Khari Cabral Simmons: “Soulbossa”
If you’re in the market for some breezy, tropical sounds for the summer, look no further than “Soulbossa” — the new EP from celebrated ATL musician/producer Khari Cabral Simmons. Music heads probably recognize him as the bassist who plays alongside India.Arie, but he’s garnered a reputation for crafting Brazilian-influenced soul sounds via his band Jiva, alongside singer Julie Dexter (on the album “Moon Bossa”) and as a solo artist (on albums like “Clementine Sun” and “Heaven and Earth”). With “Soulbossa,” Simmons continues his exploration into the sound — paying sonic homage to cats like Sergio Mendes, Quincy Jones and more.
Atlanta-based singer Tasha LaRae
If you catch a glimpse of — or take a listen to — singer Tasha LaRae, there’s a good chance you may recognize her as a member of the famed hip-hop crew Arrested Development or as a vocal contributor to noted producer DJ Kemit’s most recent album, “Together.” But it turns out those collaborations paved the way for a project of LaRae’s very own: her debut solo EP, “Light,” which dropped in March. On the new six-track collection of original material, the Atlanta-based Nebraska native (and the entrepreneur behind the “Racism Sucks” clothing line) presents lyrics that explore a range of human experiences, and music that’s dreamy and ethereal but still danceable. We recently sat down with LaRae to talk the science of going solo and to get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Light.”
Janelle Monáe: “Django Jane” + “Make Me Feel”
You probably don’t need us, the good folks at Slo*Mo, to tell you that Janelle Monáe released two new singles — the Prince-flavored “Django Jane” and “Make Me Feel,” a hook-less, boasty rap tune — in late February. But, hey, she’s one of Atlanta’s most celebrated music matriarchs (overseeing her Wondaland label/clique) and these new tracks take her into sexy, dangerous realms that she has yet to truly explore, so we had to drop a dime on ’em.
More info: www.jmonae.com.
When you’re an indie artist, getting your music into the hands of fans can be a helluva feat. Case in point — Kameron Corvet: The Atlanta-based singer/musician has been releasing acclaimed pop- and rock-tinged soul music since 2006, but without the backing of a label, he’s been forced to wear a multitude of hats — artist, publicist, A&R, etc. — making the task of dropping albums extra tough.
Despite the obstacles, Corvet has steadily cranked out new sounds on a regular basis … as evidenced by his newest EP, “Early Riser,” which hit the streets Dec. 1, 2017. The album is a continuation of the guitar-driven brand of music he’s become known for, and once again, he brought the project to life via the hard work of his-own-damn-self and that of his team. We recently checked in with Corvet to get a look at the challenges of making of his latest project — from a creative and a business POV.
Tasha LaRae: “Light”
Atlanta-based singer Tasha LaRae is known by many in music circles as an acclaimed collaborator: She’s a member of the legendary Arrested Development crew, recently provided vocals for DJ Kemit’s “Together” EP, etc. But in January, LaRae is stepping into the spotlight with the release of her new solo project, “Light.” She describes the six-track EP as a “blend of soul, house and R&B music with lyrics that echo real life situations of love, loss, and living the human experience” — but we see “Light” as a fitting showcase for a talent deserving way more shine. More info: tashalarae.com/light-project.
Photo: Dejah Greene. Model: Raven Best.
The year 2017 is gonna be a big one for Slo*Mo Media. Now, that’s not some flippant prediction or straight-up boast — it’s just a fact, based on some carefully considered strategy. In other words, we ain’t bullshittin’ you.
Looking forward to next year, although we can’t reveal all our plans, we can safely say that you’ll be seeing a lot more of us: in print, on the web and in the flesh. Keep your eyes and ears peeled to all the stuff we make (the zine, the Mo Audio podcast, the website, our social media content, etc.) to stay in the loop on all of the newness and expansions.
But before we go knee-deep into 2017, we thought it would only be right to look back at the year in music — specifically the soul music that came out of Atlanta this year.
Latrese Bush (Photo by Dre Barnes)
As the hazy days of summer officially begin, the question for music heads quickly becomes: What new tracks will I be rocking for the hot-ass months ahead? Slo*Mo can help with that. Just check our handy list below — it features nine of our favorite artists (who just happen to dwell in Atlanta) and info about their latest releases (singles, EP and full albums). So take a look at what the local soul scene is offering, and then snag these dope sounds for yourself.
In a world of “microwave music,” where some of the dopest sonic creations by artists are too often seen as disposable, soul singer Latrese Bush is taking a novel approach to getting her tunes into the ears and hands of her fans.
Fresh off the success of her hit duet with Noel Gourdin, “Because of You,” it would be standard practice for Bush to drop a full-length album or even an EP. Instead, the Atlanta-based vocalist is embarking on a yearlong journey that will see her releasing one new single on digital platforms every few months — and it starts with the mid-tempo, soon- to-be steppers classic “Love I Can Sing About,” which went on sale in early June.
She sees the single campaign, aptly titled “Singled Out,” as a way to give fans the chance to find her music and, ultimately, extend the life of her new sounds.
Beyond DJ Kemit’s long-awaited new project, a ton of other Atlanta-affiliated artists are gearing up to drop music in 2016. Look below, for 12-plus records you should be checking for:
Folks may recognize vocalist/musician Jermaine Hardsoul from his production work with artists like Eric Roberson, but now he’s finally taking the spotlight in a big way with “Lane” — his first full-length solo studio album. Taking a listen to “Lane” (available on all digital platforms January 22) you’d almost think it was a concept album — and that’s due to the 1980s/1990s-era R&B/soul influence that runs through almost every tune. The track “Oh Girl,” for example, channels the spirit of the Prince/Time Minneapolis sound, while songs like “The One Two” (featuring ATL expat singer Carmen Rodgers) is fueled by Chi-town stepper sounds. Look for this album to catapult Mr. Hardsoul deeper into the consciousness of music fans everywhere. More info: www.hardsoulsound.com.
Slo*Mo is dedicated to bringing you the best in music on the regular. Case in point, check out some dope cuts that are out right now from some of Atlanta’s best artists (and one out of towner):
Donnie — “The American Mythology”: At the tail end of 2015, Atlanta soul heavyweight Donnie released a fresh new album, “The American Mythology” — his first since 2007’s “The Daily News.” The project, however, marks a shift for the acclaimed vocalist; songs on the album were crafted more as ensemble pieces instead of vehicles for the singer’s solo expression. The end result is a sound that’s more akin to a Broadway musical’s soundtrack than a straight-up, radio-ready song … and, yo, that’s DOPE. At a time when the music industry needs an injection of creativity, “The American Mythology” is a courageous journey in a bold, new sonic direction. Honestly, it would be amazing if more independent artists did what Donnie has done here: Create a project that couldn’t be made if you were signed to a regular record label. So, let’s celebrate this truly artistic endeavor by snagging a copy or three. More info: www.iamdonnie.com.
Royal (Photo by Kaya Faery)
One of the hallmarks of any great summer is the summer jam. You know what I’m saying: I’m talking about that song (or songs) that drops in or around the hot weather months and is so funky/fresh that it becomes your de facto soundtrack … at least until it starts getting chilly. Well, it turns out that a handful of Atlanta-dwelling (and/or ATL-affiliated) soul artists have stepped up to the plate this year to provide the city, the nation and the whole damn world with some seasonally dope anthems. Here’s a look at a few of the folks behind some of our favorite music of the moment:
Royal: In the last issue of Slo*Mo, we covered the record release party for the hip-hop/rock duo Royal (which went down at Apache Café and was dope as fuck), but we’re back writing about the crew now that its self-titled EP is, as of July 7, in stores. Made up of singer/musician Devon Lee and DJ/MC Mikeflo, Royal channels heaping helpings of sexual energy and political commentary into this debut project — the result is a multilayered collection of songs custom made for unabashed rocking out and analytical dissection. Driven by the single “Crash,” which features drumming legend Lil’ John Roberts on the track and “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” stars Ariane Davis and Mimi Faust in the video, the EP represents a true colliding of worlds … and that’s just what Mikeflo and Lee were going for. “It’s all connected to the culture,” says Lee. “It’s liberation. You have to be inclusive of everybody if you’re gonna reach anybody.” More info: allthewayroyal.com.