Syleena Johnson
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Syleena Johnson

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band R&B Soul

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Singer Syleena Johnson may not be immediately familiar these days by name, but to anyone who was into R’n’B in the mid-­2000s, her voice will be.

The Grammy award nominee, who is bringing her “Underrated” tour to the UK, featured on Kanye West’s 2004 hit All Falls Down.

Her distinctive vocals made the single’s classic hook. Johnson, who has also recorded with R Kelly, Busta Rhymes and Tweet amongst others, will play Camden’s Jazz Cafe on March 25.

But she wants to be known for much more than her guest vocals and has a long back-catalogue of her own to be proud of.

The singer-songwriter, model and actress will perform songs from her recently released album Chapter 5:
Underrated as well as other hits from her previous chart-topping albums.

Johnson, the daughter of 1960s R’n’B and Blues singer Syl Johnson, has documented her work in albums set out as chapters, drawing on her personal life as inspiration.

Her performance at the Jazz Cafe will be followed by an Official After Party where there will be a meet and greet and the singer will be signing copies of her records.
- ROISIN GADELRAB


Celebrity profiles and family bonds are among the themes driving the 2012-2013 programming lineup that TV One unveiled at its up-front presentation Tuesday at Cipriani's in New York City.

The black-focused cable television network, which reaches 56 million households, will add 14 series and specials next season and bring back eight shows. Most of the entries are set to air during the third and fourth quarters. Among the new fare we'll be looking out for are these:

The Ladies of R&B, an unscripted series that follows the current trials, tribulations and triumphs of singers Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Keke Wyatt, Monifah Carter and Syleena Johnson. It is also slated to premiere in the third quarter of 2012. - Sheryl Huggins Salomon


Discography

Chapter V: Underrated (2011)
Chapter IV: Labor Pains (2009)
Chapter III: The Flesh (2005)
Single “All Falls Down” with Kanye West (2004)
Chapter II: The Voice (2002)
Chapter I: Love, Pain and Forgiveness (2001)

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Bio

Imagine this: you’re a Grammy-nominated singer, considered one of the best vocalists of your generation, who has scored major R&B hits and been invited to collaborate with the likes of Kanye West and R. Kelly, yet some folks consider you “underrated.” This has been the plight of Syleena Johnson, acclaimed as one of the finest R&B voices to have emerged during the past decade. Having fought the major label system to allow her true identity to shine forth, Syleena now steps forward with her most personal statement to date. Her boundary-stretching fifth album, entitled, appropriately enough, Chapter V: Underrated, released September 27, 2011 on Shanachie Entertainment. Easily her best all-around album since her second best-selling album, Underrated shows the full range of Syleena’s talent as it moves from the powerful soul-balladry of songs like “Little Things” to full-on club bangers like the first single, “A Boss.” The result is a rarity in the R&B world these days - a true album that flows through a diverse and satisfying complete listening experience. Every song but one was written or co-written by Syleena.

“I’m calling this album Underrated because it was a name chosen by my fans,” Syleena explains. “Also, if you look in Webster’s, the definition of ‘underrated’ is ‘underestimated.’ I feel some of my counterparts in the industry have underestimated me, thinking I wouldn’t make another album past Chapter 2.”

Indeed, the album opens with the defiant title track that segues immediately into “A Boss,” the assertive and dance-friendly anthem for confident, capable women who want a mate who is a true equal; the video clip for this track features NFL star Chad Ochocinco. But the range of the album quickly becomes apparent with “Angry Girl,” a lyrically-provocative acoustic guitar-driven duet with likewise underrated singer Tweet.

Elsewhere on Underrated Syleena deals with inspirational themes on “Stone Wall,” female sexual prowess on “A Champ” and “Bad Person,” and the ins-and-outs of relationships on “Like Thorns.” Tracks such as “Little Things” and “My Shoes” deliver the powerful “old school” soul balladry that won her early fans, as only can come from a classically-trained singer who happens also to be well-schooled in the deep traditions of soul music and blues, thanks to her father, the legendary Syl Johnson, who as a label-mate of Al Green, scored the definitive original recording of “Take Me To The River.” Syleena Johnson grew up outside Chicago in Illinois.

Though she got involved with music during her high school years, initially she was discouraged from getting into the music business by her father, who had many disappointing experiences in the industry. Meanwhile her mother become the nation’s first black female police commissioner.