2017 Summer Spirit Festival Day ONE
Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Fantasia, De La Soul, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Common, Ro James, Experience Unlimited featuring Sugarbear, Moonchild, Wisdom Speeks
Sat, August 5, 2017
Doors: 1:00 pm / Show: 2:00 pm
Merriweather Post Pavilion
$54.00 - $250.00
This event is all ages
Attention: Parking at Merriweather for 2017 has Changed! All ticketholders NEED to pre-select or decline parking once tickets are purchased. Once you’ve completed your ticket transaction, you’ll get a confirmation email with link to select your FREE parking. Please do so in advance so you have a parking lot assignment & ticket when you arrive.
Note to ridesharers, walkers, bussers, carpoolers & cyclists: If you make other transportation arrangements, there is no need to select parking.
Click HERE for parking options to this show
Click HERE to purchase weekend passes to SSF
Click HERE to purchase tickets for Sunday 8/6https://www.impconcerts.com/event/1462097/
For more information, please go to http://www.cdepresents.com/Spirit.html?v=mpp
KENNY “BABYFACE” EDMONDS
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds’s award–winning, multi-faceted pop/urban career includes the consecutive multi-platinum landmark albums Tender Lover, For the Cool in You (including signature hits “Never Keeping Secrets” and “When Can I See You”), and The Day (”Every Time I Close My Eyes”). As co-founder with L.A. Reid of LaFace Records in 1989, Babyface nurtured the careers of such megastars as TLC, OutKast, Usher, and Toni Braxton. An 11-time Grammy Award® winner, Babyface most recently released Return of the Tender Lover in December 2015, his first solo album in seven years. This latest project introduces a freer, less structured Babyface putting his stamp on a contemporary sound he describes as “unapologetic R&B.” This album follows up the critical and commercial response to his and Toni Braxton’s 2014 Grammy®–winning album Love, Marriage & Divorce.
Paralleling those achievements are Babyface’s extensive songwriting and production credits from the 1990’s forward. He has produced and written/co-written hits for artists from Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton, and Michael Jackson to Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, P!nk, and Beyoncé, among countless others. That hit list boasts such smashes as Madonna’s “Take a Bow,” Clapton’s “Change the World,” and Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You.” His most recent productions include collaborations with BET for “New Edition Story,” Bruno Mars, Kat Graham, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Ledisi, Colbie Caillat, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, After 7, and Toni Braxton, as well as wrote and produced music for the Adam Sandler film Sandy Wexler.
The prolific music man counts more than 200 top 10 R&B and over 50 top 10 pop hits (including 16 No. 1’s). In turn, those stats have generated cumulative single and album sales of more than 600 million units worldwide. He has won numerous awards and honors including the Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards, American Music Awards, BET Walk of Fame Award, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, and was inducted into the 2017 Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
Babyface is a passionate philanthropist active in supporting Carousel of Hope, which benefits the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, and Larry Ruvo’s “Keep Memory Alive.” He has also lent his support to FasterCures, VH-1 Save the Music, United Negro College Fund, Boarder Babies, The Little Blue House (in Washington, D.C.), the David Foster Foundation, and the Mike Milken Prostate Cancer Foundation.
He plans to release a new solo CD in early 2018.
At first listen, Side Effects of You might sound like an album about heartbreak and the process of piecing oneself back together. That’s true, in part, but if you have her tell it, there’s much more there. While the Grammy-winning singer has certainly enjoyed chart-topping, triple-platinum and multi-platform success since winning season three of American Idol, she, like everybody, has made some mistakes, too. Though she has never shied away from being transparent in her music, she wasn’t necessarily thinking about putting her words into song when she picked up a pen and her blank notebook two years ago.
“When I started writing in my book, I had a bittersweet taste in my mouth,” Fantasia says of how she was feeling – professionally, personally, emotionally – after putting in a decade’s worth of hard work.
“I’d been doing one-off shows and not really recording, but when my doctor put me on bed rest, I decided to use that time to start writing down some of the things that were on my mind. If I was able to get to the grocery store, people would stop me in my Hoveround chair and tell me what they were going through, so I wrote about that, too.” It was only after she met (and vibed with) London-bred producer, Harmony Samuels, that she realized it might be time to get back in the studio. With her trusted notebook by her side, she would eventually co-write seven of the 13 songs that comprise Side Effects of You. “I’ve always wanted to collaborate with someone the way Michael Jackson did with Quincy Jones,” she says of joining forces with Harmony, who serves as album producer. “As soon as I heard the song, ‘Supernatural Love,’ I knew he was the one.”
In 1987, a trio known as De La Soul formed from Long Island, NY roots and changed the landscape of hip-hop as we knew it. Now, for over 20 years they have rocked us with their De La songs full of inscrutable samplings, whimsically irreverent lyrics, social commentary, light rhythm and laid back rhymes. They have gained respect within and outside the hip hop community with their contributions to rap, as well as jazz, funk, soul and alternative genres. Not only are their musical innovations acclaimed and respected worldwide, but they paved a path for many alternative rap groups to come after them.
Official Albums/Projects Released:
3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
De La Soul is Dead (1991)
Buhloone Mindstate (1993)
Stakes Is High (1996)
Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000)
AOI: Bionix (2001)
The Grind Date (2004)
The Impossible Mission Tv Series Pt. 1 (2006)
Are You In? (2009)
First Serve (2012)
Smell The Daisy (2014)
And The Anonymous Nobody (2016)
Today, De La continue to the tour globe and are currently working on their new studio album “And The Anonymous Nobody” that will be released in 2016.
Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews has God-given talent, natural charisma and a relentless drive to bridge music's past and future. His third outing for Verve Records, Say That To Say This (Sept. 10), co-produced by Andrews and kindred spirit Raphael Saadiq, sounds like nothing else out there, as Andrews and his longtime band, Orleans Avenue - guitarist Pete Murano, bassist Mike Ballard and drummer Joey Peebles - continue their natural musical evolution. In a very real sense, the torch is passed from one great New Orleans band to another on the new album, which features the first new studio recording from the original members of the legendary Meters in 36 years, as they revisit their 1977 classic "Be My Lady," with Andrews singing lead and playing horns.
The bandleader and multi-instrumentalist describes Say That To Say This as "really funky, like James Brown mixed with The Meters and Neville Brothers, with what I do on top, and we have a bit of R&B from Raphael's side. All the guys in my band are big, big fans of his, so this is a real dream come true for us. And he's a fan of New Orleans brass band music, which I didn't know beforehand. Just listening to his music and the direction he's going in now, I thought that he would be perfect to work with us. What drew me to him was his knowledge of what came before and his imagination of where the music can move forward to. That's the same way I think, so it worked out very well."
Saadiq doesn't just co-produce, he becomes a member of the band, playing a variety of instruments and contributing backing vocals; he also had a hand in writing three songs. Says Andrews of Saadiq: "He's a great producer, but he's also a musician, so he was able to get in there, jam with us and take us to some different places. And we were able to take him to some different places too."
"We felt a certain amount of pressure, because we knew we were working with one of the great young producers and musicians," Andrews acknowledges. "But it was good pressure, and Raphael being in the room with us inspired us to step up as writers and players. We spent an initial two or three weeks in the studio in L.A. working out the tracks, and I think having that stretch of uninterrupted time really played a big part in how creative we were able to get. On the last two records we were so busy touring that we would go in for three or four days and then go out for a week, so we had to switch on and off between the stage mentality and being creative in the studio. So this time, knowing we were gonna be in the studio for two or three weeks straight, we reached down deep and were able to do some things that we wouldn't have come up with if we'd been on a tight schedule. It allowed us to be very free."
The first track laid down for the album, the pumping "Long Weekend," came together in a flash during Andrews' initial foray to L.A. to hang with Saadiq. "I went out there to see how we would jell," Troy recalls. "I met him and his band in the studio and they came up with that song for me, right in front of my face, and it was really fun to just sit back and watch it go down. It didn't take that long - they were killin' it. I put the horn parts on that same day. That track has a lot of energy; I love the way it feels."
The next step was to see how Saadiq would jell with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. "The one where we really clicked for the first time was 'Get the Picture,'" Andrews says of this burner, which has Saadiq's fingerprints all over it, trading guitar licks with Murano and playing clavinet. "After that, he sat back and watched us work, and every once in a while he'd come in and make a suggestion," says Andrews of the recording sessions. "So he basically let us do what we do and fine-tuned it if it needed it, and if it didn't he just kept it the way we had it. And that was very inspiring, because if he thought it was cool, then we felt like we'd done what we needed to do on our end."
The opening title track emphatically sets the vibe, as Murano unleashes a barrage of power chords over a pummeling groove from Peebles and Ballard - but a blast of brass from Trombone Shorty instantly alters the feel, bringing a more elegant form of aggressiveness to the proceedings. The mood then shifts again to a deeply soulful section in the manner of Earth, Wind & Fire, before powering back into rocking mode. "That track is just a timeline of who we are and how we think," says Andrews.
"For most of the album," he continues, "we wanted to get it as tight as we could performing it in the studio, so we'd just play the song straight through, but we couldn't do that with 'Shortyville,' which was just myself and Raphael. I started that track by hitting a bass drum with a mallet, like you would in a New Orleans brass band; then I played a full drum set on top of it. We built it up from there part by part, with me doing the horns and Raphael playing the bass and guitar."
Of "Fire & Brimstone," the lead single, Andrews notes, "The beat I was hearing was an old-school hip-hop thing. I can't remember what we were listening to when we came up with the idea, it might've been something by Dr. Dre, Easy E or Run-D.M.C., but when I heard it, I said, 'Joey, let's do a beat like that underneath the track so I can do some intricate things on top.' That's what we did, and it came out with this swampy, voodoo feel."
As for the impromptu Meters reunion, Andrews was listening to the band's eighth and final album, 1977's New Directions, one day, and as the smoothly soulful "Be My Lady" wafted out of the car speakers, it hit him that the track's mellow, romantic vibe ("laid-back in the cut," as he puts it) was exactly what his album in progress needed. But rather than simply covering it, Andrews got it in his head that he had to record it with The Meters themselves. When he told friends of his plan, they told him he was dreaming. Since breaking up soon after releasing New Directions, the four original members had performed together a mere handful of times, and only on stage for special occasions, never in the studio. What's more, there was no manager to contact; Andrews had to call each one and ask if he'd be up for going in the studio with his former bandmates.
"With all four of them, when I asked the question, there was a second of silence," Troy recounts with a laugh. "But then, each one of them said, 'If you talk to the rest of the guys and they're up for it, then I'll do the track. And even if you can't get everybody together, I would still love to play on it. So I was able to get all of them to agree, and then I had to call all of them back to tell them it was on. So they all came to the studio, including Cyril Neville, who sang the original vocal; he does the background vocal and the ad-libbing on the new track. At the end of one of the takes, they started jamming, and you could see a sparkle in all of their eyes at the magic they could make together. Whatever their differences, whatever reasons they don't work together, it went out the window for those few minutes, and I got a chance to experience what it used to be like when The Meters made all those classic records. I had the chills while it was going on."
"After we were done," Andrews continues, "George Porter pulled me aside and said, 'Thank you. You have gotten us to do something that people have been trying to get us to do for 35 years,' and I was speechless. Because The Meters helped to create a sound that gave me a foundation for doing what I do. It was one of those magical moments in life for me, because in New Orleans, The Meters are like the Beatles."
The title, Andrews explains, is a common New Orleans expression that essentially means "To make a long story short," serving as a wonderfully on-point description of the album and of Trombone Shorty's music in general. "This record is a direct expression of everything we hear, everything we've seen and everything we've been through musically," Andrews assets. "We're just making a long story short."
Saadiq is equally thrilled with the results of this musical summit meeting of young giants. "If you're a producer or musician, you want to work with other great musicians," he says, "because it only betters you, I was just honored to be a part of the project."
Andrews' previous projects include 2010's Grammy-nominated Backatown and his sophomore effort, For True (2011), which spent 12 weeks atop Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Chart. In the past few years alone, Andrews has appeared on recent recordings by an eclectic assortment of artists ranging from Zac Brown to Eric Clapton to Rod Stewart and Cee Lo Green, while taking the time to initiate a mentoring program at Tulane University via his Trombone Shorty Foundation. He's also been featured on the covers of Downbeat and Jazziz magazines, as well as on Conan, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Austin City Limits and in a recurring role on the hit HBO series Treme. The band was also chosen to play the closing set at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a huge honor in the world of true music lovers.
But for Andrews, the biggest thrill of all was performing at The White House in February 2012. "That was a dream come true about 50 times over," he says. "When we started playing, I forgot I was at the White House because I was on stage with all this musical royalty - B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Booker T. Jones, Jeff Beck, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., the list goes on. And then, when I turned to the audience, there's the President and the First Lady. I'm like, 'This can't be happening.'"
Good things continue to happen for Trombone Shorty, thanks to his virtuosity, his dedication, and his ability to move people. That he pursues his passion with such humility and unpretentiousness makes his still-unfolding story as compelling as the music he's making along the way.
Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? and maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. In 2011, Common launched Think Common Entertainment, his own record label imprint, and, in the past, has released music under various other labels such as Relativity, Geffen and GOOD Music, among others.
Common's first major-label album, Like Water for Chocolate, received widespread critical acclaim and tremendous commercial success. His first Grammy Award was in 2003, winning Best R&B Song for "Love of My Life", with Erykah Badu. Its popularity was matched by May 2005's Be, which was nominated for Best Rap Album, at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Common was awarded his second Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for "Southside" (featuring Kanye West), from his July 2007 album Finding Forever. His best-of album, Thisisme Then: The Best of Common, was released on November 27, 2007.
Common won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song "Glory" from the 2014 film Selma, in which he co-starred as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel. Common's acting career also includes starring significant roles in the films Smokin' Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, Wanted, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, Just Wright, Happy Feet Two, New Year's Eve and Run All Night. He also narrated the award-winning documentary Bouncing Cats, about one man's efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda through hip-hop/b-boy culture. He starred as Elam Ferguson on the AMC western television series Hell on Wheels.
All breakups change us, for better or for worse, but some can go deeper, revealing parts of ourselves that we never knew we had stewing inside us. Such was the case for singer Ro James.
At the age of XIX, Ro (born Ronnie James Tucker in Stuttgart, Germany) had no aspiration to be a singer. He knew he wanted to leave Indianapolis, Indiana and move back to New York City, where he spent most of his childhood living with his grandmother. But teaching or social work was the original plan to get him back there - not singing.
The thing is, Ro knew he had the genes.
His father, a military man who was also a non-denominational preacher, could sing. “He would always make me sing,” recalls James. He also knew he had the sensibilities of a musician, picking up the drums at the age of 9 for a short time. But motivation to use his natural instrument was lacking. “It was more so a thing where I felt like I was being forced to do it,” says James. “So I didn’t want to do it.”
But eventually rebellion would be defeated by heartbreak.
“She was my first love,” says James of the girl who would eventually break his heart. “She cheated, I cheated, it was that kind of thing.” The cycle of crazy eventually culminated in a tumultuous fight set off by accident through one of James’ friends. “It was New Year’s and me and my boys were at a gas station hanging out,” says Ro. “In Indy, the thing to do was chill at a gas station and talk to girls.” As Ro tried to coordinate a time to meet up with his girlfriend, his boys were around the corner at the nearby White Castle. Eventually he found them, but was still unable to get a hold of her. One of his friends points out a girl whose number he just got. It’s Ro’s girlfriend.
“That was the last straw,” says Ro. He went home that night and recorded a song dedicated to her called “Portrait.” He then shared the song with friends who encouraged him to post it on his MySpace page.
With such an overwhelming positive response to his music, and nothing left for him in Indiana, Ro made the all-important move back to New York City.
Adjusting back to big city life wasn’t a difficult thing for Ro. Though he spent most of his years in NYC he spent many others living in various places like most military brats. With stays in places such as Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Texas, Ro became a social chameleon. “I’ve been exposed to everything,” says Ro. “The travel gave me great perspective on dealing with different types of people and different cultures. These influences can heard in my music.”
Ro’s funky, individual style radiated wherever he ended up, so when he got back to New York City, where individualism for many is more of a lofty goal than an actual character trait, Ro found himself fitting back into the NYC party scene very easily. Within a year after moving in with his grandmother in Queens, the young singer was out doing shows around NYC. “I can’t say the beginning was a struggle,” says Ro. “It became a struggle when I knew the music I wanted to do didn’t sound like popular music.”
The music Ro wanted to do is the music you can hear on his EP series Coke, Jack & Cadillac’s. On it, you can hear the unique sound created by his concoction of influences, which range from Lenny Kravitz to D’Angelo to Johnny Cash to Prince and the gospel music he grew up singing in his dad’s churches. But just as important as Ro’s sound is his story, which can be traced in the series title.
The first installment, COKE, contains the patriotic love song “Pledge Allegiance” which shows the elasticity in Ro’s voice, as he easily moves between a confident falsetto and an aggressive tenor to declare his devotion to the woman he loves.
On, JACK, there’s the gut-wrenching ballad “Indiana Jones,” a song about his aforementioned first love in Indiana. Don’t be fooled by the sultry slithery guitar strums and synths. Ro pours his heart out here, confessing his frustrations with a love he just can’t get right.
CADILLACS has songs like the soulful, gospeldelic cut, “XIX.” Here Ro is reminiscing on the shenanigans he’d get into while driving the El Dorado Cadillac his father gave him. His voice is confident, but a vulnerability skims the surface as he exposes his naivete during his younger years.
With the Coke Jack, & Cadillacs collection, Ro’s sound is sure to become the next industry standard. Already it’s caught the attention of influential publications like VIBE and the tastemaker blog, Complex. He has also received cosigns from those in his peer group, known as ‘The Jackets’, which is comprised of Luke James, Miguel, Leah Labelle and Bridget Kelly among others. But one listen and the various comparisons Ro has been receiving amongst his cult-like following will make sense. As he likes to say, all he has to do is get people’s attention and keeping it will be easy.
“With my story and the places I’ve been, my work is completely different from everything else that’s out there,” says Ro. “We’re all inspired by the same things, things like love, but Coke, Jack, & Cadillac is going to be a different experience, an original experience.”
"With only a couple of albums under their belt – 2012's Be Free and 2014's Please Rewind – horn/reed players Andris Mattson, Max Bryk, and Amber Navran of the jazz and soul trio Moonchild have built a considerable following among both the neo-soul-hungover crowd and traditional jazz lovers who don't mind the genre's evolution. For much of this, we have lead singer Amber Navran to thank, whose voice whistles and whooshes in and out of the band's soul claps, horn melodies, and synth shades. This is most evident on Please Rewind's "Don't Wake Me," "Just A Minute," and "Nobody," on which Navran's voice evokes Erykah Badu-esque charm, but with a vocal-defying soprano that's almost too cool for jazz and too controlled for soul. An arresting voice like hers knows no boundaries, and her bandmates Max and Andris create lush templates to adapt to any genre while still maintaining a jazz aesthetic. The end result is an infallible cross-breed of lush boom bap and soul power, aligning with Moonchild's orbit. It's no wonder artists like Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Robert Glasper, James Poyser, Jazzy Jeff, 9th Wonder, Giles Peterson, and Leela James have been singing their praises."
-Eric Tullis, Art Of Cool Festival 2015
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Maryland, 21044