Monday, 17 February 2014 23:45

Respect The Classics Contest Memes

Respect The Classics // February 18, 2014

Ohhh, the 90's. The music, the fashion, the style... it was all great. Our Respect The Classics contest is bringing it all back for us and we want you all to participate in the fun! Read about our contest here and then right-click and download one of the memes below to share or use them as your profile picture!

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Custom memes created by Phil Quinal.


Published in Current
Monday, 10 February 2014 06:50

Respect The Classics Contest

Respect The Classics Contest // February 10, 2014

When a hit song can keep your head nodding years after its release, and remembering all the lyrics is like a badge of honor -- you know you are dealing with a classic. Great music lives forever; and this month we are paying homage to hip hop + R&B with our #RespectTheClassics contest.



Respect the Classics is a campaign with special edition releases from Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), saluting hip-hop’s finest. UMe’s extensive catalogue includes iconic albums from the Def Jam, Interscope, Priority, and Virgin Records vaults. Titles like the 25th Anniversary Editions of Eazy-E’s triple platinum solo debut, Eazy-Duz-It, Ice Cube’s solo debut, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, and N.W.A’s iconic, triple-platinum Straight Outta Compton, to name a few. UMe is also re-issuing many albums this coming year, including Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreaks, 2Pac’s Greatest Hits, and Eminem's Slim Shady LP.

When we heard about what they were doing, we knew we couldn’t pass up the chance to collaborate with them and show our respect too -- because, hey, we love good music. Their fresh and creative campaign is giving new life to the jams we love.  Now, artists and fans alike can join in and potentially become a part of music history.

***Update***

The submissions are in, and we're loving what we're seeing! From drawings, to jam sessions to belly dancing (yes, belly dancing!) -- you've truly shown us that you #RespectTheClassics. Now, we have to choose a winner! We posted the top entries on our Facebook page, where you can vote for your favorites. Tell us who you want to see win big. Voting ends Friday, February 28th at noon PST and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Click here to vote: http://bit.ly/MW-RTC-VOTE


Entrants can draw inspiration from any of the following albums:

Official Respect the Classics Titles

Additional UMe Catalog Titles

Get Respect + Win

Let your talent shine through. If your entry is chosen, you’ll win the following:

  • $200 Cash Prize!
  • Special Edition Vinyl Prize Pack, including Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak Collector's Set (out 3/18/14) -- a music lover's dream!
  • The chance to choose and help design the next Respect the Classics release -- will be distributed nationwide!




Official Rules

No purchase is necessary to enter or win the #RespectTheClassics contest. The contest is open to anyone over 18 years of age at time of entry who is a resident of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia.

The contest is sponsored by Made Woman, LLC and will begin on Monday, February 10 2014 at 9am PST.

Submission period will run from February 10th at 9am PST to February 23rd at 11:59pm PST.
Photos will be posted in a gallery on the Made Woman Facebook & on the Respect The Classics Facebook page.
The winner will be announced Friday, February 28th.

Entrants will email the following to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it :

  • Their name & email address
  • Their photo, video, drawing or other artistic expression
  • Their Twitter and/or Instagram username*

*Optional

Please note: all entries received may be re-posted on any of Made Woman's current or future social media outlets indefinitely and/or posted on Made Woman Magazine's website at a later date. If an entry is posted and/or re-tweeted, only the entrant’s first name or Twitter handle will be posted in conjunction with the entry.

Winner will be selected by the Made Woman & Respect the Classics teams, based on quality of entry and the concept originality. Made Woman, LLC reserves the right to select a winner based on their criteria. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.  Participant is providing information to Made Woman Magazine and not to Facebook.


By entering the Respect the Classics contest, entrants are opting into the Made Woman & Respect the Classics email lists.

By entering this giveaway, entrants accept and agree to these rules.

Published in Current
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 21:45

Entertainment | Amel Larrieux Interview Pt. 2

Entertainment // January 22, 2014

1995 was a special year in Hip-Hop and R&B. Tupac dropped his classic “Me Against the World” from his New York prison. Biggie released both “Big Poppa” and “One More Chance” and had the radio on lock.  D’Angelo blazed the charts with “Brown Sugar,” and TLC showed us how “CrazySexyCool” R&B could be.

That fall, a humble new group named Groove Theory released its debut self-titled album and its adorable hit, “Tell Me,” which became a staple in every DJ’s crate. The combination of Amel Larrieux’s salty and sweet vocals and Bryce Wilson’s production were the perfect match, and the two forever solidified their place among Hip-Hop’s golden era.

But in 1999, Larrieux went out on her own, created the independent label, Blisslife, and released her debut solo album, “Infinite Possibilities.”  After three more revered albums and six years to tour, live life, and perfect her next album, Larrieux dropped the 16-track LP “Ice Cream Everyday”.


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After last week’s shows at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in San Francisco, I got the chance to sit down with the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and chat with her about being independent, staying creative and relevant in today’s competitive landscape, and pursuing her next big dream.


John Reid: So let’s start with the record.  Why’d you decide to release “Ice Cream Everyday” now?

Amel Larrieux: Well, there’s never really any big thought-out plan. Things happen, songs are written, and if they sound good together in a group and they’re viable to be an album, then that album is done. And that’s how we’ve always worked it. It’s about each individual song being an experience sitting next to another experience, and it becomes an amalgamation of experiences and feelings and emotions...and then you have an album!

JR: And yo! You’ve got some instant classics on here! “You’re the Shhh,” “You Don’t See Me,” and “I Do Take” -- which will be everyone’s wedding song this year -- all come to mind.  But you also have songs like “See Where You Are,” “Moment to Reflect” and “Danger.”  What was the inspiration behind the records that seem to deal with the speed of life and change?


AL: “See Where You Are” is just about being present. I have my own meditation practice that affords me exactly that. Just to stop and be still for minute and sometimes not even think about what’s going on.  “Moment to Reflect” is inspired by the idea that in society -- and not just western society -- there are so many platforms for everyone to constantly be throwing out their opinions, and it’s easy for some people to just become…just nasty. And people get so wrapped up in opinions...  I write a song and have a point of view, but I really like it when a listener takes what they want from it.  So I don’t often want to get too in-depth about what I aimed for because that doesn’t really matter. It’s about what the listener gets from it.

JR: Some artists have slumps, and we can all relate to having mental blocks. What keeps you growing as an artist?

AL: For me and (my husband) Laru, we just always try to be authentic as possible. We listen to what’s happening mainstream-wise as well as underground, but we always keep a certain distance when we’re in super creative mode because we don’t really want to get too much into something that might sound trendy...I think we’ve found that when we do it our way, for lack of a better term, it ends up fitting into my discography more gracefully and seamlessly, and it all becomes like this seamless sound. But also, following trends in the music is not very interesting and also probably not very profitable for me. And I don’t think people want that from me.

JR: You’ve been able to maintain a successful career for a long time -- longer than most!  Why did you choose to go the independent route after the Groove Theory days?

AL:I’ve never been the mastermind behind the business moves that I appear to be making. It’s really been Laru, and I got really lucky that the person I fell in love with and married also happens to be the person who produces the music I make and had the idea to go independent and spearhead all this. I’m an independent spirit. I don’t want to have my fate in the hands of someone, or a conglomerate, that I don’t think really understands what I want to do.

JR: A lot of young entrepreneurs and creatives read Made Woman Mag. Creativity is such an important part of today’s world. What’s the creative process like for you?


AL: We’ve always had a space to create. We’ve always had our own studio, a home studio, or something that’s 10 minutes from home. That enabled a kind of (creative) normalcy.  We’ve been writing together, even just in the house together, for so long, so we’ve always been totally natural and we almost take it for granted because it’s just what we do. At home, you can just be writing songs and working on some music and one of us hears the other one and chimes in and says “well, what about this?” or “what if you did this to it?”  It’s just beautiful that we get to make something that’s universally felt on a spiritual level.  That’s how music is.  It’s also work. Sometimes I wish I had a timecard I could clock in and out with, but I know it’s a luxury that at 8:00 at night I can get a song idea and go remove myself and go write for a while.  Or I can do that at noon and go for a walk outside. It’s just always been a natural part of our life.



JR: So between the writing, the shows, the touring, the interviews (laughs), and the family, how do you manage to squeeze it all in?

AL: Anytime I hear people say, “Oh, you can do it all!” I’m always baffled because it’s hard.  Personally, when I hear them say that, I think to myself, “Well, it’s not easy for me!” Traveling from one climate to the next in one day. Or the time (zone) changes. Or getting jet-lagged and then having to do two shows in one night. I often don’t want to be in front of the cameras, and don’t necessarily always want to be photographed.  Some days I’m just interested in just singing, and some days I don’t want to sing at all.  Some days I don’t want to have to do mom stuff.  Some days I don’t want to cook. I’m just like anyone else in that sense. But we all have to kinda “make the donuts (laughs).” Someone has to do it.  I would say that’s really the common denominator. From Amel Larrieux the artist to anyone out there; it’s about the struggling.  I’m sure I could do a little better with my scheduling.  I’m sure that would make things easier.  You do have to be good to yourself, though, and allow yourself the room and space to have a tantrum here and there, and learn and grow, and then decide where you need to make changes and where you need to adjust.

JR: Nowadays, people are more concerned with their personal brands and not getting lost in the crowd. What has allowed you to stand out over the years in regards to your brand?


AL: Well, I think there might be something to me deciding to determine my own image and my sound and having a hand in it. It’s taken years of just being me and not trying on other people’s identity. Instead, it’s been me messing around with the organic way that my own identity ebbs and flows, musically and visually.

The other thing, and I wish it didn’t sound so businesslike, is that there are so many of us out there that do what we do and there’s so few that get to make a mark, be heard, and be able to continue to do this decade after decade and not be struggling as a starving artist. Talent has something to do with it, but it’s all relative. What really matters is who you have behind you, working what you’re doing.  A mainstream label has this machine of hundreds of people doing all this stuff.  This is the machine that I have: Laru and a small crew of people that we hire to pull all this stuff together for me.  That’s really important.  Whether you’re a visual artist or a writer, a musician, a performer, dancer, or any type of creative, it’s really important to have a manager that has an incredible work ethic or a booking agent that’s a tireless presence behind you that keeps going when everything else seems to be saying no.

JR: And you’re still going!  We’ve heard about the Groove Theory reunion and the shows you’ve done with Bryce.  What’s your biggest dream for the future at this point in your career?

AL: My biggest dream is to segue into a life of work in the service of children from one to six years old in urban low income communities with the use of art, artistic healing modalities and yogic healing modalities. I would like to teach meditation, yoga, and art and music therapy, and be involved in these communities where kids are “at risk” or don’t have the resources they need. I want to give them these tools –  these spiritual internal tools to be well adapted and healed adults one day. That’s my dream. It may not have anything to do with music, but that’s really what my heart desires at this point.

Want to read the full interview with Amel?  Read it here.


---

Follow Amel Larrieux: @amellarrieux

Published in Entertainment

Entertainment // January 13, 2014

The veteran songstress and songwriter was well into her 90-minute set at Yoshi’s Jazz Club last night when she unexpectedly announced to the crowd that she was considering a career change. “I’ve been reading about music as a healing modality and I’m hoping that that is the next step that I can take a foray into and make part of my profession.”

The announcement was quite appropriate.  Last October, Amel Larrieux released “Ice Cream Everyday,” the long-awaited and oft-delayed studio LP.  It had been six years since her last studio album, Lovely Standards (jazz), and seven years since she’d released an album comprised of her own original material.  Her fans were long overdue for some of her “music therapy” and rushed to the iTunes store on the release day to download Larrieux’s latest installment.  So far, the album’s first single, “Afraid,” reached number 16 on the Adult R&B Songs chart.

Throughout her set on Sunday night, Larrieux seamlessly weaved through material from all six of her albums.  She eased into the performance with one of her new songs from Ice Cream, “A Million Sapphires,” establishing a deep and focused tone, followed by “Magic” and “We Can Be New.”  

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But the energy of the show ascended to new heights with the song “You Don’t See Me,”  as the music seemed to transform Larrieux from R&B crooner into a Hip-Hop lyricist.  While even throwing in a couple freestyle lyrics about her ‘drink and her two-step,’ Larrieux prowled and sashayed across the stage with a swag that would’ve made Biggie pass her the mic.

And in classic Larrieux fashion, she showed her range and repertoire by performing a cover of Madonna’s “What it Feels Like For a Girl.”  With only her daughter, Sky Larrieux, accompanying her on keyboards, the deconstructed version of “Girl” became exceedingly thoughtful and introspective.

She followed with two favorites from the Morning album, “Unanswered Questions,” and “Gills and Tails.”  But the show elevated once again as she performed the hypnotic new song, “Danger,” a lesson in unlearning the culturally-driven ideas that create fear, hate, and devaluing of self.  Larrieux fans have always enjoyed Larrieux’s ability to infuse refreshing social commentary in her disarming music.  “Danger” is the latest of such works and does not disappoint.

For the final stretch, Amel brought back a couple of her classics, “Infinite Possibilities” and “INI.”  But the crowd came alive with the ballad, “I Do Take,” which will undoubtedly become the new wedding song for 2014.  

She followed that with the cherished “For Real,” and the show was rounded out with the iconic Groove Theory hit “Tell Me,” with the entire audience singing and dancing along.  

The show was perfectly imperfect, with minor hiccups here and there.  But members of the Amel faithful who have been patiently waiting for her return to the stage felt like it was well worth the wait.  One concert-goer told me, “It’s amazing and I don’t know what it is about her, but now I feel totally inspired and ready to tackle my own challenges and goals.  I have a big interview this week and this is just what I needed.”

We also got a chance to catch up with the singer after the show for an exclusive Made Woman Mag interview, so make sure to check out Part Two of this article later this week.  But in the meantime,  to get your own dose of music therapy, pick up Ice Cream Everyday.  And if you’re in the Seattle or Washington D.C. area, make sure to check out one of her upcoming shows this month

Published in Entertainment

Entertainment // April 22, 2013 

If the widespread use of techno beats and cheesy lyrics weren’t enough of an indication, R&B music today simply isn’t what it used to be. The R&B acts of the 80’s and 90’s set the bar high (Jodeci anyone?), and the timeless vocals, iconic fashion and -- of course -- the dance moves, simply can’t be forgotten.  While you can find amazing R&B groups in recent history, most of us are 80s-90s babies, so we decided to put together a list of some of the best acts of that time period.  Join us for a trip down musical memory lane, won’t you?


Boyz II Men -- I’ll Make Love To You


It was borderline impossible to choose one video to feature from Boyz II Men’s crazy catalogue of hits back in the 90s. Simply put, Boyz II Men was one of the biggest R&B acts of the 90s. From Motown Philly to End of the Road to One Sweet Day to On Bended Knee....these dudes were everywhere.  At the height of the group’s popularity, they could literally do no wrong. Ooooh baby, the I’ll Make Love To You video had it all!  Signature crazy vocals, super soft mood lighting, carefully coordinated outfits in the hallway, then look!  They’re in a driveway!  Ahhh, the simple setups of music videos back then. We miss it. Today, three out of the four original members (minus Michael McCary, aka Mr. Deep Voice with the Cane) can be found opening for New Kids on the Block on the Package Tour (ouch), and soon they’ll be taking up a residency at The Mirage in Vegas.  

Dru Hill -- In My Bed

   

OK, let’s pretend that 2:28 where Nokio pours hot candle wax down his chest while holding his neckpiece in his mouth never happened, shall we?  Good, glad we’re on the same page.  Questionable videos and blonde hair aside, Dru Hill was once a force to be reckoned with.  Sisqo’s signature wail was hard for anyone to compete with, and he stole the shine from the rest of the group most of the time, which ultimately led to his short-lived solo career (thong-th-thong-thong-th—no).  The group tried to pull it back together, but member switch outs and failed albums that no one paid attention to left the group dead in the water.  Luckily, they left us with enough great material to keep the memories of their glory days alive.

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En Vogue -- Don’t Let Go 


  

Let’s have a moment of silence for the demise of one of the greatest female R&B acts of all time.  Listening to their music today will make you pine for the girl group action of yesteryear.  En Vogue was the perfect mix of strong vocals, attitude, style and beauty.  Unfortunately, internal differences between the group (including lawsuits against one another…yikes) lead us to believe a reunion isn’t in the cards. That being said, we can all try to keep the En Vogue love alive at karaoke.

SWV -- Weak




Cuz my heart starts beating triple time… Was there a female alive in the 90s that didn’t know this song backwards and forwards?  SWV was one of the top female R&B groups of their time, and have since made attempts to put out new music.  As recently as last year, they released a single and appeared on Wendy Williams.  But is anyone checking for them?  Not really.  Still, there aren’t many acts on the radio these days who can belt out a song or have it resonate the same way these ladies can.

Jodeci -- Cry For You



If you were looking for babymaking music back in the day, these were your guys.  Jodeci was so crucial to the game that they influenced R&B performers, whether it be groups or solo acts, for years to come.  They tried to reunite on stage last month at a show in the UK, and apparently sucked so bad they were booed off the stage. But we still love them for all their shirtless videos and for being sensitive thugs.

Total Trippin



Total was more known for their guest stars and cameos than their own music, but you could find their vocals on tracks from Biggie to Missy to LL Cool J to Mase and beyond. They added a soulful vibe to every track and made short hair sexy. We probably won’t see Total back together again, but they are a quintessential component of Bad Boy's heyday.

112 -- Cupid



112 is one of my favorite things Diddy ever did.  Slim’s unique voice (let’s be real – it was pretty nasally, wasn’t it?) was a bit of an acquired taste for most people, but once you got used to it, 112 was absolutely one of the smoothest sounding groups of the 90s.  They have since disbanded, and have made a couple attempts to reunite in recent years, but apparently a couple of them keep holding out to focus on their “solo careers.”  Let us know how that turns out.

TLCWhat About Your Friends




We all know what happened to TLC, and there’s just no way for that group to ever get back together without Left Eye.  Even though you can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness over Left Eye’s untimely death when you listen to their music, classics like Waterfalls, Creep, No Scrubs, Lets Talk About Sex and this song mean they will always stay in our hearts and our rotation.

Published in Entertainment