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    New Music: Raheem Devaughn – “Queen”

    September 17th, 2014
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    Entertainment One Music (eOne Music), in partnership with 368 Music Group, is proud to announce the recent signing of three-time Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Raheem Devaughn to its growing roster of artists. “Queen,” the uptempo single which joyously celebrates women, was released today, and is the first single from DeVaughn’s highly-anticipated, forthcoming album, Love, Sex, and Passion, slated for release in February 2015.

    Alan Grunblatt, President of eOne Music, says, “Raheem DeVaughn is one of the greatest R&B stylists of our generation. We are thrilled to have him join the eOne roster.”

    Raheem DeVaughn’s first three albums were released on Jive Records, beginning with
    his debut album The Love Experience in 2005. This was followed by his successful
    sophomore album Love Behind the Melody (2008), which debuted at #1 on the Top
    R&B/HipHop Albums chart and #5 on the Billboard Top 200. For this album, DeVaughn
    received a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Male Vocal Performance for “Woman” and a
    2009 Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song for “Customer.” In 2011, Raheem received a
    GRAMMY Award Nomination for Best R&B Album of The Year for 2010’s The Love & War
    Masterpeace. This critically-acclaimed third album also debuted #1 on Billboard’s
    R&B Charts and #9 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart. In 2013, Raheem released his 4th
    studio album and first indendent release, A Place Called Loveland, through an
    independent venture with Mass Appeal Entertainment. Raheem is also the host of his
    own popular and simply titled internet radio show The Raheem DeVaughn Show. In
    addition,

    Raheem recently launched his philanthropic foundation, LoveLife Foundation, which
    seeks to support initiatives for HIV/AIDS, education, youth, mental illness, cancer,
    autism, domestic violence, music education, and community activism. The LoveLife
    Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization.

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    UB Interview: JOE Talks “Bridges,” R&B, Brandy & More

    September 12th, 2014
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    Bridges” is the eleventh studio album by Grammy nominated singer-songwriter JOEand it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart.

    Described as a therapeutic retrospect, “Bridges” takes a look into the multi-talented singer, songwriter-producer‘s outlook on life’s relationship endeavors and where they have taken him. Derek “DOA” Allen, Edrick Miles, Gerald Isaac and Taj Jackson are among the producers and songwriters. Album collaborations include Kelly Rowland and 50 Cent.

    JOE recently spoke to Tishelle of UrbanBridgez.com about his new release “Bridges,” his thoughts on R&B today, his favorite songs he’s recorded, Brandy‘s tone and much more!

    ——————–

    UrbanBridgez.com: With this being your 11th album, how has JOE the artist & songwriter evolved since the first album?
    JOE: You know what it is it’s funny, I’m kind of going back a little bit. I touched on Hip-Hop for awhile, me and my hood friends. We did a lot of nice records for people like Mystikal and G-Unit. That was really nice in the 90’s and plus I had some big records like All The Things Your Man Won’t Do and I Wanna Know. So really it’s just trying to go back and get that again. To create that magic in music again. I went a little bit old school with the sound of it. I want to incorporate more live instrumentation’s into what R&B is. Hopefully that will inspire some kids to want to pick up an instrument and learn how to play as well as sing and dance and things they love to do. So that’s the evolution, to actually go back a little.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What made you follow-up your last release so quickly?
    JOE: I had to keep moving, because I had just went through a business situation and got a new partner. So that was a major change for me and a lot of the things that I did on the last album was still locked down with that business deal I did, before I did this one. But I wanted to keep the momentum going with Love & Sex and I didn’t want to lose anything. But I had to switch up the music a little bit, the lyrics were fine because they’re mine. So I had to switch everything up and grab Kelly Rowland for the next album. I just had to keep going, I couldn’t just stop or I felt I would lose a lot of momentum. So I just had to put out another record right away.

    UrbanBridgez.com: The new album has a lot of feel good music with an old school vibe to it, was that the direction you set out to go with this album or did it just end up that way?
    JOE: Yes it was definitely an old school direction I wanted to go with. Like with my last album the title was Doubleback: Evolution of R&B and one of the things I said the most about that album was I had to go back and grab something from the old school. Like from the Stevie Wonders, Michael Jackson’s, Marvin Gaye’s, etc. Because they made music you can actually feel. So I’m trying to recreate some of that magic to introduce to a new audience not necessary my audience. Just so they can feel R&B a little bit to know where this thing really started from & this is what it sounded and felt like back then.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What one song on Bridges that you feel is one that should be heard by every JOE fan that will immediately make them run out & get the album?
    JOE: Let’s see…that’s a real good question. As a body of work, I feel like once they get that they’ll understand a lot more who the artist JOE is. But I think the one song is a song called “If You Lose Her,” my next single. It’s a real story teller, it’s a real heart-felt song. The video really enhances with telling that story. (watch below)

    UrbanBridgez.com: You have all live musicians on the new album, is that a hard thing to accomplish or easier than recorded production?
    JOE: It’s pretty easy, it’s a lot of guys stepping their game up. A lot of musicians, girls and guys are coming to the table with some good really good talent. I’m actually fortunate to be in the position where they actually want to work with me. That’s the blessing I have, once people know you’re serious about this music and want to make the best quality music, they want to work with you. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed, specially working on this last album working with this young producer who’s getting a lot of props DOA. He produced the entire album and is just a phenomenal producer. An exceptional guy when it comes to music, he just knows how to put it together. With me writing and creating melodies and doing my silky thing. I think it’s a musical marriage that’s going to continue for a long time, because we’re just going to continue to create.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Of course we at UrbanBridgez love the album title, what made you pick Bridges?
    JOE: It’s kind of funny because I don’t believe in burning bridges, but I had to step out of a situation last year and I looked at it as moving forward. This is exactly what relationships are, they’re bridges. You build a bridge and you want to build the best bridge possible. I talk about relationships a lot and it’s just a metaphor for relationships with this album.

    UrbanBridgez.com: This is a true to R&B album indeed, what are your thoughts on R&B music overall right now?
    JOE: It’s going more Hip-Hop than it use to be. That’s just not in the sound of it, it’s the swag of the R&B industry. Specially with the young artists that are out now. I think it’s so important not to lose the essence of what it really is. The soul, the passion, the love, if you’re a group the blending and harmonizing together. That’s a lost art in itself. So understanding what R&B is and what the soul of R&B is, I think that’s what’s missing a little bit. I do see potential in artists that will have longevity. We have young Chris Brown who reminds me of Michael Jackson, he has strong potential to be around for quite some time. Trey Songz is like a little young Marvin Gaye, so to speak. So you have the artists that have their thing going a little bit. Also Miguel, who’s like a little young Prince. So they remind me of some of that essence of what that R&B was. As long as they keep in mind to continue to build, expand and grow and be who you are and be better.

    UrbanBridgez.com: You and Kelly Rowland mesh very well together, how did that collaboration come about?
    JOE: What a wonderful girl and beautiful spirit. I’ve been knowing Destiny’s Child for some time now. Kelly and I are big fans of each other’s and this song just happen to be just perfect. It was just the perfect JOE: opportunity for us to get down and she so graciously agreed to do it. She’s a humble spirit, so it’s so easy to work with her. Just a genuine person to be around, so it was fun. I knew her voice would match up perfectly to it. As well as her energy when it came to the video.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Us Brandy fans really want you guys to collaborate again, this time with an actual duet. Have you two discussed possibly working together again?
    JOE: You know that girl is amazing. I always talk about Brandy, for some reason I just can’t seem to get a song with her. I’ll tell you, when we do it’s going to be magic. She has one of the most beautiful tones. I’m going to put her on the top of the list as one of the most beautiful tones out of all of the female singers in the game right now. The girls voice is ridiculous. I would love to do another record with her. I’m doing another record after this called Date Night, she will be one of the first artists that I’m going to call.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Out of your catalog, name 3 of your favorite songs you’ve ever recorded and why?
    JOE: I Wanna Know, because it was one of them songs that was so simple, I didn’t think it was going to be that big. Stutter, that one kind of came out of nowhere. It was me always wanting an up-tempo top 10 record. I never wanted to be an artist that just sang a ballad at the concerts. So I wanted people to be familiar with my up-tempo records as well. So Stutter gave me that. And I’ll have to say No One Else Comes Close, is a song I made for the Backstreet Boys that I also recorded myself. That no matter what, it’s one of them classics that I can always do on a guitar at any occasion and it’s a nice crowd pleaser.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Share with us one of the first artists that you were a fan of and how they inspired you?
    JOE: I’ll say Bobby Brown when he became a solo artist and his Don’t Be Cruel album was a big inspiration. He was young, a dancer and he appealed to teenagers like myself. I was into that whole entertainment thing back in the day performing. I did a lot of shows back in the day, I had a lot of bands and I use to do a lot of cover songs. Of course some Bobby Brown, he was one of the hottest guys out at the time. So yeah, he was one of the guys who really inspired me to be an artist. Singing was Stevie Wonder and a lot of the gospel singers, but as far as a performer…of course Michael Jackson but Bobby Brown was the guy at the time.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Anything else you want to share with fans before we wrap-up?
    JOE: I’m excited about the album and want to thank everybody for the support. Those that do have it, those that don’t make sure you go get a copy. I know you’re going to love it. I got a song on there with 50 Cent for those street heads, it’s called Mary Jane. I also did Big Rich Town with him which is the theme song for his show on Starz called Power.

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    UB Review: ABC’s “black-ish” Starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson & Laurence Fisburne

    September 10th, 2014
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    UrbanBridgez.com was in attendance at the private screening of the new ABC sitcom “black-ish” recently. Continue reading to find out why this new show is “must see TV” and definitely worthy of watching live or setting your DVR for.

    black-ish” is a new ABC sitcom featuring our favorite girlfriend Tracee Ellis Ross who plays Rainbow, Anthony Anderson who plays Dr. Johnson and Laurence Fishburne who plays Dr. Johnson‘s father. Andre ‘Dr’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a colonial home in the suburbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family? With a little help from his Dad (Laurence Fisburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future.

    During the private screening, Tracee Ellis Ross explained that she doesn’t want the viewers to get too caught up into the shows title. “The show is simply about a black family that goes through ish” says Tracee. “Of course we poke fun at racial topics but that’s the point of the show simply because it’s a comedy. We are here to make you laugh.” While laughing is an understatement (prepare for your stomach to hurt from non stop laughter), there are also many lessons that are taught throughout the show and its’ definitely a great show for the entire family to sit down and watch.

    It’s amazing to see a new black show with black lead characters on network television. What’s even better is to see that the ABC network truly believes in this program from their relentless marketing campaigns and also placing “black-ish” behind It’s lead-show, Modern Family. As long as people tune in and watch, it’s a win-win situation for the entire “black-ish” cast and ABC. They definitely deliver the goods, now it’s time for you to support them.

    JDot. (UrbanBridgez.com)

    “black-ish” airs Wednesday, September 24th at 9:30|8:30c.

    ————

    About “black-ish”

    ABC’s new family comedy, “black-ish,” takes a fun yet bold look at one man’s determination to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family. The series stars Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and special guest star Laurence Fishburne.

    Like any parents, Andre “Dre” (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) Johnson want to give their children the best. But their offspring’s childhood is turning out to be much different than theirs. They now realize at least two things: there is a price to pay for giving their children more than what they ever had, and these loving parents are totally unprepared for the fallout.

    Dre considers himself the family patriarch and when he looks at his life – he sees a beautiful wife and four kids living happily in their colonial home in the ‘burbs. But when he looks a little closer — have the trappings of success brought too much assimilation for this black family? The world he sees has a much different lens than the one he would like his family to look through.

    He may disagree with some of the liberal viewpoints of his bi-racial wife, Rainbow, an anesthesiologist. But they are in agreement that they want to successfully raise their family in a better situation than what they had. Much to her husband’s wonderment, she believes their children can exist in a colorless society. She takes pride in that her husband will break down barriers by becoming the first black senior VP of his ad firm. She is also looking forward to the salary increase that will follow.

    Dre’s father, affectionately referred to as “Pops” (Laurence Fishburne), has an affinity for velour tracksuits and going to the racetrack. He can be quite the curmudgeon and takes every opportunity to offer his opinion on family issues. But when Pops offers his usually curt and spot-on old school wisdom, it is difficult to disagree with him.

    Dre’s son Andre Jr. asks to be called “Andy,” and then announces that like his schoolmates, he wants a bar mitzvah for his 13th birthday — and their family isn’t Jewish. When the boy says he wants to play for his school’s field hockey team instead of basketball, Dre has to wonder: would he rather Andre play basketball because it is a black-ish sport? Or could it be Dre wants his namesake to like the sport he prefers?

    Zoey, 15, has everything going for her. She’s pretty, popular and super smart. However, she is dripping in privilege and unearned entitlement. Zoey’s idea of success is rooted in material things, rather than hard work. The definition of accomplishment for Zoey? To have 100,000 Instagram followers.

    Rounding out the family are six-year-old twins, Diane and Jack. Diane is gifted and talented. She thinks she has all the answers but has yet to develop a filter to put them through. Although she is one minute older than Jack, she likes to think she is smarter than her twin brother by ten thousand minutes. Young Jack is more of the sensitive type and idolizes his dad. He is quick to give his father a compliment, even if it does come out a little awkward.

    Dre is sincere about honoring his family’s past, while also embracing its future. As he defines what the American dream means to his family in a multi-cultural world, one idea keeps surfacing. It appears that in this melting pot called America, we are all a little um, black-ish.

    “black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson and special guest star, Laurence Fishburne.

    “black-ish” was created by Kenya Barris and is executive-produced by Barris, Larry Wilmore, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland and E. Brian Dobbins. The series is produced by ABC Studios.

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    UB First Look: Traci Braxton’s “Crash and Burn” Tracklisting & Cover Revealed

    September 8th, 2014
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    Traci Braxton, R&B singer and cast member of WE tv’s hit series’Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars and Braxton Family Values, has signed a Universal deal with Entertainment One Music (eOne Music) to release her debut album “Crash & Burn” on October 14th. UrbanBridgez.com has your First Look at the official tracklisting below.

    The first single, the lovely ballad titled “Last Call” is the first song to be released from “Crash & Burn.” Peep the video below.

    “I am so happy to have finally branched off on my own with my singing career. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long,” says Traci. “I’m excited that the world will see my true gifts are heaven sent and I am ready to face the world. Dreams do come true if you believe anything is possible. ‘Crash and Burn,’ my first solo album. Yeeesss Hhhonneyyyy!!!”

    Traci is the third child in the talented Braxton family, which also includes sisters Toni, Tamar, Towanda, and Trina. In addition to being a talented writer and singer, Traci contributed much of her adult life to social work for children with disabilities. She also studied classical ballet, percussion, vocal music and acting as a child, and continues to do so in her professional adult life.

    Traci has a new found excitement for living healthy, motorcycle riding and being a motivational speaker to charities/non-profit organizations for females around the world that are facing societal challenges such as bullying, life skills and the importance of education. More recently, Traci is championing the cause of awareness by supporting organizations like The Race for the Cure of Cancer, The American Diabetes Association and The St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

    UB First Look: Offcial Tracklisting (subject to change)
    Last Call
    Stay Sippin’ feat. Raheem DaVaughn
    Crash and Burn
    Reasons
    Goodbye
    Holding On
    What About Love
    Passion
    Need It In My Life
    Perfect Time

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    Usher Announces “The UR Experience Tour” w/ August Alsina & DJ Cassidy

    September 2nd, 2014
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    Hot on the heels of a blockbuster performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards and the release of his new single/video “She Came To Give It To You,” global megastar USHER announced today he will tour North America this fall, bringing The UR Experience to fans in 27 cities.

    Packed with an impressive repertoire of smash hits spanning his 20-year career, the critically-acclaimed showman will give his fans a unique experience that only the multi-talented Usher can deliver. His show will include a fresh take on early and recent songs as well as new music from his anticipated forthcoming eighth studio album.

    “With The UR Experience, I want to give my fans an ever-changing live show full of surprises and special guests,” says Usher. “I am really excited to be with my fans and give them an Usher experience like they’ve never seen or heard before.”

    The UR Experience is produced by Live Nation Global Touring.

    The UR Experience will kick off in Montreal, Quebec, on Nov. 1 at the Bell Centre and continue through New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Vancouver and more! Special guests on the tour include AUGUST ALSINA and DJ CASSIDY. Select market on-sales begin Monday, Sept. 8, 10:00 a.m. American Express® Card Members will have an opportunity to purchase tickets before the general public.

    A full list of cities, venues and public on-sale dates is listed below.
    For the latest tour information please visit www.usherworld.com or www.livenation.com.

    Tour Dates!
    November

    1 – Bell Centre, Montreal
    2 – Air Canada Centre, Toronto
    4 – The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit
    5 – Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
    7 – Madison Square Garden, New York
    10 – Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
    11 – Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
    13 – TD Garden, Boston
    14 -Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Conn.
    15 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City
    17 – United Center, Chicago
    18 – Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
    21 – Staples Center, Los Angeles
    22 – MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
    24 – SAP Center at San Jose
    26 – Key Arena. Seattle
    27 – Rogers Arena, Vancouver, B.C.
    30 – Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    December

    2 – 1STBANK Center, Broomfield, Colo.
    4 – American Airlines Center, Dallas
    5 – Toyota Center, Houston
    6 – Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
    8 – FedExForum, Memphis
    9 – Philips Arena, Atlanta
    12 – Amway Center, Orlando
    13 – American Airlines Arena, Miami
    14 – Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa

    Tickets go on sale Sept. 8.

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    “Motown Christmas” New India.Arie, Ne-Yo, Tye Tribbett & More – Available September 30th

    September 1st, 2014
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    One of the most anticipated holiday albums of the year, Motown Christmas is shaping to be an epic release. Full with unique collaborations, artists from Capitol Records, Motown Gospel, and Motown Records join forces on classic holiday tunes such as “Go Tell It On The Mountain”, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “Silent Night” and more. UrbanBridgez.com has your First Look at the full official tracklisting below.

    Produced by multiple award-winning producer Aaron Lindsey, Motown Christmas features performances by India.Arie, Ne-Yo, Gregory Porter, Tasha Cobbs, Smokie Norful, Tye Tribbett and others. It is the first collection of new Christmas recordings from Motown in 46 years. This is sure to be a memorable album that will endure the test of time and have something for everyone.

    First Look: Official Tracklisting (subject to change)
    1. It’s Christmas Time – Smokey Robinson and Kevin Ross
    2. This Christmas – Brian Courtney Wilson and Gene Moore, Jr.
    3. Go Tell It on the Mountain / Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Gregory Porter and Anita Wilson
    4. Angels We Have Heard On High/Glory In The Highest – Kierra Sheard and Chrisette Michele
    5. Little Drummer Boy – Tye Tribbett
    6. The Christmas Song – Ne-Yo and Tasha Cobbs
    7. Christmas Overture (Carol of the Bells/My Favorite Things) – the Aaron Lindsey Orchestra
    8. Joy to the World – Micah Stampley and Sheri Jones-Moffett
    9. Bethlehem – Kem and Janice Gaines
    10. O Come All Ye Faithful – Tasha Cobbs
    11. Silent Night – VaShawn Mitchell
    12. Mary Did You Know – India.Arie and Gene Moore, Jr.
    13. Mary’s Revelation Interlude
    14. O Holy Night – Smokie Norful
    15. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

    Available September 30th!
    * Stay Tuned UB Will Be Giving Copies Away Soon *

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    New Video: Lil Wayne Goes “Krazy” In New Visual from “Tha Carter V”

    August 29th, 2014
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    Lil Wayne has released the visual to his new single “Krazy.” Produced by Infamous, the video is directed by Colin Tilley and was shot in Los Angeles. “Krazy” will be included on Lil Wayne’s forthcoming “Tha Carter V,” which will be released at the end of the fourth quarter this year.

    The video was inspired by the 1975 film “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” Mack Maine and Shanell both make appearances in the clip.


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    UB Interview: Steven Russell Harts Talks The return of TROOP, TVOne’s Unsung, “The Wedding Singer” & More

    August 27th, 2014
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    It’s the official return of the platinum selling quartet, TROOP, they’ve released their long awaited single, “Not In A Million Years.”

    This follows the incredibly warm reception to their performance on the 2014 BET Awards which have a reported viewing of 7.9 million.

    Already established as artist before their time, Troop members Steven Russell Harts, Jon Jon Harreld, Reggie Warren and Rodney Bedford propels music to the next level with state-of-the-art sound that stems from an unteachable talent that each member innately possess.

    Not In A Million Years” is the perfect return song for the group to remind all of their unmatched talent.

    Not In A Million Years” was produced by Grammy award winning producers, The Underdogs and Steven Russell Harts. The team has once again produced a guaranteed hit. Known for delivering remarkable hits for artists such as Lionel Richie, Tyrese, Joe, Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Ruben Studdard and a host of others, The Underdogs and Steven have officially raised the bar with their unmatched production on this project. “Not In A Million Years” was written by Steven Russell Harts, Harvey Mason Jr. and James Fauntleroy, a dynamic trio that has a notable track record for writing award winning lyrics.

    Not In A Million Years” is the first nationally released single Troop has released in 15 years. Their ability to remain musically essential comes from the non- stop melodic work behind the scenes by group members. Steven Russell Harts and Jon Jon Harreld both have successfully ventured out on solo careers. Steven has written and produced countless hits such as “No Air” for Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown which earned him an ASCAP Pop Music Award as well as a Grammy nomination. Steven also wrote the ASCAP Music Award winning and Grammy nominated single “Take You Down” for Chris Brown, and he won a Grammy for writing Jennifer Hudson’s “Invisible,” just to name a few of his accomplishments. Reggie and Rodney have shared their unfaltering vocals on background music. Although we have all been fortunate to enjoy some of the behind the scenes work that has been shared with us, it is time for Troop to return to the forefront and show the world energetic, heartfelt performances still exist.

    Troop can be seen TONIGHT on TVOne‘s episode of “UnSung.” Viewers will have an opportunity to learn more about the group that so many fans continue to adore and why admirers remain loyal to this group.

    Steven Russell Harts spoke to Aries of UrbanBridgez.com recently about The return of TROOP, his new album “The Wedding Singer,” TVOne’s Unsung, How him and Brandy ended up with the same song on their albums, The record industry in 2014 and much more!

    —————————————

    UrbanBridgez.com: First off I have to say that I am beyond excited about TROOP’s Unsung! Congrats, it’s very well deserved!
    Steven Russell Harts: Thank you. Woo Hoo (laughs).

    UrbanBridgez.com: How did it come about that you guys would be featured on Unsung?
    Steven Russell Harts: A friend of mine who was a producer put in a good word for us. A lot of people were beating them up about doing one on TROOP, but in the end it was an inside friend of mine. My buddy Mike, he introduced us to all of the bosses over there and stuff and that’s how it went down.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Without telling too much, what are TROOP fans like myself going to get out of this Unsung?
    Steven Russell Harts: Nobody knows anything about TROOP. Besides the hits that we had and the videos. This is actually going to be the first ever look inside of such a dynamic situation, that came and went so fast. You’re going to get to hear everybody’s perception of what went on. It’s going to be really good, I’m excited.

    UrbanBridgez.com: The first album came out in 1988, how did you guys first get signed to Atlantic?
    Steven Russell Harts: We’re all from Pasadena, California and once we put the group together we went on a show called Puttin’ On The Hitz. We performed New Edition and that’s how the group got discovered. So once we put all of the members together, we signed with a production company that introduced us to Atlantic and that’s how we auditioned for them and got signed in 1986.

    UrbanBridgez.com: You guys just dropped “Not In A Million Years” from the upcoming project. You guys haven’t lost a beat, what can we expect from this new project as far as the direction of TROOP 2014?
    Steven Russell Harts: We just want to come fresh. We’re going to come with the great love songs, the great traditional R&B good sounding records, but we’re also going to be on that…in the club bangin. We dance anyway, so we will have those tracks as well. We’re going to do what we do and remain who we are and still be fresh. It’s a new TROOP, we’re not bringing the past back, know what I mean. It’s going to be pretty good. We got Hit-Boy producing, Chuckii Booker, PK the guy who did Fine China and more hot producers.

    UrbanBridgez.com: That’s going to be dope. Specially with Chuckii giving you one of your biggest hits.
    Steven Russell Harts: Two of them, Spread My Wings and All I Do Is Think of You.

    UrbanBridgez.com: That’s right he did, I’m beyond excited. TROOP can never go wrong with the ballads, I mean never!
    Steven Russell Harts: Thank you man, appreciate that so much.

    UrbanBridgez.com: You guys were originators for real. It’s like I always think of you guys when I hear Jodeci’s Stay and DeVante is like “don’t talk, just listen.” I always wonder does everybody know that came from TROOP and Young Girl from the first album (both laugh).
    Steven Russell Harts: Yup!

    UrbanBridgez.com: They gonna learn today!
    Steven Russell Harts: I know that’s right (laughs).

    UrbanBridgez.com: I have to ask you this being such a huge TROOP fan being I have so many, off the top of your head, what are your top 3 favorite TROOP songs you’ve recorded?
    Steven Russell Harts: One of my top 3 is I Will Always Love You.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Mines as well, that should have been a single!
    Steven Russell Harts: You’re right, you’re definitely right. And Spread My Wings and All I Do Is Think of You. We have a song on the Mayday album called The Audacity that I like a lot.

    UrbanBridgez.com: I love that song too! (both laugh)
    Steven Russell Harts: That’s right!

    UrbanBridgez.com: You dropped your solo album “The Wedding Singer” this Summer, which is a great R&B body of work.
    Steven Russell Harts: Thank you!

    UrbanBridgez.com: One thing I noticed instantly is the music to “For The Rest of My Life” is the same production on Brandy’s “Truthfully.” I absolutely love that. How did that come about?
    Steven Russell Harts: My song was actually done first. My song was written to that music before Brandy’s or before that even came about. So I just decided to stay true to what it was when I had it & just release it how it is. The music was written by one of my best-friends, so there was no big deal with that.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What separate’s a Steven Russell Harts album from a TROOP album?
    Steven Russell Harts: The content I think, a lot of the content is more personal with the Steven Russell Hart’s album. More of my intimate feelings , my dreams of how I would be in a perfect state as a man. The TROOP albums is more of what we want to say as a group & what we want people to feel from us as a group.

    UrbanBridgez.com: We did an interview back in 09 and one thing you said you would change about the industry today is the record company system as far as who’s signing artists. In 2014, would that be the same or would you change something else now about the industry?
    Steven Russell Harts: Well today the record industry has changed to the extreme. The best thing record companies can do is sign decent talent and invest in that artist. But now days, it’s all about how many likes you got and how many followers. It’s a total different game now, so I really don’t know what to say I would change. There’s a certain part of music that still hangs on, of course that’s pop. But with black music, it’s up in the air. Nobody is buying it, but everybody is dancing to it and everybody has it. It’s the weirdest thing man. Those are the main two differences, the similarities are more than the differences as far as content. It’s all about having great songs.

    UrbanBridgez.com: You and the Underdogs have written hits for everybody, literally. Who’s on your wish list to work with in the lab?
    Steven Russell Harts: I would love to work with Drake, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole. I would also love to work with Keke Wyatt again. I want to work with Ledisi more than anything right now, she’s my favorite. I just absolutely love her.

    UrbanBridgez.com: That would be a great collaboration! I have to ask you, what are three albums you think every R&B music head should own?
    Steven Russell Harts: They have to have Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall and Thriller, I’ll count that as one. They have to have that education sonically on how music is supposed to sound. That’s the best sonically mixed album to this day and some of Dr. Dre’s stuff is mixed like that as well. You got to have Songs in The Key of Life (Stevie Wonder), you have to have The Isley Brothers because these are all lessons where you get the schooling from. You have to have The Gap Bad, Parliament, Earth Wind and Fire…you notice I can’t stop.

    UrbanBridgez.com: I’m just happy I have everybody you’ve named in my collection (laughs).
    Steven Russell Harts: Yeah you have to have those people. You have to have your basic education and your foundation of R&B music that was put here for us. You really have to have that education to know where we’re headed. Or where we should be headed.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What’s next for yourself and TROOP?
    Steven Russell Harts: We’re gearing up for our tour right now. So the next thing, is to get on the road. We’re going to promote my album and the new TROOP single and Return album all together. Also, just get into more television and film on the production side. I’m getting more into teaching, I’ve been studying our history of biblical historian. I’ve just been doing a lot of studying and I’m really interested in teaching after 15 years I’m really ready to start giving back, even as I still learn. Specially to our youth, so we can stop passing on the same things, that’s been passed on for so many years. Somebody has to fix it, somebody has to stop the mindset…or at least try.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Very true! Good luck with that! Anything else you want to leave with your fans?
    Steven Russell Harts: I just want to say thank you for the support. Thank you for the continued support, we love our fans and all of our supporters. You can follow TROOP: Twitter.com/TROOPRnB and Facebook.com/TROOPReturn & You can follow me Twitter.com/StevenRusel and Facebook.com/StevenRussellHarts . I just want to say thank you for having me and I hope you enjoy the new music.

    “Listen to Steven Russell Harts “Shelter”

    —————————————

    TROOP is an internationally recognized R&B sensation that got their start in the late 80’s. Hailing from Pasadena, CA, Troop was signed to Atlantic Records and released their debut single “Mamacita”. After reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B Charts they were quickly established as a group that music fans would take notice of. After the success of the debut album, Troop’s follow up, “Attitude” was an album that would become known as a classic for hit songs like “Spread My Wings” and “All I Do Is Think Of You” which both climbed to #1 on the Billboard R&B charts and simultaneously remained in the top 10 on the charts for weeks. It was certified platinum in 1990.

    Troop released their third album, “Deepa” in 1992 which saw their single “Sweet November” go straight to #1 on Billboard R&B charts as well. They followed “Deepa” with five more projects “A Lil Sumpin Sumpin” (1994), “Mayday” (1998), “Troop The B-Sides” (2014), “Troop The Slow Songs” (2014) and “Troop Deepa Revisited” (2014). Troop has headlined a number of shows and also shared the stage with artists they toured with in the past such as Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Keith Sweat, Silk, Mario and Jon B.

    “Not In A Million Years” is available now on iTunes

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    The Wedding Singer
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    Kandi Burruss And Todd Tucker Present The Cast For “A Mother’s Love”

    August 20th, 2014
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    With the critically-acclaimed stage play “A Mother’s Love” just weeks away from embarking on its first national run, Executive Producers Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, alongside Theatrical Works Live are proud to reveal the star-studded cast that will bring this loosely biographical family drama to audiences in 29 cities this Fall.

    Burruss will reprise her turn as the main character, a rising singer and member of a girl group who struggles to find the balance between honoring her relationship with her mother and making her own decisions as her career and love life evolve. On selected dates, American Idol alum LaToya London will appear as a special guest in the female lead role. Since her appearance on the third season of Idol, London has become a well-established member of the theater community, most notably starring as Nettie in the Broadway production of The Color Purple; a role for which she earned an NAACP Theater Award nomination in 2008.

    Also returning are powerhouse vocalist Shirley Murdock; renowned stage actress Chandra Currelley-Young of Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse; platinum-selling and Grammy nominated singer Q Parker (of 112 fame) as the male lead and Kandi’s love interest; and supporting cast members D. Woods (formerly of the platinum-selling girl group Danity Kane), former NFL linebacker Olrick Johnson, and popular social media personality Quentin Latham (better known as FunkyDineva). Rounding out the touring cast are Anthony Dalton (of Tyler Perry’s Laugh to Keep from Crying), “R&B Divas” star Meelah Williams, singer Tony Terry and Myra Beasley (of Tyler Perry’s The Marriage Counselor).

    Following a successful run in Atlanta in November, Burruss and Tucker struck a partnership with veteran promoter Travis Steele, founder and CEO of Theatrical Works Live, to bring the widely relatable story and moving musical performances of “A Mother’s Love” to audiences across the country. “I’m excited to be able to partner with the amazing team at Theatrical Works Live to take ‘A Mother’s Love’ on the road,” said Burruss. “We worked extremely hard on our initial run of the show in Atlanta, and to be able to take it on the road and share it with people across the United States, is a feeling that is beyond words.”

    Along with new cast members, the national presentation of “A Mother’s Love” also boasts a revamped script and several set changes as well, making this run of 29 dates a totally different experience from the original offering in Atlanta. The play’s national tour kicks off in Columbus, GA on September 4 and will stop in several major markets including Detroit, Miami, Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New Orleans, before coming to a close in New York City on December 14. Please visit KandiOnline.com, for complete tour date listings and ticket information.

    In addition to the great success of the play’s initial run in November, “A Mother’s Love” has already garnered national attention, not only because of the behind-the-scenes drama captured on “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” but also due to the popularity of the play’s soundtrack, released in April. The album, which is currently available on iTunes, features 19-tracks written and co-produced by Kandi Burruss and recorded by the play’s original cast, which also included R&B legend Eddie Levert and Kandi’s RHOA co-star Porsha Williams. The original Atlanta production of “A Mother’s Love” is also currently available on DVD at KandiOnline.com.

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