Posts Tagged ‘Causes & Charity’

GEMINI WIRED

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

A serious cause coupled with a smooth beat. This is what all music should be!

Gemini Wired is a fresh addition to the R&B scene, and before flooding the market with her debut EP, she’s already using her talent for selfless means.

What Now is a track boasting full, thriving sound. The lyrics and music video centre on an issue finally receiving the media attention it deserves: bullying.

Gemini suffered bullying herself in younger years, and is channelling past hurts into an outreach for others: “These bullies cannot beat us. …I want my What Now song and video to inspire as many people as possible.”

This song stands up against more than bullying; it also takes a simple yet poignant stab at greed.

Gemini sings, eyes closed, lips suffused with melody, “My music ain’t about the money; I take it all and give it away.”

Listen, learn.

ON HEAVY ROTATION: EMINEM FEAT. SIA – ‘BEAUTIFUL PAIN’

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This song is f**king perfect! And before anyone asks why I support Eminem when he uses anti-gay slurs, please read THE FAGGOTRY OF HIP HOP piece I wrote HERE.

FYI: Sia (who is gay) has decided to donate all sales from this track to LGBT homeless youth in Los Angeles. Yay!

Also, I’m not sure why this is a bonus track and not a proper single since it’s the best song on the album. We’ll see if the record label realizes this in the future.

Listen to the incredible Beautiful Pain (featuring Sia) below.

#FINDTHELIGHT

TOMÁS DONCKER BAND

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This isn’t my usual jam. Still, my interest has been piqued like a mountaintop. (Forgive me for that one!) The Tomas Doncker Band is a fertile ground for funk, soul, jazz, and blues, fusing it all together with healthy spoonfuls of wicked guitar. Tomas got started playing with more groups than I could bother to mention. It wasn’t until 2008 that he got his own band together to release the Howlin Wolf EP.

Now they’re back and keen to collaborate! And collaborate they did: every song on Power of Trinity… A Slight Return features a new artist. Tomas describes the music he plays as global soul, which he considers “the sound of our collective conscience”.

Their 2013 EP is being released in support of a charity that supports young women in Ethiopia. Sound!

As for the sound itself, I’m not sure what to say. Do I like it? Definitely. Beyond that I find it difficult to describe. There’s a rhythm here I’m not accustomed to, one that breaks barriers rather than putting them up. It’s pure fluid, and it’s rushing fast.
 

JEWEL REALNESS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Throwback Thursday!

This is one of my favorite songs. And here’s why: Jewel wrote this song when she was 18 and homeless. She was in dire need of medical treatment (due to a kidney condition) and was turned down by the hospital because she had no money or health insurance. A doctor overheard her plea at reception and saw her waiting in the parking lot of the hospital crying. He treated her for free. She wrote this song shortly after in part to thank the doctor for his kindness.

I find so much beauty and hope in that story. Especially when I’m going through something dark in my own life.

“We are God’s eyes. God’s hands. God’s heart.”

ADAM LAMBERT TAKES ON RIHANNA + SUPPORTS THE TREVOR PROJECT

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Adam Lambert has joined forces with AT&T + the Trevor Project for Live Proud, a campaign created to empower the LGBTQ community.

Glambert is currently offering a small group of contest winners the chance to enjoy a killer VIP experience, seeing him perform in an intimate setting in Los Angeles. To enter, fans must submit an image or story that represents an AT&T Live Proud moment.

In addition, AT&T will contribute $25,000 to $50,000 to the Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on both crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

The contest runs through June 30th.

Participants are encouraged to like the AT&T Live Proud Facebook, which will lead to AT&T donating a dollar to the Project. They can also RT @ATT, @TrevorProject or @adamlambert in tweet that mentions #attliveproud and AT&T will donate 50 cents to The Trevor Project.

Have at it, folks! And may the fierce be with you!

+ Enjoy Adam’s recent, gorgeous cover of Rihanna’s Stay below.

Incredible.

SNOOP LION

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

In case you haven’t heard, the one and only Snoop Dogg has released a new single under the name Snoop Lion. No, I’m not kidding. This is actually quite cool, because A.) it’s unexpected and somewhat funny & B.) it’s for an amazing cause: ending gun violence.

On No Guns Allowed, Snoop teams up with Drake and daughter Cori B. in a plea for peace on the streets.

Produced by Major Lazer and Ariel Rechtshaid, Snoop rhymes about putting weapons down on the reggae-influenced track: “Cause, no guns are allowed, in here tonight/ We’re gonna have a free-for-all, no fights/ I wanna get lost in the crowd, in here tonight.”

Go Snoop Lion!

Snoop’s 11th studio album, Reincarnated, drops on April 23rd.

Listen to Snoop Lion’s No Guns Allowed (featuring Cori B. and Drake) below + interview w/ Snoop explaining the inspiration behind the song following.

NEW EVE FEATURING GABE SAPORTA OF COBRA STARSHIP!

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Grammy Award-winning artist Eve is back and werkin’ for a cause! Her brand new single, Make It Out This Town (featuring Cobra Starship frontman Gabe Saporta), first premiered last month as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ National Mentoring Month conference in Washington, D.C. The track is a radio-friendly pop gem, an inspiring and uplifting ‘overcoming the odds’ type of anthem.

Eve was recently named a National Celebrity Ambassador for the charity.

Says Eve: “I am releasing Make It Out This Town as my first single from Lip Lock because I wanted to share the positive place I have come into. I went through obstacles to get my music and message out and nothing embodies this more than this song, which also mirrors my recent honor and connection that comes with my role as an ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters. The song is dedicated to them.”

Make It Out This Town is the official single released from Eve’s long-awaited, much-anticipated album, Lip Lock, due out May 14th.

Can’t get enuff! Such a feel-good jam!

ON HEAVY ROTATION: THE SUMMER SET

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


And then suddenly it hit me, that moment when you realize you’re not half empty. That moment of all moments, like there is music in the night and we can dance the sun out of the sky. These are the nights where everything feels possible. Maybe one day we’ll fall short of the stories we tell. But tonight we’re more than just words on a page. We are here. We are different. And we are everlasting. We are Half Moon Kids. We are legendary.

THE FAGGOTRY OF HIP HOP

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

“It started as just common place; it was just part of the language. I think the overtones that it creates, is not what really exists. I don’t think if you are gay and you go to a hip hop club that you’ll get beat up for being gay. That’s not what is going to happen. I think words are the way that people express themselves—just like if you say ‘bitch’ on a rap record for a long time, you can rally thousands of women that will say that’s incorrect. You can’t focus on one single thing or bad aspect of what happens in hip hop and try to blanket it. That’s not the root of the problem. It exists, I think it’s how you portray it, and it’s how you use it. You gotta paint with a broad brush when you talk about homophobia, because it’s a lot of things that exist in hip hop that aren’t exactly right, but it’s part of the landscape.”

-Xzibit

Last year, the suicides of gay teens splattered across headlines in what felt like a bloodshed massacre brought on by violence and brutally ugly words. These words — spit like bullets — packed a deadly punch.

If there’s anyone who knows how to throw an uppercut with word venom, it’s a hot-mouthed rapper.

In the bling and booty-drenched culture that is hip hop, often these overly excessive and flashy accessories distract from some of the same brutally ugly words that still shoot from rappers’ tongues. In the game of hip hop, the mouth is a gun. The in-the-ear and out-the-other mentality clearly doesn’t hold true in regards to certain stars who many urban youth idolize.

If you read this blog regularly, you would know that I support hip hop. Besides the love given to underground/indie artists, I’ve been known to drool over Drake, and I also truly connect and relate to Eminem’s story and lyrics. My post on Eminem’s sobriety + sponsorship with Elton John went viral and landed on the front page of Reddit, leaving a few wondering how I (someone who falls under the LGBTQ umbrella) could support Eminem when his earlier work was covered in homophobic themes. My response has always been the same: I respect the art form, not always what lies underneath. Truth be told, I think music and the art of rhyme can be a cathartic strand of therapy for these men, even when that strand becomes tangled with homophobia.

The questions remain:

Should hip hop be held responsible? My answer is no.

Should the form be watered down? My answer is no.

Confused? Let me explain. As much as I know that these rappers have influenced a generation, the problem is much bigger than pointing fingers. I do not support hate, but I do support art and creative expression. I know from personal experience that creative outlets can help to shape, to understand, to relate, to retaliate, to vent, but most importantly it can be a vehicle, one that gets the poison out of the system in a way that isn’t entirely toxic. I can’t speak for all, but this is what I think (certain) rappers do. Granted, there are some rappers who seem clueless to their behavior and words, and for these individuals I think it’s more a statement of character versus the state of the hip hop art form.

A prime example would be 50 Cent, when he sparked controversy by tweeting (excuse his poor grammar): “If you a man and your over 25 and you don’t eat pu**y just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol.”

Clearly, this isn’t a part of any artistic creation except ignorance and hatred, the exact opposite message that I hope bleeds through this post.

As a matter of fact, I would like to say that these rappers aren’t afraid or repulsed by us. No, not at all. After researching hints of homophobia in rap lyrics, I wouldn’t say they’re purely homophobic either. I would say they’re a bit obsessed with us. Besides the fact that many of these alpha males create rap about bitches and Bacardi, a style/mindset was also created for the masses by these same men, one that we all know all too well: The Baggy Pants Syndrome. If rappers were indeed afraid to taste the rainbow, I can’t imagine how one could tread the pavement with his boxers hanging out, exposing the top half of his basketball-shaped derriere.

All playfulness aside, it’s now a matter of expressing what lies outside the harmful language, what lies outside the three minute song that our generation has on repeat. Who are these arrogantly confident rappers when the lights go down?

I do not think the hip hop community (or any entertainer) for that matter is solely responsible for any child’s moral code (this is where parenting comes in), but I do think (in a perfect world) this should be a concern in their hearts. Yes, vent. Spill your guts. Ruffle feathers. That’s what artists do. But also, use your platform to never justify hate and to speak out against the victimized and abused. This is a genre formed on the freedom to be heard and the freedom to bring about change, and yet it’s sprouted legs that seem to be walking in a totally different direction. It’s glorifying drugs. It’s picking on queers. It’s belittling women.

And as much as I’m against censorship, I’m also an extremist for positive change. And if that requires a little editing, so be it. Because besides being lame, homophobic lyrics are played out and lack originality, thought, and spark.

Metaphorically speaking, perhaps it’s time for those in the rap game to pull their pants up.

[Related Post: Macklemore Breaks Ground]

MACKLEMORE BREAKS GROUND

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This song/video makes me cry like a baby. Absolutely beautiful.

That is all.

[Related Post: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Takeover]

DINO JAG

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Anyone ready to click for a cause?

The media’s a funny thing. When whatever tragedy’s in the spotlight, it gets an overwhelming amount of attention and support (which is amazing!). Sadly, when the media tires of the same old story about, let’s say, Haiti, and turns its unblinking eye away, the public at large seems to forget. They figure that if the coverage has lessened, the problem must have dissipated as well.

Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. Even three years later, Haiti has yet to fully rebuild from its infamous, devastating earthquake. Luckily, not everyone’s forgotten.

Enter Dino Jag, a pop artist of Bruno Mars ability. When he heard of the brutal disaster, he was recording a demo for Calling All The Saints. He realized this song was destined for the people of Haiti. To coincide with the anniversary of that tragic event he has since re-released the track to make sure Haiti stays in the spotlight.

His mission isn’t just one of education, either. 50% of all song sales will be given to charities helping the people of Haiti rebuild and recover.

The recording itself is wholesome, heartfelt and aching with urgency. Even if the pure-pop’s not in your style, it’s worth the few extra bucks.

Don’t you think?

DESAPARECIDOS

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Conor Oberst has always given voice to the unspoken. In Bright Eyes he dissected all sorts of angst, teeming with sensitivity. Now in Desaparecidos, his post-punk project, he’s tackling corporate corruption and saluting the unseen- namely Anonymous and the Occupy Movement.

I’m sorry I hadn’t stumbled on this sooner. Desaparecidos has a great recipe of emo and grunge, iced over with up-tempo poppy-punk. It’s true that they’ve been silent for a while, but now they’ve got not one, but two singles hot off the mixing board.

These songs are nothing short of rousing. They captivate and motivate, bubbling with social awareness. The Left is Right is a soundtrack to the revolution, while Anonymous acts as an angry love letter to the internet group of the same name. All in all, this musical duo-drop is innovative, resistant, and engaged.

You can pop on over to the aficionado zine of rock, Rolling Stone, to bathe in the melodies. Trust me, it’s worth an extra click.

Nice to know Conor’s genius isn’t going to waste!

INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL BEDINGFIELD!

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

ROB BRAYL: Ok, Mr. Daniel, first things first… You’re back, completely independent, and NAKED. I feel like I need a cigarette (and I don’t smoke) after watching your most recent videos (‘Rocks Off’ & ‘Secret Fear’) from your latest ‘Secret Fear’ EP. Do you mind if I call you sexy?

DANIEL BEDINGFIELD: I have been known to accept compliments of that nature before. Nice to have someone focusing on something other than the girls in my video for once.

RB: In all seriousness, the visuals are stunning. Can you give us a little insight regarding their inspiration?

DB: Everything was designed to portray contrast. Relationships are very complex. And the relationships I’ve experienced in the past have been innately complex. The video seems to successively provoke opposing feelings of entrapment and obsession in the viewing audience, the eternal spin-cycle of revolving binary emotions and triggers. The nudity invokes the traditional desire of artists throughout the centuries portraying humans without their trappings of culture or status enabling the viewer to see the work as a human experience.

RB: When listening to the new material and watching the videos, knowing you are an independent artist now, it all makes sense… There’s an incredible sense of liberation present. Do you feel less chains and more freedom now to create the music you want to create now that you’re indie?

DB: I paid with years of my life to procure this freedom, it’s everything to me. No fat-cats sitting over my shoulder, trying to mould my art as I make it. I AM very limited without the financial backing of large corporations, but I find the limitations serve my purposes, rather than curtailing my activities.

RB: Back to being naked (laughs)… The part of your music that I cling to the most is the emotionally naked pieces. My favorite track on the EP is ‘Don’t Write Me Off’. It’s breathtaking. I love it so much! I just wanted to speak as a fan for a moment and say thank you for bringing such beautiful songs to life.

DB: You’re a sweetheart and I greatly appreciate your support.

RB: Are you touring with the new stuff?

DB: Of course! But without record company backing it’s a lot more difficult. If you’d like to organize a large enough audience for me, I’ll come and play in your town.

RB: What’s next on this fresh new journey for you? (Please come to Brooklyn!)

DB: A ha! Brooklyn! This I can do. How’s Williamsburg? New E.P out shortly, and I suspect you may enjoy this new video too.

RB: Current guilty pleasures. Give us something juicy!

DB: Telling little kids how to sing better as if I know what I’m talking about. Judging talent competitions and mentoring, voice coaching and shaping young talent.

RB: If I were to look at your laptop or iPod, what kind of music filth would I find?

DB: Marilyn Manson, Rowdy Superstar, Azealia Banks, Mykki Blanco… And that’s just half of the filthy stuff.

RB: Are there any charities you’re currently working with?

DB: I’m working to free the 26 million slaves on the planet with Stop The Traffik. I’m particularly focussed on ending sex trafficking of women and children.

RB: And finally, this blog, much like yourself and your incredible new material, is completely independent. So thank you for taking the time to speak with us. To end this interview, give us something random to close out with? Make it count!

DB: Thank you for all your love and support, I’m coming back – watch out, biatch. Tweet me, Facebook me, and I will reply to you if you say something that fascinates me.

Love him!

View the new & improved indie/sexy/stunning Daniel Bedingfield below.

[Related Post: Daniel Bedingfield’s Back & Showing Butt]

MIKE POSNER CREATES ‘HEAVEN’, A TRIBUTE FOR SANDY HOOK VICTIMS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


I must give props to Mike Posner, who has created a touching tribute in response to the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Entitled Heaven, the new acoustic track is simply Posner’s way of giving, trying to make sense of, and hoping to lift those affected by Friday’s tragedy.

In his dedication, the Detroit native wrote: “Hey guys… I wanted to do SOMETHING for the victims’ families and I didn’t really know what else to do. Writing songs is pretty much the only thing I’m any good at, so I hope you’ll share this as you see fit.”

What a sweet song and gesture! Kudos, Mike!

Listen to Heaven in full below.

RYAN LESLIE IS ALL KINDS OF RIGHT

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Ryan Leslie has officially announced Ups & Downs as the second single off of his top-notch rap album Les Is More, and personally, I can’t get enuff of it! Described by the Associated Press to “surely send you up,” the feel-good jam is all kinds of right!

In conjunction with the release of Les is More, Leslie has been chosen as a brand ambassador for the Sony X Headphones (#SonyX) for their “Love To Give” (#SonyLove) campaign this holiday season. Ups & Downs is featured in a video vignette for the Sony X’s, where Leslie discusses the importance of having headphones that don’t dilute the honesty of the recording. The “Love To Give” campaign celebrates the spirit of giving, and features various other artists, including country pop singer Taylor Swift and hottie photographer Nigel Barker.

The first rap album from Ryan Leslie, Les Is More, debuted at #1 on the iTunes Hip Hop Charts simultaneously in 8 countries, including the U.S., Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland.

Bask in the greatness that is Ryan Leslie below!

Happy Holidays, errbody!