Leona Louise Lewis (born 3 April 1985) is a British singer-songwriter. She was born and raised in the London Borough of Islington, where she attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. Lewis achieved national recognition when she won the third series of The X Factor in 2006, winning a £1 million recording contract with Simon Cowell's record label, Syco Music. Her winners single, a cover of Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This", peaked at number one for four weeks on the UK Singles Chart and broke a world record for being digitally downloaded more than 50,000 times in 30 minutes. In February 2007, Lewis signed a five-album contract in the United States with Clive Davis's record label, J Records.
On 23 September 2013, it was announced that Lewis would make her acting debut in Holiday!, a 1980s-inspired musical film. In an interview with Digital Spy on 27 November 2013, Lewis confirmed that she would begin recording sessions for her fifth studio album in January 2014, after she finishes promoting Christmas, with Love. In February 2014 the film was renamed Walking on Sunshine. Lewis has recorded a duet with Michael Bolton called "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", which will feature on Bolton's upcoming album of the same name, due for release in the United Kingdom on 5 May 2014.
Kelly Cherelle Price (born April 4, 1973 in Queens, New York) is a seven-time Grammy-nominated American R&B singer–songwriter, formerly on the Def Soul label.
Price issued her debut album, Soul of a Woman, in 1998 on Island Records, which contained the hit single "Friend of Mine". A remix of the song, also included on the album, features R. Kelly and Ronald Isley. In the remix, Isley takes on the fictional role of the singer-protagonist's Godfather ("Mr. Biggs"), taking her husband (R. Kelly) to task for cheating on her with her best friend. The "Friend of Mine" LP version and the remix both charted as No. 1 hits on the U.S. R&B chart and made history by doing so with no music video to support the song.
Price, a mezzo-soprano, has been called an "urban crooner" and a cross between a "streetwise Mariah Carey" and "a domesticated Mary J. Blige". Her voice has been called "sweet and smooth", and critics have praised her songwriting and being smart for "choosing smart material to go along with her big, bad, beautiful voice." Her voice has been described as "equal parts powerful and sensual". She has earned songwriting or background vocal credits from Houston, Carey, Tatyana Ali, Mint Condition, Shirley Murdock, Keke Wyatt, SWV, Coco Lee, Trey Lorenz, Faith Evans, R. Kelly and The Notorious BIG, among others.
Jill Scott (born April 4, 1972) is a Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter, actress, and poet. Since 1999, Scott has made a reputation for being a classic, thought provoking artist gained by her 2000 multi-platinum selling debut, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. Her followups Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 released in 2004, and The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 released in 2007 both achieved gold status. She made her cinematic debut in the films Hounddog and Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? in 2007. She also appeared as the lead role in the BBC/HBO series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
Jill Scott began her performing career as a spoken word artist, appearing at live poetry readings to perform her work. She was eventually discovered by Amir "Questlove" Thompson of The Roots. Questlove invited her to join the band in the studio. The collaboration resulted in a co-writing credit for Scott on the song, "You Got Me". In 2000, Erykah Badu and The Roots won a Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group for "You Got Me", and Scott debuted as an artist during a Roots live show, singing as original artist/singer of the song. Subsequently, Scott collaborated with Eric Benet, Will Smith, and Common, and broadened her performing experience by touring Canada in a production of the Broadway musical Rent.
Pharrell Williams (born April 5, 1973), also known simply as Pharrell (/fəˈrɛl/), is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, musician, and fashion designer. Williams and Chad Hugo make up the record production duo The Neptunes, producing soul, hip hop and R&B music. He is also the lead vocalist and drummer of rock, funk, and hip hop band N.E.R.D, which he formed with Hugo and childhood friend Shay Haley. He released his first single "Frontin'" in 2003 and followed up with his debut solo album In My Mind in 2006. His second album, G I R L was released on March 3, 2014.
As part of The Neptunes, Williams has produced numerous hit singles for various recording artists. Williams has earned seven Grammy Awards including two with The Neptunes. He currently owns a media venture that encompasses entertainment, music, fashion, and art called i am OTHER. He is also the co-founder of the clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream.
Pharrell featured on Daft Punk's fourth studio album Random Access Memories on songs "Get Lucky" and "Lose Yourself to Dance". In addition, Williams contributed to Azealia Banks' debut studio album Broke with Expensive Taste, featuring on the song "ATM Jam."
Alexis Jordan (born April 7, 1992) is an American singer and actress from Columbia, South Carolina. Jordan rose to fame as a contestant on the first season of America's Got Talent in 2006. After being eliminated from the show, she began to upload cover songs to YouTube, which received millions of views. The exposure led Jordan to the attention of Norwegian production team Stargate and American rapper Jay-Z, who both went on to sign her to their joint label, StarRoc.
Her debut single, "Happiness", was released in September 2010, and reached number one in the Netherlands and Norway, and also became a top-three hit in Australia and the United Kingdom. Jordan's self-titled debut album was released on February 25, 2011.
On January 15, 2013, a new song titled "Acid Rain" leaked online. It was intended to serve as the lead cut from her second album. "Acid Rain" samples Bingo Players‘ song “Rattle,” and is written by Sia Furler and produced by Stargate. However it served only as a buzz single, as it was leaked in early 2013 and was never released on worldwide radios. On December 28, 2013 Jordan released a new message on her Facebook page in which she confirms that the official lead single from her upcoming second studio album will be titled "Gone" and it will be released on March 1, 2014. The official video was shot in late 2013. Its official music video was premiered on February 28, 2014. About the album, she said that she scrapped most of the songs she had recorded since late 2011 and she has recorded a lot of new songs for the project.
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Hancock is the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. Holders of the chair deliver a series of six lectures on poetry, "The Norton Lectures", poetry being "interpreted in the broadest sense, including all poetic expression in language, music, or fine arts." Previous Norton lecturers include musicians Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky and John Cage. Hancock's theme is "The Ethics of Jazz."
Albert Greene (born April 13, 1946), better known as Al Green or Reverend Al Green, is an American singer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still In Love With You", "Love and Happiness" and his signature song, "Let's Stay Together". Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum's site as being "one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music". He has also been referred to as "The Last of the Great Soul Singers". Green was included in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, ranking at No. 66.
Green cited the incident as a wake-up call to change his life. He became an ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis in 1976 and continues to serve in this capacity, delivering services down the street from Graceland. Continuing to record R&B, Green saw his sales start to slip and drew mixed reviews from critics. In 1979 Green injured himself falling off the stage while performing in Cincinnati and interpreted this as a message from God. He then concentrated his energies towards pastoring his church and gospel singing. According to Glide Magazine, "by the late 70s, he had begun concentrating almost exclusively on gospel music." His first gospel album was The Lord Will Make a Way. From 1981 to 1989 Green recorded a series of gospel recordings, garnering eight "soul gospel performance" Grammys in that period. In 1985, he reunited with Willie Mitchell along with Angelo Earl for He Is the Light, his first album for A&M Records. In 1984, director Robert Mugge released a documentary film, Gospel According to Al Green, including interviews about his life and footage from his church.
Cleopatra Madonna Higgins (born April 30, 1982) is an R&B/soul/pop singer, dancer, songwriter and actress based in Manchester, U.K. Higgins was the lead singer of the eponymously-named sister act, Cleopatra.
In 2013, Higgins auditioned for The Voice UK and her Blind Audition was shown on the 3rd episode on Saturday 13 April 2013. All of the coaches turned around and she chose Will.i.am's team. In the Battle round, Will.i.am kept Higgins over duo Nu-tarna. In the Knockout round Will.i.am then kept Higgins over both Lem and John. Higgins competed in the Quarter Finals against both Leah and Leanne with Will.i.am giving Leah his fast pass while Higgins was voted through by the public, despite there being rumours of Will.i.Am showing favoritism to Leah and Leanne.
Having been a fan and collector of quality soul music since the late 1970's, Roger Williams has been produced internet radio shows under the 'Soulsorts' banner since 2005 and from that point on has gained a much-deserved reputation for being at the forefront in the UK for promoting and exposing only the very best quality independent soul and gospel releases from around the world, but primarily from the USA. Roger also has DJ'd on the UK soul scene since the early 90s and has played up and down the country filling dance floors with his own style of classy contemporary modern soul and has held many residencies at quality events over the past 15 years, and although his club activities have been wound down for the most part, he still remains one of the resident team at the massively successful Hilton Luxury Soul Weekenders alongside Hot-FM stablemate Ralph Tee, for whom Roger has also worked as Expansion Records packaging/cover designer since 2001, a position he still holds and cherishes to this day alongside his current cover design work for much respected Soul Music journalist David Nathan and Michael Lewis on their SoulMusic Records Imprint - the say you shouldn't mix work and play, but Roger is one person who certainly enjoys doing that!
Roger's taste in music is for the smoother, more melodic side of soul music, be it old, new, jazzy, gospel, r&b or uptempo, and in his shows you can expect to hear only the classiest choices from the contemporary era, primarily his now-trademark brand new independent soul but also delving into what is a considerable collection put together over the past 35 years, for gems from the greats such as Will Downing, Phil Perry, Kem, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Maysa Leak, Incognito . . . the pot of tunes runs very very deep but at all times will carry what is the now widely acknowledged 'Soulsorts Seal Of Quality', the man has never been known to disappoint!
Niomi Arleen McLean-Daley (born 26 April 1981), who performs as Ms. Dynamite, is an English hip hop and R&B recording artist, rapper-songwriter, and record producer. She is the recipient of the Mercury Music Prize, two BRIT Awards and three MOBO Awards.
Ms. Dynamite (originally called Lady Dynamite) was first known for her vocals on the UK garage underground track "Booo!", which was regularly played on London pirate radio stations and was later released as a single. While working at the radio station RAW FM, Ms. Dynamite was discovered by Richard Forbes a.k.a. DJ Sticky at a West End club. Interest grew from all major British labels and eventually she was signed via her management Bigga Beats to Polydor Records, where she met producer Salaam Remi, who cultivated her talent. She released her debut album, A Little Deeper, in 2002, which featured hit songs "It Takes More" and "Dy-na-mi-tee". In 2003, the album was released in the United States to critical acclaim. In 2002, Dynamite won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, for A Little Deeper. She donated the £20,000 prize to the NSPCC.
Myron Avant (born April 26, 1978), better known as Avant is an American R&B singer-songwriter. He is best known for hits such as "Separated" (the remix to which features Kelly Rowland), "My First Love," which one version features KeKe Wyatt, and "Read Your Mind" (remix featuring Snoop Dogg on the extended promo vinyl and released September 30, 2003). He was featured in the remix to the Lloyd Banks song "Karma" from the 2004 album The Hunger for More, and has had a cameo appearance in the 2004 feature film BarberShop 2: Back in Business.
His self-titled fifth album, Avant, was released on December 9, 2008. Avant is now signed to Verve Forecast and released his sixth studio album The Letter (formerly titled "Wake Up") on December 21, 2010, featuring production from the likes of The Pentagon; Mike City; Marshall Leathers; and Kajun. Avant cites R. Kelly as his biggest influence and inspiration.
Kenny Lattimore (born April 10, 1970) is an American R&B singer. Among his most popular hits were "Never Too Busy" and "For You". A stint as session vocalist for R&B group Maniquin led to an official place in the group as lead singer. D'Extra Wiley of the 90's R&B group II D Extreme was also a member of Maniquin, briefly before signing to MCA records. The group released a lone self-titled album for Epic Records in 1989. Its lead single "I Wanna Ride" was an answer to the hit single "Mercedes Boy" by Pebbles in both sound and lyric. Both artists' singles were produced and co-written by Charlie Wilson of Gap Band fame. Lattimore soon left Maniquin to pursue a solo career, and the group subsequently disbanded.
He married R&B singer Chanté Moore on January 1, 2002. In 2003, he and his wife recorded a duet album entitled Things That Lovers Do consisting of classic soul songs from the '70s and '80s plus two new original songs. The standout singles were the smooth and contemporary "Loveable (From Your Head To Your Toes)" and an upbeat funky cover of René & Angela's "You Don't Have To Cry". The music video for the latter featured a very pregnant Chanté Moore shortly before she gave birth to the couple's son Kenny Jr. on April 10, 2003; Lattimore's 33rd birthday. Lattimore and Moore continued promoting the album with a hugely successful touring stage show.
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