Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Here is where you can purchase The Quick & Dirty EP. There are plenty of ways to choose from. Walk into a store (yes records stores still exist), purchase a hard copy online or download. Do what you like, but do it.
Have a great holiday season and stay tuned for my Year End Review!
Dusty Groove America
Traxsource (For The Quick & Dirty DANCE EP)
In Store & Online
580 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Mau Mau Bar
265 Portobello Road
(Will be sold in online store beginning in January)
More to come. Stay tuned...
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I liken putting out an album to having a child. I don’t have any actual children, but from what I see and hear it’s a bit like this. The first one is a real challenge because you don’t know anything at all. It’s beautiful and a blessing, but you are flying by the seat of your pants. When the second child arrives there is still a lot to learn because it’s a different person, but you are a bit more chill because you have the experience of the first. So everything is not as precious. That in a nutshell is how I felt about this CD. It is for all intents and purposes my second child.
Originally I wasn’t going to put this CD out with any fanfare at all. It took me so long to get it mixed that I had the mind to just put it up digitally, send out an email letting people know where they could buy it and call it a day. Then I could move on to getting the next studio project together. But how could I do that to one of my babies?
You see The Quick & Dirty EP a.k.a. the Q&D is quick because it’s only 6 songs and dirty because it’s live. I’ll give you a quick history and then we’ll get to the release show.
The Back Story
Last year I did a U People show during Brooklyn Pride with Staceyann Chin and Hanifah Walidah & the Fuckin’ Ladies at Southpaw in Brooklyn. Before the show the sound guy told us he would record the show if we liked. After which we could purchase the recording at $15 for a stereo mix and $50 for a multi-track. I was only going to go for the stereo mix, but then I thought I would go for the multi-track because if the recording sucked then it was only $50, but if it was great then it was only $50! As it happened the recording came out amazing!
So I have this recording, everything is separated so it can be properly mixed, but now here comes the challenge. Affording to have it mixed. I’ll jump ahead and say it took me almost a year to get it mixed and I had to go to Atlanta to get it done. Why Atlanta? Well let me go back a little further.
More Back Story
When I went to London with the band in 2007 I met some incredible artists. One of which is an emcee named LyricL. There were also a few UK folks who helped me get shows over there. One of them is Adam Rock of Uprock Recordings/Jazz Re:freshed and the other is Daz-I-Kue of Bugz in the Attic. Over the last year I asked people if they wanted to do remixes of my song “blaK Girls.” Brooklyn based producer and friend Lionel Sanchez Jr. is one of the people who remixed the song and he did a killer Afrobeat version that we are blessed to have LyricL rhyming on. Lionel sent the tracks to LyricL and she recorded it at Daz’s studio in London (he lives in Atlanta now), then the tracks came back to New York and ATL. Through this process, Daz and I developed a friendship and he agreed to mix the project. So in May I made a week of it in Georgia. I went down to mix the CD and I also went to Vinx’s Songwriter’s Soul Kitchen in McRae, GA.
Lionel finished the Afrobeat version and then Ian Friday surprised me by agreeing to put a remix of “Dance (Flying Home)” (from my first album) on the project. What?!! Now I’m psyched! Two remixes. Daz agreed to master the project and then he told me to look out for a surprise from him. Well, his surprise was a Dub of the “blaK Girls” remix! Now we’re cooking with gas!
They say you should never plan an album release until the product in hand, but I have never followed that rule. My master came in at the wire so I had to rush CD production. Everything was on track until it wasn’t. I got a call from the manufacturer saying that something happened at the printer and they had to split the CD shipment. Okay. I’m breathing. Fine, as long as I have something for the show.
The Show Brainstorm
I had some ideas for the Q&D, but I needed some help to bring them to life. So I called Achuziam and Monstah Black to help me brainstorm on the Quick & Dirty theme. We all come up with some great ideas that I was honestly unsure how we were going to pull them off.
You know the real meaning of the Quick & Dirty, but you also know what it sounds like. I like the play on words so I wanted to go with it. When Chuz, Monstah and I got together to brainstorm we came up with some pretty interesting ideas. Some of which I’ll save for the book, but I will say this. It had the makings to be much more dirty than quick. After a productive conversation this is what we decided.
I wanted the night to be an event and Kim Knox (who booked us at Littlefield) told me that no one had really ever dressed Littlefield. It’s a great room that has gallery space in the front, and in the back where the bands play is like a black box theater. So there was room to do a lot. We wanted people to know they were somewhere as soon as they walked up. So we decided to set up a bedroom scene in the courtyard that would be backlit behind a scrim. So all people would see as they entered were shadows of bodies. You might think you are seeing a man and a woman, two men, two women, three people, who knows. It was for the voyeur in everyone. Of course when we thought about that it was warm outside. We didn’t really think about the fact that it would be the end of November when this all took place and possibly very cold outside. Later I decided to move the bedroom inside for the comfort of all involved.
The second idea was the “showers.” The idea was that in life you usually go from the bedroom to the shower under various circumstances. *wink* Monstah said that he would put together two showers made of hula-hoops with clear plastic. We would need two platforms for the dancers to go on either side of the stage. I know you are thinking, what?? Just go with me. The idea was to drape rope over one of the pipes on the ceiling of the club so that the showers had a place to hang from.
Finally, I needed lights and platforms. Those were the two big items. Chuz had the air mattresses and the polls for the scrim. Monstah had the hula-hoops, plastic and the ropes. Kim said she knew someone who might be able to help us get the platforms and she also suggested reaching out to our friend Tillary about the lights.
It seemed like everything was moving along smoothly. Kim was looking into platforms and I called Tillary about the lights. Till put in me touch with his friend Jay for lights and it was supposed to be a hook-up. So I went to meet with Jay, he said he would look into the lights for me and I felt good about it. So that was that, for a bit.
The show date was getting closer and my hook ups for platforms and lights were not panning out. A couple of weeks went by and Jay informed me that I might be better off buying lights and it would cost me about $150 or $175 for what I needed. Well that couldn’t happen because that was not in the budget. So I needed a plan B. Next, the platforms.
Nothing seemed to be coming through on that front. Chuz told me to ask Aleijuan because he had some platforms made for a show he did at his school. Asked, but that was a no go. Then she suggested that I got to IKEA and see if I could find some cheap coffee tables that would be big enough or something in the AS IS section. I checked IKEA, found tables that might work that weren’t too pricy, but what was I going to do with two coffee tables after the show was over? Chuz said I could take them back which sounded good, but if people were going to dance on them who knew if that could really happen. I thought that was my final option, but then I remembered my theater and movie friends. So I put out a few emails, one in particular to Steven Sapp of Universes, and the next day I got a text from him telling me to reach out to a woman named Marisa Marshall at the Henry Street Settlement: Abrons Arts Center. I was hyped!!!
I called her, but didn’t hear back right away so I got a little nervous. I thought I was going to have to go to IKEA after all, but Marisa came thought in the clutch with platforms! Amazing. Much love to her and Steven. So the platforms were good to go, but what about the lights? I had given up on getting real theater lights at that point so now what? Chuz reminded me that she suggested I just get some clip lights from Home Depot. Well, I should have gone there in the first place because those lights were $7 a piece and they worked great lighting the scrim! I thought we were good to go, but then I was concerned about how we were going to get the polls to stand up since we didn’t have any earth to stake them in. I ran the situation by Chuz and after a bit of brainstorming and talking to her mother they came up with the idea of Christmas tree sands. Brilliant! Now that that was figured out I had to get clear on what needed to be done the day of the show and getting those stands was just one thing.
The day before the show I felt sick. Not usual for me. But the day of the show I was strangely calm. I had a lot to do, but I knew it would get done. My mother was coming in the morning so she could help as well.
Day of the Show
I got up in the morning and headed to LaGuardia to get a rental car. Why there? Frankly, it’s cheaper. When I got there I got a call from my mother saying that she had just entered the New York city limits. She was early. I got the car, headed back to my house and we arrived at the same time, which was great! We were supposed to pick up the platforms at 12:30pm and head to the club to drop them off at 1:30pm. Well you know what they say about plans and God. Marisa was late getting to the theater and then Kim called to tell me that the folks couldn’t get to the club until 3:30 or 4pm. Okay. So what to do now? My mother and I decided to go eat and hit Loew’s for the Christmas tree stands. After that we headed to the theater to get the platforms. At first we weren’t sure if they would fit in the cars we had, but with a little rope everything was good to go. We headed back over the bridge to the club to drop off the platforms and then I headed home to get my things, just to head back to the club.
Of course by this time everything is running a little late. Sound check was supposed to be at 6 and it really didn’t jump off completely until 7. Then I got news from two of my horn players that they thought I was going on at 9pm so they booked another gig at 11pm. Great! (very sarcastic voice). Well the show must go on.
We sound checked, California King checked, we got the bed up, we got the showers up, but we had to change their location and number of platforms. The dancers were in the house, Gaetano was in the house with my outfit, which I’ll get to. Videographers? Check. Photographer? Check. Folks to work the merch table? Check. The gangs all here. Let’s get the show on the road.
About 8pm we got the bedroom scene going. I only got to check it out for a little bit, but it was very cool if I do say so myself. Kim said she had to go back there and tell folks the who were behind the scrim to ease up on the “sexy noises.” LOL! I can only imagine. Of course it was a hit!
Ian began to spin until it was time for California King who went on at about 9:30pm. While they were on we were getting ready in the back. So what did I wear this time? You can check out the photos to see the full details, but it was a hot pink body suit, with black sequence butterfly appliqués, fishnets, knee high black boots, feathers in my hair and some killer makeup! It was sort of like burlesque meets A Clockwork Orange, plus a little costume surprise. Here’s a little backstage story.
When we were backstage getting my outfit together I was trying to figure out weather to put my underwear over or under my fishnets and my mother says, “Why do you need underwear at all?” What??!!! Now none of us were expecting to hear that from my mother. Well we quickly realized that would really be a “black bush” show if I didn’t wear any drawers! LOL! I think that statement was the highlight of my evening.
[My Beautiful Mom]
After California King killed it, I was ready for us to hit the stage. I had a pretty big band that night. Jerome (guitar), Ganessa (bass), Jeff (guitar), V. Jeff (sax), Matsu (drums), Ki Ki (b.vox), Achuziam (b.vox), Lionel (percussion/keys), Shawn (percussion), Taku (trumpet) and eZra (sax).
The music started I walked out. Not in my hot pink bodysuit, but in my green mechanics jumpsuit! Gaetano rigged the suite with Velcro so that it could be peeled or ripped off of me. Micah followed me out on stage and then when I gave him the cue he undressed me! He took my suit off to reveal my body suit underneath! It was very hot if I do say so myself. He not only undressed me, but he then also danced with me so it was lots of fun and the people really loved it! I had on lots of tulle. Tulle collar, tulle puff on the back of my suit and as I said that night, “Every girl should have a little tulle in their life.”
[Fluffing the tulle]
[The big reveal]
As the show progressed we had more and more fun. My makeup was running so there was a black mascara tear coming down my face. It was amazing! At the end of the show for the encore we did the “blaK Girls” Afrobeat remix. We were sans the whole horn section, but V. Jeff held it down. The surprise for the encore besides doing the remix was that I rhymed for the first time in my life! I know you are saying, what? Well you have to do what you have to do. On the recording of the remix LyricL rhymes. I couldn’t get her here from London, so I had to figure something out. So I channeled my love for hip-hop and wrote a rhyme. I’m no Lauryn Hill, but I do think I held my own. From the look on David Pilgrim’s face I think I did pretty good. I had so much fun! I think my rhyming days have just begun. You see! I’m rhyming! LOL! I also wanted to get the party started so I jumped in the audience and danced with the people. While I was on the ground Jerome, Micah and Aleijuan were holding down the dancing on stage. Ian spun us out of the song and kept the party going. It was an amazing night!
[Rawk 'n Roll!]
[Micah wiping my black tear]
[Ki Ki, Chuz and Baby Sanchez at their first show]
[Aleijuan & Micah taking us home]
When all was said and done we sold lots of CDs, blaKbüshe undies and bags so we were able to give to the Lower East Side Girls Club! I’m so happy about that. Giving back was one of the best parts of the night.
The dancing, mingling and breaking down wrapped up around 2am, but you know how it is after a show. There’s always that post-show energy that if you’re not careful can get you into trouble. So instead of trouble, Jeff, my friend Adrienne and I went out to eat. We didn’t get home until 4am, no sleep till 5am, and I was up at 10am because my mom was up. Needless to say I was beat on Saturday, but my work was not done.
My mom and I had to head back to the club to get the platforms so we could take them back to the theater. With some time to kill we took the Christmas tree stands back to Lowe’s (yes we took them back), went window shopping for furniture and then headed to the club. We packed the platforms in the cars and headed back over the bridge to the theater. We dropped of the platforms and then my mother got back on the road to MA and I went back to BK and to sleep. Now the show was officially over and I was beat!
Thank you to everyone who helped make the Quick & Dirty EP release happen. I’m so glad that I didn’t just put the album out and send out an email. It’s really about celebrating everything that you do. No matter how big or small. It’s very important to take note of all our accomplishments and all of our successes. Don’t take anything for granted. On some days just getting up and out of bed is a success. Sometimes making a few phone calls for the day is a success. Be kind to yourself and proud of all the things that you do on a daily basis.
Thank you everyone for your love and support of me and my music over the years. I am so proud to bring you The Quick & Dirty EP. I know you will enjoy it.
Have a great holiday season! May it be Merry, Quick & Dirty!
[Thank you and Goodnight!]
Shelley Nicole-lead vox/bass (yes I’m thanking myself)
Achuziam Maha-backing vox
Ki Ki Hawkins-backing vox
V. Jeffery Smith-Sax
M. Asli Dukan
Mom (Thanks Mom!)
Last, but Not Least:
You can purchase The Quick & Dirty EP at cdbaby.com
Check for more photos of Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe on Facebook and Myspace!