Posts Tagged ‘Syleena Johnson’

Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)
If you missed last week’s Foreign Exchange show at the Double Door, get familiar! The Hip-Hop Soul collective performed to a packed house for the first time ever in Chicago. Foreign Exchange is comprised of rapper Phonte (of the critically-acclaimed rap group Little

Photo by Stacy Patrice

Photo by Stacy Patrice

Brother), vocalists Darien Brockington and Yahzarah, Dutch producer Nicolay, and various band members including Detroit’s own Zo!. As a group they have released two incredible albums, 2004’s “Connected” and the more recent 2008 release, “Leave It All Behind”. They kept the sardine packed Double Door moving and grooving to tracks from both albums while Phonte kept the comedic banter going in between songs. Each artist showcased their signature songs, Phonte skillfully going back and forth from rhyming to singing, on tracks like “Sincere” (featuring Yahzarah), the soulful “baby-maker” ‘Come Around’ (featuring Darien Brockington), and Nicolay’s “Nic’s Groove”. If the Foreign Exchange didn’t provide enough entertainment, the crowd definitely got it’s $27.00’s worth by the warm-up DJ, DJ Kwest_On? of Swank Society Radio. Kwest had the crowd exhausted after taking us on a musical odyssey of hip-hop and old school classics that drew cheer after cheer. There was a great word of mouth campaign on this one and FE’s true fans were definitely in the house!

Looking for some fun events THIS weekend??? Check out 4 time Grammy nominated, remixer/producer Steve “Silk” Hurley spinning at the “Purple Party” this Saturday night (February 7th) at the Omni Hotel (located at 676 North Michigan Avenue).  This will definitely be one for the “grown and sexy” backed by soulful House music.  The party is presented by S&S Records

and Real Men Love.


Last but not least, set the Tivo for the Grammy’s and the Pro Bowl this Sunday, February 8th and come and check out R&B’s Best Kept secret, Syleena Johnson as she performs and meets and greets for her “Chapter 4: Labor Pains” Album Release party at RedNoFive (located at 440 N. syleena_cover_fin_sm1Halsted).  The doors open at 7pm and showtime is at 9pm.  The host for the evening is comedian Lil Rel.   If you haven’t already, pick up Syleena’s new album in stores or on iTunes and be sure to check her out in a special performance on the Maury Povich show Thursday, February 12th (check your local listings).

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Katrell Mendenhall, NBC5 Street Team

August is the month of MUSIC.  Let’s catch you up to speed… “She’s Back” was posted 6/12/08 about Chicago’s own Syleena Johnson’s long awaited debut.

After a four year hiatus from being in love and the birth of her first child, Johnson is ready to release her fourth album Chapter 4: Labor Pains, which is an in-depth look at her most personal struggles.  A total of 16 tracks and one of my personal favorites titled “Freedom” featuring Blues singer Syl Johnson (her father) is a hit.  Other local natives appearing on the album are Teefa and always holding down the Chi, Crucial Conflict.

Debuting an album is not the only celebration. Syleena amicably left Jive Records in 2006 and has now gone independent with her personal label Aneelys Records, a subsidary of Universal Music Group.  Normally, after hibernation and leaving a major label, it’s easy for an artist to fall by the wayside, but this is not going to be the case with Chapter 4: Labor Pains. The only way is UP!  The release has been pushed back from it’s original date (Sept. 2nd, her birthday) to January 13, 2009.  Wow, can you believe we’re only 4 months away? Time flies.  Check out the interview below and let me know your thoughts or who you’d like to see next. Also, check out www.myspace.com/syleenjohnson for more hot tracks. 

Check out the video of her performance and an interview from her album release at Rumba on West Hubbard.

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)

From the moment I met this soul diva back in high school, I knew she had a voice sent from heaven.  Rhythm & Blues runs through her blood (literally) and you can hear it in every lyric and every note she delivers.  She’s had three major album releases, which in this day and age of the music business is rare…most artists get one shot.  She’s hit three in a row…So why is Syleena Johnson “R&B’s Best Kept Secret”??? Well, the secret is finally out.

Chi-town’s own soul siren is “delivering” another chapter in the book of Syleena with her fourth album release, “Chapter 4: Labor Pains” set to hit retail and online distributors on September 2nd, 2008, the day after Labor Day.  There is more significance and irony to the title because the release date is also Syleena’s “born day” and like her previous releases, the inspiration for the album is drawn from life experiences such as becoming a wife and a mother over the past year.

In this day of digital downloading and decreasing album sales, this album is even more of a “labor of love” since this is Syleena’s foray into the independent route.  She recently launched her own label Aneelys Records (Syleena spelled “Backwards”) which came via an exclusive worldwide distribution deal through Federal/Universal Music Group.  Instead of having a major machine with the major marketing dollars, all the risks and hard work will be taken on by Syleena and her “A-Team”.

Syleena kept the production in-house (so to speak) by enlisting hometown producer Toxic for her amazing lead single, “It Is True” which is now getting rotation at Urban AC radio outlets.  This heavenly ballad professes Syleena’s true love for her new family in a beautiful and compelling way.  The listener will get drawn in from the opening angellic harps backing Syleena’s sultry voice as she weaves a tale about “girl meets boy”, they fall in love, and grow old together. 

Although a lot of Syleena’s music deals with the pains and struggles of women, one continuous message throughout her music and everyday life is the strength she gets from God.  “Labor Pains” I’m sure will be no different in that regard.

As always, support your local artists and make sure you check out “Labor Pains” when it drops.  Real Rhythm & Blues is coming back!


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