While the world is dealing with a pandemic, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Stokley Williams is taking time to reflect and finding the silver lining in the midst of it all. His single “She,” from his upcoming album “Sankofa,” is a current favorite amongst both old and new fans. The single has earned two weeks at no.1 on the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary Chart. While speaking to Stokely about life, I recalled our conversation three years ago and before he released his first album, “Introducing Stokley.” Furthermore, we covered the success he has had since then. On this album, Stokely reconnected with his mentors, super duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. He also collaborated with Snoop Dogg on the second single. titled “Vibrant.” Stokley’s acknowledgement of where he came from is the driving force for “Sankofa.”
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:
Phil Perry has a voice that is timeless and intoxicating. For decades, the storyteller has created music and moments never to be forgotten. Phil has shared his gift with artists such as Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan. The legendary Al Jarreau fondly referred to Phil as the “real deal,” a sentiment everyone shares. “Breathless” is Perry’s 12th album, and quite honestly, it will take your breathe away. Collaborating with his long time friend and producer, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, once again proved to be a formula for success. Phil says that with them, it’s about “friendship and relationship. However, the music is paramount.” He says his music feels like home. When listening to songs like “Someday We’ll Meet Again,” “Moments In The House Of Love,” and his cover of “Loves In Need Of Love Today,” you are sure to feel the same way. On “Breathless,” Phil says: “I’m just a mouthpiece.”
When you hear an artist who woos you with their velvety voice and multidimensional music, you know you’re listening to someone special. When you see that artist perform live, you’re given a glimpse into just how good they are. Eric Roberson–unbeknownst to some–is a singer, songwriter, producer, and Grammy Award Nominee. He has worked with artists such as Jill Scott, Dwele, and Kim Waters. Growing up in a home surrounded by music, ironically, it wasn’t until Eric’s early twenties that he realized music was going to be his life. He takes the diversity of a myriad of genres along with inspiration from those he’s worked with to create music that infuses everything from hip hop to R&B to rock. There are so many facets to Roberson–not to mention his riveting live performances. The chemistry between him and his band is incredible to witness. It is as if they are all sharing the same mind and thoughts simultaneously. His performances can be viewed as theatrical in a sense. With the ability to improvise and make up songs with suggestions from the crowd, he adds another entire dimension for the viewers. Eric’s uncanny ability to engage the fans by pulling them into his performances enhances the experience exponentially. With the highly anticipated release of his tenth album, The Box, being released on August 12th, Roberson is thrilled to share new music with his fans.
Eric and I discuss his career and The Boxin a live interview: