Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman

| learning-centered educator, media innovator and artist

Khadijah worked as senior writer on the popular music blog site from 2011-2014. During her three years with the site, she interviewed national recording artists including Irene Cara, Maimouna Youssef, Yazarah and Deborah Bond. She also created the series "Turning 30" which highlighted songs celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2012.

Below are selected clips:

Sound Check: Yahzarah—Still Here

Sexy, hypnotic and scintillating are just three of the words one hears when referencing the voice and stage show of soul performer Yahzarah. In Season 33 of the television show Soul Train, Yahzarah graced the stage, debuting new solo music […]

Sound Check: Teisha Marie—Still Addicted to Life

In 2009, Teisha Marie came onto the scene with her debut independent release Addicted to Life. A solidly-produced collection of refreshingly honest tunes, Addicted to Life provided a perfect alternative to abrasive mainstream themes of sex and materialism. Teisha Marie’s […]

Sound Check: Afi Soul—Still Lovely

Washington, D.C. brought legends to the world of soul music—ranging from Duke Ellington to Marvin Gaye. Indie soul singer Afi Soul has been making her own mark on the Nation’s Capital and beyond, finding independent success as a music maker […]

Sound Check: Gloria Ry’ann—Singing From the Heart

Gloria Ry’ann is the voice that has, for the past three years, supported the well-known stage voices of everyone from Ashford and Simpson to pop princess Rihanna. Touring as a background vocalist for years with some of the industry’s finest […]

Sound Check: Carolyn Malachi – Onward and Upward

Singer Carolyn Malachi is enjoying her first nomination for the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category of the 53rd annual Grammy Awards. The Baltimore-based singer is the great-granddaughter of jazz pianist John Malachi who played for jazz greats Sarah Vaughn, Pearl Bailey, […]

Sound Check: Tamika “Love” Jones – Loving Every Minute

Soul singer Tamika “Love” Jones is a recognized name in her stomping grounds of Washington D.C., performing regularly up and down the historic U Street corridor that was once called “Black Broadway”. But, while she is already a superstar in […]

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Sound Check: Kyonte—He Is What He Is

Soul-singer Kyonte, based in the Washington, D.C. area, is primed for fame. Already touring regularly as a support vocalist for singer Raheem Devaughn, Kyonte has been amassing a following for his brand of contemporary soul that stays true to its […]

New Music: Gordon Chambers “Sincere”

Gordon Chambers is the lyricist behind some of the classic songs we know and love—from Anita Baker’s “I Apologize” and Whitney Houston’s “My Love”, to Brownstone’s “If You Love Me” and “Missing You” performed by Tamia, Gladys Knight, Brandy and […]

Sound Check: Quineice—Living a Soulful Life

When R&B soul singer J. Holiday caught national attention in 2007 with his hit song “Bed”, few knew that he was only one singer from a household of talent. His talented sibling is his sister, Quineice, who has recently garnered […]

Sound Check: Kenny Wesley—More Than Decent caught up with D.C.-based singer Kenny Wesley as he prepares for his upcoming concert, a tribute show for the late Luther Vandross that he will headline in November at the famous Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.  “He had such […]

Sound Check: Chuck Brown—Still Bustin’ Loose at 75

In the late 70s, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers gained national attention with their hit “Bustin’ Loose” when they graced the stage during the eighth season of Soul Train, hosted by the legendary Don Cornelius.  At the time, not […]

Sound Check: Abby Dobson—Guts, Gusto, and Passion

Sleeping Beauty: You Are the One You Have Been Waiting On is the latest project by indie artist Abby Dobson. The album concept was inspired by the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty and the uplifting We Are the One’s We […]

New Music: Maimouna Youssef Presents ‘The Blooming’

“The Blooming” is the title track that opens up Maimouna Youssef’s first  solo full-length CD since she came upon the mainstream scene in the early new millennium as a vocalist featured on The Roots’ GRAMMY-nominated song “Don’t Feel Right”, and […]

Sound Check: Maimouna Youssef—Blooming and Building

You’ve most likely heard Maimouna Youssef’s voice many times before realizing who she was. She was featured on The Roots’ 2006 Grammy-nominated song “Don’t Feel Right” and made a cameo in Dave Chappelle’s movie, Block Party, a year before. She’s […]

Sound Check: Colie Williams – Pure Holistic Soul

If you read our review this week on Colie Williams’ new CD Light Up the Darkness, you would have a pretty good idea about how soulful her music is. With her sound, she connects generations and reveres the timelessness of […]

Soul-o-Meter: Colie Williams – Light Up the Darkness

New York-born Colie Williams has been on the scene for more than five years as a popular jazz and soul music act making waves on Washington DC’s U Street corridor that paved the way for earlier musical greats like Duke […]

Posted in Album Reviews

Sound Check: Mahoganee—Spreading Her Wings

“Arts and activism” is a phrase that is starting to make its rounds among performing artists today who are trying to keep their music relevant while supporting a good cause. South Carolina-based singer Mahoganee is one such singer who is […]

Comebacks, Restarts & Surprises: Most Anticipated Album Drops in 2012

Janet Jackson In the past few years since her last CD release in 2008, Janet Jackson has done a lot. For starters, she brushed off her acting chops and breezed into thespian duties as lead in a string of Tyler […]

Soul Train’s Top 10 Classic Soul Christmas Songs

Picking the top 10 classic soul Christmas tunes is no easy feat. For starters, it was hard to determine what makes a song a classic. Is it longevity? Is it vocal resonance and the energy of the song? Is it […]

2011 Soul Train Year in Review

2011 erupted in full-swing after a tumultuous 2010– a year that ended with the death of legendary singer Teena Marie, started with the devastating earthquake in Haiti and the BP oil spill, and included in between too many other highs […]

Sound Check: Wes Felton—Cultivating Artistry

Wes Felton is not shy about speaking his truth. Whether creating music–like his 2010 CD Land of Sheep, Ruled By Pigs, Ran By Wolves that artfully and unapologetically speaks out against mediocrity in art and vapid consumerism of society, to […]

What Is Your Soul Music Personality?

Psychologists made headlines a few years back with research data that suggests that our musical tastes not only indicate our intellectual aptitude, but also indicate what type of personality we have. It’s not too surprising, though. Your music personality—the choices […]

Soul History Lesson: Why So Few Protest Songs In Today’s Soul Music?

Protest music has always been a staple in the progression of soul music. From spirituals with hidden codes and messages during slavery, to jazz tunes like Billie Holiday’s 1939 recording of “Strange Fruit”– a response to the tragic legacy of […]

Soul Train Flashback: 80’s “It” Girl Irene Cara—What a Feeling

When I got the chance to interview 80s “It” girl Irene Cara, a flurry of memories welled up that threatened to overrun the interview during the course of my brief exchange with the former pop princess. Little girls like me, […]

Soul Flashback: Zhané’s Jean Baylor Talks About Life as a Solo Artist

Zhané was the group in the mid-90s that was a brand apart from the rest. Twenty-somethings Jean Norris and Renée Neufville hit the music scene in party mode giving us the party anthem “Hey Mr. DJ”, and with their debut […]

Sound Check: Debórah Bond—Creating Magic

Debórah Bond is no stranger to the music scene. This self-proclaimed people watcher has performed on stage with the likes of Raheem Devaughn, Mint Condition, Ledisi, and Kindred and the Family Soul since the mid- 2000s, building a fan base […]

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The Case of the Soul Singing Musician

Today’s radio-ready singer can often do two or more things at once. Beyoncé reigns supreme with the ability to dance, sing and give glamour face to any nearby camera or audience member. Mary J. Blige can sing and pull off […]

Sound Check: Liv Warfield Reveals Her ‘Diary’

Aspiring singers will be encouraged when hearing the storybook rise of soul singer Liv Warfield –known for songs “I Decided” and “Embrace Me”–who grew her craft as a singer by practicing at karaoke bars in Oregon. The mid-western native laughs […]

Sound Check: Fertile Ground’s James Collins

In 1998, a new soul jazz band surfaced in Baltimore, Maryland, creating a buzz almost instantaneously. Whether audiences were in awe of the stunning lead singer Navasha Daya or enthralled by the rich musical blendings of the instrumentalists, it didn’t […]

In the Footsteps of a Legend: Who Comes After Whitney?

A month after the passing of iconic singer Whitney Houston, fans of the late singer are left to wonder who could possibly follow in the footsteps of a legend so aptly called “The Voice” during the heyday of her career. […]

Soul Transformers: Women Who Changed the Industry

Soul music has evolved over the years due to the artists who were instrumental in being courageous enough to bring their own unique gifts to the forefront during times of transition. Whether they were breaking down the doors of genres […]

Sound Check: TwinSpirit—A Total Understanding

Take a bit of some heartfelt soul mixed with an impeccable pitch and verve, and you have the artist known as TwinSpirit. This rising international indie star recently released a new music project that inspired a community service project and, […]

The Role of Women in Today’s Music Scene

March is Women’s History Month, so it is only fitting that during this month shines the spotlight on women in the music industry who are redefining roles, changing the rules of the game, and opening the doorway for those […]

Advice to Beyoncé and New Mothers Balancing Motherhood and Career

When Beyoncé gave birth early this year to her first child, the entertainment world came to a collective stand-still—for a second at least—as the music diva, at last, paused long enough to focus on something other than her amazingly successful […]

Princess of Controversy—Claiming the Role of Art-ivist

Some entertainers entertain simply for the love of performing. Others look at their ability to entertain as a calling and an opportunity to change the world. DC-based entertainer Princess Best–aka Princess of Controversy (POC)–is one such entertainer, calling herself an […]

Breakout Artists of 2012

Rather than wait and see, we wanted to make some predictions about who will breakout this year as the artists to watch. This year promises some new artists to come upon the scene that will not only entertain you, but […]

Posted in Music

Soul Read: Nathan Seven Scott

While Soul Train is all about the music and the folks who are making the music, we can’t deny that music finds its way into almost every area of our life. That’s why we will begin profiling some of today’s […]

Soul Read: Karen Minors’ It Is What It Is

Army nurse-turned-author Karen Minors always knew that she would put out her own line of books, despite the naysayers around her. “Fortunately for me, “Minors says, “my desire and my drive came as more haters expressed negativity.” With her first […]

Chuck Brown—A Legend for the Times

I was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in the surrounding suburbs, privy to the rich culture of my hometown known as “Chocolate City”. Anyone who was anyone knew of all the great things that hailed from Chocolate City—Ben’s […]

Sound Check: Brian Culbertson’s ‘Dreams’ Come True

Many instrumentalists have made a name for themselves over the years –from Miles Davis and Ronny Jordan to Marcus Johnson and Herbie Hancock, and Brian Culbertson adds his name to the list effortlessly as he prepares for the release of […]

Sound Check: Green Tea—Music Medicine for the Soul

Tekeah C. Mason started performing as a college student with the stage name Green T.  She says, “Originally my name was Green T–as in the color green and ‘T’ being the first initial of my name.  But, when I first […]

The Intersection of Poetry & Music: The Spoken Word Artist

It’s fitting to highlight the various incarnations of soul music, for it is a category that can encompass so much—from R&B and neo-soul to acid jazz and hip-hop. The stepchild of soul music is spoken word. Spoken word found itself […]

Sound Check: Tamika Love Jones—Creating a Musical ‘Paradise’

Tamika Love Jones dropped her first CD in 2010 after working with celebrity producer Chucky Thompson and having shared the stage with a host of mainstream and independent music acts—from Amel Larrieux and Marsha Ambrosius to Navasha Daya and Jaguar […]

Sound Check: Julie Dexter is ‘New Again’

With sweetness and easy soulfulness, Julie Dexter’s voice creates an instant air of mellowness. Born in Birmingham, England, Julie Dexter follows in the footsteps of some of our favorite classic British-born soul acts—from Incognito and Lisa Stansfield to Soul II […]

Sound Check: Conya Doss Delights With a ‘Pocketful of Purpose’

Sultry chanteuse Conya Doss is a known name among neo-soul aficionados. Fans are buzzing about the Cleveland native’s new song collection, A Pocketful Of Purpose, which she is very proud of. “The project tells about self-love and perseverance through many […]

Sound Check: Tamara Wellons Sings Songs for Janie

Whether she is vocalizing rich jazz riffs that draw from her classical training on her last CD Life Is, or she’s soulfully interpreting Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Tamara Wellons is approaching music from a vantage point that is unique, […]

Posted in Music, Sound Check

The Conversation: Lupe Fiasco’s “B*tch Bad”

Warning: The word “bitch” is used throughout this piece in review of Lupe Fiasco’s new video “Bitch Bad”. The hook on Lupe Fiasco’s newest video thumps like a 90s rap hit that spews the word “bitch” with effortless fluidity. “Bitch […]

Turning 30: Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Let’s Groove”

Earth, Wind and Fire were household names by 1981 and when they released their eleventh album Raise! that year, their awaiting public was eager to enjoy their latest offering. Two songs on the album garnered significant attention—“Wanna Be With You,” […]

5 Lessons Learned From the Frank Ocean Agenda

This summer, Frank Ocean created an upheaval in the music industry right before the drop of his new album Channel Orange. On a blog post, he gently painted a narrative of his experiences prior to his rise in celebrity, and, […]

Sound Check: Lira—From South Africa to the U.S.A.

Afro-Soul singer Lira is a South African songstress who is creating a buzz with the recent release of her first North American album, Rise Again. If you think she is just the latest international “It” girl to hit the airwaves, […]

Turning 30: Prince’s “1999”

It’s no surprise really that the song “1999” by his royal highness, Prince, still reigns supreme as it celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Aging as gracefully as its singer and songwriter, “1999” captures a youthful vitality that is instantly catchy […]

Turning 30: Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”

In 1982, after a dramatic exit from Motown—the label that made his legendary career- Marvin Gaye sauntered back onto the scene with a new single, “Sexual Healing”. Short on pretense and slick metaphor, “Sexual Healing” was a bold, in-your-face testament […]

Sound Check: Nia Simmons—From Afro Blue to Going Solo

If you caught the hit show The Sing-Off  before it went off air, you couldn’t help but catch the jazzy vocals of the a cappella group Afro Blue. The Howard University-based group won fans over multiple weeks as they crushed […]

Sound Check: Afua Richardson—So ‘Delirious’

Afua Richardson is a 21st century Jill-of-all-trades. Whether she is winning the 2011 Young, Gifted and Black Entrepreneurial (YGB) Nina Simone Artistic Excellence Award for being the only female Black comic book artist who has worked for Marvel, DC and […]

Sound Check: Reesa Renee—‘Loose’ and Excited

When asked about her favorite episode of Soul Train, 24 year-old Reesa Renee can’t really say since she was too young to remember the show that enjoyed its height of popularity before she was even born. But, Reesa has a […]

5 Things Said About the State of Black Radio

When the Robert Glasper Experiment dropped the album Black Radio earlier this year, the in-your-face interludes and songs featuring Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Erykah Badu, King and others discussed the state of music—particularly Black music.  The song collection’s interludes […]

Posted in Music

Turning 30: Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You”

When it comes to Broadway and musicals that showcase soul music and R&B in particular, the pickings are pretty slim. That’s why when the musical Dreamgirls–loosely based on the early start of Motown and the musical group The Supremes—opened on […]

Turning 30: Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie”

Before  the Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, N’Synch and any other crossover boy group born in the 80s or 90s, there was the British-based group Musical Youth.  Despite the tragic stories of some of its members after their […]

Turning 30: The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men”

Celebrating its 30-year anniversary, “It’s Raining Men” is a fun, campy and upbeat song that is still belted out at every neighborhood karaoke joint–at least in my neighborhood. Truthfully, though, who can deny the irresistible charm of the hit song […]

Turning 30: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”

Michael Jackson’s 1982 album “Thriller” is one of the best-selling albums of all time. It reunited Produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones, of the nine songs on the album seven were released as singles and went on to be top […]

Turning 30: George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog”

George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” from his 1982 album Computer Games is a song of classic proportions. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the song is a staple in our musical culture,  known as a party classic and as a blueprint […]

Why It Matters Who Plays Nina Simone

Nina Simone was more than just an iconic jazz and soul singer. Using her music as a platform for change, Nina wrote songs that expressed the political and social tensions of the day. She was a voice of and for […]

Q&A: Amma Whatt

Brooklyn native Amma Agyapon, known better as Amma Whatt,  is a rising star who has been on the music  scene for awhile—from working as a background singer supporting other artists to making it to the finals in Hollywood on American […]

Turning 30: Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message”

“Don’t push me ‘cuz I’m close to the edge/I’m tryin’ not to lose my head” Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” was released on July 1, 1982 on Sugar Hill Records from album of the same name. Bringing […]

Turning 30: The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”

Multi-platinum and award-winning singer Annie Lennox is quoted in Billboard magazine as recounting her days before the Eurythmics. “I was really a hybrid between Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell,” she remembers, “walking the streets as a singer/songwriter, but nobody knew […]

Turning 30: Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”

Maybe it’s because “Billie Jean” became the first video performed by a Black artist to be seen on MTV that made the song special. Maybe it’s because “Billie Jean” was the song where Michael Jackson introduced to us his “moonwalk”. […]

Posted in Music

Turning 30: Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots”

With her sweet soprano, long beaded braids and shoulder-padded ensembles, Patrice Rushen graced the Soul Train stage in 1982 to perform her soon-to-be smash hit “Forget Me Nots”. From her seventh album Straight From the Heart, the song went on […]

5 Myths About Soul Music

Editor’s Note:’s Khadijah Ali-Coleman breaks down soul music in this insightful piece about the true heart and…soul…of the genre! MYTH # 1: The Term “Soul Music” Only Refers to R&B Music Contrary to popular belief, the term “soul music” […]

Top 10 Soul Summer Cookout Jams

Summer cookouts are defined by the music they attract. On a warm, sunny outdoors gathering, the music sets the tone, breaks the ice and energizes all present.  What are some of the top jams that folks like to cook out […]

By Any Means Necessary: A Look at How Your Favorite Artists Reach Their Fans

According to the a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, almost fifty thousand people in the United States filed taxes in 2011 as an independent music writer or performer, with the average income falling around $60k/yr. Apparently, many performing artists today […]

Colie Williams: Light Up the Darkness

Colie Williams is sweet. She’s like your aunt or the girl from homeroom that gave you brownies twice a week. That’s her, but she can sing, no, she can sang! The Bronx, NY native and D.C. representer combines a jazzy […]

Sound Check: Akua Allrich—Free Flowing

Emerging vocalist Akua Allrich fuses musical genres to create music that is not easily categorized as jazz, blues, or R&B. Quickly garnering attention on adult contemporary radio stations for her first CD A Peace of Mine (2010) and the single […]

Grammys’ Bye-Bye to Urban/Alternative Category Impacts Indie Artists

When singers Jill Scott and Miguel garnered attention a few months ago for displaying anger at not being nominated for Grammy awards, their fans were a bit shocked also to see that they had been completely edged out of the […]

Sound Check: Kasi Jones—Intergalactic Soul Sista

If you were to do a Google search of the Hollywood-based singer known as Kasi Jones, you’d come across an array of images, each one different from the first. In one photo you may find Kasi Jones resembling a demure […]

Sound Check: The Seshen-Moved by Inspiration

The Brand New Heavies, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sade, and Maze are some of our millenium’s best known bands who continue to groove us after decades on the scene. The band The Seshen  is determined to make sure that their […]

Turning 30: Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”

In early 1982, after the release of their second single from their album Private Eyes, Hall & Oates found that their song “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” had not only topped the Billboard pop charts, but had […]

Posted in Music