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Blu Cantrel | Features



 
 
 
 
Artist of the month oct 2001

BLU CANTRELL

Hit 'em up Blu Style

A native of Providence, Rhode Island, 25-year-old soul singer/songwriter Blu Cantrell says her interest in music--especially jazz--emerged at an early age. "My mother was a jazz singer. She couldn't afford a babysitter, so whenever she would sing, she would take us [Cantrell and her siblings] with her and we would sit in the dressing room. I would usually make my way out to the stage to watch her sing." As a young adult, Cantrell would continue to find solace in music, using it to absorb her pain and heal a heart broken by love gone awry. "My music comes from hurt, from being in relationships where I felt I was taken advantage of," she explains. "I was in love, but the relationships didn't work out."

Cantrell took her affinity for music to another level when, during a visit to Atlanta, she met RedZone Entertainment executives Tab and C. "Tricky" Stewart. They listened to her demo and their creative relationship quickly took root.

Once word spread throughout the music industry about this exciting young songstress, the competition between record labels began. Within the first 30 seconds of hearing her sing, Arista Records president/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid recognized that Cantrell possessed a distinctive and heartfelt voice that was destined for success. "Blu's 'Till I'm Gone' brought out feelngs that I hadn't felt for a very long time," Reid says. "Her voice seemed to satifsy that yearning in my soul, not only for a great singer, but also for a sound that I felt was missing in today's music. Blu is that sound. Blu is that soul. Blu is that artist."

During the creative process, Cantrell recalls spending time in the recording studio with A&R exec and co-writer Tab and producer Tricky, sharing her life, her joys, and her sorrows. So Blu, the singer's Arista debut, is the result: a musical diary revealing the innermost thoughts and experiences of a young woman trying, like so many, to succeed at love. With wide-ranging musical influences like Billie Holiday, Sade, Kim Burrell, Karen Clark, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Sting, Prince, and Arista labelmates Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, along with tracks produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Dallas Austin, Laney Stewart, Don Vito and Jason Rome, So Blu boasts a bevy of songs dripping with emotion, attitude and artistry. Co-written almost entirely by Cantrell, the album was executive-produced by Tab, Tricky, and L.A. Reid.

Bittersweet
2004
Blu Cantrell - Bittersweet Track Listing:
1. Impatient (feat. Lil Kim & Fat Joe)
2. Ever After
3. Sleep In The Middle
4. Unhappy
5. Risk It All
6. Breathe - Remix (feat. Sean Paul)
7. Cream

8. Let Her Go
9. Don't Wannna Say Goodbye
10. Hit Em' Up Style (Oops)
11. Round Up
12. Swingin'
13. All You Had To Say
click here to buy Bittersweet
So Blu
2001
Blu Cantrell - So Blu Track Listing:
1. Waste My Time
2. Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)
3. Till I'm Gone
4. U Must B Crazy
5. One
6. I'll Find a Way
7. Swingin'

8. 10,000 Times
9. When I Needed You
10. All You Had to Say
11. I Can't Believe
12. So Blu
13. Blu Is a Mood
click here to buy So Blu
www.blucantrell.com the official Blu Cantrell website

YOU GO GIRL (BLU CANTRELL)!
by Audrey J. Bernard

(Aug. 16, 2001) Blu Cantrell has already made a name for herself in this seemingly overcrowded stable of new stars on the horizon. The Atlanta-based beauty has given us a taste of what can be expected on So Blu with her hot debut single, "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)." The single which was written and produced by hitmaker Dallas Austin, is making major inroads at urban and crossover radio stations across the country. The song, accompanied by a hot video directed by Wayne Isham, is also experiencing heavy television play.

Although "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" is a upbeat head-nodder, the message is not! The song showcases the wrath of her emotion -- the feelings of a woman too-often scorned. She makes it very plain that she's one woman that you don't want to mess with!

"This song is about a woman who has found out that her man is cheating," Blu explains. "She knows that the only way she can really hurt him is in his pocket, so she goes out and spends all his money with her friends." As the song goes, "Hey ladies, when your man wanna get buck wild/Just go back and him 'em up style/Put your hands on his cash and spend it to the last dime/for all the hard times."

The 25 year-old R&B singer was discovered by Arista's president & CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid who recognized her star quality upon hearing her sing. Reid recognized that she possessed a distinctive, exceptionally beautiful and heartfelt voice, and that she had the capacity to become a huge success.

"Blu's 'Till I'm Gone' brought out feelings that I hadn't felt for a very long time," Reid admits. "Her voice seemed to satisfy that yearning in my soul, not only for a great singer, but also for a sound that I felt as missing in today's music. Blue is that sound. Blu is that soul. Blue is that artist."

After listening to Cantrell -- who comes to Arista via Atlanta's RedZone Entertainment -- its hard to believe that someone so beautiful and so young could be so spiteful. But after listening closely to her wrenching lyrics, you gloat in knowing that now it's the man's time to cry.

When you listen to the painfully beautiful "Till I'm Gone" you are reminded of how hurtful her romance was. It is very autobiographical in nature and content and the centerpiece of the album. "'Till I'm Gone' means a lot to me because it was the first song I recorded (with Tricky and Tab)," she avers. "I was at the peak of my pain. Everything I was feeling at that time went into that song."

So Blu is a Cantrell production. She has co-written most of the tracks as it weaves a story of a woman who has sojourned through the bowels of a hell filled with emotional stress.

It was very important for her to select the right men to put these feelings to music. Although she might have had a bad time selecting the right man for her, she had no problems selecting the right producers to put her pain in words. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Dallas Austin, Laney Stewart, Don Vito and Jason Rome got the calling and, unlike her lovers, did not let her down! The sultry album was executive-produced by A&R exec and co-writer Tab, producer Tricky and L.A. Reid.

Blu shared many life experiences with Tab and Tricky. She had to open up to them in order for them to write about things that made her happy and things that saddened her on her wobbly road to love. Sessions with these guys emptied her soul allowing them free access to her likes and dislikes.

"They wouldn't just write a track and go right on to the next one," Blu fondly remembers. "They would actually sit down and talk to me, getting to know where I was coming from as a person."

Blu fondly recalls her childhood in Providence, Rhode Island, and her early on influences -- Billie Holiday, Sade, Kim Burrell, Karen Clark, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Sting, Prince, and Arista labelmates Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.

"My mother was a jazz singer. She couldn't afford a babysitter, so whenever she would sing, she would take us (Blu and her siblings) with her and we would sit in the dressing room. I would usually make my way out to the stage to watch her sing."

Blu continued her musical journey on the advent of adulthood and found soothing music medicine for her pain. "My music comes from hurt, from being in relationships where I felt I was taken advantage of," she admits. "I was in love, but the relationships didn't work out."

During a visit to Atlanta, Blu met RedZone Entertainment executives Tab and C. "Tricky" Stewart. After listening to her demo they immediately formed a creative relationship that has become engagingly stronger during the years. Like others before her, Blu sang background vocals, both in the recording studio and onstage, for some of today's biggest R&B and hip-hop artists, including Faith Evans, Puff Daddy, Gerald Levert and Aaron Hall.

Listening to an album sampler, I was shattered by Blu's bigger than life talent. As a woman, I felt her pain as I too have loved and lost. "Ten Thousand Times," about a woman who is reluctant to give in to love, spoke to my earlier flirtations with love thanks to RedZone songwriter/producer Laney Stewart who penned this one.

Another stunningly beautiful song, "I'll Find A Way," was co-written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis -- two men who know a lot about love. Other standouts include "It's Alright," "Killing Me," "The One," "U Must B Crazy," and "Waste My Time" (featuring L.O.).

Now as to those of you who are thinking that the last thing you want to listen to is another woman's pain, you're wrong 'cause Blu shares her pain in a way that will make you proud to be a woman and to all the men that have hurt her, look who's laughing now!

"I think you can feel the pain I've experienced in my music," she says. "It's something that a lot of people can relate to. You can hear the hurt in my voice and I think a lot of people have gone through that kind of pain."

How does the saying go, "Better to have love and lost, than not to have loved at all." And with So Blu, had Cantrell not gone through this pain, than there would be nothing to sing about and we would have missed out on a truly fabulous love lost and found and lost again.

 

LYRICS

I'll Find a Way

The promise of love
It came from my heart
Thought all that we shared
Would last forever
So where did things go wrong
What happened that made
Things fall apart
Why I just don't know
It's so hard
To let go of someone
I used to call my own
CHORUS:
But I'll find a way
I'll get over you one day
I'll find a way
I'm gonna deal
With all this pain
I'll find a way
'Cause I know
That somewhere
My soul mate is
Waiting for me
Gonna make it
Through the day
I'll find a way

Silence gets so intense
Without you to share a word
I really miss your presence
This loneliness feels awkward
But I won't call you I refuse
I'd rather lay here
By myself in the dark
Crying my heart out
I wish these tears could erase
All the memories of you
But they can't

Repeat chorus

'Cause what hurts today
In time will fade away
When you told me good-bye
I felt so betrayed
Find the courage
To move on
One day I'll replace
The precious love I lost

 
Hit 'em up Style (Oops!)

While he was scheming
I was beamin' in the Beamer
Just beamin'
Can't believe that
I caught my man cheatin'
So I found another way
To make him pay for it all
So I went
To Neiman-Marcus
On a shopping spree
And on the way
I grabbed Soley and Mia
And as the cash box rang
I thought everything away

(Oops)
There goes the dreams
We used to say
(Oops)
There goes the time
We spent away
(Oops)
There goes the love I had
But you cheated on me
And that's worth that now
(Oops)
There goes the house
We made a home
(Oops)
There goes you'll never
Leave me alone
(Oops)
For all the lies you told
This is what you owe

Hey ladies
When your man
Wanna get buckwild
Just go back and
Hit 'em up style
Put your hands on his cash
And spend it to the last dime
For all the hard times
Oh
When you go then
Everything goes
From the crib to the ride
And the clothes
So you better let him know that
If he messed up
You gotta hit 'em up

While he was braggin'
I was coming down the hill
And just draggin'
All his pictures and his
Clothes in the bag and
Sold everything else till
There was just nothin' left

And I paid
All the bills about
A month too late
It's a shame we have
To play these games
The love we had
Just fades away, away

(Oops)
There goes the dreams
We used to say
(Oops)
There goes the time
We spent away
(Oops)
There goes the love I had
But you cheated on me
And that's worth that now
(Oops)
There goes the house
We made a home
(Oops)
There goes you'll never
Leave me alone
(Oops)
For all the lies you told
This is what you owe

Hey ladies
When your man
Wanna get buckwild
Just go back and
Hit 'em up style
Put your hands on his cash
And spend it to the last dime
For all the hard times
Oh
When you go then
Everything goes
From the crib to the
Ride and the clothes
So you better let him know that
If he messed up
You gotta hit 'em up

Hey ladies
When your man
Wanna get buckwild
Just go back and
Hit 'em up style
Put your hands on his cash
And spend it to the last dime
For all the hard times
Oh
When you go then
Everything goes
From the crib to the
Ride and the clothes
So you better let him know that
If he messed up
You gotta hit 'em up

All of the dreams you sold
Left me out in the cold
What happened to the days
When we used to
Trust each other
And all of the things I sold
Will take you until you get old
To get 'em back without me
'Cause revenge is better
Than money you'll see

Hey ladies
When your man
Wanna get buckwild
Just go back and
Hit 'em up style
(Hit 'em up style)
Get your hands
On his cash
And oh yeah
Oh
When you go then
Everything goes
From the crib to the

(Crib to the ride
And the clothes)
Ride and the clothes
So you better
Let him know that
If he messed up you
Gotta hit 'em up

Hey ladies
Hey ladies
Hey ladies
Hey ladies
Yeah yeah
Woah, ooh oh ooh oh ooh oh
Oh
Oh no, oh no

Yeah
Oh oh oh

If he mess up you
Gotta hit 'em up

Repeat chorus to fade

 
 
 
 
 
 
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