Urban-jazz pianist Kayla Waters has everything it takes and more to be a successful artist. She is strong, confident, grounded, focused on her gifts, and translates it all beautifully through her music. Kayla is enjoying the success of her sophomore album “Coevolve” and feeling the love with her second consecutive Billboard No.1 single “Zephyr.” This week, her latest single, “Full Bloom,” is No.2. Waters took an eight-month hiatus from social media to focus solely on her music and her connection with God. The fruits of doing so was the creation of “Coevolve.” It tells the story of two things: first is life of a plant and how it grows; second is Kayla herself and how, like the plant, she, too, is growing and blossoming. Essentially, Waters is telling her life story in every song. Additionally, she collaborated with Michael Broening on the single “Full Bloom.” She is currently working on her third album, touring, and preparing to launch her own production company. She’ll be sharing the stage with her father, saxophonist Kim Waters, on December 6th in Charlotte, NC at the Mcglohon Theater.
On a recent pleasurable visit to Blakeslee Recording Studio in Burbank, California, I sat down with studio owner Raphael Saadiq to discuss his latest project “Jimmy Lee.” Saadiq shared glimpses of his childhood growing up in Oakland, California and his emergence as an artist, songwriter, and producer, as well as the creation of what the world now knows as the album “Jimmy Lee,” named aptly for his brother. It is a collection of songs that most can relate to in one way or another. Raphael is candid, humble, and brilliant. His artistry has touched and crossed over a multitude of facets in the entertainment industry including movies and television. The first single from the album, titled “Something Keeps Calling” featuring Rob Bacon, came in recently at no.1 on the Urban Contemporary/R&B chart.
Enjoy my conversation with Raphael Saadiq at Blakeslee Studio where his hits come to life:
There are so many thoughts that go through one’s mind when they stare out of a window. Multi-instrumentalist producer Kelvin Wooten has always been fascinated by windows. Kelvin is well known for his musical prowess on countless songs and albums in a variety of genres of music. He is artistically multi-dimensional, and that is what makes him a joy to work with for artists. Wooten has spent years growing and dedicating his gift to music. Recently, Kelvin had something to say–musically, that is. Thus, he embarked on a R&B Soul project that he had wanted to do for a while. Reflecting on his time spent viewing through a window in his home, Kelvin titled the EP “Window.” It is stirring and inspiring. “Window” features some of Wooten’s fellow musical comrades, those he also lovingly refers to as family.
There are so many words to describe the multi-talented Kelvin Wooten. In fact, there are so many, that it’s challenging to limit my perspective to just a few. Growing up, music was always a part of his life, whether it was at home or in church. In middle school, when he decided to actually pick an instrument to play in the school band, he chose the Baritone. That was only the beginning of what Kelvin was going to accomplish in his future. After his freshman year at Alabama A&M University, his life was forever changed. As some would say, he was in the right place at the right time. He was doing what he loved to do when unbeknownst to him, someone heard him playing the guitar in the background and asked to speak with him. That someone was the one and only Raphael Saadiq. Kelvin was asked to fly to LA, and that was the beginning of his illustrious career. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, writer, arranger, and producer. He’s worked with some of the best in the business. This year, he received a Grammy nomination with Anthony Hamilton for Best R&B Album. He’s produced music that has sold more than 10 million albums, yet he also makes the time to give back and be a part of his community in Alabama. I could honestly go on and on about Kelvin and what he’s accomplished. However, I’ll let his work speak for itself.