Flavour columnist Julie Huie-Martin gives us the lowdown on her life as a Brit living and succeeding in Atlanta, US.
I moved to Atlanta almost six months ago, having spent two fabulous years in New York City and everything you’ve ever heard about The “A” is pretty much true and plenty more! Hotlanta’s full of entertainers, entrepreneurs, NFL players, unfortunately groupies and strip clubs, and home to some of the music biz top artists like Keri Hilson, Usher, Ludacris, T.I. Akon and Monica, it’s probably the only place in the world where you can thrive musically.
Speaking of Monica, I ran into her at a charity event the other day looking amazing. Monica is in high spirits after the success of her eagerly anticipated comeback album Still Standing. She’s doing so well out here and is gearing up for her tour with Atlanta neighbor Trey Songz. Whether or not they plan to tour outside the US and fly across the pond has yet to be decided, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
The month of June brought two major Award ceremonies to L.A. The BET and ASCAP Awards. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to make it out to the BET’s this year, however I did have the opportunity to watch it on a very modest flat screen TV in the comfort of my own home. Whilst I have to say that this years award ceremony proved to be one of BET’s finest, there was one performance in particular that unmistakably shock not only the audience but perhaps the performer himself. Chris Brown’s tribute to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who passed away around this time last year, drew a mix reaction of sympathy and irritation from viewers.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Chris Browns’ talent is unmatched, and could quite possibly rival MJ if he was still alive (okay granted there is only one Michael Jackson), however Brown certainly is up there and is the only performer alive that could ever be capable of dancing like that and giving it justice. His meticulous dance moves were so on point, spinning and moon walking like he had personal dance lessons from MJ. He was doing so well until it came to singing arguably one of MJ’s most touching songs ever “Man In The Mirror.”
I don’t know whether it was strategic, albeit the words of the song are extremely touching and powerful, however Chris could barely get a word out. He literally cried his way throughout the entire performance leaving the impression that he was either genuinely sad about the passing of his idol or desperately using this grand opportunity to plead to his fans, musical peers and the media alike for forgiveness, knowing full well that millions would be watching.
My emotions were mixed. On the one hand I was sympathetic to Browns situation yet on the other was mad that he had the audacity to abuse his one major position to redeem himself. Either way, I can’t deny Browns incredible dance sequence and to me, was the highlight of the entire night.
Elsewhere, L.A. was home to another reputable award ceremony. The ASCAP Awards (American Society of Composers and Producers) saw several international stars in hip hop and R&B recognized for their incredible work this past year. Dr. Dre was honored with the ASCAP Founders Award and hot newcomer; Nate Walka took home an award for his work as writer on Blame It On The Alcohol, preformed by Jamie Fox. The Memphis native also penned this years smash “Say Aah,” will be appearing on two of the UK’s very own pop starlet Alesha Dixon’s third album, and has been diligently working on his debut album due out later this year. Nate also had the opportunity to interview our home girl Estelle who talks about her new album, released mid September.
Estelle has also been busy collaborating with top international DJ, DJ Trauma who collaborated on her official mixtape as a prequel to her album All Of Me, due out mid Sept. Trauma says of Estelle “I love her music because it’s a great blend of R&B, pop, reggae and hip hop. She has great soulful lyrics with emotion. I really fell in love with her whole movement. Her music feels very truthful to me.”
You can download the mixtape here: djtrauma.com, and click on the music link. Stay tuned with more updates and keep it locked with me, Julia Huie-Martin (J in the “A”) with everything that’s going on in Atlanta and beyond.
Julia Huie-Martin is owner and founder of The BRIDGE Public Relations. She is Flavour Magazine’s official US correspondent and resident columnist. The opinions and views expressed here are that of Julia and do not necessarily reflect that of the publisher. For comments and views expressed, please address to Julia at: Julia@flavourmag.co.uk