(Courtesy of @TtotheING)
(The new FE Official shirt....It is AVAILABLE ON THEIR SITE NOW!)
This past weekend in Durham, North Carolina, the good folks at The Foreign Exchange held a private concert for around 30 of SOME OF their closest fans. It also doubled as a recording for a future 'live' album that they plan on releasing for their FANS to enjoy. I was lucky enough to be able to attend this event. This is going to my 'ramblings' on the event that took place on Sunday February 20th around 6:00 P.M.
Unfortunately, I was NOT able to take my camera inside and NORMALLY that would put a damper on my personal spirits as I HATE TALKING ABOUT EVENTS without visuals. However FE had cameras ALL AROUND and some photos were 'leaked' out so I do have some visuals to work with. Before you say it, these are people I consider MY FRIENDS (See the Phonte 'chat' I did with the man himself here..)too at this point so I was not about to go 'rogue' and start disrespecting their rules. So no, I don't have many pictures of my own on this go around. I know I said I planned to take some. I got something better though. The experience. I mean after writing about their music here on the blog & seeing them perform, I STILL am blessed to have seen this event. So it is a MORE THAN FAIR TRADE OFF for me. Besides, when I tell you that there were cameras EVERYWHERE...I am not lying. When that happens, I will post some up here and link you to the rest. @ the rest of the photos coming out.
We arrived around at SoundPure Studios in Durham about ten minutes to six and waited patiently to be let in. Of course we were greeted by the busy bee known as Amiee Flint...the Swiss Army Knife of Foreign Exchange. She personally came out to catch up with each guest, calling folks by name, recounting stories of previous FE experiences and thanking them sincerely for coming out. As we walked in, we gave our names to the good folks handing out what turned out to be those beautiful shirts that you are now seeing on The Foreign Exchange's website and Facebook. (I believe all of us will be represented on the site in our shirts as the pictures come pouring in. Another GREAT TOUCH by FE...) There was also some really good food, drinks and spirits for us to partake in as we received our 'instructions' for the evening including the option of sitting in the audience OR THE CONTROL ROOM. While the idea of being recorded in the live audience (a la Jay-Z/Maxwell UNPLUGGED) almost made me sit front row and center, I opted for the CONTROL ROOM. I don't regret it. Trust me. The below picture is why....
I DID NOT TAKE THIS PICTURE but this was my view. I was STANDING right next to the camera man (Complex in the house) in the control room when it was snapped PLUS I was able to hear, watch and see the recording process. Couple that with some TRULY PRICELESS moments (some that will be shared on the blog and some that I will just keep tucked away for my personal memories) and I was just fine where I was at. Just sitting in with the band as they prepared to do their thing was a treat. Cutting up and whatnot. I told you though..another time for those discussions. Trust me, I asked the questions ya'll loyal fans wanted to know...hell..I wanted to know just as a fan. It was a good time leading up TO THE CONCERT for sure. Then this happened. The last to arrive before the band went on was Phonte Coleman. Who was in tow with him when he walked in? None other than Patrick Douthit. As in 9th Wonder. If you KNOW anything about Phonte Coleman and his brother from another (those words were said in our presence by Phonte himself.) relationship over the years as it has played out (even here a little bit), that MERE FACT speaks volumes.* 9th introduced the band.to a very shocked audience on some Prince shit...I kid you not. Can't wait for ya'll to see it. He even stayed back in the control room with us and hung out. Which I thought was cool. There are tweets about it somewhere....What a way to 'answer' any remaining questions....I love it.
Median came through to show his support..Good dude. Chopped it up with him a lil.
Sy Smith was in THE BUILDING. That voice of hers. Yes! I got a chance to watch her warm up in the control room and even gave her a couple of songs (That she wisely only used one of) to warm up to. She was just as sweet and genuine as she is on Twitter and in song. That spirit that you feel in the records is DEFINITELY not an act. It is her all the way. We exchanged info and I smell something coming from her via The Warehouse really soon.
Now every time I come around these cats, I get turned on to a new artist. Not sure why I thought this time would be any different. Jeanne Jolly. Don't forget the name. Open up your musical minds people. It is worth it. Trust me. Beautiful voice. I LITERALLY ran into in the back halls of the studio. Very gracious and she was a great asset to the concert....Google: Falling In Carolina...That is her joint. Track 5 is GENRE LESS..I don't care what you like....if you like singers...you will ENJOY that joint. It is plush.
Oh the concert? It was great. Seeing as though it was a live taping, we were treated to what REALLY GOES INTO the process. The checking of cameras. Making sure the takes are recorded. All of that stuff you 'wonder' when you see the finished products on TV. As a fan, a 'blogger' and someone who works with other folks trying to get to the point that FE is, this was invaluable for a person like me. In the words of Amy Flint, I was in 'heaven'. I RECEIVED A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE. So as well as it being a great concert, it was a learning experience for me in professionalism, conduct and the inner workings on how something like this should go down. There were NO HICCUPS. Not a one. No one 'messed up'. Everyone was on point. Everyone. Vocals laid perfect. Even the 'unplanned' parts went great. Of course Phonte kept things light with his humor.
Nicolay debuted the his skills on guitar. Before they went on, it was Nicolay that I probably talked to the longest. We spoke on EVERYTHING. You know I asked him about Wiz...(That is coming. Just wait aight..Not in this post though.) I asked him what other instruments that he was working on playing. A devilish grin came to his face as he pointed to the stage..... He played the guitar on EVERY SONG. I will let that marinate with you for a minute. This is how you usually see Nic below...
Yamaha out....Doing his thing. He was on something different this evening and sounded GREAT doing it. He was jamming on that guitar. So that was an experience in itself to watch him unveil that exclusively to us for this event. True musician that man is.
(FE in Philly...)
They flipped some of their songs in true FE fashion. Once you make yourself familiar with Jeanne Jolly, I am SURE you can only imagine the things that you will be treated with once you hear how they flipped certain songs. (No, I am not giving away everything. You will have to see the video when it comes out!) I will give you this though. If you like 'chopped and screwed' music, you are in for a treat. A real treat. Now remember, this is LIVE, with real instruments...there is no Auto Tune. No gimmicks. This is them. It is recorded but what we heard was their PURE MUSIC and it was phenomenal. I have heard Tay sing before and have never heard him sound 'different' from what I hear on the record. This performance did NOTHING to change that. Matter of fact, it solidified his singing abilities. Dare I say he has gotten even more comfortable? Yes. He has gotten better vocally. I'mma start calling that man "No Auto Tune Tay'....'cause he can manipulate his voice to do things without the benefit of that tool. I (we) actually got to hear that on Sunday.
Since I mentioned Sy Smith being here, you know they did some of Zo!'s album so there is another hint of what you should expect. A James Taylor cover was done as well. (Hey, James is from North Carolina btw...) Other than than, I would rather not ruin it for you. You just make sure that when they do release this acoustic version of their music, you check it out. It was done for the fans in true FE fashion.
(Yes, I found it in Best Buy...)
I would like to thank Amy and the entire FEOfficial family for having me. Had a great time. I will be at the dates that are close to my area with more coverage of this fantastic musical troupe. Looking forward to more great things from team FE.
Oh and even though I already made a separate post about it...They just released a new video....For "Authenticity"...the title track to their new CD...You can see their work on VH1Soul as well...Their videos are in rotation....
*Oh and to answer your next question, no, I didn't grill 9th.. He was taking the performance in like I was so it was neither the time nor the place. Like I said, priceless moments. There isn't anything anyone can tell me about 'how they are' from this point forward EXCEPT THOSE TWO. @ their relationship. Oh and for you 'loyal followers' & friends from #thatsite, the Patrick you described was the Patrick I met on Sunday. I understand now. Completely. (Hi LoveJones76!) Interaction and pleasantries were exchanged.