December 4th-10th’s Artist of the Week is Meshell Ndegeocello (pronounced Mee-shell N-deh-gay-o-chel-o, according to Wikipedia). Her style is hard to label, as it contains funk, soul, rap, jazz, R&B, and rock influences; she’s a singer, songwriter, and bassist.
Meshell is very underrated. Even after making records for about 19 years, she still hasn’t truly broken into the mainstream. But as she says herself, “I’m never ever going to be Britney Spears.” Meshell remains very determined to remain true to herself, and her goal isn’t to be popular; as she puts it, “Music is my only guide. I don’t care if people pigeonhole me. Miles Davis [the jazz trumpeter] is my hero. He covered Cindy Lauper and Michael Jackson, and he didn’t give a hoot about what the purists said.”
Here’s Meshell playing bass on a song that’ll make you feel guilty for liking it. The extended title is “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night).”
A mellow track called “Soul Searchin'”:
A really beautiful song where Meshell plays keyboard:
November 20th-26th’s Artist of the Week is Sweet Honey in the Rock. A 38-year-old a capella ensemble, they sing complex five-part harmonies and have a sixth member that translates their songs into sign language for deaf audience members. They pride themselves on mixing “Blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, Hip Hop, ancient lullabies, and jazz improvisation” in order to create their unique style.
They’re concerned about politics; their song “Are We A Nation?” was written about SB-1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The group is also concerned about “immigration injustices, congressional greed and lack of compassion for hurting citizens, the environmental imbalance, racial issues and women’s issues.”
Check out some of their great music: