Toni Braxton Helps Celebrate Dance in Harlem
It’s easy to forget that pop music simply refers to what is popular at the moment whether it is disco, rock and roll or most recently, hip-hop and dance music. SESAC, the nation’s fastest growing performing rights organization, honored those who have made an impact in the pop soundscape at its annual Pop Music Awards. While there was much reason to celebrate there were also concerns expressed over the state of pop.
Songwriter of the Year winner Rico Love advises artists seeking mass appeal to be careful about how they promote their image. “If the attention you’re seeking is not to glorify music or build brand you look like an a**hole,” he says. “Make it about the music and the quality of who you are.” Love’s statements are especially significant in a state of pop where it seems you need either a sex tape or a stint in rehab to gain exposure.
When it comes to pursing a larger platform in the pop market many artists forsake genres such as jazz, funk and even R&B, something which concerns Trevor Gale, SESAC’s Senior VP, Writer/Publisher Relations. “It is unfortunate that jazz and other genres of music don’t get the same notoriety and publicity as pop but it doesn’t take away from the fact there are still amazing artists out there creating all genres of music. I have faith that the music always rises,” he notes.
Doing its part to help jazz music rise to the forefront once again is the second annual Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival presented in partnership with Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile, with support from Columbia University. Highlights from the festival included bringing the famed Minton’s Playhouse back to life with a celebration of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach and more, and late night jam sessions at Showman’s Jazz Club. The present and future of jazz were also recognized at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse where drummer Terri Lyne Carrington created a fusion of music with Lizz Wright, Nona Hendryx, Tia Fuller and others.
Listening to so much jazz can make one want to swing and dance. Fortunately attendees had the chance to do just that at the 10th Annual Ailey at the Apollo gala. Singer Toni Braxton served as the honorary event chair. As she noted, her latest single “I Heart You,” is a foray into the dance music arena. “Trying to do a dance song is kinda fun. I am not a dancer by trade but as a performer there are avenues for us and this helps the kids do their craft,” she says.
The craftsmanship of visual artists is currently on display at the “Four Brooklyn Artists” exhibition at Berkeley College. Curated by Robert Keiber, the show features Harlem Arts Alliance member and Culture Crashers mentor Leon Nicholas Kalas along with Mary Chang, Norma Lithgow and Dr. Rudy (Kofi) Cain. It may not be pop and you can’t dance to it, but it’s still art.
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This article is courtesy of our partner The Harlem Arts Alliance
The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment in Harlem and the greater NYC area.
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