There has to be something in the water in North Carolina, as the region as a whole has become synonymous with great music. With artists like: Little Brother, 9th Wonder, The Foreign Exchange, and Kooley High leading the pack, the region has always been a hub for great music. Added to the list of great artists who call the region home is North Carolina native, Jeanne Jolly. “I think that there’s a lot of creative support in North Carolina and there are a lot of opportunities to explore many different musical genres,” says Jolly of the state. “We have some really amazing jazz musicians generations back. You have different pockets of North Carolina that are able to develop on their own without too much outside influence just because they were influenced by what was around them. I think there’s a lot of originality in North Carolina.” Jolly, who first caught attention singing background for legendary Jazz Musician Chris Botti, has an inviting and warm disposition and a beautiful soul that shines through when you speak with her. The singer who released her debut EP Falling in North Carolina (2010)to high praises based on the songwriting, has been singing her whole life. “My mom used to tell me that my first words were the Beethoven Symphony theme because I was listening to it in the car with my parents and apparently that was the first thing I said that made sense even though it wasn’t a word.”
After touring with Botti, Jolly returned home to North Carolina to focus more so on her music career. Sadly, five weeks after returning home to North Carolina, Jolly’s biggest fan and supporter, her mother, passed away of cancer. Using that negative point in her life to fuel her passion, Jolly started focusing more on songwriting and singing songs that truly came from the heart. “I moved back to North Carolina and I came home to be with her. It all happened pretty fast. It kind of just changed my whole world, obviously. When I moved here, the positive focus for me came in a real dark time,” says Jolly. “I started taking guitar lessons and just trying to hone it in and focus on music that I loved.” Jolly turned to her biggest musical comforts; jazz, old soul records that she grew up listening to, and 90’s country music. She also hooked up with Chris Boerner of The Hot at Nights. Boerner, and The Nights play alongside The Foreign Exchange producer Nicolay for his projects like Shibuya. Jolly’s work with Boerner also leads to how she hooked up with The Foreign Exchange for their Dear Friends: An Evening With The Foreign Exchange DVD, as well as joined them on the road for their Authenticity tour. “Chris is actually how I met The Foreign Exchange. He plays guitar with them. We were working on Falling in Carolina and they were on the road somewhere in Texas and he was like hey guys, you should listen to this girl. I’m producing her record in Raleigh. For some reason, Phonte and Nicolay really liked it and asked me to sing on their DVD and to go on tour just to fill in for somebody,” explained Jolly. “I kind of stepped in there in a room full of amazing The Foreign Exchange fans feeling the love. It was an amazing experience. I had never felt anything like that. Now, here I am and The Foreign Exchange is putting out my record. It’s just kind of a blessing unfolding ever since I moved back here.” The singer just released her debut album Angels. The project, which was first introduced via lead single “Sweet Love,” was exclusively produced by Boerner and written by Jolly. The album is an eclectic effort showcasing Jolly’s great writing and diverse ear. The album title was created to pay homage to the angels within Jolly’s life, notably her mother. “Every song on the album is inspired by an angel, a story about one or alludes to the presence of one. I thought let’s just name it Angels. It does speak to every song on the record,” says Jolly. “I started this song writing journey really focusing on it after the passing of my mom who was my biggest fan. She knew I was going to try to write and really encouraged me to do that, but she never got to see me play a show of my own songs. That was something she never got to see. I always feel like this journey is so heavily inspired and guided by her as well.” From listening to this album, Jolly’s angel, her mother, will be smiling from heaven over the great project her daughter has created. Make sure to support Jolly, and purchase her album Angels, out now via The Foreign Exchange Music. Purchase album here. Also, be sure to check Jolly out on tour with The Foreign Exchange coming to a city near you. Check out dates here.
1-O.A.K, is one of those artists who released a project, and I am so excited for him almost like it was my album. Below, is the write up for the video hope you enjoy. Also, if you still have not yet got the album, make sure to download that ASAP here.
Oakland bred singer/songwriter and producer, 1-O.A.K, represents the best of the Bay Area music scene. Within his music, he is able to encompass all the music forms that have made the area popular—hip-hop and soul, while still adding in a lot of himself and a lot of other musical elements. With his long awaited debut album, Special Request, that’s what comes across. The album gives listeners an idea of why we all were waiting for an album from the singer and really gives listeners an idea of who the singer really is notably with tracks like: “Yaya,” “Sweet Memories,” and “High Rollers,’ just to name a few. Following the release of the album, I got a chance to catch up with 1-O.A.K and speak with him about his roots in music, the creative process behind the album, particular songs and etc. The video was shot and edited by DJ.Lan.
Van Hunt is one of my favorite vocalist/songwriters. I’m not quite a stan, but I have been a fan of his music since my sophomore year of high school in 2004. I was first exposed to him with a song that is still a personal favorite of mine today entitled, “Dust.” I remember watching the video (here) for the first time on Vh1 Soul at my grandparents house with my best friend. I remember thinking who is this beautiful man playing a guitar in the middle of the city speaking of how he’s already insane. Over the years, my appreciation of Van Hunt’s music has continued throughout his whole discography: Van Hunt, On The Jungle Floor, and independent releases: Use In Case of Emergency, and Popular Machine. Hunt, was scheduled to release a follow up to On The Jungle Floor, however, the album was shelved by record labels which in a way, gave birth to this stellar project that is his latest release, What Were You Hoping For? I got the chance to speak with Van Hunt before his show in San Francisco about the release of the new project, the writing on the project and the inspiration behind the album title and a few songs in particular. I also spoke with him about his metaphorical approach to love songs like “Cross Dresser” on the new album. Lastly, I spoke with him about the state of males in soul music today, if he had the opportunity to meet any musician who would it be and why and etc. (Check my in depth review of the album here)