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LOOKBACK | To When Robin Thicke dropped the Visual For “Looks Easy”

Though it was only 11 months ago… In case you missed it, we have a lookback at last years “Looks Easy” by Robin Thicke.

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Robin Thicke dropped this video, “Looks Easy” on Feb 12, 2021. The single was taken from the album “On Earth, and in Heaven.”

Though this song made it’s way to the top of the airplay charts to finally crest at the No. 1 spot on Adult R&B Airplay Charts on 8/19/21.  Thickes’ achievement was heralded in the trades that week as the hitmaker’s sixth champ and first occurrence of two No. #1’s from the same album and was said to have returned him to form after an atypical miss with his last single.

And even with all of that, there is a fairly good chance you may not have heard it because many stations were not playing it.

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This video is a superb romp for those among us who see best with their ears, and who hear music best with their eyes. The visual was directed by Nick Leopold for Skinny Empire and shot entirely in Los Angeles, California, the clip blends both album and single themes, with Chic falling from heaven to the sea and launched to the shore. Following a beautiful spectator through the haze of obstacles, Chic finally emerges from the chase and returns to the beach as the sun begins to set on Earth.

Use the comment box below to let us know what you think of “Looks Easy” by Robin Thicke, we’ve also added “Beautiful,” a lyric video.

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& All That Jazz

LOOK BACK | When Gabriel Garzón-Montano dropped “Someone”

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Gabriel Garzon-Montano premiered this video entitled “Someone” on May 23, 2020 in support of the single of the same name. In the one and a half year space since that time, the visual has received 123,483 views.

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It is likely you have never heard “Someone” by Gabriel Garzon-Montano, it’s important music deserving of your attention, so we give you this Look Back to introduce his artistry. Let us know what you think of “Someone” and Gabriel Garzón-Montano by using the comment box below.

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LOOK BACK | When Curtis Harding Dropped “I Need Your Love”

Harding recorded his 2014 debut, Soul Power, with little in the way of expectations, but the album managed to generate real heat, particularly in Europe, where Uncut praised it as “a confident take on sleek, horn-powered…soul with a hint of garage muscle” and Mojo dubbed it “something altogether special.”

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Curtis Harding dropped this video for “I Need Your Love” on Oct 26, 2017, since that time the visual has garnered 1,377,793 views. Harding was well-received across the Pond in the UK, but only got sporadic airplay here in the states which makes it likely you did not experience the feel-good early 60’s feel of “I Need Your Love”, But you can hear and experience it now with this Look Back.

Curtis Harding Bio

Growing up, Curtis Harding’s mother used to tell him, “Give me my flowers while I’m still here.” It was a phrase that stuck with the talented singer and multi-instrumentalist through the years, a reminder to show his love and appreciation for the people he cared about before it was too late.   

“That’s what this album is,” Harding reflects. “It’s me giving my flowers to the world, to anybody who needs to hear what these songs have to say right now.”

Written and recorded over the past two tumultuous years, If Words Were Flowers is indeed a vibrant, intoxicating bouquet, one as diverse as it is dazzling. Drawing on vintage soul, R&B, hip-hop, garage rock, and psychedelia, the songs here are raw and gritty, fueled by airtight grooves, punchy horns, and adventurous production from Harding and frequent collaborator Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker). There’s a clear through line on the album from Harding’s 2017 breakout, Face Your Fear, but there’s obvious evolution as well, a boldness that revels in risk-taking and sonic exploration. The result is a pointed, timely album that feels experimental and classic all at once, a moving, generous collection all about love, resilience, and reconciliation from an artist who values the beauty and the power of human connection above all else.

“I want this music to help people understand that they’re not alone,” Harding explains. “We’re all going through the same thing right now on some level, and I hope these songs can bring a little bit of comfort and peace.”

Harding’s been searching for comfort and peace in music as far back as he can remember. Born in Saginaw, Michigan to a mechanical engineer and a gospel singer, Harding spent much of his formative years on the move, bouncing between north and south until his family ultimately landed in Atlanta. He learned to sing and play drums in church with his mother, who introduced him to the likes of Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples, but it was his sister’s collection of hip-hop tapes that would push him towards a career in music and inspire him to begin writing and rapping. With the Atlanta scene exploding onto the national stage at the time, Harding picked up work promoting artists on the legendary LaFace label and he soon found himself in the studio and on the road as a backup vocalist with some of the city’s biggest stars.

“That was when I realized I didn’t have to choose between being a rapper and being a singer,” says Harding. “I started teaching myself guitar and working with more live instrumentation and figuring out how to incorporate everything I grew up on into what I was doing.”

Harding recorded his 2014 debut, Soul Power, with little in the way of expectations, but the album managed to generate real heat, particularly in Europe, where Uncut praised it as “a confident take on sleek, horn-powered…soul with a hint of garage muscle” and Mojo dubbed it “something altogether special.” Three years later, Harding broke out Stateside with Face Your Fear, which stretched his sound to exhilarating new heights. Helmed by Cohen and super producer Danger Mouse, the record earned Harding dates with everyone from Jack White to Lenny Kravitz, landed him festival slots at Newport Folk, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, and racked up nearly 60 million streams on Spotify alone. NPR declared the record one of the year’s best R&B releases, calling Harding a “gifted, gospel-bred shouter and deep digger in the Curtis Mayfield/Stevie Wonder crates,” while Complex hailed the music as “vintage, classic soul music” with “psychedelic splashes and a touch of garage rock fuzz,” and New York Magazine raved that “with a scorching voice like his, the funk is eternal.”

After touring extensively behind Face Your Fear, Harding began writing again in 2019, splitting his time between Atlanta and Los Angeles as he collected song ideas and rough demo recordings for his third record. Just when he thought he was finished, though, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived to change everything.

“That was a really intense time for everybody,” says Harding. “People were trapped inside for months on end, they were losing family members and dealing with all this fear and anxiety, and on top of that you had these growing social and political movements exploding out into the streets. For me, that was really when the album started to take shape conceptually.”

With the world on fire and the music industry on hold, Harding headed back to the drawing board. Some songs took on new meaning in light of current events, while others invited Harding to revisit and refine them. He wrote several more tracks for the collection and though none were particularly explicit in their references to 2020 and its all-encompassing turmoil, it’s impossible not to hear the influence bubbling beneath the surface.

“Nina Simone said that it’s an artist’s job to reflect the times,” Harding explains. “I think it’s important to live in the moment. If you do that and you’re honest and vulnerable, you can reach the people that need to be reached.”

That honesty and vulnerability is front and center on If Words Were Flowers, which opens with the arresting title track. “If words were flowers / I’d give them all to you,” Harding sings with a boost from a larger than life backing choir. “They carry power / So proud and beautiful.” Like much of the record, it’s a song rooted in love, though not necessarily romance. Certainly, Harding spends time contemplating intimate relationships on the album (the addictive “Can’t Hide It” celebrates certainty and commitment, while the tender “With You” examines the ways in which companionship can turn your whole world around, and the trippy “Explore” dives headfirst into a sea of new experiences with a partner), but more often he sings about the broader ties that bind us as brothers and sisters. The earnest “I Won’t Let You Down” pledges unconditional support; the hip-hop flavored “Hopeful” rallies us to stand strong and keep moving forward together; and tracks like the urgent “Where Is The Love” and hushed “It’s A Wonder” search for common ground and meaning in a world that can seem devoid of empathy at times.

“There are days when it feels like people just don’t care,” says Harding. “You wonder how they can see everything going on around them and not feel something, but all you can do is meet them face to face and try to connect. All you can do is give them your flowers.”

Curtis Harding has faced his fear; now he’s ready to share his love.

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LOOK BACK | In Late 2020, J Howell Insisted “There’s Something About Ya”

J Howell’s video, “There’s Something About Ya” released to support a push for the single, premiered on Oct 23, 2020. After more than a year on the Adult R&B Airplay chart it peaked at #27, and has received almost 3.5 million views, but you may not have heard it because all radio stations did not play it.

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Discovering his love for singing at an early age, J. Howell began envisioning the mark he wanted to make in the music industry. Given the opportunity to perform during a black history program for his school at the age of 7, his aunt and mom were astonished and blown away by his unique and powerful voice and knew there was something special about his talent that the world needed. From that day forward, J. Howell earned much support from his family to pursue his dream of sharing his voice with the world.

J. Howell is not your typical artist. Penning his thoughts to paper has served as therapy to unleash the emotion and passion he portrays through his music. Although most would try to categorize him to only R&B, his vocal capability and diverse musical influence allows him to capture the hearts of all. With a combination of Beyonce’s vocal arrangements, a young Tevin Campbell’s voice range, and a hint of that 90s R&B/Hip Hop swag, you have the perfect blend of J. Howell’s eclectic style and sound. No bells and whistles, strictly “heart music.” He takes his own experiences and weaves them into something that people can feel and relate to.

WHEN ASKED WHAT ADVICE HE WOULD GIVE TO THE WORLD, HE HAD THIS TO SAY: “Don’t compromise who you are to fit in with the trends of the world. Stay true to you, and everything will align the way they should.”

His first EP, Red Room, produced by Teray Love features the hit singles: “Something About Ya,” that is currently charting #30 on Billboard Urban/Mainstream, “Deserve” “Faithful” and his first lead single, “Talk” that charted #15 on Billboard Adult R&B. However, his simple live acoustic single and video, “My Everything,” is his top streamed and viewed song to date. Currently, his music has totaled over 34 million streams with support from across the globe.

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DidYouMissThis? | Imajin ft. Keith Murray- “Shorty, You Keep Playing With My Mind” -1999

This song was released by Imajin ft. Keith Murray, and made it to #25 on the R&B charts, but is largely forgotten, and was actually missed and never heard by many with the glut of then – New Edition Cookie-cutout copycats and the even greater flood of music churned out in that era, the song was later covered by another boy band, N’Sync.

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