ALBUM REVIEW: Girl Next Door-Alexis Hightower

Last week, I put up my feature with singer Alexis Hightower. Today, I have a review for her debut full length album Girl Next Door, which mixes classic jazz, soul, and a touch of hip hop. Her sound is grounded in jazz and R&B, which is evident on this album. What's great about this album is that Alexis is very transparent in her lyrics, and the music is soulful and calming. I've never honestly been a huge jazz fan, but the different artists that I have heard in the genre always give a fun, yet relaxing vibe in their music. I definitely looked forward to checking out Alexis' project. 

Check out my review below!


In The Spotlight: Cooper Phillip

Happy Friday everybody! I have a spotlight to start the weekend. As always, if you or someone you know is a talented artist, designer, producer, etc. looking to be featured on The Spotlight, please email me at BrittanyShawnte@gmail.com (please see my Contact/Disclaimer page for requirements)!

Today, we have Russian-born/LA-based soul singer Cooper Phillip! I featured Cooper’s great song “Silence” on the blog last week, and had to have an interview with her to find out more about this great talent! Cooper was born into a family of musicians, so she has literally been around music all of her life. “I grew up going to the theater where my mother performed on the violin with the orchestra,” Cooper reminisced. “She put me on stage when I was two as part of Tchaikovsky's opera.” Even at that young an age, Cooper’s excitement and interest in being a performer began. She started out as a classical pianist, but didn’t believe it to be her purpose, and ultimately moved on to singing. “I realized this was my passion and where I wanted to grow,” the singer said. She won her first international singing competition at 11 years old, and immediately realized that singing was her destiny. “I felt such energy and recognition from the crowd [and] I knew this was the right path for me,” Cooper said.  

MUSIC VIDEO: "The Followers"-Wale

Wale has just released his video for "The Followers." Directed by Jon J and Shaun Ross, the video features Wale rapping on where his head's been since the release of The Gifted back in 2013. He's taken a lot of mental breaks recently, and even had an undisclosed surgery some weeks ago, so it's clear he's been reflecting not only on his career but his life in general. With The Album About Nothing coming sooner than later, I'm definitely interested to see what he's going to give the fans next! I need that video for "The Body" too, Wale!

 Check out the video for "The Followers" below!

I'm also excited to go see him yet again in 2015 when the Simply Nothing tour hits the Fillmore in Silver Spring (Get your tickets here)! I plan to be front row center! 

Image via Complex


In The Spotlight: Manfred Kidd

I really am grateful for the opportunities to interview the up and coming! I got an email from a reader last week saying how he appreciates my features, and how he’s found some great artists because of the spotlights I do, which made my day. Doing what I love and having people connect with that is the greatest feeling!

Just to let y’all know, I have some great events and interviews to finish out 2014, so definitely be on the lookout! Celebrity news has been pushed to the backburner a lot, I know, which I’m trying to get back on track with. Pray that I find a balance come 2015!

Ok, enough personal stuff. I have another spotlight for you all today. Check out Swedish alternative pop-rock duo Manfred Kidd! The duo, composed of members Victor Crusner and Fredrik Folkestad, first met in elementary school but then went their separate ways for a while. They randomly bumped into each other on a tram in Göteborg, and discovered that they both had turned to music, which inspired them to work together. “The music we made became something neither of us could do on our own,” they said in a statement. “Finding that out was probably the moment we knew we wanted to do this.”


NEW MUSIC: "Bring It Back"-Floria

New music! Check out track "Bring It Back" released today from R&B producer/singer Floria! Based in Brisbane, Australia, Floria wrote and recorded the track in his home studio. Inspired by
Ariana Grande, Shlohmo, and The Weeknd, 'Bring it Back' "displays an infectious barrage of modern R&B grooves, powerful synth and Floria’s tender vocal croons." It tells the age-old story of losing love and wanting it back.  I heard the song some days ago, and it drew me in right away! I LOVE the beat and Floria's vocals on the song! Check out "Bring It Back" below!

You can connect with Floria on Facebook and Twitter, and hear more of his music on SoundCloud!

In The Spotlight: Alexis Hightower

Another spotlight for y'all! As always, if you are or know of an upcoming musical artist, designer, producer, etc., that should be featured on the blog, please email me at BrittanyShawnte@ gmail.com (allow time for response).

I want you all to check out singer Alexis Hightower! Combining classic jazz, soul, and a tiny bit of hip hop, this unique, talented singer is definitely one to look out for!

Born in Nashville but raised in Oakland, CA and then L.A., Alexis’ parents got her started in music. Though they weren’t musicians themselves, they constantly listened and played music, which Alexis loved. “My parents loved to entertain, and music was always a big part of that,” she said. “I felt very early on, probably from the time I was four or five, that music would be an important part of my life.”

In The Spotlight: Michael Schulte

Looking forward to getting a couple of features on some great artists up for you all this week! Right now, we have alternative/folk singer Michael Schulte! Based in Germany, Michael started singing around the age of six.“I just simply loved to sing the songs I heard on the radio and the CDs my mom and dad used to play,” he remembered. “I would sing the whole day and bother my family, event hough I think it was quite good already!” The singer never had any guitar or singing lessons, just learning by actually doing. He was able to develop amazing vocal and playing skills, and wrote many of his own songs!


MUSIC VIDEO: "Silence"-Cooper Phillip

Russian-born/LA-based soul singer Cooper Phillip is a true talent to behold! I want you all to check out her beautiful debut music video, "Silence," the first single from her Walk A Mile EP!

Released on October 6 and directed by Scott Nathan, the music video has a simple and classic black and white look, allowing viewers to focus more on Cooper's amazing vocals. She has serious soul and passion, and you hear it from the second she opens her mouth to sing! It's definitely a standout ballad, and I'm purchasing my copy right after I publish this!

Check out the video below!

Be on the lookout for a feature with Cooper on the blog soon! You can purchase "Silence" on iTunes now, as well as check out more from Cooper on her official website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!


NEW MUSIC: "Gunpowder on the Letter"-Cody ChesnuTT feat. Gary Clark Jr.

In honor of Veterans Day tomorrow, rock and soul artist Cody ChesnuTT has joined forces with Gary Clark, Jr. for "Gunpowder on the Letter." The song pays respects to American veterans and troops for their courage in their service. When asked about his inspiration behind "Gunpowder on the Letter," Cody stated, "This song was inspired by a documentary I saw on veterans that had been traumatized by the act of war. The broken spirit and disillusionment expressed by these veterans, granted me access to both the spirit and voice needed to communicate the narrative."

 Check out the performance video below!

Keep Up With Cody ChesnuTT & Gary Clark Jr.!

A salute to all of our veterans and current troops! We thank you and honor you for your continued service.

In The Spotlight: Anthony Lewis

My inbox is FLOODED with requests for interviews and music features! I stay swamped, but I love sharing the artists that I receive information on to you all! As always, if you are or know of an upcoming artist, fashion designer, producer, etc., and are interested in being featured on The Spotlight, email me at BrittanyShawnte@gmail.com (please allow time for response).

Today, we have young singer Anthony Lewis! Back in September, I featured his music video for "Looks Like Me,” a powerful tribute to Michael Brown and other fallen black people, killed untimely and unjustly. I got the opportunity to chat with the singer about his upbringing, passion for music, and why it was important to him to create a song like “Looks Like Me.”

Check out more about Anthony below!


In The Spotlight: The Blue Van

More features on the way over the next few days! Right now, check out blues-rock band The Blue Van! The group’s members include Steffen Westmark (vocals and guitar), Søren Christensen (keyboard, vocals and guitar), Allan Villadsen (bass) and Per Jørgensen (drums and vocals). The quartet grew up in the same area of Northern Jutlan in Denmark, meeting in kindergarten! While other kids in their school were interested in soccer and dance music, the group wanted to do something different, and started playing music together. “We discovered early on after playing local talent shows and youth clubs that this was a dream we wanted to pursue,” they said. Their parents insisted that they finish high school first, but after they did, the guys moved to Copenhagen to focus on their music.

The Blue Van is more inspired by British and American bands, than music from Denmark. “When we first started out we were very much into mid-sixties british invasion bands. Kinks, Small Faces, The Who etc,” they said. “Since then, with all the traveling and touring, we have broadened our horizons immensely.”


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