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A COLORS festival in Berlin needs to happen

The simplest backdrop brings out the best in a musician's performance

COLORS out of Berlin produces some of the cleanest music performances on YouTube with some of the biggest prospects in music right now. Going through the 271 videos they’ve uploaded so far, and picking 36 (13%), two themes in my selection process stuck out.

The videos didn’t help every performer sound better. In the end, it was about their vocal chops. It did, however, bring out the best in the voices that stood out. Imagine a COLORS festival in Berlin. Live is the ultimate goal for any content company and most others.

I also realized, or more so confirmed, my dislike for listening to rap from outside of the US. It’s not about what they say, it’s about how they say it. Not being exposed enough to the phonetics in other languages when it comes to music has trained my brain to prefer the American accent. Even Canadian rappers I can’t take seriously sometimes. “Aboot” makes me chuckle, let alone when it’s in a rap song.

That’s why I appreciate COLORS. I trust their selection and they expose me to rap from around the world. I know if I listen long enough, they’ll find something I love. And if not COLORS, there are plenty of other international curation houses that’ll turn something up. Although not with a simple, vibrant, one-color backdrop that COLORS displays so beautifully behind each upload.

Would love to see Durand Jones & The Indications in front of COLORS someday.

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Coachella’s 2018 lineup felt like a personal best

Beyonce, SZA, and Kali Uchis were the best, but not the only

It didn’t have Frank Ocean, but Coachella 2018 may have beat out 2017’s FYF fest for best festival lineup I’ve ever been to. Beyonce, SZA, Jacob Banks, THEY., Kali Uchis, Daniel Caesar, Tom Misch, Jorja Smith, ODESZA, Vince Staples, Jessie Ware, Miguel, Kamasi Washington. That’s not even half of who I loved, so here’s most the rest.

Let’s start with Friday because chronology. It also had my favorite performance at Coachella, Kali Uchis.

I love how Kali works the stage. She’s among my favorite performers, including Jacob Banks, Anderson .Paak, Tom Misch, and DUCKWRTH. I’ve seen Kali at The New Parish and The Fox in Oakland, but she had a lot more competition this time at Coachella.

Most loved Beyonce most, but Kali Uchis had the moment for me. She always does. Every time I’ve seen her I’m always caught up in her singing and stage presence. She keeps me the whole time. That barely happens ever for me. Too much on my mind.

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Kali Uchis

Breaking music barriers

I saw Kali Uchis late 2017 at The New Parish and my first thought was my girlfriend would love her. I wanted to surprise her with tickets to her show at The Fox just after Valentine’s Day, but it seems like she needs more convincing on how good she is.

I haven’t seen a catalog this deep on SoundCloud ever (Duckwrth is second best). One song after the other, even the shittiest recordings had that whisper in her voice that makes her sound so special. She’s the first artist that’s ever made me appreciate someone singing another language so much.

I think that’s what more Americans need to start appreciating other languages being sung. Bi-lingual singers to show there’s no language line with good music.

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with Soul

There's nothing better than singers with soul

As this bitch of a year comes to a close, there isn’t anything better than soulful singers to give it some grace. I haven’t put together a soul singers playlist for about a year, so there’s a lot of musicians to cover (72!)

In our last Lip Service playlist, it had soul, but no women. I think it’s as important as ever to show appreciation to the women you love, and I love these musician. Or I’m sure I would if I knew them.

This one’s for the woman I do, Lizzzz.

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Daniel Caesar with Snoh Aalegra

His fans were as impressive as him

Three days before Daniel Caesar’s show at The New Parish in Oakland, I went to Jacob Banks at The Independent in San Francisco. Banks was the first show that ever brought me to tears, so I had high expectations for Caesar.

I got to The New Parish thirty minutes after doors opened to make sure I got a good spot for Caesar’s opener, Snoh Aalegra. It was extremely sold out, as in prices on StubHub were going for $200, so I probably should’ve got there earlier. By the time I did, the place was packed, but eventually I found a view of her from just behind the soundcheck. Not only does she have a voice, but she knew how to use it, especially live. Like Jacob Banks, she can get a crowd going, but Caesar has something more with his crowd. They were working with him.

When I heard all this hoopla about Daniel Caesar, I didn’t understand why Jacob Banks wasn’t getting the same. After hearing Caesar live, I do now. Caesar’s lyrics are more accessible. It’s pleasant to sing, even for the worst of us singers. And once your brain gets it stuck up in your head, all you wanna do is sing it with Caesar. Something most of his audience did. Something I don’t think most of the audience for Jacob Banks could pull off.

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