Thursday, February 23, 2012

Luke James Captured Real Music and My Attention

I know a quality singer when I can feel like no matter what they’re singing, they’re singing it directly to me.

A few weeks back I was sent a link of this New Orleans born singer and I immediately took to the status updates to share the link. I was waiting to hear more....

Then, last night I went to the Luke James show at SOBs and although the stage presence was brief, oooo weeee was it sexy!

I felt the sweat as he poured his all into each song as he ran through covers like “Let Me Love You Down" by Ready for the World and R Kelly's "Your Body's Callin”. He brought real music to the stage and he left it right there. He inhaled his hit single
"I Want You" and as he exhaled he made every woman feel like his # 1. He falsetto-ed his way through his song "Soulja" and serenaded his audience allowing every woman to feel the intensity with the line "..your body's a battlefield and I came here to fight". With a hit voice and sultry notes that paint a visual picture of two bodies vibrating, this man is sure to collect the hearts of thousands of women, if he hasn't already.

He gave us a quick and honest reminder of music's angel, Whitney Houston saying "if it wasn't for her there wouldn't be many me's".

It's shows like this that remind a person of quality sound. With a full band and DJ, Luke James brought back to music last night what sounded like smooth, upbeat translations of R&B classics like Marvin Gaye’s "Sexual Healing" and falsettos like Maxwell’s “Fortunate” which reminded his fans of what a true vocal range can produce.

After he performed “Made to Love” I pinched myself from an imaginary scene of me in a sexy 60s hair-do, rocking out in a black-and-white, slow-motion picture where I play the woman he saw across the room before going on stage and I immediately texted a friend saying "when someone brings stage presence like this guy, at this stage- give me a show time. I want tickets. Because I'm there!" As for now, I am feeling Luke James. And when you take listen to his
mixtape, you may do the same.

Last night I was reintroduced to Luke James and if you aren't familiar- get familiar. When this man finds that one song- that one song that makes him indelible- you're ears will be glued for many years to come! And hold on to your pants ladies, he's bringing songs that may make you want to jump right out of them!

Again, I think a quality singer is when you can feel like no matter what they’re singing, they’re singing it directly to you! So play on Luke James, we’ll be waiting for the album to drop! If you haven't found an artist to grow with in 2012, then allow me the pleasure of introducing to you, Mr. Luke James.

Photo courtesy of:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Has it ever worked? People as Products?

It's been tried time and time again. It's the one thing that bites at the insides of anyone with human-level ethics; to make money off one's death- How soon is too soon?

This past weekend a shock vibrated across the world with the news of Whitney Houston's sudden death. This tragedy comes after a long, heart wrenching battle with drug abuse and alcohol. Questions are raised on her value across the industry. Was her "legacy" as so many industry people repeatedly say, a price point? Does the industry ethically mold a person into a price?

Now, I understand business is business. I understand supply and demand. Last time I checked my economics books, demand wasn't about price hikes, but more having your product at the right place at the right time to service the demand. BUT, besides all of the obvious business perspectives of how a company, and in this case, Sony Music, can make money off of a death, the question in my personal ethics book is, how soon is too soon to make money off an artist's death?

A friend in the industry once told me, and this is when physical sales were actually relevant, that as soon as someone goes on life support, put in the hospital, or had any kind of health concern, there is an increase in production. He said, "so-and-so is on life support, put in 30,000 more orders".

If a product is a product, and by that I mean, it's not a living, breathing human, then is it still okay to increase prices and supply? Sure. For example: If there is a shortage in Aquafina water, for supply and demand purposes, Poland Spring should increase their supply to gain profit. There is a demand, and Poland Spring supplies. But dammit, why is Whitney or Michael, Amy or Etta or any person that's viewed as a product, valued in the market place the same way? Again I ask, how soon is too soon?

Other people in the industry have had a few disturbing thoughts in a sequence like this: "Whitney died!!!!" "Oh my gosh, Whitney is gone!" "I can't believe it!" "My bonus is going to be nice this year!" "What has this industry done to me?"

Does there come a point when we depreciate the value of a human based on the increase in value of them as the product?

Not more than 6 hours after being pronounced dead, there were already tributes happening to Whitney's life. Her cause of death had not been known nor her body even removed from the scene. Not more than 13 hours later there were conference discussions on price campaigns and price hikes. Not more than 15 hours later album sales and individual download records were being analyzed.

My ethics question here is not about the artist as a product, because like Film, Art and even Sports, we all know some people are worth more in death than in life. My questions here are, do we value mourning, do we value the life lived, do we value time or simply equate time to money and act with such a lack in human value only to watch how that quadruples the amount of zeros in the bank account? Do we value the legacy or do we simply value the price point we put on it?

How soon is too soon to profit on the death of a legacy? Is there room for a soul in economics?

(The above mentioned companies and names are mentioned out of personal opinion and do not reflect the facts of said companies are names)