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.
- 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.”
- 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’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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me.” from his NeverLand album. Andy 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).
- 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’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!
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!!!!
I chose Justin Bieber as my pick this week for a few reasons:
- 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?”
- 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!!
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 from 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
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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!!!
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:
- “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.
- “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.
- “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 fantastic song to use for choreography.
- “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.
- “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!!
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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
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
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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 into 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)
Hey, What’s Up, and Hello! Welcome to another edition of #MusicCrushMonday here on PopStyleBlog.com! This week’s choice is a new comer to the hip-hop game who is playing the game to his advantage and making his mark. Not only did he have one the biggest #SongsoftheSummer with “Trap Queen,” but he has also been nominated for 3 MTV Video Music Awards (airing on August 30th). AND…. he just became the first artist on Billboard Music Charts to have ALL 4 of his singles land in the Top 10 Rap Chart at the SAME TIME!!! (He has the number 2, 3,6, and 8 slots). This week’s #MusicCrushMonday goes to…….
Fetty is a young rapper from New Jersey who has made his rounds to become mainstream enough among a pop culture audience, yet maintain his trap roots with those form his community. Fetty’s story about losing his vision in 1 eye at a young age has pulled on the heart strings of many of his fans, while his gritty lifestyle lyrics, easy to memorize hooks, and “zone-out” beats capture his fans eardrums. I must admit I did not think Fetty Wap would be around for more than 1 single, but I have easily become enthralled in his music… especially his latest track ““679” ft Remy Boyz (WARNING: the video and lyrics are a little explicit). But this track is great for the choreographer and dancer in me. It has an actual beat that can be counted and it has a tempo that can be adapted to hip hop dance. He gives me Dance Battle with “679,” Club Anthem with “Trap Queen,” House Party with “My Way,” and Holla at Me with “Again.” In my opinion, its FETTY WAP FOR THE WIN!!!
Til next time folks….. Keep it #PopStyle
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Welcome to another edition of #MusicCrushMonday on PopStyleBlog.com. Today was my first day back to school (#Teacherslife, #EducatorsRock, #DanceTeacherForever) and I needed to give myself a pep talk to just break my summer cycle of living. I needed a pep in my step, a swing in my hips, and beam in my smile as I greeted my colleagues after 2 months a part. Who else to give me that feel good, California chill, effortless smile/pep, and enviable swag other than this week’s #MusicCrushMonday…. GWEN STEFANI!!!!
The lovely Gwen Stefani has always been able to churn out pop-ska-alternative hits that give you the “feel goods” and the spunk to kick some a**. Whether they were with her band No Doubt from the 1990s or as a solo artist, Gwen knows exactly what it takes to get you up and say “Just a Girl” but I aint no ““Hollaback Girl”! Both of these songs were my #MorningMotivation jams to get me in the mood to return to the schoolhouse and plan for a kick a** year!! (Click the titles above to see the music videos).
I hold a special place in my heart for Miss Gwen, my 1st girl crush, and have always respected her hustle as a an artist, clothing designer, coach on the Voice, and integrity in the music world. She remains humble, in fabulous shape, and true to her musical roots. Here’s to you Gwen!! Shout out to all the educators/teachers/school admins holding it down last week, this week, next week, and beyond as we get ready for another school year!! We aint no Hollaback Girls! (or boys!) Til next time… Keep it #PopStyle
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Welcome to another week of #MusicCrushMonday where I bring you an artist/song that has recently become my #earworm. This week I think I was influenced a little by the soon to be released film “Straight Outta Comptom,” which features the 90s hip-hop iconic group NWA. This throwback to 90s hip-hop when “music was music” has been the subject of my music library lately. Therefore, I name this week’s #MusicCrushMonday as…..
THE GETO BOYS (circa 1991)
Yep that’s right. The Geto Boys are this week’s #PopStyle #MusicCrushMonday. Better known for their hit “Mind Playin’ Tricks on Me” I was happily reminded of this group when I was watching the 90s cult movie classic “Office Space” (please Netflix this if you haven’t seen it already- it’s hilarious!) In the movie, the Geto Boys have about 3 songs on the soundtrack that play oh so perfectly with the situational humor of the main characters Peter, Michael, and Samir. The thing that makes the Geto Boys chilled vibed street reference filled rap lyrics so catching is that they seamlessly fit into everyday suburban and urban life, as evident in the movie. In the clip below, you will see Peter (under the influence of hypnosis) begin his journey of complacency and “I don’t give 2 cares” about my job as the Geto Boys song “Damn, it feels good to be a Gangsta” plays ever so gently in the background, perfectly framing how every mid-level corporate employee feels on dress down Fridays.
Office Space clip: Geto Boys “Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta.”
Enjoy the throwback feel of today’s #MusicCrushMonday. And remember…. you too can feel like a Gangsta. Till next time… Keep it #PopStyle
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Hello Pop-Stylers! It’s been a couple weeks but I’m back with another #MusicCrushMonday!!!
This past week I was immersed in the land of dance at the Dance Masters of America TTS conference in Buffalo, NY. I took classes, learned new methods of teaching, refreshed my terminology and knowledge of dance history, and even performed in the Hip Hop intensive with the one and only Rich Ashworth. (Look him up cause this guy is the hip hop truth). Therefore, my #MusicCrushMonday goes to the artist of the song that the Hip Hop intensive group used. I introduce to you LEIKELI47!
Leikeli47 is an obscure hip hop underground rapper, featured in a ski mask in all her images, leading to her anonymity. Her sound is what I call electro-punk rap……think Azealia Banks flow mixed with MIA beats. In her song “Two Times a Charm” audio (the song I performed to) the beat is not only hypnotizing but also its grimmy and raw with a sassy peppy feel of walking down a New York City fashion week runway- leading to a unique sound that is bound to become the new #earworm. (Click below to see part of the hard getting choreography we did…. Yours truly is second from right in front row).
Leikeli47 self titled album is available on ITunes and Spotify. I suggest you run, not walk to get this album so you too can #RiptheSummerUp (click here to listen to this hit).
Til next time… Keep it #PopStyle
Sorry for the late post Pop-Stylers. The day got away from me so my post is a little but nonetheless here is another edition of #MusicCrushMonday.
I recently was introduced to a song called “Here” Alessia Cara on the local hip hop radio station. And let me tell you this song brings all the feels to life! This song has a sultry dark beat with undertones of whispering melodies that entice the listener to go deeper into the rabbit hole.
Watch “Here” now
“Here” is a song about a girl who doesn’t want to be part of the crowd of distant, non-personal, self involved people and instead would prefer to be in her own corner until she’s able to leave this place and retreat to her own thoughts.
So take a listen to this track and add Alessia Cara to your summer nights playlist. Enjoy!! Until next time…. Keep it #PopStyle