Gerard Bertrand Hosts Craig David & Lisa Simone at "Jazz a l'Hospitalet"

The Jazz a l’Hospitalet Wine and Music Festival is a perfect combination of open-air live music performances, culinary excellence and the finest French award winner wines in the world created by charming French winemaker Gerard Bertrand at his picturesque vineyard estate Chateau l’Hospitalet in the South of France town of Narbonne. “This is something special I look forward to the entire year”, he told me over dinner, that night we all wore red, while we tasted the best and most expensive rose wine in the world “Clos du Temple” a new wine, not in the market yet that he has perfected.

Gerard Bertrand Showing me his finest and most expensive Rose wine “Clos du Temple”. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Gerard Bertrand Showing me his finest and most expensive Rose wine “Clos du Temple”. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Gerard Bertrand, Selma Fonseca and Thierry de Bailleul. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Gerard Bertrand, Selma Fonseca and Thierry de Bailleul. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Musicians such as Nora Jones, Earth Wind and Fire and Dee Dee Bridgewater have played at this major musical event in the heart of the vineyards where each night 1500 guests enjoy sit-down dinner in the chateau’s courtyard and a reserved seating concert.

This year’s performers were Craig David, Lisa Simone (Nina Simone’s daughter), Ben L’oncle Soul and Melody Gardot which took place on July 24 to 28.

I exclusively interviewed British musician Craig David, he told me why he had chosen to be part of this Festival and working on his new album: “The rose wine is great.  I spoke to Gerard about the actual vineyard and what they’re trying to do.  I didn’t know that they’re not just organic. They’re trying to go to bio organic which is one stage further and then looking at the astrology and the lining up of the planets and how the solar and lunar effects on natural plants which is amazing because I love astrology and I’m very much to my metaphysical side of things.”

“The astrology of the place…I love that, so the fact that I got the opportunity to take them both back and to perform. The one thing I’ve realized the more time I’ve been doing this is that when I first started it was about how many records can I sell.  Not even that, it was that can I have a number one record.  As a young kind, you want to prove to the world…now I realize it’s actually about giving people a form of healing without having to preach, It’s a vibrational thing. You could be going through a bad time in your life, or depression, or a bad day.  You hear a song, it can completely shift you out of that vibration. My thing is I’ve realized that actually when I perform, I like to think I’m giving people positive healing that all of a sudden, they forget all their problems.  Every day you’re bombarded with politics and this situation’s happening and this is where the world’s coming to an end, and then there’s me who’s like let me sing you “Fill Me In” or “Nothing Like This” or “I Know You.”  For me in a certain career of longevity to realize that that’s your actual calling.  Your calling isn’t about how many records you sell.  Not for me anymore.  I’m actually living the dream because it’s not about a statistic.”

Craig has a great presence on stage and connects with his Audience, everyone was singing along. At the one-hour plus show he sang his hits “What if”, “Heartline”, “What’s your Flava”, “Fill Me In” closing the set with “I know You” and “7 Days”.  

He also told me he is very close to finishing an album:  “For me, writing an album is still really important.  I think there’s a lot of artists that don’t see the album as being that important anymore.  I think they realize that albums are very much becoming a thing of the past.  The streaming world and the way in which people want music, it’s playlists.  It’s instant songs.  It’s not bodies of work, but I’ve come from that body of work mirror and it’s important to me, so finishing an album, which I love.  Actually, I’m very excited about it. I’m still in the process.  The best part of it is like 80 percent of it.  The last 20 percent is usually the most fun because I always end up…the last 20 percent becomes the whole 80 percent.  Everything happens in the last 20 percent because the level is here, and I know I have to push it, and then some scenario will happen with an artist that I didn’t expect, and the next thing you’re talking and then you’re in studio and all of a sudden, you’ve got a whole new album and also, I like to take it not only just around like the UK and Europe, but also to go to America with the album and to…and its reinvention.  With the US, it’s different.”

He talked about his friendship with Justin Bieber and how he would love to make songs with him when the opportunity came around and if it’s organic because “I’m always one to never try and push, push, push, push.”

He also said, “I think Ariana Grande as a vocalist, she’s unbelievable.  I like her. Seven.  Anderson Pack.  I’d go Rick Mill.  I’d go the hip hop guys. I always feel like Mary J Blige when she was doing R & B and hip hop.  She’d be fantastic.  I’m just open.  Ella Mae, for example.  Like I was in the studio with her maybe 6-8 months before she had the huge record with Boot Up and then tripping.  I just love it being with people who are on the come up and then they have the hit and you’re part of that.  It’s exciting to me because then you’re part of the journey as opposed to being reactive and saying, oh, I want to work with this person because they’re doing well.  Bruno Mars would be great, as well.  He’s unbelievable.”

He explained to me how sometimes his songs comes to him while he is sleeping, “When I sang “I Know You” with Bastille… that song, the melody came to me with that [singing the song]… I promise you, in a dream that I had, and I woke up and I was like, “I’ve just got to put this down,” and the next thing, I was in the studio and then I was starting the melody and I called Bastille to ask if he would like to work on it.  He said he was like 15 minutes down the road. It was so organic.  He said he was finishing a session and he would come on after.  The next thing you know, bam, we had a song together.  So, the universe has a plan, and it aligns you, and I just know that if you’re in the right place at the right time and you’re passionate, it’s everything.”

On Saturday Jon Bon Jovi’s son, Jessie Bongiovi, who in 2017 collaborated with Gerard Bertrand on making “Hampton Water” Rose wine was at the Festival for just one day, I meet him at a lovely lunch at one of Gerard’s estates “Domaine de Cigalus”, Jessie told me how after dinner he was going to drive back to Barcelona, he has been traveling around the world promoting the wine.

On Sunday Lisa Simone and Big Band de Garonne gave a stellar performance with a collective of 20 musicians directed by Philippe Léogé, Narbonne Mayor and local politicians were cheering from the front row.

“Are you ready for the party? We are gonna be here for 88 minutes” Simone said making the crowd very excited.

She sang mostly her mother’s Nina Simone songs “Do I move you?” and “Wild in the Wind” saying, “Tonight’s concert was built on my first album Simone on Simone, and it is a tribute to my mother”

Before the concert, I sat with Simone backstage for an exclusive interview, she revealed to me: “My new album is called In Need of Love, it is coming out on the 18th of October on Elektra France. And my big break-out concert is on the 28th of February, 2020 in Paris,” she continues, “then you will see me with my trio. I’m a World Music Artist now which I am really happy about because that means I can just flow in and out many genres because that’s what I’ve always done. That’s what my mom has done. It’s natural. I don’t even know what the big deal is. I think it’s the music executives.”

She continues, “Because when I was a kid and you listened to the radio, you might hear Frank Sinatra and then after that you would hear Tina Turner, right afterwards…  After that you might hear, Mama Cass and The Mammas and the Pappas. So, there was no real format that was a specific type of music. I was raised on all kinds of music. Then of course you have Nina Simone, Mary Mccabe, Abbey Lincoln, and Otis Redding, Freddie Pain and Doris Day was playing in my house. So, you know there was no limit…”

“That’s how I come to the stage when I perform. I have something for everybody. If you’re an artist, you’re an artist. And uh putting us in a box is very limiting and it can be downright insulting,” she strongly said. “You see me here doing the big band. Then in February you’ll see me doing Reggae and Rock and Folk.”

She also talked about doing more Broadway shows: “Before I die, I think I will close the circle by going back to Broadway.”

She closed the concert set by singing “Return Home”. 

Simone just released a new single called “Right Now”. The music video you are officially introduced to her daughter ReAnna who’s in the video with her and if you subscribe to her YouTube page #LisaSimoneRightNow you also get to see the making of, which gets you the ‘behind the scenes’.

Visit the official Jazz a 'l’Hospitalet website

Ben L’oncle Soul and Gerard Bertrand. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Ben L’oncle Soul and Gerard Bertrand. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Chateau l’Hospitalet Vineyards. Photo by Marine Duplan

Chateau l’Hospitalet Vineyards. Photo by Marine Duplan

Jussie Smollett Interview and Concert for Espolon Tequila

On November 01, 2018 Espolòn Tequila kicked off Day of the Dead with a special celebration at Academy in Hollywood. In the spirit of remembering and honoring those we have lost, Empire’s (FOX) Jussie Smollett paid homage to musical legends who have inspired him throughout his career with an electrifying performance.

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To honor those that have left us, Jussie covered iconic hits from Michael Jackson, BB King, Prince, Whitney Houston (with the help of Ashly Williams and Shyann Roberts), and ended the set with Tupac’s ‘California Love,’ ripping off his jacket to rap the lyrics.  

In an interview backstage, right before the show, the very talented star - he sings, dance, and act - said: “I have celebrated Day of the Dead.  It’s interesting, because I definitely know about the Day of the Dead and I definitely have been celebrating it.  And it is always not every year, but I definitely acknowledge it every single year.  I think it is actually something really beautiful to acknowledge the people who have passed, the people who have come before us.  That’s why this when Espolon came and asked me to be a part of this to be able to honor.  Is this super cool?  Like to be able to honor the people that I loved growing up, the people that we may have lost way too soon.  It’s kind of dull so tonight should be a super chills.”

Always poignant, Jussie encouraged the crowd to exercise their vote during the Midterm Elections on November 6th and performed ‘Need Freedom’ from Season 3 of Empire, a tribute to those we have been lost due to police shootings and inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.

“You will see tonight like there’s a moment in the show where I was just.., we were trying so hard to come up with different things and we would have had like a five hour show because there were so many people.  I was like, WE GOTTA DO ELVIS, WE GOTTA DO JOHN LENNON, WE GOTTA DO THIS, WE GOTTA DO THAT, and it was just like bro, like it’s a 55-minute show, just chill on that.  So, it was really difficult, but you will see tonight, we do little bits of a lot of different songs, so that we could get a lot of different songs done.  We even do California Love by Tupak,” Jussie said about the set that he was about to perform.

During his rendition of Ray Charles’ ‘I Got a Woman,’ the DJ broke into Kanye West’s sample ‘Gold Digger’ to which Jussie exclaimed, “I’m still pissed off at Kanye so f*&k that. But shout out to Ray Charles for giving him the song cuz that sh*t was poppin!”

The crowd broke into the electric slide as Jussie performed Luther Vandross’ ‘Never Too Much.’

Jussie also performed a mixture of songs from his new Album Sum of My Music including ‘Hurt People,’ ‘Ha Ha (I Love You)’ which he wrote for his new beau, and ‘Freedom’.

He also told me about the tour he just wrapped up: “We went on tour, a 40-city tour and we went to four different continents, seven different countries and 40 different cities.  Every single city was sold out.  Every single city.  And I was able to donate every single cent from the proceeds of the tour to charity.  So, we were able to able to donate over $100,000 to eight different charities.  The Black Institute, ACLU, For Your Rights Care, Trayvon Martin Foundation, Flint Kids, the Anthony Burrell Dance Theater.”

Brent Bolthouse's Neon Carnival Party was the place to be during Coachella

Brent Bolthouse's Neon Carnival Party was the place to be on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at a new location HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, CA.  

LeonardoDiCaprioDiddyJhene AikoHailey BaldwinPost MaloneFrench MontanaChainsmokersChristina Milian arrived after midnight to the sounds of DJ Polik, after Beyonces electrifying performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

DJ Jesse Marco, DJ Ruckus

DJ Jesse Marco, DJ Ruckus

Paris Hilton danced on top of the sofa at her table with her fiancée Chris Zylka in front of the stage.

Paris Hilton  looked beautiful dancing with her fiancee  Chris Zylka  to  DJ Politik's  music behind her on stage.

Paris Hilton looked beautiful dancing with her fiancee Chris Zylka to DJ Politik's music behind her on stage.

Leonardo DiCaprio was backstage packing the PDA with rumored girlfriend Camila Morrone and later at his VIP table in front of the Ferris wheel.

Then DJ Ruckus took over the turn tables and had everyone dancing.

Amber Rose wore a brightly colored bodysuit and sneakers, large black sunglasses and a new gold grill while hanging at Diddy’s table.

Chance The Rapper was celebrating his 25th birthday the entire weekend, his actual birthday is April 16.

Dj Jesse Marco finished up the night playing till after 4 am.

Selma Fonseca

Selma Fonseca

Also there Kourtney Kardashian with boyfriend Younes Bendjima, Tyga, Alexander Wang, Taylor Hill, Candice Swanepoel, TeyanaTaylor, Martin Garrix, Kaluuya, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Jamie Chung, Bryan Greenberg, Nina Dobrev, Romee Strijd, Sasha Grey, ShayMitchell, Shanin Shaik, Christine Evangelista, Matt Pokoro, Nyjah Huston, Kellan Lutz, Jamie Foxx, Blake Griffin, Iggy Azalea, LoganPaul, Jasmine Tookes, Belly, Scott Eastwood, Dorothy Wang, Corrine Olympios, Brody Jenner, Sean Farris, Casper Beau Smart, CharlotteMcKinney, Caroline D’Amore, Chandler Parsons, Joakim Noah, Mario, EJ Johnson, Kris Humphries and Nicole Scherzinger.

Neon Carnival

Iconic denim inventor, the Levi’s® Brand, was back to headline the event. Tequila Don Julio returned for their fourth consecutive year, providing guests with specialty Palomas served from the Airstream Speakeasy and providing Don Julio 1942 bottle service for VIP tables. Batiste TM Dry Shampoo hosted hairstyling stations that offered attendees bold, festival-inspired styles and provided product samples for the ultimate hair refresh.  Los Angeles beer staple, Golden Road Brewery, provided a unique bar experience with their customized freight container serving up their most popular brands.  

Selma Fonseca, Casper Smart

Selma Fonseca, Casper Smart

Faulkner band Album Release “Pariahs” - Exclusive Interview

Faulkner, an alternative band based in Venice, California released their new Album “Pariahs” on Friday, February 9, 2018. They celebrated by performing at the Peppermint Club in West Hollywood, CA on Thursday, February 8.

Before getting on stage and singing their hits “Molly”, "These Kids Nowadays”, "Black", "Revolutionary” and “Hot Streak”, I sat with the band for an exclusive fun interview. Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Lucas Asher explained the meaning of their debut album: “It’s called “Pariahs”. It means outsiders—all the rebels, all the misfits, all the unfits.  Everyone who’s searching for that meaning.  That’s who I identify with. We came from the streets, and so it’s largely inspired by our journey from the streets to where we are now. I came from the New York streets. I was homeless in Dumbo for months when we just started." Then joking a little he said: “Yeah, and now look at us. We’re wearing red jackets, pimping, and…”

Lucas Asher, Dimitri Farougias,   Eric Scullin,  and  Christian Hogan. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Lucas Asher, Dimitri Farougias, Eric Scullin, and Christian Hogan. Photo by Selma Fonseca

He continued: “Well, I don’t have any parents, I’m an orphan, so I just ran away to New York like a lot of…I mean, Madonna did that when she was young.  There’s a lot of stories… And that was a little after the towers (Twin Towers) fell. I’ve always been playing music, ever since I was really young, so I was doing Singer/Songwriter stuff back then, and just making your way, you know, and that’s when you, I guess you find your voice.  I think artists need to go through that refining phase, and then I came out to L.A., met up with these guys.  These guys are all like my brothers, and…”

Lucas also told me how members of the band meet (Dimitri Farougias, Eric Scullin, and Christian Hogan): “We were all in line at the DMV trying to pay tickets—you know how it is.”

Lucas Asher
Faulkner

Talking about the album, Lucas said: "We collaborated with the Strokes producer, JP Bowersock, who did one of my favorite albums, “This is It". We brought in Mark Needham, whose mixed like half of the alternative radio right now.  He did “The Killers”, and then we’ve always been big fans of Witches Glen, partially of because of my New York upbringing, and so RZA got involved, and he brought us to Rick Ruben’s studio in Shangri-la where Bob Dylan’s tour bus is in the back and Eminem has a lemon tree and we could go on and on about that.  It took like two years to put it all together.  And it’s got urban influences, alternative influences.  We saw a lot of great legends pass away while we were making the album so that was inspiring because you have to carry the torch.  Like what are we all going to do? Just stop?"

And he said the legend that passed away that inspired them was: “Bowie, because sonically, in our sound, we were so inspired by him.  And this guy, too, Eric (Scullin) helped co-produce it, the album, too, so he’s like our Bryan Jones and the tannest person in the band.”

Lucas told me how he writes his songs: “That’s actually a good question, because I start on acoustic guitar and then I usually collaborate with this guy (Eric), and he’s just a great, great… I think he’s going to be a superstar producer someday. He’s just really gifted and he helps with the arrangement, and we really collaborate on it, and then we bring it to these guys, and by the time everyone gets involved, I don’t recognize my own song anymore, because it moves. It’s a real band, so everyone adds their piece to it, and it takes on a life of its own and starts to live and breathe, and a lot of the music is a little bit aggressive because I wrote some of it when I was living on the streets and when I was coming up.”

He continues: “Now I’m writing music that’s completely different because I’m in a different place. I’m drinking expensive wine and I always wear red, yeah.”

Lucas also told me what he likes to listen to: “For me, I listen to mostly hip hop which people find odd because I’m in an alternative band. We love Dr. Dre.  We love Kanye.  That’s kind of what we’re listening to, and the first two Fifty Cent albums, Nas. That’s kind of what I listen to mostly because it’s aspirational and they came from nothing, too, and we kind of came from nothing.  So, it’s aspirational; it’s inspiring.”
We talked about their future project: “In March, we’re shooting a music video. We shot in Italy, Morocco, and the Imperial Dunes, and that’s going to be dropping in late March for the “Hot Streak” song. After the music video drops, we’re going to be on the road.”

Resuming this is the plan for 2018: “We have a music video coming. The album is called “Pariahs”, it’s 10 songs.  Tour is going to be announced later in March.  It’s 2018, so you never stop recording. We’ll be putting out new music even after the album comes out.  We just worked on a song a couple of weeks ago with a choir who sang with Drake and we had a big gospel choir, so we’re always exploring new sonic territories.”

Their performance was energetic, fun, a must see.

Eric Scullin, Lucas Asher, Selma Fonseca, Dimitri Farougias,   Christian Hogan. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Eric Scullin, Lucas Asher, Selma Fonseca, Dimitri Farougias, Christian Hogan. Photo by Selma Fonseca

Check out their latest video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drFSi7S-Pqg

Ondalinda x Careyes Music Festival in Mexico

The second annual Ondalinda Electronic Music Festival took place in one of the most breathtaking landscapes, Careyes, Mexico, celebrating the vibrant Mexican culture through music, art and culinary delights from November 8 to 12, 2017.

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The Five-Day Festival Price is $1400 and accomodations starting at $2900 to $6,000 per person, but you get what you paid for, the entire Festival is extremely organized, the food is delicious - and I din't get sick - the sound system and music is incredible, the bathrooms are clean, I never had to wait in line for a drink, the shuttles are always on time, with all this incredible first class service no wonder IHeart Radio CEO BobPittman, TV talk host Rickie Lake and Cirque Du Soleil Founder Guy Laliberté were part of the four hundred attendees this year.

It's a long trip to get to Careyes but once you get there its Paraside on earth, the views, sunsets, I was lucky to get into my frined's private palne from Puerto Vallarta to Careyes so just a 45 minute ride.

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Thursday night at Crocodilo Beach Club DJ YokoO played all night while International Tattoo Artist Manu inked five lucky people - I was the first one - got my first tattoo in my hand.

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On Friday after an elaborate dinner and a unique tribal show with fire-dancers, horse show, DJ’s Feathered SunMonolinkand Stavroz played till the Sun came up.

 

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On Saturday, the last night of the Festival, international artists BedouinBehrouzHolger HeclerMiraCirque Du SoleilFounder Guy Laliberté, played at Playa Teopa on the beach in a magical decor designed by Philippe Moellhausen, The mythicalMayan Warrior art car, knows to be one of the best cars at Burning Man Festival joined along with their world-class sound and lighting systems. 

http://www.ondalindaxcareyes.com/lineup/

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Jhene Aiko "Trip" exhibition

Jhene Aiko hosted An interactive artistic exhibition unveiling Jhené’s M.A.P. at E.B. Gallery in West Hollywood, CA on Friday, September 22, 2017, in support of her new Album "Trip". Guests included Jermaine Dupri, Rae Sremmurd, Ugo Mozie and Adonis Bosso.

Selma Fonseca and Jhene Aiko

Selma Fonseca and Jhene Aiko

Beautiful photos of Jhene walking on the beach between colorful trees were displayed onto LED screens TV hanging on the walls and Samsung phones were displaying one of Jhene's poems "I took a trip to find you....I got lost and found myself..." Also on display were pages of her poetry notebook.

Jhene Aiko told me in an exclusive interview: "Yeah, the pictures I took on a tripod, on a timer, and I would just run and take a picture, and it was just during the process of trying to figure everything out that was going on in my head.  Then I edited them myself, as well, playing around with saturation really. They’re just supersaturated, and I wanted the colors to pop because I was experimenting with magic mushrooms, and that really like opened my mind to like the colors of nature, and when I got with Samsung, they really helped me bring this art gallery to life with the amazing LED screens and the frame screens. They look like they are pictures, but they’re actually TV screens, so they’re really good."

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She continues... " And the poetry is all from the little notebook clippings that are there, are all from my real notebook that I have been keeping for years that I turned into the movie, the album.  So this is just like…I always dreamed of having an art gallery of my own with my own work, so now it’s like we’re screening the short film which I wrote and directed and starred in, and my music is playing, and it’s a dream come true."

Atmosphere

Atmosphere

Selma Fonseca and Adonis Bosso

Selma Fonseca and Adonis Bosso