L. Michael Gipson - Cornfed's Corner: Mo' Jazz and Rogiérs' Talks Sexual Eruptions

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    On this week's Cornfed's Corner: we share an intimate moment with our favorite night whisperer, Rogiérs; for those out-of-the-loop on that Jazmine Sullivan buzz, we got you covered with the complete lowdown on Ms. Jazzie, and 12 "new" tunes worth your gas money. Since we're running a lil' long on the gab this week, we'll slide you some notes next week. Also be on the lookout for Kev. O and his blazin' EP "4 Singles Only!" Mo' on that next week! ‘Til then grab a coke, catch a smile and get yo'self corn-fed.  

    Cornfed Discoveries: Jazmine Sullivan

    You want to know how you can tell someone is fiyah? When they haven't had an official album release but almost a hundred wanna-bes video loggers are imitating their style and singing their songs all over YouTube. Considered the R&B answer to gospel diva, Kim Burrell, the astonishing Jazmine Sullivan has been a smug "oh, you don't know?" artist simmering on the underground for the last several years. Introduced to the mainstream by fellow Philly artists Kindred and the Family Soul on their debut, Surrender To Love, by age 21, Jazmine had already been praised as a prodigious singer/songwriter for almost a decade. With a mahogany voice brimming with resonance and melisma to spare (some times not spared enough - I'm just sayin'), Jazmine's a vocal technician whose control, weight and technique belie her tender years. A couple of years after a prophetic performance on It's Showtime at the Apollo at age 11, Jazmine became a personal favorite of Stevie Wonder, who hired the young star to perform for him several times when she was just 13.

    Signed to Jive Records at 15, Jazmine's mature talent bewildered Jive execs who were reportedly clueless as to how to market a teenager with a voice as seasoned as Gladys Knight but a mug that was pure Gerber. Material leaked from that project has been surfing the internet for years, particularly on YouTube, creating a legion of Jazmine fans and imitators. In between label signings, the songstress signed a publishing deal with BMI, wrote Christina Milan a Top 15 Billboard hit, "Say I," and appeared as a background singer for producer Missy Elliot on that auspicious Fantasia debut, Free Yourself. Jazmine also became a darling of the UK club circuit, recording the Brits a critical underground hit, "Braid Your Hair (Live)" for Gilles Peterson Presents: The BBC Soul Sessions, Vol.1.

    Now signed to Clive Davis's J-Records, Jazmine's debut is the most anticipated in soul. New tracks created by high-profile producers from Missy to Dre and Cool are being leaked almost monthly through the web. Sounding eerily like a restored Lauryn Hill, Jazmine's reggae-tinged debut single, "Need U Bad," is available on iTunes. As good as "...Bad" is, it is Sullivan's instant classic, "I'm In Love With Another Man," that will have you going for high notes in the shower (Take a listen after Track Love). Just do us all a favor and keep those shower squalls off YouTube, ya' hear?

    -L. Michael "Cornfed" Gipson

    Take a listen to Jazzie's Insta-Classic I'm In Love With Another Man


    Intimate Moments on IM: Rogiérs

    In anticipation of his big break, Rogiérs has been quietly taking notes in the industry background for years. First, during a two-year stint as a keyboardist for Alicia Keys; then as a now classic "triple-signed, but no release" major label artist, Rogiérs has been biding his time like a would-be Eve Harrington. With crooners Carl Thomas and Rueben Studdard both possessing metaphorical broken legs, Rogiérs has taken center stage as mature R&B's new loverboy. Rogiérs studies have finally paid off with the launch of his Fibby Music Group, the release of his sexy debut, Life & Music: All of It (check out my L&M review), and a hectic tour schedule for legions of breathless fans. Come eavesdrop for a spell on a humorous moment about intimacy with a well-schooled Rogiérs.

    Cornfed: Before we get started, you know I gotta ask: did your mama name you Roger or Rogiérs?

    Rogiérs: Rogiérs. It's a surname

    Cornfed: Okay, because you know my folks were gonna ask me, right? In any case, Life & Music: All of It is an exceedingly intimate album. What is intimacy for Rogiérs and how does one capture that concept musically?

    Rogiérs: Lol. No one has ever asked that before...

    Cornfed: We try to keep you on your toes on the C.C., lol.

    Rogiérs: Intimacy is a feeling. It's like magic, spirit, intuition and all those other feelings we have in life that are spontaneous and uncontrived. You can "set things up," but you cannot create it; it has to happen on its own.

    Cornfed: What is the difference between a song like Prince's "Adore" and J. Holiday's "Bed" and where do you see your songs-like "Fa Sho" and "Come Into My World"-fitting into these disparate traditions of seduction in soul?

    Rogiérs: I see it as being like another desert or entree in a good meal. People are only fed one thing by radio and popular media as far as Black music [emphasis his] is concerned. We have soooooo many other good things to 'eat' that we don't even realize. Many of us don't know any better, lol. When a song like "Come Into My World" or "Fa Sho" come around, it's like discovering a brand new food that's just as good as the cheesecake, the truffle, the lemon meringue or the chocolate mousse. You're left wondering, how is it that you've never known about or tasted these things? I have to say I often listen to my album with a sort-of "out of body" experience or approach to listening. And I wonder the same thing. Its like: this is music that people should be hearing all over! Not because it's me, but because it's good and it does measure up.

    Cornfed: How difficult is it to create something that is romantic and seductive without resorting to baby oil and "my neck, my back," be it in life or on vinyl?

    Rogiérs: Lol. I'm really trying to write one of those songs...

    Cornfed: Lol

    Rogiérs: It's not difficult at all. I would need to be drugged up to sit down and write songs like that, let alone record and release one.

    Cornfed: LMAO. Hmmm...

    Rogiérs: ...maybe that's what's holding me back...lol

    Cornfed: While the project has an apparent grounding in soul and gospel, your album uses a lot of electronic instrumentation, why'd you choose an electronica approach over more live instrumentation?

    Rogiérs: I think it's probably the businessman in me. On one hand, I like 'difference' and the electronica/dance feel of many songs that make this a non-traditional "black-independent-soul-male-neo-soul-R&B"-type album, which is to me an easily identifiable sound. As a businessman, I am extremely involved in all aspects of my work-from the conceptual phase to the drawing board, to the studio recording, mastering, marketing, distribution and promotion of my work. There are certainly live elements in some of the songs, but I don't have the space in my head to add "full band" elements to every song. It would just be too much to manage that many people in the creative process at this point.

    Cornfed: You, Peter Hadar, Ra-Re Valverde, and a handful of other emerging artists are managing to successfully bridge classic soul with ambient, electronica and other dance oriented sub-genres; do you see this as the next frontier of soul music? And why is it that so many others attempting this, end up losing their soul with Pro Tools?

    Rogiérs: Hmmm...well, it could be the next frontier of soul, but who knows? I know I just like different sounds and being fun and explorative, which is probably the route they're taking as well. There's a lot of trial and error though too. Everything I do doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to scratch out your first 'drawing' and start over again until it works. Keeping your 'soul' in the process really depends on chemistry and things just happening at the right moment, when and how it's supposed to happen.

    Cornfed: I love that you won't diss those other artists; take the high rode, man. Take that high road! 

    Rogiérs: No, I'm not into dissing other artists...besides I know those other artists too well from way back. I think we're all going to end up on a big stage somewhere soon-like World Africa Day or something!

    Cornfed: Lol. I'd end it here, but I'll get lynched if I don't ask you what it was like to work with Bilal on "Hollywood Story."

    Rogiérs: Well, as for "Hollywood Story," we recorded our vocals separately. I know it's kind of a letdown for everyone who may have envisioned the whole "Frank Sinatra-Duets" type approach. I originally wrote and recorded that song with producer Robert Glasper for Bilal's sophomore album. It was going to be on his European release but after a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo, I believe the album got scrapped. Bilal had already recorded his lead and after a few years of no new news, we called around to get everyone's idea about it being made into a "duet," which is how it happened. We never recorded it together, although I hope to be able to perform it with him.

    Cornfed: Great story. Yeah it's sad about them shelving Bilal's "Love for Sale," it's an incredible album.

    Rogiérs: You know? I'm really interested in seeing where so many of "us" end up in 5 to 10 years.

    Cornfed: Since we spent most of this interview talking about seduction, spill the beans: is Rogiérs in life the lover man he is on wax?

    Rogiérs: LOLOL! I am and I was, I was and I am. Is that evasive?? Lol. I'm single right now, but I'm a Pisces...if anyone knows anything about us Piscean people then "you already know."

    Cornfed: Lol. Aiight, it was evasive, but we wouldn't expect anything less from soul's Lothario. Thanks, Rogiérs, for sharing an intimate moment on IM with Cornfed's Corner!

    Rogiérs: Oh, you also may want to mention Fibby Music Group [Rogiérs' label] is releasing a "Remix & Reject" EP by the year's end featuring hot new remixes, a few new joints and rejects from Life & Music. Plus I'm on a few compilations coming out in Europe later this summer...we'll keep everyone posted through our official site: http://www.fibbymusic.net/.

    Cornfed: You just did. Thanks for giving us the heads up

    Rogiérs: Fa sho

    Cornfed: Pun intended, right? LOL


    L. Michael Gipson is a cultural critic, music journalist and a lover of all underdogs; poverty becomes him.

    Track Love 

     Track/EP  Artist Project  Available
    to Buy? 
    Learning to Swim Lalah Hathaway Self Portrait Yes Soul
    Blue Moon Kev. O 4 Singles Only  Yes Soul/Pop 
    Another Day Jamie Lidell  Jim  Yes  Retro-Soul 
    Lettin' Go Janelle Monae  Letting Go- Single  Yes  Soul / Alternative 
    Closer Ne-yo  Closer -Single Yes R&B/Pop 
    My Being Heston Storyteller  Yes  Soul 
    Bitter Sweet Dreams RAHBI Raw Live! Yes Soul
    Emotions Conya Doss  Still...  Yes  R&B/Soul 
    All Dressed Up In Love Jennifer Hudson  Sex and the City: Soundtrack  Yes Soul 
    Morning Child 4Hero Play With the Changes Yes Soul/Dance 
    Too Much Al Green  Lay It Down  Yes  Soul 
    Was That All It Was Full Flava feat. Carleen Anderson Was That All It Was - Single Yes Soul/Dance

    See past "Cornfed Corners"

    Jazmine's New Single, Marcell Russell on Spittin’ Truth in Soul

    Lemar, Tim Dillinger and more

    Alice Russell and opening thoughts