2014 in Pictures

2014 was a year I spent on the ROAD. Shall I even attempt to list all of the cities?! ….Hell, why not. This year I hit up Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham (Alabama and United Kingdom), Boston, Brooklyn, Cape Town, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Cologne, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Durham, Fresno, Houston, Johannesburg, Kansas City, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, Rotterdam, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Ana, Seattle, St. Louis and right down the street…. Washington D.C.

I got to hear music that I worked on every single week on Adult Swim’s animated series, Black Dynamite, saw myself on TV one day and decided to make a change by dropping off 35 lbs in the first few months of the year, traveled and saw some of the world with The Foreign Exchange and solo with Carmen Rodgers, started working on an EP with 1/2 of +FE, Nicolay, rocked an NPR Tiny Desk with +FE, began scoring a documentary, began a storytelling series, “Studio Campfire Stories: LIVE” that started on the right foot with a sold out show in Atlanta, and released one of the more talked about videos of the year (in my eyes anyway haha)..

Here’s to a helluva 2015 and much love to everyone riding with me throughout this musical journey… *raises glass of brown likkuh* Cheers!!

Black Dynamite Season 2 …Jams.

With the first three episodes of Black Dynamite Season 2 in the bag, there has been some talk about the parody work that we have done for the show. Music Supervisor Fatin “10” Horton decided to go ahead and post the full versions of some of the songs that have been featured so far (not including the various background music that I’ve also played throughout). Listen, share, download, laugh and enjoy them all…

All Instruments by Zo!
Vocals by Phonte
Mixed/Mastered by Chris Boerner
Music Supervisor Fatin “10” Horton

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From Episode One: “Roots: The White Album”
(Premiered October 18, 2014)

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From Episode Two: “Black Jaws”
(Premiered October 25, 2014)

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From Episode Three: “Mean Queens Of Holloween”
(Premiered November 1, 2014)

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From Episode Four: “How Honeybee Got Her Groove Back”
(Premiered November 8, 2014)

B2gqpUuCQAAwEo-From Episode Five: “Sweet Bill’s Badass Singalong Song”
(Premiered November 15, 2014)

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From Episode Six: “Mister Rogers’ Revenge”
(Premiered November 22, 2014)


*”Bussin’ Bitch (Bussin’ At Em)” …Music by Fatin “10” Horton

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From Episode Seven: “American Band Standoff”
(Premiered November 29, 2014)

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From Episode Eight: “Diff’rent Strokes, Same Folks”
(Premiered December 6, 2014)

Black Dynamite – Season 2 Premieres tonight @ 10:30p ET/PT ….and I made music for it.

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Back in November 2011, while on the road with The Foreign Exchange, we were in Nashville and I was sitting in one of the vans waiting to drive some of the crew to the venue for our show at BB King’s that night. I received a call from a friend of mine who I consider family, Fatin Horton. He reached out to me to see if I had the time and would be interested in playing/recording music for the new, upcoming season of Black Dynamite – The Animated Series……. As a huge fan of the movie already (and later the first season of the animated series), I probably looked at my phone with an expression similar to Russell Westbrook

HELL YEAH I was interested!!

Now of course, this wouldn’t be music that you would find on any of my releases… For example, you’re not gonna hear “Count To Five” during a fight scene between Black Dynamite and some sinister villain where they try to kill each other. We were set to work on all new compositions that fit the show’s theme – 70’s Black films. Once again, as a fan of all of those movies whether they were good, terrible, or good and terrible, the idea of making that type of music while putting my own spin on it only sweetened the deal. I knew that creating the music would be challenging… not because I would be playing all of the instruments on it, but because once we started working on pieces that were to be scene-specific to the episodes I knew I was gonna be kept on my toes… and I WAS. I have always been the first one to admit that guitar is my weakest instrument, but after working on this batch of music, I have become a lot more confident in my guitar playing as the majority of the work required heavy amounts of the instrument – Chords, lines, rhythm, wah-wah, etc. Come to think of it, working on Black Dynamite music is quietly what inspired me to do “Show Me The Way” from the ManMade album.

When Fatin and I first got together in the studio back in June of 2012, we set up what was to become a series of “studio marathons.” The plan = Basically, he would come up to the studio to create for three days straight. Typically from about 10a – 6p and again from 9p until. The first time around we knocked out about 7 “cues” or 30-90 second pieces to be used within an episode as background music to set or emphasize a mood or current theme. The second time we got up we finished 13 cues, almost double the total from the first studio session. To me, that was a clear cut sign that a working groove had been established. The first couple of sessions were dope because I was told to work strictly off of inspiration. Fatin would set up shop in the studio, pull out old records, chop um up and say something like, “I need it to match this mood of this record…,” “Make the organ a little darker…” or, “Add a higher octave string line to this part…” It was crazy to be creating “70’s Black film” pieces in 2012/2013, but I felt honored because hell, in a lot of those movies the MUSIC was the highlight and played just as large of a role as the film’s leading actor. So the pride I took in the work was through the roof.

Now, the reality of it all didn’t really hit me until I started hearing drafts of some of the show’s cast singing over my music. To hear Tommy Davidson and Kym Whitley do their thing on some stuff I had just sent in was kinda bugged out and a nice “WELP, this is real” moment for me, to say the least. Then, once we got really heavy into episode and scene-specific music, that’s when my brother Phonte came in crushing the vocal work. Guitarist/engineer and The Hot @ Nights member, Chris Boerner would receive the final products for mixing and mastering purposes…. 150+ cues and eight episodes later, we have our contribution to Black Dynamite, Season 2. And I know that I have been telling a few of you about this for over two years now… Well, today is the day!!! You can catch the show tonight at 10:30p ET/PT. I’ll actually be live tweeting and pointing out my contributions because… 1. I’m hyped as shit about it, 2. This is a first for me, and 3. See #1.

Tonight…
Black Dynamite – Season Two
premieres on Adult Swim @ 10:30p ET/PT

Studio Campfire Stories: The Foreign Exchange “Listen To The Rain”

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Last year, I wrapped up everything ManMade around February/March 2013. During that same time, The Foreign Exchange was working on the music for Love In Flying Colors and I hadn’t yet gotten an expected call to work on anything for their album yet. Why is this important? Here’s a small bit of +FE trivia that most don’t know… I have the only outside production credits on the last three +FE albums – Leave It All Behind (“If She Breaks Your Heart”), Authenticity (“Fight For Love”), and Love in Flyi…Well… Just keep reading. Sometime in April or May, Phonte gave me a call telling me that he had a song idea for the new +FE album… I remember telling him, “I’ve been waiting on this call – I’m down.” Since I was scheduled to be in Raleigh, NC at the end of May for a video shoot, we figured that would be the best time to sit down, put our ideas together and see what we could come up with.

On May 25, 2013, I made my way down I-95S to shoot the first video from ManMade, which had just been released four days prior. We were to gather the crew in Downtown Raleigh and shoot a playful spin on an old school Sesame Street performance for the song “Count To Five” with director and frequent +FE Music collaborator, Kenneth Price. Come to think of it, this was the first time that Gwen Bunn and I actually met in person… at the damn video shoot for the song we had already worked together on! It’s kinda crazy how routinely that happens now…. Anyway, we shot the video in a few hours and afterward everyone got together to grab some food from a burger spot not too far from our filming location. Some folks went home, the rest of us headed over to Phonte’s spot where the movie ‘Campaign’ was running and jokes were on ten. Once everybody cleared out, Phonte and I hit the studio at about 2:30 in the morning and he told me that he had a melody in his head already with a few words here and there and needed the music to follow. This was no thing… We had utilized the same “sit down at the piano” formula when we worked on the title track from ManMade almost a year prior, “Fight For Love”, and “If I Could Tell You Know” from the SunStorm album. Like “ManMade”, it was the hook that we started with. When I go back and listen to the demo recordings we did of the song on my phone, chronologically we did the hook first (looped it twice), then there’s a recording of the verse, which we also looped twice. I distinctively remember wanting to accentuate that ‘break’ toward the beginning of the verse where he sings, “All alone (*break*) agaaaaaain….” …just to add a bit of personality to the music. The usage of breaks and “white space” is something that you don’t hear too often in many slower tempo songs and the more we worked through the verse, the more distinctive I made the break. The same with the chord climb up during the hook when he sings, “…….down out-siiiiiide…” by playing a different chord for each syllable, adding more of accents in the music. The last thing we worked on was the song’s ending. We wanted to close this one a with descending chord progression, which would set it apart from our previous “written at the piano” joints. The final demo recording starts off with my countdown into Phonte snapping his fingers for tempo while humming the melody of the hook then going right into the ending… And to be honest, I have listened to these demos about 5 times a piece while writing this story. To hear this song again with only piano and a reference melody is really kinda crazy.

By the time I returned home to Maryland the following evening, Phonte had completely finished writing to the song and sent me a text saying, “The title of that jam we did is called, “Listen To The Rain.” Lemme know when you lay THAT…” …No thing at all. The next day, I sat in the studio and recorded a main piano part, layered with a rhodes, and also played the bass live on it …all to a finger snap (that same finger snap can be heard throughout the majority of the first two minutes of the song). I sent the music on through to Phonte along with the, “Check that Gmail” text…… He then hit me the next day with the SAME text. When I checked, he had laid his vocals down and Chris Boerner had recorded a third chord layering by recording his acoustic guitar, which added some nice texture with the subtle fret noises and string plucking. So here we are with the main portion of the song completed just a couple days away from when we started……. But here’s where it gets good. Phonte told me that they had hit up my dude, Detroit’s own Pirahnahead to do string arrangement on it…

*drops phone*

Now, I’ve known Pirahnahead for a good 10-11 years and he was a monster back THEN so I couldn’t have even imagined what some damn strings would sound like over that music. So, when I received the song back a month later……. WITH STRINGS?!?! LOOK man…. I had all TYPES of goosebumps running up my arms. The shit was just beautiful…. I can remember listening to it about 5 or 6 times in a row and THEN listening to the isolated strings track a few times in a row afterward. Maaaaaaan, make you wanna shed that good single “Denzel in ‘Glory‘” thug tear!! Then, I received the final version with Nicolay’s drums on the song that put the song into another gear by taking it from an acoustic singer/songwriter mode to something you could break your neck to… All the way through an extended hook where Phonte calls out “…and my backgrounds sing, and my backgrounds siiiiing…” (that’s Jeanne Jolly assisting him on the background vocals too, by the way) right into that ending that we worked on at the piano. An excellent climax to a dope song.

With The Foreign Exchange on FOX 5 Vegas

I walked back into the Gibson Showroom at FOX 5 Vegas almost a year to the day that I performed on there solo and for my documentary. This time around, I was on keys for the crew… The Foreign Exchange performing “Right After Midnight” from their Love In Flying Colors album. Y’all enjoy this one… And shouts to Phonte for rockin’ the Zo! shirt…

Click the picture below to watch the performance….

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Personnel:
Phonte (of The Foreign Exchange) – Lead Vocal
Nicolay (of The Foreign Exchange) – Keyboards
Zo! – Keyboards
Darion Alexander – Moog Bass
Chris Boerner – Guitar
Nick Baglio – Drums
Carmen Rodgers – Vocals
Tamisha Waden – Vocals

Zo! – ‘ManMade’ (2013) FULL Album Credits

ManMade

Zo!
ManMade
PURCHASE ALBUM
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-Listed at #3 on CentricTV’s Best R&B Albums of 2013-
“…the album maintains an easy elegance and never derails.”
-AllMusic.com

01. The Train featuring Sy Smith
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by Sy Smith for Sybersong Publishing (ASCAP)
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Grant “G-Nick” Nicholas
All Vocals by Sy Smith
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and Rumbo Studios, Winnetka, CA

02. Count To Five featuring Gwen Bunn
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Lead Vocals by Gwen Bunn
Background Vocals by Phonte and Gwen Bunn
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

03. New In Town (Happy) featuring 1-O.A.K. and Carlitta Durand
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP) and Carlitta Durand for Durand Music Group (ASCAP)
Lead and Background Vocals by 1-O.A.K. and Carlitta Durand
Additional Background Vocals by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

04. Making Time featuring Phonte and Choklate
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP) and Choklate for Chokolesta Music (ASCAP)
Lead Vocals by Phonte
Background Vocals by Choklate and Phonte
Trumpet by Al Strong IV
Trombone by Andrew Kleindienst
All Other Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

05. Tell Me Something New featuring Jeanne Jolly
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
All Vocals by Jeanne Jolly
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

06. ManMade featuring Phonte
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
All Vocals by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

07. We Are On The Move featuring Eric Roberson
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Lead Vocals by Eric Roberson
Background Vocals by Gwen Bunn, Phonte and Sy Smith
Congas, Timbales and Other Percussion by Brevan Hampden
All Other Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

08. Show Me The Way featuring Anthony David and Carmen Rodgers
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP) and Walter Baker for Songs For The Rebel (ASCAP)
Lead Vocals by Anthony David
Background Vocals by Carmen Rodgers
Additional Background Vocals by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

09. For Tina
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
All Vocals by Sy Smith
Flute by Claudia Hayden
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

10. Out In The World featuring Choklate
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Choklate for Chokolesta Music (ASCAP) and Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Lead Vocals by Choklate
Additional Background Vocals and Rap by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

11. Body Rock featuring Sy Smith
Produced by Zo! & Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Lead Vocals by Sy Smith
Background Vocals by Sy Smith and Phonte
Flute by Tim Smith
All Other Instruments by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

Mixed and Mastered by Chris Boerner at The Burlap Palace, Raleigh, NC

© 2013 The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
P.O. Box 12208
Wilmington, NC 28405

2012 in Pictures

"...Give is up for Lorenzo Ferguson a/k/a Zo!, ya'll!!" © Phonte in LA • Photo by Kris Perry (Oct. 2012)

“…Give it up for Lorenzo Ferguson a/k/a Zo!, y’all!!” © Phonte in LA • Photo by Kris Perry (Oct. 2012)

2012 has been another helluva year. I got to do some traveling and play shows in LA, NYC, DC, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis, Bethesda, MD, Greensboro, NC, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Columbia MD, Boston, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Vienna, VA, Memphis, Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Phoenix …..and Durham, NC for this coming New Year’s Eve. I completed my first year as a full-time musician after the school I taught music at closed last year – I was then able to continue teaching by conducting individual piano lessons and workshop to groups of young ones. I began endorsing Moog Music, received another standing ovation during a performance back home in Detroit, and got the bulk of the recording finished for my newest album ManMade. Sy Smith and I did some touring this year playing big solo shows at DC’s Blues Alley and NYC’s Blue Note and received big performance props from Sheila E while I was back on the road with The Foreign Exchange who wrapped up performances for an album we have been touring for two years, Authenticity. I hit my ten-year anniversary of releasing music as well. Outside of all that, it was a fairly quiet twelve months……….

…Looking forward to 2013. Enjoy the photos!!

NYE Celebration with The Foreign Exchange @ The Cotton Room – Durham, NC – December 31, 2012

The Cotton Room and The Art of Cool Project are teaming up to plan a NYE Party of EPIC proportions. This is not your typical NYE party. We are showcasing the BEST musicians in the TRIANGLE. This event is for live music enthusiasts and an upscale, mature crowd looking for a unique live music experience.

General admission gets you:
– Entertainment including headliner THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Phonte + Nicolay) with Zo!, Jeanne Jolly and live band.
– Other all-star live performances by the Al Strong Quintet, Marcus Anderson and Yolanda Rabun.
– Guest DJ Apple Juice Kid
– Two of the coolest MCs in #DURM – Toon and The Real Laww
– A chicken-and-waffles breakfast buffet
– General admission seating
– CASH BAR

Cabanas and VIP soft seating options are also available.
Open bar wristband options are available

The Cotton Room

807 East Main Street

Durham NC 27701

(919) 530-8380

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Buy Tickets

Zo!’s Top Five Moments of 2011 – #1 Going Home and Receiving A Long Ovation at The Foreign Exchange Show in Detroit

May 8, 2011, Mother’s Day…

The +FE crew and I were set to take the short 2-hour and some change drive to Detroit from Cleveland to play our 4th show of the scheduled seven-show tour of Midwest cities. I was up and ready to go this particular morning as we were creeping up on the show date that I was most anticipating. Going back home to perform is always motivational to me because I’m able to catch everyone up on what I have been up to musically  – The same people who saw me making music out of my bedroom in my parents’ house in what I used to call “Crowded Room Studios,” as there was more music and equipment in that spot than space to move around. To be able to bring new levels of success home to folks who have supported you from day one is truly a blessing… So needless to say, I was a bit anxious for this one. As soon as I found out the show was confirmed, I started to text a couple folks here and there and sent a few DMs via Twitter just to make sure that kats were blocking that date off far in advance because at that time folks kept asking, “When are y’all gonna come to The D?”  …The thing was, May of 2011 wasn’t our first time playing in Detroit. The first +FE show at home was over two years ago in June of 2009 and I remember being hyped up for that one too, but this time was much different. First off, the buzz around the show was crazy and the people who were creating it seemed to be super excited. Secondly, there had been four +FE Music releases since that last show: City Lights 2: Shibuya (Sept. ’09), …just visiting too (Nov. ’09),  SunStorm (Jul. ’10) and Authenticity (Oct. ’10). One thing was starting to become crystal clear to us… Detroit was ready, I just didn’t realize how ready.

I’ll put it like this, I was so amped up about the Detroit show that thinking back on it, I barely even remember the actual drive from Cleveland… I remember stopping once for gas after Toledo, but that’s about it. The next thing I remember is checking in to our hotel and asking, “Ayo, who’s coming to the house before soundcheck?” Our bassist, Kush El-Amin and drummer Tim Scott Jr. said that they would roll so we dropped our stuff off in our rooms and proceeded to head out to my parents’ house. As soon as we walked in, I as I normally do when I get home, went straight for the refrigerator to grab a water and a Faygo Redpop to take with me. But to my surprise, Moms had baked a damn sweet poe-tay-toe pie for our arrival… Yep, I said Poe. Tay. TOE. So, uhhh… the three of us had some pie. ….And uhhh…. y’all thought I was greedy as hell? The brotha T. Scott had two pieces.

After we left my parents’ house, I took the fellas to The Bread Basket for a Rueben and some Better Made chips…  For the record, I am currently salivating just looking at the picture below.

After taking our food to go, we only had enough time to head back to the hotel and pick up the rest of the crew for soundcheck at the Magic Stick. Upon arriving to the venue, I started feeling anxious… At that point I just wanted the show to BEGIN. I hadn’t gone home to play in a year and a half, hadn’t been home with +FE in two… everyone was sounding all extra excited about the show – I was truly on edge……… A GOOD edge. Plus, the entire crew knew how big this show was for me… With all that said, I still wasn’t aware exactly how big.

We headed back to the hotel in order to change and get everything ready to go right back to the venue for the show. I was surprising cool, but I could feel my heart rate noticeably increase before taking the stage. Everybody in the crew was looking at me like, “You ready? Are you ready?” I was ready as hell… Normally, the time that we have backstage usually drags along anyway. But for the hometown show, time seemed to be moving at 120 seconds per minute. …..When we finally took the stage, I was the first to walk out to a sea of Detroit faces. I thought to myself, “This crowd is KILLIN the last one… They’re ready.” We proceded to start the show and the crowd was with us the entire time. During the set, I saw a ton of familiar faces, which made me feel even more at home… But still once again, I wasn’t ready.

Now… for those of you who have ever attended an +FE show, you know that there is a portion set aside during each show where Phonte introduces the entire crew individually… The order is normally: band members, vocalists, and last, of course is Nicolay. Well… for the first time in our touring history, the introduction order was different and to say that it caught me way off guard would be an understatement. Phonte went through and introduced everyone and I noticed that he skipped me… I was thinking, “Ok, he’ll probably do it after Jeanne and Sy.” Welp! After introducing Jeanne Jolly and Sy Smith…. He introduced Nicolay. *blank stare* I wonder if anyone has pictures of my face during that time, I’d like to see them because in my head it was, “Oh shit! WTF?… I’m going LAST at the CRIB? This is crazy….!” The next thing I knew, Phonte told us to cut the music and proceeded to go into my introduction. I’m sure I was standing there looking silly and lost as hell leading up to….

“Give it up for your own… Lorenzo Ferguson a/k/a Zo! y’all!”

The place just got LOUD…….. and I couldn’t do a damn thing but stand there and cheese.  In normal situations, people cheer, yell out, etc. and I’ll show love back by waving, bowing or something to make sure that they know I appreciate them. This time was a little different… Detroit got loud…. Matter of fact, Detroit got loud and HELD it. I was smiling… waving………smiling some more………. waving……  That’s when I first realized, “Oh damn, they’re not stopping!” I was completely in the moment at this point, plus my parents and younger sister were in the audience as well so this just became a helluva moment for me. I didn’t know what to do anymore or how to react – I just started looking around with the “This can’t be real” face on and man, it felt GREAT – SO great that I THEN thought to myself, “Oh ok, I see…. these negroes are tryna make me cry now.” And damn if I didn’t feel a lump in my throat – Man, this ain’t good. I just kept thinking, “Naaaah man, I’m not going… I’m not going. Breeeeeathe.” Of course, the more I thought that…. The louder they seemed to get and the bigger that lump got. THEN, I turned to my left to look at the crew, you know, just to kind of get their take on things and they were no help at all as Sy and Jeanne both had their hands on their mouths in the “Awwwww” position looking like THEY were about to cry. SHIT!! It was settled… I definitely wasn’t looking over at the crew for ANYmore support. The crowd thought they had me though!! – Because after awhile, instinctively I took my cap and covered my face with it while turning around. *sigh* This did nothing but fuel it and made them cheer even louder. Their loud ovation went on for a solid couple of minutes. I know I may seem to be making light of it, but it was by far one of the most unbelievable moments of my music career up to that point. Of course I’ve already had a few of my people jokingly say, “Aw man, you were about to cry, you were about to get emotional?” Maaaaaan listen… You work this hard for this long, keep it up after moving away from home and then return to that type of hometown love… If your throat doesn’t lump up from a reception like that, you may need to check and see if you have a pulse. I have never gotten an ovation like that before or since… That was a moment that left me truly humbled and I will never forget it.