Happy Monday everyone! I wanted to do a Music Monday but do it a bit differently. With my efforts to do better to educate myself about what’s going on in the world and read more diversely, I wanted to share 5 songs by Black artists/bands to recommend if you haven’t tried them already. Some of these are songs I’ve loved since I was a teen and being someone who did voice lessons, I’ve always loved the range and passion of so many Black singers. So here’s 5 songs to recommend to listen to!
1. Kissing You by Des’ree (Album: Supernatural, 1998)
Some of you may recognize this song since it was in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The scene where their eyes meet during the party at the fish tank is where this song plays. This song to me truly conveys the feeling of being in love, which rarely any artists have shown like Des’ree. The simple piano melody that begins is calming but also sets the tone for the rest of the song. I found this song again just the other day and it makes me want to find the rest of her work.
2. Dance with My Father by Luther Vandross (Album: Dance with My Father, 2003)
This was another song I’ve loved since I was a teenager. This song popped up in my feed of an old music player (can’t remember the name, but it was similar to Spotify) and I was immediately taken by Vandross’s voice. This is a gentle song about how a boy looks up to his father and how he wishes to be with his dad again. Although this song was on the final album before Vandross passed away in 2005, this man’s voice lives on in his music. If you’ve never listened to him before, he’s incredible.
3. Wheels of A Dream from the musical Ragtime (performed by Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell)
While parts of this musical get pretty dark and tragic, this song is full of hope and inspiration! This song talks of how this couple sees the dream that America could offer their baby. McDonald and Mitchell’s voices are two of the best Broadway voices out there. Aura McDonald is a multiple Tony award winning Broadway actress who even appeared in the 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast. Brian Stokes Mitchell is another legendary performer and you can hear his singing voice in The Prince of Egypt film and many others. These Black performers bring their tender and also hopeful A game and this song will bring hope to your heart if you ever need it.
4. I’m Here from the musical The Color Purple (performed by Cynthia Erivo)
This is the most recent song I have found but immediately fell in love with. Anyone can relate to try and follow their dream and also say “I am here.” I love that the lyrics are about a girl who is talking about how her family isn’t there with her but how she loves them, what she has and what she wants. She is going to live her life and be free. These lyrics are powerful and give another sense of hope and drive for a good life. This song from the newer musical highlights the powerhouse lady named Cynthia Erivo. This lady, in my opinion, blows many of the song from Dreamgirls out of the water. This Broadway revival also carries such talent like Aura McDonald (mentioned above), Jennifer Hudson and many others. If you need another song of empowerment, look no further than this song.
5. By Your Side by Sade (Album: Lovers Rock, 2000)
I heard this band from my parents having one of this band’s album and playing it in the car. Sade is a band from England and its singer, Sade Adu is Nigerian British. This band has been around since 1984 and while they don’t consistently put out albums, so many songs from them have an emotional depth that few bands have today. There’s songs like “Pearls”, “No Ordinary Love”, “Your Love Is King”, “Soldier of Love” and others that I could’ve shared but I wanted to share this one. By Your Side is my favorite song by them because of its message of being dedicated to someone. You’ll be there for them, comfort them and love them completely. With a lot of contention, fear and a pandemic going on, I wanted to share a song about love, acceptance and honesty to hopefully uplift people. This is an ultimate favorite song of all time and one I can’t recommend enough.
What songs by Black artists or bands do you recommend? Have you listened to any of these? Let me know in the comments!