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Singer René Marie celebrates second Grammy nomination with 'Sound of Red'

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There is a feeling of freedom and joy you get from listening to René Marie’s music. It’s a feeling that also comes through when she talks about her art and the hard road she traveled to make it as a headlining jazz singer.

Her latest release, “Sound Of Red,” was nominated for a Grammy this year for best jazz vocal album. This is Marie’s second album to be nominated for a Grammy in that category. In 2015 she was nominated for her tribute to Eartha Kitt, “I Wanna Be Evil.” Marie makes her home in the Fredericksburg area along with her husband Jesse. The family, including her grown sons, will be flying to Los Angeles this weekend to attend the Grammy awards ceremony.

Marie began her singing career relatively late in life, although she knew from an early age that she loved to sing and knew she had a voice that people responded to. She grew up in Warrenton, and moved at a young age when her parents separated. It was in Roanoke that she first sang in front of a neighborhood audience. She was just 10 years old.

“It was Halloween and there was this talent show at this guy’s house down the street from where we lived,” said Marie. “All the kids in the neighborhood were getting up on the back deck standing there and singing little songs. I wanted to sing the song ‘This House Is Not A Home.’ It had just come out that summer. I went up there and just belted it out, full throttle. Everybody got quiet, listening to me. I thought, ‘I want to do that again.’ That’s when I knew. People actually listen to me when I’m singing.”

As a teenager Marie sang with an R&B band, doing songs by Aretha Franklin. She ended up marrying a member of that band and she followed him into the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Since that church was very conservative, particularly about the role of women, Marie became a wife and mother, working days in a bank and raising her two sons. Although she sang around the house and with family friends, she did not perform in public during those years. It was one of her sons who encouraged her to get back into singing.

“It was when my older son was in college and he was at a restaurant where there was a jazz trio with a woman singing,” said Marie. “He called me from there and said, ‘you’ve got to come and listen to this woman. She’s singing all the songs you sing and it’s terrible.’ ”

Marie went to the restaurant and realized that she had kept her talent to herself for too long. She began going to jazz jam sessions and singing standards like “Summertime.” She realized that she loved singing and the rapport between the musicians.

“How good it felt to communicate with other musicians,” said Marie. “It was like I found my tribe again, or was speaking this language I had learned a long time ago. It’s one thing to just play the piano and sing, it’s another to have a group of musicians and you’re all doing the same thing with the same goal.”

At first her husband approved of her new hobby, but as Marie spent more time and energy on her music he began to change his attitude, at one point forcing her to stop singing altogether. After a break for several months, Marie convinced her husband to reconsider. He did, until she made plans to record her first CD. The night before she was to go into the studio with her group, he told her to cancel everything. That led to verbal and physical abuse. Marie left her home, her first marriage and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Marie’s job at the bank took her to Richmond for a promotion and it was there that she finally made the jump to quit her day job and pursue music full time. She has released 11 albums, most recently on the Motéma Music label. “The Sound Of Red” is her first album of all-original compositions. She is tastefully accompanied by the rhythm section of Quentin Baxter on drums, Elias Bailey on bass and John Chin on piano. The music spans a variety of styles and feelings. One song, “Many Years Ago,” was written before she began her singing career and also appeared on her 2004 album, “Serene Renegade.” It recalls childhood memories in a vivid and touching way.

“It was one of those songs I had to put on there because of the vibe,” said Marie. “I was really hesitant to do that song in the first place because it was so personal.”

“This Is (Not) A Protest Song” uses a country rhythm to sing about the plight of the homeless.

“It’s kind of got a country-western twang in it,” said Marie. “It comes naturally depending on what the song is about. I think the ones that are close to my personal life, I can sing like that because we listened to a lot of country and bluegrass growing up. My dad loved that kind of music.”

The album closes with “Blessings” which sounds like a benediction. It was the first recording where Marie arranged backing singers.

“I really wanted to put on strings but our producer said, ‘what about background vocals?’ which are a lot cheaper,” said Marie. “I ended up writing the parts for the background vocals, which I had never done before. The same thing with ‘Protest Song.’ I really like that thick vocal flavor in those two songs.”

Blessings was inspired by Marie’s late brother, who encouraged her to quit her day job and devote all her time to her music.

“When he was in the hospital and I was sitting beside him I was humming this melody, just the first part,” said Marie. “After he died, maybe a month or two months later I was finishing the song. It felt like he gave it to me. I love singing that song. Almost every time that’s the last song we sing.”

http://www.fredericksburg.com/entertainment/singer-ren-marie-celebrates-second-grammy-nomination-with-sound-of/article_6ad70783-fd60-58b3-8342-edb4353380ed.html

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      Her lawyers speaking on her behalf say that she "will have moments of strength and tell her kids that Trent is abusing her, and by the time they get Adult Protections Services to the house, he has convinced her by crying or begging not to report him, and the cycle starts all over."
      Trent has not spoken publicly about the restraining order or the claims in the court documents.
      It's not known why Trent was given such previous power in his aunt's life. She has plenty of adult children and grandchildren to take care of her needs. She and 66-year-old daughter Rebbie went to go visit youngest sibling Janet recently to see her newborn son Eissa for the first time in London.
      "It seems like her family is staying close to help and support Janet," said a source, but it seems like maybe they need to stay close and help and support the family matriarch as well.
      http://www.allmediany.com/articles/51938-katherine-jackson-receives-temporary-restraining-order-against-nephew
    • By Kurt
      KEANE EYES GALLERY
    • By Kurt
      Motivating you to achieve your greatest potential, has been the unwavering drive in inspiring you to be your best; and become better everyday! Designed and developed by global icon Venus Williams, EleVen is the epitome of fashioning healthier lives
    • By Kurt
      February 1, 2017
      On Saturday, January 27, there was no maddening rush at the White House to reach Serena Williams, like in 1999, when she won the first of her 23 Grand Slam titles in Flushing Meadows. Or as it was when she won her third Wimbledon, a few months into Barack Obama’s first term. The din of Serena’s feat, now officially the most decorated player in the Open era, died out in the bustle of America’s latest, and loudest, president’s “extreme vetting” immigration diktat.
      Yet, the symbolism of Serena’s triumph couldn’t be more relevant. At a time when “America First” rings louder than ever, the greatest of its sporting icons, across genders, is an African-American woman, a Jehovah’s Witness from the wrong side of Los Angeles, where she had lost her eldest sister in a gang shootout, and the daughter of a father who was shooed off a tennis court by affluent whites. Even after she broke into the circuit, Williams has had to confront racism and racist stereotypes — from officials, commentators and even her adversaries.
      While it’s overreaching to imagine that her storied success would trigger a revolution in race relations in the US, it’s fair to assume that America’s greatest sporting specimen of the 21st century is an antithesis to its president’s vision for his country. She may not allay the sudden cynicism or the morbid fear of the discriminated and marginalised in the US — sport as a cure to societal dysfunction is grossly hyperbolic — but she stands as an indelible symbol of hope, or an escape. In a metaphorical way, with the mighty swings of her racquet, she’s penning as scathing a verse as Maya Angelou. It won’t seem out of place, if Serena were to recite Angelou’s Still I Rise (in fact, there’s Serena’s rendition of the poem on YouTube).
      Concurrently, any interpretation of Serena’s greatness shouldn’t be constricted to her context. These are mere embellishments in her grand narrative. Serena, as a player in isolation, is a worthy premise for weaving enough eulogies. Maybe she is not celebrated as much outside her country because her feats have come to a stage where her winning spree is taken for granted.
      Such has been the nature of her hegemony that often the rare opponent who beats her ends up being more glorified, ranging from one-season wonders like Samantha Stosur, to more recent peers like Angelique Kerber. There hasn’t been much of a rivalry to speak of, expect the brief but fiery rancour with Maria Sharapova or the more passionless exchanges with her sister Venus.
      Or, as some would say, there were no two equally gifted players playing at the same time. Earlier, it was a case of several similarly endowed players, outstripped by a force superior in craft, more athletic in build, more ruthless in execution of plans. Think of Sharapova, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Kim Clijsters, Dinara Safina or Amelie Mauresmo — the draw was far more competitive. And Serena, despite hitting the wrong side of her 30s, isn’t showing signs of fatigue or adieu.
      Or as some would nitpick, her game is graceless (sometimes with racist undertones). But there is a brutal beauty to her game — those booming serves and guillotine groundstrokes are a vindication — like in boxing. There’s a powerful symmetry to her movements. Then there is the spontaneous thrill of her athleticism.
      To put it simply, there has been no better player than Serena in the 21st century, or arguably ever in the history of tennis. That she happens to be the greatest American sporting icon in the Trump era is a mere coincidence, or perhaps, a bit of satire by the fates.
      source
    • By Kurt
      Alex Rance and Usain Bolt spek to the media
      Wikipedia
       
    • By ARchiv@L
      IMAGES :
      https://myspace.com/anneliese313/photos
      http://www.nextmanagement.com/packages/28893
      http://www.rebaengel.com/decadence/reba-jenna-photoshoot-2013-close-up/
      https://twitter.com/mccallimages/status/130130241074118656/photo/1
      https://gr.pinterest.com/anneliese313/

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Eric Biddines serves up a hot cup of coffee with a side of deep lyrics on The Local Cafe.
      South Florida is a goldmine for musicians. MCs have diverse backgrounds, but few truly cherish Southern roots like rapper Eric Biddines. Since releasing his first album, Walkin, in 2009, Biddines has approached hip-hop with the same Southern hospitality as legendary lyricists like the Dungeon Family, Outkast, and Goodie Mob, who continue to influence his music. After dedicating his previous four albums to his love for coffee beans and Southern Fla, Biddines has issued a fifth album, The Local Café, which tells more personal stories from his past.
      “With this project, I wanted to bring it back to the local scene, but I also wanted to incorporate a bit of my personal taste and my love and fascination with coffee and the entire culture within that,” Biddines says over the phone. “So I merged the two.”
      Biddines’ Southern hospitality stems from his roots in Ocala, where he was born in 1984. To escape country living, his family relocated to the projects of Delray Beach when he was 6. Before his mom went off to work in the morning, young Eric would fix her a cup of coffee. He eventually began making his own java. His was a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, so hip-hop wasn't a topic of discussion at the dinner table. All Biddines was worried about was staying out of trouble and vibing with friends.
      Biddines was introduced to the art of rapping after a cousin showed him an immense collection of music from legendary rappers such as Tupac, the Boot Camp Clik, and Heltah Skeltah, as well as Southern artists like Three 6 Mafia, UGK, and Outkast. After acquiring a taste for sounds from the OGs of Dirty South music, Biddines realized he could shed his shyness. After a karaoke session with friends, he felt confident enough to pursue a serious music career.
      “I didn’t really talk when I was young,” Biddines says. “I was real shy, so when I was playing around with my friends, I found out quick just by recording on a karaoke machine that you can be anybody through music. I was writing stuff early on with lyrics that don’t necessarily reflect me, but I felt like it was a mask that I was able to express myself behind the audio.”
      Biddines' fifth album is an authentic collection of stories from his past with various mentions of his go-to spots in his hometown, his thoughts about a handful of social issues, and coffee references galore. He serves up 16 tracks filled with memorable tales that anyone can relate to. There's “20 Dollar Loan” featuring Drew Tucker, in which Biddines asks for a dub and promises to pay it back by Friday, and “Sumn to Say,” a song he dedicated to venting his real frustrations about Palm Beach County kids who grow up in poverty. As you spend time with the album, you can imagine him performing spoken word on a small stage inside an off-the-grid coffee shop.
      But the album isn't just about his past. In the emotional, driven single “Rushing Forever,” Biddines derives inspiration from the great Smokey Robinson as he speaks for all the dudes who aren’t really in touch with their feelings. He pours out his true thoughts about the woman he wants to be with forever and describes making his move posthaste.
      “I came up with the slogan ‘Rushing rorever’ first as if it was a tag line like Nike’s ‘Just do it,'” Biddines says about making the record. “Then I built the song around that because I felt like women want a guy to want to be with them forever, not take his time. We tend to procrastinate a relationship for as long as we can. So I wanted to go the opposite way and say, ‘You know what? I want to be with you forever right now.’ I’m in a rush to want that.”
      Biddines' innocent coming-up as a self-righteous youth surrounded by the turmoil in his hometown resembles the familiar story of another good kid who grew up in a "M.A.A.D. city" and became one of the greatest rappers of our generation: King Kunta, AKA Kendrick Lamar. Biddines hasn’t reached that level of rap royalty yet, but he’s doing everything he can to attain that position, one song at a time.
      After nearly eight years on the grind, Eric Biddines is on his way to becoming a South Florida staple like Plies and Trick Daddy. Even after he becomes famous, though, he'll always make time to visit his favorite local café, Subculture Coffee in Delray Beach, to sip a cup of breakfast blend, cook up some rhymes, and, if you’re lucky, perform a song or two right out front. 
      http://www.miaminewtimes.com/music/rapper-eric-biddines-digs-deep-to-embrace-his-southern-roots-in-the-local-caf-9105037
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Margaret D. H. Keane (born 1927) is an American artist. She is a painter, who mainly draws women and children in oil or mixed media. Her works are recognizable from the over sized, doe-eyed children[1] that are depicted in her drawings.

       
      Biography
      Margaret Keane was born 1927 in Tennessee, and attributes her deep respect for the Bible and inspirations of her artwork to the relationship with her grandmother. She later became one of Jehovah's Witnesses, which she claimed changed her life for the better.[2]
       
      In the 1960s, Margaret Keane's artwork was sold under the name of her husband,Walter Keane, who claimed credit for her work. She left her home in San Francisco on November 1, 1964 for Hawaii, where she lived for 27 years. In March 1965, she divorced Walter. In 1970, she remarried to Honolulu sports writer, Dan McGuire.[3] In 1970, Margaret Keane announced to the world, via radio broadcast, that she was the true author of the paintings.[4] The Keanes' continued to dispute the author of the paintings, and after Walter Keane suggested to USA Today that the only reason Margaret claimed she was the painter was because she believed he was dead, she sued him in federal court for slander.[5] At the hearing, the Judge ordered both Margaret and and Walter to create a big-eyed child painting in the courtroom to determine who was telling the truth.[1] Walter declined to paint before the court, citing a sore shoulder, whereas Margaret completed her painting in a mere 53 minutes.[6] After three weeks of trial, a jury awarded Margaret $4 million in damages.[7]

      Her works while living in her husband's shadow tended to depict sad children in a dark setting, but after divorcing, moving to Hawaii, and becoming a member of Jehovah's Witnesses, her paintings took on a happier, brighter style. Her website now advertises her work as having "tears of joy" or "tears of happiness".

      Currently, Margaret makes her home in Napa County, California. She will be portrayed by Amy Adams in the upcoming film, Big Eyes, directed by Tim Burton, a Keane art collector who once commissioned the artist to paint his then-girlfriend Lisa Marie in the 1990s.[8]

      "Walter was to Big Eye art what Howard Johnson is to to mutliflavor ice cream," Jane Howard wrote in 1965. Diane Keaton ogled Keanes in Woody Allen's "Sleeper" in 1973. Saturday Night Live featured Keanes in a contemporary art parody in the 1980s. Stars like Joan Crawford, Jerry Lewis, Kim Novak and Natalie Wood counted themselves as collectors. As does Burton, of course.
      And, according to The New York Times, Walter would charge up to $50,000 per painting, earning millions of dollars a year.

      So What Happened?
      "[Margaret] helped Walter switch careers from selling real estate to running galleries in New York and San Francisco," Eve M. Kahn describes. "She raised their two daughters and painted at night while he traveled, philandered openly and drank heavily. The big-eye portraits, although shown at venues as prominent as world’s fair pavilions, did not impress aesthetes."
      So Margaret finally spoke up. After decades of Walter taking the credit, she stepped forward. "For many years I had allowed my second husband to take credit for my paintings. But one day, unable to continue the deception any longer, I left him and my home in California and moved to Hawaii." In 1965, she was granted legal separationfrom her husband. And in 1970 she confessed on a radio show that all of the "eyes" paintings were hers.
      In response, Walter likened himself to Rembrandt, El Greco and Michelangelo, and said that he was "flabbergasted" by Margaret's proclamations. The public lampooning culminated in a paint off -- well, it was supposed to. Walter pleaded a shoulder injury and never painted.Slander suits were filed. And Margaret produced Exhibit 224, a piece of artwork painted before jurors in 53 minutes that dramatically settled the dispute.
      She was awarded $4 million in damages in 1986. In most people's opinions, and certainly in the eyes of the law, she had proved she was the real Keane artist.

      Where Are They Now?
      Margaret, now in her late 80s, remarried and continued painting. Continued painting those eyes, to be exact. In 1992 the Keane Eyes Gallery was up and running, offering Big Eyes on posters, plates and prints, ranging in price from $200 to $15,000. "People either hate my paintings or they love them," Margaret observed shortly after the gallery's opening. "There does not seem to be much middle ground."
      Meanwhile, Walter refused to admit Margaret's truth, despite the fact that public opinion had turned against him. He claimed to be penniless after he lost in the suit in '86, and he died in 2000 at the age of 85.

      Legacy
      Actresses Joan Crawford and Natalie Wood commissioned Keane to paint their portraits. In 1973, Woody Allen's comedy Sleeper features people of the future considering Keane to be one of the greatest artists in history. In the 1980s, sketch series Saturday Night Live aired a skit featuring Keane's work as a parody of the reaction against modern art (e.g., Cubism or the New York Armory Show). Additionally, in the sitcom Newhart, Bob looks at a Keane-inspired painting with his puzzled observation as, "Children with big ears?" In 1988, Weird Al Yankovic's song, "Velvet Elvis", features the lyrics, "no pictures of Mexican kids with those really big eyes or dogs playing poker". In 1998, cartoon series the Powerpuff Girls debuts by animator Craig McCracken, featuring leads based on Keane's "waifs" (and a character named "Ms. Keane"). In 1999, Matthew Sweet's album, In Reverse, features one of Keane's oil paintings on the album's cover.[9] In 2011, 90210 featured an episode in which character Annie is described as looking "like a Keane painting." In 2014, the movie Big Eyes directed by Tim Burton and starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz is based on the divorce trial between Margaret and Walter in the 1950s and '60s. References
      "Tim Burton 'Big Eyes' Movie Tells The Story Of Art Couple Margaret and Walter Keane...", Huffington Post, April 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09. "My Life as a Famous Artist", Awake!, July 8, 1975 "Big Eyes and All: The Unofficial Biography of Margaret Keane", page 27 http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html “The big-eyed children: the extraordinary story of an epic art fraud”, “The Guardian”, October 26, 2014, Retrieved 2014-10-28. http://www.avclub.com/articles/matthew-sweet,13636/ Official Collectors Gallery by Copper State Design Ask Art An excerpt transcribed from Awake! magazine of July 8, 1975 reposted by Megan Besmirched Keane Eyes Gallery Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood by Suzanne Finstad
    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      This will come as a rude shock to many of her fans that top Nollywood actress Clarion Chukwurah has abandoned her faith and converted to a new one.
      The newly married actress of 51 years has joined the Jehovah Witness. This it was gathered is her husband Anthony Boyd’s religion and thus since she is married to him she has converted to his faith. The couple shared photos of them in their meeting.
      The veteran thespian shared her photo and that of her husband on her Facebook after meeting and captioned it:
      “An Instructive Meeting Sunday at the King
      Source: https://www.naij.com/888465-renowned-actress-clarion-chukwurah-converts-new-religion-photos.html?f&poster=12120

       
      See also:
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      When Rene Marie returned to performing music after more than 20 years away from it, her now-ex-husband made her decision easy.
      Marie, who had been a singer since her teens, and her ex-husband became Jehovah's Witnesses, and the conservative group they were in frowned on singing nonreligious music in public places.
      "I continued to play at home," says Marie in a call from her home in Fredericksburg, Va. "My husband played piano. I played and sang and our sons were musical. And whenever there was a gathering and there was a piano nearby I was on it. It was just at a gathering we might have or at a friend's house, but never on stage."
      In her early 40s, though, Marie started singing again and was about to record her first album. Her then-husband disapproved.
      "He said, 'If you keep singing, you have to get out. And if you gonna keep living here, you have to quit singing.' I was about to record a CD and he said, 'If you go to that studio tomorrow, don't come back home. If you do come back home you're gonna have hell to pay.' So I asked him if he was threatening me with physical harm and he said it was a promise, not a threat. Having grown up with that kind of physical abuse, I just decided the choice is clear for me. It wasn't that I chose music over my marriage, but I didn't want to be in that sort of a marriage where that kind of talk was considered normal or acceptable. So I left that night and things did get violent before I left."
      She says under the circumstances, it was the best thing he could have done.
      "It crystallized a huge decision I needed to make in my life. Am I going to make this change or am I going to stay in this situation knowing good and well what it's going to be like? But if he said, 'Oh, Rene, our kids are in college now and we've got an empty nest and I want to spend way more time with you. I miss you when you're gone. Sweetheart, do you really have to sing?' If he had said that, I probably would've said, 'No, I don't have to.'
      "Sometimes we jump off a cliff and sometimes we get pushed, but either way we end up in the same place in the air. We can either fly or plummet to the ground. It's not how we get out there. It's now that we're out there, what do we do? It was a gift as far as I'm concerned."
      If so, it was a gift that keeps on giving. Marie's status as one of jazz music's great singers continues to grow, and her album "I Wanna Be Evil (A Tribute to Eartha Kitt)" was nominated for a Grammy in 2014. She's earned critical acclaim and a solid following over the past 15 years.
      Marie has won special notice as being a modern jazz singer who writes much of her own material.
      "I wrote my first song when I was 15," she says. "My boyfriend and I broke up. Isn't that where all art comes from? Pain? So we broke up and I wrote my first song, which I really did like. We met in this musical group we were playing in, and when we got back together we started playing it."
        Even during her time away from music, Marie continued to write songs.
      She says that all the years of being told to not make music took its toll on her confidence.
      "It took me about five to seven years to not have what he (her ex-husband) might say in a certain circumstance running through my head. What happens when you're hearing that stuff regularly if you don't replace it with something positive is you're just going to keep hearing it, whether they're standing there or not. I think that's what got to me. I was like, 'Wow. He's not here and I'm still hearing this in my head? I cannot blame him for this anymore. This is me. I'm the one dredging this up. I have to replace this with something beautiful and positive.' "
      Marie decided to start calling her answering machine to leave positive, affirming messages to herself. When she'd talk to record store owners about selling her album, and having initially been frightened, she'd call her answering machine after the meeting, congratulating herself for going through with it.
      "I'd say, 'You were crying in the car you were so afraid, but look at what you did! You still got out and went in there. You did a great job.' Or, 'You kept that appointment with so-and-so and you are maybe going to do this gig together!' I'd go back home and sometimes forget what I'd said and then listen to those messages. That was so powerful to me. It helped move me forward."
      She says having confidence in her own compositions in a world where playing standards is more typical can also be difficult.
      "I'm always encouraging other singers to write. They think it's big headed to consider themselves a composer. But you don't have to be a Tchaikovsky or a Duke Ellington to call yourself a composer. If you write a song and it's original, then, hey, you're a composer. It's as simple as that. It does take a little bit of guts when you're filling out a set-list and you deign to put on a couple of your own songs. You erase it, because it just doesn't seem right to put your own stuff beside someone else's, but it's a process."
      Source: http://www.knoxnews.com/entertainment/music/when-pushed-over-the-edge-rene-marie-decided-shed-fly-2abe9c59-59c5-4663-e053-0100007f2221-367569061.html?d=mobile
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