When it comes to my music, there are few artists that affect me in a way that defines a whole portion of my life. In a sense, some artists become the soundtrack of my life because of how much their music lyrically and sonically means to me. At times the reason for the choice is simply because you enjoy the music. But at times there are songs and albums that not only become our favorites because of the sound but because of the parallels between life and song. When the meaning of the song has a connection to your life’s experiences, it becomes a much deeper emotional experience. The Foreign Exchange and their band of merry musicians are certainly in that category for me.
After seeing FE perform at BB Kings back in 2009, my fiancée and I made sure that we would not miss their return to BB Kings on Oct. 23rd, 2010. Arriving early to the scene, we were greeted by the sounds of DJ Brainchild spinning an eclectic mix of hip hop and funk. Experiencing everything from Slum Village to Barry White, the crowd spilled into BB Kings anticipating yet another amazing performance for this year’s CMJ Festival.
Authenticity has delighted its fans and managed to continue the amazing sound that so many people fell in love with on their sophomore album Leave It All Behind. Despite being released a mere month or so before, the crowd already had their favorite old and new songs in mind and many of them discussed which ones they hope FE would perform.
Once everyone arrived and settled in, Dyana Williams, host of the Unsung series on TVOne, came on stage to formally introduce the main attraction for the night. Speaking of how The Foreign Exchange’s music undoubtedly is as touching as it is buzzworthy, she laid the groundwork for yet another unforgettable performance by The Foreign Exchange Music Group.
As the crew came on stage, everyone noticed a slight change in the line up. While last year saw guest vocalists Yahzarah and Carlitta Durand, this year the two were absent. Instead, guest artist Chantae Cann (who is featured on “Laughing At Your Plans” on the album Authenticity) came to assist the usual players of Zo! and Darien Brockington. At times her amazing yet soft voice was drowned out by the excellent musicianship backing FE on stage.
Phonte reached the stage and thanked the crowd for all of the love and pointed out how their release of Authenticity managed to beat out other major label artists (like Trey Songz) who “actually have a budget”! As the crowd laughed he managed to make it clear that he and Nicolay are purists in the true sense of the word. They do what they do because they love music not because they love fame.