Syleena Johnson Readies New Album ‘Rebirth of Soul’

Syleena Johnson is ready to reintroduce classic R&B songs using her voice. The singer has teamed up with her father and legendary musician/singer Syl Johnson for a new album called Rebirth of Soul. 

Scheduled for a November 10th release, Rebirth of Soul features Syleena’s rendition of R&B songs from the ’50s and ’60s. The songs were recorded in real time with live musicians just like the good ole days.

“The inspiration behind Rebirth of Soul is my father,” Syleena said in a press release. “I wanted to honor him and classic soul music in a time when auto tune and electronic beats reign supreme. While I am not against this kind of creative musicianship, there is so much more to the real thing. True Soul music tells stories…stories that can heal a nation.”

The first single from the album is “Make Me Yours,” which was originally recorded by Bettye Swann. The album will also include a mix of landmark and underrated R&B gems from back in the day.

“For each song I channeled the emotions of the record,” Syleena said. “I put myself in the mind of each storyteller and in doing this I was able to merge myself into the story of each record. This is how I was able to put my own personal stamp on each record.”

Over four years ago, in 2013, Syleena told Rated R&B about her plans to release a collaborative album with her father.

“The good thing about Rebirth of Soul is that it’s a timeless record,” she said. “It’s a remake album, so it can come out at any time.”

In other news, catch Syleena as a co-host on TV One’s new talk show Sister Circle weekdays at 9 a.m. local time.

Listen to “Make Me Yours” below.

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Stream Victoria Monet’s New EP ‘Life After Love, Pt. 1’

Singer-songwriter Victoria Monet turns her heartbreak into music on her latest EP, Life After Love, Pt. 1. On the nine-track project, Monet shares her feelings from a past relationship. With song titles like “Wish I Never Met You” and “No Good,” Monet definitely didn’t hold back on being transparent with her fans.

“This project is the direct result of an unfortunate breakup I had with someone that I loved very much,” Monet told Teen Vogue. “We were together for six years. He was someone I worked with, lived with, and even shared a birthday with. I thought we were soulmates and that I couldn’t live without him, but this project says otherwise.”

She continued, “Part 1 tells the story of the emotions I went through in order: the regret, insecurity, falling back in love, self-pleasure, crying, and coming to my senses. It’s very personal and anyone who has ever gone through a breakup can relate to at least one of these songs. I want to be clear though, that I didn’t want to release this project until I was sure that we both healed from it. As songwriters and artists we get a lot of attention and gratification when we write about the moments that have hurt us, and in turn, sometimes we’ll seek out more hurt so we can write more things that people like. I chose not to let this project do that. Out of respect, my ex and I have talked about the fact that I’m talking about the breakup publicly and have an understanding for the creative healing process.”

Listen to Life After Love, Pt. 1 below.

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LeToya Luckett and Demetria McKinney Tapped for ‘Set It Off’ Stage Play

Over twenty years after its release, Set It Off will be adapted as a stage play. R&B stars LeToya Luckett and Demetria have been cast in the live rendition of the film, along with rapper Da Brat and actress Kyla Pratt.

Luckett will play Francesca “Frankie” Sutton (originally played by Vivica A. Fox). The former Destiny’s Child member went on Instagram to express her excitement about her new role. “Anybody knows me knows that set it off is one of my movies of all time,” Luckett said.

McKinney, who has been cast as Tisean “T.T.” Williams, wrote on Instagram “Y’all know the movie was a ride and this will be no different!”

The stage play is written, directed and produced by Je’Caryous Johnson. “Without a doubt, this will be one of the greatest stage plays ever seen in the urban theatre market,” said Johnson. “From the type of action and to the movement on stage, it will be nothing short of jaw-dropping. This will be the first piece of my career that will stretch me to the limits of what can be done and seen by our urban audience. I will be recreating the same intensity, same passion and same shock and awe, breathtaking moments that made this movie resonate with millions of people.”

Set It Off will hit several cities across the U.S. including Atlanta, D.C., Houston, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and Los Angeles. For more details on the tour dates, visit jecaryous.com.

Both Luckett and McKinney released projects last year. Luckett ended her six-year hiatus with her album, Back 2 Love. McKinney finally dropped her debut album, Officially Yours. 

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Janelle Monáe Releases Two New Songs: ‘Make Me Feel’ and ‘Django Jane’

It’s officially Janelle Monáe season. The Grammy-nominated singer makes a strong return with two new songs and accompanying visuals — “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane.”

The visual for “Make Me Feel” was directed by Alan Ferguson (who is married to Solange). The colorful clip captures the spirited, celebratory voice of Monáe as she affectionately nods to the ripe sounds surrounding the 1980’s music and dance revolution. “It’s like I’m powerful with a little bit of tender / An emotional, sexual bender / Mess me up, yeah, but no one does it better / There’s nothing better,” she sings.

“Django Jane” shows Monáe in another light. The singer switches up her style for a more conscious, rap-inspired tune. The video was directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning with additional vagina monologue footage directed by Lacey Duke. The song is a powerful black girl magic womanifesto that celebrates the strength of black women and black culture while addressing the trials and tribulations of identity in the 21st Century.

Both tracks will appear on Monáe’s upcoming album, Dirty Computer, which is set to arrive on April 27. Monáe opened up about her new album in an interview with Beat 1’s Zane Lowe. “You know I always knew that I had to make this album,” she revealed. “I actually had this title on this concept before my first album The ArchAndriod and it scared me because a lot of the things that I knew that I needed to say were very deep, very personal, from the heart. You know this is an extremely vulnerable album and it took me a while to make it because I’m a self editor.

She continued, “I self-edit myself a lot. I’m like I don’t want to talk about this, I don’t want to talk about that. I had to kind of have people at Wonderland on my team to hold me accountable to it. They were like OK, you said you wanted to make this album before your first album, this is the opportunity for you to just really choose honesty over mystery. I know that there are a lot of things that I haven’t discussed and I think this is the album that you’ll get an opportunity to get a closer glimpse into my mind and into my heart.”

“Make Me Feel”

“Django Jane”

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