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So, I was sitting in my office this afternoon – had the place to myself, so I did what I often do when there is no one else in, which is have a little party!!! This entails me plugging in my iPod or clicking onto youtube and playing all my favourite tunes, as I dance and sing along, usually at the top of my voice!!!! Luckily we are the only office on the top floor, which means no one can be subjected to my voice! Although the security man did come in and ask if he could join my little shindig, having walked past and heard me, so I guess it can’t be that bad!

Anyway, I digress… So, I go onto Youtube  and searched for Please Don’t Go Girl, a song by my fave band New Kids On The Block, as ain’t no real party complete without a lil old school NKOTB – obviously. And to my surprise one of the first videos listed wasn’t the Boston five (New Kids) as expected, but a trio of young teenage boys called ToBeOne. Since the video had been posted just two days ago I assumed it was new, and it looked sort of professional so I knew it wasn’t some random guys doing a home video, so curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on it.

ToBeOneSo, apparently ToBeOne are Madison, Mikey and Jason are a new boy band from New Jersey US. The oldest is just 15 years old and they managed by Troy Carter (former manager of Lady GaGa), and they chose to cover (well the chorus any way) the New Kid’s classic hit Please Don’t Go Girl for their third single – nice. The jury is still out on the dance moves for me, even though these boys first came to public recognition after coming second on the sixth season of America’s Best Dance Crew. But as for the song, I quite like what they have done here, not as much as the original though! What do you think? Did they do a good job?

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Interviews like this make me remember why I fell in love with hip hop in the first place! For the most part, it is all about the emotion of it – music and lyrics – which many of today’s ‘emcees’ don’t seem to have grasped. I can still partner so many personal emotions and memories to certain hip hop songs from way back in the day,  in terms of how I felt when I first heard them or things that were going on in my life at the time the song was first released, which still holds so much power.

LL Cool J’s steely abs peeking out from that white Le Coq Sportif tracksuit in the I Need Love video might also have been an early contributing factor to my commitment to ride hard for this culture, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue for a whole ‘nother post! LOL!

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By now it’s old news that popular chat show host Jimmy Fallon has taken over The Tonight Show hosting job from Jay Leno! But no doubt viewers are still buzzing from the antics served up on his debut show, which aired last week featuring A-List actor Will Smith, as a guest, who as well as giving an interview joined Jimmy for a wholly entertaining ‘evolution of hip hop dance’ journey.

Jimmy more than held his own against the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as they performed dances such as The Humpty Dance, The Running Man, The Wop, Twerking and the ‘Carlton Dance’. Hilarious stuff!

 

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We spotted this interview, marking 25 years of the release Debbie Gibson’s second album Electric Youth over at Billboard.com:

On Jan. 24, 1989, Gibson released her sophomore album. It would spend five weeks atop the Billboard 200 and yield the Hot 100 No. 1 ‘Lost in Your Eyes.’ On the set’s 25th anniversary, Gibson reflects on its success and reveals what’s ahead in 2014

Cautiously exciting.

That’s it how it feels to listen to a highly-anticipated second album from an artist after you’ve been won over by a captivating debut.

Will it be as good? Will there be more hits? Will the overall sound have changed?

Can it even be better?

Twenty-five years ago today, fans of pop music’s then-teen queen Debbie Gibson pressed play on their boom boxes (or, CD players, if you believed that CDs were going to catch on …) and began getting to know “Electric Youth,” her follow-up to her smash first album, “Out of the Blue.”

Quickly, “cautiously” was surely removed from the experience.

Gibson had an impressive track record to follow. “Blue” yielded four Billboard Hot 100 top 10s in 1987-88: the No. 4-peaking hits “Only in My Dreams” and “Shake Your Love,” the No. 3 title cut and her first No. 1, ballad “Foolish Beat.” The album peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in a hefty 89-week run and was certified triple-Platinum by the RIAA.

“Electric Youth” measured up.

The set’s first single, piano ballad “Lost in Your Eyes,” soared to a three-week Hot 100 reign, while the album ruled the Billboard 200 for five frames. (In the ’80s, only four other albums by solo women posted commands as long or longer, two each by Whitney Houston and Madonna.)

The “Electric Youth” title cut (No. 11) and ballad “No More Rhyme” (No. 17) both hit the Hot 100′s top 20, with Gibson listing fourth single “We Could Be Together” among her five favorite songs of hers (when pestered last year by a certain zealous fan to rank her releases in order of preference).

On the milestone 25th anniversary of the release of the double-Platinum-certified “Electric Youth,” Gibson muses on many facets of the album, along with plans for upcoming projects, all with an energy that aptly mirrors the set’s lasting effervescence.

Billboard: Debbie, congratulations on the anniversary! It’s said that an artist has his or her whole life to make a first album, but a limited window to make the all-important follow-up. Did you feel that pressure when making “Electric Youth”? Perhaps not so much, since some songs I know were written, and performed live, years earlier? Plus, you could draw on the experience of having made “Blue.”

Gibson: I love this question and it definitely applied, but not to my first two albums, because, in a way, I feel like they were my debut combined. I had presented Atlantic Records with more than a hundred songs before they signed me, just to release “Only in My Dreams” as a 12-inch single, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, since I was a teenager who wrote.

So, even though some of the songs [on "Youth"] were written after “Out of the Blue” came out, many were actually from that first batch of songs I wrote between the ages of 12 and 16.

Also, the beauty of recording as a teenager is that you don’t really know pressure yet. I had no bills to pay and I lived with my parents, so it was all really a glorified hobby to me. Pressure just did not enter into the equation.

I later did feel the pressure to release albums and had not accumulated songs from true-life experiences, which is why a lot of the material, I think, became mediocre.

I’m thrilled to say I have now taken real-life moments to accumulate my next batch of songs for an upcoming record. I feel like it’s “Out of the Blue” and “Electric Youth” all over again, because I am in a true channeling mode that can only come from giving yourself the luxury of time and living, as opposed to trying to create, or recreate, something.

 

How do you compare “Out of the Blue” and “Electric Youth”? To me, the latter presented a more mature artist (yes, even at 18), with songs like the flute-driven “Silence Speaks (A Thousand Words)” and “No More Rhyme” more adult-leaning, lyrically and musically, than much of “Blue.”

It’s funny to think a maturation process happens between the ages of 16 and 18, but I think, yes, those songs do represent a more poetic/less teenage point-of-view.

And, now thinking about it, I had traveled the world in the time between “Out of the Blue” and “Electric Youth” and went from rags to riches, so to speak, all of which will grow you up real quick.

How did “Lost in Your Eyes” come to be the first single from “Electric Youth”?

I had started performing that song on the road on the “Out of the Blue” tour. From the opening two bars of the piano intro, it elicited screams from audiences. It had yet to be recorded or played on the radio, but it was already a hit. That’s not ego talking. It’s just true of any artist and any song that has that feeling of being familiar, yet new. My acting teacher, Howard Fine, said that phrase to me in relation to what is a hit, be it a hit piece of theater or a hit song.

It’s so true. It’s like an old friend. You predict that the melody is going to go in a satisfying way.

Was there any trepidation, either from you or the label, about releasing a ballad first, with pop radio historically tempo-driven? Obviously, the success of “Foolish Beat” provided key evidence that you know your way around a ballad.

I don’t remember exact conversations, but it was no contest. And, at that point, I instinctually knew what would work next for me in my career. I had also witnessed firsthand audience response to the song on the “Out of the Blue” tour.

Obviously, dance songs can stand the test of time, but nothing penetrates and spans all age groups, all ethnicities or all genders like a ballad. One of my favorite things, to this day, is that many people come up to me and tell me that they learned how to play the piano from that song and from that sheet music, which is such an honor to me.

I curse my younger self, though, every time I go to belt the high D at the end live. (Laughs)

Source: www.billboard.com Also, read part 2 of the interview here.

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So, I came across a new reality show last week that filled me with glee – I do love a good reality TV show for those who don’t know!

But even better this time, is the fact that this particular show is centred around one of the best female r&b groups of the 90s, hell of all time, Sisters With Voices: SWV! The New York-bred trio of Cheryl ‘Coko’ Clemons (nee Gamble), Tamara ‘Taj’ Johnson-George and Leanne ‘LeLee’ Lyons (nee Johnson) had a barrel-load of huge hits back in the day, including Right Here, I’m So Into You, Anything and of course every girl’s favourite Weak… Sing it now ladies: ‘I tried hard to fight it….’ That bridge was too dope!!!!

The show, as it says in the title is about the girl’s getting back together after nearly 15 years and attempting to get themselves back to the top of the charts once again. One of the best things about a show such as this, is there is always room to dish the dirt on all that went on back in the day, namely why the group broke up all those years ago. On top of that the show sheds some light on past and current dynamics within the group and for the first time we really get to see their personalities – and let me say LeeLee is something else! In a good way – sorta!  It also touches on their family lives and of course all the drama trying to get themselves up and popping after all these years!

Episode 1 kicks off as the girls prepare for a comeback show, all the way over in my hometown of London, and even more closer to home Wembley Arena – a show I actually attended back in March, 2013, which also featured the likes of Blackstreet, Dru Hill, Changing Faces and (cough, cough Jodeci), while subsequent episodes loos deeper into the girl’s relationships with each other past and present – and of course this means plenty of drama!!

Get into the first six episodes here!

On a side note: I have to say Coko was and still is one of the best r&b voices I’ve ever heard, her and Brandy really do it for me, in terms of the textures and the range, and it is good to see that unlike some other long-time singers, her voices doesn’t seem to have changed or deterred over the years.

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Tiffany1Who remembers this song? If you grew up in the 80s, the chances are you danced to this at your school disco, dance or prom, or you actually went out to Woolworths, Our Price (remember that???) or Sam Goodys (for my American peeps) to purchase it. California-born teenager (she was 15) and redhead Tiffany Darswich released this now classic pop track on label MCA back in 1987. The song stormed to the top of the charts in the UK, US, and many other countries, with its catchy chorus and synthesised drum production.

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I watched this Unsung episode on Heavy D and the Boyz the other night. I really like this doc series as it covers interesting acts, not usually the focus of music documentaries. Also, I like the way that this shines a light on the contributions and stories of the other members of the group, in particular Eddie F, who is an extremely accomplished and respected producer.

The loss of Heavy D is still one strongly felt in the music industry, and seemed like a genuinely nice guy.

R.I.P to the ‘overweight lover’, and to one of the ‘boyz’, Trouble T.Roy (Troy Dixon), who died at age 22 after a tragic fall back in July, 1990.

 

 

My favourite Heavy D and the Boyz tune is Got Me Waiting. I remember rinsing this in the hi-fi system back during my college days in 1994!

 

Now That we Found Love – Heavy D and the Boyz (1991)

 

They Reminisce Over You (Tribute to Trouble T.Roy) – Pete Rock and CL Smooth (1990)

 

 

 

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80s heartthrobs Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan reunited on stage this Friday to perform their classic old school hit Especially For You, which was a dream come true for thousands of nostalgic fans who had gathered at London’s 02 Arena to watch them and other acts from Stock Aitken and Waterman’s Hit Factory, for a night titled Hit Factory Live – Christmas Cracker.

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I haven’t really gotten into this whole Psy phenomenon – you know the Korean dude who has received 760 million views on Youtube, after just a few months, for his unique dance video Gangnam Style, making it the most viewed video in Youtube history???? But that all changed after seeing his American Music Awards performance with 90s rap superstar MC Hammer at the weekend! The two got together to perform a mash-up of Gangnam Style and Hammer’s 1991 hit 2 Legit 2 Quit! Hammer was on top form as he revived some of his old moves, as well as taking on Psy’s signature dance, almost like he was thinking: ‘The world is watching so here’s my chance to shine again!” LOL! But there’s no denying, he’s still got it! And seeing both men sporting Parachute Pants (or as we called them in the UK Aladdin pants) for the show, which Hammer made famous in the 90s, topped things off! This is a must see!

I was a Hammer fan back in the day, one of my proudest moments is when he started following me on Twitter! LOL! Do you think Hammer can make an official comeback, would you buy his new music???

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Paula Abdul made many 80s and 90s babies dreams come true recently when she resurrected her animated partner in crime MC Skat Kat (from her global 1989 hit single Opposites Attract), for a recent performance on US TV show Dancing With The Stars!

The performance featured a medley of some of the former American Idol and X-Factor judge’s biggest hits from back in the day, including Straight Up, Forever Your Girl, Cold Hearted and of course Opposites Attract, all from her multi-platinum-selling 1988 album Forever Your Girl.

‘This was a concept I had wanted to do for years,’ she said as she introduced the performance in a pre-recorded VT, when it aired on Tuesday (November 20th, 2012) night. ‘I call it the dream medley because anything can happen in a dream, and this is Paula’s dream so anything does happen.’  Check out the performance below!

 

Original Opposites Attract video!

 

With MC Hammer and Paula both in the headlines this week for making brief comebacks, which other old school stars would you like to see back on the scene???

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