This week’s That Grape Juice Cover Star moves in from Memphis trio Alayna, Stephani, and B.Dot. Watch as the US natives cover ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ – the latest Erykah Badu-assisted hit from the uber-talented/eccentric performer Janelle Monae:
Start at 1:15:
Did they do that or what?
Indeed, to take on and do justice to a track with the “divatude” of diva duo Monae and Badu, skill and confidence are just the beginning of qualities one must possess. Multiplied by three, Alayna, Stephani, and B. Dot delivered that and then some.
The jazzy undertones of each lady’s solo style was only complemented by their joint harmonic offerings. Never doing too much to overshadow one another, each songstress brought her own brand of vocal prowess to the mix – weaving together a noteworthy performance!
This week’s That Grape Juice Cover Star comes from Cortez Shaw. Watch as the Texan takes on Chris Brown‘s latest hit single ‘Fine China’:
Go Mr. Shaw!
Anyone who follows us knows that we are a sucker for run-and-riffers – if used effectively and not abused. Placement is everything, and when not solely relied on to sell a song (or disguise one’s actual vocal worth), they can be used to decorate a tune without overkill. The former ‘Idol’ contestant effortlessly accomplished this.
Cortez let his melisma take off here and there, but much like the ‘Run It’ singer, he didn’t drown the melody with runs. For this, we say ‘bravo’!
This week’s That Grape Juice Cover Star sails in from sisterly trio Amor Kismet. Watch as the US natives take on Mariah Carey‘s latest Miguel-assisted single ‘#Beautiful’:
Absolutely beautiful! Aside from the fact that the ladies are easy on the eyes, their harmonic twist to the duet helped make the tune their own without taking away from the performance (or what listeners expect from the performance).
No distracting melisma abuse, unnecessary belting, or overdone showy singing here – a trait that causes many a Youtuber to crash and burn. The beauty of the sister’s performance was its simple, direct approach. For that, we give the trio an A+!
After a brief rest on the bench, Cover Star is back! This week spotlight’s Berlin beauty Lolaca Manhisse, who tackles Beyonce‘s latest song ’Standing On The Sun’. How did she fare? Find out below…
The full version of the Sia-penned number may not be out yet, however – like most King B cuts- it’s clear this is yet another song that only the skilled should attempt. And skilled, Lolaca is. Indeed, a few diction issues aside, she held her own, breezing through the track’s varied vocal tones and textures well. We like…do you?
For more on Lolaca, check out her Youtube page here.
This week’s That Grape Juice Cover Star comes from Nashvillian duo Ceron and Bdot. Press play below to hear the twosome take on Al Green‘s signature classic ‘Let’s Stay Together’:
Amazing! With tonal quality and stylings reminiscent of Chrisette Michele and Marsha Ambrosius (with sprinklings of Lil’ Mo), Bdot laid into ‘Let’s Stay Together’ with a melisma marathon – runs, riffs, and scats galore! But, even in its abundance, the songstress managed restraint and allowed her passion to shine through to avoid overdoing it (a trait absent from many-her-Youtube contemporary).
Delivering a fiery rendition of the 70s hit (especially from the 2:15 mark) with the accompaniment of Ceron’s skillful guitar pluck, it goes without saying that we need many more duos like this on our radios. Well done Ceron & Bdot!
This week’s That Grape Juice Cover Star comes from Youtube beau Caleb Rekcah. Watch as he lays into an acoustic cover of Brandy‘s ‘Wildest Dreams’ – the second single from her critically acclaimed set ‘Two Eleven’:
We appreciate singers who can put their own twists on tunes without taking away from it. Caleb did just that. Softly cooing in the beginning of his cover (giving it a “lullaby” feel almost), the second verse saw him really ramp up and bring the song home.
While maintaining the vulnerability of tone the song calls for, Rekcah opted to avoid B-rocka’s rollercoaster (and oft inimitable) ride of runs and melisma, instead inserting his own blend.
This week’s That Grape Juice Cover Star comes from Youtube songbird Jouelle. Watch as she shines with her cover of ‘Body Party’ - the latest single from Ciara‘s highly anticipated 5th album ‘One Woman Army’ (start at :30):
Sang Jouelle! We definitely give kudos to the songstress for putting her own soulful spin on Ciara’s softly sung number. Opting to inject a bit more melisma and “umph” into the tune than its seductively cooed original, Miss Young put on display an instrument somewhat reminiscent of Elle Varner‘s (in part).
Yes, a few missed lyrics and misfired runs here and there, but what shines through is Young’s undeniable potential. Overall, a fairly solid showing!
This week’s That Grape Juice Cover Star is delivered from Youtube sensation Damita. Watch as the soulful songbird soars with ‘Stay’ – the latest single from Rihanna‘s #1 album ‘Unapologetic’:
(Start at :19)
The beauty of the song is its vulnerability – the somberness in its lyric and sound.
And, to say Damita took that and ran with it is a clear understatement. Maintaining the tone of the song, she lifted the lid on a cover that not only does the original justice, but also puts her signature stamp on it – providing a power that its original performer has yet to quite master.