#MusicCrushAlert: Latin Listens

Hey Hey PopStylers!!  I have been a little absent on the music front lately but this summer I plan on making my #MusicCrushAlert more consistent.  Last year around this time I dropped my first #MusicCrushMonday for Janelle Monae for her song of the Summer “Yoga.”   And today Im dropping my list of Latin Faves for #Summer16!!

I’ve been on a Latin music kick for a couple week now and I just cant shake!  Maybe it’s the bright sun, the start of summer, the desire to eat Tacos, the need to be on a beach, or the exuberant flood of memories it brings from my birthday weekend in Miami (see my Bday lessons from Kanye here)…. either way I love me some Latin music right now… and NO! I dont speak Spanish.  I know maybe 10 words.. and the rest I make up as I go along LOL.  So here are my top 6 Latin Listens for #Summer16… ENJOY!!!

  1. Marc Anthony “Vivir Mi Vida” (2013)MY NUMBER ONE LATIN JAM RIGHT NOW!!  It just makes me want to be on speedboat in the Caribbean with the wind my hair toasting to the love of life!!

romeo

2. Romeo Santos- “Odio” (2014)–  I love me some Bachata sound.  As a dancer I love the use of the hips and the romantic feel the dance evokes.   Even though
the song is a message of spite and pinning for lost love, I find it sultry and seductive… guess that shows my current love life

3.  Ricky Martin “La Mordidita” (2015)Have you ever had that one song that just forced you to move and shake them non-lying hips like Shakira??  Well this is the song for me.  Welcome Back Ricky!

4.  Enrique Iglesias ft Wisin- “Duele Le Corazon” (2016)The latest release from early 2000 sensation Enrique Iglesias mwisinaking me wish to be at a latin club on a hot friday night!

5.Wisin ft. Ricky Martin- “Que Se Sienta El Deseo” (2015)Another popular dance song for me to groove to on the dance floor!

6.  Prince Royce “Back It Up” –  This song is just a good reggaeton dance song… sound the horns!!

Til next time, Keep it #PopStyle and enjoy these #LatinListens at the start of #Summer16

~Ashlee Dawne
@PopStyleBlog on Twitter
@manifested55 on Instagram
#PopStyle #MusicCrushAlert #LatinListens #Latinmusic #Summer16

 

 

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An Ode to Artistry: Grammy Night Recap- 2016

This year’s Grammys were alot less fanfare than usual.  Granted there were twice as many performances as there were awards actually handed out…. but the level of artistry was so on point this year, rather than the hype of entertainment which plagues and runs the music industry nowadays.

As a self proclaimed lover of pop music and pop culture, I am not above a good time!  I love being entertained and hate when I dont get that “YYYAAAAASSSSS” feeling when something is going on.  But as an artist (#dancerlife), I love to see art do its magic.  Art is its most beautiful, pure, and poignant self when it just speaks from within.  Langston Hughes said “An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”  This quote sums up the many different performances and tributes that were done on the Grammy Stage last night. My top 5 are….

  1. alabama-shakes-glasses102-13 Alabama Shakes “Don’t Wanna Fight”  A bluesy, soulful, southern Rock group.
    They won Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Alternative Music Album…. Check out “Sound and Color” please!!
  2. Kendrick Lamar’s performance- Africa is Compton!!
    K Dot ripped into the ear drums and retinas of America with his passionately charged rendition of Blacker the Berry, Alright, and To Pimp a Bukendrick-lamar-grammys-performancetterfly.  He visually captivated the audience in the room and at home with his unapologetically Black references (Prison pipeline, African Dance).  He also took home Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, Best Music Video with Taylor Swift, and Best Rap Album
  3. Lady Gaga’s tribute to the legendary David Bowiegaga as bowie
    She didn’t present and she lost the 1 category she was nominated in… but she really only came to the Grammy’s tonight to honor one of her musical icons Mr. David Bowie.  She was the ONLY person who would able to pull off such a tribute with such honesty, authenticity, and integrity.  Infusing fashion, dance, technology, graphics, and more, Lady Gaga seared the memory of David Bowie into all of our minds.  Gaga, Bowie would be proud- We Salute You.
  4. Tori Kelly and James Bay– Two Best New Artists Nominees with Timeless Talent.  These 2 nominees sang together in their performance- 2 microphones, 2 acoustic guitars, 2 voices….1 soon to be (fingers crossed) duet album!!  Take a listen below and prepared to be amazed…
  5. Andra Day-  The Voice of an Angel andra day
    Andra shared the stage with Ellie Golding, which honestly she should not have had to do.  Andra outshined Ellie in every way…. presence, range, power, passion, ability to touch the heart and inspire.  Andra Day is a voice not to fall on deaf ears.  Listen to the performance as it will pierce your eardrum and run straight to your heart.

    http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#pbid=a637d53c5c0a43c7bf4e342886b9d8b0&ec=QyMmx4MDE6zVf0X1b5LNkGQW52SfQjk5

    That’s it for this year’s Grammy Awards!  Hope you enjoyed the artistry, messages, and return to musicianship.  And til next time, keep it #PopStyle!!!

~Ashlee Dawne
@PopStyleBlog on Twitter
@manifested55 on Instagram
Follow me on Spotify!!  

I Dont Do Valentine’s Day- Feb. 2016

Hey PopStylers!!!  In the spirit of this day, I should say Happy Valentine’s Day…. but I don’t actually celebrate the holiday. (But I would if Channing Tatum asked me… whew yes LAWD!!)  Ever since I was little I was never really into the whole idea of Valentine’s Day.  Yes I cut out the heart shapes and gave my friends valentine cards from the dollar store.  And YES my father gave me a dozen roses EVERY single year and a stuffed animal (He still does actually and Im a grown woman!!)  My older brother is always the first one to call me and wish my Happy Valentine’s Day (now along with my nephew who called me this morning) and he even sent me flowers every year til I was out of graduate school.  So it’s not because I haven’t experienced “love” on this day before.  I just dont do Valentine’s Day so some reason.  What I usually do on this day is….

  1.  Buy myself something I want (perfume, new shoes,a bra)
  2. Wear a nice outfit that is NOT red, pink, purple, or white (too commercial)
  3. Cook a nice meal I’ve been wanting for a while (usually a pasta dish like Lasagna, Baked Ziti, or this year’s Shrimp and Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo)
  4. Listen to my   “I Don’t Do V-Day” music playlist. Some of the tracks are:
    1. “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner
    2. “Happy Valentine’s Day” by OutKast
    3. “Damaged” by Danity Kane
    4. “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi
    5. “So Sick” by Ne-Yo
    6. “Somebody to Love” by Queen
    7. “Love Yourself” by Justin Beiber

Celebrate love however and with whomever you would like.  As for myself… I Don’t Do V-Day.  Enjoy the tracks, listen, sing along, and save them for next year. And til next time keep it #PopStyle!!

~Ashlee Dawne
Follow me on Spotify!
@PopStyleBlog on Twitter
@manifested55 on Instagram
http://www.popstyleblog.com

#Earworms: What I’ve Been Listening to Lately- Nov. 10, 2015

Well PopStylers there has been quite a lull in my #MusicCrushMonday posts… 4 weeks to be exact. 😦 It’s not that I haven’t been listening to any music, or even crushing on any songs/artists.  I just haven’t been able to sit down and right about them.

  1.  All things Justin Bieber!  I am so excited for this #Purpose album to drop on Friday!  I particularly like the newest track “I’ll Show You.” 
  2. Adele’s heart wrenching track “Hello” which leaves me in my feelings for a long time afterward…. sigh…. I just had a flashback… double sigh
    dumblonde
  3. Dumblonde’s self titled album.  This duo is made up of Shannon and Aubrey of the legendary girl group Danity Kane.  They have an electro-pop feel through the entire album that makes your earbuds sizzle.  My favorite track is “Waiting on You.”
  4. Newcomer Tory Lanez with his track r&b track “Say It.”  It’s a remix of the song “If You Love Me” by 90s girl group Brownstone.  Check it out.
  5. Off the mix tape What a Time to Be Alive I have made my rounds to “Big Rings” by Drake and Future.  Maybe because Im choreographing it for a class of mine, but it gets me hype to rep my #squad or myself for that matter.
  6. Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me.” from his NeverLand album.  Andy Mineoandy mineo is a hip hop artist with christian perspective.  His music hits and speaks the heart and mind, as well as, making you bounce and wild out! (saw him in concert lately and he’s been an #earworm ever since).
  7. Chonique Sneed’s “Let It Go.”  Listen, I don’t know who this chick is but I love her sound!  She’s like a Queen Leshurr mixed with #Leikeli47 (peep my Music Mania post on her) mixed together.  This song hits hard making my neck sore at the end of it!
    halsey
  8. Halsey’s entire Badlands album!!  Yes yes Im late to the Halsey frenzy but Im glad I arrived!!  “Colors” has captured my ear this week… everything is blue!

~Ashlee Dawne

#PopStyle
Twitter: @PopStyleBlog
Instagram: @manifested55

#MusicCrushMonday- Oct. 12, 2015

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!!  Welcome to another edition of #MusicCrushMonday!!!  

This week, my shout out goes to a pop star who has been on the scene for a while.  I remember him becoming an #earworm via YouTube back in 2008-ish with the help of a mega R&B mentor.  His puberty falsetto voice and luscious healthy bangs enthralled the Pop Culture world and we swooned over his peppy, catchy, and sometimes irritating melodies and songs.  (But admit it… you sang those lyrics in your car like you were on the Teen Choice Awards!!)  Now 7 years later, this Pop “Baby” has grown into a Pop-Pre-Man (come on, we can’t really think he’s all grown up)…..  This week’s #MusicCrushMonday goes to………     JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!

justin bieber little

I chose Justin Bieber as my pick this week for a few reasons:

  1. justin bieber vma I was very happy to see him return to the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards this August after a 2 year hiatus!  He killed his performance of Where Are U Now and What Do You Mean?

  2. His new song “What Do You Mean?” has become a recent #earworm, as well as, the subject of my newly obsessive dance video in which 5 males are performing choreography to his song on none other than Self-Balancing Segways!!!  (if you have any desire to buy me one…. or donate to my #AirBoardBudget please contact me… Im serious tho!!)   Click on Video below to witness choreography greatness!! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y33xNa2L-e8

3.  His leaked #NSFW photos were not that bad actually… I was pleasantly (and slightly ashamed that I was) surprised by the image…. Maybe Justin really is “growing”…. up.

Anyways, I am certainly looking forward to the new evolution and growth of Justin Bieber after his bad boy, immature years got the best of him and took him away rihanna shockfrom Pop music.  Now he is coming back and he has all of our attention…. both visually and audibly.   (Im still in a little shock over those pics- sorry).   Til next time, keep it #PopStyle

~Ashlee Dawne
#PopStyle #MusicCrushMonday #MusicMania
Twitter: @PopStyleBlog
Instagram: @manifested55

#MusicCrushMonday- Stevie Wonder (October 5, 2015)

Another week…..Another Star”….. Another #MusicCrushMonday….

I went to see Stevie Wonder in concert this past weekend at he Verizon Center in DC.  It was his “Songs in the Key of Life” tour that he claimed would  be his last musical tour in the United States.  When I first saw the notice of his tour posted on Facebook (of course) back in August, I knew that I had to get these tickets.  I even skipped out on a professional development workshop to make sure I was logged on to ticketmaster.com at 10am to get the best seats possible!!  This week’s honor goes to the Myth… the Man… the Legend… the One… the Only….     STEVIE WONDER!!!stevie-wonder01

During the 4 hour concert, I realized just how much Stevie Wonder’s music has contributed to not only my musical horizons, but also to my dance life.  As a dancer of 29 years, and a dance teacher of 6 years, Stevie Wonder has been played in many a dance classes/workshops and used for multiple choreographic works and dreams.  Currently on my Spotify Playlist entitled “To Choreograph”, I have at least 3 Stevie Wonder Songs.  As the concert began and Stevie Wonder began to dazzle us all with his poignant lyrics, graceful musical stylings, captivating musicianship with a full orchestra in tow, and pure artistry as he drew in the crowd, I began to feel my body move to each song.  And each song invoked its own choreography, whether taught to me, or created by myself.  So in honor of Stevie Wonder’s musical catalog, I give you my Top 5 Stevie Wonder Songs to Dance to:

  1.  “As from the album Songs in the Key of Life-  In 2000, I saw a dance piece by my former modern teacher Alvin Mayes at the University of Maryland College Park at the Maryland Dance Ensemble performance, and I have been obsessed with choreographing the song ever since!  I tried once in 2011 and cut it from the performance, simply because I didn’t think it lived up to Stevie Wonder’s standard.  Still chasing this golden unicorn choreographic dream.
  2. I Wish from the album Songs in the Key of Life-  I learned a tap dance routine to this song in 2012.  I still remember how intricate the steps were to the multiple rhythmic layers of this song.  Im posting the version sung by Lady Gaga at the Stevie Wonder Tribute in 2015 (which won
    an Emmy by the way) because I admire her artistry with this great song.
  3. Dancing to the Rhythm  from the album Natural Wonder.  This song is my musical happy place.  It is thrilling, enthralling, upbeat, melodic, graceful, passionate, and strong.  Not to mention the fact that it speaks about dancing as a way to invoke pure joy within oneself.  I have used this song of modern dance warm-ups and jazz dance pirouette combinations.  It’s a stevie wonderfantastic song to use for choreography.
  4. Master Blaster” from the album Natural Wonder.  I have used this song for many a tap dance warm-up sequence and for many a nights-in dance party.
  5. “Higher Ground” from the album Innervisions.  This song is a staple piece of choreography that I pull out for any jazz class or introductory level dance class!  I have used it for 4 years now and it never feels to invoke sass, funk, energy, and freedom!  (Thanks to the movie CenterStage for giving it a spotlight… click below to watch) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZfzdR_J_3c

Thanks for reading and listening to this week’s #MusicCrushMonday dedicated to Stevie Wonder.  Til next time, keep it #PopStyle!!

~Ashlee Dawne
Follow me on Twitter:  @PopStyleBlog
#PopStyle

#MusicCrushMonday- Twenty One Pilots (Sept. 28, 2015)

Hey Pop-Stylers!!!  Im so glad to be back!!  It’s been longer than I wanted since my last post but Im back now with a new edition of #MusicCrushMonday!!  Lately, music has been my saving grace.  It is the thing I reach for after I wake up, when Im grading assignments, when Im planning my next lesson (remember Im a dance teacher), when Im feeling my outfit, when Im going out on the town, when Im searching for motivation, and unfortunately, when I need to pull myself out of a funk.  I discovered this band via the MTV Video Music Awards this year, and their album has been speaking to me ever since.  My #MusicCrushMonday goes to…..

TWENTY ONE PILOTS

blurryface 21 pilots

I had never heard of this band until their performance with A$AP Rocky on the MTV VMAs.  I was instantly hooked and looked up their album “Blurryface.” (which is actually there 4th album).  It’s a slightly dark, existential questioning, honest lyric, soul searching album that has really resonated with me recently.  Their sound is a combination of synthesized rock, pop hip-hop, and open mic funk.  Every song, honestly, hits in its own way.  My favorite is “Fairly Local which just lets your head knock to a constant beat while your ears get invaded with monotone raps.  I also love the upbeat anguish cry of Heavydirtysoul and the longing of childhood peace and easier days in Stressed Out.

The meaning behind Twenty One Pilots music is somewhat abstract and yet purposeful.  The bandmates (Tyler and Josh) speak about communicating encouragement and meaning to their listeners- almost giving them reason to find themselves the will to continue and march on even in their times of struggle.  The album title (Blurryface) is the personification of Tyler’s insecurities- it’s the thing that distorts your vision/purpose/motivation for doing what you do.   This is probably the reason why I resonate with their music so much right now.  According to the band, their purpose for making music is “to make people think”, as well as encourage them to find joy in what they come to believe in life.  Thanks Twenty One Pilots for helping me do this right now and confront my Blurryface“.   Til Next Time- Keep it #PopStyle

~Ashlee Dawne
#PopStyle
@PopStyleBlog on Twitter
@manifested55 on Instagram

#MusicCrushMonday- RIP to Amy Winehouse- Sept. 14, 2015

Welcome back Pop-Stylers for a new addition of #MusicCrushMonday.  I dedicate this week’s pick to a young artist who left us too soon in 2011.  She sported a distinct look with an even more distinct sound.  Today would have been Amy Winehouse’s 32nd birthday.  So in honor of her life and the impact of her music my #MusicCrushMonday goes to her.

Amy Winehouse came Pic Of Amy Winehouseinto our musical live in 2006 when she released a classic album entitled “Back to Black.”  This album brought us the easy musicality of smooth jazz, the visions of dark smoking rooms in underground lounges, with the sound of as classic of the Donnie Hathaway Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield.  Amy brought us soul with her music- Soul that came straight from the heart and was distinctly connected to an era where “music was music.”  This was quite honestly a huge feat for her because she was from across the pond (England) so to convey that era of American music in her voice and lyrics captured the mainstream audience.  It also didn’t hurt that she was vetted by Jay-Z and Nas.

One of my favorite tracks from this album is You Know Im No Good.” (See below)  This song just seems to speak honestly about how easy it is to fall to your own devises…. how easy it is to make mistakes that continue to haunt you.  Actually, most of Amy’s songs speak honestly from the heart… like she’s telling a story in every single word from the lyrics….. a story that she in fact has experienced and remembers quite vividly.  Maybe this led to her tragic end in 2011…. the soulful singer was both here and gone before her time.  Regardless of how she left us physically, she wont leave us musically because of the #earworm she has bore into our ears.  Thank you Amy for your music.  R.I.P.

~Ashlee Dawne  #PopStyle

“You Know Im No Good”  (Live in London 2010)

#MusicCrushMonday- My Sweet Summer

Hey PopStylers!! It’s Labor Day Monday and I’m celebrating by not having school today, eating grilled food, chillin with family and friends, and overall reminiscing on the Summer of 2015.

This was the first summer I did not have to work a 2nd job to stay afloat financially and I am thankful for it! Because I enjoyed every last minute of my summer time fun!!  The song I choose is from last year but its so fitting. A cool piano lick with a synthesized beat in the background that just entices you to reminisce and relax in the last few moments of summer time.  And that’s why, with Labor Day being the official end of summer,
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Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz Album review- Jedi Mind Trick

Miley Cyrus was the host of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards this past Sunday.  We all knew that when Miley was given free reign to host the show that we could expect both themiley vmaexpected and unexpected.  Almost simultaneously, Miley Cyrus was able to NOT disappoint and TO disappoint…. AND THAT TAKES SKILLS FOLKS!!!  It’s like she’s female Houdini! (Jedi Mind Trick anyone??)

Here is what Miley gave us at the VMAs that made us cringe with guilty pleasure AND with disgust, nausea, and overall sadness for the girl:

  1. The interlude skits with all her rapper friends (Tyga, MikeWillMadeIt)
  2. Her obsession with Instagram
  3. The southern drawl mixed with the ratchet and vulgar language
  4. The half naked/barely there ensembles that she honestly believes looks amazing on her
  5. The immense amount of drag queens she brought on stage to close the show to premiere her new album “Miley and Her Dead Petz”

Miley announced her new album was available for FREE.  In all honesty, her last time “Bangerz” was actually pretty good- solid beats, catchy hooks, high profile collabs with Pharell, French Montana, Britney Spears, Big Sean, and overall a fun/party driven sound.  (yes I bought this album- dont judge me). So being the person I am…. I proceeded to find her new on “Miley and Her Dead Petz” anmiley vma performance 2d give it a listen….. man I wish I hadnt…..

I have 5 questions for Miley which will sum up my review of her newest her:

  1.   Miley…. did you want me to feel like I was smoking the same stash you and Kanye were smoking at the VMAs?  If so, job well done.
  2. Miley…. was I suppose to congratulate you on your vocal progress on this album, or your lyrical composition in the songs?  I need clarity because I dont get it
  3. Miley….. did you give the album for free on your website because you care so much about your fans or because you knew there wasn’t a single person would buy this crap?
  4. Miley….. did you make 23 tracks on this album to pay homage to your first big hit “23”?
  5. Miley….. why oh why did you do this?  You know good and well that people cant stop staring at a trainwreck…. and now I cant stop listening to this trainwreck!!!!  Well played, Miley, well played.  (The Jedi Mind trick wins again)

~Ashlee Dawne
Twitter @PopStyleBlog