Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo
Hip-hop legend Big Daddy Kane could spend the rest of his career performing his classic songs all over the world without switching up a single beat. Yet, Kane reveals a fearless energy as he seeks to reinvent himself as a member of Las Supper, a soul, funk and R&B collective.
The announcement shouldn’t be too surprising since in 1991 he recorded an R&B duet featuring Alyson Williams entitled, “I’m Not Ashamed” which appeared on his album Prince of Darkness. Kane’s vocal coach for that song was the legendary Sarah Dash of LaBelle. Apparently the lessons paid off. “Sarah taught me how to stay in pocket singing bass notes and that helps since with this band I am doing backgrounds,” he says.
In addition to background vocals, Kane provides rhymes that enhance the sound of his fellow members, Show Tyme and Lifted Crew. Many of Kane’s lyrics on the band’s debut album Back to the Future are socially conscious, which he hopes will bring a balance to mainstream music. “With this record I hope people see that you can say something educational to the public and make it sound cool.”
Kane isn’t the only one headed down a new path. The journey leading up to Tonya Lewis-Taylor’s debut album, Delayed but Not Denied has been filled with many detours and challenges. After years touring as a backup singer and rejection from record labels, Lewis-Taylor became burnt out. She eventually went behind-the-scenes to open an event publicity firm with clients including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Russell Simmons. Then in 2005 she created Entertainers 4 Education Alliance, which provides support for youth to have successful academic careers. Looking back Lewis-Taylor is grateful for those experiences but believes that now is her time as a singer even though she is 41 years old, an age that the music industry usually shuns for new artists. “The title song speaks to everyone who had a dream and it has been delayed but God said ‘You’re not denied from the dream,’” she reflects. “Even though things got held up and I had to make adjustments to make money — chasing dreams is expensive. But if you just step out on faith, he will open the doors and make it happen for you.”
The cost of pursuing one’s dreams is something that Tenisha Percell, founder of The Skool Boye Agency knows all too well.
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