Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jill Scott

J-I-LL-S-CO-TT-~-! Speaking of booty-shakin' music, I can't get enough Jill Scott lately. I listened to her all day one day, then took a break, and listened to her all day again today! I don't want to listen so much that I get tired of it, but.. It just feels so good to me! If you'd told me a few years back I'd be listening to this woman on repeat, first I would've said, Who? But then I wouldn't have believed you, because she's just so.. so.. soulful. And... laying it all out there in a certain way. Kindof like a mature, R-n-B Ani DiFranco (whom I love), only without the big boots, purple hair or bisexual undertones (don't get me wrong: those I love, too ;-). So maybe you could say it was just a matter of time, but I've always felt so...white. and particularly non soul-ful. Bellydancing sparked in me a huge education in appreciation for beats at which to shake the booty, and, by this point, I just love soul music - classic R-n-B like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, Funk, like James Brown and Parliament, Jazz-based hiphop (I'm sure "they" call that something specific), Prince and Michael Jackson, and recently even quite a few contemporary R-n-B artists, such as Erykah Badu, and even Missy Elliot. Enter Jill Scott. And I haven't just left this new love on the dancefloor; I have even brought it into my singing. With a background in classical singing, I started taking voice lessons again over a year ago, saying that I wanted to sing like Aretha Franklin (now, don't laugh). I started out with straight jazz - a lot of Ella Fitzgerald, etc. In the past few months, with the encouragement and challenge of my teacher, Kathy Kennedy [ as well as the inspiration of Eva Cassidy, the soulfullest white woman I've heard], I have finally built up the nerve to try my hand at some Aretha, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston (!), and even some blues. For a white girl who started out singing opera, I'm doing pretty good...
As a beginning bellydancer I practiced and practiced to get the hang of each move. When I danced at home, I closed my eyes and imagined embodying my teachers, Teresa and Julie, so that I could move the way they moved. Nowadays when I'm singing, I imagine that I'm Jill Scott.
"Representing lu-hu-huv!!!"

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