ChokLit’s Choice: Monica Returns with Everything To Me

I know I am late on this one. Singer Monica has been televising her latest adventures back to relevance with her television show, Still Standing, on BET. Monica and her producers, namely Bryan Michael Cox who has been overseeing the project, have been steadily trying to craft that Hit for Monica that her Label would approve. I’ve enjoyed most of the material I heard from the project, but I understood the Label’s hesitation at moving forward. Monica is one of those solid artists from the 90s that struggle to find relevance today in an Industry that feeds on scandal, sex appeal and stunts, sometimes moreso than talent itself.

Luckily, Monica was able to team up with Superproducer Missy Elliot who has an uncanny knack for producing for women in R&B, specifically for Monica. Not only did Missy Executive Produce Monica’s last hit album, After the Storm, including its hit first single, So Gone, she also produced my favorite track off of Monica’s Makings of Me album, A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me).

Monica has officially released her first single off her album Still Standing, called Everything to Me. The song was produced by Missy Elliot and features a sample from Deneice Williams’ Silly of Me. Williams is a popular singer, songwriter and producer who found fame during the early 70s and 80s. She began as a backup singer for Stevie Wonder and Minnie Ripperton. Everything to Me borrows the music from Silly of Me, while Monica sings new vocals. Everything is getting a lot of radio love and airplay, though the song is also drawing critics who say Monica shouldn’t have touched the Classic and can not compare to William’s version. My take: I never knew who Deneice Williams was before this song. (I will hand in my R&B fan card – next week) Williams has a great voice and I enjoy her version, but Monica definitley did her thing! Take a listen at both songs.

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ChokLit’s Choice: Ryan Leslie

I knew Ryan Leslie released a new album last year, but sadly I did not see any promotion for the album or for its two released singles, You’re Not My Girl and I Choose You. Recently I added I Choose You to  the ChokLitpod and its been in heavy rotation. So much so that I had to do a post on this guy. Ryan is consistently making some stellar music. The Washington, D.C-based singer/songwriter/producer has made enormous leaps and bounds musically and artistically since he emerged behind the production scenes of his ‘star’ artist, Cassie. Since then, we have been able to witness his growth as an Artist.

I Choose You is one of those songs that blends the music with the lyrics seamlessly and perfectly. Over solo keyboards and violins, Ryan sings,


You introduce me to life, that I’ve never known
When I’m by your side that’s when I’m feeling home
And my only attempt is to make you smile, I promise…

Over the others, over my pride
Cuz you’re the best thing, in my life
I choose you
I choose you

Ryan Leslie – I Choose You

The song is 2 min and 50 seconds of subtle brilliance. Leslie’s album Transition was released only 9 months after his debut solo album Ryan Leslie in 2009. Transition was written, produced and arranged by Leslie who crafted it following a relationship he had in the Summer of 2009, with a woman he met while at rehearsal.

Also check out his video for You’re Not My Girl. It features a fresh take on lighting and colors, as well as some some interesting dance moves by Leslie. One of the dancers in the video, the female with the blond in her hair was also one of the principle dancers on the set of Trish’s video for  Best Day of My Life. She is from Toronto. Check the video out!

ChokLit’s Choice: Ciara & Keri Hilson

This is a new post idea we will try to feature on The ChokLit Factory: ChokLit’s Choice. We will highlight current and former albums and the album tracks that may never make it as a Single, but are definite contenders to be a Single.

ciarachoice

via Ciaraworld.com

First off, we have Ciara’s Fantasy Ride, which hasn’t been the most popular of Ciara’s albums, sales-wise, but it did have a couple noteworthy tracks. The ChokLit Choice of Fantasy Ride is Tell Me What Your Name Is. Produced by Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco, the song samples Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time (correct me if I am wrong) and uses it as a smooth musical background for this futuristic-sounding dance track. In the song, Ciara is singing to a Crush who she finally confronts, “I don’t wanna waste your time/I just wanna make you mine/Wanna play with you all night/ So tell me what your name is” I think this song captures the growth Ciara was referring to when she speaks about Fantasy Ride, and should have been a definite ChokLit Choice for a Single.

Ciara – Tell Me What Your Name Is

Keri Hilson has been having a great 2009 after several setbacks due to her album being pushed back a couple of times were resolved.  Keri has proven that good things do come to those who wait, so when she finally did deliver In a Perfect World, Hilson did recieve some good acclaim. I enjoyed the overall direction of the album as long as the writing and production on some tracks, but I also felt some of her songs were over-produced and overshadowed Keri’s voice, which actually has a very nice tone to it.  Intuition is one of the standout tracks on the album since it expertly merges slick production with perfect lyrics. The song is produced by Timbaland and his protege Danja, and written by Keri and Timbaland. Keri sings lyrics that ring so true for many women (and men): “I got this crazy feeling/I’m gon’ be single again/ I know it, i can feel it/ I know you gon mess up” Peep the track below.

**Side Note: these pics of Keri are from her new spread in Complex magazine. She looks hot like fiyah in these!

Keri Hilson – Intuition

Did ya’ll like those songs? Should they have been contenders for a Single release? Speak your piece!


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