Sunday, December 26, 2010

Teena Marie

Being an entertainment photographer of many moons has afforded me the opportunities to be in the company of some of the greatest human beings that have walked the earth in my time...The biggest thrills of my life have mostly always involved music...
I was a teenager when Teena Marie entered the music scene Wild n Peaceful...easily one of the best lps ever made. I was a new lifetime fan (never did care for that word fan tho)...I just loved Lady T... I can honestly boast I own her entire music catalog...except the last release...(tough economic times ya know)
I've enjoyed the pleasure of seeing Teena Marie live on at least four occasions. Even more thrilling is I had the position of being on stage photographing her as she performed back in early 90's at AFRAM, here in Baltimore. Photos were published in Right On! Magazine. "-0)
More recent 2009 I stood front and center as she did her thing at the same festival with a different name.
Four years ago as I left work early (a job I'd been working at 7 days a week) knowing Teena Marie was in town was a perfect reason for me to take a break and head to ArtScape, another great summer festival that i love my home town for. My buddy Jenie and her friend had found a perfect spot on the grass right down front... Summertime grooving never felt so good... Teena Marie was about to go on...I'd gotten there just in time...Had to get the special ok from my friends for the people on the grass blocking my passage to let me love Bmore folks...
Having just purchased a video camera I was able to film her singing Deja Vu... My most popular youtube video from the moment I loaded to the site over 2 years ago
My heart is heavy...Teena Marie, man I grew up on Teena Marie's music...she has smiled for my camera and songs for my heart. Sure am gonna miss Lady T.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stevie Soul Interviews Sy Smith On Soul Discoveries!!!
Stevie Soul Interviews Sy Smith – “Musically Speaking”

Sy Smith is unique. She has style. She is an artist that easily sails from genre to genre without missing a beat. Her vocal range soars. Watching a Sy Smith performance is like kicking it with family at a backyard BBQ and the star of the family has taken the spotlight. Sy controls the stage. You will be entertained. Rocking and grooving to the beat as she gives you what is her. You will laugh, sing along and you may even cry. Her music is based in Truth. Musically summed up in three cd’s (Psyko Soul (Plus), Syberspace Social and Conflict) as of this writing are stories of love, society’s woes and more love. She sings from her heart and soul.

Sy Smith is honest, highly intelligent, humble, hilarious and beautifully human.

I am a BiG fan of Sy Smith and could go on and on but here are just a few things I was curious about.

01. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a professional entertainer and how did that begin to manifest

. Sy Smith – I think I started appreciating the performing arts at a very early age, around 5, and I mean really appreciating the performing arts. I was really into voices, characters, movement, and of course, music. As a kid, my main source of entertainment was the Children’s Television Network (Sesame Street, Electric Company, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood), etc. So my manifestation of performing was based on what I saw in these shows. I used to make up characters and give them back stories and distinct voices. I’d write songs that all sounded like something a puppet would sing (and most of the themes had to do with how much playing I was planning to do on the playground…) However, it took many years before I knew I wanted to become a professional performer. I don’t think I truly made that decision until my junior year at Howard University. Even after years of studying piano, competing in classical voice, participating in choirs galore, I really didn’t decide on this path until I was about 20.

02. What’s your schedule like now and what can we look forward from you as your next step?

. Sy Smith – I don’t really have a schedule from day to day. It’s more like what I have going on for the next 3 weeks. I tend to deal with things in threes. I have a single coming out called “Truth” with Mark de Clive-Lowe (MdCL) in July on Strictly Rhythm, we shot a video, and we’re gonna be doing some shows together. July 24 in ATL, July 30 in DC. Then I’ll be doing some solo shows (with a live band) – July 31 in Chicago, August 5 in Los Angeles. I’m planning to take a week in August and live in the studio with some musicians I’ve been working with and finish recording some things I started a while back. Different kind of material for me, but I really dig it… I’ll keep you posted!

03. What’s the most important things you can do as an entertainer/black woman?

. Sy Smith – Gee whiz. I think the most important things I can do as an entertainer/black woman would be the same things I’d do as a human being. Or at least the things I try to do. Live in truth. Treat other living beings kindly. Be good to the earth. Be thankful to the Creator. Love myself wholly and unconditionally – and spread that love in whatever ways it chooses to manifest.

04. Scale of 1-5 how nervous are you before a performance?

. Sy Smith – If 1 is not nervous and 5 is quite nervous… Usually 1. But sometimes I’m at a 1 and then right before I start I’m at a 3! Haha! Usually I’m nervous weeks ahead of time. But by the time I choose my set list and rehearse with the band, I’m back to 1.

05. What’s your all time favorite song…hope picking one isn’t too hard.

Good grief, this is difficult! I Know You, I Live You – Chaka Khan. That song just makes me feel so so so so happy! I never get tired of hearing that song in a club!

06. If you were granted 3 wishes what would they be?

. Sy Smith – This is tough.

I’d wish that my mom would be able to use her legs again. I wouldn’t need any wishes after that.

Check out my artist spotlight featuring Sy Smith:( featuring some of my favorite Sy songs as well as her many collaborations with other artists and producers.

Sy Smith’s music is available at,, and iTunes! See the latest video for “Conflict” on BETJ’s “Soul Sessions”!