R&B Artists have made R&B Virtually Non-Existent!

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012

R&B Artists Have Made R&B Virtually Non Existent!
I recall hearing rap music for the first time when I was in high school in the early 70’s. From an MC/DJ that lived one or two blocks over from me by the name of DJ Hollywood. This was not in the Bronx, which gets the credit for rap music’s origin…???… This was Harlem! Rap music did not hit the national scene until 1979 with the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rappers Delight” mega record. For my generation R&B reigned supreme as the music of choice. With artists like James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The O’Jays…etc… Rap had its own unique zone as did R&B. As rap kept grinding to prove all the haters wrong about it being just a fad; R&B had this false elitist security that it was always going to be the dominant one over rap. To R&B’s defense part of its demise; by comparison it was extremely cost effective to make a rap record than an R&B record. That’s a story for another time. For this blog I want to deal with the mind set as to why R&B has fallen into the pits. R&B artists allowed record labels to influence them to compromise their art in a major way for the sake of cutting costs. R&B artists began to buy into the mindset that rap and R&B is virtually the same. That is so far from the truth. Rap’s uniqueness, in my opinion, is the ability to take almost anything and turn it into something very special. That in itself is a special gift that only a few have done excellently. R&B on the other hand is first and foremost about connecting into the emotions of its target audience. A spouse to spouse or intended someone, plays a very important part in the connection with R&B. Of course there are exceptions. How else could one explain a brilliant record like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”?…IT CONNECTED EMOTIONALLY!!! to just about everyone who heard it. R&B artists started to falsely believe; since rap music was easy as well as cheaper to make, r&b should adopt the same formula. The cheaper part I will agree with. Easy? Not so fast. Again, only a few rap artist to this day have done it brilliantly! When R&B compromised its own integrity for another it clearly did not understand, it started the beginning of today’s results. So, until true R&B artist(s) rediscover the essence and integrity of what R&B really is without regard to another genre, it will continue to be a lost art form.

(Source: paullaurencemusicblogspot.com)

Producer Paul Laurence 2012

Producer Paul Laurence 2012

Meet Ashley Blaire

Ashley Blaire


       Even at a very young age, Ashley Blaire and her family knew that singing would always be an important part of her life.  Why? Because as Ashley says, “Singing makes me happy inside.”  Not only does performing make her happy, it is a true passion for this 15 year old aspiring professional singer and actress.

            Born May 4, 1997 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ashley Blaire tried to sing before she could form a full sentence.  By the time she was five, Ashley sang in the choir at Burning Flame Christian Church and Living Center.  

            When Ashley was 9 years old, she and her family relocated to Salisbury,  North Carolina.  At 13, she landed a role in the play “When You Least Expect It.”   She has also appeared in other plays like “For the Love of Money” and “Club Hallelujah.”  Ashley attended John Roberts School of Acting in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is currently a sophomore at Salisbury High School.

             Whether singing in churches, for youth programs or service organizations, Ashley shares her incredible talent all across North Carolina. She performed in the Gospel Explosion at Livingstone College where she was the youngest performer on stage.   She is actively pursuing her dream, and hopes to inspire other young girls to do the same.  Ashley’s friends describe her as a “good hearted, joyful person who is always encouraging.”

            On July 29, Ashley will release her first single, “Little Girl”, written and produced by the legendary Paul Laurence, who has also written and produced for award-winning artists like Freddie Jackson and Stephanie Mills. 



(Source: artistashleyblaire.com)

Paul Laurence lastest bio

“I just love music, that’s really all there is to it .”  And it is as simple as that, according to songwriter/producer/keyboardist Paul Laurence.  That genuine love for music is evident in Laurence’s array of accomplishments.

            You may know him as the Gold and Platinum record producer who produced Stephanie Mills’ (You’re Putting) A Rush on Me, and Evelyn King’s number one hit back in the summer of 1981, I’m in Love. And when you hear King’s Love Come Down on the radio, just know Laurence, along with Kashif and Morrie Brown produced that one too.  The trio also produced Howard Johnson’s debut album, Keepin’ Love New in 1982, featuring So Fine, a track particularly popular in the United Kingdom. And don’t leave out the slow jams which include Freddie Jackson’s Tasty Love  and Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake) that Laurence wrote in the summer of 1985. He also played the keyboards and programmed the drums on the track. Paul and Freddie are good friends, attending school and church together in Harlem. They formed a band, and over the years, Paul has written and produced many of Jackson’s biggest hits including Jam Tonight, which jumped to number one in the summer of 1987 and became a steppers classic.  In late 1988, Laurence produced Jackson’s eighth number one R&B hit Hey Lover written by singer Keith Washington & Sonny Moore.Other hits include Do Me Again, a number one R&B hit in early 1991 and Main Course a few months later.  It was no surprise, then, that when Jackson recently headed back to the studio he called his long time friend. Laurence wrote and produced Can’t Get My Flow on Jackson’s 2006 album Transitions.  He’s even singing backup on the song with another artist, Matthew Edralin. 

            For former Broadway star and hit recording artist Stephanie Mills,  Paul Laurence produced and co-wrote (You’re Putting) A Rush on Me, giving the singer her third number one R&B hit in  1987. He also produced a cover of Prince’s Do Me Baby for Capitol recording artist Meli’sa Morgan that was number one on the charts for several weeks in early 1986.  In addition, Laurence had several hits with Brooklyn singer/Capitol recording artist Lillo Thomas: “(You’re A) Good Girl,” “Your Love’s Got a Hold on Me,” “(Can’t Take Half) All of You” (a duet with Melba Moore), “Settle Down,” “Sexy Girl” (Laurence/Timmy Allen), “I’m in Love” — not the Evelyn King hit — that went to number two R&B in spring 1987, and “Wanna Make Love (All Night Long).” 

            With all of this success, Laurence also had the opportunity to become a recording artist.  He signed with Capitol, and his debut LP, the critically acclaimed “Haven’t You Heard”, was released in late 1985. The first single, “She’s Not a Sleaze,” featured Freddie Jackson and Lillo Thomas and charted number 50 R&B in late 1985. Other singles for Laurence were “You Hooked Me,” “Strung Out,” “Make My Baby Happy,” and “I Ain’t Wit It.” Laurence also contributed to the soundtrack of the 1990 horror film Def By Temptation starring Kadeem Hardison of NBC-TV's Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. One of his songs, “Help Yourself to My Love,” was recorded as a duet between Kashif and Kenny G

            Paul Laurence-related releases are the movie soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Keith Washington's Make Time for Love, Tanya Blount’s Natural Thing, StyrenesAll the Wrong People Are Dying, and and 1999’s Silent Night, Soulful Night. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi

            After a reflective break, Laurence is making music again. “I’m excited about working with artists again,” he says. “I was disillusioned with the record industry and I knew it was frustrating. I wanted to find artists who I wanted to work with instead of just making money.”

During his hiatus, Laurence met Matthew Edralin at church and was blown away by his unique sound.   In fact, he produced Edralin’s debut album in 2009.  “He’s a solid musician, writer and singer,” says Laurence about Edralin, “and he’s young so he’s more into what’s going on in the industry now.” 

            Laurence’s additional accomplishments include:  an alternative rock album with artist Kimberlee in 2003 and Lillo Thomas’s last 2010 album, “Come Get It”, which he produced.  “A good producer is able to go against his own thinking sometimes and at least try something new,” Laurence says. “When I produce a song, I want you to be able to feel the emotion of the song, it doesn’t really matter the genre…good music is good music.”


Yvette Evans

Salisbury, North Carolina






(Source: facebook.com)

Are you listening for whispers dust?

People often wonder why I am such an avid supporter of my husband and his work.    There are a few reasons that I can think of for my commitment and the first is simply that it is my nature to be a “helper.”  The second is that I was raised around women who supported their spouses dream no matter what the dream was.  Essentially, it is in my nature to help him or anyone pursue their God given dream.  If you asked me my opinions on the music industry, you might be shocked to learn that I have very little regard for it as it stands today.  You would also be shocked to learn that if my husband walked away from it today, I would be just fine with his decision.  I also happen to believe that he will not walk away because he’s been given an amazing gift of songwriting and arranging.  He takes his time with his craft and he understands that his gift is something that is to be expressed and shared with others to help them feel better about life, to change their mood, to mirror what they are going through, to teach and to remind people that they are human and not alone in what they experience.  He may not have described it to you in this way and yet, this is exactly why he makes music.

We are all human in the final analysis, essentially dust.  I believe that God made us in His image from the dust of this earth and we will return to the dust.  The question that I have for you is what will you do with the time in between?  For those of you who believe like I do, you know that God will call us home one day. What will you say to the Creator of the Universe when He questions the dust He made about the time that you spent on earth?  The bible says that our works will be placed in the fire and examined for the purity of the motive and held to the standard that is only God approved.  Everything else that is not God approved will be burned in that purifying fire.  Yes, it is only what we do for Christ that will last.  So, does that mean that everything we are doing here does not count?  On the contrary, it means that what you are doing, if you are lead by Christ Jesus, will somehow support the goal that He has which is to love, encourage, support and draw to himself a broken and desperate people to himself.  So, you must be asking? What in the world does that have to do with music or me helping my husband?  It has more to do with the gifts that you have been given and using them in a way that draws people to the risen savior.  I have been told that my helping my husband has encouraged other women to be helpers of their husbands.  If you know anything about Eve, she was designed to do exactly that.  I happen to have the gift of encouragement and help.   You may be a painter, a sculpture, a teacher, a stay-at-home mom, a doctor, a lawyer, a police office or work in any myriad of professions.  My question to you is how do you use your specific gift or talent to draw people to Jesus Christ?  I don’t mean beating folks over the head with the bible and telling them that they are going to hell.  I am talking about showing them the love of Christ which is fun and vibrant and life giving? Are you using your gift or talent to do that?

If  you are in the music business or any other business because it gives you some type of high to focus completely on yourself, I can tell you that you will not get to where you are going happily.  If you are in your business only to make money, it will feel like a bucket with a hole in it, if you purpose is only to make money.  If you are taking advantage of people you will always be looking over your shoulder to see who has taken advantage of you.  I don’t think you will be able to be others centered, if you have done things- nightmarish things to pursue your life’s goal.  You may make money and have notoriety but, I promise you, you will not enjoy any of it.  You will have no pleasure in it.  In the end,  you will find out that it did not count for eternity either. However, if you are living your God given purpose and you are using the gifts and talents the way that Jesus Christ would use them, trusting Him with all areas of your talent, I am confident that you will find peace and prosperity in your pursuits.  

So, listen up dust! It’s only what you do for Christ that has ANY real value.  The rest of this striving for this and that toy is temporary endeavor and will mean nothing in a year from now  and even less at the end of your life.  So refocus you efforts today and take a moment and ask God “how can I use my gift (the gift that you gave me) and talent to showcase what you most value? I bet he will whisper the answer to you, if you want to hear it.  

The sound of young America, Ashley Blaire

The sound of young America, Ashley Blaire

Greatness Cost what it cost and it doesn’t go on sale.
TD Jakes

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant
Robert Louis Stevenson