Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shouldn't Have Left You Without a Dope Song to Step to

It's been a long minute since we last rocked together. Longer than I anticipated, but I'm back. A lot has happened in the last week and half. To avoid dwelling in the past, I'll give a quick recap on some things I got into and then on to our gift: the present.

Last night, my family the legendary David Lawrence and I inhaled a dose of his weekly underground music fix at APT in the meat packing district. Rich Medina (the deejay) is always on point. It was so chill and soulful, I thought I was back in Chicago for a minute. Especially when I bumped into J.Ivy and Tarry Torae, two of Chicago's finest lyrists.

My beautiful Mom flew in from Florida to hang with her first born this past weekend. Her timing couldn't have been more perfect. She arrived right in the middle of my "Lonely in New York" ballad. By the time she had to leave, I scrapped that song. Mom's have a way of making all the dark days bright, the sad days happy and the lonely nights seem full of folks.

I also checked out the best monthly underground, unsigned artist showcase in the NYC: Faces in the Crowd showcase hosted by Chalant and Reality. Pharoahe Monch graced the stage for the song he was featured on by an artist. The energy is always positive and love is always shown. Check out some of the music moguls who were in the building. It's always an inspiring fellowship of talent.

Now back to the present day, which truly is a gift. Waking up everyday in probably the greatest city in the United States, and pursing my passions is a gift. Being surrounded by greatness that are my peers, my mentors, my colleagues, my heros, my dreams everyday, challenging me to be better is a gift. To sum it up, I'm...yeah, you know. BLESSED.

Empowered to succeed, destined to believe
That I can do anything I put my mind to
Creative ability weaves me together, than pulls me apart
Putting me right back where I started, in the Father's arms
He gave me a special touch, before I entered this world's ways
He set me apart, and gave me His name
So in Him I must remain, so I can continue to live...BLESSED
No weapon formed against me shall prosper
I'm heir to the thone of honor. One day I'll call Heaven home
When I wake up, I shine like the sun. I shine like the stars
All my desires are fulfilled, because I'm...BLESSED
I eat only the good of the land. I'm full of BLESSINGS
My steps are ordered. I walk as the King's Daughter
My battles are won, my paths are made straight
My life is a testimony. God sent me to sing my story
And let the world know...I'm BLESSED!
I keep a pen handy, so I never forget the day
He wiped my tears, took away my fears, healed my pain and flooded me with his BLESSED rain.
He called me to Reign. To walk without shame.
To live and not die, to love and not hate.
His righteousness is my claim to fame. No trophies on the wall.
But a promise in my heart that He will never let me fall, because I'm....BLESSED.
He catches me everytime I slip. He's always right at my fingertips. Just a call away.
He's says, "Look around Kris. The world is yours, and I gave to you so that you...CAN BLESS!"
Verse of the Day: Isaiah 63:7
Keep God 1st in your life
Till next we sing....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Travelling - Musically - Spiritually

Living in NYC where music, fashion, entertainment = the arts is woven into the fabric of the culture (over and understated) its hard not to get caught up in the overall hype. And if you are in the hype, sometimes we get frustrated by the saturation of it all. However, there's nothing I love more during the week than a genuine praise and worship session at church and an authentic underground showcase of up and coming talented artists.

Another stand out passion of mine it travelling. I would spend my last dime to travel to a place I adore for a repeat love affair or a first introduction. Last month I journeyed to Brazil. It was such a serene, unbelievably beautiful corner of the earth. God has carved it to perfection. The water, the mountains, the sun, and the people are all enchanting. The music resonates in your spirit like a heartbeat. It's sexy, pure, and formula free. By the end of the trip, my favorite Brazilian artist was Bebel Gilberto. Check her out!

Much of the trip was spiritual. Inspiration for music, and conceptualization for how big God really is invaded my conscious day and night.
I'm a big dreamer; at night and during the day. Being able to see God's hand at work in other parts of the world gives birth to many of those dreams locked on the inside.
Now back to living in times I feel suffocated because I am a southerner at heart. My southern soul often longs for trees, grass, room to walk, a moment to catch my breath, quiet nights and polite pedestrians. But I would be remiss not to give NYC it's props for how good it's been to me in the last soon to be three years. NY has taught me to pray harder, enjoy the little things longer, kiss faster and write shorter...songs that is.
I just got back from ATL last night. Every time I visit the A, I'm reminded that HOME is where the HEART is. I never want to leave the rolling hills, glorious green trees, clear skies, and polite people. The serenity and beauty of Georgia is a song all by itself. My spirit rejoices every time I touch down in the frantically busy Hartsfield Airport. I had a conversation with my boyfriend (music) that he has a max of two years to move me down there or I may have to leave him behind when I relocate to ATL and get a new boyfriend. :-) So for now...the show must go on.
This week, NABFEME is hosting their monthly "Women Who Jam," showcase at the Sugar Bar and Eric Roberson is getting it in at SOB's for the Sol Village. After Bible Study, I plan to drop by one or both and get a dose of some newness.
Have a great week whereever the music takes you!
Check out the video of my favorite track ("Paris, Tokyo" - so fitting for this entry. I visited Paris last year, and I'm headed to Tokyo in 2009) on the Lupe Fiasco album, "The Cool." The album is a must-have.
Verse for the day: Psalm 66:12
Seek first the Kingdom of Righteousness
Musically yours,
Performance dates coming soon....

Monday, April 7, 2008

Back for the First Time

Last night, I sang on the same stage that Chrisette Michele and my personal favorite Melonie Daniels have graced while creating pandemonium with their annointed vocals. The well-known ,Village Underground 's stage on a Sunday night showcases a band that can rival the best musicians in the business, talented singers from all walks of life and an intimate audience of music lovers that participate in a feedback tug of war with the performers.
Needless to say, I felt so comfortable, so at home, and so ready to let NYC know that there's a new fierce set of vocals leaving traces, remnants, and echoes in your memory. I sang Jilly from Philly's "Gettin in the Way." Tracy Morgan was seated in the front row. What a blessed experience! Certainly not the last...
I have to give some shouts-outs! LOL. And since this is my freestyle, I can do that. The saying, 'favor ain't fair' is so true...because I'm saturated in it. I give thanks to my Savior for the courage to purse my passion, my vocal coach Edroc and my sister in Christ Squeaky Moore who helped me get ready for this performance in 24 hours. Now for the pros, that's to be expected, but for the up and coming...that's straight up favor! They both helped me perfect an dynamic, interactive performance that had the ladies agreeing with me and the men loving my gangsta! I can't wait to go back and rock out again. Next time, I will be sure to have someone video tape it, so you can vibe in the experience with me.
Edroc's editing the videos from our studio session on Saturday and as soon as he's done with that, I'll be sure to share.
Tonight my amazingly talented cousin Semaj Collins is showcasing her original song in a contest hosted by NABFEME. The contest is for Domestic Violence awareness and her song is a semi-finalist! Music runs deeps in the generational bloodlines. Show her some love!
This Wednesday, I'm checking out Power 105.1 open mic uptown in HARLEM. The music continues...
Till the next time...I see you on stage or underground...much love!
Verse for the day: Matthew 5:13
Preparation + Opportunity = Success!
Peacefully ~#1CHISista!
PS - Just because the video is "HOT LIKE FIYAH"

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reminisce about the Future

With artists like Janelle Monae showcasing futuristic soul and Alicia Keys embodying classic soul, I often wonder some times what the shift in rhythm & blues is going to be. Maybe it's safe to say a combination of both. It seems like in order for music to sustain its balance, there must be a sample of the old sound, tweeked a little to make a new innovation. There has to be the mainstream, commercial sound and the indy, left of center sound to display the full picture of music's present and its future. Last night, I reminisced about the old and new with a fellow music connoisseur. We talked about the songs we jammed to back in the day and the tunes we rock to now. Do or Die, Eightball & MJG, Tupac, and Total just to name a few. Today, the list went something like this: Lil'Wayne, Rick Ross, Estelle and Lupe Fiasco. The good music continues, yesterday and today and forever.

This weekend's menu features: music for breakfast, lunch and dinner! :-) All activities are ramping up to be pretty productive. I'll be in the studio for the better part of the day tomorrow, rehearsing for a performance at the Apollo Theater later this month, then off to church (World Changers Church New York. If you wanna know more...feel free to ask!) I'll post some footage of how we get down at Da Edge of Madness in Queens. On Sunday, I may do a double offering of the annointed Ms. Melonie Daniels (singer extraordinare), first at 8:30am at the Greater Allen AME Church and then again Sunday night at the Village Underground. Holla if you decide to join me....

Verse for the day: Jude 1:24-25
"Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Be Blessed! #1CHISista!

PS - Check out Homecoming if you haven't already seen it:

PPS - Take time to remember the 40th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination, what his life accomplished, what our role is for continuing "The Dream", and realizing the power we have to be the change that we want to see in our world. xo

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Underground Royalty

Despite what you hear on the radio, with the exception of a few, good music is still being created. All throughout the cracks of New York, the up and coming, soulful and talented are being showcased. The underground circut of artists is the legacy of royalty continues.
Allow me to digress briefly to last week. As always the line up for shows, listening sessions and concerts were plentiful. My picks were the Faces in the Crowd Showcase (hottest underground showcase in NYC), the Roots listening session, and Franklin Bridge topped with my personal fave to the left, to the left: Eric Roberson. By the time I got to Friday, I was so amped to get in the studio and get to work. The inspiration was pouring out of venue after venue. Live bands, relatable lyrics, contagious energy, everybody jammin....I can never forget why this is my first love.
Which brings me to this week. Yesterday at Shrine in Harlem, the talent continued. My homie Will and I got an offering of more greatness emerging in the underground scene. Check out this rockstar when you get chance: 5'0 tall, maybe 90 pounds and she rocked out like Mick Jagger. I took tonight off from hitting up shows to work on songs for my next performance this month. I'll keep you posted with the details. This Thursday looks be a good interlude before my studio session on Saturday. I'm going to the Blender Theater to see Janelle Monae perform. Her look, and sound is so fresh. The heartbeat of good music in NYC is pumping hard.
Till next time, you can catch me underground...

Verse for the day: Proverbs 4:20-22