Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Homage to a (Rare) Singer Who Loves Us Just the Way We Are

I'm not going to complain and moan about the sorry state of music today—how it degrades and insults and reaches for the lowest common denominator. My complaints about such things are legendary.

No, today, I want to sing praises. For Bilal. A ridiculously talented artist with a vocal range that soars with the angels and gets low with the devil and dances all through the spaces in between. He is eclectic. Insightful. Beautiful. Respectable. And respectful.

He's only had one official album release—2001's First Born Second (a second offering, Love For Sale, never made it to store shelves). But he still performs regularly; I last saw him on the stage with Common, at the Maxwell concert in North Carolina, where he and Common worked a remix of the rapper's song, Come Close to Me. Bilal was singing the hook to his hit single, Soul Sista, over Common's lyrics; he was delicious. And though access to his musical brilliance is severely limited, I adore Bilal still.

Below is the video for the song that made me love him. What choice do I have when this man, with this angelic voice, dedicates a song to doing right by his lover? Like, when does that ever show up in a song these days?

You better sing, Bilal.

Sing, baby.

Bilal-Soul Sista - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

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  1. Common gives a great performance!

  2. @Jane... OH! YES! Common is FANTASTIC in concert... he really knows how to put on a show. We REALLY enjoyed him—and I super heart his music, too. (Um, and he ain't too bad on the eyes, either... just sayin'.) Welcome to MyBrownBaby—thanks for following!

  3. Bilal is indeed the bomb! I still jam to his album like it just came out yesterday. You are so right about his range, plus the words, the words, the words!! Nowadays, to find an artist who actually cares about more than the beat to his/her song is a rare gem in and of itself. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Bilal is yummy. Thanks for the intro.

    I have mad respect for Common. He stepped in for Michael Franti at a yoga/music festival this summer the night before the performance after Franti had a pendicitis. He was so cool about it too. Much respect.

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I watched the whole video w/ my mouth wide open...yummy is right!!!

  6. I have definitely overlooked his talent. Is that questlove on drums? To sing a song like this I will be in the next video for part 2-LOL!

  7. "i wish i saw the exit sign first, sometimes" -Bilal Oliver.

    oh D, you speak the truth. i was an intern @ Universal back in 2000/2001 working my butt off to make this album a success. it PAINS me to see how the label has played him. real music. real soul. real words.

    he is FIYAH in person. i saw him in 2004 when i loved (ha! lived) in brooklyn. dumb wonderful.

    i heart REAL music.

  8. @cocoamommy: That IS Questlove on drums! Real music sticks to real music. And right? Aren't the women in the video AMAZING?! The skin—the SKIN! And he just looks enamored. I wouldn't mind him looking at me like that--tee hee!

    @Britni Danielle: What they did to this brotha was just wrong on so many levels. But he perseveres. On my FB page, a few folks told me about some of the work he's been doing on his own, and I did some research and found a plethora of wonderful music he's done with other artists. And if the wikipedia entry is correct, he has a new album coming out sometime this year. One can only pray he does. I need me some more Bilal!

  9. Oh man i thought i was the only one. i have been drooling over this man since he came out with his 1st album. unfortunately, i was not aware of the second one, but i still swoon when i hear his music. he is sooooo i truly hope he doesn't change that vibe in order to follow mainstream. his music is just mesmerizing. every time i play his album, it's like im hearing it for the 1st time and i just get lost in the words. the only other man who can do that is maxwell. so yeah! lol. lucky u for seeing him live. maybe one day i'll get that chance. thank u so much for this :D


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