Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chaka Gets Funky Again

You have to give it to her. She has one of the most recognizable and entertaining voices of all time - and she has done it all. From jazz to funk, from soul to R&B, from pop to disco...and even gospel (catch her singing on Richard Smallwood with Vision Journey: Live In New York singing "Precious Is Your Name").

But The Voice is back with her newest CD - FUNK THIS - and she's back to getting down with the funk. Her career took off many years ago as the lead vocalist of the successful '70s-80's funk outfit Rufus and laid down killer grooves and hits that included "Do You Love What You Feel", "Sweet Thing", "Tell Me Something Good" and "At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)." On FUNK THIS, Khan goes down memory-lane to pull out that Rufus vibe and uses the tag-team production efforts of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to recreate that same energy and style that made Chaka Khan a household name. On new cuts such as "Hail To The Wrong" and "One For All Time", you can hear the recreation of the sweet grooves found on her earlier solo projects, while the Jimi Hendrix remake of "Castles Made Of Sand" (featuring Jesse Johnson on guitar) exposes her to a gutsy rock funk that sits well on her big vocals. Prince's "Sign 'O' The Times" is an end-time message that places Khan in the prophetic, while "Angel" - the album's strongest ballad and hit single - proves to be a definite moment for Khan's songwriting abilities. When the end of the song resonates, you can hear the song's story blooming of the great possibilities for a better woman to arise from deep within as she declares "you will be free." It's a careful blend of R&B with gospel. R&B diva Mary J. Blige guests on the innovative "Disrespectful"; a song that feels like a '70s funk groove that rides on a tang-tang drum workout. At times, you can't tell who's who. Michael McDonald also jumps into the ring with Khan on the Doobie Brothers/Carly Simon remake; "You Belong To Me". "Will You Love Me" and "One For All Time" are true Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis moments - and feel just right on the music legend.

Plus there's a very special collaboration with Rufus guitarist Tony Maiden on the exclusive Ol' Skool medley featuring Rufus hits "You Got The Love" and "Pack'd My Bags." You can't go wrong here.

There's plenty of funk to go around here and it's beautiful to see that funk music is being re-instituted back into mainstream music. Chaka almost reinvents herself on her new release; proving that she's still the voice that the world instantly recognizes and has forever been associated with the funk.

This week, Billboard Magazine revealed that her single "Angel" is riding at #41 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles charts. Her album should do wonders next week on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop. She will, of course, be facing a mean selection of best-sellers including Ann Nesby's newest project This Love and Kanye West and Fiddy's projects - which both hit the #1 and #2 spots consecutively last week.

Below are just a few of the photos from the new album's inside jacket.

Chaka Khan (Official Website)
Chaka Khan (
Burgundy Records
Chaka Perfoms "Angel" on the Today Show (NBC)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Paula White Speaks, D. James Kennedy Passes

On a recent Praise the Lord program on TBN, co-pastor Paula White sat on the other side of the table to be interviewed by contemporary Christian recording artist Carman. She opened up about the hurt of her recent announcement to divorce her husband of eighteen years, Pastor Randy White. Both Randy and Paula White founded the Without Walls International Church together in Tampa, Florida - which became one of the fastest growing churches in the country. In recent years, Paula experienced a breakthrough of popularity; launching her own ministry and become a best-selling author, talk show host and motivational speaker.

"I say this for Randy ... my former husband," Paula expressed on TBN. "And Randy is a man of God. No one sets their life out and says, 'Boy, this is what I think I'm going to go through.' And people look at things as failure, why didn't this work. But I see 18 years of the rock that I was healed from and I'm grateful for the seasons in my life because I wouldn't be who I am without all the people that God has used to help me, to develop me, to cultivate me."

"Some of the greatest development in the men and women of God ... were those in adverse situation, those in opposition," White added. "But it pulled out because you had that decision. You can either gravitate and put your hand to the plow and say, 'Okay, God, I don't get this one; I don't even like this one. But still what do You have to say to me? I will not be moved.'"

According to an announcement made at the Without Walls church, Randy White took "100 percent responsibility" of the split and will continue as the senior pastor of the Florida church. While White plans to release a brand new book in October revealing journal excerpts from her personal life, there is no word on Paula White's future involvement with the church.

The media failed to really focus and cover one of the big saddened events of the week - the passing of conservative preacher and popular televangelist D. James Kennedy. The longtime pastor of the 10,000-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (also located in Florida), Kennedy passed away in his home at the age of 76 on September 5. He had not made a public appearance since suffering from cardiac arrest in December, followed by reported multiple complications. Kennedy's retirement to the ministry was announced seven days prior to his passing. Kennedy was also a popular minister in the roster of TBN's great index of preachers. While his passion for American pride and politics remained a prominent part of his sermons, his respectful and loving nature remained one of his drawing points and placed him in a very small category of well-loved and respected conservative preachers.

Paula White Ministries