Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
The 21 year-old Lancaster native and student at the Temple University's Tyler School of Art has been attracting national attention since she created the cover artwork for rapper/singer (and fellow Temple alum) Glibere Forte's single "Nolita." Since then, Jackson has been busy creating new work and recently collaborated on a t-shirt design with hip online mag and retail brand The Hundreds.
American Dreaming sat down with with the rising art star to discuss her art, process and inspiration. You can check out the interview below. Also, keep up with Dessie Jackson on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
Calling all the lovers: On March 19, R&B songstress Marsha Ambrosius is coming to the Theatre of Living Arts (TLA) on South Street with special guest GoGo Morrow in support of her upcoming sophomoric album "Friends & Lovers." If you've been to a Marsha Ambrosius show then you already know that it will be full of high notes, good music and some of the realest between-songs commentary that you’ve ever heard. Also joining Ambrosius on her tour is another Philly favorite and household name in the DJ scene DJ Aktive.
In addition to her solo success, Marsha has contributed her serious songwriting skills to popular records for hit-making artists like Jill Scott, Bilal, Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx. Marsha lent her talents to pop icon Michael Jackson — penning his hit song “Butterflies.”
Most recently, Ambrosius released a visual for her funky remix to Sade’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride.” The song features a sample from 90s rapper Jeru the Damaja’s “Come Clean,” but maintains the core essence of the original track.
Though she hasn't announced the official release date for "Friends & Lovers," Marsha explained in a recent interview that the album is extremely personal and she thinks fans will be pleased. Word on the street is that the #Marshians (a nickname for the singer's fans) are anxiously waiting for her next project to drop.
This week's addition to the Philly 360° playlist finds Philadelphia recording artists Zakee Kuduro and Res teaming up for the easy-going, sultry duet “But You.” The track is the latest single from Zakee’s highly-anticipated LP "Rise of the Rebels: Assimilations" and it definitely stole our hearts at first listen.
"But You" collaborator Res first came on the scene in 2001 with her debut album "How I Do." Since then, she has pushed her creative boundaries using a mix of indie pop, soul and rock to create her signature sound. Her own upcoming full-length project "RESET" is set to drop later this year.
A Senegalese-American rapper, singer, songwriter and producer, Zakee is an eclectic artist that fuses his music with a diverse mix of cultural influences, from organic sounds heard on the streets his hometown to worldly rhythms he's encountered while traveling the globe. This range of influence is certainly evident in his collab with Res. "But You" creates film-like visuals in the head of its listeners and effortlessly transports music lovers to another place and time.
Co-written by the two crooners and produced by Zakee, "But You" is the song fans of both artists have been waiting to hear. It will definitely leave you wanting more from these Philly phenoms.
You can purchase more music from Zakee here. Be sure to support your local artists!
BASSic Black Entertainment recording artist Aaron Camper has worked with some of the industry's biggest acts like Dirty Money, Mike Posner, Jill Scott and Tye Tribbett. From writing hooks to providing background vocals and instrumentation, Camper is an all around musician and performer. And, if you've ever caught one of Aaron's live shows, then you can definitely attest to the fact that he's picked up more than a few tricks of the trade while touring with megastars like Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake.
Now, Camper is taking a moment away from the limelight of JT's 20/20 Experience Tour to shine a spotlight on Philly and a few of his musically-inclined pals. On February 26, all roads lead to West Philly music venue World Cafe Live, as Briclyn Entertainment and Singersroom.com team up to produce Aaron Camper & Friends.
Roberson was part of the dynamic team of producers and songwriters that got their start in the music industry with DJ Jazzy Jeff's label A Touch of Jazz. Since then, Roberson has released numerous solo projects, and recently joined forces with gospel juggernauts Fred Hammond, Bryan Courtney Wilson and Dave Hollister to form The United Tenors.
Aaron Camper and crew are definitely set to show up in the name of some Philly feel-good music. So, grab your tickets and make your way to World Cafe Live to watch these musical phenoms tear up the stage. We'll see you there.
Astronauts Really Fly: This eclectic group, headed up by emcee Mont Brown and producer Pace-o Beats, is known around town for their over-the-top energy during live performances. More than just a band, the collective has also launched a self-titled clothing line that's available at a various Philly retail locations, including Villa.
Phoenix: This sultry R&B singer is signed to Beast Mode Entertainment, the label spearheaded by NFL Super Bowl champion Raheem Brock.
Kontraband: A super-group of extraordinary musicians, Kontraband consists of lyricists Scoop and Benni Basil, drummer Darrell Robinson, guitarist Ray Ray Holloman, bassist Wayne Moore, and percussionist Aaron Draper.
Besides being one of the most delicious brunch spots in the city, Silk City Bar and Lounge also serves as an after-hour spot where you can party and enjoy performances from Philly’s thriving music scene.
On February 24, Silk City will host Philly Grown Productions as they present Excuse Me Miss featuring new music from a fresh lineup of female musicians, including Ganou, Brianna Cash, Kid Audra and Rachel Rota. Each of these artists have been making some serious noise around town, and their music is definitely worth a listen.
So, if you're looking for your next music fix or some brand new Philly tunes to groove to, then definitely don’t hesitate to check out this show. Also, be sure to arrive early because there will certainly be a jam-packed house for this one.
Here's a profile on each of these artists and a Soundcloud preview of their music. Check them out.
This Parisian-born singer just released her debut project “Catharsis,” which is filled with instrumental tracks produced by Ganou herself. She’s known for creating beautifully futuristic sounds that are occasionally laced with the cooing tones of her soft pitched voice.
This singer/songwriter creates dance-worthy tracks over fun electro-pop sounds. Filled with cool synths and melodic choral arrangements, Kid Audra is most known for her recent 5-track project "Unknown," which carries a diverse range of energy — from melancholic to more driving, high-powered songs.
Hailing from North Philly, this singer/songwriter has been composing music and playing the piano since she was a child. A few months ago, she released her debut EP “Journey After June,” which complements her soul-studded voice with the perfect mixture of R&B and indie-rock.
A true musician at heart Rachel Rota learned to play the piano and cello at the age of four while she attended the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. Heavily influenced by the soul-driven music of Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse and The Roots, she adds more than a sprinkle of her jazzy sound to the songs she writes and regularly covers. Check out her rendition of John Mayer’s track "Stay."
On Wednesday, February 26, Philly-based talk radio station WURD 900 AM presents WURD Speaks: Black Beauty Politics at the Painted Bride Art Center. The two-part affair, hosted at the popular Old City theater and music venue, kicks off with a panel discussion on black beauty and imagery in pop culture, and closes with a reception and book signing with the two featured authors.
The panel consists of an insightful group of black culture thought leaders including Ayanna Byrd and Lori L. Tharps, authors of "A Hair Story"; Dr. Yaba Blay, author of "(1)ne Drop"; and Philly author/columnist Solomon Jones. Moderator Lacey C. Clark, creator of Phenomenally U, will lead the discussion on the historical perception of black beauty in the US.
Following the panel, Byrd and Tharps will greet guests and sign copies of their re-released book "A Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America." The book, which first hit the stands in 2002, chronicles the story of black hair from 15th century Africa to the present day United States, and looks at the stigmas, issues and struggles surrounding black hair politics. This first WURD Speaks event of the year will also include interactive hair exhibits throughout the evening and a stellar selection local vendors from around the city.
Black Beauty Politics is totally free, so tell a friend and RSVP today. You definitely won't want to miss this one!
A packed crowd littered the first floor and mezzanine level of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) last Wednesday for the grand reveal of “Ruffneck Constructivists” – a group exhibition curated by famed artist Kara Walker.
For the special opening, Walker enlisted Philly’s own DJ PHSH and special guest Questlove of The Roots to provide tunes to keep the crowd moving throughout the night. “Gotta what, yo, gotta get a ruffneck,” the 90’s classic by rapper MC Lyte blasted through the speakers as the ICA guests shimmied and body rolled to the beat.
Good times aside, Lyte’s “Ruffneck” anthem plays a larger context into the exhibition. The song served as an inspiration for Walker throughout the two years it took to develop the project. “When I was approached to curate the exhibition for ICA, I had two thoughts in my head: Russian Constructivists and hip-hop,” notes Walker.
The phase “Ruffneck Constructivists” is Walker’s intentional play on the Russian artists movement of the early 20th century, in which art was committed to abstraction with a dedication to modernity and experimentation. Featuring eleven artists including Kendell Geers, Arthur Jafa, Deana Lawson and Philadelphia native Tim Portlock, the exhibition uses sculpture, photography and video to evoke “thuggishness as an expression of abjection” according to ICA’s description of the exhibition.
For Kara’s first guest curated exhibit in the City of Brotherly Love, the ruffnecks, I included, definitely showed up and out for the opening of this thought-provoking exhibit. “Ruffneck Constructivists” will be on display in ICA’s first floor space through to August 17.
I think we all recognize that a strong collaboration can create some truly remarkable music, be it live or in the studio. This week's addition to the Philly 360° playlist bears witness to this fact, as West Philly emcee Chill Moody teams up with GRAMMY-nominated producer-turned-rapper Mike Zombie for their high energy single "Godzilla."
Chill Moody has quickly become a local poster child for indie artists and has picked up major steam since the 2013 release of his debut album "RFM." Mike Zombie also had a whirlwind year after being signed to Drake’s new label OVO and producing one of the biggest rap songs of the year “Started from the Bottom,” which garnered Zombie his first ever GRAMMY nod.
These two hard-hitting rappers go bar-for-bar over the pulsing track created by Philly-based producer Dilemma. The song is a proclamation of sorts to let the world know that they are here—and here to make some major noise in the music industry. The hook sings, “Who want it with this man huh? / Go ahead and build it up and watch us burn it down huh? / We doing what you can’t huh? / We about to take over / Godzilla / Haaa!”
"Godzilla" is fun track that showcases the lyrical prowess of both emcees, and Dilemma's track definitely does its part to keep your head nodding.
You can also purchase the single here. Be sure to support your local artists!
Easily one of Philly's brightest gems, I checked out writer, producer and vocalist Ganou at the listening session for her latest release "Catharsis". The event was held in the first-floor gallery space of local black-centric creative hub Arts Sanctuary and the room was packed full of people ready for Ganou to hit the stage. Though this was my first encounter with Ganou, her fans were familiar and waiting.
Originally from France, Ganou currently lives in Philadelphia. Her music is a welcoming mix of hip hop style production mixed with a minimalist, lo-fi indie sound. Her voice drifts sweetly over hard-hitting drums with simple and emotional melodies. In some songs she utilizes her voice more like another synth or instrument than anything else. Ganou's music is definitely beat driven, but listeners can easily get lost in the ethereal use of her voice.
Though the listening session got off to a late start, the crowd was pleased just to listen to beat after beat that Ganou played. She was also joined on stage for a few songs by producer and emcee Kenneth Sullivan and eventually ripped into her set, barefoot and grinning.
The audience sang along, but there was an especially noteworthy moment when she began her cover of “Hey Ya” by Andre 3000. The whole crowd became a chorus to this slow remixed version of the animated hit.
After her fans yelled for an encore, Ganou delivered, performing one more song to end the evening on a sweet note. Definitely check Ganou out and keep up with her upcoming shows at ganousings.com.
All good things come to an end, but all great things come back again—bigger and better than before. This month, the Tony Award-winning musical "The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess" is making a stop through Philly for a soul-stirring performance at the Academy of Music.
When it debuted in 1935, "Porgy and Bess" was the one of the first musicals in US history to use an entire cast of classically-trained African American talent. Now, re-envisioned with an award-winning Broadway cast, stunning set and a lush 23-piece orchestra, "Porgy and Bess" is making another triumphant return into the hearts of musical theater fans from around the globe.
This week, Philly 360° caught up with one of the show's stars Lindsay Roberts for an exclusive interview. The rising Broadway actress hails from Philadelphia and plays the role of Clara in the touring production of "Porgy and Bess." Like countless other Philly artists, Roberts got her start singing in church at a young age, and even spent time training on the stages of prestigious Philadelphia performance venue Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Since then, Lindsay has landed starring roles in acclaimed musicals like "Memphis" and "The Lion King," and even spends some of her professional time training the next generation of Broadway stars.
Be sure to check out our interview with Lindsay, and then make your way to Philly for a fresh look at this classic piece of American musical theater. It's definitely the perfect way to continue your Black History Month celebration.
Philly 360°: We're super excited to see a Philly native starring in the cast of "Porgy and Bess." How does it feel to be performing for audiences in your hometown?
Lindsay: There is no greater feeling to me than to be able to bring a piece as special as "The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess" home to Philadelphia. Beyond the nightly excitement that I feel every time I perform this show, our Philadelphia run is a time to share Porgy and Bess with all of my friends and family who have poured into my life and supported me on my journey with this career. It's a beautiful way for me to say thank you to them.
Philly 360°: What are a few of your must-do, must-see places while in Philly? Any favorite restaurants, shops, museums or venues?
Lindsay: Because Philly is my hometown, my main to-do will be to spend time with my family and friends. I am also looking forward to teaching a few performance workshops at some of the local schools in the area and giving back to my home community. Beyond that, I am looking forward to worshiping at my home church, Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown, and eating dinner at my mother's table every night! I am, however, encouraging my castmates to check out Reading Terminal, shopping on Walnut Street, running the "Rocky" steps at the Art Museum, and of course, eating a cheesesteak!
Philly 360°: What's one thing a person wouldn’t know about Philly unless they were from here?
Lindsay: Not only are we the city of "Brotherly Love," but we are also the city of "Sisterly Affection!" I am looking forward to playing hostess and making sure that everyone in my company receives a warm welcome and has an excellent stay while performing here in Philadelphia!
Philly 360°: How did you get your start in musical theater? And what's favorite role or production to-date?
Lindsay: I started my musical training by singing in church at Salem when I was five years old. I continued formally studying with the Temple University Children's Choir and throughout my schooling in the Upper Dublin School District. I received my Bachelor's degree in Opera Performance from the University of Maryland and have since learned a lot from working professionally in the industry. A favorite role of mine was starring as Felicia Farrell in the Broadway musical "MEMPHIS" when we came to the Philadelphia-area last year on tour. It was a total dream come true and I am looking forward to doing it again with "The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess."
Philly 360°: We've also heard that you’ve had some theater training through Broadway Dreams Foundation at the Kimmel, can you talk to us a little bit about that?
Lindsay: Yes! The Broadway Dreams Foundation is a WONDERFUL national performing arts training program run out of the Kimmel Center each summer. The aim is to connect budding artists with professional Broadway actors, casting directors, and agents and train then during a week-long intensive. As I was transitioning to NYC, being a student in the program in Philadelphia was a perfect catalyst to my Broadway career. Now, serving on the faculty and teaching the next wave up upcoming actors is one of my greatest joys! More information on Broadway Dreams can be found at their website mybroadwaydreams.com. Check it out and hopefully I will see you this August 4-10 at the Kimmel!
Philly 360°: Tell us about your character and what attracted you to this role.
Lindsay: I cover the role of Clara, the young mother and wife in the story. She is a beautiful and pure young woman who has a heart full of love for her new husband and child. She also has the honor of opening the show with one of the most recorded songs in history, "Summertime." In addition to covering Clara, I am also a Swing which means that I am responsible for knowing and performing the roles of all of the ensemble women in the show at any given time. It's both a challenge and a honor to be trusted with such a huge responsibility!
Philly 360°: Porgy and Bess is definitely a pillar of African American and US musical theater. Why do you think the musical continues to draw attention and audiences 80 years later?
Lindsay: "Porgy and Bess" is a true American love story that resonates in the hearts of all of our audiences, young, old, black, white, and everyone in-between. The glorious music, exciting dance, and heartfelt story-telling that happens on our stage each night truly takes the audience on an emotional journey that is hard not to love. For that reason, "Porgy and Bess" has a beautiful 80-year legacy around the entire world and I am humbled and proud to be a part of it.
Philly 360°: What can fans, new or old, expect from this staging of Porgy & Bess in Philly?
Lindsay: Expect to hear the same familiar songs that have made this show a hit like "Summertime," "I Loves You Porgy," and "It Ain't Necessarily So." We haven't changed the storyline, but we have taken it from being a 4 1/2 hour opera to a 2 1/2 hour musical theater piece that is more accessible to a modern audience. Our focus is on the real heart of the piece, which is the compelling love story between Porgy and Bess.
Philly 360°: Okay, so how can Philly 360° fans get the latest information about your performances?
Lindsay: Check us out online at porgyandbessthemusical.com or 'Like' us on Facebook. Ticketing is available on The Kimmel Center website at and if you'd like to keep up with me, I can be found online at lindsayroberts.com!
Thank you, Philly 360°! I can't wait to see you next week, February 18-23 at the Academy of Music for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess!"
Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love & Gerlan Jeans Loves Patrick Kelly When: April 27, 2014 - November 30, 2014 Where: Perelman Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue Cost: $20 General Admission | $14 Students More Info: www.philamuseum.org…
Body Rock When: Friday, October 31, 9 p.m. Where: Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front Street Cost: $5 More Info: Click here. If you’ve never been to an Illvibe Collective party before… Well, you haven’t really partied.This Philly DJ…
Powerhouse 2014 When: Friday, October 31, 6 p.m. Where: Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S Broad Street Cost: $20-150 More Info: Buy tickets here. A staple on the Philly urban music scene, Power 99 FM is back on the scene…