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They say that it’s a long way to the top if you wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll, and that’s an expression singer/songwriter Res knows all too well. 2001 was the year Res changed the game with How I Do, a cross-genre masterpiece that she co-penned with childhood friend Santi White (now known as Santigold). The album yielded four hit singles – the Nas remixed “Ice King”, the Billboard chart-topping “They Say Vision”, “Golden Boys”, and “Sittin’ Back” – and placed Res in a unique albeit coveted position of soulful songstress with a Hip-Hop edge. Like many great artists on the majors, the Philly native fell victim to label politics. “In a nut shell, I put out the first record [How I Do] and MCA went under,” she explains. “Instead of letting all of the people go, they handpicked like a hundred artists and brought them to Geffen. I went to Geffen, made a whole second Res album and they never put it out.” The album was mixed, mastered, and shelved. After a few years of stunted creativity while living in LA on a label salary, Res made the bravest decision in her career – she severed ties with Geffen and became a free agent. “Years were going by and they were just paying my rent and letting me live but not putting my music out,” she recalls. “I asked if I could leave.”
While the world hadn’t heard a follow-up Res album, that didn’t mean there was no music. In 2006 Res was asked by Hip-Hop crooner Cee-Lo to join the Gnarls Barkley world tour promoting their Grammy Award winning album St. Elsewhere. “That was a ride I will never forget! We performed in places like New Zealand, Australia, Japan, all throughout Europe and the United States…in the most ridiculous costumes,” she fondly remembers. Throughout the year and a half touring as a background singer for Gnarls Barkley, Res constantly wrote new material, including the song “To Empower” which landed on the soundtrack to Akeelah and the Bee. Upon returning to the States, she started a residency at Hollywood’s the Mint and began doing spot dates in LA, Atlanta, and San Francisco performing new material. “Then I decided to get my act together,” she says. Then Idle Warship happened.
“I started a group with Talib Kweli and then we added Graph Nobel,” Res says of the genesis of Idle Warship. Their music melds the rapping of Kweli with the singing of Res and Nobel peppered in. Idle Warship took the 2008 SXSW by storm, making their official debut with an unlikely paired fan base of Rock and Hip-Hop heads. While the trio is still forming songs and gearing for an official release, the stage is now set for Res to re-emerge with her second solo offering.
Black.Girls.Rock! is a true labor of love for Res. Growing up in a household warmed by Marvin Gaye plus being a child of the ‘80s, Res was always eclectic in her musical tastes. While her early days offered electro-laden Neo Soul, Res spent a large portion of her in between years crafting singer/songwriter folk songs. Add in the influences from touring Europe with Gnarls Barkley and the music she is now making has never been heard before. With songs that were previously unreleased from her Geffen days coupled with newly penned hymns of heartache, love, and rebirth, Black.Girls.Rock! is the long-awaited album that will live up to every fan’s expectation. Before Black.Girls.Rock! makes its way into the universe Res will offer a prequel mixtape called a Box Of Chocolates – a collaborative effort with DJ NI** Sky, known by most as Nicole aka ½ of Nina Sky. The mixtape will include remixed unreleased tracks and demos that Res recorded along the way.
Res’ near-decade long career is filled with winding paths and memorable experiences. While she’s no stranger to the hardships of being an artist, Res is simply in love with making music and the world will fall in love once again with Black.Girls.Rock! Her voice, her style, and her sound are a combination lacking in today’s music. While her debut set the tone for the start of the first decade of the new millennium, Black.Girls.Rock! will own the close of it. By now many would have given up, but Res was born to make music. Simply put, “You’re destined to do what you’re destined to do.”