There’s a fine line in music between innovating genuinely as an artist or latching on to a trend to stay relevant. Too often we’ve seen artists become has-beens when they try to jump on a hot fad in the hopes of holding on to our attention for one last second.
When it comes to the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J Blige has had years of brilliance juxtaposed with minutes of ‘oh God, what was she thinking?’ (insert Burger King commercial singing about crispy chicken). But those moments of misjudgement could never negate, to me, Mary’s undeniable talent. Her voice is captivating and I’ve always been a fan of her street-meets-class style.
So you can imagine my excitement when I heard her duet with UK crooner Sam Smith for his hit song Stay With Me. Two powerhouse voices created an amazing sound which led to her travelling to London, UK and embarking on a new musical chapter. After meeting and working with UK artists such as producer Naughty Boy and Disclosure along with singer Emeli Sande, Mary is about to release her next album amply titled ‘The London Sessions’ on Nov 24th.
The released tracks Therapy, Right Now and Whole Damn Year ooze London. You can hear the rain and the gritty bustle of that busy city just in her voice. A divergence away from the hip hop bass line in her previous work, London Sessions has jazz instrumentals as heard on ‘Therapy’ as well as the fun dance sound of the UK on ‘Right Now’.
Mary has grown, and she knows her audience has grown with her. Instead of trying to hold on to the ‘Real Love’ Mary of the ’90s, she’s embraced her growth and shared with us her scars in all their glory.
Have you ever come across a song that you hear once and it clings to you for days? While creeping late night on Instagram (save your judgement. You know you do it too), I saw a video of singer Abir doing an acoustic version her song BCKN4TH and I think I replayed it three times that night. It wasn’t the visuals that pulled me but her voice and the simplicity of the melody that caught me. For the next few days I found myself singing or humming the song.
Check out her song BCKN4TH and enjoy. Seems like her EP ‘White Walls’ is coming out soon. I know I’ll be looking out for it.
Travelling is food for the spirit, the way laughter is medicine for the soul. For me, a trip away rejuvenates and inspires unlike anything else. Getting to see, feel and taste another culture awakens within us our true sense of humanity, emphasizing just how similar we all are. And just how beautiful this wide world is.
My list of places to visit is long and daunting but I try my best to get away every few months. Or else the monotony of day to day would bore me to death. So it was a pleasant find to come across the blog Travel Noire , “a blogging platform featuring cultivated insights from a global community of black travelers. Founded by a Glamour Magazine award-winning entrepreneur.” I spent hours pouring over posts on how to work abroad, how to earn free flyer miles, how to upgrade seats from economy to business class for free and countless other posts on how to be a smart traveller. Its like someone took all my ‘what if…” questions re travelling and answered them in one blog.
Also, I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to travel to other cities as a black woman. I have friends and family of various ethnicities so when they give me their feedback, I appreciate it but wonder if my experience might be different as a woman of colour. Well Travel Noire provides ‘cultivated insights from a global community of black travellers.” Again, here was a space where I could connect with like minded folks who have been bitten by the travel bug like moi.
Not just a blog featuring posts on what best to see and experience in various cities, Travel Noire has a Manifesto with detailed tips on how to travel for less and how to be a savy traveller that does more than just take in the sights but truly breathes in the local culture.
Please take the time to check out this fascinating blog and their captivating Instagram page (@Travelnoire). Promise it’ll have you booking a flight somewhere very soon.
For my monthly book club, we recently read a beautiful book of poetry that I will forever cherish. Salt by Nayyirah Waheed is a collection of short yet powerful poems that completely took my breath away with each page.
With such few words she painted vivid images of love, loss, hope and courage. My copy of the book has practically each page earmarked, that is how good the poetry was to me.
Although I couldn’t pick out a favourite poem in this book, this one stood out to me –
I highly suggest you check out Nayyirah Waheed and her book, Salt. I’m looking forward to reading her next work, Nejma.
Got something in the works for RealDelina.com – video blogs/vlogs featuring talented entrepreneurs doing exciting work.
Can’t wait to share with you our first video. The picture is a sneak peak. Stay tuned!