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"And What Do You Do?"

It starts off as a lunchtime interview at South Street’s Ishkabibble’s. Then it heads East; Res has a taste for Japanese, but both spots in the area are closed. So back on South, as doo-woppin’ oldies blare out of the speakers, Res slides into the red-pleather-lined booth at Johnny Rockets. She grips the menu and thinks out loud, "Veggie burger?"

The waitress arrives and she orders. "Let me get french fries, onion rings and a slice of apple pie with ice cream." Hey, she would have eaten healthy if either of the Japanese places had been open. Stop, hold up — who’s Res? Some young men in the next booth over want to know. "You rap?" one of them boldly interrupts the interview. "No, I sing," Res replies and turns back around.

Res is that sweetly intoxicating voice belting out futuristic hooks on GZA’s "Beneath the Surface" and Talib Kweli’s "Too Late." MCA Records has dubbed the latest hard-to-package musical export out of Philly "a cross-genre musical miracle." They say her debut, How I Do, "incorporate[s] elements of soul, hip-hop, alternative rock, roots reggae, acid jazz, folk, drum ’n’ bass and psychedelic influences." And it does.

But where the hell is it shelved at the record store? Right now, it’s wrongly stashed in the R&B/Soul section.Which radio station is gonna bump it? Power 99, Q102, Y100 or all of them?

Flipping through The Fader magazine, there’s an advertisement for How I Do. A black woman with neatly twisted hair smiles back at the reader. But the ad doesn’t compare Res to anyone. It refuses to state just what kind of music she makes. "It’s something new," says Res, unwilling to pigeonhole her brand of music just yet.

Comparisons are being made to the crossover potential of Macy Gray. But if you let 23-year-old Shareese Ballard, a.k.a. Res (pronounced Reese), tell it, it’s a little bit more like the Beastie Boys: "They were white artists, so they were automatically put on white stations even though they weren’t doing ‘white’ music — they were doing hip-hop — but then it trickled down to black radio."

Res hopes to accomplish that exact same thing, only the reverse — hitting the alternative airwaves. "I don’t think 99’s gonna play it." BET? "Maybe, maybe not. I honestly don’t know. If I made a video for ‘Sittin’ Back,’ it would be on there." Therein lies a potential problem. "I think if people hear ‘Sittin’ Back’ that they’ll think that’s what the record’s about." Hands down, "Sittin’ Back" is the most hip-hop-ish track on the album, and a funky one at that.

MCA put the reins in Res’ hands, allowing her to choose her own band, producers and songwriters. While the label would have liked to have Raphael Saadiq (Tony! Toni! Toné!, Lucy Pearl) produce some tracks, Res had plans of her own.

"I know what I didn’t want to make. People look at me and they think ‘Oh, you’re going to make an R&B record.’" Not so. "My shit’s more based out of rock and reggae influences," Res insists. And production is handled mainly by Minneapolis beatsmith Doc, producer of the trip-hoppy, atmospheric Esthero album. Res chose Doc for the unique sound he created with Esthero, and she dug the way he built his tracks from the guitar up. How I Do is laced with Res’ rocking vocals and catchy songs that scream out for heavy radio rotation.

The first track, "Golden Boy," is a melodic, hypnotic, drum ’n’ bass-tinged song on which Res’ vocals ride effortlessly with lyrics exposing those "frontin’ boys." "Now would they love you if they knew all the things that we know?/ Those golden boys are all a fraud, don’t believe their show."

Other standouts include "Ice King," "700 Mile Situation," the orchestral "Tsunami," the sugary "I’ve Known the Garden" and the all-too-familiar "Let Love." But don’t let the MTV appeal of this sister fool you. Res’ debut doesn’t stray far from the sound of her original demo tapes. Her sound is her own, independent of any producer or record label’s direction.

"God willing that it goes bananas and blows the fuck up," Res says, pondering how her album will do. "People don’t recognize me. When I put on makeup I look totally different." Smiling, she adds, "I like it that way, though." So keep your eyes and ears open for Res on one of the many music television and radio stations out there — just don’t try to predict which one.

by Ainè Ardron-Doley
- CityPaper.Net


RES'(pronounced "reece") released an album under MCA records entitled "How I Do" back in 2001, which recieved airplay for a number of singles.

Currently I'am releasing the following EPs. our self-titled debut "4Tha$ouL, Inc!*© (It'z F.T.S!!!)" is our 1st project. "Welcome 2Tha Cumberland Bridge 8,7,VI" is a follow-up EP. The most recent project "Tha Trance4mer$ Clique" is our latest project.



Born and raised 1978 in the suburbs of Philadelphia, RES' (pronounced reece) (Nee Shareese Renee' Ballard) grew up hearing the musical sounds of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Teddy Pendergrass albums at home. She also developed an appreciation for groups like the Eurythmics and Pearl Jam while attending the Academy of Notre Dame, an all-girls Catholic college prep school. Now a classically-trained 29-year-old adult, Res' remembers finding her lifelong passion for music at the tender age of seven, when she was first enrolled in voice lessons. She began singing Italian arias from operas at age 14, and continued for several years. In her second year at Temple University, Res rang up Santi White, an old family friend from Philly who was working as an A&R assistant at Epic Records in New York. "Santi asked me to sing for her over the phone, then she invited me to her house in New York because she had just started writing songs at the same time. So I went up to New York, we started working on songs together, and she hooked me up with my manager," Res explained. After rejecting Epic's offer to join Groove Theory because "it just wasn't what I was looking for at the time," Res shopped her demo at various labels and ultimately signed with MCA in August 1999. She started her major label career by participating in two critically-acclaimed projects: singing the hook on the title track from labelmate GZA's (from Wu-Tang) sophomore solo album, 1999's Beneath the Surface, and contributing guest vocals on "Too Late," a trippy, atmospheric cut on Talib Kweli & Hi Tek's Reflection Eternal. Res found Minneapolis-bred beat-maker Doc, the missing link to her sound, after a friend turned her onto Esthero's Breath From Another--another Doc project. Months later, Res' relocated to Manhattan, and she and Doc entered the studio to begin work on How I Do. Res' solo debut album is a cohesive collection of original songs that incorporate elements of soul, hip-hop, alternative rock, roots reggae, acid jazz, folk, drum 'n' bass and psychedelic influences. The project entitled, "How I Do," was released in 2001 featuring the first single, "Golden Boys." Later the same year she released her second single "Ice King," which unfortunately like the track "Golden Boys," was not a hit. In 2002 she released her third - & first hit - single "They-Say Vision" which hit number one on the Billboard dance chart and no. 37 on the Hot 100 Singles chart. With the success of the single, the album entered the Billboard 200 for the first time. A fourth single, "Sittin Back," was also released. After a 4 year hiatus, Res' was set to release her sophomore effort through Geffen Records in 2006, but was released from the music label. More recently, Shareese Ballard has become part of Idle Warship (Idol Worship), a trio comprised of Brooklyn emcee Talib Kweli, Philadelphia singer Res' and Canadian singer/rapper Graph Nobel. Res' has appeared on every Talib Kweli album since 2000's Train of Thought. They have also toured together, including on the summer 2005 MGD Flavor 2 Savor mini-tour. They are currently recording an album, entitiled 'Party Robot', which is tentatively planned for soon release.
The Last Word:
"I could sing R&B if I wanted to and it would be kinda nice, I think, but that's not me. I mean it's music, you know? Just do what makes you feel good."

Founded by DaKatalyZt in the summer of 2003, 4Tha$ouL, Inc!*© (It'zF.T.S!!!) is the modern day New Evolution Music representation bringing about the next wave of not only Southern Alternative Soul, but also New Age Hip/Hop, Easy Listening, Children's Music, and World Party Muzik.