Profiling great and underrated music from 4 awesome artists. Hit the artist's picture to visit their respective site. To submit an artist for future "You Should Hear This" profiles, hit the 'Contact/Info' tab and fill out the form.
Springing from the now defunct R&B/pop group Danity Kane, singer/songwriter Dawn Richard landed in the hip-hop/R&B trio Diddy Dirty Money and received rave reviews with the experimental debut, “Last Train to Paris.” Now, while DDM is on hiatus, Richard has released a mixtape (A Tell-Tale Heart) and additional free music on her site, dawnrichardblog.com. “Save Me from You” is the latest song/music video to be uploaded (you can watch it below). I chose to profile this song because I find the writing to be interesting. Most lyrics relating heroism and romance have the usual approach of depicting the lover as a gracious savior for the other. “Save Me from You” is a bit different; Richard’s lover is a hero for everyone else and inflicts pain upon her, of which she wants to be rescued. I wish the accompanying music video better reflected the lyrics, but I imagine the budget for independent work isn’t as abundant.
James Morrison is a soulful acoustic-rock singer from England who reached instant popularity overseas with his debut single “You Give Me Something” in 2006. Morrison went on to win 3 BRIT Awards and all of 3 of his albums have gone platinum in the U.K., including the latest “The Awakening.” While Morrison has yet to have an official U.S. release (“Awakening” is only available through ITunes U.S.), one is likely to come as two of his most popular singles feature American artists Nelly Furtado and Jason Mraz. Growing up listening to his mother’s soul records and his father’s rock collection, Morrison cites Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Al Green and Otis Redding as influences. You can hear the song “Better Man” (which I first heard on the soap opera “General Hospital”) below with 2 “Awakening” album samplers from Morrison’s Youtube channel.
When Seth MacFarlane makes news, it’s usually for the unfiltered socio-political and pop culture commentary on his T.V. cartoon-comedies “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” This time, it’s for his music. Yes, you read correctly, his MUSIC. A lover of 1940’s and 1950’s big-band, swing and jazz, MacFarlane gets his Sinatra on with the release “Music is Better Than Words.” If the fact that he has an album isn’t surprising enough, MacFarlane is actually a fantastic singer. Smooth, strong and crisp, his voice is beyond pleasing to the ears. Check out “Love Won’t Let You Get Away” with Sara Bareillis below.
Out of all of the artists I’m profiling today, I’m most excited about The Seatbelts. Based out of Japan, The Seatbelts are lead by sound producer Yoko Kanno. Intentionally ambiguous, it’s hard to find extensive information about the group or individual band members. With no official website, their Facebook page leads to a somewhat disorganized Japanese-language music purchasing site that lists works by Kanno and her sporadic collaborations with one or two Seatbelts members. Their Wikipedia page is the most informative and comprehensive resource I found (click the photo to view it). According to the article, The Seatbelts discography consists of only soundtrack albums for the anime series “Cowboy Bebop” and there no American releases. It also purports that group disbanded in 2004. I heard about this band through a friend and I became immensely intrigued after listening to only two songs. The band is extremely eclectic, having material that is core jazz, pop, hip-hop, rock, funk and electronic. Majority of their work is instrumental, but there is a healthy portion that features an array of Japanese vocalists. Listen to jazzy and soothing “Diamonds” (featuring Ilaria Graziano) and the funky, rock-soul “Gotta Knock a Little Harder” (featuring Mai Yamane) below.