We Got the Livest Audience Around? Lyrics Lounge!

Lyrics Lounge: Session XVVII

April 8, 2011

The unbelievable, INCREDIBLE truth is that we go hard at Lyrics Lounge! Last week our youth had the chance to attend a live tapping of BET’s 106 & Park. That’s right! We got to see Rosci and Terrence up close and personal. Some of the other celebrity guests included: Jim Jones, Swizz Beats, Jada Kiss, and Styles P. It was a special Freestyle Fridays event that featured the culminating battle between Moon and Blind Fury, two finalists who were vying for the winning crown and all the bragging rights they could eat.

This special exposure was reserved for Lyrics Lounge participates who:
•    Maintained at least a 70% grade point average.
•    Had attended at least 6 previous Lyrics Lounge session.
•    Had exceptional behavior during program and in school.

Pictures from the Event!

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Lyrics Lounge: Session XVVI

April 8, 2011

There are a number of “unsung” heros in the world of music production and composition. During the 1960s and 70s, the late Curtis Mayfield enjoyed a vast career as one of the premiere composers for black films. One of his more critically acclaimed scores is the soundtrack to the highly successful film Super Fly (1972). At our last session, Lyrics Lounge participants had an opportunity to screen Sparkle, the 1976 Harlem-based film about the rough lives and careers of fictional singer Sparkle Williams and her family and friends. Our theme was “Honoring the Past: Legends in American Music.” The soundtrack album for Sparkle was released and performed by Aretha Franklin, written and produced by Curtis Mayfield. The original track listing is below:

1.    “Sparkle” (4:13)
2.    “Something He Can Feel” (6:21)
3.    “Hooked on Your Love” (5:00)
4.    “Look into Your Heart” (4:04)
5.    “I Get High” (4:11)
6.    “Jump” (2:19)
7.    “Loving You Baby” (3:48)
8.    “Rock With Me” (3:11)

Too Deep, The HippieHoodlum, came through to Lyrics Lounge to talk about the facts and fictions of hip hop music production.

Lyrics Lounge: Session XVV

March 25, 2011

Roger Linn. Some people have deemed this man a saint for one reason: He was the architect and engineer behind the  design of the Music Production Center or the “MPC.” Originally called the “MIDI Production Center,” the MPC is a popular and well respected series of electronic musical instruments originally designed by Roger Linn and produced by the Japanese company Akai from 1988 onward. Equipped with his vintage MPC 2000XL, ultra-versatile artist and producer  Too Deep came by Lyrics Lounge to share a few artistic words of wisdom with our family and to demonstrate how to create music on the MPC. After performing a few numbers from his much anticipated debut album release The Hippie Hoodlum, ETC-ers rocked out with the traditional Lyrics Lounge open mic, freestyling to some of Too Deep’s original beats.

Say Cheeze: Pics from Too Deep’s Visit!

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Award-winning electro-acoustic flutist Suzanne Thorpe stopped by Lyrics Lounge to teach youth how to build their own contact microphones.

Lyrics Lounge: Session XVIV

March 18, 2011

There is a certain sense of power that comes with designing your own musical instruments and creative devices. It’s one thing to hold a mic It’s another thing to clinch the mic that you wired and bought the parts for. That’s something totally different. On Friday, March 18,  team Lyrics Lounge had a opportunity to custom-build contact microphones with expert electronic musician Suzanne Thorpe. After a quick trip to Radio Shack to purchase the necessary materials, we rolled up our sleeves and received a quick course on transducers and electromagnetic fields. Then, we were off! There were soldering irons and wire strippers all over the place. At the end our youth had the opportunity to test their microphones. Believe it or not, there was no open mic last week. Nevertheless, Lyrics Lounge continues to be the place where the bar is raised through the roof.

Say Cheeze: Pics from Suzanne’s Visit!

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Stori James stopped by the Lounge to talk about being a signed songwriter.

Lyrics Lounge: Session XVIII

March 11, 2011

From time to time it’s a good idea to research the songwriters who write your favorite tunes. These days a quick Google search can help you find information on the creators who worked behind the scenes to develop most of your iPod’s content. Consequently, our theme for last week’s session was “Know Thy Lyrics: Songwriting and Publishing Workshop.”  It turns out that songwriting can be quite a lucrative field, and signed songwriter Stori James came by Lyrics Lounge to explain how she has created a profitable business out of writing song lyrics. A member of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing family, Stori talked to ETC youth about music publishing and the importance of building strong relationships in the music business. She also performed some of her new material for our group and explained a bit about her writing process to the audience. This week the open mic was dynamic! There were a few battlers in the crowd, a handful of soulful singers, and much much more. Missed it? 😦

Check Out the Pics from Stori’s Visit!

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"Good and Bad Hair/Whether you're dark or you're fair/Go on and swear/See if I care/Good and bad hair..." - Bill Lee

Lyrics Lounge: Session XVII

March 4, 2011

Without question, great cinema would not exist without great musical accompaniment. Think of your favorite scene from your favorite movie. Right at the moment when the lovers begin to kiss or the case is finally solved, consider the music that’s playing in the background. A great film score can sometimes make or break a film. To support our claim, at our last Lyrics Lounge event, ETC-ers watched School Daze, the 1988 film musical by renowned director Spike Lee. Our theme for the day was “Music in Cinema.” Youth were asked to pay close attention to the score and to identify elements that best resonated with them. The original soundtrack (track listing below) for the film was produced by Bill Lee. At the end of our meeting, we ended with the traditional Lyrics Lounge open mic. Fantasic!

Track listing

    1.    “Da’Butt” — E.U. – 5:14
2.    “Perfect Match” — Tech & The Effx – 6:03
3.    “Be Alone Tonight” — Rays – 3:56
4.    “Straight And Nappy” — Jigaboos & Wannabees Chorus – 6:08
5.    “One Little Acorn” — Kenny Barron/Terence Blanchard – 2:20
6.    “I’m Building Me A Home” — Morehouse College Glee Club – 2:45
7.    “I Can Only Be Me” — Keith John – 3:17
8.    “One Little Acorn (Piano Solo)” — Kenny Barron – 1:21
9.    “Be One” — Phyllis Hyman – 4:36
10.    “Wake Up Suite” — The Natural Spiritual Orchestra – 3:40
11.    “We’ve Already Said Goodbye (Before We Said Hello)” — Pieces Of A Dream – 4:11

Lyrics Lounge - "Strive 'Til I Rise or Until I Stop Breathing!" - Genesis Be

Lyrics Lounge: Session XVI

February 18, 2011

There are a number of artists out there making music. However, there aren’t as many artists who use their fame and resources to change the state of our world. However, the recent surge in the field of social entrepreneurship has caused the entertainment world to more closely examine the impact that music media has on the world. More and more musicians and entertainers are becoming ambassadors for social justice and activism in a number of ways.

On Friday, February 18, Lyrics Lounge explored the topic “…”. Emcee and social activist Genesis Be stopped by the Lounge to discuss her career and the ways in which her social efforts have influenced her artistic goals. She explained that social entrepreneurship is simply helping others through the creation of your own business. She also talked to the youth about her new movement STIVE: Systematic Transformation Reversing Ignorance Via Entertainment.

Students rocked out to the traditional open mic at the end. Rockin’!

Check Out Genesis Be’s Smash Music Video for Single “I Don’t Discriminate”!