Faces You Should Know: Summer/Fall 2009

From the soulful sounds of Daniel Moore to the fresh vocal prowess of VV Brown and the riveting story of Precious, the last six months of 2009 are packed full of fresh faces and immense talent in several sectors of entertainment.

Earlier this year we witnessed the Grammy winning return of Jennifer Hudson; the well attended premiere of ‘Notorious’ and even Beyonce as a housewife. But this fall, music as we know it will make a change. Some say the change is for the better, others say “I’ll wait and see” but, it can be agreed that the charts are due for a shake up… even Jay-Z declared the end of Auto-Tune.

Kicking things off this fall, Atlanta based singer Daniel Moore is set to release his debut album “Thinking Out Loud,” an effort that follows in the blueprints of those who have pioneered what could be called “feel good” music. While you might have heard of Moore or seen him sharing the stage with the likes of K-Ci & JoJo, Silk, Jill Scott or even Richard Smallwood, the accomplished musician/songwriter and producer has tons in store for pop/soul music fans. But Moore is not the only one bringing heat to the R&B/soul scene. Matriarch recording artist LaNeah has been given the stamp of approval by none other than the queen of Hip Hop/Soul, Mary J. Blige. With that stamp of approval and a song currently playing on Singersroom titled “Screamin My Name,” Laneah is already receiving solid reviews. But the (pictured, top left) beauty is not only a talented singer, she helped Kanye West with the 2008 Platinum-plus certified album “808s & Heartbreak”.

Stepping briefly away from music, the big screen has a number of inspiring films set for release between September and December. But, the actors and actresses appearing in them are not necessarily the usual faces you might have grown accustomed to. In fact, two faces making strong debuts at the end of the year, made a brief splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in January.

The first of those faces, actor Shaun B. Laurent, joins an A-list roster of actors in the Antoine Fuqua directed Brooklyn’s Finest. While Laurent is no stranger to New Yorkers or even fans of The Wire, his forthcoming role in Brooklyn’s Finest pits him with Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Richard Gere, Jesse Williams and Don Cheadle … yes, all in one film ! Laurent’s work will not stop with ‘Finest’ however, he will be seen in a number of films with 2010 release dates tagged (including the Josh Duhamel featured When In Rome).

While you’re looking out for Shaun B. Laurent, you might want to watch out for burgeoning actress Gabourey Sidibe. Joining another A-List cast, including Mariah Carey and Monique, Sidibe will appear in the Sundance awarded picture ‘Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire’. Putting her all into portraying the role of ‘Precious’ Jones, a teen who endures unimaginable hardship at the hands of her mother, father and her surroundings, Sidibe caused both Oprah and Tyler Perry to take a second look. As a result of their admiration for the film and reportedly groundbreaking performances from Mariah Carey and Mo’Nique, among others, both Oprah and Perry have lent their names to the project due in theaters by year’s end.

Returning to music, three faces known to ‘some’ are gearing up for a busy fall 2009. One of those faces, quite familiar to anyone who follows the UK singles chart is Jay Sean. While he has been around overseas for many years, Jay Sean makes his stateside debut in 2009 with the help of 2008s best selling rapper Lil Wayne.

Signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money/Cash Money imprint, Jay Sean is already telling female admirers “not to worry” on the summer 2009 released single “Down” (video..). Featuring Lil Wayne, that single precedes Jay Sean’s debut album “My Own Way,” which hits stores in October. Back in the UK however, VV Brown is “Traveling Light” and causing music fans as far west as Los Angeles to sing “Shark In The Water,” her latest single.

Brown, also a face in fashion that has graced the same runway as Tyson Beckford and Naomi Campbell, has been deemed as “pure, whimsical fun” by the Los Angeles Times for her blend of pop, soul and retro rock.

Just like VV Brown who defies stereotypes and boundaries, noted actress and now recording star Drew Sidora is hoping to break ground in music this year.

Set to release new music, including a Missy Elliott assisted single, by year’s end, Drew Sidora says “What I want from my music is for it to be inspiring, especially for young women out there that may not have anyone to talk to or express themselves.”

Rounding out the top nine faces you should know are VP Records recording artist Tarrus Riley and J Records star Jack Splash. Known for previously released worked both in front of and behind the mic, Riley and Splash are coined to make moves for the remainder of 2009.

Riley, noted as one of VP Records’ most promising Jamaican roots reggae singers, is set to release an anticipated album titled “Contagious” August 4.

As its title indicates, Riley’s collection of 19 songs is characterized by symptoms of melodiousness, rapturous roots rhythms and hard hitting lyrical realities that are transmitted through repeated spins. In fact, the International Reggae and World Music Awards winning star, has been coined as an artist making a “transition from promising opening act to impressive primetime performer” in Billboard Magazine. But Riley’s music is not only addictive for its emotive vocals, the message behind each song is what sells the talented performer who says “I don’t want my music to have boundaries of race, age, nationality or religion; I represent reggae, live music, and I want everyone to catch on to its positive, good vibes”.

Speaking of ‘good vibes,’ the name Jack Splash is set to keep heads, feet and hands moving, if they aren’t already…

If you think the name Jack Splash sounds familiar, you’re right. Splash has been around the block, so to speak, but in 2009 he joins J with “Technology and Love Might Save Us All”.

Some might say Splash is a renaissance man, especially since his credits have the names Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott, John Legend, Solange and Jamie Foxx attached to them. To Splash however, music is all about fun and making the most incredible piece ever, even if that means stepping outside of the coveted “box” and pulling in different musical elements that may seem foreign or out of place at first.

In a 2008 interview with Format, Splash said “I don’t know one person that I’ve ever met that only likes one type of music. I think artists are just finally taking control of their own destinies and the industry is finally seeing that, that is what the people want so they are letting the artists do it more and more. Ain’t nobody fresh like me though”.

Watch out for the aforementioned entertainers as 2009 winds up, before you know it 2010 will be here — who knows what we’ll be listening to or watching then..

For more on the musical artists mentioned, visit Singersroom’s audio room HERE.

Reporting: Njai Joszor, Lauren Walker – Singersroom.

—— By: Singersroom Staff


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