Friday, January 15, 2010


Watch this video. All the way through, to the end.

At my day job working in the interactive department at SIRIUS XM, I produce a number of videos that we post to our YouTube page and website. Some interviews, some performances. I occasionally operate a camera - not my area of expertise at all, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I've enjoyed shooting some performances, but I think I can retire from that now. Mary J. Blige performing "Color" from the film Precious blew the roof off, I doubt I'll ever film anything that tops that one.

This was filmed as part of our Artist Confidental series, where a SIRIUS XM host interviews the person between performances. What was so interesting about the performance of this particular song was that it was not planned. Artists usually give a pre-planned setlist for TV shows, radio shows, webcasts, etc. This was a live radio broadcast: it was live without a net. During the show, Mary decided to play this song. When she mentioned the song, some of the band members immeadiately looked a bit nervous. They had rehearsed the songs on the set list, not "Color." I was under the impression that the keyboardist in blue was the musical director. When you see him saying something into his mic, it was fed right into the other members in-ear monitors. I couldn't hear him, I think he was actually directing them through the song. Well, watch the video, they killed it. Just an unbelievable performance. I didn't have ear-monitors - so all I could hear was Mary, the bass player, the drummer and the backing singers, no keyboards (they didn't have amps, they were just fed straight into the board). So what I was hearing at the time, was much more stripped down than what you hear in this video. Still, I was stunned and had a lump in my throat.

I have long thought that Mary is one of the best singers out there, and more than that, when she sings something she believes it. She makes you believe it. I think that even if she didn't have an incredible voice, she'd be a great singer just on the strength of her convictions. I think Mary really identified with the title character of Precious. If, as she says, she is truly stronger with each tear, she must be a strong lady.


Ryan McGowan said...

That was amazing.

I'm enjoying your blog. I stumbled across it doing a search for "Little Steven's Underground Garage Top 50 Songs of the Decade." I was looking for the list and your blog was one of the top hits on Google. I'm a huge Underground Garage and Sirius XM fan. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut listening only to Underground Garage artists. Maybe your blog will expand my interests a bit.

Minority said...

wow, well thank you Ryan. I originally became a SIRIUS subscriber just because of LIttle Steven's Underground Garage. Now I work there! (Little Steven is one of my top artists of the '00s, read about it here ) I also can listen to the Garage for hours on end - it is because the playlist is so deep and so diverse and the DJs are all cool and interesting. If you want to try something else, I'd suggest Outlaw Country. But there are tons of great channels to explore on SIRIUS XM. But of course no one channel plays EVERY artist you would want to hear - Mary J Blige being an example. She is one of the best singers in the world, she has a rock and roll spirit (my opinion). YOu can hear her on The Heat - she actually took over the channel this week, through Sunday. Ryan, thanks for reading, and come back soon!

Michael said...

Wow brian, when you said on the jolt that this was an amazing performance you were not joking... damn.

Minority said...

thanks, Michael, it really was an incredible performance, and I felt lucky to be in the room during it (even though I couldn't hear either keyboardist).