15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys has certainly seen her ivory-tickling hands pen some of the century’s most memorable R&B hits. From ‘Fallin’ to ‘If I Ain’t Got You,’ the songstress’s prized writing has been honored and earned nods from everyone from the Grammy’s to ASCAP and BMI.
Most recently, Keys was invited by NPR to walk down memory lane regarding many of those hits. Detailing her writing process, she not only revealed the inspiration behind some of those numbers, but also shared encouraging words for up-and-coming songwriters.
Easily a “must see,” tuck in below to hear Keys chat it up about her catalogue:
For many record labels and artists alike, the status of the music industry – in terms of sales – is disheartening to say the least. In fact, numbers are so abysmal, just last week we proposed the idea of reintroducing (and redefining) “silver” certifications just to acknowledge the sales achievements of those struggling to cross the “gold” threshold.
Throughout all of suggestions, guess who remains unbothered? Adele.
It’s already well known that her latest album, ’25,’ not only set the record for highest first week sales of any album in history, but is also sitting as the best selling album of 2015 and 2016 (to date). Since then, those mega-sales have combined and gifted the songstress with her latest diamond album.
According to the RIAA, ’25’ has been certified diamond in recognition of 10 million units shifted since its November 2015 debut.
Usher‘s 8th opus, ‘Hard II Love,’ may have lived up to its title after all.
Indeed, after gaining mixed review from industry insiders and fans alike (see: thumbs down for “trend-hopping,” “lack of overall theme,” etc.), ‘Hard’ – released September 16th – was predicted to make little impact on the Billboard 200 after a full tracking week.
In fact, analysts projected the project would not only bomb – much like Ush’s ‘Hands of Stone’ movie that preceded it by two weeks – but it would give the Grammy-winning R&B vet the lowest first week sum of his 20 year+ career.
Needless to say, they were right. Tuck in below to find out the official figures Billboard is reporting:
Fans of Lupita Nyong’o discovered that her talents reach above and beyond the silver screen this week when she surprised them with a Hip-Hop freestyle hours ago.
Currently riding high on the ‘Queen of Katwe‘s critical wave, the entertainer introduced the world to her alter-ego Trouble Maker in a short clip which sees her celebrate her career’s highs with sass and song.
‘Controlla’ crooner Drake enjoyed the views from the top of the Billboard 200 for over two months with his latest album ‘Views.’ Now, if his short film is any indication, it looks like he may be inspired to do it again.
Tapping director Anthony Mandler to helm, the rapper/singer has unveiled a new short film titled ‘Please Forgive Me’ (inspired by his most recent chart-topping album). The visual, which was due to drop at midnight, may have come nearly an hour late, but dedicated Drizzy fans are already raving the set was worth the wait.
This week’s From The Vault ventures to the year 1997 with Aaliyah and her aptly titled ‘Journey To The Past.’ Specifically her live showing on The Rosie O’Donnell Show.
Lifted from the soundtrack to the movie ‘Anastasia,’ the track represented a marked departure from the singer’s slick and slinky strand of R&B.
A rousing Pop ballad, ‘Journey’ saw the late songbird do away with the seductive coos and instead showcase her vocal prowess. And to stellar effect.
She delivered a performance that was powerful, assured, and wilfully and skilfully controlled.
Almost two decades later, this particular showing continues to resonate with us.
Commercially the release never journeyed to the summit of any chart; it hit #28 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary tally, but missed the Hot 100 entirely and only managed a #22 peak in the UK.
Still, what the song lacked in success, it makes up for in enduring live performances like this. For such showings make us nostalgic about times of past; times when singers – regardless of the length of their range – still had to be able to sing.
Aaliyah wasn’t a Whitney or Mariah vocally, yet she consistently showed up and showed out with the skill-set she’d be blessed with; a practice many of today’s talent would be wise to draw from.
For now and forever, we’ll continue to salute this titan talent – one that managed to make a pronounced mark in a tragically short space of time.
Long live Aaliyah.
Tidbit: Did any one notice Tank in his backing singer role?