Category Archives: Artists

EPISODE 20: If We Could Only Talk—a chat with singer- songwriter, a cappella arranger N’Namdi O. Bryant

When you know what you do best, sticking to your guns—as singer-songwriter PJ Morton writes and sings—is how to get your life’s work done.

Today’s podcast guest is N’Namdi Olufemi Bryant, a singer-songwriter and host of the podcast “For the Love of A Cappella.” We get into some themes of his latest album during this episode. It’s titled “If We Could Only Talk.” 

So N’Namdi and I had been talking about doing a podcast together for MONTHS, but as usual, life takes on its own plans. We were going to have him on before an album release earlier this year, then tech difficulties took over his project.

But the idea was still in both of our orbits. So—lookie here—I saw on Instagram that N’Namdi was in Washington, D.C. I said to myself—GIRL…..let’s make this happen! If you don’t ask him if he’ll have time for an interview—it’s an automatic no!

I asked if he had an time to chat. He said yes, and here it is! It all worked out.

So we met up at the Mansion on O Street. It’s a tourist destination located just off the bustling Dupont Circle, and has a fascinating trove of history tied to it. It’s also where N’Namdi sometimes performs.

There are so many themes to this podcast, and to preserve the integrity of the conversation flow, I tried not to do too much lifting and pasting of interview parts. We talk about negative self-talk, and what N’Namdi does to overcome that hurdle. Also—a discussion on imperfection and about the different ways he stretched his vocal range.

During our talk I learned some things I didn’t know in the decades since we last saw each other.

So let’s get right to the conversation, where we start talking about his podcast “For the Love of A Capella,”and where he got the idea for his program.

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07:55-Why it took him more than 10 years to complete one particular song arrangement

11:05—The makings and stories behind his current project “If We Could Only Talk”

21:30—How Kermit the Frog came up in our conversation

26:06—The road to vocal range

31:51—The time we talked about skylines and smog

33:39—Homeless in Huntsville, Ala. and Nashville

49:59—The part about albums, hilarious singing telegram and touching ride-share driver stories


That was N’Namdi Bryant…singer, songwriter, musical arranger…lover of a cappella! His new project “If We Could Only Talk” and his other albums are available on various online platforms–including iTunes.

Learn more about his projects on his website—The Acappellian.
You can also connect with him via social media:
Facebook
Instagram

Remember to also follow Planet Noun on Social Media, and to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and please rate the show.

Thanks again for stopping by Planet Noun. Until next time, take care!

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EPISODE 18—When your name helps pave the pathway to greatness

In this episode of Planet Noun, a chat with an up-and-coming…award-winning jazz musician Jazmin Ghent.

When she learned she won the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album, Ghent was in the midst of a trip to Australia.

“So I was absolutely shocked, so shocked, and I feel like it changed the dynamic of that whole trip in Australia. I just know it’s no one but God, and I’m beyond thankful, and I don’t take it lightly. You know, I’m representing women, African American women in music, in Jazz music, so I’m beyond thankful and grateful.”

When she’s not belting smooth tunes from her saxophone, she’s in the classroom teaching music to children in Polk County, Florida.

We talk about her pathway to jazz music, the saxophone, and how names and other language used with children can affect the trajectory of their lives.

She also talks about how words from musicians she looks up to helped guide her path.

“I did this Show Your Talent competition. The judges were Marcus Miller, Brian Culbertson and Boney James… It was surreal to be in front of these people I grew up listening to,” Ghent said.

“I was so nervous before I played, and Brian Culbertson came up to me and said ‘you know what, just have fun. And if you have fun, everyone else will have fun, too.’ That was the moment where I was like—maybe I could do this and record, and write and make this a career. That would be a defining moment.”

Ghent says she is on a constant path of self-improvement when it comes to her musical gifts.

“I feel like there’s this unattainable goal that I have for myself that I’m constantly working towards. I just know I had a love for music and it’s what I wanted to pursue. I can’t see myself doing anything else. So that’s what turned it into a career…”

Planet Noun is all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents. That’s exactly what Ghent is doing with her teaching and her music.

Listen to the entire interview —featuring Jazmin Ghent, winner of the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album.

Learn more about Ghent’s music on her website.

You can also follow her on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

SoundCloud

Instagram

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Episode 17: Warming up for the glow up with confidence, featuring Patrick Fenison

WARNING: This episode contains cussing. And it’s not all bleeped out. So govern yourselves accordingly with earbuds and such.

The Glow Up. Been hearing a lot about that lately. First of all—what the F is that? Well, intuitively, I know what it is…but I had to consult a reputable source…

So…the Urban Dictionary tells me the Glow Up is when you go from wack-looking to gorgeous… another definition is to rise to the top from the bottom of whatever aspirational ladder a person is climbing. The Free Dictionary’s idioms section says something similar—Basically, it’s a fantastic transformation—that’s very real.

Who doesn’t want the Glow Up? I mean, who isn’t fascinated by someone’s rise from out of nowhere?

Thing is—I’ve learned—it’s hardly EVER from nowhere. The folks you love and adore today—famous folks or maybe other folks—have likely been working their tails off for YEARS in order to get the results that are now visible to lots of people.

A lot of more time-established shows and podcasts interview folks AFTER their glow has started, and there’s everything RIGHT with that.

But what about the folks who are somewhere in the middle, folks who are not quite at the top or at the bottom, but somewhere in between?

Well, today’s guest took time off of his grind to talk to me.

His name is Patrick Fenison. He’s one of many people committed to meeting their aspirations.

We start our conversation with the time Pat started recognizing his glimmer—when he KNEW he was born to be a performer.

3:45—When Pat knew performing was for him
5:42—Pat ain’t got no sense! His path to becoming a comedian
8:10—I’m going for it!
14:09—Creating a fanbase, then a move upsets hometown momentum
23:43—Everyone’s not going to believe in you; the importance of guarding curating your energy spaces with like-minded people
34:13—A story behind his video “Drop It”
46:30—Where to find Pat on social media

Find Patrick on Facebook and Instagram

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Aretha

Yes, it was imminent.

Yes, it was coming down the pike, as it is for us all.

But there’s still a hefty morsel of numbness that nestles itself in my soul for a little bit once I hear someone’s life exit is final.

Been kind of blah all day.

Been trying to put words to my feelings.  Trying. Still not there yet.

Why will I miss Queen Aretha?

She was the only artist who could make me raise a hand, and say a heartfelt Hallelujah for ALL the life reasons Click To Tweet

Because she was who she was.  She earned first name only status with an exclamation point (ARETHA!) AND ascended to royalty  (Queen of Soul).

Because she played a role in the Civil Rights Movement and helped others. Much-much respect!

Last but not least, I’ll miss her for accompanying us through the human experience.  She was the only artist who could make me raise a hand,  and say a heartfelt “Hallelujah” for ALL the life reasons: From “Precious Lord” and “Mary Don’t You Weep,” to “Bridge over Troubled Water”…

And from “Daydreaming” to “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Dr. Feelgood,” which could be the reason some of y’all exist today.

There was only one Aretha.

Missed, she will be.

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Hitman tour leaves behind musical slayage in D.C.’s Warner Theater

WASHINGTON—God created music, dammit. I’m convinced. And he, she…or he and she…or it or them-there… they put a bunch of it on display last night when David Foster’s Hitman Tour hit D.C.’s Warner Theater.

David Foster is not, as James Comey might say, “out breaking legs and– you know, shaking down shopkeepers.” Nothing like that. This Hitman slays our hearts by taking shaped notes and cranking out hit after hit over decades—so many that you might not know how much this man’s musical footprint has pitter-pattered over your life’s soundtrack.

And it was a great show—aptly titled “An Intimate Evening with David Foster.”

An intimate feel it had with the Warner Theater’s ornate architecture and cozy seating.

Foster accompanied all of us down memory lane with with a team of fantabulous singers. They were EXCELLENT. “I wish I could sing like that,” Foster joked during the set, “then I wouldn’t need them.” He did croon lines from some of his beloved hits as well. And he’s needed, because no one can write what he writes how he writes it.

LAWDY-BE it was a good show! I just hope the adorable 70-something year old blonde lady sitting next to me didn’t think I was too loud when I got all happy and started shouting “YAAAAASSSSS” like I was up in church or something. She didn’t complain.

She also didn’t look 70. But she did tell me she retired from the CIA. #random

Sooooo… I’m a little biased about which of Foster’s guests I enjoyed most. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed them ALL. Fernando Varela and Pia Toscano can sing like NOBODY’s business! Whew! But Shelea blew the roof off the motha-sucka!

“I don’t understand why someone like her doesn’t have a show in her own right. She’s good,” CIA seat-neighbor told me.

“Best of all,” I replied, “she’s a genuinely nice person.”

Of course, of all the people on that stage, she’s the only person I have any experience with…  I don’t count the 25 seconds I stood next to David Foster–long enough to take a photo after a session at the NAB Radio Show in San Francisco in…2000, I think. Still have that photo somewhere… ##random

Lookie-here
The Hitman tour isn’t over. There are still some dates coming up in Florida. If you’re nearby—or not—airplanes still work, lol!

And if you can’t make it, just Google samples of Varela, Toscano, and Shelea. If you ever see them live—methinks it’ll be worth it.

Shelea:

Fernando Varela:

Pia Toscano:

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Celebrating music and stories that changed America

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Museum of History and Culture opened with lots of fanfare in September.

Tonight… a two-hour star-studded show to celebrate what the museum is about. A conversation about tonight’s show with Tasha Coleman, Senior Manager of Counsel Relations and Special Initiatives at the museum.

A preview of tonight’s extravaganza

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Ziggy Marley and ‘Fly Rasta’ tour swing through D.C.

ziggy on wtop
Click image for more on wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Even though Bob Marley has been gone 33 years, the reggae pioneer remains legendary within the genre. His influence lives on through his children and fans around the world.

One of his sons, Ziggy Marley, continues to make a stylistic imprint in the reggae realm and beyond. He’s won six Grammy Awards – three with The Melody makers, a group that included brother Stephen and sister Cedella, and three for solo projects, including his 2009 children’s album, “Family Time,” and for last year’s live album, “Ziggy Marley in Concert.”

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Jason Nelson | Shifting the Atmosphere With Praise


Jason Nelson talks about his single “Shifting the Atmosphere” and his history with BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel!

Jason Nelson’s single “Shifting the Atmosphere” swiftly shifted  its way through the Gospel music world. Not only is this tune blessing many, it’s also managed to maintain a prominent place on Billboard’s Gospel Songs chart for 39 weeks.

Liz had the opportunity chat with Jason Nelson about the 32nd season of Bobby Jones Gospel, a weekly staple in the Gospel music community.   Nelson also gave his perspective on events that were hot topics at the time of the interview.  The controversy discussed actually calmed in the weeks following this interview, but is still making occasional reappearances in the news.

Enjoy the interview, comment, and subscribe on YouTube!

 

 

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