My entire catalog available on custom flash drives this weekend at the Harlem Arts Festival!
THE FESTIVAL IS JUNE 28TH & 29TH! CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE FESTIVAL SCHEDULE (click above) AND BE SURE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FUN ALL WEEKEND LONG.
I PERFORM ON SUNDAY, JUNE 29TH @ 7:30PM! NOT ONLY WILL THE SHOW BE FULL OF SURPRISES, BUT ALSO LOTS OF NEW MERCH TO TAKE HOME AND SHARE!
Tell your friends, share details about the show and be sure come and support New York’s finest artists!
This Saturday I had the pleasure of spending a lovely SUNNY afternoon with the talented Jerome “Rome” Shaw and lovely Miss Sayde! We shot a fun promo video for the Harlem Arts Festival (JUNE 28th & 29TH)! We laughed, complained about New York apartment hunting and enjoyed the perfect weather! Stay tuned for the video coming soon and be sure to check out Rome’s work HERE.
A few months ago I announced that I’ll be one of the headliners for this year’s Harlem Arts Festival. I could not be more excited to share this with you all. I perform in the evening on Sunday, June 29th and I will continue to blog, tweet and instagram my journey to HAF 2014 throughout this month! Lots of pics and vids to come!
In the meantime, please check out the Harlem Arts Festival website for profiles of all of the amazing musicians, visual arts, dancers and more who’ll be contributing their talents to the festivities.
You can check out my profile by clicking on the image below.
I am so excited to be singing at the Ella Lounge this evening! All proceeds will go to the following organizations:
Sauti Yetu (http://www.sautiyetu.org/): Sauti Yetu is a multi-issue community-based organization that works with African immigrant women and families both in the New York City metropolitan area and nationally.
Awomi (http://www.awomi.org/): AWOMI’s goal is to empower impoverished women and youth and enhance their leadership and rights in national, regional and global initiatives to end poverty.
BAOBAB (http://www.baobabwomen.org/ ): BAOBAB For Women’s Human Rights is a not for profit, non-governmental women’s human rights organization, which focuses on women’s legal rights issues under the three (3) systems of law – customary, statutory and religious laws in Nigeria.
JOIN US TONIGHT @ 7PM!
I spent the morning listening to the one and only Nasir Jones talk about his 20 year career in the music business on NPR’s Microphone Check podcast. He spoke about inspiration, confidence, intention, knowledge and what it means to find yourself on this continuum of great artists and creators.
I often find my head spinning with thoughts about the history of music, black music, black women’s music, singers, songwriters – always asking questions about where we’ve come from and where we’re going. There are people who argue that everything has been already been said. Every story already written. Every image already photographed. Nothing new under the sun. Is that true? I don’t know. But I do know that despite the possibility of that being true, the importance of telling ones story and/or telling the stories of others is no less necessary. Perhaps the purpose of the arts is to ultimately leave a record which is so accessible for the human spirit, so recognizable, that we are fully able to realize that we are not now, nor have we ever been, truly alone. Our fundamental experiences are shared.
Any artists can tell you that whatever that spark is that drives you to create is a shared and insatiable one. Everything you do, leads you to want to do more and see more and learn more with more people. As I evolve as a human, as an artist, as a creator, I get a lot of joy and validation in the longevity of creation. Not only how long my art will last, but also the sheer amount of time that, god willing, I’ll be able to keep creating it. I am charged by the possibilities of inspiration. The possibilities of access. The possibilities of exposure.
I’m filled up with the privilege of being ever more the artist I seek to be, ever more an evolving being and ever more happy.
“Strictly living longevity to the destiny.” – Nas
So, spring has FINALLY sprung. We’ve got sunshine, we’ve got rain, we’ve got 70 degrees! Ugh…it’s been a devastatingly long time comin! When it hit 60, the ladies got damn near naked. Ha! Hey, after a winter of 7 layers, we were entitled to a show a bit of skin.
The weather and the sunshine has me feeling super creative. I’ve been taking long walks instead of eating lunch at my desk, writing music and sleeping with the windows open. It has me thinking, what are the ESSENTIALS for spring time? It’s such a literal time of transition. Spring cleaning for real.
I thought I’d share my essentials with you…this is my short list and I’d love to hear yours!
1. Refresh your space.
This weekend my girlfriend and I cleared out our old clothes and started an herb garden on our fire escape. We also bought some house plants to freshen up our bedroom window sills. Think of some ways to lighten up your room or your kitchen – the places you spend the most time. Perhaps change your curtains or rugs.
2. Refresh your a wardrobe.
When you pull out those spring/summer clothes, get rid of some stuff. I swear, every time I bring out my spring/summer clothes, there’s always at least one thing that repulses me. HA! Take that thing, donate it and add something new to the mix. I bought this light trench from H&M (see below, only $30), which is great for the sometimes unpredictable day/night transition.
3. Add some unexpected accessories.
I’m usually a pretty simple dresser, but spring makes me feel ambitious. Think about adding somethings to your everyday look that makes you feel refreshed and a bit new! I’m thinking white/beige sunglasses. (I’m usually a strictly black or tortoise shell girl.)
4. Listen/read to something NEW.
Spring is a time for reemergence. I find myself craving new sounds and new knowledge. I recommend picking up a new book, buying a new (or old) album you’ve never listened to, subscribe to a new podcast, etc.
(click image for link to The Read podcast)
Enjoy your spring folks! Feel free to share your “must-dos”, as I’m always looking for ways to refresh!
For those who live in cities, urban areas specifically, there are sites that become common place. There are unpleasant things like trash, phlem balls and dog turds, etc., but there are also beautiful things like the well worn buildings which remind us that we are transient – they were here before us and will likely be here after.
Even though I’ve been in New York nearly three years, so much of it still feels new. I find myself looking up, looking out, looking through, finding new spaces and new ways to see. I am completely content with the fact that no matter how long I stay, I’ll never see it all. And that’s not the point. The point is to be wise enough to see what is in front, behind, above and below you NOW, in the moment and time you’re in.
As I think about who I am now, who I was before I came and the path that I’m on, I think so much of that is shaped and enhanced by the spaces I find myself in. Spaces which are sometimes smoke & mirrors and sometimes deeply real. I take in these lesson against the backdrop of an ever hungry, anxious and pulsing city that has both taken me in and pushed me away.
Mood board inspired by the color of the season and the texture of the city…
To a week filled with inspiration…
I don’t know about you, but I am addicted to podcasts. Being that my daily commute is over an hour each way (BK to Harlem), podcasts have quickly become my lifeblood. They are about an hour long and they always inspire me or educate me a bit. Fun!
NPR has great selections for folks who wanna get into podcasts. Microphone Check (NPR’s Hip-Hop blog/podcast) has been super on point lately. Last month Mr. Muhammad and Ms. Kelley had a great interview with Solange Knowles that was super entertaining. Though they usually don’t feature R&B acts, it was refreshing to hear Solange talk about how hip-hop has influenced her music and tell some of her fave hip-hop memories. I think any R&B singer growing up in the 90′s would probably note hip-hop artists as influencing their work. We see the blend of hip-hop into R&B so strongly in the 90′s and it has never stopped – sometimes for the best (Aaliyah & Missy) and sometimes for the worse (Tyrese & alter-ego Black-Ty). :/
I fully recommend listening to it if you’re at your desk today. Mostly work friendly.
This whole thing got me thinking about all the 90′s/2000′s hip-hop/R&B cuts that I loved growing up and that have never left me. As a young singer, I remember sitting around and listening to Brandy’s first album with my best friend and memorizing every track! Monica, Mya, Mary, Aaliyah and so many more.
Some of my fav cuts…
“Mya, Mya, Mya – SISQO!” Lmao – classic!
Listen to some good music today!
I will be the first to admit that I have neglected this special space for more than a year. While I’ve tried to keep you all posted on the exciting shows and adventures I’ve been a part of, I have yet to share where my head is at, what’s inspiring me, etc. That being said, I AM OFFICIALLY BACK on the blogging wagon and I will be posting (AT LEAST) once a week about the happenings in my life. I’ll be calling them my #mondaymusings and I invite you to comment, criticize (politely) and crack up, as I’m sure some of these posts will be ridiculous!
That being said, let’s start NOW! This weekend I spent some time at the New Voices in Black Cinema Festival hosted and sponsored by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). This is my second year attending the festival and what a blast! The first film I saw was called Flex is Kings. This is a film which documents the FLEX dancing movement out of Brooklyn. Anyone who’s been in a subway train in New York City in recent years has likely seen some version of Flex dancing done by the ever talented subway dancers. A combination of body contortion, style and sheer athleticism combines for visually amazing performances by some of Kings County’s finest. The film delves into the development of Flex, but also the myriad of characters who are building this art form and the community around it. It takes some interesting turns in highlighting the tracks of different dancers and allowing us to peer into what it means to want to dance.
The screening was so dope and led to an impromptu dance show right there in the theater by some of the dancers featured in the film. Super inspiring! This film was an official selection of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, so if it gets picked and is in a city near you, I highly recommend you check it out. Also, please visit the website, linked above, to support this film!
I also had the privilege of watching a series of short films, which took on many topics of the black diaspora with such a range of styles. Sci-fi to drama, New Orleans to the UK – the diversity of the black experience was on display! One of the stand out films for me was a film entitled “Seventh Grade” by filmmaker Stephani Saintonge, adjunct professor at Hofstra University. This film won the first ever Essence Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest in 2014. Saintonge’s film,”Seventh Grade,” has been described as “a unique coming-of-age story about a brave young black girl who discovers the politics of sexuality and in the process stands up for a friend and makes it count.”
This film is sweet, smart, well-written, well-acted and has the ability to resonate with the experience of young girls everywhere. Again, keep your eye out for this film, but also this filmmaker. I have a feeling good things are to come!
Check out Ms. Saintonge’s Essence write-up here.
Have a great week ya’ll!
It’s been a music filled month for me and so many musicians I know. I took a lovely trip to my hometown this month and had an AMAZING intimate show downtown in the home of a friend (see last post). After a joyfilled trip home with lots of friends, fam and admittedly a bit too much alcohol, I took a red-eye from Phoenix into NYC and touched down on Saturday morning, December 28th. I touched down just in time to get home, take a nap, shower, make it to a rehearsal - THEN to a show that night. Tired? Yes. But let me tell you it was WORTH it!
Higher Self is “an economic and social lifestyle that encourages us to follow a way of life in which we pursue personal, material and social success in a socially responsible way. The premise of HigherSelf is that we should all strive to do “good” in our daily lives, and to do no harm in our pursuit of such successes.”
With this at the heart of their mission, the team from HigherSelf put together a beautiful “Holiday Affair” at the sprawling Gowanus Loft in Brooklyn, NY. I was deeply honored to be a featured artist and as you can tell from below – we got down!
p.s. If you look closely, you may be able to spot my favorite person…
Photos by Terrence Forrest
Special thanks to Najee Omar and the entire HigherSelf team.
S/o to Mr. Throop, Mr. Smith, Mr. Clayton & Mr. Mullings Jr. – you killed!
In the spirit of the holidays, a group of Phoenix’s most talented (and beautiful) gathered for an amazing night of music. Hometown musical-hero Andria Bunnell opened her home and allowed myself and Jeary Sylves to hit the stage. With folks cuddled on sofas and cozied up on the floors – we all shared a special evening! The love was on 10. The musicianship was on 10. Basically, it was a holiday affair for the ages! Could this be an annual shindig…? I think SO!
s/o to the First and Washington team for the amazing visuals!
p.s. Special thanks to Jeary Sylves, Sammy Nichs, Rich Kniss, Kevan Aaron, Jesse Parker, Andrew Smith, Joe Amos, Andria Bunnell AND Missy Robles.
Yesterday marked my third Thanksgiving in New York City. What a journey. I’ve spent that last few years working hard, striving for balance, making music and seeing so many new things. As I reflect on this journey, I feel so deeply thankful for the way that music, both writing and performing, continue to fill me up and be such an overflowing gift in my life. Earlier this month, I got to share that gift with some friends – new and old – at Rockwood Music Hall. It was a beautiful afternoon and I wanted to share some shots with you! Thank you for following this blog and for taking the time to listen when I put things out into the world – it means everything.
s/o to Joann Gomez of Music Looks Like This for the shots!
I’ll be coming to you LIVE this Saturday at 3PM from Rockwood Music Hall in New York City’s Lower East Side! At this show I’m going to be singing tunes from both Who Said It Was Simple? and Uncertainty. I’ll also be performing my latest, unreleased music, which I’m super excited about!
In addition to being super fun, this is also my pre-birthday celebration, therefore this is not to be missed! Haha! For those of you in the NY area, please join me and my incredible band for what is guaranteed to be a dope afternoon!
That being said, I’ll be giving everyone who comes to this Saturday’s show a FREE DOWNLOAD of my newest single Maybe.
Today, I am proud to share with you my new single, Maybe! This song is very dear to me and its been a long time coming with regard to putting this out and sharing it with you. I hope you are moved by something in this song and find something familiar here.
You can stream & download the song at http://www.ellewinston.bandcamp.com and soon it will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, GooglePlay and many more!
For those of you who enjoyed the James Blake cover I did this summer – you can find the audio here! Enjoy!
s/o to Todd Martino for playing piano, supplying the beats and giving this a little live mix!
First show of the Fall! Stop by Rockwood Music Hall (LES) Saturday, September 28th at 3pm for great afternoon of music, beer and good company!
NEW SONGS!! SPECIAL GUEST!! FREE SHOW!!
w/ Todd Martino, Alex Busby Smith, Granville Mullings Jr. and NickThroop
*Thanks to DELINQ for the visuals!
Decided to cover one of my favorite songs of this year, Retrograde by James Blake! Hope you ENJOY! S/O to Todd Martino for joining me!
I had the pleasure of recording an acoustic “WILD” session with the extremely elegant The Wild Magazine < check them out!
This song is called Maybe and accompanying me on keys is Todd Martino. The song is currently unreleased, but will be featured on a compilation album by DJ Rahdu of BamaLoveSoul for BBE Records later this year.
I SINCERELY HOPE YOU ENJOY!
Come check me at Ella Lounge later this month. It’s going to be a fun show, with some great players!
Tickets are only $5 bucks, so make it a good Saturday with me!
*Special offer: Everyone who buys a ticket before the show and RSVP’s on Facebook will get a free download of the Uncertainty EP.
(click flyer for link to purchase tix)
Flyer by Delinq Media & Marketing
It is such an honor to be included in the amazing Ladies First compilation brought to you by BamaLoveSoul. Please be sure to download this and listen! Every track is saying something, bringing it’s own flavor and inspiring me so much today!
To all of the amazing women on this compilation, kudos to your talent and ambition! Also, SO MUCH love to BamaLovesoul who continues to support my music and such a generous way!
I am super excited to share with you my very first music video today!
Making this video was a labor of love! It was shot in Brooklyn, NY over the course of two days in March of this year. It was a beautiful experience!
This video is for the song Waitin’ On from my EP Uncertainty, which you can find on iTunes, Spotify, AmazonMP3 and Bandcamp. A special thanks to Tiny Cup for letting us shoot there on a cold winter morning and love to Delinq and Missy Robles for their direction and talent and d.C. Soulplusmind for his production on this song.
Please enjoy and share, share, share! Thank you for your continued support and love!
Without further adieu, I present the video for Waitin’ On.
As promised, I wanted to give you all a recap of my performance at the Who’s Next Live show presented by Hot 97! I had the unique privilege of opening up for Bridget Kelly and RaVaughn who co-headlined the show. (They were great by the way!)
Check out the full performance and shots!
Thank you to: Hot97 x Karlie Hustle x SOB’s
Band members: Todd Martino, Matt Gantt, Alex Smith and Adam Jackson x Shots: Joann Gomez and Bad-Perm.com
Last Thursday I had the honor of performing at the Pop-Up Art Event: Freedom & Restoration at Parlor NYC. This event was put on the the Pop Up Art Event Team, founded by Juliet Silva-Lee. All of the proceeds from this event went to the Mere Mist International which is a non-profit organizations working to support survivors of sex-trafficking. Mere Mist runs safe home in the Black Sea region where they work to rescue victims and also assist women with rebuilding their lives. (Amazing right?!) I agree.
I played a few tunes from my new EP Uncertainty with Todd Martino on keys and Mike McDearmon on percussion. To make it even more beautiful, many of my close friends were there to support (aka drink) as well. Lol!
Check it out!
Yay!! Thanks to all the amazing people who worked so hard to put this event together, the amazing women of Mere Mist International who make helping women their priority and the musicians/friends who lent their support!
p.s. I have another show next month, which is super exciting (that’s for another post, soon to come!)
Dear friends, visitors & long time supporters -
I give you my newest project, Uncertainty. This project is my heart, so take your time with it! You can listen and download on my bandcamp page(link below), Itunes, Spotify & Amazon MP3!
Much love to Kevan Aaron of Animate Inventions, D.C. Soulplusmind, Noah Guttell and Raphael-Jungmin Lee for their help to make this music come to life. A deep thanks also goes to my family, friends and partner Melissa Robles for their honesty and encouragement.
Thank you in advance for your support, your time and I sincerely hope you enjoy this music as much as I enjoyed making it!