Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 Indie Albums of 2011

So, 2011 brought us some nice albums that we can't leave this year without mentioning. Liberated Muse began with the intent of showcasing artistry not signed to big labels and it is only right that we showcase some of our top drops that not only showcase top-notch talent but the triumph of artistry over big-money and the PR machine. You may not have heard about all of the acts listed, but that should be an incentive to realize that real music-- great music-- may not necessarily be readily accessible on your radio, but that does not mean you have to look far for it. Kudos to places like,,, and other online spaces that make it easy to hear about artists who may fall under the mainstream radar. Remember, it's up to you to find music worthy of your money and your attention!

Here are some our picks, with videos showcasing a tune from the selected album. Your favorite indie album of 2011 not on the list? Add yours in the comments section below.

Little Dragon- Ritual Union

Little Dragon are more than just a band with a really dope name. They take music next level while always bringing to mind your favorite artist. A perfect blend of a little bit of Prince, a little bit of Rick, a little bit of quirk and a lot of spunk, their 2011 drop Ritual Union took them all over the world and to television screens near you. Peep this 2011 appearance on NBC where they sound even better live. If you haven't checked them out before, let this be your incentive.

Little Dragon 'Ritual Union' (Live on Fallon) from lentetijd on Vimeo.

 Zo!- ...just visiting three

Zo! is part of the musical clique that includes some of the hottest indie soul acts out right now-- from The Foreign Exchange and Yahzarah to angel-voiced Sy Smith. On his 2011 release ...just visiting three, the Detroit-born instrumentalist produces some hot tracks with his buddies, including this Barry White-remake that Anthony David lends his rich vocals to. This CD is one of the best of 2011 for its phenomenal cast of characters and its melodic renderings from the beginning to the end. A must-add to any collection.

Eric Roberson- Mr. Nice Guy 

Most likely the most popular indie soul artist out there, Eric Roberson did not disappoint his fans with his latest drop. Mr. Nice Guy follows his very popular Music Fan First with the same formula that works for Mr. Indie-himself every time-- honest lyrics, interesting arrangements and signature vocals.

Deborah Bond- Madam Palindrome

With a unique concept and impeccable music assortment, Madam Palindrome is a win from the beginning to the end. Couple that with a website that maintains the eclectic theme, this album is an experience that you won't regret engaging in. The first single "You Are the One" is our favorite of the year.

Rahsaan Patterson- Bleuphoria

What makes Rahsaan Patterson such a remarkable indie artist is his longevity. He has been in the music game for a while, had contact with mainstream success as an artist and actor and still carved a niche for himself once his affiliation with a major label waned. His latest offering Bleuphoria is jammed-packed with special guest appearances, but even those aren't the reason to pick this blickie up. This CD wins solely because of Patterson who engages in vocal gymnastics with ease, class and panache. 

Maimouna Yousssef- The Blooming

It's like we are writing about the awesomenss of Maimouna Youssef every week, but, for real, this lady is all that and then some. If you haven't picked up The Blooming yet, seriously, something has to be wrong with you.

Gloria Ry'ann- Just Glow

Gloria Ry'ann's voice is so angelically melodic that you instantly fall in love with this chanteuse. Her EP finally dropped in 2011 and we are anxiously awaiting videos from the EP to appear, particularly for some of the EP's highlights like the sexy "Wait a Minute" and the upbeat "Gravity". Here is a cover of vocal idol Minnie Ripperton's "Inside My Love".

Dionne- Living in the Music

When Deedee Kirby joined the Liberated Muse network in 2009, she was an emerging artist who was still defining her sound. Fast forward almost three years later, and she has dropped the nickname and last name and uses simply her first name Dionne. She has found her musical element, a new indie label home and re-released her first LP, re-packaged as Living in the Music. Melodic, uplifting and inspiring, this CD is classic, something you will be listening to years from now


Gods'illa- CPR BlendTape hosted by Erykah Badu

Gods'illa has to be one of the hardest hip-hop acts, for, less than a year after dropping a debut CD, they release the CPR BlendTape with the support of no other than the ever-popular Erykah Badu. The DC-based trio of brothers have created a brand with their music that has spilled into the cultural landscape of their home city, from their popular weekly open mic on the U Street corridor to their clothing line and events-- including bowling parties and cook-outs. A brand-- a movement, Gods'illa truly made 2011 a major win and this mix tape was among their top successes.

Les Nubians-- Nü Revolution

Les Nubians is composed of French sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart,  best known for their single "Makeda" from their Grammy-nominated album Princesses Nubiennes. After leaving Virgin Records, they started their own label Nubiatik which has produced their latest albums, including this year's Nü Revolution. 

Special guests on this project range from Eric Roberson, and South African pop stars Freshly Ground, to Ghanian-American MC Blitz The Ambassador and Polish MC John Banzaï. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 Indie Artists to Watch Out For in 2012

With all of the artists out there, who do you know who to watch out for in 2012? 

Well, we thought about it and took some things into consideration:

Who had a stellar 2011 that was only a start to a career that is sure to promise longevity? 

Who has been absent from the spotlight for a while (after a whirlwind 2010 and before) but we know they have been working on some goodies that they are planning to drop in 2012? 

Who are some artists who have unparalleled talent that is sure to continue to mesmerize us in the coming year? 

All of the artists below fall into at least one category or all of the above. 

Some of the folks may be names you recognize as members of our network or artists who have performed in some of our past events, including the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest or theatrical productions. Some of the names you may recognize by their association with more mainstream acts that are either now defunct or still alive and kicking. Whatever the case may be, be sure to remember that you heard here first that these are some names to keep your ears and eyes peeled for in the coming year. For, if their talent is any indication of how successful their coming year will be, it is looking bright indeed.

Jesse Boykins III—Bending the Envelope
Add in a dash of trip hop, rock and acid jazz, stir and serve and you have yourself one Jesse Boykins III.  Having  perfect silken vocals was not unique enough for this New York-native. He has amassed a following that has taken to his eclectic style that is neither simply R & B nor Neo-Soul, bending the envelope into a whole new direction. In 2011, he delighted fans with an abundance of free downloads of his originals and remixes of his originals, including the sexy “High Demand”. Here’s hoping he keeps the innovation alive and kicking and keeps sharing the love in the form of more, more, music!

Jean Baylor—Leading the Pack
Jean Baylor does not have to rely on her association with the 90’s group Zhane to convince folks that she is the real deal. She is leading the pack of indie artists moving from independent local attention to underground super stardom.This review of her recent Christmas album exemplifies her ability to “get it” as an artist and to always stay true to her musical integrity. Partnering now with her husband Marcus Baylor, Jean will be dropping her sophomore album in 2012, giving her fans what they have been waiting for. Read this interview with her on to learn more about what she’s been up to and what she has in store.

Wayna—Intersection of Retro and Contemporary
In 2009 when Ethiopian-born Wayna earned a GRAMMY nomination for her track “Lovin’ You”, inspired by the Minnie Ripperton song of the same name, independent artists around the globe were inspired by the attention Wayna attracted and her personal testimony of choosing her music over a successful career as a White House correspondent. With her classic sound, reminiscent of Billie Holiday with a contemporary flavor (think Fantasia),Wayna is the intersection of retro and contemporary. Her story embodies the vision of many indie artists of moving beyond the radar of local audiences and gaining an opportunity to gain some mainstream shine. After spending most of 2010 transitioning into her new role as mom to a newborn, in 2011 Wayna updated fans via Twitter of her return to the studio and the intention of dropping new music in 2012. With GRAMMY attention already under her belt, this indie artist has only up to go when she returns to the scene, and we can’t wait!

Jhené Aiko—Taking it Next Level
After releasing her mixtape Sailing Soul(s) and thousands of hits on YouTube for her independently produced videos showcasing her original songs, Jhené Aiko is more than prepared to release her new CD Souled Out in 2012. The visually stunning Cali native is not new to the music scene and is kind of an urban hero among indie artists who know of her story. Starting out as a teen guest on a B2K album, to becoming an indie artist heavily courted by labels, but, choosing, instead, to stay indie and do the music she loves best, Jhené promises to keep the momentum going, taking it to the next level and beyond.

Carolyn Malachi- Onward and Upward
Fashion icon beauty and whirring aural sounds stamp the brand that is Carolyn Malachi. This DC-based songstress has taken off this past year after her unexpected GRAMMY nomination for her song “Orion”. You name it, she’s done it. From being the spokesperson for a campaign to stop driving and texting, to being featured on Microsoft Windows Media Guide, Carolyn is taking her music and message onward and upward.  Gaining much attention for her single and video “Beautiful Dreamer”, 2012 will surely be an amazing journey for this songstress who is already working on a new project.

Maimouna Youssef—Consciously Creative
Maimouna Youssef is a multi-talented singer/mc who has claimed her destiny as an innovator. She blazed through 2010 – first dropping an EP, then a full-length album –The Blooming—which resulted in a multi-city listening party tour and then a single of her hit “I Got a Man”. To say the least, this Baltimore-native  has been busy. Add this past year’s success to her resume which already includes work with The Roots, and other of hip-hop’s dopest and most illest and there is no doubt that Maimouna Youssef’s big news that she plans to release on Jan. 1 will promise to continue her trend of dropping all that is consciously creative and fresh.

Kenny Wesley--On the Radar

In 2011, Kenny Wesley made it clear that he was here to stay. Whether he was headlining a sold-out Luther Vandross tribute show at the famous Blues Alley or opening for mainstream celebs at concert halls, Kenny Wesley was shining his light, attracting new fans old and young. Oozing with mild-mannered charm and a warm stage presence that pulls you in, Kenny Wesley is poised for major super stardom. As we eagerly anticipate a 2012 drop of a new album, he has teased our senses with his sporadic drops of free downloads, from his recent Christmas offering to his tender rendering of a Michael Jackson classic. Kenny Wesley is on our radar, not dropping off anytime soon.

Teisha Marie--Only Gets Better

Thoughtful lyrics, melodic arrangements and a stunning vocal tone describe the sound that is Teisha Marie. Using 2011 to self-produce her sophmore release, Teisha has laid low during the year, with the intention of dropping her new work once it's baked perfectly. The teacher-by-day indie singer is sure to be pushing boundaries with her upcoming drop, promising in a recent interview that she is trying new things. But, would we expect any less? Her debut album, Addicted to Life, three years ago delivered the goods on quality of sound and content and we are sure it will only get better.

Quineice--Doing it Big & Fabulous

R & B singer J Holiday's sister Quineice has more than a famous brother to her credit. With soulful vocals and a professional resume that has included everything from theater acting to songwriting, this songstress has been on watch since 2009 when she first started talking about dropping a new album. Whether she's being compared to fellow petite singer Stephanie Mills or being cheeky on covers such as her recent Christmas cover of "Santa Baby", Quineice is always doing it big and doing it fabulous. As she demonstrates when she opens her mouth to sing, good things usually come in small packages. Enjoy below her rendition of the Marvin Gaye classic "Mercy, Mercy, Me". Visit her on Reverbnation HERE.

The Bangladesh Project-- Sonic Superiority
What started as a motley gathering of musicians and producers quickly manifested into a band of eclectic groovers headed by musician/MC Bangla-El, becoming the outfit known as the Bangladesh Project. Releasing their first EP in 2011, this tireless Baltimore-based band--performing for everything from a crowd of four to a sold-out club of hundreds-- also went on to become the 2011 winner of the Baltimore Crown Award for Best Band. The grind hasn't stopped. Creating music of sonic superiority and consciousness (peep their cut, "The Learner" about No Child Left Behind") this band is sure to expand outside of the confines of their local scene and be touring soon in a club near you, wherever you may be.
Check out below their cover of Jimi Hendrix' "Hey Joe".

Friday, December 23, 2011

Top 10 Women in Social Media in 2011

While this list of women highlights some of the best people to follow on Twitter, it should be said that their presence in social media extends outside of the confines of 140 characters and a link. Whether they are making you laugh out loud over hilarious tweets about pop culture or hipping you to the newest new media available for the tech guru or novice alike, these women are using their influence to engage, connect and inspire.  As you read more about each woman, keep in mind that it’s not about the number of followers they may have on Twitter or the “likes” they may have on their Facebook page. Their mention on this list has everything to do with how they have chosen to use their influence and recognizing the value they add to the cyber world. What makes this list particularly compelling is that all of these women, while vastly skilled in their use of social media, are artists as well, excelling in an artistic realm, from literary art to the visual. We here at Liberated Muse love that fact most of all!

So check out our list, add your feedback and be sure to check these women out as you get ready for 2012 to make its entrance.

Tinu Abayomi-Paul- @tinu
Whether you are trying to get new traffic to your site, or learn what new tech tools are available as you try to integrate your business into social media, Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the one to follow. Funny, approachable and encouraging, she is not at all what you would expect from someone who is at the top of the list when it comes to online tech gurus. This internet dyanamo has over 15 years of experience on the net and is one of the leading experts in SEO in the country. Editor at Women Grow Business and founder of Free Traffic Tips, Tinu is one of the innovators on the web who is a first-class example of longevity in the world of social media. While at the top of her game in social media, Tinu is also a renowned poet and creative writer, a contributor to the Def Poetry Jam book Bum Rush the Page.

Shireen Mitchell- @digitalsista
Shireen Mitchell is the maven of social media and tech, in the game since the game started. A web designer who has used her art to extend outside of the box, she knows what’s hot, what’s not and what is not even worth mentioning. Her tweets are ever-upbeat, informative and always connected to the tech and social world, sharing news beneficial to the least savvy onliner  to the tech addict alike. The original creator of the term “web goddess”, Shireen is a dynamic speaker, winner of numerous awards that recognize her online awesomeness and a well-rounded organizer  participating in the producing of various tech events including the Digital Community, Techno Rodeo, Feminism 2.0, Shes Geeky, TechAdventure DC,  Nonprofit 2.0, Computers, Freedom and Privacy, Gov20 Expo, TEDx Potomac and more.

Dream Hampton-@dreamhampton
At the point where arts, culture and intellect meet, there is dream Hampton. If she’s not one of the most retweeted people on Twitter, she is probably pretty close. Her incredible insight, forthright statements and six degrees or less of separation from some of the most high-profile folks we know make Dream one of the most compelling follows on Twitter. A prolific writer and filmmaker, she co-authored the unreleased Black Book with Shawn Jay-Z Carter and collaborated with him on Decoded (November, 2010, Spigel and Grau.) She's co-authoring Kamal "Q Tip" Fareed's memoir, Industry Rules, to be published by Random House .

Kyra Gaunt-Palmer-@kyraocity
Vocalist, college professor and anthropologist Kyra Gaunt-Palmer pushes the thinking envelope, transforming your social media experience into an exploration of concepts, ideas and experiences. She is not hesitant to present content that pushes the boundary you may have constructed between the superficial and the authentic. Her tweets, blog posts and Facebook content all revolve around thought—encouraging you to use your brain, have an opinion and share. From religion and parenting to the arts and academia, Kyra is a rich resource of information and an approachable person to engage with online. She trains groups in the anthropology of listening and is a 2009 TED Fellow.

Regina Holliday-@ReginaHolliday
Phenomenal visual artist Regina Holliday has used the tragic death of her husband as a platform to advocate for the rights of citizens to have access to their medical records. Whether she is creating murals on the backs of jackets and creating a walking mural or tweeting the latest news on health advocacy issues, Regina is heavily involved in changing the world and using her art and her online presence as her springboard. A dynamic speaker as well, Regina is a shining example of the intersection of arts, social media and politics and how its effective application can truly transform minds and policy.

Tracy Chiles McGhee-@womanifesting
Emerging writer Tracy Chiles McGhee has used her own interest in bettering the world as an impetus to create her own nonprofit organization, Womanifesting, to encourage the philanthropy and dream imagining of other women around her. In its short existence, Womanifesting already boasts a strong online presence on Twitter and Facebook, encouraging women through thoughtful and inspiring messaging to dream big and recognize their divine power. In addition to Womanifesting, Tracy's blog "Passionate Self by Tracy" provides a place of respite and inspiration as she shares her path as a published writer, attorney, and mom.

Luvvie- @luvvieig
A humorist with a twist of satire and savvy, Luvvie has virtually created her own brand of incredible that has snagged thousands of readers who tune-in everyday to read about what is in Luvvie’s head. A true artistic word-smith, Luvvie’s artistry also extends into the realm of fashion and web design as she helms brands in both areas in addition to her highly popular blog “Awesomely Luvvie”. On her blog, she speaks to everything under the sun—from the comical antics of reality stars to the horrendous outputs of some of our biggest celebrities.  Recently selected as a blogger for the Academy Awards, Luvvie’s tweets are some of the funniest ones you’ll read in any given minute, so be sure to read with caution and hopefully with no food in your mouth, for you will surely be laughing out loud.
Jamilah Lemieux-@JamilahLemieux
Formerly known as Sista Toldja, Jamilah Lenieux is a smart and sassy writer who puts into perspective the thoughts of many new millenials as they navigate the world and beyond. The recipient of many awards for her compelling blog and Twitter feed, Jamilah, the new content editor for has been featured on radio shows and in articles for her insight on issues ranging from relationships to identity.

Dr. Goddess-@drgoddess
Always in the middle of what is hot on Twitter, Dr. Goddess is one of the most engaged social media users on the web. Whether she is promoting her appearances as an actress and speaker or schooling an ill-informed reality show guest that planking is not a slavery term, Dr. Goddess does it with a certain panache that very few can emulate. An emerging social media guru and a highly educated culture critic, Dr. Goddess has created an online community with her brand, connecting people to the insightful and the controversial and making sense of it all.

Bassey Ikpi-@basseyworldlive
Poetry seeps from the pores of Bassey Ikpi.  A world-renowned performance poetry artist and a mental health advocate who has amassed a large following in the past few years as she courageously shares her personal struggles with depression, Bassey has found a niche in social media that fits perfectly with her artistic spirit and her humorous shares about culture, parenting and relationships. Her most recent creation is The Siwe Project, a global non-profit with the goal widening the public dialogue regarding the lived experiences of people of African Descent with mental illness.  A Def Poetry Jam poet, Bassey is all over the web—whether you are watching her seemingly effortless talent on a YouTube video, reading her posts on sites like Huffington Posts or reading her often hilarious Twitter feed, you are sure to fall in love with Bassey Ikpi’s brand of life that is a mix of quirky and incredible.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Maimouna Youssef's New Video "I Got a Man"

Liberated Muse member Diallo Sumbry, founder of The Adinkra Group, has been managing Grammy-nominated singer/rapper Maimouna Youssef since 2009, supporting the young entertainer in crafting an independent music career that is not dependent on traditional gimmicks to attract new listeners appreciative of good music. Since the release of her new CD The Blooming, Maimouna Youssef has presented work that is not only sonically beautiful, but inclusive of many music genres-- from jazz and hip-hop to blues and reggae. In her first video release from The Blooming, “I Got A Man”, she approaches the song’s love triangle theme from a unique perspective showing Maimouna Youssef as an embattled independent music artist searching for a balance between the music business and her love for creating free honest music. Check the video out and leave a comment after you're done!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Capital Hip Hop Soul: Kyonte'

Soul-singer Kyonte, based in the Washington, DC area, is primed for fame. Already touring regularly as a support vocalist for singer Raheem Devaughn, Kyonte has been amassing a following for his brand of contemporary soul that stays true to its R & B roots. But, Kyonte, is a multi-layered artist who has not only garnered attention as the show’s main attraction, but as a budding producer as well. Last year, he earned a GRAMMY nomination for his production of Devaughn’s popular anthem “Woman” and he continues to win awards locally in his hometown for his work in front of and behind the microphone. I caught up with Kyonte' while on assignment for Check out an excerpt below from the Q & A and visit the site HERE for the full interview. People may not realize it, but, in addition to touring with him, you co-produced Raheem Devaughn's hit "Woman" which was nominated for a Grammy. Tell us a little about your role as a producer and some other artists you've worked with.

Kyonte: As a producer, I mainly feel that its my job to push everyone around me to the limit and beyond. Whether it’s musically or personally, I enjoy working with people that give me that energy in return.
: You are a DC-based artist, garnering a lot of attention locally as a singer and producer, but you've done a lot nationally and internationally as well. You seem to have passed the point of being an emerging artist and have really created a presence for yourself. What are some next steps you think you want to take as your career blossoms?

Kyonte: As things develop, I'm hungry to deliver great music and be the total package. For the last 6months, I've been working on developing my character and being more disciplined. I've learned over the years that your talent and ability can take you many places but its your character that will sustain you and allow you to grow and evolve into the next stages of your life and career. Your debut CD What's That Sound has been generating buzz, with some calling you the next big thing to come out of DC following the very-popular Raheem Devaughn. Tell us about some of the response you've been getting to your CD and a little bit about the theme of your CD.

Kyonte: First off, the theme is 831-- 8letters 3words 1meaning. It means I LOVE YOU and the EP itself deals with not just relationship type love but more so a love of living and the things that come along with it. I've received an amazing response from the CD...especially in the UK and Japan. They love me and I love them right back. Here in the states, people listen and they often ask "why aren't you signed?" I love the people so much. They give me perspective.

Read the rest of the Q & A HERE

-Khadijah "Moon" Ali-Coleman

Monday, October 24, 2011

Benevolent Media Festival for Digital Capital Week

The Benevolent Media Festival is a celebration of storytelling and design for good that takes place during Digital Capital Week in November. Tonight, they kick off a
pre-festival fundraiser at Dickson Wine Bar from 6-8pm and have a kick-off celebration scheduled at The Dunes on November 4.

This first-of-its-kind, all-volunteer initiative focuses on people, organizations and projects that compel audiences to care about a cause, take action on an issue, or promote a point of view through strategic and inspiring multimedia. “Benevolent Media Creators” are invited to host and organize their own lectures, workshops, performances, networking events or other activities, located at multiple venues across the city.

For more information about the fest, read this overview. And here are other ways to get involved:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DC Scores Seeks Music Specialists

Kelly Miller Middle school winners with their "My Life is Free"

In 2009, I had the pleasure of working with students from Kelly Miller Middle School in DC, helping them craft poetry into songs. They performed and competed in a regional competition against other middle-schoolers, and the kids I taught won first place! The experience was great, only an hour two days a week and an opportunity to bring arts to some of the area's most at-risk youth. I recommend it for anyone who is a songwriter, musician and committed to uplifting our kids. Here is the call for artists below. Apply to the email address below. Peace, Moon


DC SCORES builds teams through after-school programs for over 800 DC youth at 27 schools by instilling self-expression, physical fitness, and a sense of community.  For people who believe in a well-rounded childhood, DC SCORES is the quality, team-based approach providing youth with the arts, athletics, and academics that will engage, enrich, and improve their lives. DC SCORES accomplishes this in an innovative model combining poetry and spoken word, soccer, and service-learning year-round. We have worked with over 6,000 students since our founding in 1994 and we aim to serve EVERY child in the District deserving of a team who does not have one. DC SCORES is an affiliate of America SCORES, with organizations in 14 cities.

This season our young people have been led by their writing coaches (teachers) through a curriculum filled with poetry and song writing lessons.  As a music specialist you will be assisting them as they turn their writing into three group performance pieces to be performed at our city-wide Poetry Slam! November 30th and December 1st.   

Responsibilities & Duties
  • Lead eight- 60 minute sessions with middle school students.
  • Collaborate with DC SCORES staff and coaches to implement the program and supervise students.
  • Plan and conduct song writing workshops with students using their songs/poems already written to create three polished performance pieces.
  • Provide opportunities for each student to demonstrate work and have a part/voice in the performance.
  • Bring or create the music for the performance pieces.
  • Collaborate with DC SCORES coaches to prepare students to perform their music at the Poetry Slam!.
·      Provide DC SCORES with a verbal/written summary of each session, a copy of students work, and a copy of the music on a CD.
·      Provide DC SCORES with a background check and TB test prior to October 13th.

Dates of Employment:
October 18th – November 18th, 2011

Location(s)/Days/Times (choose one): 
All sessions are from 3:45 – 4:45pm
  • Cesar Chavez PCS-Parkside Campus – Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Lincoln Middle School – Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Johnson Middle School – Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Kelly Miller Middle School – Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • MacFarland middle School – Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Oyster-Adams Bilingual School – Mondays and Wednesdays

Compensation: The Music Specialist will be paid $50 per session and an additional $100 for the performance of the three students’ songs. 

If you are interested in applying or learning more contact Katrina Hochstetler, Program Director, at

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Liberated Muse This Week of October 10

Our Community Poem is Another Winner

Our third community poem didn't have more than two participants this time round, but, it was destined to be a poem of sweet and short brilliance that there is no complaint here. Regular contributors Chenyelu Bomani and Jimmy DiLorenzo created this poem I named "Complete Beauty":

Almond shaped eyes
by shades of amber glazed sunsets.
A realization that she is not the voice in her head,
but, rather,
the one who recognizes the voice,
quiets her mind.
The setting sun warms her face
and a feeling of completness engulfs her very being.

Our Community Bloggers Have New Posts Up!

Our Liberated Muse members are an assortment of creatives and bloggers who have an array of new topics to discuss in this week's posts:

Alan King posted "Review of Rachel Eliza Griffith's 'Mule and Pear'"
Chenyelu Bomani "Gem Stones"

New Photos in the Gallery

Liberated Muse member DC's Own Entertainment Company uploaded photos from the recent event "The Revival". Visit their page to see the photos and to read a review of this ground-breaking event. Be sure to also view other photos members have posted in the gallery and add your own!

Meet Our Member of the Month: Nathan Seven Scott

Our October Member of the Month  is a motivational speaker, life coach and new author. Visit our main page to read more about our member of the month, Nathan Seven Scott and learn how you can order his new book that was released on Oct. 7.

We Are Looking For Sponsors for Our "In Her Words" Series

Contact us at to learn more about the series and how you can become a sponsor.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Is It a Dumb Thing Choosing An Artist's Life?

While many are protesting across the country in spin-offs of the #occupywallstreet movement in New York, one artist, JD Samson, shares her personal story of what not having money during these times means to her and in a poignant "coming out" essay, she admits that she is done with trying to keep up with her peers while times are tight.

Check out her story here on Huffington Post and leave a comment letting us know if if you dig what she's saying here in our forum.

Friday, September 30, 2011

400th Post: Performance Opportunity for Singers & Actresses for 2012 Black History Month Event

Liberated Muse is partnering with the DC Public Library system for a series of events intended to educate and entertain. Artists selected to perform will be included in media promoting the events. Here is a call for singers & actresses for the first upcoming event:

In Her Words Series
The In Her Words Series will kick off on Sat., Feb. 4 and will be a 2-hour multi-disciplinary performance showcasing the art and lives of Billie Holiday, Zora Neale Hurston, Lena Horne, Nina Simone, and Lucille Clifton.

Seeking actresses & singers to portray the great women listed above. Also seeking an actor (male or female) to serve as the narrator/guide during the performance. The narrator/guide is a large acting/speaking role.

Auditions will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2011. Email your interest and headshot by October 16th to for an audition time and to learn of the audition location. Auditions begin at 2pm.

If you are interested in co-sponsoring or helping to produce this event, email us as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Groupie Retelling: The Last Leg of the Sade US Tour

This past Monday, I traveled to Norfolk, VA to witness her majesty Sade in concert for the last performance of her US tour. As you should know, Sade blesses with a concert every decade or so, so seeing her live is a rare treat that anyone who has the opportunity tries to do as quickly as possibly. My spouse got tickets on Groupon and, despite the four hour drive to Norfolk, we were on an amped high as we anticipated her approaching concert.

For starters, the concert started on time.

John Legend Didn't Suck

In this day and age, that is saying A LOT. John Legend, the opening act, came on stage when he was supposed to and opened with an Adele tune (forgot the name, sorry) and an energetic band. While I'm not privy to Legend's song catalog as I am of the legendary Sade, I danced along with everyone else to Legend's closing numbers which included "Cloud 9" and "Green Light". I was hoping he would perform the song he sang on Sergio Mendes' classic CD Timeless, but, alas, no go.

I will say that Legend sounds great live and is quite a cutie. While his stage show wasn't as expertly or excitedly executed as Sade's (no lighting show or clothes change or dramatic entrance or transitions), he held his own and brought quite a lot of passion to the stage.

When Legend exited, the crowd was thoroughly energized and awaiting Queen Sade.

Her Highness Set the Bar

How Sade took center stage was epic; we were not disappointed. She came onstage in a belted black number with her bad-ass band and held us in awe. The entrance was noteworthy. Rising from below on three platforms, the band appeared as if from nowhere and as they emerged from below, a beam of light shone from below, and up walked Sade. The large screen that showcased the stage was operated by first-class videographers who captured the action on stage as if producing a music video. I won't be surprised if the entire tour is packaged and sold because the stage shots were flawless. The entire light show, stage set and transitions were award-worthy.

The Sade concert illustrated why we are so in awe of the band Sade and its lead singer. First, she exudes a type of class that is found NO WHERE else in the music scene today. Her cool, laid-back and elegant aura is magnetic and aside from her unique voice, you are drawn to her royal demeanor. Matching her style is her band, with their ruggedly clean and masculine musical support. The entire concert set was executed in a way to convey this aura of elegance-- from the red drapes and gossamer back screen, to the basic black lighting penetrated by simple white strobe. The  set decor matched with perfection the theme and energy of each song.

And, speaking of songs, the order and song choice was impeccable. While I am a Sade fan who has been following her since the late 80's, some of her new music hasn't become part of my groupie playlist just yet. While I've reviewed her music that came out last year, my heart has not attached so readily to the recent songs as they have with old classics like "Smooth Operator", "Kiss of Life" and basically every song pre-Soldier of Love album. What she did during her concert, was play a classic every other song or twice before inserting a new song from the new album, keeping us old-head fans content and always on the age of our seat screaming singing along in groupie fandom.

 All Endings Are Not the Same

The concert ended in a way that I had never experienced before. Maybe it was because it was the last US date or perhaps its her way, I'm not sure. But, it was endearing and only made my spouse and I feel more siced that we had made the concert. When she introduced her band, there was no music and the band members all walked from behind their instruments. She introduced them one by one, recalling a personal memory of how she met them and why they are special to her. After introducing them all, she wrapped her arms around them and said, "this is us."

Of course, we got the obligatory encore performance out of her, but at that point, we were already thrilled with what we had experienced. Sade is a consummate performer, an exemplary professional and very worthy of her legendary status of one of the greatest artists during our lifetime. I will gladly wait another ten years to see her again, but, if this, in fact her last tour to ever happen, I am grateful to have witnessed it as I did.

All hail the Queen!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Retreat For DC Area Writers

This week, Maritza Rivera joined and posted an event for an upcoming writer's retreat that she is producing. Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet who has lived in Rockville, MD since 1994. She has been writing poetry for over 30 years and is founder of the weekly Mariposa Poetry Series, which ran from September 1999 to October 2002 in College Park, MD. She has been an associate poetry editor for WordWrights Magazine in Washington, DC, a judge for poetry competitions and is the author of “About You”, a collection of poetry “for women and the men they love”. Her latest book of poetry, A Mother’s War, was written during her son’s two tours in Iraq to help make the intensity of war a reality for everyone.

Her writer's retreat is called the 2011 Mariposa Poets and Writers Retreat and takes place October 14-16 at the Capital Retreat Center in Pennsylvania.

The retreat agenda looks fabulous. The retreat will feature workshops in poetry and bookmaking, as well as readings by faculty and retreat participants. The faculty includes poets Kwame Alexander, Naomi Ayala, Monica Hand, Reuben Jackson, and Joseph Ross. Tuition is $250, which includes lodging and meals. Registration is first come, first served. Submit a writing sample with a nonrefundable $50 registration fee by September 1. Call 301-881-8012 for more information.

DC-Based Jazz Vocal Group Afro Blue to Appear on 'The Sing-Off'

Jazz vocal ensemble Afro Blue were announced as contestants in the upcoming season of ''The Sing-Off''. The Howard University-based singing group was started on the campus in 2002 and this year's members have had an impressive showing, appearing onstage with phenom Bobby McPherrin at the Kennedy Center earlier this summer. Read more about the upcoming season of "The Sing-Off".

Who is the REAL King of Hip-Hop?

Some fans of hip-hop are up in arms over on the MTV site at the recent news that Rolling Stone magazine has named rapper Eminem as the "King of Hip Hop". While Eminem is a high commercial seller when compared to some hip-hop acts, there are other hip-hop acts that garner high profits from their work as well, most notably Jay-Z and Kanye West who have sold more that half a million downloads of their single "Otis" that was released less than a week ago.

Do you think Eminem should be bequeathed the title of "King of Hip-Hop"? Probably more relevant a question would be, "Does record sales always mean a performer is a superior artist?"

Share your thoughts.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Liberated Muse Featured on NPR

If you missed Friday's NPR interview about on the show Metro Connection, visit the website HERE or listen below. Special shout-out to Liberated Muse member Colie Williams who participated in the interview. In the interview, rap artist Kokayi is mentioned and a snippet of his music is played. He participated in the 2010 Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest and inspired Maceo Thomas to want to partner to put on the festival after seeing Kokayi in concert and realizing that there was such rich talent in the Nation's Capital.

In the extended interview below (all was not aired due to time restraints), Liberated Muse member, singer Quineice is featured singing an excerpt from the song "I Wanna Be You" from the play Running: AMOK.

Special thanks to reporter Jessica Palombo for her interest in covering us. She was on assignment here in the Washington DC area and I am most appreciative of her interest in my story and the story of

Being Part of Liberated Muse

If you are already a member or considering becoming a member, my hope is that you join the site and use it to promote yourself as an artist and meet other like-minded people. Hundreds of people have met one another on the site or at our events, with dozens of artistic collaborations coming out of their meetings. I update members through email blasts on opportunities with Liberated Muse and throughout the DC area. In 2012, I will be transforming Liberated Muse into a 501 (c) nonprofit organization and currently seeking Board Members. You can learn more about us HERE.


Listen to the full broadcast on NPR Station WAMU 88.5

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Capital Hip Hop Soul: Arts-Go-To-Guy Delonte Briggs (@MrBriggsManager)

When it comes to the modern-day Renaissance man of independent artistry, Washington DC-based Delonte Briggs holds this title. His myriad occupations include Founder/CEO of Mr. Briggs Management, Co-Partner of Divine Soul Connections, Booking Agent, Tour Manager, Stage Manager, Step Afrika! dancer, Radio owner/host of Jota FM and the list goes on.  His passion for the arts led to creating Mr. Briggs Management Company in 2008. This company grants a plethora of "conglomerate" services for artist support, promotions, and featured independent artists in Music, Fashion, Dance, Visual Art, Spoken Word, and Theater/Film in DC.

Currently, Mr. Briggs manages six artists: Tamika "Love" Jones, Rayshun Lamarr, Fatso, Tony MoonLB Muzac and Konshens & His State of Mind.  His diverse business mindset and ultimate mission of exposing the world to independent music, aiding independent artists and participating in communal projects exemplifies, according to him, to pursue this career path for the next 10 years. We got a chance to fasten him down to a quick Q & A recently to get a heads-up on what he has going on currently and what we can look forward to in the near future.

Liberated Muse What motivated you to create your own management company?

Delonte Briggs:  [StepAfrika!] started to expand and grow and do some other things and while [I was there] I became tour manager and stage manager.  So by that time I had production under my belt,  I knew what to do on stage. I knew what I wanted to see and what was good. So after doing three years of them, I just sat down and thought to myself…I was like wow I can really do this myself (laughs). The luck of the draw that happened is the company was expanding...then Tamika was also back at home doing a marketing job and she called saying I can’t do this anymore, like I really need to sing, I really wanna finish my project. I said 'Well, I really don’t want to do this either, so let's work.'

So from that Nov 2008, we talked that whole summer about it, listened to music and I went down to-- I think its tax or revenue or wherever you go to get your license stuff-- formed our LLC and I did it. I opened it up and Tamika was my first artist, a couple of other artists followed after that and it just grew from there.  So that’s what happened.

 Liberated Muse How is your management company different from other companies?

Delonte Briggs:  I pride myself on quality not quantity.  A lot of different management teams invest in a whole bunch of mediocre talent or they saturate the market with different things that they are doing. I don’t jump on every project. I believe that there’s power and choice and you have to sit down and research and look at all of the different things that make people artists. Not just the music, but the demographics, how much people they have ah that follow them. It’s a couple different things that go into it. So I think what makes me different is I like quality and I also have various talents myself.

I’m not only a manager but I also do events so people under my management can very easily have a show, [I] can very easily do their CD covers, I can very easily put them in the studio with a producer. I think my management company is much more [cultured] then most other management companies.  I keep it that way by nurturing a lot of relationships and just keeping them together. I definitely believe in teamwork, I use various teams for different things. So that will probably be the major difference.  Also, another difference in my company is that I use all various outlets to get my artists and my music out there. I have YouTube channels, I have a radio show, I have websites, I have a blog, like I do everything that I can to get them out there and it’s turned out to be quite positive.

Liberated Muse:  Due to your statistics, what is your success rate for all of your artists currently under your management company?

Delonte Briggs: The last time I checked [our site was visited by] 68 U.S. cities and 75 countries meaning that at least 20 to 50 people in each market that I counted had access continuously to either my radio show, my website or my blog.  I think that is a definite great determination of the success. Another determination of success is the amount of  YouTube plays and things like that.  People have all at some point at least heard locally my artists and what they stand for. I think another determination of success will be the amount of money they bring in, they are all paid artists full time artists that do this as a living. So, that’s what I use, the actual expansion and coverage of my outlets.

Liberated Muse:  In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of having a management company?

Delonte Briggs:  Pros and cons of a management company… positives will be that  its mine (laughs) and I get to do, pick and choose what I want and when I want to do it. Another pro is that it gives the artist time to be an artist. They don’t have to worry about phone calls or booking and travel and all that other craziness. They're able to be the artist that they want to be-- they can go, wake up, go in the studio, check their e-mails and go about their day. So I think that’s definitely a positive of a management company. Negatives of a management company, I guess for me, is that I have to be the mouthpiece.  I don’t mind talking to people, I actually do like people but it just seems like I’m always talking to somebody about something. I don’t know if there are any cons of a management company. I do have to  take the backlash if everything or something goes wrong.  We have to cancel an event or traveling where something goes wrong,  it’s all my fault which is why I am such a thorough communicator and initiator of things.

Liberated Muse:  Where do you see your company going [at this standpoint from now] in the future, where [do] you think your company is going to go?

Delonte Briggs:  I believe my company is expanding towards this new music industry and I believe it will be a powerhouse in this new music industry as soon as it is solidified. We all know that  CD sales and videos are not where it’s at anymore, especially with national coverage.  Radio stations don’t support [independent music]. I give my company their own independence but I do promote national artists and national venues from time to time.  I’m doing a lot video production these days and I will say in the last three months I probably shot about four videos-- all coming out.

I have very great work.  The radio network that I’m on-- JOTA FM, its actually an International Arabian Hip Hop Station. It’s asking me to keep my eye on DC so it’s asking me not even to pay attention to the Arabic Hip Hop. So, this will be a platform for being the artist in independence on this side of the world, so I see that doing as well. We did a pilot for that in October of last year and in 30 days it got a 100,000 listeners across the globe, so I believe that’s gonna shoot through the roof.  I believe in 5 yrs [we] will be definitely own space  for either a restaurant or performance space or something-- that’s definitely my goal, to get that situated.

I’m working with a few investors to do some artist housing. I believe there needs to be a lot more resources for artists especially great artists that producing good music.  I just don’t believe that there’s a lot available so I’m working on that. I’m working on trying to make an independent artist [have] a sustainable the next 5 yrs I hope to do that. I really do.

Liberated Muse:  What different types of genres does your management company represent?

Delonte Briggs:  Mostly R & B, Soul and conscious Hip Hop.  I’m really not a fan of rap. I just really do not agree with the consistent over saturation of misogyny and money and cars. It's so many other things in life (laughs) than to be pushed for 16 bars and a hook in twelve songs a day on the radio, like its just ridiculous. There are so many things you could be committing your time into. So, I tend to turn down a lot of rappers and a lot [of] hip hop artists that don’t have substance. I do love hip hop. Hip hop is an artform that can change the world if we let it, and I’m also looking into a little more pop and rock.

[There’s] an outstanding band here in DC called The CooLots  that I really like. They have this funk garage rock sound, all ladies, and they're really crowd movers and they bring out a nice audience. I will be working on their album now.  I’m expanding.

Liberated Muse:  Does your company give back to the community or have any volunteer opportunities that the public can do?

Delonte Briggs:  Oh yes, I’m presently looking for an intern (laughs) first of all. Second of all, yes we do work with a lot of community service organizations, every year we support Al Sura which [is a] non-profit here in D.C. that promotes HIV awareness and ah safe sex and all that great stuff. But, it’s basically a men’s organization for that. I also work for Metro TeenAIDS  with a friend of mine [who is also] a social media director  so they have a couple of events coming up and Tamika “Love” Jones is a part and founding board member of Roots To Freedom which is another non-profit that aims to keep African-Americans connected to their roots. So we definitely believe in non-profits and [helping the] community.

Liberated Muse:  What other final thoughts that you want to share with us about your company or just anything that I might have missed?

Delonte Briggs:  I would just encourage people to continue to support independent artists, buy their music, support their shows,  always stay up to date on what's going on with our government and things that are going on.  Also I would encourage people to support the videos and work of independent artists and when they come to a city near you definitely support them. These [independent artists] love what they do and only do it because people support them. Also, I'm just grateful that Khadijah  [Ali-Coleman]  always found it feasible to  support me.  So I thank you and her for this opportunity and the continued opportunities she presents.

-Candace "Ama" Boahene

 Candace "Ama" Boahene is an up and coming peformer and online writer with a promising future in Entertainment by God's grace.  She is an MSU Alumnae and strives for educating individuals about the importance of the arts. Visit her profile on Liberated Muse HERE.