Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid Announce ‘The R&B Tour’

Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid are teaming up to go on tour. The R&B middleweights have announced their R&B Tour, which will kick off on May 15 at The Loft in Atlanta. The tour will also make stops in D.C., Baltimore, New York and Chicago, before wrapping up on May 27 at Troubadour in Los Angeles.

Both Ro and BJ will perform some of their old material, as well as new material from their respective upcoming projects. In March, Ro dropped his four-track Smoke EP and plans to release the follow-up, Mirrors, later this spring. Meanwhile, BJ is gearing up to release his new album on April 27 via Motown Records. It will follow his 2016 debut album, In My Mind. 

Along with the announcement of The R&B Tour, the two gents have released their cover of Jodeci’s classic hit “Come and Talk to Me” as a special treat for fans.

Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid’s The R&B Tour Dates
May 15 — Atlanta, GA @ The Loft
May 16 — Washington, D.C. @ U Street Music Hall
May 17 — Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
May 18 — Boston, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
May 20 — New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
May 21 — Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
May 23 — Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi
May 24 — Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
May 27 — Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour

Keithan is the founder/editor-in-chief of Rated R&B

Exclusive: Harmony Samuels Talks Producing Janet Jackson’s New Single ‘Made For Now’

Harmony Samuels’ impressive production resume is constantly growing. After working with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child and Brandy, he adds music icon Janet Jackson to the list of his high-profile collaborations. The London native is the genius behind the production of Jackson’s new single “Made For Now” featuring Daddy Yankee.

How did you end up collaborating with Janet?

Janet’s A&R is a good friend of mine — [ Jareiq ‘JQ’ Kabara ]. He’s a good dude. I’ve known him for about 10 years. He called me and was like, “I want you to come meet Janet and talk to her about her next record.” I was really intrigued because I just couldn’t believe that I would be working with Janet. Long and behold, she was preparing to go on tour last year and I got to meet her. I was in her room and she so elegantly walks in and as she comes in, she’s like, “Hey! Whose birthday is May 16?” and I’m like, “Me” and she’s like, “We share the same birthday.” I was like, “Yes, connection!” I never knew that her birthday was the same day as mine, which was great. I was really excited that we had something in common.

Then she starts to explain what she wants from her album and her record. And basically, she expressed she wanted a record that brought people together. She wanted to bring the world together. She wanted to talk about love — her having a son now she appreciates life way differently. With all the devastation and so much destruction happening in the world, she wanted something to bring people together. She wanted to see people dance. She wanted to see people happy.

What was the process of creating “Made For Now”?

We held a writing camp for ten days with four or five writers all from different cultural backgrounds and different history. When we started writing the record, I kept thinking I had to do something Janet hadn’t done before but still makes her feel like Janet. It was a hard task because she’s done a lot (laughs) —  from Control to Velvet Rope to her last album [Unbreakable]. That’s a lot of music to try to find something that she’s never done before. So I’m sitting around and I was like, “What she hasn’t done? She hasn’t done anything Afrocentric. She hasn’t done anything with like Afrobeats.” So to make sure, I went and checked her song history and her number ones. I made a few records that have been successful in that world in the past— Destiny’s Child’s “Say Yes” was a huge example of that. So, I wanted to do that again. I wanted to bring the world together that way. And you know cultural stuff, when you go to carnivals and festivals, it always brings people together. There’s a colorless line that happens.

I was getting dressed one morning and the way the song starts, that exact line was playing in my head. I looked up like, “Jesus are you for real?” I put the melody on my phone and I rushed to the studio. Within an hour, I make the track and everybody is like, “Yo, this is crazy.” [Janet] and her brother Randy came to the studio and when they heard the record, they love it. They thought it was perfect. [Janet] went in the booth, added her own vibe and made the record hers.

We actually went into the studio to cut the record with another legendary producer Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. You can understand my excitement. Not only did I get to work with Janet but Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in the studio She turned around and she said to me, “I really love this record. I believe it’s special.”

When did Daddy Yankee get involved?

A few months later as the song was being developed, JQ calls me and says, “Hey man! I’m going to put Daddy Yankee on the record, what you think?” And I was like, “Hell yeah.” I thought it was perfect because it now brings another world. I was really excited. Just working with him at the shoot and watching him perform, was an awesome experience.

How many different versions of the record were created?

Well, it was over a span of six to nine months of getting it all together. There were at least nine versions. We just tried so many different versions but this version felt like it kept everybody engaged. We were really, really proud of the outcome.

There’s also an EP in the works. What can you say about that?

I worked on most of the EP. Each song has a different feel. Each song has a different style. She bodies it! She does her thing.

Is there anything you discovered about yourself throughout the process of working with a legend?

Patience (laughs) and staying calm. When you’re working with icons, you move when it’s time to move. I felt like she was always willing to try different things. My patience allowed me to try different versions and try different things regardless if I felt like it was right or if I didn’t like the idea. It was just awesome to experiment and open yourself up for change and trials. And just being around someone who is so iconic, yet so humble. She’s so humble and so genuine.

Follow Harmony Samuels on Instagram @HarmonySamuels.

Fanatasia Announces Fall 2018 Tour Dates

Fantasia will be kicking her shoes in a city near you.

The Grammy-winning singer has announced dates for a string of concerts that will begin on September 28 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. From there, Fantasia will perform in small cities including Columbia, S.C. at the 2018 South Carolina State Fair. She will wrap up in Louisville, Ky. at the KFC Yum! Center on November 9.

Fantasia is working on her follow-up to 2016’s The Definition Of…. She has already confirmed that she is in the studio with Missy Elliott and Danja.

Tickets for Fantasia upcoming shows are available on her official website.

Upcoming Tour Dates
September 28 — Tuscaloosa, AL @ Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
October 7 — Montgomery, AL @ Garrett Coliseum Stage
October 16 — Columbia, SC @ South Carolina State Fairgrounds
November 3 — Saint Petersburg, FL @ Vinoy Park
November 9 — Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center

Teyana Taylor Announces ‘Keep The Same Energy Tour’ Following Jeremih’s Dismissal

Teyana Taylor is a woman with a plan. After making a loud exit from her joint tour with Jeremih due to being “extremely mistreated,” the Harlem native has announced her headlining Keep That Same Energy Tour, which is named after her sophomore album.

Taylor will perform in the originally scheduled cities from her previous tour except for New Orleans and Kansas City, since Jeremih has been reportedly removed. Although she had to cancel Toronto’s show (Aug.16), she is working on rescheduling the show for later this week.

Taylor will keep DaniLeigh as the special guest for her. She also plans to have a couple of friends join the tour.

The tour drama between Jeremih and Taylor became public on Wednesday (Aug. 15) after she posted her disappointment in the crooner acting like a diva. The R&B acts went back and forth — directly and indirectly — on social media, which ultimately led to Jeremih’s dismissal.

Find tickets for Taylor’s KTSE Tour at axs.com, etix.com, ticketfly.com and ticketweb.com.

Keep That Same Energy Tour Dates
August 17 – Detroit, MI @ The Majestic
August 18 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre
August 21 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
August 24 – Houston, TX @ Revention Music Center*
August 25 – Dallas, TX @ Canton Hall
August 28 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
August 30 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
September 1 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
September 3 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory Orange County
September 4 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
September 5 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
September 7 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox SODO
September 8 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom

*Daniel Caesar

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