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Forgot About Friday/Donell Jones

“U Know What’s Up”…..the dearly departed Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.…..”Where I Wanna Be”…….baby makin’ crooner and one hell of a talent. 

Yes, those are all of the music memories and moments that make up the career of one sleek and sophisticated R&B maestro and songwriter, Mr. Donell Jones, who in his late ’90s/early ’00s hey day…..simply had it goin’ on. 

Born the son of a gospel singer, Jones grew up on the South Side of Chicago and threw himself in music at a young age to escape the streets that plagued his road to stardom during his younger years. Working hard to keep his passion afloat, Jones met former Heavy D & The Boys member  “Eddie F” Ferrell along the way and together they formed a partnership with L.A. Reid and Babyface’s legendary label, LaFace.

Mr. Jones first hit it big in 1994 thanks to his penmanship on Usher‘s “Think of You,” which hit number eight on the Billboard R&B Charts. It was from there that Reid and Face gave him the green light to record his solo debut, which would end up being the stylish, soulful 1996 release, My Heart

Although the album was a moderate success thanks to singles “In the Hood,” “You Should Know,” and Jones’ cover of the Stevie Wonder classic, “Knocks Me Off My Feet,” it was the singer’s songwriting and music production that caught the ears of everyone in the industry and beyond. This would lead Jones’ quickly becoming an established songwriter in the late ’90s, penning songs for 702, Drea, a few more for Usher and many, many more before releasing his smashing sophomore set, Where I Wanna Be, in 1999. 

Of course, it was this album that truly put Jones on the music map, as it not only went platinum, but gave us bedroom ready smashes like the still woke title track, the thumping, “Shorty(Got Her Eyes On Me,” and of course, “U Know What’s Up,” which features that irresistible cameo from the one-and-only, Mizz Lopes.

Jones released a two successful follow ups–2002’s Life Goes On and 2006’s album chart topping, Life of a Gemini, but let’s face it, the careers of pretty much every late ’90s dominating hip hop and R&B artist seemingly became forgotten right around then and Jones’ later sets–Lyrics and Forever–failed to resonate with that mainstream audience (meaning…all of us) that he once owned. 

But if there’s one thing that we do know, it’s that you actually had to have talent to make it happen like Mariah back then, and Donell Jones simply had it and then some.

And that’s something we should never, ever forget. 

Plus, you know that you’re still trying to be Julia Stiles in that classic “U Know What’s Up” flavored Save the Last Dance montage. Yes, you. 

Groove on, Mr.Jones, groove on. 

Want more shit like this all of the time? Then follow Philly Mixtape right here and here, bish. 

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‘The Patriot Tour’ Tea w/Taya Kyle

While most of us will never know what it’s like to fight for our country like so many brave men and women from all walks of life have done before us, what we can do is never forget to respect, obey and honor them completely. 

But most of all, when an opportunity arises where we can listen to their stories and how they truly define the word “freedom” for all of us, we should take heed and join them. Tomorrow night we’ll all be able to do just that when The Patriot Tour stops by the Merriam Theater at the Kimmel Center for a one-night only engagement that you simply do not want to miss. 

An emotional and engaging live stage experience, The Patriot Tour not only highlights incredible stories from some truly incredible men and women who’ve had their landscapes profoundly changed by their service and sacrifice for our country, but its a story that will resonate with all of us, especially in today’s seemingly crazy and almost desperate times. 

Among the list of esteemed patriots speaking at tomorrow night’s show are retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell; Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, retired U.S. Army Capt. Chad Fleming, as well as retired Navy SEAL David Goggins.

Also moving the Philly stages tomorrow night will be Taya Kyle, who’s the wife of late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, American Wife. Some of you may also recognize those above names as part of the blockbuster film, American Sniper, which was loosely based on the memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by the late Mr. Kyle, with Bradley Cooper playing the fallen hero and Sienna Miller taking on the role of Taya. 

But before Taya shares her story with all of Philadelphia, she was gracious and kind enough to stop by Philly Mixtape for an exclusive chat where she talked, well, about it all in one incredible chat below.

For much more with Taya and how you can get your tickets to The Patriot Tour, check this out

First up, Taya, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape. How are things with you these days?
Things are always interesting in my world. My children and I have great leaps in healing and we continue to take some hits. I am really focusing on how to find calm in the eye of the tornado swirling around. I want to learn how to sit in the eye of the storm and find peace there.

I want to talk to talk about your book, American Wife, for a moment. As someone who aspires to be a book author one day, tell me a little bit about the process from start to finish and what kinds of emotions you went through while writing it. And how did it feel the day it got published?  I am working on some other books right now. When I finish them, I think I will have a better answer for you from the standpoint of an author realizing a dream or accomplishing a goal. American Wife was a book I wasn’t ready to write. There was interest from the public and the publisher felt it was important to get it done in a timely manner. Fortunately, Chris and I worked with Jim DeFelice on American Sniper and already established a friendship based in trust. Essentially, Jim worked with the publisher and agreed to put my words to paper in a time where I wasn’t able to pull the intensity of the emotions together to write it myself. I somewhat jokingly refer to the writing of American Wife as me emotionally vomiting on Jim DeFelice for months. The truth is, he loved Chris too and we grieved together as we worked on the book. He is the genius behind the organization and presentation of what we talked about during those months reflecting on my life with Chris and my kids and the toll of grief.

Moving on to The Patriot Tour, what is the thing that you hope the audience will take away from the story?  In years past, we have been humbled to hear how individuals have unique experiences with Patriot Tour. People typically see some parts of their own life in our varying stories. As speakers, we bare our souls, and share not just the end results, but the journey riddled with ups and downs. We laugh at ourselves too. Audience members express comfort in the reminder we all struggle. We all need to dig deep to find the strength to persevere. Sharing an evening of truth and determination to fight the good fight even when it seems impossible, tends to leave audience members and speakers grateful to live in a country where we have the freedom to fight our battles with friends, faith and whatever else we muster up in our darkest hours.

What’s it like for you personally to be a part of this journey?  It takes a lot of people working really hard to make Patriot Tour something audience members don’t just attend, but experience. I love the sense of family and teamwork unique to touring with a shared passion and desire to serve.

It’s been such a hard year for all of us. What words of inspiration would you give to anyone trying to make it through hard times this year, whether losing a loved one or dealing with the aftermath of such horrible natural disasters. With Patriot Tour, we see how real change happens in the hearts of individuals as opposed to group mentality which tends to work only in the short term. When we dig deep and get involved on a personal level we change this generation and the next. When extreme views and crises are the focal point of our world view we run the risk of becoming hopeless. I encourage people to bring hope back to their own lives by filtering through the extremes and looking at their own community. Resist the urge to yell and scream about a problem we can’t fix from afar. Instead, lets roll up our sleeves and use peaceful direct communication and hands on experiences to change what we don’t like. Let’s look for solutions. Seek to understand more than to be heard.  More than any words of wisdom, the best help I am able to give is encouragement for a relationship with God where people will find lifelong help and more wisdom than I can ever provide. It starts with a conversation. It’s that simple. Talk to God; the answers are there.

Just to lighten the mood a bit, any favorite or fall T.V. shows that you’re totally obsessed with right now?  (Laughs) I ended up getting so frustrated with social agendas and bickering presented as entertainment, I turned off the television for a while. My kids and I are getting great family time, more time to read and my hope is I will also translate the lack of TV time into more sleep.

Lastly, describe ‘The Patriot’ in 1 word. Inspiring.

For much more with Taya and how you can get your tickets to The Patriot, check this out

To become part of The Patriot Tour Team, volunteer opportunities and sponsorships are available at www.patriottour.com 

 

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Rewerk Wednesday/Zedd

“If our love is tragedy why are you my remedy……If our love’s insanity why are you my clarity?,” chants UK songstress Foxes on “Clarity,” the 2012 Grammy winning collaboration she shares with German DJ producer and beat maestro, Zedd, who’s about to straight up give it to us with a two night stint at the Electric Factory beginning tomorrow night. 

Born Anton Zaslavski in southwest Germany, the future dance floor destroyer and global dominator was raised into a musical family in which Zedd first tickled his music fancy at four-years old by taking on the acoustic guitar. It wasn’t long before he graduated to ticking the ivories and eventually moved on to playing the drums in a local band. And from there, well, the digital world soon came calling and Zedd would become the most sought after names in the dance music business in no time flat. 

Thanks to a batch of high-profile rewerks for Lady Gaga, Armand Van Helden and a handful of A-list others, Zedd served us with Clarity in 2012his first full length album that put him well on the music map and beyond. This was due to the shimmering success of sizzling singles “Spectrum” with Matthew Koma, “Stay the Night” with Haley Williams of Paramore and of course, “Clarity,” which owned the top spot on every music chart across the globe for months on end. 

A successful follow-up, True Colors, got rightfully served to us in 2015 and proved to be an even bigger success in busting charts worldwide due in part to pulsating thunderstorms, “I Want You to Know,” co-starring Selena Gomez, “Papercut” with Troye Sivan and of course the album’s hauntingly beautiful title track which Zedd shares with the Rainbow diva herself, Ms. Kesha.

And that moment he teamed up with Ariana Grande in 2014 to deliver her second My Everything single, “Break Free?” Fucking priceless. 

Of course, we just can’t leave out Zedd’s latest and greatest 2017 werk–the bass bumpin’ “Stay” with the red-hot Alessia Cara(which we all know) and “Get Low,” a somehow underrated groove (y’all just ain’t listening to it enough!) co-starring former One Direction-er, Liam Payne.

Delicious. 

And while do hope that his latest bangers make it onto his eagerly anticipated third studio set, what we do know is that Zedd is one hell of a remarkable talent (with that “Clarity” Grammy to prove it) and that he’s going to blow the roof off of the Electric Factory over the next few days. 

Get ready, Philly. 

To grab those tickets to Zedd’s shows (Friday is almost sold out and there’s one-hundred left for Thursday) at the Electric Factory, go right here, right now

Want more fun shit like this, like, all of the time? Then be sure to follow Philly Mixtape right here and here

Zedd cover photo courtesy of Billboard