New Artist Alert: Beldina

By Chris McPherson

After a light scan of the blogosphere, today I discovered Beldina. If you troll music blogs daily, you’ll find tons of up-and-coming artists trying to get their music heard. They’ll promote their twitter/facebook page, music on their “official” youtube, and maybe even an Instagram, but personally it takes something special for me to make that click and check an artist out. Beldina managed to do that.

What Can I Say Album Artwork

Beldina just released her new single What Can I Say. A quick google search shows the Swedish singer has been around for a little while: a few songs on Myspace here, a youtube video there, but this new single seems like the beginning of a hard debut for this girl. After a couple plays on repeat I have some mixed feelings toward the single.  By this I don’t mean on whether or not I like it. It’s definitely a solid song, and well-produced. The song uses a diverse array of genres which has me wondering what kind  is to be expected of Ms. Beldina in terms of future music, and dare i say a full length studio album.

The song felt like a mainstream atempt at pop/r&b infused with hip hop. Beldina manages to sing the majority of the song in a soft falsetto coated in a hip hop bass undertone, but somehow supported by some heavy piano keys worked in the middle. There also seems to be some interesting call-outs of a man shouting the title “What Can I Say” throughout the song that felt like a homage to old school 80s rap. All of these different musical elements make it difficult to pinpoint the direction she is headed. Will she use those strong vocals into a pop career like Rihanna, or will she remain in the shadows of R&B like Chrisette Michele. Don’t get me wrong, Michele is a great vocalist, but top 40 is something she’s shied away from. I would say she has the potential to get some radio play in the United States.

I will say it is about time that a African American musician rise from the ashes of the once-chart topping divas of music past. The Ciara’s, Ashanti’s and Keyshia Cole’s cry from the graves of their past success. Don’t get me wrong, those women are/were great in their own right, but they have definitly lost some steam along the way. It was beginning to seem like we were living in a world where only Beyonce and Rihanna could survive as pillars of black songtresses. I was compelled to name Kelly Rowland, but nah.

You can get your own opinion of Beldina at her twitter page @Beldina and her single What Can I Say is below.

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The Duff Days Aren’t Over

By Chris McPherson

Disney Channel has done it again. Last night they tugged on my faint memories of an old Disney Channel of the early 2000s. For the past couple of years, Disney Channel has been known to air classic Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOM) around 2 a.m. on weekends, and I was not ready for what they decided to show on Sunday night.

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Usually it’s just another old flick, like the Halloweentown or High School Musical, but Disney went way back and aired Cadet Kelly. How could you Disney Channel? It was way past my bedtime and I could not afford to stay up any later because of my 9 a.m. class. It took me about 15 minutes to find the courage to turn the TV off and get some shut eye.

The hardest part of choosing sleep over Cadet Kelly was missing the chance to take a glimpse into The Ghost of Hilary Duff Past, circa the Lizzie McGuire era. It seems like its been ages since I saw Duff on a Disney Channel screen, and I must say, I miss it.

This all all seems somewhat coincidental since Duff is currently working on a career comeback since giving birth to her first child early last year. If you haven’t been trolling the blogosphere for the up-to-date details on Duff’s next move, no worries, I can fill that void. She will soon guest star on the Fox comedy, Raising Hope. She also just signed a development deal with Fox to produce her own show. And let’s not forget Duff is a woman of many talents. She hasn’t dropped the microphone for good. Hil’s been in and out of the studio for the past year working on new music.

Duff is on her way to the top. She’s managed to do all this while maintaining a relatively private and drama free life, unlike her other teen bopper counterparts.

So Lizzie, Hilary, beloved wife and mother. Do your thing, girl. I’ll be waiting for what you have to offer. In the meantime, I’ll probably search the Internet tonight for an online version of Cadet Kelly.

Also, speaking of Cadet Kelly, has anyone seen or heard from Christy Carlson Romano lately? Apparently she was in the movie as well. But after the end of Even Stevens and Kim Possible, she seems to be kind of off the grid. Where has she been?

The Truth Sinks In, Toni Braxton

By Chris McPherson

For some time now, I’ve tried to act like it didn’t effect. Like I’ve never spent evenings laying on the my living floor listening to Spanish Guitar after popping the CD in the stereo system. Like I don’t want to sway across the room when Breathe Again comes on. Or that Braxton Family Values is not only a show, but a popular search term in my YouTube account. I’m going to miss music from Toni Braxton.

Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Yes, she recently announced that she won’t be releasing new music, and that she just doesn’t feel the same way about it anymore, but I just feel so cheated, and this feeling has just started to sink in. The songstress that was once making me high, is now making me sad. Toni was an icon for not only people around my mother’s age cough cough – old. But she was a gem of 90s R&B music. And it wasn’t until recently that I went back into the vault of her era that I understood how much of a star she was.

Of course those money issues she ran into a number of times were somewhat embarrassing, but she came back with a dance hit this summer, I Heart You, that went number one on US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard). The fact that she wrote and produced such a great song independently without much promotion truly convinced me that she was going to reemerge and let these young gals know she can still deliver. But no. She said bye bye.

This may be a delayed reaction, but I have noticed that it tends to take a while for me to truly understand the gravity of some celebrity news when they occur. In fact, it wasn’t until this past December that Whitney Houston’s death really started to hit me.

The only bright side from all of this is that she is still set to release her eight studio album, Chapter VIII: The Encore of a Gemstone, this year. But after that, she plans to retire from music.

Here’s her first song to reach Billboard number 1.

Demi Lovato All Grown Up with New Single

By Chris McPherson

Demi. Demi. Demi. Just a couple years ago, she was singing This Is Me on the Disney Channel screen, all while juggling releasing her first album and her own sitcom.

Photo Credit: Demi Lovato Album Artwork
Photo Credit: Demi Lovato Album Artwork

But in her new release of Heart Attack, Demi has truly shown the world that she has grown past the Disney umbrella. Although she is still with Disney owned, Hollywood Records, Demi conveys a certain level of maturity in this new single.

In my opinion, Demi’s vocal chops were always on point. I would say she’s one of the best vocalist to walk through the Mickey Mouse franchise, but she was often overshadowed by the glory of Miley Cyrus, or the wholesome (ex-bestie) Selena Gomez. I wasn’t thought Demi was a little underrated. And after leaving her Disney sitcom behind, I thought this would last forever.

But Heart Attack can truly be the beginning of a breakout album. Yes, Give Your Heart a Break and Skyscraper were chart toppers, but Heart Attack soared to number one on iTunes in hours. She’s coming back with a vengeance, as well as a little steam gained form her stint on The X Factor.

This could be the beginning of a good thing for Lovato, but lets see if she can capitalize on this success and make it last.

Click below to listen and make your own opinion.

New Frank, Same Ocean

By Chris McPherson

Well it’s safe to say that 2013 is the year of Frank. Hot off the tails of releasing a album in the top 10 on Billboard, and winning two Grammys, homeboy is on top of the world.

Courtesy of entertainxthis.wordpress.com
Courtesy of entertainxthis.wordpress.com

Although much of his media buzz stemmed from his coming out story, there is no question that Ocean has the talent to back it all up. Especially in his newly leaked track, Eyes like Sky.

Although this is a leak, it has not been confirmed when this song was recorded. If recorded recently, I would definitely think this is a glimpse into upcoming music to come for Ocean. The guitar strummed song is somewhat of a turn in direction for Ocean as an artist. A musician who has been universally praised for having such a unique musical style, I was a bit surprised at how main stream the song felt.

This could have easily been sung by Usher, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, or any other male pop/R&B vocalist. I always saw Ocean to be in his own world when it came to his music, but, we all have to make money some how, and radio- friendly music is the fastest way to the bank.

I for one am excited to hear more. I’m a shameless slave to pop and mainstream top 40 music, so sing on Frank, sing on.

American Idol’s Amber Holcomb dominates Sudden Death Week

By Chris McPherson

With week two of sudden deaths on American Idol underway, the top spot is officially open again. It seems like this season is slowly coming into it’s own. The focus has moved from the Nicki and Mariah feud and more about the actual contestants. And it seems like these two divas have decided to officially leave the drama behind.

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Image Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

I must say, it was refreshing to see Ryan Seacrest host the live shows again. His presence was missed this fall while I watched X Factor. Khloe Kardashian really wasn’t doing it for me.

The first round of sudden death-women, started off really slow last Wednesday. It was almost halfway through the show and nothing had captured my attention yet. I even stopped watching. After the first three lackluster performances, I started browsing the net on my laptop with the television playing in the background.

Then Amber Holcomb came out of nowhere and took my breath away with My Funny Valentine. Holcomb belted notes so effortlessly, I hopped out my bed to watch her even closer. And let’s not get started on her vocal runs. They were like hot oil slipping off a pan of sizzling bacon. Her performance was on fire, yet silky smooth as she sang with a smile. She was what I was waiting for and they saved the best for last.


Judges’ Comments: 

Keith: Nice breath control. It could have come off fashioned, but she made it timeless

Nicki: Legs for days pretty little dimples. A+++ Top of the class vocal

Randy: Made the most important [vocal] runs the best.
Mariah: Wanted to smack her (in a good way) Loved her interpretation

Overall, I’m loving the way the show is headed. I must say Mariah often seems nervous when it’s her turn to speak. And sometimes her comments tend to ramble on, but judging in front of a live audience could possibly be just as nerve racking for the judges as it is for the contestants.

Oh Hey, it’s Kanye

By Chris McPherson

Besides, eating half my weight in Alfredo pasta, and procrastinating my homework, the Kardashians filled a large void in my life on Sunday night. We are well into another season of the Armenian franchise’s Miami based tv spin off, and boy is it a whirlwind. But something has been missing this season.

KKM

Yes, they’ve covered the daily scripted drama and paper thin story lines that seem to resolve themselves in an hour, but this week, E! delivered a special surprise. Kanye West himself, best known as Kimmy K’s soon-to-be baby daddy, made a guest appearance on the reality TV show. Although I haven’t been counting, West hasn’t made too many appearances on his hubby’s hit series and I for one was wondering what was going on. Was he not a fan of the cameras? Was love on the rocks? The network even tried to fool us into thinking that him and Kim were having a deep heart to heart over the phone as she paced back and forth outside her hotel a couple episodes back. I wasn’t buying.

Last night, West enjoyed a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant with Kim, Kourtney and the funniest toddler on television, Mason. Could this be a sign we will be seeing Mr. West a little more? Who knows?