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Donn T and Chill Moody’s collaborative project &More debuts with “My Own Light”

&More | via Okayplayer.com

Alternative R&B singer Donn T and well-known Philadelphia based MC Chill Moody have made it official: the two Philly music scene vets will be joining forces under the name &More. The two artists paired up last year on Donn T’s single “Clear,” a track dealing with the metamorphosis of one’s self.

In January, &MORE made its debut at The Roots Jam Session ahead of the 2018 Grammy Awards, establishing their presence in the industry. This month, they released their first debut single “My Own Light,” which you can listen to below. Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Donn T

Donn T | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

Donn Thompson Morelli is an author. She’s a theater and film actress. She’s a record label owner, having founded and launched Dtone Victorious records in 2014, on which she’s also a recording artist. She’s a singer and a songwriter who pens her own work and contributes to her husband’s as well, the Philly-by-way-of-New-York guitarist and producer Jake Morelli. She’s a committed multitasker and she doesn’t seem to want to stop.

These days she has her hands in a little bit of everything, from a new dreamscape of a collaboration with Philly rapper Chill Moody and producers Daru Jones and Ray Angry, to work with singer Kuf Knotz, to performing this past Spring in Prince Theater’s premiere of Japanese Azteroids, coming soon to Netflix. Earlier this month, Donn was a panelist and a headlining performer at a Behind The Song launch event, an anthology edited by K.M. Walton to which she contributed as well.

When you meet her, you get an immediate sense of just how busy she makes herself, how involved she is at every level of her artistry. What you notice most of all though is how hard a time she has keeping a lid on her exuberance for all of her many varied forays and interests.

Donn channels a rich family history in the arts, and in particular the arts in Philadelphia, and to spend half an hour asking her about it is to realize just how many more stories she’d have to relate if you only had another few weeks to talk. Raised in West Philly in the ‘70s by parents who were legendary performing artists in their own right, Donn and her brother Ahmir were both exposed from a young age to the power of wordcraft, and both followed their own distinct paths to prolific careers in the performing arts. She now goes by Donn T; her brother by Questlove — he started a band too.

DonnT talks about some of that here, and lays bare her reverence and gratitude for the eclectic influences with which she was imbued by her parents, and for the city that in her mind so uniquely and singularly supports such a variety of artistic style. Continue reading →

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Donn T and Chill Moody team up on the dreamlike “Clear”

roots picnic
Donn T | Photo by John Vettese

Donn T‘s newest track “Clear” featuring Chill Moody is a rhythmic ode to life’s seemingly insignificant constants. The Philadelphia alternative R&B singer recently made her literary debut in a young adult anthology titled Behind the Song, edited by K.M. Walton. Her piece, “Time to Soar,” discusses the inspiration she pulled from Amy Winehouse’s “October Song,” about the late singer’s pet canary.

With the publication of her piece, Donn T took to the studio with Philly’s own Chill Moody to write a new track inspired by her story. The result: “Clear,” which is a companion song to “Time to Soar.” For the story behind the lyrics, she says “For almost 8 months, this bird would appear outside my window at various times of the day and call. The call was distinctive. I created the song around it.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Donn T at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Digable Planets at Electric Factory, Erica Corbo at Bourbon & Branch

roots picnic
Donn T | Photo by John Vettese

Continuing their stacked summer show line-up, Spruce Street Harbor Park welcomes soulful singer/songwriter Donn T to the waterfront tonight. The local musician released her sophomore effort Flight of the Donn T in 2015, the first entry on her own D Tone Victorious label and a great display of electro-R&B. More information for the free concert with Little Strike can be found here. Watch the “Last Breath” Questlove Remix (Donn’s brother) below.

Continue reading →

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Spruce Street Harbor Park’s summer concert series includes Donn T, Louie Louie, Cruisr, Derrick Hodge and so many more

roots picnic
Donn T | Photo by John Vettese

Free concerts at the Delaware Waterfront’s Spruce Street Harbor Park have become a highlight of every summer over the past four years, and this year brings one of the strongest lineups yet.

Kicking off on June 1st with Straw Hats and The Retinas, the series runs every Thursday night through August 31st, when it wraps with two sets by West Philadelphia Orchestra. In between, Philly artists like singer-songwriter Donn T, retro rock four-piece Louie Louie, indie pop outfit Cruisr, jazz bassist Derrick Hodge, rapper Chill Moody, rockers Oldermost and more will perform. The shows are all free and open to the public. Continue reading →

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Listen Donn T’s “Last Breath” remixed by her brother Questlove

Questlove and Donn T | Photo by Shayan Asgharnia | via
Questlove and Donn T | Photo by Shayan Asgharnia | via okayplayer.com

Flight of the Donn is the latest album from R&B singer and songwriter Donn T, who comes from a musically talented family. She’s the granddaughter of Beachy Thompson from the gospel group Dixie Hummingbirds, the daughter of doo-wop and R&B singer Lee Andrews (of Lee Andrews & the Hearts) and Jacqui Andrews (who was a member of Congress Alley with Lee ), and her brother is Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Donn T at Johnny Brenda’s, Dark Blue at Boot and Saddle

Donn T | via Donn T's Facebook
Donn T | via Donn T’s Facebook

Dynamic Philly soul singer Donn T is celebrating the release of her second album, Flight of The Donn T, tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. A collaborator of Marsha Ambrosius, Zap Mama and John Legend – and, yes, sister to a drummer named Ahmir Thompson, but let’s not make too big a deal out of that – she made a splash in 2010 with her album Kaleidoscopic, and last year founded her own D Tone Victorious label to release Flight. The album is vibrant and engaging, at turns recalling Erykah Badu and Sade, and tonight she celebrates it at the latest Re-Set party, curated by local fave Res and also featuring Kate Faust. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Archers of Loaf at the Trocadero and Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears with Donn T at the TLA

For years (13 years, to be exact), it seemed that ‘90s indie rockers Archers of Loaf were gone for good. Then, this past January, the North Carolina-based foursome reunited for a surprise set in their home state. To the delight of fans everywhere, a fall reunion tour was announced a few months later, followed by a performance at Sasquatch Music Festival. The hype didn’t stop there; in early June, Merge Records announced plans to reissue all four of AoL’s studio albums, beginning with their debut LP Icky Mettle on August 2nd. Later that month, the group made their TV debut performing their 1992 single “Wrong” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. No details have been released on what the future holds after this tour for the band, so if you want to see them before their next 13 year hiatus, you may want to be sure you make it out tonight. Archers of Loaf perform with By Surprise at the Trocadero at 9:00 p.m.; tickets to the all-ages show are $20 and are available here.

Also tonight: XPN Welcomes Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears w/ Donn T at the TLA at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the 21+ show are $27.00 (including fee).

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Donny McCaslin and Jason Lindner: The boys of Blackstar go beyond Bowie with Blow and The Buffering Cocoon

Donny McCaslin | photo by Jimmy Fontaine | courtesy of the artist

Tony Visconti and David Bowie walk into a bar. That sounds like the beginning of a joke.

Yet, that very real visit from the pair – in the spring of 2014, into 55 Bar, a longtime West Village jazz joint – is how the relationship between the Bowie-Visconti team, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, and his band of renown (drummer Mark Guiliana, keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre) began.

Their collaborative work on Bowie’s 2016 Blackstar would have been the stuff of legend even if the British experimentalist had not have died immediately following the album’s release. Blackstar was dark, spacious, free jazz-inspired electronic rock reminiscent of Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and its mad Manhattan follow-up (Low, HeroesLodger, Scary Monsters), yet, boldly new, inventive, genre-less, and often in tune with what McCaslin, Lindner and Co. recorded and performed before that auspicious meeting.

Which brings us exactly to where McCaslin and Lindner are now, with the former’s soon-released new album, Blow, his tour kick-off tomorrow night at Union Stage in D.C., and the newly-rescheduled show at The Foundry of The Fillmore Philly on January 12th, as well as the latter’s first album since Blackstar, The Buffering Cocoon, recorded with his Now Vs Now trio and out September 14. Continue reading →