Mmmm, mmm, mmmm I was hanging on for dear life waiting for the news! And now we know, its official: Bryan Terrell Clark will be playing Marvin Gaye in Motown the Musical! Heard it from the man himself and it was confirmed by our director not to mention the repeated tweeted congratulations he’s received. Its been a longtime coming, truly you gotta go figure. To find a man with the voice, looks, talent, air, and hippie dippy heart breaking swagger of the (god-rest-his-soul) Marvin Gaye is hard to find! (wooo, I faint at the thought) but (hiccup, hiccup) here he is for all to see and enjoy in the upcoming Motown the Musical. Having been a part of the workshops for over a year and a half I’ve seen several talented young men play the part (including Isaiah Johnson, Clifton Oliver, Joshua Henry) and it has definitely been a joy to watch each of them thus far. I watched him during the last developmental stages, researching and working himself to the bone to get the spirit of Marvin Gaye and it really paid off. So I’m excited to see what Bryan will bring to the table. Being a girl in Motown the Musical ain’t easy I’m forced daily to watch gorgeous young men rehearse and re-enact the moves, and the vocals, of the Jackson 5, the Four Tops, the Contours, and the mighty, mighty Temptations (Claude have mercy) But now to add our official Marvin Gaye to the roster, is oh too much! Enjoy!
Check out one of my favorite clips of the original Marvin Gaye rehearsing for a concert in Europe in 1981. Now mind you this clip ain’t polished, it ain’t glossy and perfect, it may be only something a musician or his mother may love but I seriously enjoy every braid, beard, and Jerry curl in this clip each time I watch it. And yes the beautiful Marvin Gaye reclined on the sofa sounds THAT good. We loved him. Not to mention the beautiful lyrics sung by poetic musician who was gone too soon.
What a weekend! I participated in a rehearsal read through of a new short film script for Mitch Hooks, 138 Films and then dashed off to see Morgan and left my cell phone! After turning around to get it and headed back, I was late. Catching the later part of her set I was so glad I finally got to see Morgan James do her thing. Outside of rehearsal that is. She is, as I mentioned before, a part of our Motown cast, so I had to support as she promotes her new album. I had a ball last night and knew I would. I teased my ‘fro, put on my favorite aloe vera essential oil, grabbed my purse and headed to 54 Below ready to enjoy some good music and celebrate Morgan’s new album Excited to hear her take on Nina Simone and Morgan did not disappoint. It was a fun opportunity to shmooz with the crowd. I mean why wouldn’t I, some of entertainment’s mightiest were in tow, record label execs, stars from the upcoming “Black Nativity” the movie, along with singer Crystal Monet-Hall, actress Angela Bassett, not to mention some of the gorgeous cast of Motown too. Entertainment royalty Vivian Nixon attended along with her beau wordsmith and dancer Daniel Watts, along with Marva Hicks and her hilarious boyfriend Kwaysee, and of course me! The room was naturally filled with the glamour and energy of a new year. And for a room full of “singer’s singers” with raised brows ready to be entertained. Miss James was prepared to, as we say down south, “show-out”! She gave it to us indeed petite curves and throaty wails with a range to be proud of. She is quite a thrilling performer to watch, giving you show biz, elegance, and good old fashion sex appeal!
After the show we were buzzing of course about Motown. And honey, the question of the night was “Who will play Marvin Gaye in Motown the Musical?” Even Angela Bassett seemed shocked that none of us knew. Delightful conversation with an Oscar nominated actress indeed. I can only surmise after having worked with several different “Marvins” during the developmental stages, whoever ends up with the role has big shoes to fill, we’ve had Joshua Henry, Isaiah Johnson, Clifton Oliver, and Brian Terrell Clark they were all wonderful and different. I’m curious to see how it ends up.
Big ups to Morgan for a job well done.
Here we are earlier this year singing together at “Broadway Sings Michael Jackson” at Le Pouisson Rouge:
Saycon Sengbloh, Morgan James, and Tituss Burgess
I dare you to broaden your minds! Young African Queens of the Diaspora are here! Well, the latest playlist that is! Listen to something new for a minute or 1 hour In support of indie artists and musicians everywhere and divas of the African diaspora: English speaking, Spanish speaking, and those of various African or European languages are all on this short list together. I put a new Youtube playlist together to listen to while I write. Actually, many of the artists added to this playlist are not new, many of them have a huge following outside of the US but if you’re anything like me you may find yourself listening to America’s top 40 constantly and just might enjoy listening or learning about other artists you haven’t heard before. So I went on a search on Youtube, this playlist consists of what I’ve found. Start listening now!
Now not to confuse or leave anyone out this 1st list consists of female artists who are new to me and perhaps new on the landscape of music in the last few years, I could of course populate a list with beautiful queens like Angelique Kidjo, Miriam Makeba, and Celia Cruz. But this list is something different. Please hit me with more names of artists who fit this title I learn something new everyday and look forward to hearing from you guys. The Ask Saycon page is there for questions. Click the link to listen while you work. As a kid I’ve always had a fascination with maps imagine all the musicians of the African diapora making music throughout the world and check out a list of names below:
Click this map to start the “Young Queens of the African Diaspora” video playlist!
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! We are counting down the days until Motown rehearsal starts! And with the buzzzz we’re keeping it going with the several artists from the cast of Motown glowing and showin’ out in NYC! What a treat to have yet another rising star in our midst! I’m talking about Morgan James. This soulful young lady has come on the scene with a steady burn and I’ve watched her rise, working hard as an indie musician ( love it), singing her face off, and reaching the epitome of music fire securing a dream deal with Epic records.
I’m gonna be there to support her I’m sure lots of Motown cast members will be in tow! Will you be there?
Saturday January 12th, 2013
Morgan James 54 Below 254 West 54th St. New York, NY 10019 866-468-7619 use code Morgan5 for $5 off cover charge in main diningroom
Its a small world! Indeed for Destiny’s Child alum, Michelle Williams, and myself it is! She will be taking on the role of Sandra in the latest tour of Fela scheduled to tour the world!
photo by Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images
She and I both played in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida back in the day I was her *standby at that time. And now she will play afro-beat queen Sandra Izsadore. Sandra, notably is a activist, and performer and former girlfriend of Fela Kuti. She helped to infuse some of the political tone and strife to the Nigerian-born music man who would become a leader in jazz and African music.
I’ll be excited to see Michelle in Fela! For those of you who don’t know, Fela! is the story of one of Africa’s most well known and prolific musicians, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a Nigerian man who’s music and very lifestyle stirred both hearts and controversy during his 20 plus years entertaining the world with his innovative “afro-beat genre of music”. I played Sandra Izsadore in the Original Broadway production and also sang on the Grammy nominated cast recording of Fela! along with Sahr Ngaujah (ABC’s Last Resort) and Kevin Mambo (Cadillac Records). We appeared with director Bill T. Jones in Vibe magazine during my shaved head days:
Fela cast in Juice issue of Vibe Magazine
Miss Williams will be having a great year as she reportedly has new management and also recently signed to Light Records, I copped her first recording and will definitely purchase the next. When we were on Broadway with Fela, Michelle came to see the show and gave me congratulatory hugs. She was playing the role of Roxie Hart in “Chicago”, in the theatre right across the street at the time. A class act, she sent me flowers the very next day! So most definitely must return the favor! I’ll never forget the fab white suit wore to her opening night party as Aida when we played at the Palace theatre. Although I’m currently in broadway’s Motown the Musica,l I continue to champion the story of Fela Kuti and to be a supporter of the show, because the powerful music and piece of history the show represents. My friends, leading men Duain Richardson, and Adesola Osakalumi will be headlining the tour along with the talented Danny Soto and “afro-soca” lady Shakira Marshall. On the SayconTalks blog look to the right under Favorite Links and click the Fela tour link for show dates.
*A standby is a sort of built in person who can resume a character at any moment and perform a role during special appearances or in the absence of the primarily advertised actor.
Shout out to my homegirl, D.Woods a fellow alumni of what I like to call the *Freddie Hendricks affect. Been many months since she came by to visit me at the Signature Theatre during the Hurt Village show I was doing this past spring. Not many of you know that Miss. D. Woods is an actress as well, catch her in theatre, commercials, and television too! I’m excited to support her music latest video premiere” 2 The Bottom” enjoy the video below! Support Independent Music! And visit her site! She’s doing big things!
*Freddie Hendricks is an actor, director, and acting coach who taught drama at Tri-Cities highschool and founded the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta encouraging young students like myself, and D.Woods among others, to succeed in the arts and entertainment.
Nneka in New York! the Nigerian & German songbird is here in the U.S. to promote her new album. I saw her across the room in a Whole foods store while have a tea with my friend Maia (aka Soulluvlai) often at a loss for words I couldn’t remember her name for the life of me but of course who can forget that face! A classic beauty without a shred of makeup. Boldly, and nosily, I approached her to ask if she was a Nigerian singer she said yes though I’m pretty sure she and her friend thought I was full of sh*t, LOL anyway we began to chat. I told her about my visit to Nigeria last spring. Nneka said she was in town to promote her new album and I was happy to tell her we shared a publicist when we were in Nigeria, Miss Bobby Taylor who did some amazing work during our time there. Nneka was kind and I was random, anyway, well done Nneka let’s do a duet one day let’s unite for Liberia and Nigeria ya digg?. Check out this video of Nneka making of her new album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pVKyP56PXLY
PS.-Shoutout to my Nigerian brothers and sisters struggling to pay for gasoline with oil prices surging. peace,
For those of you who don’t know I was born and raised in Georgia! I have Liberian roots on my dad side but I hail from College Park, GA, Old National East to be exact! Showtay! Anyway, I currently make my home in Brooklyn, NY but I keep up with artists from back home. So, I saw College Park, GA native and R&B star Monica on Wendy Williams and I was so excited to hear about her new album and reality show and as a fan of hers it was a great interview. Years ago my friend Khalid and I would sit and sing the Boy is Mine over and over again with stereo turned up, the song blasting on repeat! Anyway, Monica is still at it, making new music and has a great cause to represent. Its called Feeding America! I was inspired by her growth and her life in terms of having dealt with so many ups and down in her personal life. She is truly an extraordinary Everyday Warrior! I want to spread the word for the holiday season that Monica mentioned how you can help feed hungry children. There’s so many children right here in America who don’t have access to food daily. Let’s all take a moment to donate today. You wouldn’t believe $1 feeds 8 people! We can put a stop to child hunger bring awareness many kids in the U.S. go with out meals daily. Click the link below to help! http://feedingamerica.org/
I’ll make a donation and be a child feeding warrior today!
Some fun Pics from the Janet concert a while back with Danny!It was a fun night and Iran into lots of old friends! I’m playing catch up on some blogs and things that happened the past few months! Excited to present a memories from the Fela Broadway trip to Lago Nigeria! But in the meantime! I love Janet Jackson! *note this blog appears as a “note” on Facebook please visit saycontalks.blogspot.com to read all past blog entries,subscribe, comment and tell a friend! Please “like” the Saycon Band Page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Saycon/39335319086 , on Facebook new music is on the way friends!