The veteran singer brings a jazzy, mature, grown-folks vibe to “Summer Nights In Harlem” as well as sweet sultriness to the accompanying “flip-side,” the ballad, “The Romance Of You”. It’s the sound Ms. Williams has been known for, dating back to her years when she was the first R&B singer signed to Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records during the 1980’s.
“Producer Maurice Lynch was putting together a Harlem jazz review and was referred to me by a mutual friend,” says Alyson. “After we completed the show, he offered two songs for me to record – ‘Summer Nights In Harlem’ and ‘The Romance Of You’. I loved both tunes and offered to cut them with top notch veterans in the music industry – keyboardist Ray Chew (musical director for ABC-TV’s Dancing With The Stars), longtime sax man Kirk Whalum as well as Grammy Award winning bassist Christian McBride.”
Entrepreneur, philanthropist and radio host, are just a few of the hats renowned Harlem raised recording artist Alyson Williams wears. With a voice so hauntingly pure, Alyson is able to transport you to your very own utopia while effortlessly showcasing she really can do it all.
Growing up, Alyson was surrounded by and exposed to great music. Her father – celebrated Jazz trumpeter and bandleader, Bobby Booker – was a major influence in her life. It was at four years old, when Alyson first demonstrated her stage talents. With a strong passion for performing, Alyson was inspired to study dance under the supervision of Arthur Mitchell, founder of The Dance Theatre of Harlem. She also studied with Alvin Ailey and performed with numerous other dance companies with the determination to enhance her skills. After years of hard work and dedication to perfecting her craft, Alyson was granted a scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College. She later attended City University of New York, as a member of the Aaron Davis Center for the Performing Arts Program and studied under John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet.
While in college, Alyson joined the I.N.C.A. (Institute of New Cinema Artists) headed by Ruby Dee, Ozzie Davis and Cliff Frazier. Through I.N.C.A., Alyson was awarded an internship to work side by side with Benny Ashburn, manager of the world famous Commodores. Before she knew it, she was singing background in the studio with iconic artists such as Melba Moore, Evelyn Champagne King and Kurtis Blow. After a plethora of collaborations with Kurtis Blow, Alyson became the quintessential “hook girl” for the rap and hip hop genre. Alyson’s internship turned out to be life changing. In a short amount of time, her talent was recognized. Alyson became an in-demand studio session singer. She also became a featured member of the 80’s vocal group High Fashion on Capitol Records.
Following her path of success, Alyson instantly grabbed the attention of Def Jam Records CEO Russell Simmons and became the first female R&B artist to sign with the label. As a founding member of Def Jam, Alyson helped to further Russell’s vision. Fueled by excitement and passion, Alyson recorded two albums on Columbia/OBR (Original Black Records) and remained with the label when the company was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment. Her first album, “Raw”, spent an impressive 67 weeks on the Billboard charts, matched only by Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” and went gold in the UK. Altogether, the album produced four top 5 singles, one being the sultry hit, “Just Call My Name”. Her second album, self-titled Alyson Williams, featured songs produced by Al B. Sure and Babyface as well as featured many chart topping singles.
After finding success as a recording artist at such a young age, Alyson was inspired to return to her roots of theatre arts and dance and successfully performed in more than a dozen musical stage plays touring across the country. Aspiring to take her acting to the next level, Alyson pursued Broadway and starred in “Rollin on the TOBA,” “One Mo Time” and the “25th Anniversary Revival of the Wiz” directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner, George Faison. After landing several prestigious roles, Alyson’s comedic timing, characteristics and true talent once again did not go unnoticed. She soon landed a gig at the country’s most iconic comedy club, Caroline’s as well as the starring role of “Power Woman” in “Menopause the Musical.” Alyson has appeared in numerous musical revues and stage plays both on and off Broadway working with seasoned professionals such as, Lynn Whitfield, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Carl Payne, Hawthorne James, Clifton Powell, Melba Moore, Maurice Hines, Oba Babatunde, Kim Whitley, Eddie Levert and The Whispers. With every performance, Alyson is motivated to perfect her craft and become greater.
Never one to let grass grow under her feet, after leaving Def Jam, Alyson began to embrace her entrepreneurial side while still practicing her love for music. Alyson collaborated with award winning producer, Marcus Johnson and together they produced Alyson’s third solo album titled, “It’s About Time.” When it comes to entrepreneurship, Alyson is no stranger to confidently pursuing her dreams. With an innate business mindset and a heart of gold, Alyson launched her own production company, A.W.P. – A Woman’s Prerogative – which allows Alyson to write musical stage plays, books, television treatments, produce concert series and much more.
While music will always be Alyson’s deepest passion, she’s equally passionate in regards to encouraging community involvement and hosting. Annually, Alyson serves as mistress of ceremonies for the Aldeco Awards, the National R&B Music Society and Jazzmobile’s Great Jazz On The Great Hill in Central Park. Alyson’s hosting skills are well polished and have been sought out by Harry Belafonte, Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson – just to name a few.
When Alyson is not performing sold out shows, “Nuttin’ But The Blues”, “Old Friends”, “Divapalooza” and “The Alyson Williams Experience” – which have been featured at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Blue Note, Blues Alley, the Metropolitan Room, 54 Below, Red Rooster, Minton’s, the Iridium Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Room and the Yokohama Tower – she taps into her philanthropic side. Inspired by the magnetic relationship she shared with her dear friend Dr. Angelou, Alyson is a mentor for children and young adults. She works in the public and charter school systems as well as offers vocal coaching and artist development for new and up & coming artists.
Blessed with an impeccable and soulful voice, Alyson is well respected by industry royalty and fans worldwide for her genuine heart, innovative mind, and honest lyrics. Her ambition and determination to create her own opportunities is precisely why she is successful, admired by many and is the next bankable brand. Love and light, peace and blessings, miracles and music all define the Alyson Williams experience.
Summer Nights In Harlem is available now on:
Lifetime Announces January Premiere Date for Salt-N-Pepa Biopic
*Lifetime’s biopic on Salt-N-Pepa is set to air at the top of the new year.
On Jan. 23, 2021, the TV movie will air at 8 p.m. with an after show interview special to follow at 11 p.m.
As previously reported by TheWrap, the 3-hour miniseries follows the story of nursing students Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton as they fall into the world of rap and hip hop, after recording for a friend’s school project.
Salt-N-Pepa became the first female rap act to go platinum and earn multiple Grammy wins while paving the way for female rappers.
The miniseries will feature some of their greatest hits and will be executive produced by Cheryl James, Sandra Denton and Jesse Collins. Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere will also executive produce from Flavor Unit, the report states.
The cast includes G.G. Townson as Cheryl “Salt” James and Laila Odom as Sandra “Pepa” Denton. Monique Paul will play Deidra Roper aka DJ Spinderella.
Jermel Howard will play rapper and Pepa’s ex-husband, Treach.
Cleveland Berto will play music producer Hurby Azor.
Here’s the official description from Lifetime:
“The miniseries Salt-N-Pepa follows the story of Queensborough Community College students Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton as they fall into the world of rap and hip hop, after recording for a song for their friend Hurby Azor. Salt-N-Pepa made a huge impact in hip hop by being one of the first all-female rap groups, changing the look of hip hop and unafraid to talk about sex and share their thoughts on men. Salt-N-Pepa became the first female rap act to go platinum and experienced ground-breaking success with multiple awards, including a Grammy, paving the way for all female rappers to follow. The miniseries will also feature their greatest hits like Let’s Talk About Sex, What a Man, Shoop and Push It, among others.”
The film is produced by Sony Pictures Television and directed by Mario Van Peebles from a script by Abdul Williams (The Bobby Brown Story, The New Edition Story).
Scroll up and check out the trailer above.
Chas Bronxson’s ‘Dear Beyoncé’ Hilariously Highlights the Perils of A Super ‘Stan’ / WATCH
*Written by Chas Bronxson, a songwriter and podcast curator on Chuck D’s Rapstation Network, Anthem Tongue Radio; “Dear Beyoncé” is a harmonic and humorous look at the bygone era of ‘stans’ in a catchy musical tribute to Beyoncé.
A melodic R&B earworm of a song presents a hilarious glimpse into an obsessed character whose letter to Bey is colorfully played out in a musical short that won Best Music Video at the 2018 Annual Poconos Film Festival.
The song originated in 2011 when composer and songwriter Chas Bronxson was listening to an old sample by a rapper named Justin Warfield called “Season of the Vic.” He randomly said, ‘Dear Beyonce’ and rhymed it with ‘what I’m say...’ under the track and ran with it, creating a harmonic and humorous twist on the modern ‘stan’. The song and video sat for years as Bronxson focused on his label; producing other artists such as young Haley Smith (“I Miss My Daddy”) and developing his own projects.
Fast-forward. Seeing the variety of TikTok videos and comedic, music-laced spoofs taking off all over the internet during the Pandemic Shutdown, he decided the creativity of “Dear Beyoncé” would find a current audience. As well, with so many internet and self-made social media celebrities, he realized the age of the superstars and the sometimes rabid fan bases that followed them was declining. He understood that while fame is relative and seemingly everywhere, for some, there’s always that superfan. He released the video on September, 4th, 2020 (Beyoncé’s birthday).
Posting the video on his social media platforms, the short immediately garnered well over half a million views, 14,000 likes, and over 500 enthusiastic comments and shares within the first few days of the post. This encouraged Bronxson to release a free download of the radio edit of the song on his website Chasbronxson.com.
For the video, he offered his turn at humor and hi-jinx stating, “A flat music video tribute would be boring to people who aren’t into Beyoncé, even though the tune itself can be appreciated by anybody.” For music lovers in general, the forthcoming EP offers jazz, instrumental, acapella, afrobeat mix, and the uncut “Letter to Beyoncé.” Overall, the musicianship composition and songwriting skills stand out throughout the various versions of the song.
True Beyoncé fans who catch the ‘audio easter eggs’ with subtle Beyoncé references of over 20 of her songs and films win a cash prize. Meanwhile, in anticipation of Bronxson’s upcoming EP, he is offering a free download of the song on his website Chasbronxson.com.
His videos and works can be seen here https://www.mounrecords.com/videos
source: Gia Garel / [email protected]
Cardi B Blasts Wiz Khalifa Over His Criticism of 2021 Grammy Nominations
*Cardi B fired back at Wiz Khalifa’s recent Twitter Q&A about the 2021 Grammy nominations.
Wiz made time earlier this week to answer questions about the awards show and how many (often Black) artists are snubbed.
“As a Grammy nominated artist I know how it feels. N***as always think its unfair until they get their turn,” he wrote. “Just keep workin and that time’ll come through … I felt like I got throughly robbed for ‘See You Again.’ Haven’t been bacc since, but when tha time comes ima have a joint rolled and dope ass speech ready. And it’s Taylor Gang Or Die.”
One fan responded by noting that the Recording Academy doesn’t know “sh*t about music,” because Cardi is a Grammy winner, while Nicki Minaj is not. Wiz responded: “Most self made artists have this problem.”
Most self made artists have this problem https://t.co/IfM8NV58rM
— Wiz Khalifa (@wizkhalifa) November 24, 2020
Cardi responded to Wiz’s remarks by posting a screenshot a DM he sent her four years ago, in which he congratulated her on her emerging success.
She went to question why he was entertaining “tweets that pit successful women against each other.”
Wiz responded to Cardi, noting that the considers her self-made and made clear that he does not “want a Cardi/ Wiz war goin on for no reason.”
Check out his series tweets below:
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