First Listen: Glee’s Amber Riley returns with Big Girl Energy

(October 6, 2020) Let's be real, shall we? Few shows in recent memory have launched as much off-screen tribulations and real-life tragedies as the hit dramedy musical series Glee: if cast members and extras weren't fleeing the (reported) pettiness and perpetually overweening ego of Lea Michele, there were the untimely demises of Mark Salling, Cory Monteith and of course, the tragic drowning last summer of Naya Rivera. What kept the show on my radar however (besides devoted viewership from our kids), was the character Mercedes Jones, portrayed by the singer, actress and activist-author, Amber Riley.

(October 6, 2020) Let's be real, shall we? Few shows in recent memory have launched as much off-screen tribulations and real-life tragedies as the hit dramedy musical series Glee: if cast members and extras weren't fleeing the (reported) pettiness and perpetually overweening ego of Lea Michele, there were the untimely demises of Mark Salling, Cory Monteith and of course, the tragic drowning last summer of Naya Rivera. What kept the show on my radar however (besides devoted viewership from our kids), was the character Mercedes Jones, portrayed by the singer, actress and activist-author, Amber Riley.

Anyone with functioning eyes and ears could predict that her 'round-the-way girl' relatability, angelic face and powerful pipes were nothing to sleep on and would take her far long after the series' credits rolled. If you've missed Amber's electrifying presence, then October is already your month, thank to the release of her debut EP, Riley, and its latest release, "BGE (Big Girl Energy)."

Ah yes, Riley (her chosen singing moniker) may be more stripped down than her glitz and glam Hollywood persona, but the 34-year-old is still serving face, fashion and even a little eye candy as she espouses self-love and tells her boo---not unlike Chante Moore did in 2003's "Bitter"---that he's neither needed nor wanted if he fails to come correct. Watch and count all the famous faces that make up her Girl Squad in the video (Gabourey Sidibe, Compton CA Mayor, Aja Brown and Jordin Sparks, to name a few) as the verses flow just the right mix of  the salt and sugar: "You say I go too hard on you, but if I give my heart to you/you gotta love this masterpiece, you gotta love every part of me. Off the deep end, sink in, more to hold." 

Independently distributed, co-written by Amber and featuring a cameo by BJ The Chicago KidRiley is a worthwhile journey into her R&B side. Like Mercedes, Amber's music is both stylish and substantial, built for the long haul as well as a quick spin around the block. 

Riley – “BGE (Big Girl Energy)”

 
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Song of the Month - Tracy Cruz - "Your Love's Everything"

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