January Next Step Winner: Selina Carrera

 

A Philly native and graduate from the famed Creative and Performing Arts High School attended by Boyz II Men, Jazmine Sullivan, Amel Larrieux, Questlove, and Blackthought, songwriter, poet, singer, and rapper, Selina Carrera comes from a promising lineage of artists.

Her The Wonder Years project released earlier this year takes a collection of her older works to display the impressive breadth of her skill and sound, which spans hip-hop, soul, and electronic. Stand out tracks are “Get Up,” “Raw Bounce,” “Energy,” and “Retro.”

Look out for her debut EP, Everyday Love, later this year. In the meantime, hear an exclusive track from the upcoming EP called “Better Off” below.

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Video: Natalie Imani – An Introduction

 

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We love to see when talented backup singers decide to go solo. Former Erykah Badu backup singers, Yahzarah and N’Dambi are great examples of fiery solo talent with a history in high profile background singing gigs. New Jersey based singer Natalie Imani is paving her way to be yet another vocal force. Touting John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Jazmine Sullivan, and Nicki Minaj as lead acts she’s backed, her resume is definitely quite impressive.

Above, Natalie speaks candidly about her journey from a 9-to-5 to embracing singing as a career. Below, you can take a listen to Natalie’s debut EP, Passion Mark, where the rich toned lady showcases a comforting classic R&B voice. If you like Jazmine Sullivan, you’ll appreciate the parallels these two share.

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New Track: B.Jamelle – “Marsy Muse”

 

DC based singer B.Jamelle comes equipped with a voice so buttery that we’re doing the most right now to keep the fluster off our faces right now with these heart palpitations. It’s wrong, really. Think a divine mixture between Muhsinah and Jazmine Sullivan. Have a little aural gander at “Marsy Muse” produced by Slimkat78 below and let us know if you don’t break out into a cold sweat yourself.

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Remembering The Florida Room As It Closes Its Doors

 

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This week, a very special venue in the hearts of many (including ours) closed its doors for good. The Florida Room in the basement of Delano Hotel in South Beach Florida was a Lenny Kravitz designed venue with the feel of a classic old school night club.

Within its first year of opening, Giant Step starting doing events at The Florida Room and the list became pretty impressive. Many of our events were Miami debuts featuring great artists such as Jose James, Janelle Monae, Melanie Fiona, and Jazmine Sullivan, to name a few.

Watch the video of Questlove and Gilles Peterson at WMC 2010 as Quest toasts Gilles for being one to go down in history – quite timely to share given yesterday’s news.

After the jump, also find videos from De La Soul, The Roots, and Janelle Monae, all doing their thing at a venue that will be greatly missed.

Here’s a partial list of some of our great nights:

June 2008 – Janelle Monae (Miami Debut)
Sept 2008 – Jazmine Sullivan (Miami Debut)
Oct 2008 – Nikka Costa
NYE 2008 – The Roots and Janelle Monae
Jan 2009 – The Florida Room 1st anniversary with De La Soul
WMC 2009 – Pete Rock, Benji B, Wale, Questlove, Melanie Fiona, Taylor McFerrin
NYE 2009 – Common
WMC 2010 – Gilles Peterson and Questlove

So to all our friends in Miami and of course the great staff of this special venue that had the best cocktails in the world – we salute you and all the good times.

More videos from The Florida Room after the jump