detroit affected who you are, what you do, and how you do it?

D: Well, you know, we were around so much different stuff… like, for me, I was around a lot of Jazz and Soul at home and in the neighborhood, and then Rock at school, so that was different…

F: So would you say that diversity in your environment contributed to your versatility, who you are?

D: Oh yeah. It helped open doors to all forms of music, and, you know… it’s like that EWF song I did – that kinda music takes me back to what music is supposed to be; you know, about better times, like during childhood with family at barbecues, Sunday afternoons…

F: How important do you think music videos are to an artist’s career?

D: Well, they help to put a face with the music.

F: Do you have any music videos out?

D: None yet for the new stuff, but we did the one for “Find A Way,” and then there’s the Slum [Village] video for “Tainted” – and I think those are still on VH1 Soul.

F: What about the video for your joint with Kanye?

D: No, I couldn’t film that one because I was on tour in Japan when they shot that one.

F: How did this collaboration with Ye happen in the first place?

D: Through Common – you know, when I did Common’s album. His is up too, I think. Plus Kanye had remixed “Hold On.”

F: Of course. Do you think your music videos have helped you career?

D: I don’t know, I guess. Well, it’s like – all of a sudden people are lookin’ at you funny – you know, on the street. Until finally, after a while, I was like, “What?!” – and then this guy was like, “Hey – you’re that guy from that [SV] video…” And people started treating me a little different, I started noticing more.

F: Are there any other artists nominated this year that you would like to see win?

D: Oh yeah, alot. Of course my boy Musiq Soulchild and Raheem DeVaughn.

F: Are there any artists / producers out there that you would like to work with, that you haven’t had the opportunity to yet?

D: Yeah… there‘s this producer Virginia Knox, and of course Busta [Rhymes].

F: What projects do you have brewing right now?

D: We’re working on finishing up my 3rd album – it should be out like May or June… it’s a little bit like “Subject” and little bit “ “, but with some new sounds.

F: What do you feel is in store for 2008? Do you feel there are going to be big changes in the popular music industry?

D: Hopefully that real music is coming back!

*Right on!

–> Stay posted on news with Dwele @

Interview by Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.


Winehouse Update: Word on the street dictates that Universal Music wants to drop Amy and dissolve her contract. By participating in a seemingly seedy lifestyle (or at least one conservative record execs would find less-than-marketable in a righteous world), Winehouse is teetering on losing her golden opportunity it appears due to recent paparazzi photos published in a British paper of her smoking [illeged] crack pipe, not to mention those already circulating the web of her all scratched up and smeared with her sometimes-husband after a lovers quarrel. She has also reportedly been seen strolling her neighborhood in London in very little clothing and looking “distraught.”

All of this, in combination with her canceling most of her tour dates so far this winter, has even the Dap-Kings wondering if she’ll show for their scheduled performance @ the Grammys next Sunday…

Hopefully they’ll have Sharon waiting in the wings – just in case!

– Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.


DC’s dope multi-media gurus interview should-be Grammy Nominee, Sharon Jones:
Dissident Display logo
DC’s Dissident Display / Wonkette multi-media crew got a chance to catch up with Ms. Jones over the weekend @ The Black Cat on her DC tour stop. We learned that “Amy Winehouse ain’t got nuthin’ on [her]!” Jones is kickin’ butt and takin’ names, while Amy tries to get through rehab. Check out footage from the DC show + DD’s exclusive interview with the Queen of Funk @ —>

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We’re lovin’ Sharon more and more…

*Watch out for Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings tour dates in your city @!

-Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.


5 Questions with Raheem DeVaughn…
Raheen DeVaughn

GRAMMY nominated soul singer Raheem DeVaughn has a new album “Love Behind the Melody” out now on Zomba/Jive. Fusicology got to ask Raheem a few questions in our exclusive interview.

FUSICOLOGY: Tell us about the Prince Tribute Event that went down in DC on January 5th.

RAHEEM DEVAUGHN: I was the special surprise guest and sang “Adore” and “Kiss”. It was an event put on my MN8 and Marc Powers that had Martin Luther, Eric Roberson and my man W Ellington Felton performing – it was great!

FUS: Tell us about this new album.

RD: I am excited and glad that it’s out!

FUS: What do you think of the State of the Industry?

RD: I will continue to keep doing it like I have been from Day One – no one can sell you like you can.

FUS: You have a major tour coming up right?

RD: Yes, with Jill Scott starting February 5th. A full on US 30-city tour. Then I will continue onward worldwide.

FUS: Who do you want to work with that you have not had the pleasure to do so with yet?

RD: Sade, Dr. Dre, Dave Matthews Band…there are many people I’d love to work with.

FUS: Are you going to perform during GRAMMY weekend?

RD: An after party on Sunday after the Awards is being planned now.

Check out for music, videos, links and widgets!


Special Thanks to David Bell @ Zomba/Jive and the DC family we love!

—> Watch Raheem on Jimmy Kimmel Live – FRIDAY, 01.18.08 !!!


01.10.08Winehouse - Back to Black
VS. 100 Days - 100 Nights
Who should really be getting the Grammy this year? Amy or Sharon? You be the judge.
The cat is most definitely out of the bag about ’07’s smash-hit songstress, Amy Winehouse. Though her uniquely raw soul voice and lyrical athleticism are reputable, her personal escapades and lifestyle of choice are questionable. Then again, without all that drama, what would she have to sing about?
Amy Winehouse - guitar
However, we can’t help but compare Amy’s sound and story to that of a legendary (though still unknown) female James Brown of sorts – a Georgian Queen of Funk old enough to be your mama – the woman that Winehouse’s house band basically created their sound for in the first place… long before the rebelliously-hot early twenty-something Brit battling drug addiction and anorexia came upon our ears. See, Sharon Jones, Queen of Funk, with a voice rooted in the church and honed in ’70s funk and soul bands (a self-proclaimed Tina Turner & Otis Redding devotee), has spent most of her prime years singing at weddings and low-profile talent shows and bar gigs because she was “too short, fat, dark and old” for the popular music industry, said record execs. Hence, Winehouse gets the pub.
Sharon Jones - B&W
Moreover, the interesting thing about this opposition is the fact that the same Brooklyn-based jazz-funk band, inspired by the tried-and-true Northern Soul production formula of the 1950s and 1960s – the precursor to 1970s funk – is responsible for both of these divas’ backline.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
You’ve heard of Daptone Records? Vaguely familiar? Seems like you remember this imprint as a dusty old 45 label? Sorta. Sounds like it, but alas, the same in-the-basement-with-handmade-sound-bluffs recording techniques used by Motown and Philly Sound folks are taking place every day in the Dap Kings’ humble Brooklyn brownstone. Peep their game, courtesy MTV, here:
That’s right, copped by UK electronic DJ/producer, Mark Ronson, to produce Amy Winehouse’s sophomore album, and sampled by Kanye West to create that signature drum-kick “Graduation” loop, the Dap Kings are proof-positive that music is still being made the good-ole fashioned way… it’s just the presentation that’s flashier. MTV’s on-site interview of the Daptone Studios will generate a profound new respect for Ms. Jones, as she and the Kings show you how she even got her hands dirty helping to wire the whole studio herself.
Daptone Studios
*Photo courtesy the Brooklyn Vegan.
But let’s let the Queen of Funk speak for herself, as MTV also embarks on an up-close-and-personal with Jones and the Dap Kings. The Kings do not hesitate to proclaim that Sharon is their “1st Lady.” Watch via MTV:
Sharon Jones - gold
Now we all know a hit this worthy would not be complete without modern electronica getting down with this ole-skool funk-soul sound, in Winehouse’s case, a la Mark Ronson. Ronson has long been a household name in the urban lofts of DJs, producers, and musicians alike. Ronson is known for producing hit singles for the likes of pop stars like Nikka Costa, Christina Aguilera, and newbie Lily Allen. He can also hold game with hip-hop legends such as Ghostface Killah and Rhymefest, both of whom are featured on his albums. A respected Russian-Jewish/British artist-turned-New-Yorker, Ronson chose Winehouse this year as a featured vocalist on his own project with the “Winettes,” as well as had a hand co-producing Amy’s “Back to Black.”
Mark Ronson Amy Winehouse - mic
With Ronson and Kanye subscribers to the sound, the Dap Kings might just be set for big things this year… and with Winehouse constantly canceling tour dates due to, uh, “personal issues,” it looks like catching the Kings live and direct on tour with their 1st Lady of Funk, Ms. Sharon Jones, this Winter and Spring on a spread of US dates, will be your ticket! The Kings & Ms. Jones on tour now in support of their 3rd full-length, “100 Days, 100 Nights” – get it!
Sharon Jones & Dap Kings - Montreaux
*Discogs, history, and more on Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings:
Written by Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.