Written by | Ray Cornelius

Thursday night, The Muddy Water Group in collaboration with Harmony in Life presented a new summer concert series in Atlanta titled, “Mandatory Auditory.”  The three-hour music session took place at Vinyl, located inside the Center Stage Complex.  The series is aptly titled “Mandatory Auditory” for the simple fact that these artists deliver live performances that audiences MUST hear.

The inaugural series featured three outstanding vocalists: Alexis Glenn, Cleveland P. Jones and Chantae Cann.  Each artist has been on their grind for quite some time, making names for themselves not just in the Atlanta area but also throughout the entire east coast.  I had the pleasure of chatting with them individually and captured a few shots as they prepared to go on stage or wind down from their performance.

Check out the pics and commentary below:

Alexis Glenn

Alexis Glenn is a self-described “southern” gal whose eclectic musical styling is a lil bit of Gwen Stefani, a pinch of Jill Scott and a smidgen of Al Green.”  Currently enrolled in Georgia State University as a sociology major, the twenty-something-year-old singer may not be a household name just yet but she’s miles ahead from where she thought she’d be at this point in her life. Glenn suffers from sarcoidosis of the heart and has a right cluster cell block which means she can stop breathing at any time.  Regardless, that has not stopped her hustle.  In fact, she considers her health challenge a ‘blessing in disguise.’

Alexi Glenn 2

 “I live every second of my life as if it were my last. Honestly, it’s been a blessing because I was 21 and in college and partying my life away. Then I realized that I couldn’t continue dreaming anymore, I had to make them a reality. I always knew I wanted to be a singer. With that said, things got real and I had to pursue my goals. Now life tastes a little sweeter.”

In the room

A huge fan of vintage clothing, Glenn is slightly obsessed with Cee-Lo Green and Stevie Wonder.  Her first solo project, Irrational Illustration, is available now.

Muddy Waters

Meet the men of The Muddy Water Group:  Mike Dawson, Chris Hackney and Richard Dunn

Cleveland Jones

There are singers and then there are sangers !  You know the kind—artistically endowed individuals who often blur the musical lines between the sacred and secular.  Cleveland P. Jones is one of them.

Cleveland Jones 2

The thirty-something-year-old from North, South Carolina has been capturing the hearts of musical enthusiasts with his latest offering, Ace of Hearts.  While he clearly loves performing, Jones admits it took him some time to get comfortable in his own skin. “Initially I was afraid to go there as a singer.  Finally I decided to let go of fear and be me.  If I messed up, oh well, just keep smiling.”

RC talking to Cleveland

When asked what he enjoys the most about being on stage, Jones replied: “That’s where I feel like I’m most naked.  Sometimes it can be hard to say how you really feel when you are face to face.  When I’m on stage I feel like I’m behind a shield of sorts and can say anything.  Of course, after the show I go back to being shy!”  Jones was in rare form last night as he performed the Joe Sample/Lalah Hathaway classic, “When Your Life Was Low” as well as a ‘rock-n-soul’ version of the gospel tune, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (which he dedicated to his mother and sister) and one of his original singles, “Patience.”

DJ Naturale

“Mandatory Auditory” also featured DJ Naturel who provided dope house beats

Rhonda Thomas

Singer-songwriter Rhonda Thomas gettin’ it in on the dance floor

Jamal Ahmad

WCLK’s 91.9’s Jamal Ahmad hosted throughout the night

Chante Cann

Chantae Cann has one of those voices that once you hear it, you’ll never forget it.  The ‘golden throat’ singer has worked with some of the industry’s most well-respected musicians including India.Arie, PJ Morton, The Foreign Exhange and Khari Cabral Simmons.  With a personality as big as her thick, curly hair, Cann is certainly poised to become one of music’s next superstars.

Chantae Sings

A native of Chicago, Cann has spent a number of formative singing years in Atlanta which is why she has officially declared the south home.  “Atlanta has that homey feeling that you can’t get anywhere else.  I have traveled around the world but Atlanta is always that place that I can always see myself coming back to.”  A consummate professional, Cann hopes her career will continue to take her around the globe.  Check out her latest single “Da Da’n Da,” ft. Grammy winners, Snarky Puppy.

The next Mandatory Auditory is July 31 featuring the sexy sounds of Teedra Moses.

Photo Credits: Megan Alodie for RayCornelius.com