Sunday, December 30, 2012


2012 was the year where many recording artists made huge returns to recording and the stage after several long hiatuses. Reforming, vacation, the loss of loved ones and regrouping after tragedies makes have helped the artists who are featured on this list better and stronger than they were before and the fans were happy to welcome their returns.                                                                                                                        

1.THE JACKSONS-After the legendary group embarked on their historic Victory tour in 1984, the brothers began to work on solo projects off camera and behind the scenes, and while fans enjoyed Michael and Jermaine's solo projects, they were waiting for the group to reunite. They did for Michael's 30th anniversary concert special which was one of the highlights. There were plans of the brothers recording another album together, but those plans were railroad by Michael's arrest and trial on false accusations, which he was cleared of. While Michael planned to do his comeback solo tour, his older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon starred in their own reality show and planned on touring, and even doing a few dates with him, but plans for the latter was scrapped by Michael's unexpected death. While many of their torch carriers began to pay tribute to Michael, the fans and their mother had asked and requested for the brothers to go on tour to honor the family's legacy, and they did making everybody happy and silencing the non-believers who thought that they wouldn't be good without their brother who was their co-lead singer. (Youngest brother Randy who replaced Jermaine in 1975, and remained with the group until they disbanded in 1990 opted not to tour, though he joined his brothers onstage in Arizona). The Jackson's Unity tour became a hit selling out several venues including the famous Apollo Theater, where the performed and won during amateur night before getting signed to Motown. The tour reviews were so positive that Brooklyn borough president Marty Marrowitz was able to get The Motown legends to perform at his annual summer concert festival at Coney Island, where many came out to see them perform and they didn't disappoint either! They were singing and dancing in their seats and areas, and everybody left with smiles on their faces. The Jacksons will be touring over seas next year and are working on a new album, which will be a hit.                                                                                                                                    

2. Nas-After the birth of his son and divorce from wife Rock/Soul Singer/Songwriter Kelis, Nas decided to do what he does best; channel his feelings into music and the result was "Life Is Good" his third album to top the Pop charts and get great reviews from both the critics and fans who were eager for the Illmatic rapper to return, and he came back hard. With hot party jams, social conscious songs and songs about heartbreak, many are saying that it's his best work to date, and calling it the Hip-Hop version of Marvin Gaye's underrated classic "Here My Dear" which was the muse of "Life Is Good." Many were shocked at how he went in on his ex, who wasn't upset at him for being creative, unlike Gaye's first wife Anna Gordy, who was upset and had reportedly was considering to hit Gaye with an invasion of privacy suit. Nas cooked up another classic album and it would be foolish for the award shows not to give him any nominations.              

3. SWV-When R&B/New Jack Swing trio SWV announced their break-up in 2007, many fans were shocked, and hurt by the news, while many were happy that they decided to end on excellent terms. Lead Vocals Coko Gamble had wanted to focus on her Gospel Music career full-time, but had a chance of heart when Singer/Songwriter/Pianist Alicia Keys asked the trio along with EnVogue and he surviving members of TLC to join her onstage at the 2008 BET Awards to perform a medley of their hits. Once Coko, Taj and LeLee hit the stage, the audience went bananas, and it was then that they decided to reunite and four years later they released their album "We Missed Us" their first album since 1997's "Releasing Some Tension" which has been getting great reviews from the critics and the L.G.B.T. community who was doing their own promotion of the album, which not only showed their growth, it also features all there ladies singing lead. While many groups disbanded or loss members, Coko. Taj and LeLee are showing the industry that ladies in their late 30's and early 40's can still record hit albums, shoot videos and look sexy. Now it would be great if The Supremes can follow their advice and reunite.                                                                                                

4. Brandy-When the talented Singer/Actress/Producer dropped her classic album "Full Moon" ten years ago, many fans were excited to see the direction she was going in musically and creatively, and while the album did reach multi-platinum status, the album could have been bigger, but becoming a mom, a public break-up, changing producers and a tragic car accident put a temporary halt in her plans, which could have crushed the singer who was forced to have the perfect Black Female image. However Brandy rebounded by changing managers, and (finally) adapting a mature and classy, yet sexy image, Brandy dropped her album "Two Eleven" which hit # 1 on the Soul album charts, and has been getting great and positive feedback for those who love and appreciate great music. Fans praised the former star of "Moesha" for singing in different keys and tones, especially her lower register, while showing her sassy and sexy side without being slutty. Brandy has finally grew into the Lady we wanted to see and this is the route that former Destiny's Child member and spokesperson Kelly Rowland needs to take.                                                                          

5. Singer Shaliek Rivers-Ten years ago, I happened to be attending a tribute concert for the late Kenny Greene of Intro, and one of the artist who AIDS activist Maria A Davis recruited to take part in the tribute was Soul Singer/songwriter Shaliek Rivers, a then 20 year-old from The Bronx, who captivated the audience with his soulful renditions of one of Intro's classics, and Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You." I was so blown away by that performance that I had to interview him for my school's publication, and during the interview, I found him to be a very cool, mature and down to earth brother, who wasn't acting like his feecees didn't have a foul odor. He had signed to Universal Records, but sadly didn't release an album due to staff changes at the label as well as politics, and after being at Universal for several years, he decided to release his music independently, and it's paid off. Not only has Rivers reconnected with his fans who have been eagerly waiting for him to drop some music, he has also gained a new legion of fans, who appreciate him performing with a live band and for being true to himself.                                                                  

6.Lionel Richie-For years, many Singers have returned to their roots by recording music they grew up singing and listening to, and while many Soul and Pop artist record Gospel and Jazz albums, Motown Legend Lionel Richie returned to his Country roots recording a Country album titled "Tuskegee" which became hit first # 1 Pop album since 1986's award winning "Dancing On The Ceiling." Richie who won fame as the lead singer and songwriter for the Funk band The Commodores had grew up listening to Country, Classical and Gospel music, and instead of recording a Country album of original material, he decided to re-record his classic hits with Country artists including Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Kenny Rogers, Tim McGraw and Shania Twain, who was hesitant to record with Richie due to having surgery on her vocal chords. Richie who had the same surgery twenty years ago, was persistent and encouraging to the Country singer, who was afraid that she wouldn't do a great job singing on the classic duet "Endless Love" the album's lead single. Lionel's persistence and support paid off because both did a great job and it help Twain reconnect with her fans, while giving Lionel a hit album and a new legion of fans. A great way to celebrate his 30th year anniversary as a solo artist. Yee Haw!!  Now if he can finally reunite with The Commodores, something that he's been talking about for year. It would be great.                                                                                            

7.Bobby Brown-Singer/Songwriter/New Edition Co-founder year had gotten off to a tragic start. Shortly after losing his father, he lost his ex-wife Singer/Actress/Producer Whitney Houston, who died the night before the Grammy Awards, and while many had blamed the Grammy Award singer for getting his ex hooked and addicted to drugs, many fans and singers including Jennifer Holiday fought back and revealed that Houston was doing drugs years before she met Brown, and that they needed to stop putting the blame on him. Brown had rebounded by marrying his manager, and released "Masterpiece" his first solo album over 15 years and been performing solo dates as well as dates with his group mates New Edition, who is embarking on their 30th anniversary tour and was FINALLY honored with a long overdue Lifetime Achievement Award from the Soul Train Music Awards this past fall. Bobby showed the industry that you can keep a talented Bad Boy down, and that he's still going to be having fans sing "My Prerogative" for another 25 years.                                                                                                                                      

8. Mary Wilson-The Original Supreme is still keeping the spirit and the legacy of The Supremes alive with several different projects. She's planning on having a set of Supremes gowns on display at the African American Museum in Philadelphia as well as celebrating the release of "Life's Been Good To Me" her first U.S. single since 1995's "U" which is getting spins on internet radio. She also worked with writer/author Mark Bego on a magazine honoring The Supremes' 50th anniversary which includes photographs and two of her secret recipes which will be featured in her future cookbook.                                                                                            

9. Scherrie Payne-The Payne killer and former Supremes' lead singer has been on the roll herself. In addition to performing with Lynda Laurence and Joyce-Vincent, she released a Dance version of The Supremes' Disco classic hit "Let Yourself Go" which is having Supreme fans bringing out their inner Diva on the Dance floors and among their peers. Scherrie did a great job re-cutting this classic and is showing fans that you don't have to be young to loosen up.

10.Chi-Ali-The former Bronx teen rapper was released from prison after serving 14 years for manslaughter, and as soon as he was released, he quickly returned to recording and performing, and starting a new chapter in his life. The youngest member of the Hip-Hop crew The Native Tongues had shot and killed his daughter's uncle, and after being on the run for several months, he was captured and copped a plea, and while he was serving his sentence, he went to college, earned an Associates Degree, and continued to write songs, while working on his muscular physique. Since he's been released, he's released singles with Rappers Fat Joe and Mysonne, as well as performed with Rapper Skyzoo, who has listed Ali as one of his favorite rappers and main inspirations to pursue a career in rap. Many are glad that Chi Ali is back, and he's letting those know that many can get a second chance in life and start their lives over. Especially those who take and accept responsibility for their actions

No comments: