Category Archives: Features
After years of contemplating, I decided to move my site and change its name. Not only the name, but its purpose. WorldAccordingtoMonte.com is now WATMONLINE.COM. When I launched worldaccordingtomonte.com in 2009, I had NO idea what I was getting into. All I wanted to do was post few stories and give my opinion, in hopes of getting a few readers and call it day. Back then, I was clueless to the work, time and energy it takes to keep up a blog, especially when you enjoy it.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with music. I might not know the day of the week, but I KNOW when Grammys are. Long story short, I took my obsession beyond friends and family and made it public to anyone with access to the Internet, and that’s how worldaccordingtomonte.com was born.
Since my first post about Barbara Streisand keeping Mariah Carey out the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, worldaccordingtomonte.com has grown beyond my expectations. Knowing that nearly a half million people have, at one time or another, visited the site blows my mind. In the grand scheme of things that’s a small fraction of world’s Internet population, but to me, that’s EVERYTHING!
As World According to Monte becomes WATM ONLINE, I’m confident in knowing that this is only the beginning. I’ve seen what a hard work and dedication can do and I refuse to give up until I reach my goals. Whenever I do decide to take on something, I want to be the best; regardless of how it takes to get there, I’m willing and will work my ass off to get to the next level.
There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of music-related websites, offering music and entertainment news, celebrity gossip, exclusive interviews, etc., but few are actually credible. And that’s what will set WATM ONLINE apart from the run-of-the-mill music blog. I want to give the facts, then give my opinion, even if the facts and my opinion conflict. My hope is to highlight artists, known and unknown, with stories that will spark conversation and become your go-to for the latest about your favorites and the best you never heard.
If you’ve ever clicked on a link, left a comment, scrolled down the homepage, liked on Facebook, retweeted a Tweet, subscribed via email, or have been involved with worldaccordingtomonte.com in any way, I humbly thank you!
I’m excited about the new journey and look forward to all that lies ahead! Head over to WATMONLINE.COM and subscribe to receive posts via email, bookmark the site, and if you’d like, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. (The fact that I have personalize email for the new site is the coolest shit, EVER!)
See you there!
In theory, when an artist has two stints in groups that end prematurely and isn’t linked to a major label, any hopes of a solo career are null and void. But what if that artist was always meant to be a solo star, and the groups were solely stepping stones to get to the next level. And what if the drama, personal and professional setbacks, and pessimism from the audience were used to build ‘armor’ in order for the artist to ascend even further. Enter Dawn Richard, who negates the theory and rewrites her story by taking control.
Before Making the Band 3, Danity Kane and Diddy- Dirty Money, Dawn’s grind began in 2003, with her indie album Been a While. Not a top-seller, the album was good enough to land her an opening gig for Anthony Hamilton. Fast forward to 2005, when she was named one of the five members of Diddy’s female supergroup — along with Aubrey O’Day, Aundrea Fimbres, Wanita “D. Woods” Woodgett and Shannon Bex –who became Danity Kane. They went on to released a pair of chart-topping albums — Danity Kane and Welcome to the Dollhouse — and became the first female group to have both their debut and sophomore albums debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Their success proved short-lived as rumors of turmoil and infighting reached a head. In 2009, Danity Kane split; that same year, Diddy announced the formation of a new hip-hop supergroup with Dawn and singer-songwriter Kaleena. Inspired by 80s groups Soul II Soul and Loose Ends, Diddy-Dirty Money released The Last Train to Paris in 2010. They unexpectedly disbanded the following year.
Now faced with a dilemma, Dawn had to choose: stay with Diddy’s Bad Boy imprint and wait two years to release solo material, or step away from the man who made her famous and follow her own path. Choosing the latter, Dawn took control of her destiny with release of Armor On, her first solo EP, in March.
Released through her company Our Dawn Entertainment, Armor On reached the top of iTunes’ R&B/Soul charts shortly after its release. While promoting and touring for the EP , Dawn took a moment to chat with World According to Montè about her journey and establishing herself as a solo artist.
As the definition of R&B evolves, Dawn Richard, formerly of Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money, steps to the forefront to usher in a new wave of the genre; one free of limitations, relying solely on the music. On Armor On, her debut EP, Dawn takes listeners on an emotional roller coaster ride, filled with love, heartbreak, regret, forgiveness and seemingly everything in between, all the while maintaining a sense of individuality and a sound all her own.
After a four-year absence, Brooke Valentine returns to the spotlight with new music and a new stage name. Now known simply as B Valentine, the Houston-born singer celebrates the birth of her son on “Forever,” the feel-good lead single from her forthcoming sophomore album.
“A lot of fans have been asking where I have been,” she says. “You know, I’ve been singing since I was 12 years-old; so by the time songs like ‘Girlfight’ and the Chain Letter album hit, I’d been doing this for quite a while. In this world, you just can’t have all career and no balance. I gave birth to my son London, who I love and adore. He requires a bit more attention than what the average parent has to give to a child.”
Aside from the birth of her son, the singer, best known for her 2005 top 20 smash “Girlfight” featuring Lil Jon and Big Boi, says her time away from the industry was her chance to live life. “I’d been fighting to be released from the deal with Virgin Records. I was no longer in love with the industry and with the politics that go with it. I needed a break. I needed to live life,” Brooke says. “But I want my fans to know, though, that I never fell out of love with music or creating it. I was always appreciative of their support and what they have meant to my career.”
From the Vault
“Cover Girl (Live)”
Off her debut album, Chain Letter
With 16 wins and 44 nominations, Beyoncé is the third most honored woman in GRAMMYs history. After winning three with Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé tied the record for most wins (five) in a single night by a female artist in 2004. In 2010, she surpassed the record when she won six awards, including Song of the Year and Best R&B Female Vocal Performance for “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and Best Pop Female Vocal Performance for “Halo.”
At just 30-years old, she ranks third for most honored female performers behind Alison Krauss (26) and Aretha Franklin (18), and ties second for most-nominated female artist in Grammy history with 44, behind Dolly Parton, with 45 nominations.
In addition to a trio of solo performances, Knowles has also graced the GRAMMYs stage with Prince and Tina Turner. In 2004, she performed a ‘Purple Rain‘ Medley with Prince, which incorporated her hit single “Crazy In Love.” To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GRAMMYs, she joined forces with the legendary Tina Turner, performing Turner’s classic “Proud Mary.”
Watch Beyoncé perform the “Purple Rain” Medley with Prince at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004 below.
As news of Whitney Houston’s death spread like wildfire, Twitter became a place where fans – celebrities and ordinary people alike – paid tribute to the iconic singer. Diddy, Mariah Carey, LA Reid, Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, Keri Hilson, and Simon Cowell were among many.
With a then-record ten nominations, Lauryn Hill went into the 41st Grammy Awards (1999) a favorite to win big. By the end of the night, Hill won five, and set a record for most wins by a female artist in a single night. In addition to scoring Best New Artist, she won Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Doo Wop (That Thing),” and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won Best R&B Album and Album of the Year, making it the first hip-hop album to win in the category.
The singer-rapper capped off a record-making night with a performance of “Zion,” an ode to her first-born son, accompanied by Carlos Santana on guitar. Over the years, her record five wins would be tied by the likes of Alicia Keys (2002), Norah Jones (2003), Beyoncé (2004), Amy Winehouse (2008), and Alison Krauss in 2009. The record was broken in 2010 by Beyoncé, who won six.
Nearly two decades after its release, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill still stands as one of the greatest albums of all time. Unlike anything before or after it, the album’s lasting impact on music and pop culture is proof that music has no expiration date.
Watch Lauryn Hill perform “Zion” with Carlos Santana below.
GRAMMYs Rewind: Jay-Z, T.I., Kanye West & Lil Wayne featuring M.I.A. – “Swagger Like Us” (Live at the 51st Grammy Awards)
For the first time on national television, four of the biggest names in hip-hop – Jay-Z, T.I., Kanye West and Lil Wayne — took the stage to perform “Swagger Like Us,” the second single from T.I.’s sixth album, Paper Trail. With a 9-month pregnant M.I.A. in tow, the hip-hop titans rocked the stage at the 51st Grammy Awards, where they were nominated for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance by Duo/Group, winning the latter.