Bilal Visits The Parish In Another Life

Grammy Award-winning, singer, songwriter and producer, Bilal, creates music that ‘confuses the computers.’ The Philadelphia-raised, New York-based progressive jazz artist helped usher in the Neo-Soul Era and has collaborated with everyone from Beyoncé and Common to The Roots and King Kendrick.  Last Thursday, Bilal made a stop by The Parish on his current tour for a soul-studded event featuring Austin’s ‘Resilient’ Queen of Neo-Soul, Alesia Lani and slow-burning, super-hot R&B sensation, Sam Houston. Check out a few shots from the evening below.

Bilal

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Alesia Lani

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Sam Houston

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Alesia Lani Brings Back Classic R&B With ‘Resilient’

She’s soulful, she’s self-supporting, and she’s doubtlessly stunning. If there’s anyone advocating the perfect amount of female liberation then its Alesia Lani. Her latest album Resilient takes us back to the future, delivering all those sexy 90’s R&B vibes, with a hint of modern day quirk.

Lani’s supple and soulful voice is truly classic R&B at its best. With ‘You Changed’ boasting her talent exceptionally, the chilled-out instrumentals filled with those typical, yet totally effective, R&B twinkles and deep Organ notes help to create a thoroughly sassy 90’s sound. Despite the cool, relaxed melodies Lani’s vocals are always the star attraction. With her music style being comparable to that of Destiny’s Child, and early Alicia Keys there’s no doubt Lani’s music career is gleaming.

With another exceptional vocal lead, Lani uses ‘Fold’ to discuss her confusion between lust and love by wanting to return back to an old lover that she knows isn’t healthy for her. She slows it down and sexes it up during this track creating a mature yet sensual kind of mood.

However, songs like ‘Pay Me No Mind’ are truly representative of her strong, ‘independent woman’ morals. With undoubtedly direct lyrics and clusters of brass instrumentals, the track isn’t shy of confidence. The subtle hint of slaps, claps and finger snaps humanizes the music. The song is stripped right down to the basics of music making, proving that sometimes simplicity is key.

Although her music takes it right back to basics, Lani gives her album a fresh and unique twist with the inclusion of spoken word tracks. Both her ‘Intro‘ and ‘Zai’s Poem‘ provide an emotional insight into Lani’s consciousness. It unites both Lani and listener, creating a mutual understanding. It no longer becomes solely her album, but an album meant to be shared and understood by all.

With Resilient only being her second album since 2015, the tenacity and sharpness suggests she’s way beyond her years. Creating an album for both dedicated R&B fans and those new to the genre alike, Alesia Lani is influential in her own right, and almost definitely here to stay.

http://www.alesialanimusic.com/

Written by: Beth Judge

Alesia Lani Brings the Soul

Alesia Lani has straight-up been killing it lately. The sultry songstress made an amazing First Impression in 2015 with a Top 10 album and consecutive Austin Hip Hop Awards for “Best R&B Artist”. She’s strutted her soulful sensuality all over the festival circuit at SXSW, Pecan Street and most recently Solstice. Her captivating performance at 35 Denton was considered one of the event’s major highlights and excitement continues to build for Saturday’s Babes Fest show at Empire Control Room. Last month, Lani dropped ‘Intentions’, the riveting new single off her highly-anticipated sophomore project due out this fall and also appeared in longtime friend Tomar and the FCs’ recent video ‘Shine Your Light’. It seems we just can’t get enough of this vivacious vocalist.

 

We caught up with Alesia Lani to hear more about Babes Fest, her new single and some of her personal influences. Check out the interview below.

You’ll be performing two nights in a row at Empire with Babes Fest on Saturday and then opening for the Ohio Players on the 30th. How does that honor feel?

Gosh I feel so special!!! It’s so accomplishing really. Since Boss Babes started I just love the movement and all. So, it’s always a joy to be apart of that. But, opening for the legendary Ohio Players is just crazy!! When I told my mom (who’s musical choices molded me) she damn near cried!!

Your latest single “Intentions” has been received very well since its release. How was working with G-Jet and were you able to learn anything during the production process you may not have previously considered?

I love this song!! What’s so different and what I’ve learned while working on this song is the whole first verse and idea was from one of the producers!! That was the first time I actually collaborated with another writer & actually something I’ve always wanted to do!! I’ve always wrote my own songs but I like picking other people’s brains too!

How was that experience working with Tomar and the FCs?

It was so fun!! I’ve know the Williams since I was in elementary school so they are basically like family to me!!! It was so organic!

What are your thoughts on Austin’s evolving R&B/Soul scene and its future?

I love how much me and other R&B singers here in Austin are raising more awareness and existence. Like “hey, R&B is not dead y’all.” It might not be as trendy as rap and other genres but it’s definitely influential and I don’t want other artists and fans to forget that.

How do you feel you’ve grown since First Impression?

Wow! I fell like I’ve grown so much just as a person, a woman in all aspects…especially musically. My writing has evolved and my sound has broadened!

In honor of Babes Fest, who are some of the local ladies that have helped you during your young career?

My vocal coach Odessey Francis, she’s like my backbone. Her teaching methods are so flexible and she’s always teaching me something new. My best friend Alisha Ronez is now a co-manager of a popular rapper named Insomniac Lambs…she’s always believed in me and pushed me to go for what I know… also Nubia Emmon, Anastasia, Chakeeta B, Staci Russell.. man I can go on!! Lol

With your second album right around the corner what do you hope the near-future has in store?

What any artist would want!! Genuine success!! I’ve never toured on my own, that would be really dope!! And just reaching more of my goals like playing ACL and Blues on the Green & hitting more bigger and cooler festivals!!

Check out Alesia Lani’s hot new single ‘Intentions‘ below.

http://www.alesialanimusic.com/

Catch Alesia Lani at Empire Control Room during Babes Fest on July 29 and opening for Ohio Players on July 30. Tickets can be purchased here and here

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Solstice Festival Thursday Recap

The 4th annual Solstice Festival returned to Austin last week to celebrate Fête de la Musique with three days of music, art and technology. The music festivities kicked-off Thursday evening in the Red River district at Sidewinder where the theme for the night was soothing soul and uplifting hip-hop. Austin’s eclectic soul and R&B singer Mélat simmered the outside stage with sensual melodies of life and love. The vivacious vocalist was followed by Black Rodeo before husband and wife hip-hop party starting duo Riders Against the Storm got the whole crowd body rockin’ with their enthusiastic synergy.

The inside stage was just a dope as Austin’s ‘Best R&B Artist’ of 2015, Alesia Lani, shared her melodic love stories with the Sidewinder crowd before stylistic and lyrically proficient emcee Nicolas Azlon dropped some riotous wordplay and Austin’s favorite rapper, Omenihu, turned the party out just hours before his own EP release the following day.

Over at Mohawk, the theme was a slightly different but just as invigorating as sibling trio, The Bishops, opened the outside stage with their wavy futuristic fusion of electronic, hip-hop, jazz and pop that lead into the dreamy electo-pop of Milwaukee-based GGOOLLDD and the wicked trippy electronic trap of Holiday Mountain.

Indie-pop, electro-acoustic duo Emme pushed the envelope inside the Mohawk and got the crowd warmed up with big brass and warping synths. Seven-piece soul ensemble Huggy & The Feel Goodz showed off some ‘new R&B’ with their modern interpretation of warm nostalgic soul before indie-electronic-pop brothers, The Lagoons, showed off their hypnotic experimental repertoire. The live-looping, one man funk band, Henry + The Invisibles cranked the energy to full blast to close it out.

It was a Latin celebration over at Empire Control Room as Brazilian Tio Chico opened the evening and the fuzzy, psychedelic cumbia of Money Chicha got the crowd dancing with the heavy percussion and side-stepping congas. The dance party at Empire lasted through the night with the cumbia, merengue and Afro-Cuban Reggae harmoines of El Tule.

Sidewinder Outdoors

Mélat

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Black Rodeo

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Riders Against the Storm

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Sidewinder Indoors

Alesia Lani

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Nicolas Azlon

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Omenihu

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Mohawk Outdoors

The Bishops

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GGOOLLDD

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Mohawk Indoors

Huggy and the Feel Goodz

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The Lagoons

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Henry + The Invisibles

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Photos by: Demetrius Judkins