Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rockin' the Decade and Haiti Relief

I have two great announcements for everyone. As you know, I am one of the incredible featured artists on the Boldaslove.us Presents: Fire in the Dark compilation. Well we had the fortune of being reviewed on Okayplayer.com! Not only was the compilation reviewed, but I was also mentioned. So please check out what they had to say and spread the word about blaKbüshe and the other great bands listed.

Second I was named one of the “Top Ten Sistas to Rock the Decade!” Yes, the decade! It’s hard to believe that I have been rockin’ my blaKbüshe for 10 years. Time flies in this biz and I am thankful for every moment of this journey. Please check out the other women who made this list. I am proud to be sharing space with them.

I know that news of Haiti is everywhere right now and if you are a news hound like me it’s hard to watch, but I must. There is no need for me to recap the devastation. That can be seen on any of the various news outlets you choose to watch or listen to, but I will say this. Much like Katrina, this mess is going to take a very, very, very long time to clean up.

One of my cousins just came back from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi where they are still rebuilding from Katrina, which happened almost 5 years ago. As devastating as Katrina was and no matter how much it continues to haunt those who went through it, it is nothing like what had and is happening in Haiti. I’m not comparing disasters because that’s just ridiculous, but I am saying this. Right now we have to give to Haiti and keep giving. I was here in New York on 9/11, and as heartbreaking as that day was the whole city did not collapse. Imagine if on 9/11 you saw not only the World Trade Center go down, but the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, Port Authority, rows and rows of houses, etc. just turn to dust. That is Port-au-Prince. My hope is that this natural disaster and others will move us to think long and hard about how we are treating the environment and Mother Earth. We can’t keep wreaking havoc on her and expect her not to fight back. What happened in Haiti is a message for all of us. Meditate on that a bit. Meditate on how you can treat our Mother better. She takes care of us. She feeds us, houses us, and clothes us. The least we can do is give a back to her instead of taking all the time. We are one with the earth. You may not understand or believe what I’m saying and that’s okay...for now. But take some time to think about how you give back. I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been thinking long and hard about it.

Thank you Mother. I’m sending love to you.

Places you can give/donate to Haiti Earthquake Relief
Yéle Haiti
Partners In Heath
Doctors Without Borders

You can also:
Send Reiki
Send Metta
Send Love and Light
Support friends who have lost family
Live every day to the fullest
Stop complaining and be grateful

Homes Leveled after Haiti Earthquake

Homeless After Earthquake

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Year End Review

To say that 2009 came in and went out with a bang is an understatement. Since starting this band (10 years ago…wow!) I’ve learned how to pack lots into a year, but this year was packed not only because of music. There was a lot to cheer about, but there was also much to cry about. Sometimes the tears were of joy, but there was surely a lot of sadness. I was told when the year began that 2009 was going to be one of transition and that was nothing short of the truth. There were many people who transitioned out of this place. Some folks we knew would possibly leave this year while others came as a big shocker. Some transitions did not cause people to leave, but just to have to make a total 180 degree life change. So I’ll get down to the nitty gritty and jump off my 2009 Year End Review.

I kicked off the year seeing one of my biggest musical influences. After many, many years Labelle (Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx and Patti Labelle) reunited and did a reunion tour. I had the honor and pleasure to see them in Atlantic City! It was so incredible and what made it even better was seeing my folks Ki Ki Hawkins and Keith Fluitt singing with them. Straight from there I continued on to Maryland/DC for the inauguration of Barack Obama! It was cold, it was thrilling, it was history and I was a part of it. When all the excitement was over I headed straight back to NY and had to hit the stage with Hanifah. But wait there’s more. The day after that I had did a video shoot at for a Rutgers University project. I’m tired just writing about it again. It was a great way to kick off the year. Action packed for sure.

Some of you know that my side gig for many years has been in magazine publishing. I have been in the media biz on the other side since I came to New Year TK years ago (for those who know what TK means, well then you know. LOL!). I had the pleasure of working with some great people at a great magazine called Domino. On January 28th Conde Nast decided to close the magazine. I was working there as a freelance researcher. When that happened we were devastated, but I decided at that moment I would not go back to publishing and make a full push at being an artist. So thanks Sy Newhouse for the kick in the pants. I’m on my way!

In February, to celebrate my newfound freedom, I registered for the Danskin Triathlon. Hands down one of the best things I’ve done in my life.

At the end of February we played for the “Bootleg” boys at Santos Party House. That show was short, but off the hook and thanks to Lionel we got some great shots. Backstage at Santos has all the feel of the grimy NY nightclub, but the room is incredible!

In March Joyce Jones at WBAI invited the band to be a part of International Working Women’s Day broadcast. So I took a small crew to the station and we played live on the air. Really great time!

Later that month Jerome, Shawn and I played a small loft party for my girl Nucomme. Great folks and great food.

For a better part of the month I was rehearsing with my girl Kay Ashley for her the release of her album Heliotrope, which took place at DROM. That was an incredible event. I met so many wonderful new singers and musicians. If you are not familiar with Kay then check her out. Her album Heliotrope is nothing short of a classic.

I kicked off April with my first Birkram yoga class ever. I made it through, but not without thinking the whole time, “what the HELL am I doing here!” LOL! But when it was over I wanted to do it again. Is that what childbirth is like? Anyone?

April was also the month I had my fortuitous meeting with writer/director/comedian of the web series Jack & Jill, Hollie Harper. She is now doing the sketch comedy series American Candy, but I’ll get to that in a moment. That meeting would turn out to be one of the best of year because of all that came out of it. At that meeting I told her that I would send her an invite to my show at BAM, which was later that month. Hollie came to my show and afterward she called me and said, “Bitch you didn’t tell me you were a star!” LOL! I love that because she is a star too. Honey, we are all just out here doing what we do and doing it well I might add.

The BAM show that I speak of happened on the 18th and it was such a great night. I added V. Jeffery Smith (sax) and Dexter Taylor (guitar) to the band for the evening. I came with the drama to start and introduced two new songs to the people, or was it one. Either way we did a few covers and shook the sculptures hanging from the ceiling. The room was packed. Those who got there late, couldn’t get in. As an artist we dream of a string of those nights. Soon come. Soon come.

We closed March playing at Medgar Evers College for 100 Letters to My Father and then at Galapagos Art Space for the BEA Rock Camp Fundraiser.

We played two small shows in May. The first was the Cora Dance benefit and the other at the LES Girls Club Block Party & Walk-a-Thon. Both events were a lot of fun. I really loved playing for the girls club this year. The young ladies did the walk-a-thon in their prom gowns! Loved it!

Mid-month I headed to Atlanta to hook up with Daz-I-Kue (www.myspace.com/dazikue, www.twitter.com/dazikue) to finally get my live project mixed. My ATL trip was nothing short of incredible. I built a friendship with Daz who is not only a great producer, but a genuinely wonderful, loving and generous man. I also got to spend time with my girl Lammie who left NY for greener pastures in Atlanta. Thanks so much to her and her family. Check out Lammie’s band Son.Aria and her artwork. Incredible artist. www.dlammiehanson.com

Over that weekend I drove out of Atlanta and headed deeper south to McRae, GA and the home of Vinx and the Songwriter’s Soul Kitchen. You can read my old blog for that whole recap, but I have to say I met and reconnected with some of the best folks. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a songwriter or even an aspiring songwriter. The community is priceless. Thank you Vinx for opening your home to all of us who have come though and all those who are still to come. See you in March! www.vinx.com.

I closed out May by throwing a bridal shower for one my best friends and one of the most beautiful women I know, Achuziam. As many of you know she sings with me in the band, but we have been singing together long before blaKbüshe was in effect. We were actually able to surprise her, which was a miracle. Chuz is now married and her and Lionel are expecting in May! It was a big year for those two for sure.

I kicked of June with Chuz & Lionel’s wedding. I was asked to bless them with a poem at the wedding so I bused out my famous haiku’s for the people. I think it was a nice addition if I do say so myself.

A week later the band was playing at the Trash Bar for the Northside Music Festival in Williamsburg, BK. The Trash Bar is a strange place to play on a Saturday afternoon, but I will say that we had four great bands that afternoon and that is where I first heard my new favorite band California King. Turns out my friend Howard Alper plays drums with them. They killed it that day and I have been a fan ever since. www.myspace.com/californiakingband

June is also the month where Hanifah debuted her new band Black Patti. Yes I’m a part of that band as well playing bass, tambourine and singing. We hit the stage with The Soulfolk Experience (SFX) at Irondale in Brooklyn. So Ganessa and I were working overtime that night. Both shows were really great. Black Patti was off and running.

Then Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died…

July was quiet on the performing front. In fact we didn’t have any shows. That whole month was spent getting ready for Michfest with the all female lineup of blaKbüshe and Black Patti. The one event that stands out for me in July was having dinner with my parents at Tavern on the Green for my dad’s 60th b’earthday. My parents stopped in NY on their way back from Philly. After lunch I tried to go see Joe and Ginuwine at Summerstage and couldn’t get in! That joint was packed. I guess I’m not the only one in NY who loves 90s R&B. HA! I could hear them crooning from outside the gate and people were still in line like they were going to get in. NOT! So I headed back home to BK.

August was all about Michfest. That’s how I kicked off the month. I’m not going to recap that, but feel free to look back at the blogs. Maybe they will convince you to come this year. It is the 35th Anniversary! www.michfest.com.

When I got back from Michigan I jump right back into the fray play at the BEA Rock Camp with Jeff and Shawn.

At the end of August as the musical guest for the second American Candy show at South Oxford Space. American Candy is the sketch comedy show that Hollie Harper puts together. So we are back to the earlier conversation. Stay tuned...

A week later I got a call from my mother that my father was called for his lung transplant and he was a match. So I headed home to check in on them. Praise Goddess he has had a speedy recovery and is doing very well. Truth: Not until my father needed a lung transplant did I know that lungs could be transplanted. What a world we live in. Miracles are all around us every day.

September 10th SFX made another appearance at Bloomingdales in Soho for “Fashion’s Night Out.” Then three days later I did my first Triathlon in Sandy Hook, NJ. I managed to swim, bike and run the course in a little over an hour and a half. It was amazing. You can check my blog for that as well.

A week later I was playing bass with Sri Baba Keith at Laughing Lotus Yoga kirtan. That is always such a great time. Keith has an amazing way of blending instruments from all over the world to play this healing music. It’s always very special for me.

In October I headed back to comedy and made my acting debut in American Candy. I’m back! For those of you who know me, you know that I used to be in a comedy and spoken word troop called Black Lotus. I haven’t hit the stage as an actress in a long time and I have to honestly say that that was my first artistic love. I’ve probably been acting as long as I’ve been singing. It just goes hand in hand for me. I am so honored to be a part of the American Candy crew of actors and hopefully one day, writers. Thanks Hollie! Thanks so much! www.facebook.com/americancandy

This month I also did something that I probably would have never done if it wasn’t for my friend Jeff. I went to see KISS at Madison Square Garden! I was never a KISS fan growing up, but I have to say they gave one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I think I might be taking a few of their ideas when I play at the Garden (*wink*).

I closed the month as the musical guest for the American Candy Halloween show at the Gotham Comedy Club. That was lots of fun as well, but I was itching to act again.

November is my b’earthday Month. I rang in my day pretty quietly because I was gearing up for the really big day, which was the Quick & Drity EP release on the 20th. Before we get to that I did two other hits.

On the 12th I played a Gina Breedlove’s Folk Soul event at Pillow Café. Then on the 17th I did the Global Jam Session with DJ Hard Hittin’ Harry on Axiom Online. I have two new remixes on the EP. An afro-beat version of “blaK Girls” featuring LyricL and a remix of "Dance (Flying Home)" that was on my first album. Harry played them both on his show and it felt great! Harry and I go a long way back. Thanks Harry for all your love and support!

On the 20th, after 6 years, I released my second project, The Quick & Dirty EP. Check out the blog for the total recap. It was a great night and my mom came down from Massachusetts so that made it extra special. I thought that was going to be the last show of the year, but just when I was about to put my bass down I got one final email to play in December. So let’s head there.

The beginning of the month was very sad for me. On December 4th I lost my friend and familiar, Zenzele my cat of 11 years. I knew it would be hard to lose a pet, but I really had no idea. I miss you Z. You were my #1 blaK Girl. I know you are still with me keeping the mice at bay. I love you. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

On the 18th & 19th I was back in action for the American Candy: Asaalam Christmas show. The first night was brick ass cold outside and the second night was a snowstorm, but both nights we had great houses. People really came out and that to me was a sign of how great the work is that American Candy is doing. Again, I am so blessed to be a part of this troop. Don’t sleep on it folks. We are here to tickle your funny bone.

Somewhere in there I also managed to push out a Christmas CD for my mother. I have to tell you a little bit of the backstory behind the making of this CD.

My mother goes on an annual shopping trip/girls weekend hang with her friends during the holidays. This year, about two weeks before my album release my mother reminded me of this and then informs me that she would like to give her friends a Christmas CD by ME! What?! Okay. So I asked her to let me get through the release and then I would get back to her as to if I could do it or not. As you now know, my cat died early in the month and I was a really hurting. I planned to tell my mother that I couldn’t do the CD for her, but before I could she sent me an email with everything she wanted on the CD. Yes, she was the executive producer. LOL! So now I was in it. In the final days I enlisted Jeff, Jerome, Shawn and Chuz to play and sing. Lionel engineered and somehow we made that joint happen. It was not an easy endeavor. The day we got together to record I wasn’t in the best voice. I had to go back and overdub the lead. So that cut the mixing days short. All in all it came out great and my mother was very happy. Due to the time constraints we could only do four songs, but it was really wonderful. My mom was very happy! The CD is sure to be a Shelley Nicole collector’s item.

blaKbüshe closed 2009 on the 29th with Great Small Works at the Judson Memorial Church for their annual spaghetti dinner and Winter Solstice Celebration. I was told that they usually have about 300 people there, but that night it was colder than a witch’s tit outside. I mean the hawk was out in force. When there is weather like that you never know how the turnout will be. Well to my surprise, there weren’t 300 people, but there were probably about 150-175! I was shocked as the people just kept coming in. The night included an eclectic mix of the artist. There was theater, acrobats, live music, film, puppets, and more. We played a short set for the folks and they loved it. I have to say that I loved them too. I really enjoy playing for audiences who have never seen us before. I have to thank Jenny of Great Small Works for asking us to participate and the folks who came to support them and art that night. It wasn’t just about the spaghetti.

Well that is it for 2009 folks. It was quite a year. May this year be filled with joy and prosperity for us all. Make it happen in 2010!


Happy New Year!!!

My Thanks & Shouts:


The hairs of blaKbüshe 2009:
Achuziam Maha, Christelle Durandy, Dave Pilgrim, Daz-I-Kue, Dexter Taylor, eZra Brown, Gaetano Cannella, Ganessa James, Ian Friday, Jeff Jeudy, Jerome Jordan, Ki Ki Hawkins, Lionel Sanchez, Lucianna Padmore, LyricL, Maritri Garrett, Matsu, Pamela Means, Shawn Banks, Shelly “Bombshell” Martin, Taku Kuroda, Tiffany James, V. Jeffery Smith

More Special Thanks:
Curve Magazine, Gina Breedlove, Hanifah Walidah, Hard Hittin’ Harry, Hollie Harper & the American Candy Crew, Keith Borden, Kim Knox, Kristi, Lomax, Lee Free, Lisa Vogel, Mike Ashley, Olive Demetrius, Ri Ri Garcia, Rob Fields, Vinx and YOU!

My Family:
Mom, Dad, Gramee, Grampee, Derron, and the whole Jefferson/Jones clan!

Before I list all the known people who transitioned in 2009, I have to send love to the people in my life who lost friends and family this year. I personally lost a good friend in my cat Zenzele. So I am sending love and light to all the people who lost a loved one in 2009. Know that they are still with you. As long as you speak their names, they live.

14-Ricardo Montalban (Actor, Fantasy Island, KHAN!!!!)
22-James Brady (Writer, Started “Page Six” in NY Post)
27-John Updike (Pulitzer Prize Writer, The Witches of Eastwick)
28-Billy Powell (Keyboardist for Lynyrd Skynrd)
31-Clint Ritchie (Actor, Clint Buchanan on One Life to Live)

7-Blossom Dearie (Singer/Pianist, Singer on several School House Rock songs)
11-Estelle Bennett (Singer, The Ronettes, Inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007)
14-Louie Bellson (Drummer, Duke Ellington, VP of Remo Drums)
22-Howard Zieff (Director, Private Benjamin)

12-Ron Silver (Actor, The West Wing, Speed-the-Plow)
18-Natasha Richardson (Actress, The Parent Trap, Widows’ Peak, Cabaret)
25-"England" Dan Seals (Singer, Best known for his song “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight”)
26-Irving R. Levine (NBC Newscaster)
29-Maurice Jarre (Composer, Oscars for A Passage to India, Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia)

7-Dave Arneson (Game Creator, Dungeons and Dragons/Teacher)
19-J. G. Ballard (Author, Empire of the Sun)
25-Bea Arthur (Actress, Maude, The Golden Girls)

4-Dom DeLuise (Comic Actor, Cannonball Run, Smokey & the Bandit, Blazing Saddles/Cook)

3-David Carradine (Actor, Kill Bill, The Long Goodbye)
17-John Houghtaling (Inventor, The Magic Fingers coin operated vibrating bed.)
23-Ed McMahon (Announcer, The Tonight Show, Publishers Clearing House)
25-Farrah Fawcett (Actress/Model, Charlie’s Angels, The Burning Bed) and Michael Jackson (Singer/Songwriter/The Greatest Entertainer, Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and many, many, many, many more…)
28-Billy Mays (Pitchman, Oxiclean, Orange Glo)

1-Karl Malden (Actor, On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Streets of San Francisco)
4-Allen Klein (Music Agent, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles/Movie Producer)
6-Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense during Vietnam War)
17-Walter Cronkite (Newscaster, CBS Evening News)
19-Frank McCourt (Writer, Angela’s Ashes/Teacher)

1-Corazon Aquino (Former Philippine President) and Scandalous-T, born Titus Baatin Glover (Co-founder of Slum Village)
6-John Hughes (Writer/Director, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles)
11-Eunice Kennedy Shriver (Philanthropist, Marie Shriver’s Mother)
13-Les Paul (Guitar Legend)
19-Don Hewitt (TV News Producer, 60 Minutes/Director)
25-Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy (Politician/Activist)
26-Ellie Greenwich (Songwriter, “Leader of Pack,” “Chapel of Love”)

8-Army Archerd (Gossip Columnist)
11-Larry Gelbart (Writer, M*A*S*H, Tootsie)
14-Henry Gibson (Comic, Laugh-In), Jody Powell (Press Secretary for Pres. Jimmy Carter/PR specialist) and Patrick Swayze (Actor, Dirty Dancing, Ghost)
16-Mary Travers (Folk Singer, Peter, Paul and Mary)
22-Lucy O'Donnell Vodden (Beatles Inspiration, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”)
27-William Safire (Writer, New York Times Columnist, The “Kitchen Debates”)

13-Al Martino (Singer/Actor, The Godfather)
14-Lou Albano (Wrestler/Manager/Actor, In “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video with Cindy Lauper)
17-Vic Mizzy (Composer, The Addams Family and Green Acres theme songs)
19-Joseph Wiseman (Actor, Dr. No)
22-Soupy Sales (Comic)

15-Ken Ober (Comic/Host/Producer, Remote Control, Mind of Mencia) and Derek B (British Rapper)
16-Edward Woodward (Actor, The Equalizer, The Wicker Man) and
Bucky Williams (Baseball Player, second-oldest Negro League Baseball Player)
17-Sy Syms (Entrepreneur, Founder and Chairman of SYMS clothes)
28-Bob Keane (Music Producer/Manager, founder of Del-Fi Records)

9-Gene Barry (Actor, War of the Worlds, La Cage aux Folles) and
Luther Smith (Pilot, member of the Tuskegee Airmen)
15-Oral Roberts (Evangelist)
17-Jennifer Jones (Actress, Song of Bernadette, Towering Inferno),
Dan O'Bannon (Screenwriter, Alien, Total Recall), Alaina Reed Hall (Actress, Olivia on Sesame Street) and Chris Henry (Football Player, Cincinnati Bengals)
20-Brittany Murphy (Actress, Clueless, 8 Mile), James Gurley (Guitarist, Big Brother and the Holding Company) and Arnold Stang (Actor, Voice of Top Cat)
23-DJ Omega Supreme, born Andre Kyles (Organized Konfusion)