I remember going to a concert for the recently formed girl group, June’s Diary, in the Fall of 2016. Myself and the other patrons were all very excited to see the girls perform as this was one of their first shows since forming on a reality show created by Kelly Rowland and Frank Gatson. What’s funny though, is that excitement quickly turned into anxiety when we all realized there were going to be five opening acts before our girls were even going to be on stage. Mind you, I personally didn’t know any of the names on the bill, so you could imagine the frustration that began to mount in the room. In any case, all of the acts proved to be very talented artists in respects to R&B, but one in particular really stood out to me as a powerhouse vocalist and performer. He goes by the name, DAVIE, and that day, I immediately turned into a fan. The track that specifically caught my ear was called “Testify”, a track with lots of energy and soul, to which Davie exuded as he engaged his music with the audience. Almost a year later, Davie is ready to embark on the 2nd leg of a US tour, releasing a brand new EP, and celebrating that release with his own show in Downtown L.A at The Resident. Davie sat with me and SoCal Magazine to talk about his new EP, Black Gospel Vol. 1, his upcoming show, and the message that he wants his listeners to get from his music.
Let’s take it back to the June’s Diary show. The girls were just coming off their successful show on BET, Chasing Destiny, so they had a solid following. How did you get the opportunity to open for them? There’s this really awesome company in the community called Industry LA that partners with various events around L.A., particularly live concerts and showcases in the R&B space. A friend of mine who works with the girls on vocals connected me with the opportunity as they were specifically looking for openers to the show. I submitted one of my songs, and was selected as one of the openers.
You joined the Safe Haven Tour this past May and completed the East Coast leg this Summer. Tell us about that experience as you prep to start the West Coast dates next week. I love being connected with artists that do the hard work when it comes to their music. The artist I’m opening for on the tour, Ruth B., is an excellent songwriter and performer, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to be a part of the tour, I jumped on it. Our first show was in Nashville, TN, which was so exciting for me, because I’ve always felt connected to that city as a songwriter. It was just the perfect way to start a tour like this.
You’re releasing a brand new EP on August 25th, aptly titled Black Gospel Vol. 1. What does “Black Gospel” mean to you and what message do you want that to convey to your audience? My musical history stems deeply in the black church, where culturally, everyone sings and there’s an organ. That was my musical foundation, Gospel music within the black church. My experience as a black male felt very celebrated where I grew up, but as I’ve grown and traveled, I had to take in what it was like to be ostracized just for being different. When I use the word black, I don’t immediately use it to define race, either. Black has often been used to describe something negative and villainous, and then gospel is seen as something positive and uplifting. I connected those words with the purpose of delivering a message of good news to anyone who’s ever felt ostracized or like they don’t have a place in this world. I feel like my mission is to create music for everyone; to create a moment where we can all just jam. I want to bring people to together with good music, and that’s what I aim to do when I’m on tour. I’m taking the feeling I got listening to gospel in the black church and infusing that with Pop culture to bring people together of all cultures and backgrounds.
How have your fans been reacting to the snippets you’ve shared on social media so far? It’s crazy because I think they’ve reacted well to it seeing as how my audience has grown with me. Most of them were introduced to me about two years ago because I was an opening act for Selena Gomez, where they were exposed to me as a wholesome, Disney type of artist. Honestly, I was a little scared to lose them as I got older because the world changes so much, and my music reflects that. This is my first project where I’m talking about very real things, and I think my audience respects that. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the full EP with my thoughts on challenging systematic thoughts we have about church, God, and being black.
To promote and celebrate the EP release, you’re having a show at The Resident in downtown Los Angeles. What can people expect from the performance? Expect to have a good time and to be connected to the music along with the message. I want everyone to feel like we are all One and that we are all hoping to further the message of Love. For 45 minutes to an hour, I want people to not thinking about their worries, bills, whatever, and to hopefully make some friends with people that they may have never met elsewhere. I want to bond people through the music.
Black Gospel Vol. 1 releases August 25th, 2017 on all digital platforms: Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music. Physical EP’s will be available exclusively on tour. To purchase tickets for Davie’s Los Angeles show, Click Here. Make sure to follow Davie on Instagram: @musicbydavie
Billboard and Ford Motors have teamed up this Summer to create a multi-city concert series called, Ford Front Row, with each city showcasing one chart-topping artist and one rising star. The series kicked off its first show in downtown L.A. at the Belasco Theater and featured the critically acclaimed Tinashe and three-time Grammy nominated, BJ the Chicago Kid.
BJ the Chicago Kid kicked off his set with various cuts from his latest album, In My Mind, while making sure to give an extremely soulful performance through each song. The room was completely tuned into his melodic groove and beautifully arranged vocals on his tracks like “Church”, “Love Inside”, and fan favorite, “Turnin’ Me Up”. Immediately after BJ’s set, Tinashe took center stage to perform a riveting set from her album, Aquarius, and from her upcoming project, Joyride. There was no shortage of stage presence when Tinashe performed, as she delivered impeccable choreography and vocals without missing one beat. Fans sang along to every one of her songs and amplified their excitement at every dance break, because one thing was certain, Tinashe came to deliver high-energy performance at all costs. Her set ended with her chart-topping hit, “2 On” and finished it off completely engaged with her audience in a back and forth sing-along.
Billboard and Ford succeeded in making a truly memorable experience for the fans with the concert itself being completely free along with gifting all guests with promotional giveaway items by simply downloading the FordPass App. Follow the rest of the concert series on social media through the hashtag, #FordFrontRow. Next up on the tour is Miami, followed by Atlanta, and then culminating in New York. For more information on how to Enter to Win a trip for you and a guest to one of the next shows along with a chance to win a Ford vehicle of your choice, make sure to visit Billboard’s Ford Front Row portal by Clicking Here.
At the intersection of South Figueroa and 7th Street, is Downtown LA’s leading
shopping and dining destination – FIGAT7TH – a major player in the resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles.
Reigniting the city this summer with eclectic sounds and tunes, for the fifth consecutive year is Brookfield’s FIGat7th Downtown Festival. The event’s
highly anticipated return is presented by Arts Brookfield, the cultural arm of Brookfield Property Partners. The festival opens on Friday, August 4th and will run weekly at downtown L.A.’s
premiere shopping destination, FIGat7th. The center’s outdoor plaza will be reimagined as an intimate concert venue for four Friday nights in August with performances by leading pop, rock,
soul, funk, folk and alternative artists.
The FIGat7th Downtown Festival is free and open to the public as part of Arts Brookfield’s continued effort to bring Brookfield’s public spaces to life through visual and performing arts.
Kicking off the festival is Los Angeles’ hit funk-dance duo, Tuxedo, comprised of singer Mayer Hawthorne and producer Jake One. Hot on the heels of Tuxedo is the raunch ‘n’ roll
singer-songwriter Hanni El Khatib on August 11. The New York-based band Sinkane follows on August 18, introducing a cocktail of progressive funk rock and Sudanese pop. The festival closes
out with another L.A. music staple, Quetzal, who peppers their fiery mix of Mexican musica ranchera and salsa with socially conscious Chicano rock and R&B.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive at 4:00 p.m. for a DJ Happy Hour with NONA
ENTERTAINMENT in the TASTE Food Hall Courtyard where a variety of excellent eateries
and chef-driven concepts are offered. The festivities will move upstairs at 7:00 p.m. for more fun
beats as local DJs warm up the crowd before the talented, internationally recognized headliners
take the stage.
FIGat7th Downtown Festival’s unique lineup reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the city and
the cultural and creative center that downtown L.A. has become!
For more information http://www.artsbrookfield.com/event/figfest-2017/
This year’s BET Experience saw the introduction of AT&T’s #BeTheGlow campaign executed by The 360 Agency. The experience presented guests to a unique virtual reality activation with AT&T technology along with musical performances from artists like Young Paris, Nick x Navi, Tia P, Drayon, and others. Artist Gelila Mesfin showcased a curated gallery of her work focused around Afrofuturism, and designer/artist, Laoulu NYC presented an interactive fashion show and installation.
#BeTheGlow also held a series of Genius Talks panels hosted by Charlamagne Thagod. The panels included celebrity guests Traci Ellis Ross, Nick Cannon, Angela Rye, Pusha T, Marilyn Mosby, Issa Rae, Ava Duvernay, and New Edition. The focus of Genius Talks sessions for the BET Experience was to enhance and embrace #BeTheGlow’s mission dedicated to shining a glowing light on the people and ideas driving black culture forward.
#BeTheGlow will continue its campaign this summer at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans on June 1st and 2nd, 2017.
The LA Choral Lab performs twice a year, and when they do, it is rather glorious. For their latest performance, entitled SACRED SONGS, 350+ concertgoers showed up to the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles in DTLA, to hear choral pieces that ranged from Gregorian chants and 1000-year-old music, to brand new works by local composers being heard for the first time. Intricate, layered harmonies resonated throughout the resplendent setting as the choir sang hymns together, and in quartets stationed around different areas of the church. There were also several songs performed by the 60+ member volunteer choir. Some of the musical pieces sounded almost like a vocalizer had been added, (like Imogen Heap) which speaks volumes to the spot on harmonics of the singers. When a full choir sings melodic, multi-part harmonies in the sanctuary of a beautifully lit church, you cannot help but want to weep. The Artistic Director of the LA Choral Lab, Michael Alfera, answered a few question for SoCal magazine about the Sacred Songs performance.
1. How often does the choir rehearse for a performance?
The L.A. Choral Lab holds six to eight rehearsals leading up to a performance, depending on how involved the repertoire is. We rehearse once or twice a week in the several weeks leading up to a performance. At this point, we’re doing two performances per year. As we grow, we look forward to being able to perform more often than that, and in new and unexpected venues around Los Angeles.
2. Does the L.A. Choral Lab perform contemporary music?
We almost always perform contemporary music and almost every piece on our Sacred Songs program was written in the past ten to fifteen years. We focus on recently-written pieces that have an emotional/spiritual dimension in addition to an intellectual dimension.
3. The third movement of Vidi Aquam by Greg Brown had such discordant notes. Was that a hard one for the singers to learn?
The third movement of Vidi Aquam by Greg Brown, is a beautiful soundscape-type piece that I learned about when Mr. Brown sent me the piece as part of a call for scores that we did. To me, the piece is reminiscent of the sounds of the far East — crotales, meditation bells, ancient stringed instruments. To achieve this, each part had to be intricately crafted. The singers worked hard to nail that one down. Each piece has its own challenges. I try not to think of one piece as more difficult than another because we ultimately want to have the same sort of easy mastery over every piece by the time the performance comes. If a piece is difficult, that simply means that we have to spend more time on it.
Photo Credit: John Allen
4. And which piece was it that sounded like Paul Simon’s American Tune?
Oh! You’re talking about ‘O Sacred Head Now Wounded‘. — the melody and chorale were originally written by Hans Leo Hassler around the year 1600. And Paul Simon’s song is a direct adaptation of that chorale for solo voice and guitar. The tune is based on a melody line on the chorale from Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion, itself a reworking of the earlier secular song, ‘O Sacred Head Now Wounded‘. or “Mein G’müt ist mir verwirret,” composed by Hans Leo Hassler.
For upcoming shows and current info on the L.A. Choral Lab click here