A true cult hero, Ted Hawkins was best known as a street performer in Venice Beach, California, wowing passersby with his soulful singing. Although attempts were made to create a mainstream career for Hawkins—Geffen released The Next Hundred Years in 1994—his lifestyle was far too unpredictable to create anything sustainable, and he tragically died on New Year’s Day 1995 at the age of 58.
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Citing influences as varied as Queen, Alicia Keys, Al Green, and Frank Sinatra, New Yorker Gianna Salvato brings warmth and soul to her pop music, not to mention one hell of a voice. Her debut single “Baby, It’s You” features some wonderfully rich production that evokes the late 1980s as cleverly as Carly Rae Jepsen, wicked R&B groove underscoring a track that’s as ebullient as it is catchy.
Canadian band the Souljazz Orchestra are set to release Resistance, their sixth album of vibrant funk, soul, afrobeat, Latin, and jazz. In keeping with their unique mix of ebullient horns and rhythms and sharp social commentary, new track “Bull’s Eye” is as pointed as the Ottawa band has ever sounded, taking aim at a particularly noteworthy contemporary topic.
Best known as one half of folk duo Pink & Noseworthy, Los Angeles artist Shanee Pink opts for something more ambitious on her new solo EP Twin Flame, bridging contemporary indie folk with electronic elements and a subtle ‘80s pop influence. Sunny, adventurous, and exuding a warmth that reflects both her locale and her personality—she hosts a monthly “Laurel Canyon Music Revival” at the Kibitz Room in Los Angeles to celebrate the local music heritage and continuing that rich tradition—it’s an irresistible combination. Opening track “Brutal Heart”, with its insistent beat and irresistible hook, is a wonderful example.
Best known as the lead singer/songwriter for Bitter:Sweet, Shana Halligan has ventured out on her own and is set to release a new solo album entitled Back to Me this fall. “Been Waiting” is the first single from the record, a sumptuous blend of melodramatic piano balladry and a gently pulsating electronic rhythm that gradually escalates into a swanky little house beat. What starts off as forlornly sad becomes almost celebratory in its misery, as if she’s dancing the pain away.