Back in 2004, I was a novice to the printing and magazine industry hoping to launch something amazing. I had a pocket full of ideas and a concept, which led me to rapper, Turk née Tab Virgil, then signed to Koch Records. They wanted to put him on my cover and essentially set me up with my first interview, with an artist who has sold millions of records through Cash Money Records, as part of the hit-making crew, the Hot Boys and as a solo artist as well. As a Hip-Hop afficionado, I was very familiar with the rapper and could spit back his verses on various Cash Money classics. Just like that I had locked up my first major artist and my first cover story for what I had dubbed, 'Not Your Average Magazine.' Then I found out Turk would be doing the interview from prison, as he was dealing with a federal term for a shooting in his home in Memphis. Just like that my excitement faded
In the past twenty years many singers have embarked on a journey to make a mark on the R & B scene, while some have lasted, others have failed and some have just floated around. R & B veteran, Joe Thomas has created an illustrious career one can only dream of. Since his 1993 debut album Everything hit the shelves he has been in a lane all by himself. Owning Billboard’s covenant “US R & B charts” with over twelve appearance in the Top 20. His hit catalog includes the Big Pun’s “Still Not A Player”, his 1996 smash titled “All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do) and the unforgettable 2007 hit “If I Was Your Man.” For most the next step would be a compilation album, possibly a reality show but for Joe it’s focusing on his new album Double Back: The Resurrection Of R & B due for a July 2nd release. Currently tearing up the radio is his new single “I’d Rather Have A Love,” which embraces Joe’s vintage passion filled lyrics accompanied by amazing soulful instrumentation that equates another addition to the hit catalog for the multi-platinum artist. Parlé had the opportunity to sit with Joe recently for an interview, he answered everything from the collaborations on his new album, new artist in the industry and how he's managed to be successful for so long. Check it out here only at Parlé Magazine.
Ray Lavender emerged on the scene with a blast! Back in 2008 when I first met with him, I thought without a doubt he'd be one of the kings of R & B for years to come. He had the song writing ability of a Ne-yo, the vocal talents of a R. Kelly, the lovable persona of a Trey Songz--and I'm pretty sure the ladies found him decently attractive. Still, he had a swag all his own and when he released the hit, "Girl Gotta Girlfriend," he had a catchy tune to dominate radio as well. However, industry politics sidelined him, starting with a ban of his video, followed by disagreements with his label. It had been a few years since I had last talked with Ray, but now he's back with another banger. Win, lose or draw, he's going to do it on his terms. Get focused, because Ray Lavender is ready for his close-up.
He score a perfect score on the SATs, majored in Government and graduated from Harvard all before he turned 20. All the while, learning to play several different instruments, developing a serious love for music. That sounds a bit outlandish, but it's the real story of Grammy-nominated producer/artist, Ryan Leslie. With two albums in pocket, Leslie is the man who has done what some may have deemed impossible.
When R & B Divas debuted on TV One a few weeks ago, fans were excited to see some of their favorite R & B singers, past and present, in the limelight on a positive reality show. The cast, which features Faith Evans, Syleena Johnson, Nicci Gilbert (formerly of Brownstone), Monifah Carter and Keke Wyatt, include women who have all dominated the charts at some point in their career, going as far back as the late 90s. Not only were fans excited to see where these ladies have been, but they were eager to see what's in the works for their careers as well. With their revitalized fame and a cult following, these divas are giving fans something to look forward to. R & B Divas made TV One history, debuting as the highest rated show and on October 2nd, the R & B Divas collaborative tribute album was released in stores and online as well. We caught up with Faith, Keke, Nicci & Monifah as they prepared for the season finale on the show.