The Decoders ft. Mara Hruby x Van Hunt - "Respect" | Music Video

L.A. based production trio The Decoders enlist Mara Hruby and Van Hunt for a little "Respect." Read more

Blu - "On The Porch" | Music Video

Blu drops a visual for "One The Porch", one of the most soulful tracks from last year's short but mostly sweet J E S U S LP.Read more

Soul Train Awards 2012 Preview: Elle Varner, Fantasia, Stevie Wonder perform [Video]

Earlier this month, the Soul Train Awards took over Las Vegas with a series of performances, including rising R&B star Elle Varner, American Idol winner Fantasia, and legendary musician Stevie Wonder. Hosted by Cedric The Entertainer this year, the show is traditionally one of the most memorable nights of the year for R&B - and judging by the highlights below, this year is no exception. Read more

Aretha Franklin performs 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)' on Jay Leno [Video]

The undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin prepares for the end of her west coast tour by stopping over at Jay Leno's late night show in Los Angeles. The multi-grammy award winning superstar took the the stage to perform her '60s hit "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)." Read more

Wear your musical heart on your sleeve with Skoolwerk Apparel tees | Style

There's nothing I love more than wearing my musical heart on my sleeve, so to speak. Skoolwerk Apparel is the brand that will allow me to wear my musical influence on a t-shirt.

Based on an idea that was forged in 2009 and came to life in 2011, Skoolwerk describe themselves as being "personal passion for timeless music." Honouring the rich traditions of Soul and Jazz music, this company is one for the music lovers amongst us.

What I love most about the tees is that they are often very simple but use colour and typography to perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the pioneers to whom they most pay homage. A personal favourite of mine is the Quincy Jones piece. Read more

Aretha Franklin reuniting w/ Clive Davis for new music | Music News

As Aretha Franklin and a few of her famous friends celebrated her 70th birthday Saturday night at New York's posh Helmsley Park Lane Hotel, the Queen of Soul pulled the wraps off of a gift her fans are sure to appreciate: An announcement that she will be recording new music with longtime friend and mentor Clive Davis. Read more

Whitney Houston: A Voice of a Generation (Aug 9, 1963 – Feb 11, 2012)

The beatific voice of a generation known as Whitney Houston passed away on the afternoon of February 11 in Beverly Hills, California at 3:55 pm PST at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The loss of Houston comes on the heels of the passing of the late Don Cornelius ten days prior. Her passing came as earth shattering news to the world and many are still reeling from the after effects. Read more

Melanie Amaro gives Aretha Franklin's "Respect" the dance treatment | New Music

The 19 year old 2011 U.S. X Factor winner and Epic Records signee Melanie Amaro has released this cover of Aretha Franklin's 1965 classic anthem “Respect”. The dance music reworking of the legendary Queen Of Soul's classic is being used in Pepsi’s Super Bowl advert which will be aired on Sunday’s main event and will feature the young singer alongside Sir Elton John. Give the song a listen below.Read more

Aretha Franklin talks record label, signing artists & performs on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon [Video]

Eighteen-time Grammy Award winning legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin returned to US chat-show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this week for a chat about her 2011 album Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love, out now through her own label Aretha's Records - who are currently looking for classical artists aged 18-35 to sign - closing her appearance on the show with a live studio performance of album cut "How Long I've Waited." Watch below.
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Whitney Houston's Whitney LP revisited with producer Narada Michael Walden | Return To The Classics

Whitney was released on June 2, 1987 by Arista Records. After selling over 13 million copies of her self-titled debut album, Whitney Houston once again graced the music masses with her vibrant presence and astounding vocal abilities. This formidable combination led to the creation of an album that would redefine music industry standards for a recording artist and ultimately her legacy.

Houston returned to the studio determined to capitalize on her newfound stardom as a solo recording artist on one of the most prominent music labels in the country. Her show stopping talents were on full display and she more than lived up to the extraordinary expectations placed on her after her groundbreaking debut effort.

This album would see Houston's career ascend to heights unknown by not only a female recording artist, but a Black recording artist. Her popularity among the new MTV generation was at an all-time high and the demand to have more Black recording artists featured on the channel became a priority. With her model physique and soul stirring vocal capabilities, Houston was able to open doors for other Black artists during this time period in the same vein as Michael Jackson.

Under the tutelage of the legendary Clive Davis, her music would evolve into a more pop friendly direction. Following a similar format from her debut album, Davis enlisted the help of legendary producers Narada Michael Walden, Kashif Saleem, Michael Masser and Jellybean Benitez to solidify Houston as the single biggest act in the recording industry. Houston's incomparable vocals were showcased on a stellar mixture of up tempo songs and ballads. As a result, Houston remained a dominant force on the Pop and R&B music charts.

Whitney Houston came from a musical family steeped in the Soul and Gospel musical traditions. Her mother, Cissy Houston was a singer for then well-known Soul group The Sweet Inspirations on Atlantic Records. Cissy Houston was also a much sought after recording session and background vocalist for many high profile artists in the 1960s and 1970s. Whitney Houston's cousins Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick had achieved superstar status in their respective careers. Houston's Godmother Aretha Franklin and her mother were quite instrumental in teaching her the gift of song.

At the tender age of 11, she began singing in her hometown church in New Jersey and by the time she reached high school, Houston was performing background vocals on records for Michael Zager's Band, Chaka Khan, Lou Rawls and Jermaine Jackson. It was during this juncture where she traveled alongside her mother as she would perform in night clubs across the country. At one of these performances, Houston caught the eye of Arista Records A&R executive, Jerry Griffiths. Griffiths told label impresario Clive Davis about this new talent and upon seeing Houston perform, he wanted to sign her to a record deal. As the story goes, Houston signed to Arista Records in 1983, but wouldn't release her solo effort until two years later.

Between the months of September 1986 and February 1987 Whitney was recorded at Tarpan Studios in San Rafael, California and various studios in New York, New York. Two years after releasing her debut, Houston would become one of the greatest recording artists on the planet.

SoulCulture recently sat down with Narada Michael Walden, the producer of seven tracks for the album to share his vision for creating a definitive record.
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Little Dragon on soul, working w/ SBTRKT x Drake & why The-Dream is "the modern Rick James" | SoulCulture.TV

With their latest album Ritual Union out now, SoulCulture recently sat down with Swedish band Little Dragon at their record label in London for a glimpse into their world and a discussion about their musical influences ["Classic soul music obviously is amazing but I think I've been more inspired by people like Faith Evans and Brandy," says lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano.

The band also talk about their recent discovery and love for The Weeknd, Ariel Pink and The-Dream ["I feel like he's like the modern Rick James"], working with UK producer SBTRKT on "Wildfire" and their thoughts on Drake's remix [also revealing that 'Drake' is 'dragon' in Swedish], plus their favourite Hip Hop artists.

Watch below.

Interview by Marsha Gosho Oakes
Filmed & Edited by Versetti
Photography by Steve Rutherford

Look out for part two of our interview tomorrow right here on SoulCulture - don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

John Legend covers Aretha Franklin's "How I Got Over" at Baptist Church in Philly [Video]

Taking a break from touring with Sade, John Legend surprises the congregation at Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. With a special connection to Philly (having gone to college there) as well as to the song, which he describes as being off one of his "favourite albums of all time," (Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace) John Legend delivers a performance from the heart with ample aid from the church's gospel choir.

Having started off singing in choir at the age of seven, before paying his way through school by being a director of music at a church, "I thought it'd be cool to kinda go back and do something that explored my roots a little bit," Mr. Legend explains of his impromptu performance. Demonstrating the stylistic similarities between gospel and soul music, he puts a smile on churchgoers faces as he performs Aretha Franklin's 'How I Got Over.'

Aretha Franklin to release new album, Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love, May 3rd | Music News

Following her recent, reportedly resolved, health scares Soul queen Aretha Franklin will release her first new album in eight years on May 3rd, titled Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love. Set for release independently through her own label, Aretha Records, the album was mostly produced by Franklin herself, with additional help from her sons, Kecalf and Eddie.

"The Queen of soul says her new CD is a glimpse into a failed relationship she was in several years ago," report zimbio, who add that Franklin's latest musical offering will include a track featuring actor Billy Dee Williams.
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Aretha Franklin interview with Wendy Williams part 2 (Video)

In the second part of Wendy Williams interview with the legend that is Aretha Franklin, they discuss the reasons why Halle Berry declined the offer to play Aretha in the forthcoming biopic, which singers could play her including Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia, her forthcoming new album and more.

Watch part 1 here.

Aretha Franklin interview with Wendy Williams Part 1 (Video)

The legendary Aretha Franklin sat down with Wendy Willams for an exclusive interview, in the first part of the interview the Queen of Soul talks about her health scares, praises Wendy Willams for the words she had to say about Whitney Houston, what happened to the world famous hat she wore to President Obama’s Inauguration and what reality shows she loves.

Aretha Franklin responds to Fantasia over Grammy Awards snub

After American Idol winner, Fantasia Barrino last week revealed to BET's 106 & Park that she boycotted the 53rd Annual Grammy Award ceremonies because she was left out of the ceremony's tribute to her idol - legendary R&B/Soul singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin, the 'Queen of Soul' felt the need to respond to Barrino's grievances and recently sent a statement to USA Today's Lifeline Live:

"I was sorry to hear that Fantasia was upset because she did not get the opportunity to participate in my Grammy Tribute this year. I recall that in the past, Fantasia participated in both my MusicCares Person of the Year Tribute and my United Negro College Fund Tribute. Fantasia is still young in the business and although we all love and appreciate her she must understand that in this business of show business she will not always get to participate in everything she would like participate in. I'm sure it was not an intentional omission. I will see Fantasia over the summer here in Detroit." - Miss Aretha Franklin

Fantasia, who as a result of "boycotting" the recent award ceremonies failed to personally collect her award for 'Best Female R&B Performance' in what must now seem to her as a very misguided cause of action had voiced her displeasure of the Grammy Award tribute to her idol to the hosts of BET's 106 & Park on a recent phone conversation with the show.

Aretha Franklin handles this very eloquently and it is such a shame Ms. Barrino could not offer up the same level of eloquence or even professionalism as has now been awarded her by Aretha.