New Single Alert: Joey Mannarino – ‘Wherever You Are’ (Sneak Peek)

© 2013 Joey Mannarino

Hello folks! We have an exclusive sneak preview from Philadelphia’s own Joey Mannarino: “Wherever You Are,” which will be the first single to his upcoming album. He already hit you strong with the Philly soul smoothness of “Falling,” and now he is about to take you on another level with this new surefire hit and future quiet-storm classic, which we can already affirm will be the start of a new baby boom. Vocally and musically, Mannarino is in peak form here as always. A must hear for soul fans and real music!

All thanks to Joey Mannarino for his generosity to share his new gifts with all of us and people all around the world. We greatly appreciate it! 

Check out more of Joey’s music and talents here:

New Artist Alert – Von Tae’ unleashes ‘Broken Boundaries of Existence’

It is known that there is a lack of authenticity in the musical landscape today. Artists and producers are typically manufactured and image-driven for popularity and fame. However, there is a newcomer who plans to blow away the competition with his distinctive style and unique skills.

Von Tae’ is a gifted singer, songwriter, dancer, and entertainer who has released his debut promo project, Broken Boundaries of Existence, which garnered much recognition and success since its initial release in 2011. With its mixture of upbeat dance jams and honest, soul-bearing anthems, Broken Boundaries of Existence proves to be a labor of love for the artist behind its music, messages, and statements.

Just from hearing it for the first time, there is nothing more breathtaking than Von Tae’ exploring the peaks and valleys of love, or even lamenting on living life to the fullest, and being inspired in this jaded world. Out of all of the subjects he touches on throughout the project, positivity and affirmation are among the most evident.

Songs such as the party-laden “We Gon’ Shut It Down” and motivating “Top of the World” share a common thread, in which Von Tae’ boldly declares his own personal liberation, while inspiring others to follow their own keys to freedom. The most personal track, “Been There Too” is as heartbreaking as it is triumphant, where the artist puts all of his trials and tribulations on the table and searches for salvation. It is this downbeat, yet stunning moment where Von Tae’ is at his most vulnerable, offering an honest glimpse into the roots of his talent and ambition, while giving the listener an abundance of hope as well.

The project also boasts a couple of sensual moments, that finds Von Tae’ exploring the highs and lows of relationships. As much as Existence is a conscious statement on personal liberation, it is also a conceptual statement on love, in all of its facets. Songs such as “Yea We Chillin’,” “Only One,” and “Torn Into Pieces” all amazingly paint a portrait of desire, lost love, and regained love. Smartly written and hard-hitting, “Another Pretty Face” is Von Tae’ at his most confessional, whipping out all of the stops on a failed relationship and declaring his progression from it.

Honest, vulnerable, freewheeling, and invigorating, Broken Boundaries of Existence is a triumphant rollercoaster that Von Tae’ has allowed listeners to venture, as it speaks volumes to who the man is and gives us the inspiration to look in the mirror to reveal who we really are. Musically and lyrically, it is a compelling testament to his talents and it proves that the journey will not end here anytime soon.

Download Von Tae’s debut promo project for free here.

Check out more about Von Tae’ and new updates at these places:

Official site:



Facebook Fan Page:

Also be on the lookout for the deluxe edition of Broken Boundaries of Existence coming soon! 

Lover’s Winter, Volume 1: Longing

Howdy listeners and B-Soulers,

Hope everything has been well in your worlds. I’m trying something a little differently this time around by dropping a mixtape, devoted to warming you up for the rest of the holiday and the upcoming new year. This series is entitled “Lover’s Winter” and it’s strictly for the lovers out there. So, open your ears and immerse into total ecstasy.

Merry Christmas! Vol. 2 is coming up next…all old school music heads need to get onto this one and the ones that will follow! Good listening.


1. “Velas” – Quincy Jones
2. “Take All The Time You Need” – Roy Ayers Ubiquity
3. “All I Need Is You” – Switch
4. “Firefly” – The Temptations
5. “I’d Rather Be With You” – Terry Callier
6. “Wishful Thinking” – Patrice Rushen
7. “Can You Feel What I’m Saying?” – Minnie Riperton
8. “Turnin’ Me On” – Teena Marie
9. “Don’t Turn Around” – Black Ivory
10. “Cry Of A Dreamer” – The Sylvers
11. “‘Tis Your Kind Of Music” – Graham Central Station
12. “I Really Love You” – Roy Ayers Ubiquity
13. “Come My Way” – Rene & Angela
14. “Pay Back Is A Dog” – The Stylistics
15. “I Wish It Would Rain” – Mayer Hawthorne
16. “In The Rain” – The Dramatics
17. “Moist” – Janet Jackson
18. “You Move Me” – Cassandra Wilson

*Mixtape produced, curated, and mixed by Brandon Ousley*

Listen Here:

NEW SINGLE ALERT! Joey Mannarino – “Falling”

Yes folks! Here is the newest heat from Philadelphia’s own Joey Mannarino. He has dropped his new single, “Falling” today and it is certain to be an surefire hit. This breezy and smooth-sailing groove was produced by Kustom and written by Mannarino himself. Mannarino is currently in the process of recording a new album, which will be set to release in mid-2013. The landscape of R&B is about to explode with his talent and this cut proves it! Thanks brother for blessing us with this one!

Check out more of Joey’s music and talents here:

Chicago vinyl stores spin into decline

(Photo: Racks of vinyl at Dave's Records in Chicago. Credit: Brandon Ousley)

(Photo: Racks of vinyl at Dave’s Records in Chicago. Credit: Brandon Ousley)

Inside the Oak Park music store Val’s Halla Records there are rows of vinyl, cassette tapes and CDs. Glancing at the store’s diverse selections, you might believe it’s resilient.

But, it’s one of the many record stores in Chicago in bad shape, and possibly closing its doors soon.

“We also, like a lot of record stores, are in a crisis situation that was begun with the whole world of downloading,” says Val Camilletti, the owner of Val’s for 40 years.

According to Camilleti, a fundraiser is being held to help keep its doors open.

“It’s because we have already an extraordinary selection of used vinyl, and not enough of a selection, at this point, of new vinyl that there is a campaign going for us to raise some funds, so that we can be prepared even immediately for this Christmas season,” she says. “Our focus is to pay down some of the debt that we already owe to our distributors, in order to be sure that we’re positioned well to take care of the customers.”

Like Camilleti, many record store owners have tried to keep the vinyl business afloat in Chicago. But, vinyl retail is dwindling in digital times.

“Some of those record stores, when they made the switch from vinyl and cassette to CD, they made it completely,” says Camilletti. “They let go of their vinyl stock. That’s the thing we never did.”

According to Camilletti, the challenge of keeping vinyl retail afloat is finding the cash to keep records in the racks.

“People always had an option, they had an option of either cash or trade,” she says. “Because of this horrible cash crunch, we have not been able to pay cash as frequently or generously as we would like to.”

Dave Crain, owner of Dave’s Records in Lincoln Park, says the decline of CD sales caused problems for stores.

“A lot of the stores that have closed were probably a mixture of CD and vinyl, and part of what happened to those stores was the bottom fell out of CD sales,” says Crain. “A lot of stores that have survived have survived by boosting up their vinyl sales.”

Crain says his store doesn’t retail CDs because of the sound and value of vinyl.

“It is the perfect time for vinyl,” he says. “When CDs took over, a lot of people got the impression that they just didn’t make vinyl anymore, which wasn’t the case. … I think vinyl would still survive, but I think you still need the connection as a record store to the new music that’s coming out as well.”

As Val Camilletti struggles to keep Val’s Halla Records afloat, she says the fundraiser makes her hopeful.

“Part of this campaign is to generate those new customers, especially the young customers, and to give younger customers the idea of what it was like to hang out in your favorite record store,” she says. “Not just to listen to vinyl. Not just to buy vinyl to take it home, but to share in that experience that never happened with CDs. … Those discussions and those stories about the last 50 years of the music industry, since the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Val’s fundraiser will be held at 835 N. Kenilworth Ave., on Dec. 13 from 7-10 p.m.

Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’: Has the thrill held up?

Music icon Michael Jackson set new heights with the release of his seminal album, “Thriller,” in 1982, and it sets new heights 30 years after its release and lasting success.

The impact of “Thriller” didn’t rely on ‘80s excess, MTV, and pop radio alone, as its music and success is felt by many today.

According to a Rolling Stone report, “Thriller” has been an extremely influential album. … Perhaps its biggest accomplishment has been its influence on other black musicians.

In today’s music world, several artists and producers attempt to embark on their own “Thriller” moment. However, times have changed in the music world.

F.Y.E. music store worker, Eric Burgess stated that Michael Jackson’s influence spanned not only nationwide, but globally as well.

“His biggest influence was probably the videos he made,” Burgess says. “He was an entertainer first. … He wasn’t just popular here in the states, he was a worldwide superstar. You can go anywhere in the world, he’s a huge star. You can’t say that about anybody else.”

The other factor behind “Thriller” was its producer Quincy Jones, who worked with Jackson on other albums such as, “Off The Wall” and “Bad.”

“I also think Quincy Jones was also a mastermind because he was the one who produced that album, he came up with a lot of the ideas for it musically,” Burgess says. “So I think a lot of people think it was only Michael Jackson, but I think Quincy Jones had a major impact on the album as well.”

As it is known as the ‘biggest selling album in music history,’ there are some who have never brought or listened to a copy of “Thriller.” Roosevelt University student Angelina Bauer stated that even though she never heard the album, she understood the impact of the artist himself.

“He’s called the King of Pop for a reason, he’s inspired a lot of people,” she says. “I think it’s admirable how much he’s inspired people. … I think it’s sad how he went down.”

Poetry and music gets reignited with TEPC

Chicago poet John D. Evans plans to organize his own arts group, The Evans Poetry Company.

The Evans Poetry Company is an arts project that inspires writers, poets, and musicians to pursue their goals. John D. Evans says that he hopes that this movement generates networks for others around the world.

“I’m always trying to encourage people to pursue their literary dreams,” he says. “I’m also proud of the fact that I have people who support this mission around the world called, ‘Friends of TEPC’ …  I always try to invite people to be a part of, so that we can be a network around the world, encouraging people to do the same things.”

Evans also plans to add a music workshop to this project, which caters to gospel artists and songwriters.

“Music and poetry go hand in hand,” he says. “I’m a very musical person … I enjoy singing, writing songs, so music and poetry are like a marriage. … I’m looking forward to collaborating with other gospel singers in the near future.”

Outside of TEPC, Evans says that he plans to continue writing poetry and possibly release a new book.

“One thing about me is that I’m always working on a book,” he says. “The book that I’m currently working on is called ‘The Eternal Fight’ and it’s poetry and praise. I do send out sneak preview copies of different poems that people can check out and share with others.”

He also shared his motto for the poetry world, to keep the movement going.

“I believe that we should keep poetry on the table,” he says. “Not to let it get dusty on the shelf, but to pick it up and to place it on the table for people to see and read.”

FunkKid and Joshua Jackson drop new mixtapes





Hello people,

The moment is finally here. You’ve read their stories, and now you can immerse in their musical experiences. David “FunkKid” Ford and Joshua Jackson have recently dropped their new mixtapes. FunkKid’s “BlacksandBeats(Baba Loves Kat)” and Jackson’s “Rebels” are available now on Bandcamp. Check them out now! Support real music.

A statistical note for the readers

Since the emergence of the blog, “Brandosoul” earlier this year, its audience continues to grow and expand, through its use of podcasts, news stories, and other engaging media.

Based on statistical information, the blog has generated more than 2, 500 overall views, with 50 comments from viewers, since February 2012. Some of the popular categories include, “entertainment,” “classic albums,” and “podcast,” with “music” at the top, garnering 13 views.

Additionally, statistics show that various search engines and websites have made an impact on the viewership of the blog, allowing people to explore and share it with others around the world. As of November 2012, viewers have mostly used search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Bing, in referring to this blog.

Along with the help of search engines, the common search terms tells another story. People have come across this blog using terms ranging from “Prince the musician,” to “Chicago skyline.”

News stories have also become an integral part of this blog, as they have given insight about upcoming artists and music updates. From September to November, more than 500 people have viewed news stories concerning musicians and music updates. The most viewed featured story was the Jesse Jenkins Q-and-A interview.

The blog has generated a varied audience from around the world, with the top viewers coming from U.S. Surprisingly, U.K. ranks second with 180 views, while Spain ranks third with 164 views.

As the blog’s main focus is on artists Prince, Michael Jackson, and other music, “Brandosoul” has become a flagship community for upcoming artists and music fanatics alike.