#24K Magic - Bruno Mars 

When you kick off a song with a luxurious talk box/autotune harmonized interlude and then promptly drop a good old funky 80's synth jam a la Roger Troutman and Zapp, you are inevitably going to get some asses shaking.  Especially in an environment like the one we currently inhabit.  There is such a dearth of music with any kind of syncopated groove on today's radio that this shiny, gem stands out like gold lame suit at a funeral.  24K Magic isn't necessarily innovative, more than it is a sound that is sorely missed.  It's like revisiting your mama's home cooking after years of McDonalds, Chipotle, Chik-fil-a, and non-New York Pizza. It's the sound that even if you were in a surly mood, and listening reluctantly, you would have to give up a half of a smile for the lyric, "got to blame it on Jesus hashtag blessed".  It's just fun.  And after the 2016 we have had with terrorist attacks in nightclubs, a nasty election season, and numerous shootings by police and of police, we need some fun.  We deserve some fun.  We are long overdue for some fun.  

Cue Bruno Mars, in all of his musical wisdom strolling in with the party anthem to take us through the end of the year. The song is pretty undeniable.  It's charting on 6 US Billboard Charts alone and north of 50 Billboard Charts worldwide.  Props also to Bruno for finding a way to make a hit that he doesn't really have to sing on.  Bruno is known worldwide for his beautiful tenor voice, his love songs and his pop songs.  He doesn't have to prove his vocal chops.  The brilliance is in him creating a song that is essentially is all talking, chanting and jokes.  The only singing is in the last two lines of the hook, '24 karat magic in the air, head to toe so playa".  The solid music production is the workhorse here, but we also have to give just due to the lyrics.  The entire song is one long insiders joke about life as a wanna be pimp playa. And from the reaction to the song, I would venture this is a universal aspirational theme for many.

 The last element of this hit that I would be remiss to not mention is the music video.  When you think back to the MTV generation when MTV, BET and VH1 were wall to wall music videos all day long, those videos really counted.   They gave the release of a song an added lift, and dimension.  Big budgets were dedicated to videos and they paid off.  With the changes in the music industry and the lack of budget for most indie artists, videos are very modest these days.  They are usually artist focused and simple.  These work can work well too, and since I am an idie artist,  thank God for them, but if you have the budget why not go all out......and look here, Bruno took his budget and his homies to Vegas and turned that heaux out!  They probably got together on the private plane there, worked out their pimp steps, poured a few cocktails and were ready for the director to say "action!" by the time they landed.  The video is hilarious, sleek, cheeky, did I mention hilarious?  It makes you wish you had been invited on the trip.  (I'm talking to you Bruno....)  So hats off to Bruno, Shampoo Press and Curl and the Stereotypes for this winner.  This song is a gift and I hope that it ushers in more music that reminds us how great, how fun, how funky, and how diverse music is supposed to be.

If for some reason you have not heard this song.  Go HERE.  You're welcome.





love and light
KIA MUZE


#24KMagic
#brunomars
#funk
#rogertroutman
#zapp

Bad Boy 20 Year Reunion Concert 

I'm about a week late in getting this blog up but I would be remiss if I did not share with you the Happy Feelings that were this final night of this tour, wrapping up at the Los Angeles Forum on Oct 4.  As you know there are a ton of acts that have been associated with P Diddy over the years and of that ton, when you subtract the ones who are dead or in jail, there are still a ton left who are out here still entertaining.  They have hopped on and off of the tour as it has made it's way across America.  To say they corralled the best for the last night would be an understatement.  Think about how you act every time a song that you used to love back in the day comes on the radio.  Now, multiply that by about 50.  That was how the evening went.

We had Diddy, Diddy and Mase, Diddy Mase and Total, 112, Lil Kim, Carl Thomas, Mary J Blige, The Lox, Mario Winans, Black Rob, Faith, JODECI and Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre, DMX, French Montana and Diddy's kids.  I put JODECI in all caps cuz they are one of my all time favorite groups and I still can't believe that they were there. LOL.   There was a really special moment where Diddy, Snoop and Dre were on stage and Diddy spoke about the old beef and how that is no more.  He spoke about how much respect he has for Dre as a producer and how much love he has for Snoop as a friend.  It was really moving when you think about how deep that rift was.  As a girl who was born in Harlem, I did not develop a love for the West Coast and West Coast Hip Hop until I moved out here ten years ago.  To see that all that nonsense that seemed so important then is done away with was a beautiful thing.  

Everyone did all of their biggest hits, the whole concert made me feel like I was in my old Volvo, riding down the FDR from Harlem to Brooklyn listening to Hot 97.   I'm not going to run down all the songs here, cuz it would take all day and honestly, you can do a good YouTube search and probably see the entire show but wow.....20 years of music.  When Bad Boy was getting started, I was in Atlanta, interning for Dallas Austin at Rowdy Records, another Arista subsidiary.  When 112 came out, I was going to Club 112 every weekend.  Slim from 112 and I were in All City Orchestra together and his aunt was my orchestra teacher at Mays High.  Bad Boy has literally been the sound track to twenty years of my life, working, partying, performing and traveling.  The realization of that and the experience of HEARING it along with SEEING the old videos and newspaper headlines on the screens was really more than I could take.  I laughed alot and screamed alot, sang alot and cried alot.  So much has happened.  So many people are gone.  But for those of us that are still here, let's keep making music that we will be able to look back on and be proud of.  And let's keep building in every area of art and education for The Culture, because we have already created, so very much. 






Love and Light
Kia Muze

For Free-DJ Khaled and Drake 

This song is pretty ratchet/raunchy so if that's not your thing, you may wanna just skip this song/blog.  I don't have a lot to run down about this tune but I do want to touch on the reasons why this song works.  Its currently at number 22 on the Hot 100 chart by Billboard where it peaked at 13 and hit 1 on the US Rhythmic chart.

1. The song is familiar.  Its a play on Blow the Whistle by Too Short. It starts with the same lyrics and the bass line is reminiscent of the song as well.  So from the first seconds of For Free, you already feel like this is a song that will go hard.  And it delivers.

2.  DJ Kahled. Khaled is easily, hands down, the most entertaining DJ/Producer on the planet.  I think we can all agree on that and if you don't agree, just sub to his Snapchat for a week.  It's lit.  On this song, he's telling how "they didn't want him to have another anthem etc."  I don't know who "they" are, but whomever they are, they need to have several seats.  I don't know about you but I am definitely here for Khaled's anthems.

3. Drake.  He sings and raps his way through this one serving up bravado about his longlasting superpowers, detailing all the nice and nasty things he loves about the woman in question, and topping it all of with a hook that begs the question, "Is this sex so good I shouldn't have to f--- for free?  Is it just me?"  Quietly, I think everyone has asked themselves this question at least once if they are being honest.  That this immortalized in a song is comedy gold.  That it rides a sick beat is just more than we can ask for.

4.  The song is short. It clocks in at 3:03.  It has two short verses and the hook.  They get in and get out.  You get your life and move on.  Its like a perfect snack.

As you can see I love the song so I had to cover it.  You can catch my cover HERE.

For all you songwriters and producers take some notes from Khaled and Drake as you craft your next hit.  You don't always have to reinvent the wheel.



love and light
KIA MUZE

#djkhaled
#drake
#forfree
#majorkey
#ovo
#tooshort
#blowthewhistle

#Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert 

One day a few months ago I walked by a poster advertising Dreamgirls with the three original Dreams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine and Jennifer Holliday.  I stopped in my tracks.  Dreamgirls is one of THOSE musicals, one that you wish you had been around to see the Original Broadway Cast.  I have worked with Cleavant Derricks who was the original James Thunder Early and who was also responsible for many of the vocal arrangements.  I have seen many productions of the show, but I have always wanted to see the ORIGINAL.  There are so many lines and songs in the show that are wickedly fun to weave into one's every day life. I sing the Help Me Jesus's all the time from Fake My Way To the Top.  I love the shade of "Effie don't try to make it" or "Effie we all got pain".   I love Lorell's declarations of woman hood, "I'm a woman now!!"  One of my favorite things though is Michelle's "I don't take that talk from no second rate diva, who can't sustain!"  There are sooooo many gems in this show, not to mention the music, the harmonies, the storyline, the sets, the gowns....so much!!  In my eyes it's perfect.  So I bought tickets to this Dreamgirls 35 before I actually realized it was a concert and not a full on production.  After I realized, I was a little apprehensive but the Divas did not disappoint.  The ticket price was worth seeing Sheryl sashay around in her many gowns.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get a body like hers.  She and the other Divas gave us a little backstage tea, about how they came to be in the show.  None of them were the first people considered for each role.  They also spilled a little about the showmances and who were their favorite men in the show.  Loretta found a few good opportunities to read Sheryl, mostly for being grand but it was all in good fun. You could tell that it would take more than a little shade to stop Sheryl's parade, LOL.

The ladies sang their signature songs, Ain't No Party, When I First Saw You, And I Am Telling You, both versions of One Night Only, I Am Changing and Sheryl sang some interesting trunk songs (songs that didn't make it into the show.)  One was a number that Michelle sings to Effie about why she was taking her spot in the group.  The other was a Deena song, that would be like a "Listen" song in the second act, but you could see that in both cases the songs just were not strong enough when put up against the the other monster hits.

There was some supporting cast, notably, Mary Wilson, Wilson Cruz, Kenny Lattimore and Marsai Martin but mostly the night centered around the Divas, with Perez Hilton helping to move the proceedings along. I danced in my chair and sang all night, annoying the man on my right to no end.  But it was a once in a lifetime experience for me and I'll never forget it.  The Dreamgirls made me HAPPY!!!



love and light
KIA MUZE

#dreamgirls
#dreamgirls35
#fordstheatre
#perezhilton
#sherylleeralph
#lorettdevine
#jenniferholliday

 

#ChainSmokers- Don't Let Me Down 

This is one of my favorite songs currently on radio. The opening guitar lick is distintive and sweetly melodic.  It opens the song in a way that draws you in.

The singer, Daya's vocal tone has that hoarse and airy quality that is so popular right now and her accent and affect is unique but also feels vaguely familiar. It rides perfectly on this track.

 

The lyrics are  simple. Its a lot of repetition of Don't Let Me Down which works because this song is about the sonics and vibe and less about deep metaphors.

The synth that comes in at the hook sounds a bit like other edm anthems  but complements the bass perfectly.  Daya's topline sets up the drop so spot on that by the time it comes in, you are completely ready to get your bops!!!

This song is a perfect marriage of pop and dance.  It has the tender songwriter moments, the big belty moments and then the dance builds and the drop release moments. It covers all the bases. Completely satisfying.

Don't Let Me Down ia riding at number 4 on the Billboard  Hot 100 this week. It's definitely on repeat for me! Congrats to The Chainsmokers and Daya on a nailing a smash!!!

Love on the Brain - #Rihanna 

I have been listening to Anti since it came out in heavy rotation.  I love that not one song sounds like any other song on the project.  Literally every song could be in it's own little genre category and Rihanna sounds different vocally on almost every song.  

Love on the Brain really reminds me of something that Amy Winehouse might sing, especially in the intro.  I always have liked the song fine but recently it was used in a Grey's Anatomy episode and in that context it was so amazing that it pulled me out of the scene.  I couldn't even remember that it was a Rihanna song.  I was trying to place the voice and it took me almost till the end of the scene to realize that its from Anti.  Rihanna's vocals are the best thing about the song.  The delivery, tone and the emotion deliver the whole impact.  The lyrics are pretty straight forward but when she does the transition from the pleading and begging of: 

'Baby you got me like aaah, woo, aaah / Don't you stop loving me (loving me)'

to the dry and sober eyed realization of :

'Oh, and babe I'm fist fighting with fire just to get close to you'

it interior designs the whole room of the song.    The song has SO much mood, and vibe.  It's like it's own little standalone funhouse.   When you have production like this and delivery like this you don't really have to work alot of lyrical magic, but if I had to speak to the lyrics, I would say that the raw nature of the lyrics and the few choice curse words just add to the whole appeal.  When you're strung out or feeling d----matized, you don't really have the time or inclination to deliver a polite missive.  You just want what you want, when you want it...

Congrats to Rihanna on her beasty performance on the Billboards.  Props also to Joseph Angel, Fred Ball and Kuk Harrell who share credits with her on this hit.  





love and light
KIA MUZE
#loveonthebrain
#rihanna
#billboards

Pray You Catch Me - #Beyonce' 

Disclaimer:  I love me some Beyonce'.  I'm not as obsessed as some of the Hive, I haven't seen every tour, and I don't know all the lyrics to every song.  But my work out music is always about 75% Beyonce' and I have been rockin' with her since No, No, No when DC was still wearing the outfits that Tina was making in her spare time.  We have all come a long way.

I wanna talk about this song tho.  It's one of my favorites from Lemonade. It sounds so simple yet it's deceptively complex.  I love the fact that it's stripped down production wise so you can just focus on the vocal and the piano until you get to the second verse and the string ensemble puts that nice bow on it.  The vocal arrangements in the beginning remind me of some things that Laura Mvula would do.  The vocalizations are artful and beautifully layered and ease you into that first lyric, "you can taste the dishonesty, it's all over your breath", which let's face it, its a bit devastating.  It's such an indictment.  I love it ;-)

The structure is really simple, A/B, A/B.  No bridge.  Straight and to the point which really sets up the hook to shine which is my favorite part.  The melody for the hook is almost a throwaway, but repeats in a way so it gets burned into your head.  And the lyrics just service the whole sentiment.  Anyone who has ever suspected they were being cheated on knows that feeling of watching and listening like Inspector Clouseau trying to catch the person in a lie or unsavory situation.  And as much as you want to catch them, you want them to CATCH YOU catching them so you can throw down that righteous indignation!  Come on somebody.... 
 

Prayin' I catch you whispering 
I'm prayin' you catch me listening 
Prayin' I catch you whispering 
I'm prayin' you catch me

That last, "I'm praying you catch me" , is brilliant in it's double significance of wanting to be caught snooping and just wanting to be caught emotionally when you're in downward spiral.  I really love this song. I wish I'd written it.  LOL.   Kudos to James Blake, Kevin Garrett and Bey.  The song sets the perfect tone for the rest of Lemonade which I think is a fantastic album with  very definite beginning, middle and end.  It takes you somewhere which is what music is supposed to do.



love and light

KIA MUZE
#Beyonce
#prayyoucatchme
#Lemonade

No More Mr. Nice Girl. #sorrynotsorry 

No More Mr. Nice Girl. #sorrynotsorry. This may be a sentiment shared by many a frustrated woman at one time or another.  KIA MUZE is back second quarter 2016 with a new single detailing the freedoms on the other side of such a declaration. 

'This day is mine, I'm front of the line, I feel much stronger now than I did before.' 

'I'm pressin' on, got my game face on, no longer looking back, walking out that door.' 

Despite the title, the song is bouncy and positive.  The kick and the bass drive you head bops whether you want to or not.    No man bashing happening here, but rather self celebration which for many women can be a hard thing to do.    When asked what prompted KIA to write the song, she cited that she "initially heard the phrase on a tv show, and it immediately struck me as a strong song title or song concept.  After that, it didn't take long to write.  I didn't want the song to be negative, but I wanted it to make the point that doormat season, is over.  Even women who are very strong in their professional lives can be accommodating in their personal relationships in ways that ultimately don't serve their relationships long term.  There is a way to compromise without giving yourself away and that's essentially what I was trying to convey." 

NMMNG marks KIA's fourth release on One Nation World Groove following the Flood EP, the nu-disco collaboration from last fall with the guys from electro label Leisure Sports Records. Kia began One Nation after stepping away from the musical theatre and tv acting worlds to focus on a career as a songwriter and producer. Kia has spent the last year doing a lot of collaborating with various producers writing for libraries and other artists.  She is currently working on a second EP of her own for release later this year. 

NMMNG is available for purchase exclusively at www.kiamuze.com.  To support the song and sentiment, there are NMMNG t shirts available for purchase through MUZETTE 009 the merchandise line designed by the artist herself.  The shirts are also available at www.kiamuze.com.  Anyone who purchases a shirt is eligible for a free download of the song and can obtain it by emailing onenationworldgroove@gmail.com with their proof of tshirt  purchase.  

-Terry Alston
#kiamuze
#nomoremrnicegirl

This is what's going on!! 

Hey Good People,

Quarter 1 of 2016 is done, and I am pretty excited to share with you all of the projects I am working on and hope that you will be able to participate and check out some of these things as well.  I want to make out interactions as worthwhile as possible.  

So about these here projects.  There is a new single that is in the final mastering phases right now.  I have teased the song a little bit on social media but now you will get to hear the whole thing and it knocks so I think you will enjoy it!  I am also working on a new EP with some of the awesome producers I have had the oppty to work with over the past two years.  The last couple of years have been much more about my songwriting for projects other than my own so if it seems like I have been quiet, that is the reason why.  But its time for me to say some things so you will be getting a good amount of Kia Muze content this year.

On the topic of creation, I am also debuting a merchandise line called MUZETTE 009.  While the main focus will be fun and fashionable items for women, there are also select items for men and children/babies and lots of gifting ideas.  I am partnering with two great companies to get you the most fashion forward and well made items, so while there will be standard tees and sweats, there will also be much more than that.  Stay tuned!

love and light

KIA 
 

Not so new, new year.... 

I admit I am a bit late on my new year greetings to you Good Peeps.  My old year sort of rolled into the new year and things didn't look much different.  Just lots of work, and then more work.  I'm finally finding my footing and balancing all of my projects that are in the queue for this quarter.  There will be another EP from me, there will be some international travel,  some expansion in merch, and there will be a ton of collaborating.  I'm excited for the the immediate next steps and can't wait to share them all with you.  I hope your new year is going well and stay tuned!!

love and light
KIA