A cross-section of artists, scholars, journalists, and industry related professionals discuss topics pertinent to the state and future of soul music. Panelists include Abby Dobson (Sonic Conceptual Artist), Donte Gibson (SoulBounce), Cali Green (Okayplayer), Jason King (The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music), and Andre Torres (Wax Poetics).
Jalylah Burrell—Scholar of Black Popular Culture
Educator and multi-genre storyteller, Jalylah Burrell is a music journalist, oral historian, deejay, audio editor and digital content producer. A scholar of Black popular culture, her research interests include African American women’s literature and history, contemporary African diasporic literature, Black music, Black film and television history and Black aesthetic and critical practices. She is currently at work on the manuscript, Capacity for Laughter: Toward a Black Feminist Theory of Humor, and is completing her PhD at Yale University. A Seattle-native, she has made her home in Harlem for half a dozen years.
Abby Dobson—Sonic Conceptual Artist
Abby Dobson’s sound is the alchemy of R&B/Soul, jazz, classic pop and folk, forging a gem that erases musical boundaries in its making. Abby has performed at well-known venues such as S.O.B’s, The Knitting Factory, The Cutting Room, Joe’s Pub, The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, The Apollo Theater and and the legendary Blue Note – all to rave reviews. Abby won BlackPlanet.com’s Soul Beach Music Festival’s First Annual Competition and was featured in GIANT Magazine’s September 2009 issue as an artist to watch. She was featured three times as a singer/songwriter at the New York Songwriter’s Circle and was a finalist in the R&B category of the John Lennon Song Writing Competition for her song “Deeply,” which has been featured on television shows “The Shield,” “Jack & Jill” and “Any Day Now.” Abby won a BMI Atlanta Urban Music Showcase, and lent backing vocals to artists ranging from John Legend to Talib Kweli. Accompanied by her band or acoustic ensemble, Abby has opened concert for Rahsaan Patterson, Ledisi, Dwele, Chrisette Michele, Floetry, Kindred, N’Dambi and Leela James. Abby also performs with Burnt Sugar: The Arkestra Chamber, a 20-plus member ensemble known for improvisatory orchestral performances that combine all manner of vocal, instrumental and electronic music, led by founder and conductor Greg Tate.
A recording artist and culture producer, Abby released her debut CD, “Sleeping Beauty: You Are the One You Have Been Waiting On” in 2010 on her independent record label, LadyBraveBirdMusic, to glowing reviews, which led to a slot on the inaugural Blue Note Jazz Festival in June 2011 where Abby appeared with Gregory Porter. Abby is featured on Talib Kweli’s recent album, “Prisoner of Conscious”, released in May 2013, on “Before He Walked” alongside Kweli and Nelly. Abby Dobson appeared on The Tonight (Jay Leno) Show alongside Talib Kweli and Nelly in July 2013. Abby is currently featured on Talib Kweli’s latest album, “Gravitas”, on “State of Grace”, which was nominated for 2014 BET Hip Hop Award for Best Impact Song. Abby Dobson is currently working on a new vocal project and hopes to move you through the power of music.
Donte Gibson—Senior Editor, “Soulbounce”
DONTE GIBSON is a music lover, writer and the senior editor of music and culture website SoulBounce. Outside of SoulBounce, his work has appeared in print and online entities such as QBR, Inc. Magazine, Okayplayer.com, Black Web 2.0 and Politic 365 and he has also been featured in VIBE Magazine.
Cali Green—Managing Editor, “Okayplayer”
Cali Green works as Managing Editor and Director of Social Media and Digital Marketing for Okayplayer. Her efforts with the brand include feature interviews and profiles, as well as helping to produce and co-host “The Meetup With Muhsinah,” Okayplayer’s monthly Google Hangout event highlighting emerging and veteran female music producers. Her resume also includes work in publicity, artist management, and event production for clients including New York University, comedian Hannibal Buress, DJ/producer/educator Raydar Ellis, and R&B/Jazz ensemble Soul Understated ft. Mavis Swan Poole.
Jason King—Journalist, Musician, DJ, Producer, and Associate Professor at NYU
Jason King is a journalist, musician, DJ, producer, and Associate Professor at New York University, where he helped found The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, an innovative leadership training program for aspiring music entrepreneurs at Tisch School of the Arts. He served as the program’s first Associate Chair and Artistic Director and he is currently the Institute’s Director of Writing, History & Emergent Media Studies. He is the principle performer, producer and songwriter behind dance music ‘superband’ Company Freak (www.companyfreak.com ): his band’s debut EP, Le Disco Social, was voted by Rhapsody as one of the 25 Best Pop Albums of 2014. As Creative Director of entertainment company Superlatude, Jason regularly consults for record labels, branding and marketing firms, and music technology start-ups; he has served as a branding expert in legal cases for artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. Jason is the author of The Michael Jackson Treasures, a 2009 Barnes and Noble exclusive biography on the King of Pop, which has been translated in more than 7 languages. He has two forthcoming books: Blue Magic, on the role of metaphysics and energy in the music of artists like Timbaland, forthcoming from Duke University Press, and a biography on Freddie Mercury for Penguin Books. Jason appears in many music documentaries, including Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson documentary Bad 25. Jason has contributed to publications like Vibe, Village Voice, Slate, Spin, and Billboard and is the host and curator of NPR’s 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week R&B radio stream.
Andre Torres—Cofounder and Editor-in-Chief, “Wax Poetics”
Andre Torres is a cofounder and the editor-in-chief of Wax Poetics. He has led the company for thirteen years, spearheading creative and brand relationships. He holds a fine arts degree in painting, with an eye for both design and content. Additionally, he has served as Music Director for chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem bistro Red Rooster and sister music venue Ginny’s Supper Club, as well as Panel Director for the 2013 CMJ Music Conference.