Here it is y’all… With just under four weeks remaining until the release of SunStorm, I am releasing the first official single from the album, “This Could Be the Night” featuring my brothas Eric Roberson, Darien Brockington, and Rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother. The joint has been made a free download, so do me a favor and add it to your playlist…!
One week before the release of SunStorm, I’ll be out west doing a short run with The Foreign Exchange hitting Los Angeles (7/20), Portland (7/21), and two dates in San Francisco (7/22 and 7/23). To my West Coast family, I hope to see you all out there!.. I’ll be on edge a little bit due to the anticipation of the album, but it’s gonna be great to see y’all out there nonetheless…
Click the links for show info.
The Summer of 2004 was a pretty interesting time in my life to say the least. I had just released my first ‘pro pressed’ album, Passion & Definition in July, was playing some shows here and there, meeting kats in the Detroit scene who I had been a fan of for years. I had also been let go from the Medical Supplies Sales job I held for a year, and as a result I became a full-time musician (until I moved East in 2006). I had some die hard supporters, thinking I was doing something… But looking back on it, I was just beginning to pay my dues hadn’t even really begun to get my feet wet musically. Anyway, with all of the new kats I was either meeting, running into, or working with around The D, I had yet to meet Waajeed. I always had people telling me, “Man, you gotta work with Waajeed,” yet, I hadn’t even met the brotha yet. Of course, with the way everything else was just kinda ‘falling’ into place, I simply assumed we would run into each other at a venue one night (which actually happened at the Carbon Lounge in Hamtramck… and we said ‘what up’ in passing). Oddly enough, it was actually my homegirl introducing me to his girlfriend at the time after running into her at Buffalo Wild Wings that did it – If I remember correctly, the two of them went to high school together. Weird? Yes… But, I happened to have a copy of Passion & Definition on me (as I always did back then) so I passed it to her to give to him. The next thing I knew a few days later, I got a phone call from Waajeed and we agreed to get up one day at his spot in Downtown Detroit just to meet up. And now that I think about it, that instance was probably the first and only time that I have ever gotten a call back from passing material along to someone… in HOPES of a call back. OH, I take that back…. I actually met 14KT, Buff1 and the rest of the Athletic Mic League the same way back in 2002. They called me back to back after I hit them with a copy of Zo! Presents… A Canvas For The Adoration of Music at an Athletic Mic League/Subterraneous show in Ann Arbor. So, I guess passing music along comes through every now and then, huh? Maybe…
Anyway, I ended up taking a trip to Jeed’s spot in Downtown Detroit and we chopped it up for a good hour or two about music in general… Including the hustle, the passion behind it, and the bullshit. We hadn’t planned to work on anything that day but I guess higher power saw things a bit differently. During our entire conversation, I was sitting at a suitcase Fender Rhodes just messing around on the keys until finally Jeed was like, “Ayo, you know what? Let me see if you’ve got something for this joint real quick.” I was sitting there with the “oh damn” face on as I was partially put on the spot… I’m good, no pressure, right? So he played the joint he was talking about and all I hear is a stripped down track with nothing but these swinging ass drums with this seductive voice on top of it. That was IT….
Me: “Who is THAT?”
Waajeed: “Tiombe Lockhart, a singer I’m working with for the new album.”
He then proceeded to explain to me the meaning behind his newly formed group, Platinum Pied Pipers and even broke down some of the album’s concept…. but I was all into this track that I was hearing. After listening through the song, I told him to start it over so that I could feel my way around what she was singing. By the middle of the song, I knew I had something as Waajeed said, “Aw man… we’ve gotta record that!” Right then and there, he started the joint over and I proceeded to record the bass part via the Rhodes…. and recorded another pass with just the chords and it became the foundation for this new song. Jeed was so hyped up about it, he started talking about turning it in to Ubiquity (Records) (PPP’s label at the time) and knowing that they would love it, etc…. I was kind of excited, but the music “industry” had already warped me so, even by 2004 that I wanted to see proof of things happening.
Sure enough, he turned that joint in and Ubiquity really took to it. Waajeed hit me up one day telling me that they were considering it as the first single. Word?… Whatever man, I’ll believe it when I see it…….. Well, a couple months later, I was in Record Time in Ferndale, MI flipping through copies of “Stay With Me” 12″ vinyl singles.
Funny how things happen when creativity comes into play. Even now when I hear this song being played in a venue, I always think back on how everything seemed to line up just right in order for it to happen and come through the way it did.
(Not So) Fun Fact: The crazy thing about this song that no one really knows about is Waajeed gave me a “Co-producer” credit on it. So if you happen to own one of the first pressings of the 12″, you may notice that it reads:
“Produced by Waajeed, Co-produced and keys by Zo!”
But Ubiquity wasn’t having it and they pulled the “Co-produced by” recognition and gave me credit for playing keys only… Despite their silly shit, Jeed and I still joke about this story to this day…
“Maaan, I met this dude…. two hours later we did ‘Stay With Me!'”
Most of the time the best stuff never happens in accordance to our script…
The official single for Zo’s SunStorm album doesn’t drop for a few more weeks, but we at +FE Music decided to give a little something to hold you over until then. Here’s “Greatest Weapon Of All Time” featuring our good friend Sy Smith, also taken from the SunStorm LP which drops 7/27. Thank you for listening, and enjoy!
Well y’all, the six-week plan is now officially underway. Here is first sample of the album that you all have heard me talk so much about. Sy came through and did her THING… I am this close to posting the story behind how this joint came about, but I’ll save it…. Not unless y’all want to read it. Anyway, enjoy this one and thank you for listening.
Allow me to begin by stating very clearly that The Temptations are the greatest singing group to ever do it… period. My mother brought me up on a heavy dose of Temptations music, which left me completely biased when it came to the whole “Temps vs. Tops” argument (if you want to call it that) even as a 6-year old – There was never even been a competition in my opinion. The Temps had the vocals and five-part harmony down to a ridiculous science, their choreography was flawless, even well into the 80’s and 90’s, but the one major factor that allowed the group to stand so far apart from others was their ability to consistently enlist powerful and audience captivating lead singers. From one of my favorite lead singers of all-time, David Ruffin, to the incomparable vocals of Dennis Edwards, to Mr. Ali-Ollie Woodson…
In the mid-80’s, while my mother was putting me on to all of the classic Temptation records, she was also running the current Temptations albums on repeat. Whenever the Temps released a new one, she would pick up a cassette tape for the car and a vinyl copy for the record player in the family room. In 1984, I listened to their Truly For You album (“Treat Her Like A Lady”) up until 1985 when Touch Me was released… Then ’86 when they dropped …To Be Continued, which contained the single “Lady Soul” all the way up to 1987 when they put out Together Again (Actually, Dennis was the lead singer for this album, but Ali came back for their 1989 release, Special). Most of these songs are so embedded in my brain that even after not hearing the music for more than 20 years, I can turn it on now and recite most of the words. Needless to say, it always breaks my heart when we lose one of their members and in this case it effected me no differently. We have lost yet another extremely talented member of the Temptation family, not only vocally, but the brotha wasn’t too bad on them keys either!
Ali-Ollie Woodson, may you rest in peace… Your talents will be missed. Case in point… see below.