*One of the hallmarks of Oleta Adams’ 45 year career has been the authenticity she brings to any and every lyric. Whether it’s the yearning behind her 1990 breakout hit “Get Here,” her incendiary cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind”, or the joy that runs through her 2006 holiday collection Christmas Time With Oleta, Adams’ listeners never have had to wonder whether the artist is feeling what she’s singing.
Fans may be surprised to hear that there was a time when Adams felt pressured to sing what her audience wanted to hear, rather than what was in her heart.
“Mostly I did hotel gigs,” Adams remembers of the days before she became a household name. “They were usually big hotels that had conventions coming in — funeral directors, insurance people, medical people, professional athletes, all sorts of people.”
“How do you keep an audience that doesn’t know what you do? You have to perform the songs they’re familiar with, and that’s the top of the charts on the radio — whether you’re feeling those songs or not.”
Adams, 63 recalls that early stage in her career when she dedicated her performances’ third set to songs that she wanted to do, with less pressure on what was expected of her. That same freedom — to sing the songs she wants to sing — is behind her phenomenal new album, aptly entitled Third Set. Continue reading →
*I’ve never quite understood why the legendary Kenny G didn’t get more props.
I’ve been a fan of his since 1986, after a single listen to “Don’t Make Me Wait For Love” from his breakthrough Duotones album. That collection also included “Songbird” which established him — with his sublime saxophone — as a force to be reckoned with on R & B, pop, and Adult Contemporary radio.
The artist formerly known as Kenneth Gorelick went on to release hit after hit and several multiplatinum albums, eventually becoming the world’s best selling instrumentalist. A couple of his projects broke records that remain unchallenged: his 1992 Breathless set still stands as the best selling instrumental album of all time, having sold over 12 million copies. That album’s follow-up, 1994’s Miracles, has sold an unprecedented eight million copies to-date, dwarfing the sales of all other Christmas albums. The artist regularly collaborated with artists like Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, Toni Braxton, and Babyface. Continue reading →
Tag, just in case you’re unaware or too old to remember, is a game that’s been played for generations. It requires no equipment, so kids of any socio economic status can play. It’s fun. And it requires, perhaps, a bit of adult supervision — which is what we’ve failed to do if we’ve cancelled tag because some of the children tag too hard, which is what’s being reported.
*”…and a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11 : 6
I’m not one to quote scripture at the drop of a hat, but that one just dropped into my head. Will somebody say “Amen!”
Most of us are hard-wired to think about what we can GET for our birthdays. This doll I’m about to tell you about is showing us how it should be done.
Armani Crews was preparing for her sixth birthday. While most of her kindergartener peers would have been looking forward to a celebration with their friends, she told her mom she wanted to feed the homeless instead. She’d one day watched her older brother give leftovers to a homeless man, and a seed had been planted.
While her mom thought the request was different, she went along with it, and told Armani that they could hand out sandwiches. Armani thought they could do better than that, and told her mom she wanted to serve exactly what she’d have had at her own party.
It’s at about that point of the story when I began associating the word “angel” with little Armani.
When Armani’s dad started adding up the financial cost of implementing his daughter’s plan, he told her that if she did that, she wouldn’t get any presents for her birthday.
*Back in the old days, you had to wait for summer for a cinematic summer blockbuster. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, thanks to Kong: Skull Island, summer has arrived — at the movies, at least — a few months early.
It only took 84 years for Hollywood to make a worthy successor to the original King Kong. which terrified audiences when it debuted in 1933 as one of Tinsel Town’s first “talkies.” No, I was NOT there…but I’m told theaters had to hire medical professionals to be on hand during screenings, as audiences members routinely fainted when Kong showed up on screen.
*Apple unveiled a few new products late last year, possibly to appease Apple fanatics until the new, 10th anniversary iPhones arrive later this year. Even after all of the routine pomp and circumstance of the new products coming to market, neither the MacBook Pro with the new Touch Bar, the wireless EarPods, nor the Series 2 Apple Watch were items I thought I needed.
After all, my 7 year old MacBook works just fine, right? (Not really. It is getting slower and slower by the day, and the battery lasts less than an hour between charges.) My wired ear buds work fine, right? (Not really. The right side is almost completely shorted out, and if I have to untangle those cords one more time, I may jump off of a building.) And I couldn’t have imagined wanting to wear a mini-iPhone on my wrist all day.
Given the imperfections of my aging tech toys, I decided to reach out to Apple and see if they’d be willing to let me demo some of the new stuff for a few days. It was a horrible decision on my part. Now that I’ve tried the new Apple toys, I don’t want to part with any of them! Once you go Mac, you’ll never go back! Continue reading →