Friday, June 30, 2006

Peep the Banners

1. The July Birthday Jump Off! - If you are in or around LA, mos def check out Elevatedla's Annual July Birthday Jumpoff. I am a July baby, so you know I plan to do it up big. This year's event is going to be held at the Cabana Club in Hollywood. I was just there this past Monday for Benny Boom's BET Awards Pre-Party - the joint is hot!!!

2. Castro's "Last Chance for Edited Play" - Peep the band Castro's site to download their new EP. This project was two years in the making, but the music is fiyah! I'll probably do a "Don't Sleep On" post soon, but in the meantime check them out. You can download the album for free. (see: Castro banner under blogroll).

*see ya later*

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Do what you believe and Believe in what you do"

This boy is responsible for the success of this lady.

Ryan Leslie>NextSelection>NS4Life.


It's Not Right, But It's Okay...

It's not right that I didn't talk to DJ OK first, but it's okay to feel what I feel.

Due to this post - that relationship may be dead in the water.

*time will tell*

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lendale is getting back...

to normal!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Is it just me...

or is it also hard for you to believe they are performing "Can't Knock The Hustle?" It looks more like a broadway musical or something. I don't know. This is a new hustle though and Jay's on it.

*one day [I'll] be a star*

Monday, June 26, 2006

You Know I've Been Thinking...

about this topic alot lately. Sheryl Lee Ralph in an interview touched on the topic in re: to the studio production of Dreamgirls. Check out the interview at C&D or click the photo below to read the relevant part of the interview.

When I referenced my list "of reasons that teetered on self-pity" in this post, skin complexion was among one of those reasons. Not to take anything away from Beyonce - this ain't about her - but there are things that can be observed and are accepted without being said. For me to make mention of them would be to play the victim, a role I've never cared to accept. After all, I've been told time and again that I'm "pretty for a dark-skin girl....very exotic" or something to that affect; therefore, I'm not allowed to complain because I pass that "exception" bar. But it does make me think about how many others will be passed up, hell, or even how many time I may be passed up [again] because I don't fit the "status quo" of beauty.

At the recent BMI event that I attend about two weeks ago a question was raised about the likelihood of new artists being signed off an demo. All of the panelists agreed that it is a very rare occurance because execs are looking for artists to be already be centers of influence (ie. have a following) before they walk through the door. In less than a full breath later, the music-publishing panelist said that the only recent case was Rihanna, but then again when you look at her, how can you NOT sign her?

I would have answered that by saying, if they had actually listened to her demo. Just imagine how many more records she might sell if she had some vocal training? I actually like Rihanna though, but it is an interesting question.

I'm gonna leave it open to discussion.

*ciao for now*

After the Demo It's the Afterparty?

Um, probably not, but this is still a fiesta! I am estatic that things are getting underway once again. Third quarter of 2006 is looking very promising.

The plan for completing my demo will futher advance my LP. I've decided that instead of putting out an EP as my first record, I'll do an entire LP. I realize that there is really no rush to get the project done.

I've listed my production plan for releases below. While I'll have my demo songs for networking purposes, I will also use them for the mixtape - which will be the Elle B. sampler, so to speak. Over the next couple of months, I am going to continue to create until I have about 12-15 songs that truly represent me as an artist. That is when I'll be ready to release the LP.

1. Complete album quality demo songs.
- There will be about 5-6 of these.
- Deadline: July 30
2. Record and Release an Elle B. mixtape
- Use demo songs as samplers for the mixtape.
- Deadline: September 06' (Labor Day)
3. Release my first LP.
- Deadline: Open-ended. Ideally Fall 06

In the meantime I am going to continue writing (point Creative:2b on my Summer Action Plan). I just got my hands on some great instrumentals and started writing already for the mixtape. Some of the instrumentals I might use are Deja Vu, Turn It Up, Ain't No Other Man, and Promiscious Girl.

*k, I'm done for now*

Whatchu gonna do....

with that prize money?

As a result of winning Leimert Park Idol, I was award a really pretty trophy and a $1500 check.

I thought about a plasma screen TV for 2.5 seconds but only because I could pay cash for it outright. That might have been a cool experience. But I've actually got a plan to mark some things off of my Summer Action Plan.

Pretty much, I am going to use the $$$ to pay for studio time to complete my demo. I've identified 6 songs I want to complete. Four of the six are already in production, but I now have the resources to get in and add those final touches on the project.
The six songs and production plan goes as follows:

1. Despite What They Say -
a. Add more vocal arrangement to help build the song to a climax at the end.
b. Will need to bring in additional vocalists for background vocals
c. Re-mix

2. For My Girls -
a. Record live drums
b. Finalize and Record vocal arrangement on the hook
c. Mix

3. Joseph's Song
a. Record live drums to current drum pattern
b. Record live guitar
c. Maybe re-record some parts of the song
d. Re-mix

4. Addict Me
a. Develop vocal arrangement
b. Record lead and background vocals
c. Mix

5. Work It Out
a. Develop vocal arrangement
b. Record lead and background vocals
c. Mix

This knocks off point Creative:1a. from my action plan. I am also going to enroll in some dance classes - point Creative: 3a. and have my business cards made - point Professional: 3c.

*going to get caffeine*

I Won!

I'm not Fantasia or even Kelly Clarksen, but I am the winner of Leimert Park Idol. Woohoo.

I wasn't sure that I'd win. The first two days of competition felt like a breeze. Most likely because I performed my own material. Then on Thursday night at rehearsal for this weekend's two days of competition, somethings happened.

1. I went deaf. Not literally, but I had a really hard time "hearing" myself in order to get through Sophisticated Lady - one of the most difficult songs I've ever sung.

2. My back went out. Not in the "senior-citizen-I-may-need-a-walker" way, no. It was a muscle spasm in my lower back probably the result of working too hard (and doing something wrong) at the gym. I had to walk about a 1/4 mile to my car hunched over like Quasimoto. Not kidding.

So once Friday's competition came along, I felt less than subpar - donning an aching back and a faulty ear as I took the stage to sing Sophisticated Lady for the first time in my life.

That's my little antecdote. I did feel absolutely terrible, but afterwards one of the judges told me the performance was "flawless." There.You.Have.It.

*back to eating my oatmeal and cleaning out my inbox*

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Meet my buddies...

Jay and Amir.

[thx honorable]

*reasonable doubt 10 yrs anniversay this weekend - i need to be in ny*

Er'Day I'm Hustlin'...

Or so it seems.

At the BMI event I attended last week, the panelists spoke about the importance of an artist's team. Me and FLR have been talking a lot lately about what my next steps are to get things poppin' It's no secret to the people around me - co-workers included - that I'd soon like to quit the 40 hour/wk gig and pursue music 100% of the time. It's also no secret that I won't be able to pull that off on my own, working 40-hours/wk. So I need to reconvene my former team and figure out where adjustments or additions need to be made.

Here's my 'Action Plan:'

Creative Team:
1. Producers: My producers are pretty good - but I've found that each one is limited in some capacity that continues to lead to incomplete projects (songs). So my goal for my producers is two-fold:
a. Create small recording budget to complete all incompleted songs.
b. Network to meet new producers to create new music and continue to develop my sound.

2. Songwriting: Tuna Butter and I have forged quite a productive songwriting relationship. DJ OK and I are looking to create a catalog of material for placement and try to get some publishing money generated. And Goldfingaz and I have a promising future. Here are my plans
a. Continue to write lyrics and melodies weekly - at least one new song/concept a week.
b. Write songs for other artists/singers to adapt to different song styles.
c. Network to meet new songwriters to better my skills
d. Take a commercial songwriting class - I need to write better hooks.

3. Other:
a. Dance, Dance, Dance: Research and enroll in a weekly dance class to assist with stage presence and all around movement. I never considered myself a dancing/pop act, but it can't hurt to do more than my "step-in-the-name-of-love" groove.
b. Styling: While I already have a stylist, we need a budget and we need to aggressively solicit designers to outfit me for performances and photo ops.

4. Photographer: I haven't decided whether I am going to take another shoot since my hair is short because quite frankly I think I might reinstate the weave this fall. In any event, here is what needs to happen.
a. Select additional photos from shoot with for my files
b. Network with new photographers to experiment with new looks.

Professional Team:
1. Manager: I need a manager, ASAP. While my mom was my "interim-manager" she's not in a place in her life where she can effectively pull off this role. In dealing with new opportunities that arise and even strumming up new opportunities, a manager is necessary.
a. Research management pros and cons
b. Research managers/management companies

2. Public Relations: I have a publicist so I am good in this area. I just need to be doing something to give her something to do.

3. Marketing & Promotions: My marketing/promotions company is My biy, GV, has great ideas but as with my publicist, there isn't much to market or promote right now. However some things I'd like for us to pursue in the near future:
a. Elle B. hosting weekly Urban music talent night
b. Creating an action plan/distribution stream to DJs of mixtape and Elle B. single
c. Elle B. branding - business cards done ASAP. Collateral and premium concepts and design for LP release.

These are my action plans for the summer. Between now and labor I look to have 100% of these items attended to.

*ciao for now*

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Development Dilemma

So it's hard updating this thing when life travels at the speed of light, but a couple of things have happened since I last posted (barring the last post of course).

So my good friend, FLR, recently completed her first year of law school and is now back home in NYC interning in the legal department for a couple of labels. She has a friend who works at the label that I auditioned with back in February. Now, if you have been keeping up with me, then you know this is somewhat of an on-going saga, mostly for me though because I am the one trying to break into the industry.

Well it just so happened that because of her connect at said label, she met and talked to the 'label exec' about me. He didn't really tell her more than he said to me, only different terms:

Her-say: He thought you could sing, but you're not developed yet and nobody has the time or money to develop an artist these days.

He-told-me: You can sing, but I want you to work with 'the producer.'

Translation in industry-speak: You need to come to the table with more than a good voice; you need someone to vouch for you as an artist.

After hearing what my girl had to say, I was slightly distraught because I didn't understand what 'developed' actually meant. It's cool not to like my material - but I guess he's looking to see what my sound is? Or does development actually mean, that you have to be vetted by someone who has previous proven success in order to get put on in this game?

I went through a whole list of reasons that teetered on self-pity, but I snapped back. It's really unlike me to be so gloomy - but then again, it was that time of the month.

But in terms of Development - I feel stuck! I still haven't been able to nail down a schedule to work with 'the produer' and I can't help but feel as though I am doing something wrong. If I have access to him at my fingertips, what's my problem?

Is it money? Is it a lack of swagger? Or am I too nice, because I feel on a sub-conscious level, that he's doing me a favor? If the latter is true, then what are the deeper implications?

Recently, I auditioned for the Leimert Park Idol competition. One of the judges at the audition had such outstanding praise for my performance saying that I "performed from start to finish, like a true artist. [I'll ] go far in this industry." I took those words to heart - after all, this particular judge has written a platinum hit for Prince among many other notable accomplishments - she knows about this industry.

Still and yet, I can't help but wonder what the discrepancy is...I know I have all the promise and potential. Not unlike many others, I am standing at the gate waiting for my point of entry - but the difference is, I'm holding the key - I just don't know how to use it.

Going forward, it's possible that I need to change my perspective on some things. As I completed the first two days of competition on Sunday, I am proud to say that I am one of the top contestants in scoring thus far - but I knew I'd thrive and excel in a competitive environment, that's my nature. But what I've also come to realize that I can always afford to make adjustments and push myself to move out of what is second nature to me to obtain just a little more than I might have once reached for.

I gotta get "developed" in the way that it is meaningful.

*searching for my swagger*

Monday, June 19, 2006

Reason #1 Why Mom Can't Be My Manager...

dysfunctional family dinners.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Quick and Dirty - Weekend Edition...

I went to an amazing BMI event last night and will be sending out follow-up emails today and tomorrow. It's a great start to the weekend - the panel gave me a lot of motivation and new things to consider. There's one particular project that I am looking to make happen with GV of - so be on the look out. With that said, there will be few, if any, posts this weekend because I am going to be extra busy. Here's the rundown:

Thursday: DJ OK - studio time tonight. Completing 'For My Girls' and possibly starting a new joint.

Friday: Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal! for Leimert Park Idol. Tomorrow night I have to:
- Pick the key for 'Sophisticated Lady'
- Rehearse: 'The Impossible Dream' (if I can find the sheet music)
- Learn what the 'World Needs Now'

Saturday: Lemiert Park Idol - Competition Day 1
- We have to arrive at 11:45a for sound check. The event is outside, which I'm not that excited about, but it'll give me more experience peforming at "unique" venues
- I am performing 'Despite What They Say' an original song.

Sunday: Father's Day - Leimert Park Idol Competition Day 2
- Same deal for sound check, but I am going to be there ALL day. All of the 'Idol' contestants will be a part of the Dionne Warwick tribute later in the evening, singing 'What the World Needs Now'

I am supposed to write with Tim on Saturday night after Idol Day 1, but I am thinking I need to take my pops out for Father's Day instead, cus I'll be tied up all day Sunday. I am thinking about taking tomorrow off from work (as a sick day) to rest my voice for this weekend.

*ciao for now*

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

BET Award Predictions: I Guess, You Guess Part II

On May 17th, I began the countdown to the BET Music Awards. Since then, there haven't been any other posts on predictions, but with the show a mere two weeks away - what better time than now to get back into the swing of things?

Just to be clear, I am by no means an avid BET watcher. In fact, besides 106 & Park and Uncut, I can't name any other programming on the station. And not until I heard Jacquie Reid on the the Steve Harvey Morning show was I told that BET Nightly News got the ax a while ago. So for any potential blogging/intellectual elitist who happen to find this page and wonder why the attention on BET Awards - simply put: I am a musician and this is my industry. I.GIVE.A.DAMN.

Moving on...
Best Female R&B Artist

Mary J. Blige
Mariah Carey
Keyshia Cole

First and foremost, I'd like to say that I think it's admirable that India.Arie was added to this category or nominees - however, she won't win. Not that I don't like India or that she's not worthy of the nomination, but quite frankly she's had a very quite year compared to at least two other nominees. Beyond that, she hasn't provided anything to the music world that was fresh, innovative or really memorable. I'm not even sure what she actually received this nomination for: her songwriting skills for the Tyra show (*I'm being a smart ass*), her songwriting skills for Stevie Wonder on his latest LP, 'A Time to Love' or for the newest addition to the Gospel of India, "I am Not My Hair?"The album from which this single is spawned, isn't slated to drop until August of this year. Either way, I look forward to the next step in India.Arie's music evolution - but at this point, for me, she's plateaued.

Beyonce. I pray to the good lawd above she doesn't win. Actually, I think its a long shot. Please remind what she's done this year with the exception of that Pink Panther joint - everything else has been a DC3 effort. It's nice to show deference to the "hottest chick in the game" (c) Young Hov, but I can save my prayers for something more important like finishing my CD. *smile*

Keyshia Cole had a great debut season. She really showed her "arse" on 'Love.' And although I was slow to warm to Keyshia, I really like her and I'd like to see what she does in the future. But one great single isn't enough to pull her to the top of the ranks in this category.

Which leads me to my picks as the two top contenders: MiMi and Brook-lyn *cough* Personally, I'd like to see Mary take it away, but I think Mimi might steal this one . Here's why: a lot of critics are less than enthused by a happy Mary, thus the Breakthrough, which for me was amazing (have you heard Mary's voice?), didn't meet their expectations of the pain-stricken, struggling Mary they fell in love with. Mimi on the other hand is the iconic come back kid (literally, cus she dresses like she's 13). Mariah's proverbial fall from grace brought on by a slew of subpar albums and her single-handed to ding a (double digit) multimillion dollar recording deal with Virgin Records had us feeling like Mimi was lost forever. But the biggest hit of 2005 - We Belong Together - runs circles around Mary's first Breakthrough single "Be Without You." And through it all - terrible Grammy performances and such - Mariah is THAT Diva.

We are happy for Mary because she has got her life together and has never sounded better. But Mariah, though I begrudgingly admit it - keeps us interested and waiting.

As always, I'd like to know what you think!

Previous Prediction Post(s):
I Guess, You Guess, Part I: Best Male R&B Artist

*I'll be waiting*

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm Emotional...So Forgive Me.

"It's just one of those days, that a girl goes through"
- Monica

I am teeming on the brink of pissed off. My disclaimer is that I am emo because of my predisposed female condition, so forgive me if I sound b*tchy or otherwise, whiny. Seriously though, it has been more than a month since I met with DJ OK - who is supposed to be my main producer. Everytime I ask him to set some dates and times for us to get back to work to move closer to finishing my CD he's got some excuse:

1st: I just started working and can only do nights.

- I've been working and have only been able to work nights since we started working together, pushing my otherwise 40 hour work weeks to 70+...but I understand, you're new to this cube-life and you need time to adjust. Although, when you only work from 1p-6p I find it hard to sympathize.

2nd: I'm moving and gotta take care of apartment issues, ect.

- I feel that, DJ. You are getting your grown man on, moving out on your own. I'll give you time and space, I understand what that's like. Although I do recall moving into my apartment back in October with no furniture, sleeping on the floor with my first big concert two days later. But er'body ain't like me - I have to remind myself of that.

3rd: We can't use the studio because Hilsyde is recording and none of my equipment is set up at my spot

- Well let's get it together. At this point I am starting to feel as though I'm not a priority. I understand life circumstances, but I don't understand not trying.

4th: No, we can't set a date to meet this week cus we are recording someone for money and I don't know when it's going to be yet.

- This after I emailed him dates for the next two weeks that I am available to get some work done. At ths point, I am getting really peeved because all I've been hearing are excuses, excuses, excuses. I understand the paper chase and trying to make a living out of this music thing - but because I'm not paying, it seems that us working together isn't time well spent.

5th: Even if we record, I don't have time to mix.

- Fine, let's just start recording and I'll come up with the money to pay a mixer.

6th: We should just create to have more songs to choose from for the album.

- Well we don't have but one song completed. Why would I want to move forward when we haven't completed anything yet and I can't even get into the studio with you to create?

At this point, I am questioning his committment to this project. At one point he had 4 songs on the album, hands down. But with my other producers making themselves available and wanting to work, he's losing ground. More and more I am feeling like he thinks he's doing me a favor, instead of us being creative partners. As far as I am concerned actions speak louder than words.

Oh and to top if off, the icing on the cake:

- So you said your lawyer friend has a hook up at Def Jam, right? Do you think you could get some tracks to her for me?

HELL.TO.THE.NAW. - you can't come up with the time to work with me, but you have the nerve to ask for a favor to hook you up? Like the Roots said "it don't feel right."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What a waste of Talent...Next!

I originally saw this at while I was at work - but checked it out at finally when I had the chance. If you haven't done so already - please be prepared to waste about 4:00 minutes of your time. Please check it out though - RnB Beef....

is so whack. If I remember correctly, 112 pre-dates R.L and his crew and Jagged Edge hasn't dissappeared from the scene since they first came out.

This beef it seems is unprovoked and downright arbitrary and quite honestly, a waste of talent (although midly entertaining). G-G-G-G-Unit, STOP!!!

A couple of things:
1. Please don't diss male RnB singers singing to a female RnB track. Especially one that talks about catering to a man.
2. When it's been years since your last record and male RnB groups went outta style in let's say 01-02, not only are you late has hell, but you've made yourself look really dumb.
3. Why 112 and Jagged Edge? I guess with B2K no longer together or even Pretty Ricky gone missing, R.L. decided to diss someone his own age even though he's acting like his shoe size. At least go after someone who is comparable, R.L. - Jagged Edge and 112 have classic RnB albums - not just classic singles.
4. Please stop teabagging Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. You know what? From here on out - I'm gonna start calling him Daemien, cus whenever an act signs to him, you know that catastrophic things will start to happen. Case.And.Point.

*stepping off of my soapbox*

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quick and Dirty...

yall I am swamped at work today. I can't wait for the day that I'm no long a paper-pushing-cube-drone... *sigh*

1. Elle's New 'Doo - peep the last post right before this for pics.
- Seriously though I think this is the real Elle B. look. It's unique and sassy - just like I am.

2. Performed on Sunday for the 20th Celebration of Achievment for YBS. I signed my first autograph! It was soo cute!
- I made some contacts and possibly booked another gig in November

3. Auditioned for the Barbara Morrison Lemiert Park Idol competition. The judges were really impressed with my performance. The highlight was when one of the judges told me that I'd go far in this industry and that my performance from start to finish was that of a true artist. Yay!

I am just trying to get back into the studio with my regular producers to get more stuff on wax. And I have some leads for new producers and performance opportunities.

*be blessed*

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Coif of Glory!

Check out my new mane!

Something for the summer. I am gonna add highlights in a couple of weeks.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Shout outs to Blaque Barbie...

for adding 'Despite What They Say' to her Myspace page.

I know that my songs have been added somewhere because I have far more listens than page views...but it's good to know where they are coming from.

If you haven't already, check me out on myspace:

*bonne weekend*

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I really, really, really...

want this dress! Nicole Miller, $420 Silk Printed Gown.

*back to work*