GFM Spotlight Interview: George Tandy Jr. Talks Debut Album and Defining His Musical Identity for HimselfPosted on September 27th, 2014 by DJKKC
Grown Folks, you may know George Tandy Jr. best from his piano driven, soul-stirring anthem “March”. We caught up with George to talk about his debut album The Foundation, where the song “March” came from, growing up with musical parents and he dropped some wisdom on us about the honor, yet the danger, of being compared to other artists.
GFM: Let’s start off with the album. The debut album is out now. Can you talk about the meaning behind the title and the vibe of the album?
GTJ: I’m super excited about the album. It took me quite a bit of time to get it together. I’m very grateful about it. The title is The Foundation. It represents a few things for me. First off, nothing lasts without a strong foundation so I figured it’d be an appropriate title for my debut album– you know being a new artist and people not knowing who I am and where I’m coming from. Also, I feel like when you listen to the music on the album you can hear all the different musical influences that I’ve had in my life– jazz, classical, R&B, hip-hop–everything. I snuck all of it in there in a subtle way. I’m really proud that I’ve been given the opportunity to express myself freely with regards to the type of music that I like to make and the type of music that I like to hear. Thirdly, I feel like the relationships that I’ve built along this journey– it’s taken about nine or ten years to get together–are also the fabric of the foundation of not only my career, but of my life and everything I believe in. I feel like my relationships– if I can keep those in tact, then I’ll have a very strong foundation and a nice future. We’ll be able to share a lot of victories together.
GFM: Speaking of a nice future, you’ve had some nice moments already. You’ve gotten to play the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards and you’ve been at Essence Festival. What’s the biggest thing you can imagine happening to your career in the future?
GTJ: I try to stay pretty practical about things. I mean I have big dreams. I want the whole world to be Team Tandy you know, so I guess my first show outside of the country will probably be significant for me. Other than that, I’m just happy to be able to do what I love and do it with a group of people that I feel like have my best interest at heart and do it in a really honest way. It would be cool to be recognized for the music. I’ve always wanted to get first place in something … in sports in school … so if I can get an award or something for my music that would be pretty cool. Something to tell the story. Add some zest to the story I guess. From Starbucks to a Grammy or something like that. (laughs) That would be cool. I don’t know, we’ll see. I just love performing so as long as I can do that I’m happy.
GFM: What was your reaction the first time you heard your music on the radio or went somewhere and your music was playing in the background?
GTJ: I was in a radio station doing an interview and they were about to play it. They played it, so I heard it from within the radio station. It was emotional ’cause it was unexpected. I mean I knew they were gonna play the song, but I didn’t really know how I was gonna react to it. Up until then everyone else had heard the song on the radio and I hadn’t. So to be inside the studio and watch them press the button I was like, ‘woooow.’ You know?
GFM: I know “Jaded” is the second single now from the album, but I wanna personally thank you for the musicianship on display on” March”. You spoke earlier about being able to make music from an honest place. Can you talk about where “March” came from, because it’s so organic to me. It’s so authentic. Not to be cliche’, but there is something that is just very honest about it. There’s not a lot of production going on as far as a lot of sounds and smoke and mirrors. It’s just you and your voice and the piano and I just appreciate … like I said … the musicianship on display and the honesty of it.
GTJ: I appreciate that. Thank you. I’m glad you feel that way. That always feels good to hear. “March” came about naturally. I was sitting at the keyboards. I was just playing a couple chords. I was like, ‘this sounds nice.’ The original version of the song had a different back beat to it. I’ve had multiple recordings of the song and it had a militant back beat so I was just kinda whispering, ‘march,’ to myself. I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do with this. I don’t really know why keep saying march,’ but I usually don’t ignore my first instinct. So, I tried to find a way to make the song romantic… romantic and about love and relationships just because that’s how the chords felt. And since I was putting march in there, I was like well, ‘how many different ways do we march in life? All of us? What do we have in common?’ Alright, well then I’m gonna dedicate the verses to romance and I’m gonna dedicate the choruses and the bridge– I’m gonna dedicate those things to some more universal idea of marching through obstacles. Because I feel like as I was writing it and as I was performing it, I was realizing how our own internal struggle with realities … our own unique realities… is what determines whether we’re able to sustain the meaningful relationships we have in our lives. And somehow that’s what that song became a representative of. Hearing people’s feedback as I performed it, and watching people’s reactions and kinda attributing it… going through my own struggles while I was performing the song… it just turned into it’s own… it just kinda came alive on its own. Even with the whole album, as far as the musicianship, I just wanted to make sure I took an approach where people could hear my voice clearly. I’m very honest about my skill set. I’m not a powerhouse vocalist. I’m not a classically-trained pianist. But what I am… I’m an artist and I’m really passionate about what I do and I understand space and time. It’s kinda like when I’m making music… it’s kinda the same way when you set up furniture in your house. You put things in places so that it works for you… so that it’s effective… so that it sets a certain tone. I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t over do it or I guess… under do it. You know? I just wanted it to be just right– just enough for the message to be conveyed for people to be able to hear where I’m coming from and feel it, so it could be more than a song and more like an experience.
GFM: It takes a lot of confidence to put your skill set on display that and not have it be so production driven or beat driven. It takes a lot of confidence. Especially for a new artist in this generation of other artists who are being played on the radio so I commend you for that… for just giving us a song that just breathes and we can just breathe to.
GFM: Speaking of musicianship, you come from a family of musicians. Tell us about your musical background.
GTJ: I’m fortunate. I basically grew up on stage. My dad is a jazz keyboardist and a producer. (He is) an amazing performer. When he gets on those keys… when he gets on stage, I’ve never seen anybody as passionate as him. He’s probably my primary influence as far as being passionate about music. My mom is a singer. I have two sets of parents. My biological mom is a singer and my love mom, as I like to call her, is a vocal coach. My step dad also just loved music and was always playing music around the house. All my siblings played an instrument at some point or just loved music. I just grew up in it. I was fortunate. They put me in band. I was always just attracted to rhythm and sound. I wanted to be like my dad so when I got my first keyboard I broke down and cried like I won the lottery or something like that. Music has always just been a safe place for me–even within my own household. You know we all have challenging times in the household when we need something to go to that feels like a journal or a safe place. That’s where I went. I would go to my keyboard and it would all make sense to me. And it still does. Anytime I pick up any type of instrument, I just feel like I’m able to express myself freely. It feels like a dialog with me, the universe and the rest of the world– even though they might not know that they’re gonna listen at some point. (laughs)
GFM: I read that you didn’t want to be compared to other artists in terms of being labeled the next… and you can fill in the blank of whatever artist you’ve been compared to… that you said that you’re the next you. With that being said, who is George Tandy Jr.?
GTJ: First off it’s always an honor to be named in the same sentence as other artists that have made a huge impact on the world with their music or their art. So I’m always honored, but at the same time I would be doing myself and everybody an injustice if I didn’t make sure that I was clear about there not being any imitating going on. And I understand (that) psychologically for people when we come upon something new we have to compare it to something to know how to find its value. So I get that. But myself as an artist… I feel like first of all I am a human being, and I use music as a tool just like anybody else to express themselves. I think as an artist… if that’s what the question is about… as an artist I am honest and accessible. I’m emotionally accessible within my music and I’m on a journey. I’m still figuring that out. So I’m not gonna let anybody else figure that out before me. I don’t think that would be fair. I don’t think that would be fair to them… or fair to me… or fair to the end result. So, I just love music. I love people. I love performing. I just hope to make the best music possible and really use it to open up dialog with the world that I might not otherwise have had a chance to do. I used to say, ‘you know I am music.’ But really I am a human being. I’m fortunate because I have a platform now, so now I can represent groups of people that I care about in certain situations that might affect some significant change in the long run. So, I’m kinda trying to keep my eye on the big picture if that makes any sense.
GFM: I think it’s okay to… and I think that’s very profound what you just said… I think it’s okay to want to define who you are for yourself and not let anybody else do that. I remember when Venus and Serena Williams were very young players– still in their teens. I remember them having an interview with Bryant Gumbel and saying something to the effect that ‘we are the best,’ or they’d said that maybe earlier and he asked them about that. One of them said, ‘well if I’m gonna compete and if I’m gonna win, I have to think I’m the best. I can’t walk on the court thinking my opponent is the best. I’m the best.’ So, I’m just saying that in terms of how you were saying that you don’t think it’s fair for anybody else to define you. You need to come up with your own definition and I think that’s a wonderful perspective… and a very honest perspective too.
GTJ: I like this topic. I think that one of things that we do sometimes as human beings on a day-to-day basis– whether it’s sports, art or just everyday living– is that we find ourselves comparing ourselves to each other. And in that process we can lose ourselves, and we take away from the opportunity to create ourselves. I agree, like in hip-hop– the battle rappers, and the emcees and all the rappers– they have to go in thinking, ‘yo, I’m the best rapper,’ because that’s the nature… that’s how it all started. And in art in general for me– I’m not necessarily gonna go in saying I’m the best “this”– but I am gonna say there’s room for me on this stage. There’s enough room for all of us on this stage. There’s enough light for all of us on this stage. And when it’s my turn, it’s truly my turn. You know what I mean? I’m always gonna see it that way.
Get to know George Tandy Jr. His debut album, The Foundation, is available RIGHT NOW on iTunes and some retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy.
Speaking of YouTube, watch the short biography video below, also called The Foundation that gives you a little insight into who George Tandy Jr. is.
DJ Polished Solid: JIMMY EDGAR is One Sexy MF (AKA Happy Belated Birthday) Mix (No Turn Unstoned #249)Posted on September 27th, 2014 by Ivan Orr
Some great new goodness from DJ Polished Solid get into it!
To celebrate Jimmy Edgar’s Birthday which was on August 10th, I had to create a mix of course. I’ve been wanting to do a Jimmy Edgar mix for a very, very long time now, but I always freak out when I want to do a mix for someone’s music I absolutely adore. It’s important that I take time to craft a mix in reverence to their music. Jimmy Edgar is no exception. He is one of my main musical men, alongside Prince, Luke Vibert, and Machinedrum. His music makes me feel, which is getting kind of hard to do lately in music. Where’s the soul? Where’s the funk? Look no further than Jimmy Edgar, one of the only contemporary artists still holding it down. So, we have got to celebrate his music and more importantly his existence.
Jimmy Edgar in my opinion is Prince’s direct successor for DMSR (Dance Music Sex Romance) since Prince is a Jehovah’s Witness now and refuses to perform his sexual lyrics anymore. Jimmy Edgar is definitely a student of the Minneapolis sound. I like how he strips it down to the essentials, keyboard funk and sexy whisphers, talking, etc. but also has cultivated his own sound at the same time.
So if you are a true Prince fan, it’s automatic. You’ll adore Jimmy Edgar’s music, too!
In the meantime, please support Jimmy Edgar by purchasing his music so he can keep doing what he does like no one else can.
Checkout the tracklisting after the jump Read the rest of this entry »
This will be something quite good and grown for that special time of year from a very special artist and GFM Fave Maysa! Check out the clip below of the classic “Pray For Peace” from Edwin Hawkins.
From the press release…
Maysa is the kind of singer who takes hold of a song and enraptures her audience, as she delivers lyrics, phrases, melodies and harmonies in a way that only she can. Blessed with an instantly identifiable honey-toned mezzo-soprano and an undeniably brilliant and magnetic stage presence, Maysa’s alluring vocals, candor, humor and purity as an artist make her a rarity in this business. Having collaborated with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan to Incognito and Angela Bofill, Maysa can hang with the best. It is no wonder the recipient of Soul Train’s “Soul Approved Underground Singer” was declared ‘WONDERful’ by the iconic Stevie Wonder. Maysa’s voice has been described as “Smooth and as rich as chocolate” by Blues & Soul Magazine while The Dallas Morning News declares it “Sublime…down-home funky one moment and elegantly jazzy the next” and The Philadelphia Daily News raves, “To die for.” October 28, 2014 Maysa will release her first and anticipated holiday album A VERY MAYSA CHRISTMAS. “I’ve been wanting to do a Christmas record for years,” shares the dynamic and down to earth vocalist who has emerged as the best jazz/soul vocalists of her generation. “I hope people enjoy my take on the songs they’ve heard done by hundreds of artists over the years. My biggest wish for mankind is that people truly learn what it means to love yourself. I believe a healthy self esteem is the basis for true happiness.”
A VERY MAYSA CHRISTMAS features Maysa’s innovative arrangements of such favorites as “Joy To The World,” “Jingle Bells,” “The First Noel,” “Christmas Time Is Here” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” Maysa is joined by special guests Gerald Albright on “Silver Bells” and Will Downing on Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” “I was blessed to have three great musicians who are not only like brothers to me but mentors join me on the album. I’ve learned a lot from the both of them. My producer Chris ‘Big’ Dog Davis is another fabulous musician. The three of them shine like diamonds!” A VERY MAYSA CHRISTMAS also features the superb Maysa original “It’s The Holidays” and the moving Edwin Hawkins “Pray For Peace,” which is a meditation Maysa delivers with the hopes of spreading healing and peace throughout the world.
A VERY MAYSA CHRISTMAS is a follow up to Maysa’s Grammy nominated and critically-acclaimed BLUE VELVET SOUL (2013). Maysa Leak was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and knew by the time she was six that she would be a musician. “I was six years old when my mom took me to see Purlie. When Melba Moore came on stage and sang her heart out, I knew at that moment I wanted to make people feel the way she made me feel.” Maysa graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in classical performance, meeting Stevie Wonder while a student. Upon graduating, she moved to North Hollywood to join Stevie Wonder’s “Wonderlove,” with whom she performed for a year, performing on the Jungle Fever soundtrack and such television shows as Oprah and The Tonight Show. In the early Nineties, Maysa auditioned over the phone to become the new lead singer of the acclaimed British jazz/funk/R&B band Incognito, moving to London for four and a half years. She has appeared on over eleven Incognito recordings and continues to appear as a featured vocalist with them from time to time. Maysa recorded her self-titled debut album for GRP in 1995, following it up with ALL MY LIFE in 1999, OUT OF THE BLUE in 2002 and SMOOTH SAILING in 2004. She then made an impact with her interpretations of classic soul music on two acclaimed albums for Shanachie, SWEET CLASSIC SOUL (2005) and FEEL THE FIRE (2007), on which she showed her ability to put her own unique stamp on familiar songs from the 1970s era. METAMORPHOSIS (2008) showed off Maysa’s prowess as a composer and A WOMAN IN LOVE (2010) found Maysa returning to her roots as a jazz singer. MOTIONS OF LOVE (2011), which featured the ballad “Have Sweet Dreams,” was co-written by Stevie Wonder who plays harmonica and was inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and the duet “Flower Girl” showcasing Dwele. With the release of A VERY MAYSA CHRISTMAS the beautiful songbird has created what promises to be a new classic during the holiday season and all throughout the year! Look for Maysa in a city near you as she tours as part of the Dave Koz & Friends Christmas tour.
On the heels of the release of his latest single “Queen” and the news of a partnership with eOne Music, the hardest working man in today’s R&B Raheem DeVaughn, brings his sensual stage show to the DuPont Theater in Wilmington, Delaware Friday night. In what promises to be an evening charged with romance, passion and DeVaughn’s special brand of desire, he’ll be joined by a two of Philly’s finest, the soulful Jaguar Wright and newcomer Jeremy Isaac.
Love is a word that consistently flows from Raheem DeVaughn; you hear it in his music, you see it in his philanthropic and it lingers in his speech, “Love is a universal word that brings us together, just like music, religion and social networking,” says the prolific musician whose previous album titles all include the word love. “People are fascinated with love and are still trying to discover what it means. I like to think that I make music that is passionate, conscious, caring and endearing…so I definitely try to embody all of that in the music I put out.”
Love comes to the DuPont Theatre (1007 N. Market St, Wilmington, DE 19801) in the form of Raheem DeVaughn, Jaguar Wright and Jeremy Issac. There are still a limited number of tickets available and can be purchased here or at the box office. For additional information, please call 410-215-8893 or Email email@example.com. Special group rates are available for purchases of ten or more tickets.
Earlier this week, Raheem DeVaughn stopped by WDAS in Philadelphia to chat with Patti Jackson; hear the interview below:
Price: $10 adv/ $15 door.
Location: Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 (196 Allen St., New York, NY)
Coming to the Lower East Side is a new event that will excite your senses and tickle your eardrums. Live From The Background is a new series that will highlight some of the most amazing and talented artists to ever rock a mic and hold down some of your favorites from the background. In case you didn’t know, background vocals help to round out some of your favorite sounds and hold down the stage presence of your favorite artists.
To launch our inaugural event, we’ve decided to start off on such a high note, the next shows will be hard to match! Durand Bernarr, Cleveland based artist most notably known for providing background vocals for the incomparable Erykah Badu, will be gracing our stage.
Durand started posting videos on YouTube; saturating the internet with his music and in 2009, he independently released his 1st project… “Alcoholharmony: The MixT@pe”. By 2010, he had been discovered by artists such as YahZarah, The Foreign Exchange, Rickey Smiley and Neo-Soul Songstress Erykah Badu.
As the self-proclaimed step-son of Erykah Badu, she reached out to Durand and invited him to be apart of her band “Neda Stella” after hearing his second project release: “8ight: The Stepson of Erykah Badu”. During the summer of 2011, he had the pleasure of traveling with Badu and singing background for her European tour as her “2nd Soprano”.
Joining Durand on stage will be Bronx born, Philly based singer, DomiJo. Domi, who is no stranger to the microphone, has also backed some of the most sought after and respected indie artists in game such as Bianca Racquel and Mylah.
With a talent like this gracing the Rockwood stage, you do NOT want to miss this.