Halloween, Where Is The Love?

There’s a phenomenon that’s gained some traction in recent years called “Christmas Creep”. As Halloween comes to a close, the focus on Christmas as the central winter holiday takes form. Houses start to break out their decorations, radio stations begin their transitions to a 24-hour format, and department stores click the first holiday playlist that comes up on the Spotify homepage. This seemingly starts to occur earlier and earlier each year.

El Grito De La Tierra (The Cry Of The Earth)

Reflection about the state of things is a natural process but truly accessing the feeling of returning home is important (in whatever form that takes). For some of us to take a breath is a fleeting act surrounded by uncertainty. It’s often a chance to connect to something we once thought irreconcilable. Sometimes we get hints of home channelled through the things that raised us. For some, it’s family or friends but for many of us music shaped the world around us. It taught us about self-expression, local issues, and how they connect to us.

For some communities, there are…

Livin’ In A World (They Didn’t Make)

As we close out the year and transition into a new decade, we’ve been forced to reflect on a lot in music. We lose track of all that’s happened in the past 10 years. We’ve lost legends. Some of another generation. Some with the potential to do so. Some that we’ve had to re-examine how we view. Some with closer proximity than others.

But the focus hasn’t just been on musicians but on what they’ve contributed. Along with quite a few notable album anniversaries, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 album, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. …

Dusty Springfield

Setting The Civil Rights Movement

The 1960s saw a significant turn as the Civil Rights Movement entered its second decade. Despite the right to vote technically applied to all Americans, many states across the United States blocked Black Americans through systematic means (i.e. poll taxes, voter literacy tests, fraud, and intimidation). A string of protests and violent attacks became the norm as tensions were rapidly reaching its peak. A sense that the same spaces couldn’t be occupied by Black and White people. Art so often serves as a reflection of the societal times, the state of the music industry was no less affected.

When we…

The Empress of African Song.

Eyes On Yesterday

When we look at political movements, we often forget how connected globally these issues are to each other. We forget how much a culture can be affected by different forms of expression and experience. We don’t see how far back we should be looking to figure out how we’ve gotten here.

In 1990, the once stateless “Mama Africa” was finally welcomed back to her home country of South Africa after 30 years. At a time of mounting pressure both domestically and internationally, the ban on anti-apartheid organizations (most notably the African National Congress) by the South African government was overturned…

There are a lot of sides to the music industry that we don’t normally encounter as consumers. The artists, their image and content are what most often hold your attention, but so much of how that content finds you are at the hands of a record label. Labels hold a LOT of resources (i.e. marketing teams, choreographers, studio spaces, etc.) and connections (i.e. festivals, TV appearances, distribution channels) that can either rapidly advance or hold back where an artist wants to direct their path.

While the landscape of the music business has changed dramatically over the past few decades, there…

Lazar’s Moment In Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2a3zHeWUI8

At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards something notable happened. While this is a night to honour and recognize the music industry’s most notable projects and artists (to non-stop debate), there are few milestones you would expect to be crossing over in it’s presence over half a century. When the Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical) category was called, Beck’s 2017 album, Colors, the recipient for the award. The award is credited to both the engineers and mastering engineers of the project, so in Beck’s case, that is a team of 10. …

In The Name of Native Tongue

For Hip-Hop, the 1980s and 1990s came down to essentially figuring out which high school clique to join. Originally released in 1993, “U.N.I.T.Y.” was hitting the airwaves at a time when Hip-Hop as both a culture and genre were in a battle for a place in pop culture. News outlets, politicians, and parental groups were centering in on a core piece: its lyrics.

Gangsta Rap was at its height and the focal attention for the genre and a lot of eyes were on the N.W.A.s and Public Enemys of the era. With that, came public criticism of the culture and…

The Complicated History of Rap & Bullshit

Hip-Hop and R&B have always been a pair with a tumultuous relationship. On one hand, R&B, considerably older has had much more time to figure out its place in the world. It was a genre with its image of a typical star. On the other hand, Hip-Hop’s upbringing in its childhood years left little room for variation or experimentation. Hip-Hop was full of gritty beats, a narrow pool of subject matter, and male-dominated.

In the 1990s, both genres’ breakthroughs into the mainstream and commercial space were playing out differently, making it hard-pressed to find commonplace between the two. Suspicion turned…

Carole King.

With Highest Distinction

Each year, the Kennedy Center Honors are held in Washington, D.C. awarding those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The ceremonies date all the way back to 1978 (with Marian Anderson and others among its first recipients). In 2015, among the honorees was Carole King.

In the lineup of tributes of her greatest hits were Janelle Monae, Sara Bareilles, and James Taylor. But to many watching, the biggest surprise of the night came when Aretha Franklin graced the stage:

Aretha Franklin performs “Natural Woman”, a song co-written by Carole King.

Touch The Sky

Born in February of…

Cam Litchmore

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