SZA Announces June 9 Release for Debut Album ‘CTRL’

SZA is ready to control the summer.

The TDE songstress has officially announced the release date for her much-anticipated debut album, Ctrl.

Due out June 9, the set has been preceded by the recent single “Love Galore” featuring Travis Scott, along with “Drew Barrymore.”

Previously speaking about the album with Billboard, SZA explained the LP will feature songs about her life experiences and lessons learned.

“I [wrote about] my younger life, which was haphazard,” the 26-year-old said. “Being at ­sleepaway camp away from my parents, being the only black girl, not even noticing until I got older, dealing with boys, self-hate, growth, and God. It’s the first time I’m literally writing about my life instead of figuratively writing about it.”

While life was the basis for much of her songwriting, the album was also influenced by notes from legendary producer Rick Rubin. “I had this mentality that ‘more is more’ — more reverb, more background [vocals],” she said. “I played [Rubin] a bunch of songs, and he would tell me, ‘The more you take away from any piece, the more room you create for everything else to be beautiful and grow.’ I never felt that before, the editing urge. Once you strip everything down, you’re forced to say something.”

Taking to her Instagram to announce the new release date, SZA shared 3 30-second clips which find her posing outside in a rural local in front of a heap of vintage computer monitors. Accompanying the visuals is a track featuring Wu Tang leader RZA, who encourages the singer/songwriter, “Her, SZA / Cut through the paper thin / Open up their ears and let the melodies enter in,” he raps.

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Mary J. Blige Talks ‘Strength of a Woman,’ Divorce & ESSENCE “Ladies Night” Concert

Hot off the release of her stellar new album Strength of a Woman, Mary J. Blige paid a visit to ESSENCE Live for a new interview with host Cori Murray.

During their conversation, Mary spoke about the process of creating and recording her new album, which is heavily inspired by her public divorce from Martin ‘Kendu’ Isaacs.

“It started off for me fighting for my life, fighting for my marriage, fighting to still exist in the music business,” said Blige. “Then it turned into me fighting for my life, period. As bad as the situation is, it all turned out to be positive.”

She addressed moving past their split as well, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel for me,” said Mary. “This is a heavy thing, but I’m not going to let it kill me.

With her upcoming headlining performance at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival, the multi Grammy Award winner spoke about bringing together a strong all female line-up for the first “Ladies Night” concert with Chaka Khan, Jazmine Sullivan, Monica, Jill Scott and more.

Check out the interview below.

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TLC Performs “Waterfalls” on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

With their anticipated new album on the way, TLC brought some nostalgia to “Dancing with the Stars” this week.

T-Boz and Chilli performed their 1994 classic “Waterfalls” during the finale of the dancing competition.

Taking to the outdoor stage, the duo provided the soundtrack for actress Heather Morris and her partner Maksim “Maks” Chmerkovskiy.

The dancers, who landed in eighth place this season, gave it their all in front of an excited audience, coming back for the show’s Mirror Ball night.

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New Video: Goapele – Secret

Hot on the heels of releasing her stellar new EP, Dreamseeker, soulful songstress Goapele debuts a visual for the sexy song, “Secret.”

Produced by CrakWav and with an interpolation of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody,” Goapele has a secret to tell on the hypnotizing bedroom ballad.

Adorned in fashions from the Bad Butterfly Collection (a new womenswear collaboration by Project Runway finalist, Candice Cuoco, and Growing Up Hip Hop’s Vanessa Simmons), Goapele boldly explores her sultry and sensual side in the Sean Alexander-directed video that carries on the song’s seductive vibes with fishnets, an albino snake, and a sexy male muse.

Check out the video below, her Dreamseeker EP is available on all digital platforms now.

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New Music: LION BABE – Hit The Ceiling

LION BABE are hitting a high as they get ready for summer.

The New York based duo have returned with the sultry new single, “Hit The Ceiling,” produced by the group’s own Astro Raw – aka Lucas Goodman.

The track finds LION BABE at their most essential, mixing elements of soul, funk and electronic. Singer Jillian Hervey’s signature tone compliments the sexy, future soul vibe, which arrives just in time to start the summer.

“All night gotta stay up / And I just can’t get enough / Goin out I’ll see you around, downtown in the scene,” she sings. “I’m gon’ hit the ceiling / Hands up on the wall / We ain’t got no limit, and we don’t let go.”

“Hit The Ceiling” is the latest song off LION BABE’s forthcoming new project, which is set for release later in 2017. Earlier this year, the band shared the first taste of the project with the funk jam “Rockets” featuring Moe Moks.

Take a listen below.

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Indie: R&B Veteran Andy Stokes Releases New Single “Let’s Have A Good Time”

Step in the name of love to Andy Stokes.

The indie R&B crooner has released the love-filled grown and sexy new single, “Let’s Have a Good Time,” off his new EP, Full Circle.

“Everybody have a good time,” sings Stokes. “Life is too short to spend with someone who don’t care / Let’s dress it up, and take it there / It’s time to party and feel real good.”

Labeled the “Northwest’s King of Soul,” Andy has been sharing his soulful voice and undeniable musical mastery with the Northwest music culture for more than three decades. Already an inductee to Oregon’s Music Hall of Fame, and a regular headliner at Paul Allen’s New Year’s Eve parties, the singer/songwriter continues to perform to sold-out crowds at iconic venues throughout the region.

As the lead vocalist with the legendary funk band Cool’R, Andy signed with renowned A&M Records, and toured worldwide as a featured artist with the likes of The Stylistics, Michael Bolton, George Clinton, The Temptations and many others. Now, the acclaimed singer has released his solo debut EP, Full Circle.

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First Look: ‘Whitney: Can I Be Me’ (Documentary) Trailer

Following it’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, the controversial new documentary about Whitney Houston’s life and career is coming to select theaters this summer.

The doc, titled WHITNEY: Can I Be Me, was directed by Nick Broomfield, and was largely made with never-before-seen footage and exclusive live recordings.

WHITNEY: Can I Be Me tells Whitney Houston’s incredible and poignant life story with insights from many who were closest to her, including bodyguards, backup singers, hairdressers, label reps and promoters.

“Having to be someone else – to play the ‘Whitney character’ – was something that became impossibly difficult,” says Broomfield. “From an early age, she had very little control over her life.”

“Her meteoric rise and tragic fall raises a lot of questions about what kind of sacrifices she made to to be a crossover singer who was at some points rejected by her own people,” said Broomfield. “She was booed at the Soul Train awards. This all took place at a time when America was even more polarized than it is today.”

Watch the first look trailer below.

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Def Jam’s Rising Singer Brenda Mada Releases Fun-Filled Video for Debut Single “House Party”

Get ready to party with Def Jam’s latest rising star, Brenda Mada.

Born in Madagascar and raised in Belgium, the 18-year-old tri-lingual beauty has released the music video for her debut single, “House Party,” and it’s going to make you want to stay in and party with your squad rather than hitting the clubs.

The infectious pop/R&B jam finds the teen singer, who was discovered on YouTube, addressing an issue she discovered upon moving to America as a teenager.

When Mada relocated to the states she felt restricted not being able to go out like teenagers in Europe, where 16-year-olds are considered adults. In response to the age restrictions she decided to start throwing her own parties and we all know house parties are a cherished American past time. The low-key lit anthem is complimented by Mada’s sweet raspy, hypnotic tone.

Remember the name Brenda Mada and check out her video below.

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